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Scattering Of The Saints: Schism Within Mormonism Paperback – September 10, 2007
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About the Author
Newell G. Bringhurst, PhD, recently retired from twenty-five years teaching history and political science at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, where he and his wife Mary Ann live. Newell is the author or editor of numerous books, including Saints, Slaves and Blacks, Excavating Mormon Pasts: The New Historiography of the Last Half Century, and Reconsidering No Man Knows My History, and The Mormon Quest for the Presidency.
Top customer reviews
This book is especially valuable, since it covers lesser known sects of the Latter Day Saint movement. There are a couple of excellent articles on the Cutlerites. The article on Fundamentalist Mormons is written by Anne Wilde, herself a plural wife. The article on the Bickertonites, officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ (headquartered in Monongohela, PA) is written by a member of that body. There are also articles on Strangites and how many of them ended up in the RLDS church. Finally, there is article on a recent schism within the Community of Christ (RLDS church), namely the Restoration Branches movement.
It's all very interesting and should be read by all interested in the history of the Latter Day Saints, especially by those who have an interest in the lesser known Latter Day Saint groups.
In his Foreword to this 1007 book, Steven L. Shields (author of the extremely useful book, Divergent Paths of the Restoration (A History of the Latter Day Saint Movement)) writes, "The Latter Day Saint movement is a richly woven fellowship of wonderful diversity... Over the 150 or so years since Joseph's death, there have been at least 400 different expressions of the little church that began so humbly..."
The editors state in their own Introduction, "As of 2007, the number of distinct Latter Day Saint groups large enough to field an active congregation is estimated to be approximately eighty. Such schism has resulted in a literal 'scattering' of the latter Day Saints geographically, organizationally, and doctrinally." They add, "There are at least four major causes of Mormon schism. The first obvious factor was Joseph Smith's failure to designate a clear successor in the event of his own demise... A second factor involves the tension between Mormonism's basic characteristic as an ever-changing, evolving institution and the Mormon belief that church doctrines and ordinances are a 'restoration' of primitive Christianity... A third cause of schism is the ambiguous, complex, legacy of Joseph Smith himself... A fourth important factor facilitating schism is Mormonism's prophetic tradition, starting with Joseph Smith himself... Smith's claim of prophetic power was, however, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, Smith's own prophetic powers enabled him to exert extraordinary influence over his followers. But at the same time, the Mormon leader established a sort of 'prophetic precedent' whereby certain of his followers felt inspired to manifest prophetic powers of their own..."
The book contains many useful diagrams, enabling one to trace the "descent" of groups, leaders, etc., from one to another.
If you want to find out more about what early Mormon leaders such as David Whitmer did after their excommunication from the Utah branch, or about groups such as the Strangites; Cutlerites; Hedrickites; Temple Lot; the various polygamist "Fundamentalists"; or the RLDS/Community of Christ, this book (as well as Shields') is essential.
It is difficult to understand why so many Mormons that come from the Salt Lake (LDS) branch simply don't recognize or even understand the hundreds of additional branches within Mormonism.
This book is a must read for any Mormon that is unaware of the different divisions in their religion.