On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary

After living with Joseph Smith for seven years, biographer Richard Lyman Bushman went on the road for a year After delivering the final proofs of his landmark study, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling to Knopf in July 2005, Bushman crisscrossed the country from coast to coast, delivering numerous addresses on Joseph Smith at scholarly conferences, academic symposia, andAfter living with Joseph Smith for seven years, biographer Richard Lyman Bushman went on the road for a year After delivering the final proofs of his landmark study, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling to Knopf in July 2005, Bushman crisscrossed the country from coast to coast, delivering numerous addresses on Joseph Smith at scholarly conferences, academic symposia, and firesides This startlingly candid memoir concludes eleven months later with an article written for Common Place in August 2006 Bushman confesses to hope and humility, an unexpected numbness when he expected moments of triumph, and genuine apprehension as he awaits reviews He frets at the polarization that dismissed the book as either too hard on Joseph Smith or too easy He yields to a very human compulsion to check sales figures on , but partway through the process stepped back with the recognition, The book seems to be cutting its own path now, just as I hoped For readers coming to grips with the ongoing puzzle of the Prophet and the troublesome dimensions of their own faith, Richard Bushman, a temple sealer and stake patriarch but also a prize winning scholar, openly but not insistently presents himself as a believer I believe enough to take Joseph Smith seriously, he says He draws comfort both from what he calls his mantra Today I will be a follower of Jesus Christ and also from ongoing engagement with the intellectual challenges of explaining Joseph Smith.
On the Road with Joseph Smith An Author s Diary After living with Joseph Smith for seven years biographer Richard Lyman Bushman went on the road for a year After delivering the final proofs of his landmark study Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling t

  • Title: On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary
  • Author: Richard L. Bushman
  • ISBN: 9781589581029
  • Page: 417
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary”

    1. I have nothing but mad respect for Richard Bushman. When I finished Bushman's materpiece, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, all I wanted to do was find a way to have a conversation with the author and understand his personal opinion about Joseph Smith, the present church, and the reception of his book. This published diary felt like a personal gift to me, especially since Bushman was so open and vulnerable in what he wrote. Here are some of my favorite parts (which turns out to be a pretty great [...]

    2. A great book. I read Rough Stone about 4-5 years ago, but was in a different place. I read this, which details his anxiety about the book slightly pre-publication, the actual release of it, it selling much better than he expected, and the most compelling part:The criticism and how he handles it both internally and externally.And the difficult part, is that he gets hammered from both sides: He gets cranky letters from emeritus GAs and members (although he gets a kind note of approval from Elder H [...]

    3. Enlightening and engaging read. I enjoyed 'hearing' Richard Bushman's voice and his thoughts and reactions to audiences and critics.My favorite bits include his daily mantra, "Today I will be a follower of Christ," and his views of how God and humans operate and live within time.I liked one passage so much I posted it as a quote on my Facebook wall. "Reason is too frail to base a life on. You can be whipped about by all the authorities with no genuine basis for deciding for yourself. I think it [...]

    4. Bushman's perspective is always refreshing to me. I heard him say somewhere that he often has an inner dialog that tries to answer questions and challenges to his faith and views. This book provides a lot of that dialog, and explains how he makes peace with all the messiness of Mormonism and Joseph Smith; as well as discussing how he maintains and defends his position as a believer.

    5. This is the personal story of the year Richard Bushman spent promoting and speaking about his biography of Joseph Smith, "Rough Stone Rolling." It's intensely personal and interesting to see him fret about the book's reception, it's sales, and the speeches he gives about the work as he criss-crosses the country. Really liked this personal account.

    6. Simply beautiful. I've read Rough Stone Rolling a couple of times and it always emboldens my appreciation for Joseph Smith and adds vitality to my faith. Bushman's diary was full of feeling and paints a sympathetic portrait of the myriad of feelings that accompanied the release and reception of RSR. This diary heightened my appreciation for all he set out to accomplish in writing a biography of Smith. I am grateful for his account and for all of his hard work and devotion to better understanding [...]

    7. A short but fascinating book by an eminent historian (Bancroft prizewinner, emeritus Columbia University professor--also was my stake president when I first went to Harvard). It's mainly in the form of a diary he wrote after the publication of Rough Stone Rolling, his biography of Joseph Smith. The diary is not so much about his writing of the biography, though he does reflect some on that, as it is about the aftermath--book tours, lectures, his reactions to reviews in the New York Times, The Ne [...]

    8. I devoured this book without even really meaning to. I was enjoying it so much that each night I would try to make myself just read a little before bed, but by the third night it was finished. It's a diary that Richard Bushman, author of the Joseph Smith biography Rough Stone Rolling wrote after the book's publication. It was so fascinating to me on so many levels. Here's why:1) I just really like Bushman as a person. He's so humble and honest and it's interesting to see how he feels revelation [...]

    9. This book is amazing on so many levels. It expands the treatment of Joseph Smith found in "Rough Stone Rolling," it examines the interplay between belief and scholarship, and it chronicles a heroic effort to bridge the gap between the spiritual and secular worlds. At times it was disheartening to read about the lack of empathy for Bushman's views in the academic community that Bushman tried to reach out to. While studying literature in the university, I've heard time and time again the mantra th [...]

    10. I have not yet read Rough Stone Rolling, but this proved to be a good introduction to that book. This book is made up of entries from the author's diary regarding the roll out of his book, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. I especially liked the letter he included at the beginning expressing puzzlement over Christians' request for evidence of the Book of Mormon's historical events. He questions the absolute need for evidence from people who purport to believe in the spiritual events of the Bibl [...]

