Hello. It is a pleasure to be here speaking about Saints again at FairMormon, speaking here about Saints Volume 2. However, before I begin I want to answer the question that is on everyone’s mind right now. This is how I am related to Brian Hales. So no need to ask him or me. Occasionally he gets called Scott, but I get called Brian all the time. I don’t know why, because we don’t look anything like each other, I mean maybe aside from the glasses. So there’s that. So let’s just set that aside.
All right. So we’re going to talk a little bit today about Saints Volume 2. We’ve already heard a little bit about it at this conference on Wednesday from Angela Hallstrom, who’s a fellow writer and literary editor. She and I have worked hard together on this volume and on other volumes. We’re excited to get this book out.
The second question on everybody’s mind is when is Volume 2 coming out? So this is what we have. So this is what I can tell you about Volume 2 right now: that it covers church history from the expulsion from Nauvoo to the dedication of the Salt Lake temple. The release date, we were hoping to release it this year, but books take a long time to write and revise and especially to translate, so we expect to see it in the early spring of 2020, so a little bit longer. But for those of you who want to get started reading it now, fortunately we do have two full chapters up on the Gospel Library app currently. How many of you have already read those two chapters? Okay. Good. A fair amount have read those. If you haven’t and you’re interested in it, just go to your Gospel Library app and you can open up the Church History folder and you’ll see the box for Saints, Volume 2. So two chapters.
We have been publishing excerpts from the first three chapters in the Ensign and Liahona, and then we plan to, I think, publish six full chapters before the final publication of the book next year. Also as Matt McBride talked a little bit about yesterday, when we publish Saints, Volume 2, we’ll also be publishing 68 additional church history topics, and also a few additional videos that are in connection to the narrative of Saints, Volume 2. So that should answer some of your questions on that.
Before we talk more about Saints, Volume 2 though, I want to talk briefly about just the success of Volume 1. Just by show of hands, how many of you have read either all or part of Saints, Volume 1? Okay. That’s also very good to see. Here are just a few statistics. As of I believe the end of July, we have sold 409,743 copies of Saints, Volume 1. And that’s in all 14 languages. And most of those have been in English, but also in Spanish and Portuguese I think have been the biggest market for these books. Also more than 1 million readers are reading Saints on the Gospel Library app, which is kind of neat to think about. First of all, that 400,000 people have purchased a book that they can get for free on the Gospel Library app. It’s just remarkable that people are reading it.
Hundreds of thousands of people are also listening to the audiobooks. They’re reading the church history topics and also tuning in the Saints Podcast. Also just by show of hands, how many of you have been able to listen to the Saints Podcast? Okay. If you haven’t yet had the treat of listening to the Saints Podcast, I recommend taking a look at it, or taking a listen to it. You can find it on iTunes, but also through the MormonChannel and some other venues. It’s a great podcast. It talks about each of the chapters in Saints. It’s a conversation with historians, that’s sort of thing. Most episodes are about 30 minutes a piece.
Also it was kind of funny, before we published Saints, Volume 2, a lot of people would ask the question, are people actually going to read this book? Are church members really going to pick this up and read it, especially considering how big it is? And then also other people were also asking, yeah, and do church leaders actually want people to read this book? Or are they just kind of publishing out there so that they can say they published it? And the answer to both questions is yes, we do expect people to read this. And yes, church leaders do want you to read this. And we’ve had some great—we’ve had a great response to it. Here’s just a few of them. And I admit that these are hand selected. We have had some negative reviews, but overwhelmingly (and I’ve been surprised by this) it’s been overwhelmingly positive.
Here are just a few things that people have said: “The book brings much of the Church history together in a way that helps us understand how imperfect people in difficult situations were part of the restoration in this dispensation, just as it was in others.” That’s one response. Here’s another one: “I do not like reading history. I get bored, and it is hard for me to follow sometimes. This book was amazing. It was so easy to get into and hard to stop reading. It tells the full stories, good and not so good of the events that happened to start the Church and how the Church continued—spoiler alert—Joseph Smith is martyred. I’m sorry if I just ruined the book for you. I mean I promise there are other surprises at the end of the book, one of which may involve Brigham Young leading the Church. Sorry, I just did it again. And then she concluded, “I can’t wait to read the next three volumes. Another, I’ll do one more here, “This book was fascinating to study for institute this year. I learned so many things that I hadn’t known before about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . There were a lot of things that were hard to get through, things that didn’t sit well like polygamy. I can’t even imagine what Emma went through as well as everyone else. Restoring the Church to the earth was not an easy task for any of the early saints, especially Joseph and Emma. This book gave me a greater appreciate for them and everything they did to help the Lord restore the gospel to the world.”
