Books--about polygamy and about Mormonism

Anderson, J. Max. The Polygamy Story: Fiction and Fact (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1979)

Arrington, Leonard. Great Basin Kingdom. About early economic development of Utah.  Arrington was the official historian of the LDS.  Click here for an interview with him.

Arrington, Leonard. Brigham Young: American Moses.

Bagley,Will.  Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows. 2004

Baskin, R. N.  Reminiscences of Early Utah, 1914.  “Baskin spent time as the chief justice of the Supreme Court of Utah and as the mayor of Salt Lake City. As an attorney he was involved with a number of murder cases in early Utah history. He actively fought against polygamy and was initially disliked by many Mormons. Later, he was acknowledged by some as an honest man.” Source

Bistline, Benjamin. The Polygamists: A history of Colorado City, Arizona. Agreka Books, 2004.  A well-written, detailed and factual account of the history of the polygamist town, from one who lived there.  While Bistline is against the abuses of the present FLDS leadership, he is sympathetic to polygamy and the original ideals of the cooperative community.

Brodie, Fawn M.  No Man Knows My History : The Life of Joseph Smith, (Vintage)  An excellent biography of the prophet of Mormonism.

Bushman, Richard Lyman, Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005 )

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. Kidnapped from that Land: The Government Raids on the Polygamous Community of Short Creek. Has a chapter on women of Mormon fundamentalists.

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. A Guide to Utah Architecture will be published by Gibbs Smith Publishers.

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. Pedestals and Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority and Equal Rights. 2005.

Bradley, Martha Sonntag and Mary Brown Firmage Woodward. Four Zinas: A Story of Mothers and Daughters on the Mormon Frontier.

Cannon, Frank J. and Harvey J. O’Higgins. Under the Prophet in Utah

Compton, Todd.  In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1997)

Daynes, Kathryn. More Wives Than One: Transformation of the Mormon Marriage System, 1840-1910 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2001)

Dewey, Richard Lloyd. Porter Rockwell: A Biography.  (New York: Paramount Books, 1986).  A fascinating, rich account.  A character of mythic proportions, Porter Rockwell was a bodyguard for Joseph Smith and later a lawman for the Mormons.  Some say he was an assasin for the Mormons.  Dewey is an admirer of Rockwell.

Ebershoff, David.  The 19th Wife.  2009. A highly recommmended novel.  It interweaves the story of a modern-day lost boy and a murder, with a fictionalized account of the life of Ann Eliza Webb Young, the 19th wife of Brigham Young.  The lost boy is portrayed with sensitivity, humor, and realism, while the historical material is accurate and beautifully written.  Reading Ann Eliza Young's own memoir is hard slogging, but this novel simplifies and interprets her writings.

Emmett, Andrea Moore. God's Brothel: The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped.

Gordon, Sarah Barrigner. The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth Century America (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2002).  The author is Penn Professor of Law. Book is about constitutional/legal issues raised by Mormonism. The US has decided that it’s not OK for part of the US to have different laws based on its religion.

Jeffs, Brent W., with Maia Szalavitz  Lost Boy (Broadway, $24.95).  Jeffs is the nephew of Warren Jeffs, the jailed ex-president of the FLDS; he recently charged his uncle with sexual abuse.  Two of his brothers committed suicide after leaving the sect.  His memoir aims to help former sect members in bridging the gulf that separates the distinct worlds of American society and the FLDS.

Collins, Natalie R. Behind Closed Doors  An escaped wife account?

Jessee, Dean, editor. The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1984)

Lee, John D. MORMONISM UNVEILED, or THE LIFE AND CONFESSIONS of the Late Mormon Bishop JOHN D. LEE.  Contains a very good account of the castration of Thomas Lewis. Pages 284-286.

Linn, William Alexander. The Story of the Mormons: From the Date of their Origin to the Year 1901. This link is for a chapter in the book about Brigham Young. It is generally unfavorable, talking about how the Migration to Utah was not all that successful, how many of his business ventures failed, and how he stole much of the tithing money for his own use. Seems serious and well-documented.

Llewellyn, John R.  Polygamy's Rape of Rachael StrongAn escaped wife account?

Mackert, Mary. The Sixth of Seven Wives: Escape from modern day polygamy   An escaped wife account?

Spencer, Irene. Shattered Dreams: My Life as a Polygamist's Wife   An escaped wife account?

Hickman, Bill. Brigham’s Destroying Angel. 1904.  Available from Lighthouse Ministry.

Krakauer, Jon. Under the Banner of Heaven : A Story of Violent FaithExcellent, true story about a "blood attonement" murder by a fundamentalist.

Llewellyn, John R. Polygamy Under Attack

Quinn, D.Michael.  The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Vol. 2, pages 250-251.  This is reference for Brigham’s approval of Bishop Snow’s castration. It also documents “blood attonement” killings.

Schindler, Harold. Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1966. The author believes that Porter was the one who shot Gov. Boggs of Missouri.

Schmidt, Susan Ray. His Favorite Wife: Trapped in Polygamy.  An escaped wife account?

Sillitoe, Linda and Allen D. Roberts. Salamander: The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders. Objective, fascinating account of the greatest forger in history, and how he was caught.

