Believing History: Latter-Day Saint Essays

The eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion By describing his own struggle to find a basis for belief in a skeptical world, Bushman poses the question of how scholars are to write about subjects in which they are personally invested Does personal commitment make objectivity impossible Bushman explicitly, and at pointsThe eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion By describing his own struggle to find a basis for belief in a skeptical world, Bushman poses the question of how scholars are to write about subjects in which they are personally invested Does personal commitment make objectivity impossible Bushman explicitly, and at points confessionally, explains his own commitments and then explores Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon from the standpoint of belief.Joseph Smith cannot be dismissed as a colorful fraud, Bushman argues, nor seen only as a restorer of religious truth Entangled in nineteenth century Yankee culture including the skeptical Enlightenment Smith was nevertheless an original who cut his own path And while there are multiple contexts from which to draw an understanding of Joseph Smith including magic, seekers, the Second Great Awakening, communitarianism, restorationism, and , Bushman suggests that Smith stood at the cusp of modernity and presented the possibility of belief in a time of growing skepticism.When examined carefully, the Book of Mormon is found to have intricate subplots and peculiar cultural twists Bushman discusses the book s ambivalence toward republican government, explores the culture of the Lamanites the enemies of the favored people , and traces the book s fascination with records, translation, and history Yet Believing History also sheds light on the meaning of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon today How do we situate Mormonism in American history Is Mormonism relevant in the modern world Believing History offers many surprises Believers will learn that Joseph Smith is than an icon, and non believers will find that Mormonism cannot be summed up with a simple label But wherever readers stand on Bushman s arguments, he provides us with a provocative and open look at a believing historian studying his own faith.
Believing History Latter Day Saint Essays The eminent historian Richard Bushman here reflects on his faith and the history of his religion By describing his own struggle to find a basis for belief in a skeptical world Bushman poses the quest

  • Title: Believing History: Latter-Day Saint Essays
  • Author: Richard L. Bushman Jed Woodworth Reid L. Neilson
  • ISBN: 9780231130073
  • Page: 113
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Believing History: Latter-Day Saint Essays”

    1. Just about finished with this one. I've thoroughly enjoyed this collection of essays of Bushman-spanning 1969-2001. It was published shortly before Rough Stone Rolling was released. I'm putting here a PDF of perhaps my favorite of the essays. Although I could say so much good about each one of them. scholarshiparemont/cgi/Of personal interest to me was Bushman's personal story---how he lost his faith as a young college student and then gradually regained it. I was surprised that his primary ques [...]

    2. - This is a collection of essays from renowned LDS historian Richard Bushman, written between 1969 and 2001. Bushman is primarily known in Mormondom for his seminal biography of Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. Given that the biography was published in 2005, several of these essays illuminate the seeds of Bushman's thought that would germinate in his magnum opus. The essays are divided into three categories: "Belief," "The Book of Mormon and History," and "Joseph Smith and Cultur [...]

    3. This little book of essays by Richard L. Bushman deals with Church (meaning the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) issues that one is unlikely to find anywhere else. Those essays are found in the last two of the three parts of the book. The first part deals with Bushman's personal relationship to and thoughts about the Church and is, in my opinion, the more valuable part of the book. There are many memorable quotes I could cite, but I will content myself with just this one from page 43 [...]

    4. Of the many essays of "faithful" Mormon historian Richard Bushman collected here, two favorites were "Learning to Believe" and "My Belief," the latter being a frank and personal autobiography of belief and doubt. He says the essay has been "surprisingly useful . . . because it acknowledges the existence of doubt in Mormon lives. Many people wrestle with unbelief while remaining true to the Church. They are happy to know their uncertainties do not disqualify them. The essay offers hope that resol [...]

    5. This was quite scholarly for me. I had to take notes. It wasn't super fun.From the preface;"The essays were written in constant awareness of the doubt at the heart of our intellectual culture.""The essays would never have been written without the motivating force of personal need.""These essays illustrate how scholarly inquiry can be united with religious conviction.""History is subject to the same revisions as science, medicine, and social rightness. As we learn and change and become better, we [...]

    6. A great series of essays by a believer and historian, who attempts to explain why he believes in some essays, and then establishes cultural biography for Joseph Smith, and also analyzes different parts of church history and Book of Mormon topics. Bushman's afterward was very interesting and illustrative for me to read, as he attempts to balance his perspective to both the believing and non-believing audience. The crux of the issue, he says in one essay, has been weather the revelations and claim [...]

    7. An excellent collection of essays on various historical topics in which Bushman describes how a believing historian remains faithful to his beliefs and to his profession at the same time.

    8. This is a collection of essays on historical Mormonism by Richard Lyman Bushman, author of the cultural Joseph Smith biography, Rough Stone Rolling. I chose to read this because I look for inspiration from academics who have faced all the intellectual depreciation for religion out there and still have strong testimonies. I was a bit disappointed that this book was more "history" than "believing," but I still benefited from reading it.My favorite essays by far were the biographical "My Belief," a [...]

    9. I bought this book at the Mormon History Association conference last month and devoured it. It is a series of essays by the award-winning historian from Columbia, Harvard, and Claremont who usually writes on 18th century America. Bushman is best known in Mormon circles for his Joseph Smith biography, “Rough Stone Rolling”. He is best known in all circles for his book “From Puritan to Yankee,” which won the Bancroft prize. The guy has credentials. Each essay is a peek into how he reconcil [...]