And I think these are pretty typical responses to the book. I think a lot of people are engaging with the style. This is a history written for people who don’t like history, and people are connecting with that. And also people are finding that even though they are encountering difficult things in these books, difficult issues, controversies—whatever it might be—they are finding their faith strengthened by reading the entire narrative, by seeing these things in their historical context and understanding them better. So I think we’ve been very pleased with the response to Volume 1, and we expect the same kind of response to Volume 2.
So let’s talk a little bit about Volume 2. The question again is, what can you expect to find in Volume 2? And I’m going to talk about four things specifically that you can expect to find. The first thing is that you can expect to find the same reader-friendly format and style. So again this is meant to be a history for people who don’t like history. We are writing it at about a ninth-grade reading level, comparable to the Book of Mormon. But I would say the Book of Mormon is a lot more complex than Saints stylistically. It is written for—as I’ve said before—it’s written for people ages 12 to 112 of diverse educational backgrounds, diverse nationalities. We’ve written this book for a global church. So you’ll still find the same kind of approach, the same kind of epic narrative story-line, that sort of thing, very character based.
And I think this has been somewhat of a challenge for us too, with Volume 2, and it may be one of the reasons why it’s taken so long to write, is that Volume 1 covered about 25 years, virtually 25 years, and Volume 2 now will cover about 47 years. So we’re covering a lot of ground. The book begins in 1846 and ends in 1893.
Also as before, this book will appear in 14 languages. There will be audiobooks in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Again, you’ll be able to find it on your Gospel Library or wherever else you might find e-books. Also the book I believe will also be still sold at $5.75/copy. So again, very affordable, and I just can’t wait ‘till it comes out. It’s going to be great.
This book is also a little bit longer. So if you felt like Saints, Volume 1 was too short for your liking, we’ve given you like 50 extra pages—maybe 20 extra pages. I don’t remember exactly what it is. I just know that it’s longer.
Also if you’re interested here, the book is divided into four sections, just like Volume 1, four parts. These are the maps that accompany the volume. This kind of gives you an idea of where we go. The first part for example takes us up to 1852. Midpoint of the book is about 1869 when the railroad comes. Part 3 will cover the raid on the government’s crackdown on polygamy and that sort of thing. And then the end, we end, like I said, with the dedication of the Salt Lake temple. And along the way we visit a lot of different locations, and I’ll talk a little bit more about that here a little bit later.
Another thing that you’ll find as you’re reading Saints, Volume 2 is that you will find that this provides a richer, more detailed narrative of the Church’s pioneer era. As a church we talk a lot about the pioneers and what they built, but we don’t have a good sense all the time of who they were and how they accomplished what they did. Nor do we have a good understanding of the opposition they faced. In fact oftentimes in the Church when we talk about persecution, we think about the persecution in Missouri. What we don’t really know a whole lot about as a church collectively, we don’t know a whole lot about the persecution that occurred throughout the remainder of the 19th century, particularly over plural marriage. Nor do we oftentimes realize or comprehend how ambitious the early latter-day saints were throughout the 19th century, and how ambitious they were as they came out here to Utah. Volume 2 is not just about how the saints got to the Salt Lake Valley, but also what they did once they arrived here, once they arrived there.
The narrative also addresses a few more things. I’ll go through these individually. This is all part of number two of the four things. So one thing that it covers obviously is the migration west. So we’ll have stories about overland and oversea migration. So if you’ve already begun reading Volume 2, you know that not only do we show saints moving west by wagon, but we also have saints going west by ship, specifically the Brooklyn under Sam Brannan. So we tell that story. It kind of gives a broader view of what the exodus was like.
We also talk about the handcart migration, including the handcart tragedy of 1856. But we don’t just talk about what happened in 1856. We also talk about other handcart migrations, most of which were far more successful, although I don’t think it was every easy to be a handcart pioneer.
Then the narrative also takes us to the post-1869 migration by railroad. So oftentimes we talk about the pioneer era ending in 1869, and that’s partially true. That’s when the overland migration ended by wagons. But after that saints were still coming very regularly on the railroad. And so we’ll talk a little bit about the railroad saints and how that changed the dynamic of the migration.