Solomon, Dorothy Allred. Predators, Prey, and Other Kinfolk: Growing Up in Polygamy 2003

Solomon,  Dorothy Allred.  Daughter Of The Saints: Growing Up In Polygamy (Paperback, 2004)

Stenhouse, Mrs. T. B. H. "Tell It All": The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism. Reprint of 1875 ed., by Lighthouse Ministry. 623 pp.

Stenhouse, T.B.H. The Rocky Mountain Saints; A Full and Complete History of the Mormons (New York, 1873)  This was Mrs. Stenhouse's husband.  Go here for a description of this book. Available from Lighthouse Ministry.

Tracey, Kathleen. 2002. The Secret Story of Polygamy. This excellent book summarizes the history and current status of polygamy. Gives accounts of recent court cases and documents abuses to specific women. All you need to know about polygamy history & its current status.

Van Wagenen, Lola. Sister-Wives and Suffragists: Polygamy and the Politics of Woman Suffrage, 1870-1896 (Provo, Utah: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History, 2003)

Van Wagoner, Richard S. Mormon Polygamy: A History (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1986)

Wallace, Irving. The Twenty-seventy Wife. Simon and Schuster, 1961.  Highly recommended.  Best summary of the life of Ann Eliza Webb Young.

Wood, Charles L. The Mormon Conspiracy.  (Paperback, 2004)  An expose of Mormonism.  Some find it enlightening, while others criticize it for over-reliance on secondary sources.

On the web

MormonZone  The world's largest collection of clean Mormon jokes.

For Mormon Faith and Research  A site with information for ex-Mormons and people thiking of leaving the LDS.  Attempts to steer them towards other Christian faiths.

Religion News Blog.  A site with summaries and links to news about religion and sects.  Their parent website, Apologetics Index, also has very comprehensive information.

The Book of Mormon: A searchable Version  A  wonderful tool--you can search for any word in the book.

A group of women that helps abused victims of polygamy The "Tapestry Against Polygamy" in Salt Lake City works through education, advocacy, and support.

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance Information on the various sects of polygamy. They try to maintain an objective view. Good summary of FLDS news and activities, and "lost boys."

Official Web site--Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints You can find the official view of most topics by using the search function on this site.

Corrente. Two excellent posts, by Sarah and by Bringiton, on the history, customs and economics of the FLDS--well-written and factual (as far as I can determine)

Collection of photos of Colorado City (Short Creek) about the timeof the raid in 1935

Andrea G. Radke, Ph.D. The Place of Mormon Women: Perceptions, Prozac, Polygamy, Priesthood, Patriarchy, and Peace. Well-written, long apology for Mormon patriarchy. Talks about stereotypes of Mormon women. Mentions high use of prosac among Mormon women in Utah.

Many older books can be read online or printed from this site

Hilton, Hope A. "Wild Bill" Hickman and the Mormon Frontier. 1988. Available from Lighthouse ministry.

Pictures and Biographies of Brigham Young and his Wives," published by J. H. Crockwell of Salt Lake City, by authority of Young's eldest son and of seven of his wives, but is not complete.  Source 

The Role of Women in Mormonism. Jessica Longaker. March 27, 1995. Good article about role of women in LDS today, origins of polygamy, and good bibliography.

Brent Metcalfe, editor of "New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, and coeditor of American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon. From

Quinn, D. Michael.  LDS Church Authority and New Plural Marriages, 1890 – 1904.

An interactive web magazine for Mormon women, apparently orthodox women.  The link was, but it appears to be obsolete.  There are probably many like it.

The Anti-Mormon Preservation Society puiblishes many old books online.  See the index of books available.

Utah Lighthouse Ministry. Founded by Jerald and Sandra Tanner, their purpose is to document problems with the claims of Mormonism and compare LDS doctrines with Christianity.  You can find many well-researched articles by the Tanners about Mormon history.

Articles--Journals & Magazines

Kent, Stephen A. A Matter of Principle: Fundamentalist Mormon Polygamy, Children, and Human Rights Debates. Nova Religio, Volume 10, August 2006.
"This article... argues that the fundamentalist Mormon communities of Colorado City and Bountiful have histories of polygamous marriages involving young, often underage teens, and on these grounds alone are maladaptive because they likely commit serious human rights violations against women in general and children in particular."  Source

Salt Lake City Messenger, February 1991: "Brigham Young and Wild Bill Hickman"-- A comprehensive look into J. H. Beadle's Book on Bill Hickman. Included are answers to Mormon apologist's attempts to discredit Beadle's book, and a look at Hickman's great-granddaughter's book, "Wild Bill" Hickman and the Mormon Frontier, which confirms much of Beadle's work.

MORMON BLOOD ATONEMENT:Fact or Fantasy? By Jerald & Sandra Tanner (This article originally appeared in The Salt Lake City Messenger, Issue No. 92, April, 1997.  Possibly available at

Songs and literature about polygamy

Rosalie Sorrels is a folk singer who has a song on polygamy.

In Defense of Polygamy is a song by William H. Avery. Way Out in Idaho. A Celebration of Songs and Stories, Confluence, Sof (1991), p 61

Songs of the Great American West by Irwin Silber lists a number of songs about polygamy.

"For example, L M Hilton was a police officer, whose unaccompanied Zack has to be one of the few traditional songs on the subject of Mormon polygamy;"  Source.

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