- Publisher: Herald House; 4th Revised and Enlarged edition (2001)
- ISBN-10: 0830905693
- ISBN-13: 978-0830905690
- ASIN: B000J45VBU
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,544,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Divergent Paths of the Restoration (A History of the Latter Day Saint Movement) Paperback – 2001
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He wrote in the Introduction to the 1990 4th Revised and Enlarged edition, "The author sincerely hopes that the information contained herein will provide insightful understanding into the complexity that is the Latter Day Saint movement. So often historians, researchers, and reporters confine their explorations and studies to only one segment of the Latter Day Saint movement, and promote that one particular style as being generally indicative of the entire movement. As this book proves, the honest historian, researcher or reporter must consider the latter day Saint movement in the broad terms that it really is. A unification of the various churches which make up the Latter Day Saint movement will not likely ever come to be. The author's purpose in this volume is not to make such a proposition. As we come to understand our fellow Latter Day Saints, though, perhaps some of the animosity which has been so prevalent in the past will be replaced by mutual respect and understanding."
Shields is as fair and objective as one might hope in his presentation of the (often contradictory and competing) claims of these various sects. He presents their history as far as possible (despite the extremely limited amount of information available on some of these groups), quotes verbatim any doctrinal statements they may have, and provides useful information on their current status (as of 1990, at least).
Persons interested in this book would most likely also be interested in Scattering Of The Saints: Schism Within Mormonism.
My copy of this work wears the imprint of Restoration Research, presumably Mr. Shields' own outlet, but the latest edition is published by Herald House, associated with the Community of Christ. I assume Shields is a member of this respectable, ex-Mormon denomination.
"Divergent paths of the restoration" must be seen to be believed. Over the years, a stunning number of religious groups have claimed the mantle of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. Many people have mimicked Smith's prophetic calling by claiming to have been visited by angels, receiving divine revelations, etc. Some have encountered Elijah. There are groups claiming access to the "secret" portions of the Book of Mormon. And yes, there are still Mormon groups which practice polygamy...
Some of the denominations mentioned in the book are well known, at least to avid students of Mormonism: the RLDS Church (now the Community of Christ), the Cutlerites, the Bickertonites, the Strangites, the Morrisites and the Church of Christ (Temple Lot). But Shields have also tracked down a dizzying number of groups few people, if any, are likely to have heard of. Many of them have pretentious names: Church of Jesus Christ of the Saints of the Most High God, Perfected Church of Jesus Christ of Immaculate Latter Day Saints, The Watchmen on the Towers of Latter Day Israel and the Church of the Body and of the Spirit of Jesus Christ (it had exactly one member).Read more ›