Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations
By Mark Lyman Staker
Best Book Award - Mormon History Association
Best Book Award - John Whitmer Historical Association
More of Mormonism’s canonized revelations originated in or near Kirtland than any other place. Yet many of the events connected with those revelations and their 1830s historical context have faded over time.Barely twenty-five years after the first of these Ohio revelations, Brigham Young lamented in 1856: “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 gloomily predicted that eventually the revelations “may be as mysterious to our children . . . as the revelations contained in the Old and New Testaments are to this generation.” Now, more than 150 years later, the distance between what Brigham Young and his Kirtland contemporaries considered common knowledge and our understanding of the same material today has widened into a sometimes daunting gap.
Mark Staker narrows the chasm in Hearken, O Ye People by reconstructing the cultural experiences by which Kirtland’s Latter-day Saints made sense of the revelations Joseph Smith pronounced. This volume rebuilds that exciting decade using clues from numerous archives, privately held records, museum collections, and even the soil where early members planted corn and homes. From this vast array of sources he shapes a detailed narrative of weather, religious backgrounds, dialect differences, race relations, theological discussions, food preparation, frontier violence, astronomical phenomena, and myriad daily customs of nineteenth-century life. The result is a “from the ground up” experience that today’s Latter-day Saints can all but walk into and touch.
Praise for 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.”--Richard Bushman, Claremont Graduate University, author of Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
"To be well-informed, any student of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine must now be acquainted with the remarkable research of Mark Staker on the important history of the church in the Kirtland, Ohio, area."--George L. Mitton, Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship
"Hearken O Ye People will be both a necessary starting point and immensely helpful reference tool for anyone interested in the Kirtland era of the LDS Church."--Ben Park, Juvenile Instructor
"I must say I find “Hearken, O Ye People” to be a work of great worth. Although the text reads well, the magnitude of the subject will require several readings before one gets the full effect. Author Mark Lyman Staker deserves all the accolades he has or will receive."--Roy Schmidt, Association for Mormon Letters
"'Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations' is a long-overdue reexamination of Mormonism’s development during the Kirtland era and the major players in that development. . . Historians seeking to understand the development of Mormon doctrine and practices during this era would be well advised to consult this book." - Matthew C. Godfrey, volume editor, Joseph Smith Papers, LDS Church Historical Department, Mormon Historical Studies
About the Author:
Mark Lyman Staker (Ph.D., Cultural anthropology, University of Florida) began work as curator of the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City in 1993. For more than twelve years Mark has been involved in historic sites restoration and nineteenth-century expressions of the Latter-day Saint experience. He received the J. Talmage Jones Award of Excellence for an Outstanding Article on Mormon History from the Mormon History Association and has been involved in numerous museum exhibits. He and his wife, Kimberly L. Staker, are the parents of seven children and live in West Bountiful, Utah.
ISBN: 978-1-58958-113-5 (Hardcover)