And then of course we’ll also be talking about the saints who settled the Intermountain West and the neighboring areas. And so we’ll begin to see how the saints moved from the Salt Lake Valley out into neighboring valleys and neighboring lands.
Volume 2 also discusses the early global missionary efforts of the Church. So among the places that we will go to in Volume 2 include England; California, which may seem like a foreign state to some people—no offense, my sister lives in California, it’s one of the places they went to; Hawaii; French Polynesia; Denmark; Norway; South Africa; Samoa; Mexico; New Zealand; and more. So we’ll begin to see the Church’s global missionary effort as they send missionaries out and strive to bring people into gathering places. And we won’t just tell the stories of the missionaries, but also of those who converted to the gospel as well from each of these places. So it’s kind of a neat story, and really it requires, if you’ve never had a chance to study the early missions of the Church, this is fascinating stuff, and they definitely deserve a book of their own someday.
We talk about important changes to church organizations. So when Joseph Smith died in 1844, the Church was very different than it is today. And so what we see over the course of Volume 2 is the Church becoming a little bit more like it is today. Some of the things that we cover are the reconstitution of the First Presidency under Brigham Young. So in Volume 1, and you’ll remember that the Quorum of the 12, this is how Volume 2 begins as well—the Quorum of the 12 is leading the Church. So we see in the first part of Volume 2 the decision to reorganize the First Presidency under Brigham Young and two counselors, and calling more apostles.
We’ll talk about the reorganization of the Relief Society in Utah. So the Relief Society pretty much came to an end in Nauvoo, and then it was restarted in the 1850s and it grew from there. We’ll talk about things like Relief Society halls, which were a 19th century phenomenon that just fascinates me. In fact I was looking for a used car the other day in Lehi, Utah. Anybody from Lehi? A few people. And what was kind of neat was as we were looking for a used car at this old building, I saw a historical marker on the side of the building and found out this used car shop was once a Relief Society hall, where Eliza R. Snow spoke in tongues. And I’m like, wow, how it’s fallen. It was very sad to me. I was gloomy for the rest of the day. This is just kind of something that happens to historians when they see sad things like that. But it’s kind of neat. This is something that you can still see traces of today. In fact these are precursors to what we would call a Relief Society room today in the chapel. So we’ll talk about those.
We’ll talk about the rise of the Young Ladies and Young Mens Mutual Improvement Associations. We’ll talk about the 1877 Priesthood reorganizations, which was one of the last things Brigham Young did as President of the Church before he died. This is just a fascinating time. We’ll begin to see when young men began to take on priesthood office and priesthood responsibilities. We’ll see that development occur and others as well.
And then for those of you who really like the Primary, we’ll also learn about the origins of the Primary, and we’ll tell that story. Several other changes that have occurred in the Church over time, so that by the end we could begin to see a more familiar church than the one that we met at the beginning of the book. We meet at the beginning of the book.
Another thing that may interest you, we will be talking—and Angela mentioned quite a bit on this on Wednesday—we will be talking at length in this book, you will find at length in this book stories about plural marriage and the anti-polygamy crusade. In fact I would say that plural marriage and the anti-polygamy crusade have a major role in this narrative. It has kind of a smaller role in Volume 1, and it becomes much more important to the saints and to the Church once they arrived here in Utah. And so we tell that story. The volume seeks to show many different perspectives on the practice. So we show situations where it seemed to have worked well, where people seemed to have found happiness, or they had found satisfaction in the system, or they had found spiritual experiences through the practice. But also we’ll tell stories about people who struggled with it, people who found it to be quite difficult to live. And so we’ll talk about all kind of perspectives on plural marriage.
And then we’ll also at the end of the book—spoiler alert again—we depict the Manifesto and its immediate aftermath. Although one thing that we will not address in this book, we don’t go into post-Manifesto plural marriage. That’s something that we will be discussing in Volume 3. But we will talk about the Manifesto and its immediate effect on the saints.
In connection to that, the book also addresses other sensitive historical issues. And this is a little bit—if you were here yesterday, you heard Matt McBride talk a little bit about how saints and the church history topics are striving to provide better resources and better understanding for historical issues that are sensitive to us today, certain controversies in the gospel. So some of the ones that we address, we obviously are going to talk about the origins of the priesthood restriction. We talk about race restrictions on those of African descent of the priesthood and to certain temple ordinances to the priesthood. We tell the story of faithful saints like Jane Manning James, who I believe most of us are familiar with. We’ll also talk about Samuel and Amanda Chambers [ph], another very faithful Latter-day Saint, African-American Latter-day Saint couple living here in Utah. We tell their story.
