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Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism's Original Quorum of the Twelve Hardcover – May 15, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Before the LDS Church was organized, Joseph Smith received a revelation telling him that twelve men would be called as latter-day apostles. Their assignment would be to warn men and women that the end was near. Although the determination of who would fill these positions was delayed for five years, when it finally happened, God reiterated that these men were to “prune the vineyard for the last time” because the Second Coming was nigh. In fact, “fifty six years would wind up the scene,” they were told.

Of the twelve men selected, nine would eventually be pruned from the vineyard themselves, to varying degrees. Seven were excommunicated, one of whom was reinstated to his position in the Twelve. Of the other six, the subjects of this book, none returned to the apostleship and four never came back to the Church at all. Those who left faded into obscurity except for when they are occasionally still mentioned in sermons as cautionary tales. But two of them made their marks in other areas of society, John Boynton becoming a successful dentist, a popular lecturer, geologist, and inventor with dozens of important patents to his name, while Lyman Johnson became a prominent attorney and business owner. Even though Luke Johnson, Thomas B. Marsh, William McLellin, and William Smith became religious wanderers and tried unsuccessfully to adjust to life outside of the Church, their experiences were interesting and comprise valuable case studies in belief and disaffection. 

About the Author

William Shepard is a past president of the John Whitmer Historical Association and has published inDialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, the John Whitmer Historical Association Journal, and the Journal of Mormon History. An elder in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Strangite), he is active in the Burlington, Wisconsin, branch that was founded by James Strang in 1844. Shepard is a retired school teacher, holds a master’s degree in history, and is a former sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.

 H. Michael Marquardt is an independent researcher and writer, the author of The Book of Abraham Revisited, Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record, The Joseph Smith Revelations: Text and Commentary, and compiler of Early Patriarchal Blessings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Signature Books; First Edition, 1st Edition edition (May 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560852283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560852285
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #671,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew R. Lee on November 11, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In his efforts to reestablish the Church of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament, Joseph Smith felt inspired to bring back into use all of the ecclesiastical offices named in the New Testament, including apostle. In February 1835 a quorum of twelve men were selected and ordained. These new apostles were to be more than modern reflections of their ancient name sake. They were to be "special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world." Eventually holding all the keys of the kingdom, the same authority and powers committed to the apostle Peter (Matthew 16:18). A task not easy for these men to undertake or even fully comprehend.

Within ten years, eight of the twelve were dropped from the quorum and seven excommunicated from the Church for apostasy. Only two, Orson Pratt and Orson Hyde, were permanently re-instated into the quorum (Hyde was dropped from the quorum for less than two months and Pratt for six). William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt's "Lost Apostles" focuses on the lives of the remaining six who never return to the apostleship; Thomas B. Marsh, William E. McLellin, Luke S. Johnson, William Smith, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson.

Hearing that over half of the of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles left the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and four did not return will likely be shocking to most Mormons. Additional context, as provided by Shepard and Marquardt, helps restore some balance to the events of the 1830s and 1840s that led to the apostolic separation, but this informative read may still be jarring for many. The expanded structure and order of the Church today is vastly different in appearance from this image of the past.
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The authors present a well researched historical book on the lives of men called to be apostles who subsequently left the restored church due in part to interpersonal conflicts with Joseph Smith and their own strong independent personalities. The characteristics which made these independent men ideal missionaries during the formative years of the church undermined their abilities to be regulated and managed. But the history is fairly clear that most of these were honest men who loved The Lord and their families and deserve a good place in history. The book points out how difficult it was and is for one to understand the mind of the Prophet Joseph Smith and his evolving theology and politics. Ric Oddone
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This book follows the formation of the First Quorum of the 12 Apostles in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or Mormon Church. It goes in to the lives of those who were excommunicated from the Church and lost their standing in the Quorum. We are presented the Reasons they left the church and how they ended their lives. As a history it is well written and annotated. It is a well researched history of the early days of the LDS Church.I learned a few things about the History of the Church that were never discussed on Sunday School, Seminary or at BYU. At one time they gave Patriarchal blessing on the behalf of dead folks, some early missionaries, courted young ladies and married them while serving a mission for the Church. There was a lot of confusion in the early days in the Church. People were excommunicated at the drop of the hat it seems. Feelings were hurt and unfortunately some of the men should have gotten past the hurt feelings, but did not. I gained a new respect for some of the men who were able to grow and prosper. A few came back into the Church and found they were still persecuted by leaders in the Church, who should have forgiven them their sins. There were also photos of the Lost Apostles. I would recommend the book.
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I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Lost Apostles offers a new look into the lives and ideologies of the disaffected members of the original members of the LDS quorum of the twelve apostles. Well researched and original this book leaves the reader with sense of respect toward those early leaders who have been viciously maligned by past Mormon leaders. The book is in no way an apologetic work or a hateful tract, It's a great history book. Buy it, read it, and you'll be all the better for it.
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Enlightening and interesting. I am a descendant of the Johnsons and so am interested in their story. The book is well written and researched. I enjoy truth. I have shared this book with other family members.
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Excellent documentary of what happened to many of the early apostles of the Mormon church. Some may find parts of it difficult to read as it will challenge the traditional view the LDS church has offered of certain events, but the book is meticulously researched and footnoted. A great read for all students of Mormon history.
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