Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling

Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling By Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling Joseph Smith America s preeminent visionary and prophet rose from a modest background to found the largest indigenous Christian church in American history Without the benefit of wealth education o
  • Title: Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
  • Author: Richard L. Bushman
  • ISBN: 9781400042708
  • Page: 402
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling By Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith, America s preeminent visionary and prophet, rose from a modest background to found the largest indigenous Christian church in American history Without the benefit of wealth, education, or social position, he published the 584 page Book of Mormon when he was twenty three organized a church when he was twenty four and founded cities, built temples, and attraJoseph Smith, America s preeminent visionary and prophet, rose from a modest background to found the largest indigenous Christian church in American history Without the benefit of wealth, education, or social position, he published the 584 page Book of Mormon when he was twenty three organized a church when he was twenty four and founded cities, built temples, and attracted thousands of followers before his violent death at age thirty eight Rather than perishing with him, Mormonism migrated to the Rocky Mountains, flourished there, and now claims millions of followers worldwide.In Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, an esteemed American cultural historian and a practicing Mormon, tells how Smith formed a new religion from the ground up Moving beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud, the book explores the inner workings of his personality his personal piety, his temper, his affection for family and friends, and his incredible determination It describes how he received revelations and why his followers believed them.Smith was a builder of cities He sought to form egalitarian, just, and open communities under God and laid out a plan for ideal cities, which he hoped would fill the world Adopted as the model for hundreds of Mormon settlements in the West, Smith s urban vision may have left a lasting imprint on the landscape than that of any other American.He was controversial from his earliest years His followers honored him as a man who spoke for God and restored biblical religion His enemies maligned him as a dangerous religious fanatic, an American Mohammad, and drove the Mormons from every place in which they settled Smith s ultimate assassination by an armed mob raises the question of whether American democracy can tolerate visionaries.The book gives attention to Joseph Smith s innovative religious thought than any previous biography As Bushman writes, His followers derived their energy and purpose from the religious world he brought into being Some of the teachings were controversial, such as property redistribution and plural marriage, but Smith s revelations also delved into cosmology and the history of God They spoke of the origins of the human personality and the purpose of life While thoroughly Christian, Smith radically reconceived the relationship between humans and God The book evaluates the Mormon prophet s bold contributions to Christian theology and situates him culturally in the modern world Published on the two hundredth anniversary of Smith s birth, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling is an in depth portrayal of the mysterious figure behind one of the world s fastest growing faiths.
    Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling By Richard L. Bushman,
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    About "Richard L. Bushman"

    1. Richard L. Bushman

      Richard Lyman Bushman published widely in early American social and cultural history before completing his biography, Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling Among his books were From Puritan to Yankee Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690 1765 and The Refinement of America Persons, Houses, Cities He teaches courses on Mormonism in its broad social and cultural context and on the history of religion in America, focusing on the early period He has special interests in the history of Mormon theology and in lived religion among the Mormons He has taken an active part in explaining Mormonism to a broad public and in negotiating the tensions between Mormonism and modern culture.

    215 thoughts on “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling”

    1. While reading this book, I think I recommended it to about every person I had a conversation with about it Now that I m actually finished reading it, I have mixed emotions I m not left with the feeling I wanted to have the triumphant Praise To The Man feeling But I do feel grateful Grateful for Joseph for the questions he asked, for the organization he established and for those early saints and their willingness to believe in what had to be SO hard to believe Grateful for its continuation and th [...]


    2. This is a superb book However, I wouldn t recommend it indiscriminately the book can shake your testimony if you re not careful If you do read it, keep these things in mind Don t stop in the middle read to the very end Bushman does a great job of showing Joseph s development not only as a prophet but also as a man and as a new convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints Although the author is a believer, he is also a historian He necessarily take s a historian s perspective on ma [...]


    3. I read most of this book several years ago before my days but then just finished re reading a lot of it in conjuction with reading Fawn Brodie s No Man Knows my History another biography of Joseph Smith So my review of this book will mostly be a compare contrast of the 2 books This book is long, tedious, and very academic in its style While the writing is well done it just does not translate into the most enjoyable read Very interesting to read but by no means a page turner To contrast, I must [...]


    4. This is the best biography I ve read of Joseph Smith Bushman is an LDS historian with any ivy league pedigree While most writers seem to ignore either his virtues or weaknesses, this book presents the real Joseph Smith in an appropriate context that both Mormons and non LDS alike can agree upon.Literature written by most LDS members about Joseph Smith ignores controversial aspects of his life polygamy, gold hunting, money issues, etc The most vicious anti Mormon literature addresses these issues [...]


