From its establishment in 1830 in New York State, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has grown to be a world religion with almost 15 million members in 150 countries. Mormons are so called on account of their belief in the Book of Mormon, which tells the story of the ancient people of America. The Mormons is the only illustrated history of its kind, and traces the faith from its foundation by Joseph Smith and the early days of intense persecution to the building of Salt Lake City under the leadership of Brigham Young and the massive expansion of the Church in the second half of the twentieth century. The book offers perspectives on the Church’s core values by those who practice the faith every day. Contributions from a range of Mormon experts consider a variety of topics — including the origins, beliefs and practices of the religion, its phenomenal success in recent decades as the Church has become increasingly international, its relationship to other churches, and the lifestyle of its members — making this the perfect introduction to Mormonism, one of the fastest-growing Christian churches in the world.
The only pictorial introduction of its kind on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
A friend gave me a copy of this book before I had a chance to buy it. It is richly illustrated with full color photographs on virtually every page. The text of each chapter is brief, straightforward and interesting, but the emphasis is on 'illustrated'. The word 'history' in the title might be a bit off-putting to some readers; but the book really is more like an illustrated 'introduction' or an illustrated 'overview'. Each of the fourteen chapters deals with a different aspect of the church's history, beliefs, teachings or lifestyle. Each has been written by a different author, all of whom are apparently faithful members of the church talking about themselves and their beliefs and practices. There are chapters dealing with Joseph Smith and the founding of the church, Jesus Christ and the "Plan of Salvation", the Bible and the Book of Mormon, modern day prophets and apostles, local meetinghouses and church programs, regional temples and their function, lifestyle and views on education, charitable and humanitarian outreach, and why Mormons are so interested in family history and genealogy. I was personally drawn to Chapter 13 which illustrates the tremendous international growth of the church, especially after World War II; and Chapter 14, which profiles a number of prominent "Mormons Who Have Made a Difference" in various fields, including arts and entertainment,sports, business, science and government. Anyone who is curious about what Mormons actually believe and what their church is like, but who doesn't want to ask for fear of being proselytized, will find this book to be a good read. A real jewel.
As one who has worked for 15 years to capture the width and breadth of a growing, international story, I can honestly say that The Mormons is the most thorough, tasteful and engaging publication ever produced. It tells the dramatic history and doctrine of the LDS Church with stunning photos and clear, crisp writing. I was particularly impressed with the high caliber of authorship. Contributors are highly skilled writers and researchers. The casual reader or the serious student can dive as deep as interest dictates. There is something for everyone. It is neither preachy nor overbearing. It is simply a book that matches the grandeur of its message. I have personally seen it’s effectiveness among those with simple curiosity of the LDS Church. I use it as a decorative sofa table book to spark interest and curiosity.
As a long-time member of the Church, I have through the years seen various predecessors of "The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." This is a superb successor!
Starting with the striking cover photo featuring the LDS temple and, behind and above it, the Utah State Capitol building, the book itself is filled with high-resolution photographs in clear color. It is complemented by articles written by authorities such as Lloyd Newell (voice of “Music and the Spoken Word”); John W. Welch, a chaired professor of law and a leading scholar of biblical and Latter-day Saint scriptures; Susan Easton Black, a professor of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University and an author or editor of over 90 books; and Kip Sperry, a professor at Brigham Young University and a well-known expert on genealogical research.
There are many stunning photographs in the book, with one of my favorites being a two-page spread showing the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra at Temple Square, and dancers at one of their annual Christmas programs. The contents of the book follow each other logically and smoothly, starting with chapters on “A Visit to Temple Square” and “Salt Lake City and Utah,” and ending with chapters showing the sweep and significance of a world-wide church (“’Unto Every Nation’”) and the prominence of Mormons in the worlds of arts and entertainment, sports, business, science, and government (“Mormons Who Have Made a Difference”).
I highly recommend this book to Mormons and to anyone who knows a Mormon, has a curiosity about Mormons, or who would like to know more about why Mormons do what they do and believe what they do!