So I bought a book on Saturday from Millenial Press. Small 107 pages paperback volume called Setting the Record Straight: Mormons and Polygamy by Jessie Embry. At times I think it would have been a good starter volume.
So what did I think of it?
If you are looking for a book that gives a concise and educated explaination this is it. In fact it is one I would really recommend to those who just want an idea of the issue but do not want to be bogged down with a 700 page historical tome.
Professor Embry handles the arguments from a faithful perspective, she is arguing from the Church’s point of view, which she is upfront about. So it is probably not something you would use as a major source for a paper or something of that nature.
However, if you want a solid starting point it does that relatively well. And because of the size it is easier to get through. Of course the series “Setting the Record Straight” is obviously not going to be giving some sort of academically neutral point of view. Yet I think it does add value to someone who wants to know, what are some of the arguments, what is the point of view of the modern church and what are some of the sources.
So if you are writing a paper, maybe this book can be used keeping in mind the bias and as I said it is at least a good starting point. But the real value is to readers who maybe unfamiliar. It is easily digestable. It talks about topics like Joseph’s Nauvoo era polygamy (without discussing some of the strangers things about it, like Sarah Pratt). It also discusses the general history of the LDS, CoC (Community of Christ/RLDS), and the FLDS. It is a new book so there is some discussion of Romney in context with the subject matter.
Professor Embry also talks about the various subjects within plural marriage which she covered in further depth in Life in the Principle. Things like divorce, inheritance, age of married men and a few other general topics. She also does an admirable job discussing post Manefesto polygamy.
So in review, a good book, mostly aimed at the questioning Mormon or Non Mormon who are not interested in an indepth discussion of all the various topics, and probably still a “safe” book, staying away from much of the larger controversy about Joseph Smith. It also has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive.
Others in the series:
Mormon Temples: Setting the Record Straight (Dean Larson)
The Book of Mormon: Setting the Record Straight (Jack Christianson)
Blacks & the Mormon Priesthood: Setting the Record Straight (Marcus Martins)
Mormons & Masons: Setting the Record Straight (Gilbert Sharffs)
Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet: Setting the Record Straight (Susan Easton Black)
The Word of Wisdom: Setting the Record Straight (Steve C Harper)
Joseph Smith: Presidential Candidate – Setting the Record Straight (Aaron Garr)
Emma Smith: An Elect Lady – Setting the Record Straight (Susan Easton Black)