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Book review: The newest edition of 'The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother' has phenomenal background information

"The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother" includes notes by Susan Easton Black.
"The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother" includes notes by Susan Easton Black.
Cedar Fort

"THE HISTORY OF JOSEPH SMITH BY HIS MOTHER," by Lucy Mack Smith, annotations by Susan Easton Black, images by Liz Lemon Swindle, Cedar Fort, $35.99, 320 pages (nf)

The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother” has been in print for years. But what this newest edition by Susan Easton Black has that others don’t is fascinating commentaries and footnotes at each chapter’s conclusion. These additions give a depth to a story that was not there before.

The book starts with a genealogy and brief histories of Lucy Mack Smith’s family. Learning about Smith’s relatives reveals a fascinating dimension of her character and helps pave an understanding of Joseph Smith's formative years.

The history of Joseph Smith unfolds, complete with his mother recounting his visions, the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the prophet's eventual martyrdom. Although these stories will be familiar to LDS members, the extra bits of information provided by Black throughout each chapter, as well as the beautiful paintings interspersed throughout the book by Liz Lemon Swindle, make this book a beautiful repository of both information and aesthetic properties.

“The History of Joseph Smith by His Mother” is a wonderful read for those interested in learning more about the events and people during the founding of the LDS Church. It is also a wonderful first-person narrative for lovers of history who value biographies and understanding of secondary events.

Members of the LDS Church, Black and Swindle are renowned in their fields of church history.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor's degrees in economics and history. A wife and mother, she loves learning people's love stories and blogs about her own at