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Mormonism Unveiled: The Life and Confession of John D. Lee and the Complete Life of Brigham Young Paperback – June 24, 2008
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A reprint of John Doyle Lee's 1891 autobiography, this edition includes the story of Brigham Young, early Mormonism, and the Mountain Meadows massacre.
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Top Customer Reviews
As I read Lee's history as a Mormon, I didn't hate the man as I half expected. He was obviously very devoted to his faith, and made many sacrifices to evangelize for the LDS Church by going off on missions "without purse or scrip." He experienced hunger, lack of sleep, inclement weather, and persecution, but he would not give up in his work. He was hard-working and successful, and he was willing to whatever he was asked to do by the Church. Before the massacre, he was a man worthy of respect - even if you disagree with his religious beliefs.
So when Lee makes the claim that his participation at Mountain meadows was out of obedience to the LDS leadership, I felt that this was entirely credible. Not that this could ever excuse Lee's actions. Nazi war criminals all justified their evil actions on the basis that they were just following orders; but they were convicted anyway.
Throughout the book, we get glimpses of the iron hand of Church authority: To disobey could get a man killed. Lee said that he had known many whose lives were ended prematurely by the Church, and many of these at the order of Brigham Young, whom he called a murderer.
Read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions, of course. It's a bit long, but never boring.
The book kept me riveted.
According to the book, the author was a zealous Mormon for most of his life. Yet in the end he was betrayed by his religion and its leaders. He writes of his faith in the religion, but condemns Brigham Young for "destroying" Mormonism. His statements are, in most cases, in keeping with other accounts of the Mormon church in the mid-19th century. He cites what he claims are nearly verbatim contents of sermons and debates made in the 1840s, in which he defended the Mormon concept of the lost tribes of Israel and their arrival in the New World, their ensuing rise of civilization and their wars which allegedly removed all traces of their existence. He does so by quoting from both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, again exhibiting an amazing memory, if his writings are to be believed.
I came away from the book with the opinion that the author was as zealous as any other Mormon of the time as well as being intelligent, industrious and faithful to a fault. I also found him to appear to be quite gullible in some ways, particularly his belief that his "holiness" would make him invulnerable to physical harm. I was left with the opinion that his execution was warranted, but many others should have joined him in facing the firing squad.
I recommend the book to those who are in search of insight to the Mormon faith that comes from a source other than church-authorized sources.
The reason for the 3-star rating is as I stated in the title; I find it hard to believe that the author wrote this only from memory.