    5. The definitive biography on Joseph Smith so I ve heard I haven t read any other Bushman goes to great lengths to try and be objective as possible, and while he doesn t always succeed I doubt that such success is impossible , you can tell you ve gotten a fairly clear image of Smith warts and all by the end The book also helps give the LDS church s history a narrative arc, helping me organize the many scrambled events I had heard about Bushman tended to think that at times, outside influencs shape [...]


    6. I just finished this the other night and I m still trying to figure out if I liked it or not It is very detailed and academic you can tell it was written by a professor There is a ton of information in it but for a fiction reader like myself I had to work hard to get through it.As far as a biography of Joseph Smith I learned a ton Some things I am really glad I learned other not so much I don t know if I would recommend this to my LDS friends, I can see it helping some with their belief in Josep [...]


    7. Having grown up in the LDS church, I was raised with a very sanitized view of Joseph Smith s life That view was shredded to pieces by Fawn Brodie s book No Man Knows My History Richard Bushman s book is a good middle ground between the church s mostly whitewashed version of Joseph Smith s life and Brodie s somewhat bitter and disillusioned view As a devout Latter day Saint, Bushman clearly displays a great deal of of respect, admiration, and gratitude for Joseph Smith At the same time, he does n [...]


    8. Great book, though it s pretty dense I started it a couple of years ago and let it drop after 100 pages or so I started over a few months ago, and stuck it through For some reason, I was much interested the second go.Most Mormons will be familiar with a lot of the history in teh book, but not all of it In fact, I expect that lots of them will be upset or bothered by some of the things they read in this book about Joseph Smith written by an active Mormon For example, demanding that things go his [...]


    9. I LOVED this book It s been a while since I read it but I figured I d still do a post about it anyway It helped me get to know Joseph Smith, the man, so much better He was just as imperfect as the rest of us, but what made him unique and special was his courage, his faith, his determination, and his vision Oh, and another obvious unique thing about him was the fact that he had a calling and a responsibility laid upon his shoulders that few on this earth ever have My appreciation for Joseph Smith [...]


    10. This book is very enlightening if you re wanting to get into a good discussion about the Prophet Joseph Smith s background and character There is a lot of context around some of the early doctrines of the church and a pretty a good attempt is made to cross reference worldy explanations for how the doctrine could have come to be That being said, all of the worldly explanations tend to get shot down in a pretty methodical way This book is not for the faint of heart You ll learn positives and negat [...]


    11. I am reading it currently so it is hard to give it a complete review It is a biography It is not to be thought of as a spiritual book It is well written and for the most part well researched I like the idea of getting better acquainted with the culture of the era and the book does that well enough I am getting a better understanding of how the restoration took place and the challenges it faced It is nice to see the little by little part Nothing happened quickly as it seems to be portrayed at tim [...]


    12. Longest good reads review ever coming upA very good and honest look at the life of Joseph Smith The author refers to it as a cultural biography in that it gives a clearer picture to Joseph Smith s actions, teachings, etc by highlighting the culture of Americans in the early 1800s I had marked it as a book that I wanted to read based on the lds topics articles that can be found on LDS that discuss some of the churches controversial teachings some that were lived historically and some that are li [...]


    13. As many Church History classes as I ve sat through, I didn t expect this stuff to feel fresh and fascinating It was so interesting, and strange, and sad I got bored once or twice, and annoyed too, but it s a mostly very easily accessible and engaging history.


    14. Richard Bushman is one of the most interesting people in Mormonism today He s very different from a Hugh Nibley, who was of an apologist, but I think Bushman s beginning to fill a similar role in the minds of many a man who is clearly intelligent and respected inside and outside of the Mormon circle, who knows about all the skeletons in the church s closet, and still chooses to believe although his faith may be quite different from that of a typical member For background on Bushman, I recommen [...]


    15. Wow I read this book and Fawn Brodie s No Man Knows My History back to back, and I found this one FAR disturbing than the Brodie book Both books certainly have an angle, as most biographies do, and this one comes from the practicing, believing Mormon side But the facts were jarring to me the way they were presented here The almost dismissive speaking about polyandry and wives who were 14 and 15 years old was disconcerting I do appreciate that Bushman did not shy away from the hard truths, and [...]


    16. In terms of research, this book is fantastic But in terms of objectivity, the author comes up short This biography is unmistakably written from the biased perspective of a believer So here is my recommendation Pair this book with No Man Knows My History by Fawn M Brodie She is clearly biased from the opposite end of the spectrum They are both compelling historical works I ve heard respected scholars affirm that So reading them back to back might offset their respective author s biases.


    17. Comprehensive thorough biography of Joseph Smith and touches upon the basic tenets of Mormonism I appreciated how the book put doctrine J.Smith taught into a context I hadn t thought of before I also liked the way the author laid out the life story of J.Smith Fascinating book doesn t gloss over the controversial parts of J.Smith s life, but is somewhat sympathetic In my opinion, it s impossible to be completely objective when talking about J.Smith.


