Monday, June 29, 2015

Book Review: Colorful Characters in Mormon History by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

Colorful Characters in Mormon History, by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon
2015, 260p, LDS Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Most Mormons are mild-mannered, well-behaved, law-abiding citizens who tend to get along well with their neighbors. But every once in a while, there's a renegade. You know the one: a little bit wild-eyed, ready to rumble, out to go where no Mormon has gone before. Face it: we all know one.

Well, if you think you've seen a colorful character or two in your ward, you should check out the colorful characters in this book some Mormons, some non-Mormons who impacted Church history. These people are a whole new breed of colorful.

You'll meet the guy who is credited with starting the gold rush and putting San Francisco on the map California's first millionaire, who dies selling pencils on the street. You'll meet the Mormon FBI agent who was killed in a shoot-out with Baby Face Nelson, but not before taking out the Baby. You'll gain a whole new appreciation for the General Authority who peppered his sermons with profanity. And that's just scratching the surface.

Most of all, you'll find yourself shaking your head in wonder, having a knee-slapping good laugh, and maybe even shedding a tear or two here and there. 

This is an interesting and fun read! When I read the title, I knew that J. Golden Kimball would be included. He's the General Authority who peppered his sermons with profanity. The only parts of his life that stuck with me over the years are the stories I read when I was younger that made me laugh and think he was quite the character. I did, indeed, gain a new appreciation for him as I learned of his background and more of the good things he did. 

There are some that aren't Mormons but are included because they had an impact on Mormon history, like Mark Twain, Lilburn Boggs and Lewis Bidamon (Emma Smith's second husband). 

I enjoyed reading these stories and learning more about the people that were included in this book. There were some that I wasn't familiar with at all and I especially enjoyed learning what impact they had on the church. It's well researched and the author corrects some versions of stories that have circulated for years. This is a book that will appeal to everyone, whether you enjoy reading about church history or not!

Click here to take a quiz to find out which colorful character in Mormon history you would be. I got Mary Fielding Smith. I'll take that!

About the Author

Kathryn Jenkins Gordon is the managing editor at Covenant Communications and the author of the bestselling Butch Cassidy and Other Mormon Outlaws of the Old West. She is fascinated with history, especially Church history, and especially the colorful and quirky parts of that history.

She is a writer and editor who has worked for forty-three years in corporate and internal communications, public relations, media relations, marketing communications, and publications management. She likes her job at Covenant best of all the ones she's had.

Named an Outstanding Young Woman of America, her interests include reading, writing, cooking, traveling, and doing family history. She has met five presidents of the United States, sailed up the Nile River, prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, eaten tempura in Tokyo, and received a dozen long-stemmed red roses from a stranger on the street in Athens. She and her husband, Glenn, parent a family of ten children and five grandchildren spread over three continents.


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