Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
5:30pm - 7:30pm
Benchmark Books
3269 S. Main St., Ste. 250
Salt Lake City, UT

We are excited to announce the arrival of Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith's Ohio Revelations by Mark L. Staker, published by Greg Kofford Books. We will have the author at our store to speak about and sign his book on Wednesday, April 14, 2010. Mark will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., speaking at 6:00, and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time.

Speaking of the early revelations in 1856, Brigham Young lamented: "These revelations, after a lapse of years, become mystified [sic] to those who were not personally acquainted with the circumstances at the time they were given." He went on to hypothesize that eventually these revelations "may be as mysterious to our children…as the revelations contained in the Old and New Testaments are to this generation."

Staker has attempted to reverse this trend by providing rich, detailed context (including many previously unpublished historical photos) to these foundational texts of Mormonism. Fleeting figures such as Black Pete, previously only brief mentions in histories of the period, are now fleshed out into chapter-length depictions. Drawing on his training in anthropology, the author gives needed background to early enthusiastic practices among the "Mormonite" community such as "sailing in the boat to the Lamanites" described by John Whitmer. Staker describes different religious practices such as the "shout tradition" among black Methodists and the "barking" of the Campbellites and shows their influence on the Mormons.

Many of the early Ohio converts would later become powerful leaders and household names among the Latter-day Saints: Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, N. K. Whitney and Orson Hyde among others. Staker draws on both familiar and obscure sources to tease out the relationships (family, business, church) between these early converts and their collective entry into Mormonism.

Building on earlier treatments of this period (such as Building the City of God and Heavens Resound), Staker takes an in-depth look at the financial side of Ohio . One of the four sections of the book analyzes consecration, showing the critical role that N.K. Whitney played. The final section digs into the complex structure of the ambitious Kirtland Safety Society, providing more detail on this volatile episode than ever before.

Richard Bushman had this to say about Hearken, O Ye People:

"I am not aware of a more deeply researched and richly contextualized study of any period of Mormon church history than Mark Staker's study of Mormons in Ohio . We learn about everything from the details of Alexander Campbell's views on priesthood authority to the road conditions and weather on the four Lamanite missionaries' journey from New York to Ohio . All the Ohio revelations and even the First Vision are made to pulse with new meaning. This book sets a new standard of in-depth research in Latter-day Saint history."

Hearken, O Ye People is sure to become a classic of Mormon history, due to its rich detail (nearly 700 pages) and exhaustive contextual value.

We hope you will be able to attend this event, which is sure to be informative and interesting, but if you cannot, you may order a copy which can be signed or personalized and held or shipped to you.

Hearken, O Ye People (hardbound, 694 pp.) $34.95

Shipping: Media mail, $5.00 (delivery confirmation, add $1; to insure—highly recommended--add $2). UPS/FedEx option available; inquire for details. Utah residents, please add 6.85% sales tax.

Benchmark Books
3269 S. Main St., Ste. 250
Salt Lake City, UT 84115