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Joseph Smith | [Robert V. Remini]

Joseph Smith

The most important reformer and innovator in American religious history, Joseph Smith has remained a fascinating enigma to many, both inside and outside the Mormon Church he founded. Born in 1805, Smith grew up during the "Second Great Awakening", when secular tumult had spawned radical religious fervor and countless new sects. His contemplative nature and soaring imagination were nurtured in the close, loving family created by his deeply devout parents.
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Publisher's Summary

The most important reformer and innovator in American religious history, Joseph Smith has remained a fascinating enigma to many, both inside and outside the Mormon Church he founded. Born in 1805, Smith grew up during the "Second Great Awakening", when secular tumult had spawned radical religious fervor and countless new sects. His contemplative nature and soaring imagination were nurtured in the close, loving family created by his deeply devout parents. His need to lead and be recognized was met by his mission as God's vehicle for a new faith and by the hundreds who, magnetized by his charm and charismatic preaching, gave rise to the Mormon Church.

Remini's vital portrait contextualizes Smith's enduring contribution to American life and culture within the distinctive characteristics of an extraordinary age.

©2002 Robert V. Remini; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Impressive scholarship with a riveting narrative." (The New York Review of Books)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.5 (51 )
5 star
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4.3 (10 )
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3.7 (10 )
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  •  
    J Shreveport, LA, United States 01-06-05
    J Shreveport, LA, United States 01-06-05 Member Since 2004
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    "Joseph Smith (Unabridged)"

    Whether or not you like Joseph Smith, I think you'll find this book somewhat lacking. If you are LDS and believe Joseph Smith is a true Prophet of God, you'll be disappointed in how skeptical the author is; given his knowledge, background, and the wealth of information he was given for his book. Conversely, if you think Joseph Smith was a pretender and liar; you'll be disappointed in the author's care of Joseph's history and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The author misses the point that the works of Joseph Smith comprise the keystone of one of the fastest growing Churchs in the world; thus you cannot ride the fence on Joseph Smith or the Book of Mormon; he was either a Prophet or a liar and the Book of Mormon is either a book of God or a book of satan. If you are seeking a definitive characterization of Joseph Smith because you want to know the truth about Joseph, you'll not find it in this book. The author is all over the playing field trying to cover both sides of his issue.

    78 of 101 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Kuykendall Houston, TX 09-18-07
    Jay Kuykendall Houston, TX 09-18-07 Listener Since 2006
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    "Boring"

    Love him or hate him, you'll find yourself bored. He presents information more or less neutrally, but this presentation also lacks any of the personalization needed to suceed. Perhaps the narrator might share some of the blame, but it's hard to imagine making an intensely debated historical figure intensely, painfully boring.

    15 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Patterson Coppell, TX 02-08-05
    Mark Patterson Coppell, TX 02-08-05 Member Since 2003
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    "Out to Prove a Point"

    Mr. Remini tries hard to objective, but his unstated thesis comes through clearly: Joseph Smith and his works are simply a product of the times. He honestly tries to be fair, but cannot get beyond his own preconceived notions-- he does not try to present a Latter-day Saint explanation for significant events (e.g., that the Book of Mormon addresses modern concerns not because it was written in 1830 but because it was written anciently with an eye toward modern times). As a scholar of the Jacksonian era of American history, Mr. Remini reads into nearly every aspect of the Mormon Prophet's life something reflective of this thesis. An example: the "Word of Wisdom" (the Mormon "health code") was a product of the temperance movement. Another example: the priesthood government of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was (and presumably still is) a reflection of populist democratic sentiments. I had hoped this book would help place Joseph Smith more clearly into the context of his times. Instead, I heard the times placed into Joseph Smith's life. On the technical side, the reader might have done well to talk to a Latter-day Saint or at least check the pronunciation guide in the Book of Mormon. Nearly every Book of Mormon name is mispronounced and is jarring to the Latter-day Saint ear.

    67 of 89 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 08-17-14
    Tracy 08-17-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Historical context"
    Would you listen to Joseph Smith again? Why?

    The author's a historian who typically writes about 19th Century American Presidents. This book describes Smith's life and its influences, such as the Second Great Awakening, Manifest Destiny, books that had speculated about Native American origins, political paranoia, vigilante mobs, etc.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeremiah Aloha, OR, United States 03-15-14
    Jeremiah Aloha, OR, United States 03-15-14
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    "Poor reading."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would recommend it based on that the entire book isn't "common knowledge".


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    The narrator seemed quite unprofessional. Mispronouncing several names that were repeatedly used, and reading without break until his strong voice at the beginning of the chapter turned into a raspy old voice by the end of the chapter.


    Do you think Joseph Smith needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The book was written well enough, that I wouldn't mind a follow up book on the successor of Joseph Smith; Brigham Young and learning more about the 2nd prophet.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Farmington, UT, United States 04-04-13
    William Farmington, UT, United States 04-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Competent historical overview of Joseph Smith"
    What disappointed you about Joseph Smith?

    This history is pretty much the history that everyone hated in High School. It competently covers dates and events. It misses the profound, on occasion mumbles a sentence or two about the controversy. Whether one likes or dislikes Joseph Smith, he is not a boring historical figure. Everything that he did had a profound effect on everyone around him. I am not sure how a history of such a person become a jumble of dates and events.


    Has Joseph Smith turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, but I am suspect about this author.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Del Roy’s performances?

    I don't think the reading of the history was the problem. However, the narrator completely missed the pronounciation of key Book of Mormon Characters. But this summarizes the entire book, not even motivated enough about this history to even get the names correct. Someone who was really interested in this history would have nailed such detail.


    What character would you cut from Joseph Smith?

    Not even sure what this means


    Any additional comments?

    This is a non emotional, a disinterested history on Joseph Smith. Was the motivation of writing this book to get benefit of the Mitt Romney effect?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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