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The Mormon Quest For The Presidency Paperback – July 4, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Newell G. Bringhurst and Craig L. Foster have been referred to as the “odd couple” of Mormon studies. Bringhurst, a cultural Mormon and a liberal Democrat, stands in stark contrast to Foster, an active Latter-day Saint and a conservative Republican. Their political views aside, both Bringhurst and Foster are trained historians who have sought to treat the subjects of this book in a scholarly, objective manner. Bringhurst, an emeritus professor of history and political science at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, is the author/editor of eight previously published books. The most recent was Scattering of the Saints: Schism within Mormonism (2007), which he co-edited with John C. Hamer. Bringhurst has served as president of both the Mormon History Association (1999-2000) and the John Whitmer Historical Association (2005-06). Foster, a research specialist in the LDS Church’s Family History Library, is the author of Penny Tracts and Polemics: A Critical Analysis of Anti-Mormon Pamphleteering in Great Britain (1837-1860) and of A Different God?: Mitt Romney’s Presidential Campaign, the Religious Right, and the Mormon Question. Foster served as co–executive secretary of the Mormon History Association from 1995 to 2001.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: John Whitmer Books (July 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934901113
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934901113
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,423,530 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By slippyslayer101 on August 5, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is exactly what you think it is: detailed descriptions of Mormons' presidential campaigns. You may be shocked at first to find out that there are eleven "Mormons" who have run, but about half of them weren't Mormons at the time they ran. Bringhurst and Foster decided to spice things up by including ex-Mormons and soon-to-be Mormons, and I'm glad they did because some of these were the most interesting chapters. It also means that there's a good mix of liberals and conservatives that there wouldn't be otherwise.

The book starts with the third-party run of Joseph Smith. It's pretty interesting to hear how he felt about some of the issues going on at the time. Sounds like he just had some real problems with both the Democrats and Whigs, in part because they weren't doing enough to stop persecution against Mormons. An appendix in the book gives more details about his positions on the issues. Hard to place him in a neat little liberal or conservative category because it was such a long time ago. There were different issues being debated at the time.

Following Joseph Smith are three 20th-century major party candidates: George Romney, Mo Udall, and Orrin Hatch. George Romney is Mitt's father and a candidate for the Republican Party. Can't say I found him too interesting. Mo Udall was one of the ex-Mormons. His father was excommunicated, so at a young age Mo broke ties with the LDS Church. He was a Democratic candidate in 1976. A little extra research has shown me that he also belongs to a huge family of politicians. His Mormonism came up in an attack ad to suggest he belonged to a racist church, despite the fact that he wasn't really associated with them anymore. Kind of a low blow if you ask me. Orrin Hatch is a Republican who has had a long political career.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John G. Nelson on September 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is a good starting point. It is well written and provides some good basic background data on candidates who sought the presidency (who had a past, present or future affiliation w/ the LDS church.) It is not a deep analysis. It lacks the rigors of a scholarly work (the references are limited and not always inclusive of the larger body of work written about Mormonism.) Still, it is a good launching point and an interesting read. I found most fascinating how Ezra Taft Benson went to the church leader (prophet) to ask for permission to accept a vice-presidential nomination on a third party ticket. The prophet said no (apparently he wasn't a fan of third parties) and Benson refused the nomination. It shows how devout Mormons seek the blessings of the church prophet on political issues and conform to the prophet's wishes. This case really illustrates the power the church prophet has over the political decisions of its members. On the reverse side Sonia Johnson received the wrath of the church for going against the church's view on the ERA. I would have liked to read more about how significant and powerful excommunication is in the Mormon faith and a little more about the process (and evidence/rationale.) I did not know about the close ties between the Church and the John Birch Society. I think readers will find the White Horse prophecy very intriguing. I think the authors relied too heavily on references/published works from Mormon presses (Deseret/BYU/Signature) who publish bias and non-critical works. Overall it was an enjoyable read. I have no doubt Mitt Romney will run for president again and his relationship to the prophet (church president) should be evaluated seriously.Read more ›
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