Other things that we address, we’ll talk about Latter-day Saint relations to the Native Americans and their lands. This is not something that we talk much about in the Church, but we’ll strive to address this to some extent in Volume 2. We’ll talk about the fact that when the saints did arrive here in Utah that other people were already living here, they occupied the land. That’s problematic. We talk about certain conflicts with Native Americans, such as the Black Hawk War, the Walker War. We also tell stories about Native Americans who joined the church, specifically Sagwich and the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation. We’ll talk about their story. If you don’t know that one, it’s a very interesting story, a very beautiful story as well.
And of course we’ll also be talking about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. There is an entire chapter devoted on this episode. Again, this is a topic that probably requires an entire volume to understand. Fortunately we have writers like Richard Turley and others who have done quite a bit of work in helping us as a church understand what happened better there at the Mountain Meadows Massacre, help us put it not only in context, but also to help us understand just what occurred and whatnot. So we’ll address that there. And this has been a particular challenge just because it is such a big issue. It’s something a lot of people have questions with. We’ve tried to provide the best chapter we can for you. I’m excited—maybe excited is not the right word, I’m very interested to see responses to this chapter, because we’ve worked very hard and very carefully to get it right, because we know a lot of people have questions on it.
One thing that we will not be addressing in the narrative is the Adam-God theory. However, there will be published in tandem with the volume a church history topic on the Adam-God theory. And then we have plans to address the controversy itself in Volume 3 in the context of the 1916 statement on the Father and Son put out by the First Presidency, which was in some ways a response to that.
So we find occasionally in Saints that it’s better to address a controversy when it is really being addressed by the saints themselves. So for example some reviewers of Volume 1 have been upset that we did not tackle for example the issue of Helen Mar Kimball, Joseph Smith’s youngest wife, or the issue of controversy surrounding the Book of Abraham for example. And both of these issues are addressed in later volumes. For example we’ll be talking about Helen Kimball in Volume 2, and we’ll be addressing the Book of Abraham in Volume 4 in the 1960s when that really became an issue for the Church. And so that’s just one of the practices that we have. So we will be talking quite a bit about sensitive issues in the book as well.
Another thing, we talk about the struggle between church and state. This is just something that’s unavoidable to talk about in this era. So get ready to learn about 19th century politics. We will talk about the quest for Utah statehood, women’s suffrage. You’ll meet some roguish territorial officials. You’ll meet scheming judges in corrupt courts. You’ll also—those of you who are Abraham Lincoln fans—you get two Lincoln cameos in this book. So that’s something. Also Susan B. Anthony makes an appearance, Ulysses S. Grant, other American officials/leaders who came in contact with the saints over time. So we have that.
On a more serious note, the book is very much centered on temple building and significant developments in temple worship. It addresses the law of adoption very early on. You get to learn a little bit about the Endowment House, which was a temporary temple built on Temple Square while the Salt Lake Temple was being built. You’ll learn about how in 1877 Brigham Young charged Wilford Woodruff and others to standardize the temple ordinances so that they could be performed in all the temples in the same way. You’ll learn about the first proxy endowments in the St. George Temple. And then also, this is kind of neat, one of the neat things about the book is that we have five temple dedications occurring during this era. That includes the Nauvoo Temple. So you’ll notice at the end of Volume 1 we did not dedicate fully the Nauvoo Temple. It gets dedicated early in Volume 2, and then we subsequently will have the St. George Temple, the Logan Temple, the Manti Temple, and finally then Salt Lake Temple. So we talk just about temple work, and it’s a very, very important theme to this book.
You’ll also meet, for our third thing here, a new cast of characters and a few old favorites. One of my most favorite things about working on the Saints Project and writing these stories is being able to meet these people and get to know them on a very personal level. That’s in many ways what Saints is all about, as we want people today, saints today to connect with the saints who came before them. So you may recognize these three gentlemen here. They are three central characters—three of the central characters in the book. It’s Joseph F. Smith, Wilford Woodruff, and George Q. Cannon. We get to watch Joseph F. and George Q. grow up. They begin as very young men early in the book, and we get to watch them grow and progress in the gospel.