    10. I enjoyed certain of these collected essays from LDS historian Richard Bushman more than others. The best were from Part I: Belief, in which Bushman frankly and honestly discusses the dilemmas that face the believing historian. I related to these and was happy to find a respected historian willing to speak up and claim the ground that postmodernism opens for believing historians, and a believing historian willing to take off the historical blinders that many church-members wear. The essays "My B [...]

    11. Five stars is not enough to rate how good this book is. It's a collection of mind-stretching, fascinating, well-written and researched articles by historian Richard L. Bushman given or written at different phases in his life. One article tells of his journey to faith, about why he believes despite being unable to give an objective, scientific proof. Another talks about the dilemma of historians and the idea of writing objective history. Another article discusses the tradition of hate that motiva [...]

    12. I loved this book. Bushman is a meticulous scholar who writes with clarity and passion. My first experience with Bushman was when I read Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Mormonism. I learned so much from reading that book that I searched for other things by this author. I settled on this book. In this collection of essays Bushman grapples with a variety of topics including belief, Mormon history, and Joseph Smith and culture. Not only is each essay carefully crafted and well documented but it [...]

    13. I had just finished reading Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling, and what I found lacking in that book, this book provided for me. I wanted to know what "Richard Bushman" thought about the findings presented in the book and how he navigated the world of Mormon historiography as a believing Latter-day Saint. For, as he said, "The real downside to writing dialogically is that my history seems a little detached to both audiences. I seem to fall short, neither confirming the traditional Mormon view nor ma [...]

    14. What fascinates me about this book is that many of these essays were essentially sitting in Bushman's files. Unpublished. Unknown. Under-appreciated. Did he have any idea how much we needed them? Did he have any idea how important they are to a religious society and an historical society who for far too long have found proof texts within complex works to justify theses driven by ulterior motives? Bushman is one of those rare historians who feels compelled to look at a complex whole and try to te [...]

    15. Bushman is the dean of historians of Mormonism; his Rough Stone Rolling is the definitive history of Joseph Smith, and in my opinion is a model of how a serious historian and believer can straddle the two worlds of intellect and faith. This volume is a collections of essays drawn from across Bushman's long career that addresses a range of fascinating topics on Joseph and the Book of Mormon. The strength of his approach is that he is that Bushman brings formidable historical skills and a sharp in [...]

    16. Pretty good. His essay on the Social Dimensions of Rationality is definitely worth a read. I liked this excerpt: "We all have our tribes. The desire to form tribes, to join tribes, to triumph within our tribes drives and shapes our scholarship. Every form of discourse, every rationality is rooted in a society and serves social purposes. However much we enjoy the pursuit of truth for its own sake, these social purposes are preeminent."He makes this observation in relation to Mormon apologetic wri [...]

    17. I enjoyed this collection of essays. It gave me a better understanding of Bushman, the author of Rough Stone Rolling. It was interesting to see how the author balances his faith and hos role as a historian. I particularly enjoyed the reading about the manner he dealt with doubts and questions that arise in his life.

    18. This is the perfect book for anyone with troubling questions regarding Church History. This, however, is not a list of questions and apologetic answer, but a memoir by noted historian and active Church-man Richard Bushman. Here in a series of essays Bushman describes struggles and coming to terms with them. I recommend it for investigators and Church history enthusiasts alike.

    19. These essays are excellent. They cover some of the largest issues facing LDS scholars and provide enormous insight into the historiography of Mormonism. I - predictably - enjoyed the chapter where Bushman compares Nauvoo to Chicago. He frames it as a dichotomy between religious cities and market-based cities, with plenty for urban planning historians to think about.

    20. This was a real eye-opener as to what was going on in the year's leading up to the 1820's as far as faith of the common people and how they perceived such things as revelation, angels, and religion in general. It was interesting to hear of other angelic or heavenly encounters from other people during this time and how their experiences were accepted by the community.

    21. Some essays are very personal and provide much appreciated insight into a Man who, like me, is not afraid of inquiry or a couple of doubts.His approach to history is equally appreciated. His awareness of his own biases allows him to draw very near to objectivity and achieving goals that were established from the beginning.

    22. These essays are fantastic. Confession: I skipped most of them because they were repeats or earlier versions of parts of Rough Stone Rolling, which I've read. But the first and last sections were fantastic. I'll keep a copy of the second one to share with my sons when they are college-age. So glad I read this, and so glad the church has Richard Bushman.

    23. Bushman is an intellectual force to be reckoned with. I greatly admire the work he does on early church history and Joseph Smith. It's insightful, balanced, and incredibly interesting. His essays on belief in academia were especially good.

    24. I haven't read all of the essays yet, but the ones I have read are great. The highlights are reading bout his evolution from an unbelieving undergrad, to a faith driven scholar. He's a very important writer.

    25. Wonderful series of essays on the difficulties of combining rigorous intellectual scholarship with faith.

    26. Fascinating read. A series of essays; it provides some great contextual history for the beginning of the church, the translation of the Book of Mormon etc.

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