Richard Lyman Bushman
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling
In Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman has meticulously
researched the life of Mormonism's first prophet to create a compelling and
honest portrait of Joseph Smith. Not just a great biography, the book is
also a remarkable work of literature.
As a renowned historian, Bushman seeks to place Joseph Smith in the context of his 19th-century culture, and
in doing so does not shy away from some of the episodes in the Prophet's
life that have troubled many faithful Latter-day Saints: his early
treasure-seeking episodes, his preaching and practice of polygamy, his
As a faithful Latter-day Saint, he writes of Joseph Smith as a prophet of God who truly did have the spiritual experiences he
claimed. In allowing not only the words of the Prophet's followers, but
also those of his detractors, to be heard, Bushman ultimately shows us a
great man whose human mistakes do not any less make him a man of God.
Exhaustively detailed, with great attention paid to explaining the ideas and
attitudes of the mid-nineteenth century, Rough Stone Rolling is indeed the
biography of Joseph Smith that has been long awaited by LDS readers. It is
greatly deserving of the Association for Mormon Letters' award in Biography.