I’d like to talk about just a few other people here. One person that you’ll meeting is Jonathan Napela, who is an early Hawaiian Latter-day Saint, a prominent Latter-day Saint. He was, together with George Q. Cannon, he was the co-translator of the Hawaiian Book of Mormon. He was also the first Hawaiian Latter-day Saint to receive the endowment. And I think he might have also been the first Hawaiian Latter-day Saint to visit Salt Lake City. He was a church mission leader, a very faithful man, and he spent the last few years of his life ministering to Latter-day Saints and others who were afflicted with leprosy on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. And so we tell his story. In many ways it’s a heartbreaking story, but it’s also for me a very faith-affirming one to learn about this man and his dedication to the gospel and the sacrifices he made not only for us as Latter-day Saints, but to those who were truly suffering with what must have been just a horrible, horrible disease for them. So we’ll have his story.
Another that we’ll meet, and I’m going to butcher this name because I don’t speak Spanish, but Desideria Quintanar Yáñez, one of the first Mexican women to join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We don’t know a whole lot about her, but we are able to tell what we know in Saints. She has a very interesting conversion experience. She had a vision of a Spanish translation of Parley P. Pratt’s “A Voice of Warning”, and this was before the book had even been translated, or it was in the process of being translated at the time and she just had no idea. But she had this dream of a book. And she sent her son to Mexico City to find out more about it. And when he arrived there, he just came across, met with, happened upon the men who were translating this book into Spanish. So we learned about that. And we learned about the baptism of her and her family. And like I said, we don’t know much about her, but we do know from her son, a record her son left, that she died in full faith of Mormonism. So it’s a great story and a faithful woman that you’ll meet in this book.
Probably one of my most favorite people that you’ll meet is Anna Widtsoe, a Norwegian Latter-day Saint. You might be more familiar with her oldest son, John A. Widtsoe who was later like the smartest man in the Church. He was an apostle. She was widowed in 1878 after about eight years of marriage. So she was very young. She was age 28. Baptized in Norway in 1881. We’ll tell that story. We’ll talk about how she gathered to Zion with her sons John and Osborne in 1883, settled in Logan around the time the Logan Temple was dedicated. She was able to attend that dedication with John. She lived near other Scandinavian saints. She encouraged her sons to acquire a higher education, and she sent out John—she sent her son, John, to Harvard with a group of Latter-day Saints, who were the first group of Latter-day Saints to attend that university. We tell their story as well. And she was also very active in the cause of women’s suffrage. That’s something that also emerges from the historical record.
And then what’s really, really exciting, and I can’t overstate how exciting this is, she was a prolific letter writer. The trouble was early on in the process of writing Volume 2 we really wanted to tell her story, but we didn’t have a whole lot of information about her, because all of her letters and most of the documents related to her except for a biography that John wrote about her, everything that she wrote was in Dano-Norwegian. Out of curiosity, how many people speak or read Dano-Norwegian in this room? No one speaks or reads Dano-Norwegian, so we thought. And so we just—we gave it to a few Norwegian speakers who couldn’t make heads or tails of it. They said it was just too complicated to read. And one day I was talking to an old friend of mine, who was recently hired at BYU in their history department, and I knew that she studied German, and I just mentioned that we had all of these documents in Dano-Norwegian and we just had no way of translating them. And she goes, well I read that. I’m like, I’ve known you for 10 years, how did I not know this? So we handed her the letters, and she began reading Anna Widtsoe’s letters. Anna Widtsoe was very detailed in the letters she wrote. We were able to make her a character in Saints because of these translations.
This is where the story gets even cooler. My friend is very busy. She couldn’t always get us translations as quickly as we needed them, because we were under such a tight deadline. And one day we got an email from a young man who said that he could offer some help in translating. He heard that we needed some help translating Dano-Norwegian. He had heard this from his uncle, who we had been in contact for with another issue. And he said that he could read these letters for us. And we said, well, we’ve already got someone who can do this. We don’t necessarily need anybody. But on second thought, we’re like, actually—we actually need somebody else here. We are really cramped for time. And so we sent the letters to him. And he can translate just very quickly. And the neat thing about this is that we found out that he is actually John A. Widtsoe’s and therefore Anna Widtsoe’s descendant. So we have a descendant of John A. Widtsoe and Anna Widtsoe translating these family letters. And it’s just amazing how things in this project line up together. So I’m really excited for you to learn her story.
One of the neat things as well is that she recorded her experience at the Salt Lake Temple dedication. And she just bears a beautiful testimony of what she experienced there. And so it’s—she’s a really cool person and very faithful Latter-day Saint. We’ll also be telling her story in Volume 3, because as an older woman she and her sister go back to Norway as missionaries, as some of the first sister missionaries. And we have all of her mission letters, and so we’ll be telling that story as well.
