01 November 2006

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

I finally had a chance to read Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Bushman and I very much enjoyed it. Bushman is a believing Mormon, as he makes clear in the introduction, and that clearly comes through. While some might think Bushman glosses over some negative aspects of Joseph's life, others think he dredged up every negative story and ignored the faith-promoting. Personally, I thought he was a little closer to the first than the second, but he did deal effectively with most of Joseph's less-than-positive characteristics. I particularly appreciated that Bushman placed Joseph in his own historical and cultural setting instead of holding him to the different standards we have today.

I'd recommend this book to people who are interested in learning more about the LDS Church than a basic overview. Bushman discusses many points of Mormon doctrine that are a little harder to explain and I'd imagine most people would come away understanding the church better after reading this book. And, since I'm a Mormon, I hope they'd understand Joseph Smith a little better too. As Bushman points out several times, it has been hard for many people to get beyond the vilification of Joseph Smith and see the man who said he was a prophet.

1 comment:

Dan said...

I also liked the biography. It showed Joseph Smith as he was, and as people around him knew him. He wasn't a perfect man, he was a regular human being. Having not had a real prophet of the Lord since John the Revelator, most Christians have had a distorted notion of what a prophet of the Lord is like in real life. I think many were not ready to see a young, vibrant and active man as Joseph as the Prophet of the Lord.