    18. In order to get an objective view of this book before deciding to read it, I read only 3 star reviews this is how I usually choose books Thus, I encountered a wave of reviews that called it a great, informative book that LDS and non LDS alike can appreciate, an account that fairly explores all the unfavorable aspects of J.S that are never presented to the average LDS member Several wrote that it challenges faith.If it does that, it s in spite of Bushman s best efforts I discovered just a couple [...]


    19. This year I was finally ready for this book It s not one I could read quickly actually I don t ready anything quickly I read it over the course of about 7 months, reading 4 5 pages at a time, then pausing to let things sink in I took a few breaks to read other books about Mormon history, just to fill in the context Huge book, so hard to encapsulate My regard for Joseph Smith and everything he established has grown immensely Here are a few of the big takeaways 1 The Church was in its infancy It s [...]


    20. Required reading for anyone with sneaky little doubts about anything they ve heard or read elsewhere about Joseph Smith Or for anyone with doubts about anything regarding the LDS church Maybe you ve stumbled upon one of the church s official essays about the Book of Abraham, or blacks and the priesthood, or about its polygamous history, and your eyes have been open to some disturbing truths you weren t previously aware of Don t doubt your doubts they are there for a reason If you study them out [...]


    21. Bushman s 740 page biography comes from a pro LDS standpoint which will be attractive to LDS readers who want to understand controversial aspects of Smith s character without avoiding the hard parts of history Like any good historian, Bushman concedes the influences of his own bias in the preface Everything about Smith matters to people who have built their lives on his teachings To protect their own deepest commitments, believers want to shield their prophet s reputation A believing historian l [...]


    22. This is the most accurate portrait of Joseph Smith and early Mormon history with which I am aware Bushman is a believer, so he takes Joseph Smith at his word i.e if Smith said he received a revelation, Bushman writes that he received a revelation Some may find this non scholarly, but if Smith actually believed what he was saying and by reading his history, there is no doubt he did then Bushman s approach makes perfect sense The reader gets inside Joseph Smith s head, sees how the revelations and [...]


    23. I was intrigued by the title of this book and I have found it to be very appropriate This book, written by a practicing Mormon, is a great account of the prophet s life He gives plenty of background information which helps the reader to understand the influences of both the period and his unique family situation that may have played a roll in his decisions It is a long book and it s written by a historian so you can get a little bogged down with it I ve been working on it for just over a year no [...]


    24. This book was a hard read for me at times, but I felt that I learned a lot about Joseph Smith s early life, family life, and revelations that I didn t know before Bushman really tries to write from an objective standpoint and gained my trust that what he was writing was accurate He also did a great job simplifying and explaining some tougher points of Joseph Smith s revelations Reading and learning about Joseph s revelations were among my favorite parts of the book Rough Stone Rolling is not a l [...]


    25. The middle third is a little long and slow but the first and last third were amazing Didn t find the treatment of Joseph Smith troubling from my reading experience I found it faith promoting Loved this book and love Joseph Smith on a new level So proud to be a member of the church.


    26. Best biographical treatment of the Mormon prophet available in print I first read it back in 2008 so it was fun to revisit after seven years.


    27. the definitive biography of Joseph Smith some parts were riveting on balance, it strengthened my testimony because it strained the likelihood Smith could ve produced what he producedn t read this if you re some inflexible mullah who thinks the prophet can do no wrong.


    28. Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling is a fact filled report of the Mormon prophet s life beginning with the details of his ancestors who settled in New England and continuing through to the final moments of his June 1844 murder while in jail at Carthage, Illinois What emerges is an honest, straightforward narrative describing the many facets of this compelling man s personality, his character and ambitions Notwithstanding the countless things that have been said about him, ranging from impassioned [...]


    29. This book is divisive among LDS people For some, it reveals secrets and it s painful That wasn t really the case for me I already knew a decent amount about two main points that usually weird people out his polygamous marriages to around 30 women and his translation of The Book of Mormon using seer stones inside a hat Yes, all of that is weird But his whole journey from farm boy to prophet is weird It involves interaction with the otherworld for his entire life Visions, angels, devils, ancient a [...]


    30. Second full reading The first time I read this book in full, twelve years ago, I would have described it in a word with unflinching This time, I found flinching I still think Bushman s treatment of Joseph Smith s story is absolutely masterful, but I also think he looked the other way a few times Sometimes it was to advance the narrative lest the book bloat to than its 600 pages , but sometimes it was at uncomfortable moments when I really would have liked to know There is a shadow book here a [...]


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