Finally here’s somebody you may recognize. This is Heber J. Grant as a young man. We show him as a young boy. He’s another one who grows up during the volume. He was the son of Jedediah Morgan and Rachel Ivins Grant. His father died when he was nine days old. He was an early leader of the Young Mens Mutual Improvement Association in the Salt Lake City 13th Ward. And he was also called to the apostleship in 1882 at age 25, around the time this picture was taken. Angela spoke a little bit about his wife, Emily Wells Grant, on Wednesday. And I’m going to actually read you one of the scenes from Saints about Heber J. Grant as a young man. This is when he was in the Presidency of the 13th Ward Young Mens Mutual Improvement Association. So I’m going to tell the story—read the story. This is an actual scene from Saints, Volume 2 about Heber J. Grant as a young man.
“So later that year,” this is 1876, “every ward in Salt Lake City held a party to raise money to finish the St. George Temple. Knowing 20-year old Heber Grant was a reliable young man with many friends, Bishop Edwin Woolley of the 13th Ward asked him to organize his ward’s party. ‘I want you to make a success of it,’ he told Heber. Heber had misgivings about Bishop Woolley request. ‘I will do my level best,’ he said, ‘but you must guarantee if it doesn’t pay to put up the difference.’ He explained that young people wanted to attend dances where they could waltz. The popular dance involved partners holding each other close while spinning around the dance floor in large circles. Although some people considered the waltz to be less proper than the more traditional quadrille dances, Brigham Young was known to allow three waltzes per party.’” I know right? That’s really generous. “Bishop Woolley disapproved of the dance however, and had prohibited at the 13th Ward parties. ‘Well,’ Bishop Woolley said, ‘you can have your three waltzes.’ ‘There’s another thing,’ Heber continued, ‘without a good band for the dance, he would have a hard time selling tickets. You won’t allow Olsen’s quadrille band to play in your ward because the flute player once got drunk,’ he told the Bishop. ‘There is only one first-class string band, and that is Olsen’s.’ Reluctantly the Bishop agreed to let Heber hire the band as well. ‘I have let that young man have everything he wanted,’ he said as he walked away. ‘I’ll roast him in public if he doesn’t make a success of it.’”
“Heber recruited the Bishop’s son, Eddie, to help sell tickets and prepare the ward building for the party. They cleared away desks from a large room, placed borrowed rugs on the floor, and hung pictures of Brigham Young and other church leaders on the walls.” And if you can imagine dancing with Brigham Young staring at you the whole time, I can guarantee you they will be dancing the Book of Mormon with the part, as they say today. Right? But anyway, sorry, I digress. “They then recruited several young men to promote the dance at their workplace. On the day of the dance, Heber sat at the door with an alphabetical list of everyone who had purchased tickets. No one was allowed inside who had not paid a dollar and a half for a ticket. Then Brigham Young showed up without a ticket. ‘I understand this is for the benefit of the St. George Temple,’ Brigham said. He threw down $10. ‘Is that enough for my ticket?’ ‘Plenty,’ Heber said, unsure if he should give the prophet change.”
“That evening Heber counted the money while Brigham counted the waltzes. The ward brought in more than $80, which was more than any other ward had collected for the temple, and the young people danced their three waltzes. Before the party ended, however, Heber whispered to the band leader to play a waltz quadrille, a waltz that contained elements of the classic square dance.” That’s one of the grey areas in 19th century. “As the band began playing, Heber took a seat beside Brigham to hear what he would say when he saw the fourth waltz. Sure enough, as soon as the young people began to dance, Brigham said, ‘They are waltzing.’ ‘No,’ Heber explained, ‘when they waltz, they waltz all around the room. This is a quadrille.’ Brigham looked at Heber and laughed. ‘Oh, you boys. You boys,’ he said.”
So that’s a story of young Heber J. Grant. And you may wonder, how do you know all those details? And we know all those details because this is a story that Heber would tell, and he left a good record of it. And his daughter also left a record of it as well. So we have pretty good documentation for this kind of humorous episode. And this is probably as funny as Saints gets. The rest of it’s very depressing and sad. So I just want to warn you. Don’t go in expecting that it’s all laughs, because that’s a pretty rare moment there.
I think I’m running short on time, so I’m going to—let’s end here. The fourth thing that I want to say about Volume 2 is that it is I think more than anything else, we hope Volume 2 testifies of the reality of the ongoing restoration of the gospel of Christ. The death of Joseph Smith did not bring an end to the Lord’s revelatory interventions into the lives of the saints. Volume 2 continues to show a living God guiding His people to their heavenly home.
