Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

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Porter Rockwell
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Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Porter Rockwell »

Hey, I've been a member my whole life and am just now exploring church history because I saw an ad for that 'Banner of Heaven' show on Hulu. I'm thinking of reading 'No Man Knows My History.' Is it any good?
huckelberry
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by huckelberry »

Porter Rockwell wrote:
Tue May 03, 2022 1:46 pm
Hey, I've been a member my whole life and am just now exploring church history because I saw an ad for that 'Banner of Heaven' show on Hulu. I'm thinking of reading 'No Man Knows My History.' Is it any good?
It is decidedly non believing and a bit brutal.I had stopped believing and been away from the church for some years before I read it. I found it a bit shocking.

It is clear, well written, well researched, and a thoughtful presentation which I think is of some value.

I have heard complaints that it attempts to understand Joseph's internal psychology. There is uncertainty in any such reading but I doubt that any biography can completely avoid such reading. Even if not explicit I think such reading of the person would determine which events are presented in what manner.
///////

adding, you might consider Rough Stone Rolling as less one sided and hostile.
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Xenophon
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Xenophon »

I thought it was a fairly enjoyable read, Brodie is nothing if not a skilled writer. I think huckelberry nails some of the issues you may encounter, especially if reading from a faithful perspective. The good news is there is lots of counter material (some much more balanced than others) out there that could be consumed as a rebuff to the work if that is something that is important to you.

I will say that I didn't really recognize the Joseph Smith I was familiar with from my own study in Brodie's writing. Personally I'm more in the "pious fraud" camp and that isn't the Smith portrayed. I recognize that is likely my own biases at play though and I could be totally off. I also know there is some criticism concerning the handling of some sources, mainly what is counted as primary vs not, but most of that discussion is beyond my church history knowledge so I'll leave it to much smarter folks here to cover that if it is worthwhile.

I'll also second huckelberry's recommendation of Rough Stone Rolling as a more faithful option that still gives you a lot of the "dirty" details.
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Philo Sofee
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Philo Sofee »

I would simply add Rough Stone Rolling is also a must read if you are going to read Brodie first. By all means read them both if possible, but I think Rough Stone Rolling has more pazzaz, and historical analysis to it. Perhaps I should say it is more sophisticated. I mean, any book written such as Rough Stone Rolling by a faithful temple attending Mormon historian and the riff raff of the rest of Mormonism (i.e., chapel Mormons) scream it is anti-Mormon has simply GOT to be thoroughly studied... :D
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by dastardly stem »

Just wanted to add, the 3 comments and recommendations above are spot on. Happy reading and come back and tell us what you think.
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by cinepro »

FYI, this post appears to be in response to my comments over at the other board, where I noted the high-regard exMos feel towards Brodie's book.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/74 ... 1210093374

Hyperbole notwithstanding, thank you for proving me wrong...?
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Xenophon »

cinepro wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 2:49 am
FYI, this post appears to be in response to my comments over at the other board, where I noted the high-regard exMos feel towards Brodie's book.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/74 ... 1210093374

Hyperbole notwithstanding, thank you for proving me wrong...?
That is actually pretty funny. I have no doubt that lots of ex-mos love the book but for me it doesn't really do the story justice. Credit to Brodie for being willing to tackle the topic early on when a lot wouldn't but to think that there aren't better approaches to the topic would just be silly.

This site always has been a bit at odds with a lot of the "mainstream" ex-mo world (if there even is such a thing) though... our general attitudes towards Dehlin is another good example.
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Dr Exiled
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Dr Exiled »

cinepro wrote:
Mon May 09, 2022 2:49 am
FYI, this post appears to be in response to my comments over at the other board, where I noted the high-regard exMos feel towards Brodie's book.

https://www.mormondialogue.org/topic/74 ... 1210093374

Hyperbole notwithstanding, thank you for proving me wrong...?
I have to agree that this characterization you made over at MD&D is perhaps a little beyond the mark. Ex-mos aren't that bad are they? However, there is a tendency in all of us to want to join in and follow the vocal posters or new "leaders." Sometimes religious thinking and reasoning continues with the new babe in ex-mo world. So, being an ex-mo, I obviously love "No Man Knows My History," swear by it, and will fight to the death defending it, even though I've just barely started the book. :lol:
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Moksha
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by Moksha »

Cinepro wrote:Go to any exMo forum and say "Hey, I've been a member my whole life and am just now exploring church history because I saw an ad for that 'Banner of Heaven' show on Hulu. I'm thinking of reading 'No Man Knows My History.' Is it any good?"

You will get dog piled by people trying to out do each other with their praises of the book (and the idea of a faithful LDS reading it will move them to a state of ecstasy). From what I can tell, there is zero awareness that there are any problems with the book.
Hey, this dogpiling never happened? How come?

Anyway, members of even The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have this covered with the Hugh Nibley pamphlet "No Ma'am that is not History", in which he gives the apologetic response, enabling the Saints to fill relieved.

The fact that everything she said was true does not negate the power of Nibley's Lying for the Lord and it still earns him a spot in the Apologetic Kingdom.
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Re: Book Suggestions: No Man Knows My History?

Post by cinepro »

Moksha wrote:
Tue May 10, 2022 5:38 am
The fact that everything she said was true
Oof. Thanks for getting the conversation back on track.
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