    11. All biographies are written through the eyes of the biographer. They tell as much about the writer as the subject. Hence, biographies on Joseph Smith run the gamut of opinions. Bushman has his own, and this diary really helps to understand his thoughts on writing and promoting Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. It would be great if every biography (and history book, for that matter) came with a personal diary by the author like this one. History is not a set of facts, it is a story told by someo [...]

    12. This is an extremely insightful companion piece to Bushman's Rough Stone Rolling. Consisting of his personal journal entries during the period of the book's release and promotion, this little volume lays bare the trying and complicated tightrope walk of being both an academic and a believing, practicing Mormon, or even just living as an LDS intellectual. This is of course magnified in the case for someone like Bushman, whose academic work is deals with topics so close to to the LDS founding. But [...]

    13. This was a great little read. It's been about a year since I finished the biography Bushman wrote, and I loved seeing Bushman's thoughts about the process and what followed. He is a humble man and was nervous about the reception of his book. He gives us some interesting letters and perspectives of a couple of general authorities and other historians and enthusiasts. My favorite part was his mantra: "Today I will be a follower of Christ." I would like to adopt it as my own. Also, I could commiser [...]

    14. I just like Richard Bushman. He's got a good head on his shoulders and puts forth a rational, yet believing perspective on the gospel. I've attempted several times to read Rough Stone Rolling and have yet to actually finish it. However, I think after reading On the Road with Joseph Smith I'll be ready to see it through to the end. In On the Road, Bushman recounts his experiences directly following the release of Rough Stone Rolling. Through this we get an insight into his thoughts and motivation [...]

    15. I really enjoyed this short little book - 4.5 stars. I read Rough Stone Rolling several years and it was the start of a personal journey to learn more about LDS history that has challenged, but ultimately matured and deepened my testimony of the LDS church. This book is the author's journal as he is publishing his biography of Joseph Smith. I loved getting to know him personally, seeing his insights into Joseph Smith, reading his doctrinal thoughts, understanding his response to how the biograph [...]

    16. This book is a journal of Richard Bushman who wrote Joseph Smith a Rough Stone Rolling". Bushman writes about his worries and anxieties about the book before it comes out, etc. He describes his book tours, his experiences travelling and giving talks throughout the country. I enjoyed this book because I loved Rough Stone Rolling so much, and understand the controversy that has resulted with the non-believers and the academic population. I myself want it to be received by all and I sympathize with [...]

    17. A great book on many levels. Here we get to see the mind of an author as he presents his greatest work thusfar to the world - "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling". We are taken through the Q&A sessions, interviews, book signings, and his personal worries of his work's acceptance among peers, newspapers, academics, people curious about Joseph Smith, and mainstream Mormonism. Tucked in here are great little gems about his view of the cosmos, his faith, his take on tough questions, his worries/c [...]

    18. I was hoping that this book was the story of Bushman's historical process, it was not. However, I appreciated this book greatly. It was great to read bushman struggle with the same questions I have "how do we reconcile Joseph the extremely fallible man which the beautiful gospel he produced?" And how do we make that case to the world? Fascinating, oddly comforting.

    19. I picked this up after reading Rough Stone Rolling which is Bushman's bio of Joseph Smith. In this short book, he tells what it was like to be on the book tour for Rough Stone Rolling and gives it to the reader in journal form. I loved this little book! It added so much more insight to his works.

    20. This is a delightful book on many levels. Probably best read after reading Rough Stone Rolling, this author's diary begins shortly before publication of that book. Insights into Richard Bushman's character and personality, the making of Rough Stone Rolling and its reception, and quotes from several emails and interviews make this well worth a read!

    21. Joseph Smith said that his name would be known for good and evil. This could perhaps be said of his biographers as well. In this personal account of the aftermath of his excellent biography of the Mormon Prophet, Bushman shows how attempting to seek a moderate perspective of such a controversial figure brings about criticism from both critics and believers of Joseph Smith.

    22. I value this book not only because it allowed me access to Brother Bushman and some of the background behind one of my favorite books, but it also showed me what true honesty and vulnerability looked like.

    23. I really enjoyed experiencing Richard Bushman's joys and struggles almost firsthand as his book Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling was published and began to be read and reviewed. I especially loved some of the insights he gained along the process on our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

    24. A little gem illuminating the mind of an author as his book--perhaps his magnum opus--is published, purchased, reviewed, panned, lauded. Throughout, it addresses the question of how outsiders view Mormons--apparently more skeptically than we thought.

    25. Very interesting insights on the authors reaction to the reviewers of the book, "Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling" and ways that he would consider changing Rough Stone Rolling so that his testimony of Joseph Smith was more obvious.

    26. I found this book very interesting as the author journaled the year following the completion of the book Joseph Smith - Rough Stone Rolling. It was interesting to learn about the reactions to the book by church leaders, church members and non-members and the literary community.

    27. Interesting insight into Richard Bushman's dealing with his biography of Joseph Smith-- his fear of rejection from both believers and non-believers I found really, well, real. I just enjoyed getting that author's perspective on what happens after a book is published.

    28. Heard (or read?) an interview where Bushman talked about this book. It's essentially a narrative of his experience (with colleagues at Columbia, the media, members of the LDS community, etc.) writing his new biography of Joseph Smith. He mentioned some pretty interesting experiences.

    29. Bushman's journal-style account of the publication of his Rough Stone Rolling book. This won't have general appeal, but it's a fascinating account.

    30. Loved it. A great resource of how to articulate Mormon belief to those who have questions about it's founder.

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