And I want to read one more scene. This is a much more serious scene. This takes place near the end of the volume, about a few months before the Manifesto. Things are really, really, really, really bad for the saints. It’s not easy to be a Latter-day Saint in 1889. This scene begins in the fall of 1889, several months before the Manifesto, as I said. Federal judges have just denied citizenship to several European immigrant saints because of their affiliation of the Church. At the hearings, disaffected church members had testified that the church in aspects of the temple endowment were fundamentally anti-American. Government lawyers moreover had pointed to old Latter-day Saint sermons and teachings about the last days and the Kingdom of God as evidence that the saints disregarded government authority. Wilford and other leaders—I’ll begin the scene now, “Wilford and other leaders knew they needed to respond to these claims, but responding to statements related to the temple, which church members had made solemn promises not to discuss, would be difficult. In late November, Wilford met with lawyers who advised church leaders to supply the court with more information about the temple. They also recommended that he make an official announcement that no more plural marriage should be solemnized by the Church. Wilford did not immediately know how to respond to the lawyers’ requests. Were such actions truly necessary just to pacify the enemies of the Church? He needed time to seek God’s will.”
“Night had fallen by the time the lawyers left Wilford alone. For hours he pondered and prayed for guidance on what to do. He and the saints had come to the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 seeking another chance to establish Zion and gather God’s children to the peace and safety of its borders. Now more than 40 years later, opponents of the Church were tearing families apart, stripping men and women of their voting rights, creating obstacles for immigration and the gathering, and no denying the rights of citizenship to people for simply belonging to the Church.”
“Before long the saints could lose even more, including the temples. What would happen then to the salvation and exaltation of God’s children on both sides of the veil? As Wilford prayed, the Lord answered him. ‘I, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world am in your midst,’ He said. ‘All that I have revealed and promised and decreed concerning the generation in which you live shall come to pass, and no power shall stay my hand.’ As the revelation continued, the Savior did not tell Wilford exactly what to do, but He promised all would be well if the saints followed the Spirit. ‘Have faith in God,’ the Savior said, ‘He will not forsake you. I the Lord will deliver my saints from the dominion of the wicked in mine own due time and way.’”
Sometimes revelation is mind shattering. Other times it is a simple reassurance or a nudge in the right direction. When He speaks to us, God is always mindful of our individual agency and its important in HIs plan. So sometimes His words are nothing more than a reminder that He, not us, is in charge.
If Volume 2 teaches us anything, it is that God will not always stop us from making mistakes, but He will take care of us and direct us as we strive to follow His Spirit. This is a story and the message that we hope you get from Saints, Volume 2. Thank you.
Q: Utah War?
A: I assume you’re asking if we talk about the Utah War in the book? We do. We devote a chapter to the Utah War as well as the Mormon Reformation and other events surrounding it. All of that, as you probably know, in many ways serve as bookends to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. So we do talk about the Utah War quite a bit.
Q: What part of the series of Saints are you and the team working on?
A: So right now I am working to finish Volume 2 right now, and I’m also in the early processes with Jed Woodworth, who is our Managing Historian. He and I, and Lisa Tate, and others are working to outline and get Volume 3 started up. And while we’re doing that, Angela Hallstrom, who spoke Wednesday, she is working with James Goldberg, another one of our writers, and Dallin Marrow, and a few others to get Volume 4 progressing. And so right now, most of the time I’m dividing my time between Volume 2 and Volume 3 and just enjoying the heck out of it.
Q: Is it difficult to withhold info on your current work while promoting the former volume being published?
A: I guess I don’t know quite what that means. We do kind of want to be able to get Volume 2 out there and talk so much about what we’ve got on Volume 2, and also kind of keep the excitement up for Volume 1. So it is a little bit difficult to juggle that, because we’re really still excited about Volume 1, and we want to talk about that, and promote that. But we also want to get you excited about Volume 2 and kind of tease you with things about volumes three and four. But I wouldn’t say it’s particularly difficult.
Q: This is an interesting question. It says, talk about how you chose to add or leave out photos. I assume this just means photos in the book.
A: This was a decision made before I even began the project. In fact when the early—from what I understand—one of the early incarnations or ideas for Saints was to have more of a photograph book where you’d have the history of the Church, but it would also just be richly illustrated with photographs. I think the decision was ultimately that we’d be able to share more history and tell more stories without the pictures. And so we have tried to put up some of the pictures, include pictures with the Church History Topic Articles. Those usually have illustrations and photographs. And so we kind of see that as the medium through which, and also the videos, we see these as the mediums through which you can get images of these people. And I think it’s a little sad. I really like whenever I’m writing about someone, I like to have their picture close by so I know what they look like whenever that’s possible. As you can tell, I really like photography and old photographs. So I think it’s a shame that we can’t do that, but I also understand why it is what it is. So future volumes will pretty much appear as the current Volume 1 and 2 appear. In other words, you’ll have the single illustration at the beginning of the chapter, but that’s about it.
Q: When will we see treatment of the polygamist colonies in Northern Mexico?
A: So we do, in Volume 2, take you to Northern Mexico, but we don’t go into too much detail. I believe, and I can’t make any promises, but I think the plan is some of the early chapters in Volume 3 will cover the later years of the Mexican colonies to the north. I think right now we have some interest in telling the story of Camilla Kimball, who at the time was Camilla Eyring who was I believe born and raised in the colonies and then left around the time of the Mexican Revolution. So I believe we will be telling more of those stories. We have a little bit of it in Volume 2. But like I said, there’s so much to cover that we weren’t able to go that deeply into the story of the Northern Colonies in Mexico. But we hope to be able to tell more of that story in Volume 3.
Q: Would you like to respond to any critics of Volume 1?
A: Sure. Do we have any here? I’m just kidding. We’ll save that for a different time. You know I’ve heard—I mean I try to keep on top of reading reviews of Volume 1 and reading what people say, because I think there is always room for improvement on our team in our style, our writing style, our approach, I think there’s always room for improvement. So we are open to feedback. But like I said earlier, I’ve been really surprised by how positive the feedback has been about Saints. Some people are upset that it’s written at the ninth grade reading level. They want something a little bit more sophisticated. As Matt McBride was talking yesterday, we’ve tried to meet that demand partway through the church history topics. But ultimately when it comes down to it, I defend our approach to it, because this is a global church, and not everybody—like I often tell people, this is the sort of information that people need to have before they have a 12th grade reading level. I mean this is a history for the people about the people, and we need to make sure that it reaches the people. And I think that we’re doing that. So, yeah, I’d like to hear your criticisms, but I feel pretty strongly that we are doing this the way the Lord wants us to.
Q: Can you share your funniest story in the book?
A: I think I’ve already shared the funniest story in the book.
Q: This one says, are there any funny polygamy stories?
A: I’m trying to think if there are any. There have got to be funny polygamy stories out there. We can’t include them all. Yeah. I don’t know that we tell any funny polygamy stories. Angela, can you think of any funny polygamy stories in Volume 2? No? If you know any funny polygamy stories, afterwards tell me them. Actually there’s a really funny polygamy story in my family history. The ancestor I share with Brian, I found a letter recently where he tells a funny story about when he was arrested. He was 72 years old at the time, and he was arrested by the marshals. They came in late at night, like they always did, and they were kind of dumbfounded when they opened the door and saw an old man, because he was Charles Henry Hales Sr., and they were looking for Charles Henry Hales Jr. But they had to arrest him anyway, and they were completely embarrassed by the fact that they got the wrong guy. And he said the funny thing was (he was living in Spanish Fork) they took him to Provo and he had a meal on Uncle Sam’s dime. That’s kind of funny.
Q: This is an interesting question that I don’t have an answer to. How does the sale and use of Saints Volume 1 compare to Gerald Lund’s “Work and the Glory” series?
A: I have no idea. I assume he sold a lot more books than we have so far, just because we’ve been out for a year and those books have been out for about 25 years now, if not more.
I often remember—I think we’ve all had this experience—where we’ve seen people bear testimony about church history after having read Gerald Lund’s books. I’m beginning—every once in a while in my ward or elsewhere I hear of people bearing testimony of church history based on what they’ve learned in Saints. So I think it’s having a similar effect on the people. I think one of the nice things about Saints, though, is that everything is historically sourced. We don’t have any fictional information in these books. So they are essentially more reliable. But I think in many ways they serve a similar purpose, and that is getting the story of the Church out to the average reader.
Q: Will the podcast series resume? And if so, when?
A: We do have plans for a follow-up series on Volume 2. So if you enjoyed the podcast on Volume 1, expect a new podcast on Volume 2 around the time that the volume comes out, sometime around there. Thank you.