Reading Roundup | October 2016

Book review on Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman, Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White, and Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Another month gone, holy cow! They are going so fast, I can’t believe it! I read a total of 3 books this month’s reading roundup and I’m so happy I’m done with Rough Stone Rolling because I can finally move on to the rest of my bookshelves!

Book review on Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman, Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White, and Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman

Book review on Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman

It has actually taken me little more than a year to read this book. Last year when I had my faith crisis, my Bishop mentioned reading this book. He knew that I was historically minded and that a lot of my questions and doubts had to do with the limited primary sources and actual facts of the early LDS Church and some decisions and preachings by early presidents of the church and other prolific members. Now, I have no doubt that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he saw our Savior and translated the Book of Mormon. But, it does seem in our church that we revere him. We don’t revere any of the biblical or Book of Mormon prophets, or even any of the other Latter-Day prophets like we do him. And, there is so much antagonism against him. Also, there just isn’t a lot of facts that we are absolutely 100% sure of. So, my thoughts and feelings of him as a person, his decisions, and the early church as a whole was a little ambiguous.

The book, from a historical point of view, was very enlightening. It is a “cultural biography”, which means that the author tries to show how the culture of Joseph Smith’s day influenced and affected him. I definitely learned a lot I didn’t know about the culture of New England and the mid-west in the 1830-40s, as well as many facts about Joseph Smith and his family. A lot of times in this book, I found myself saying, “ok, that explains it,” or “that wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be.” A lot of times, direct quotes from Joseph Smith about doctrine or Gospel principles or attitudes and philosophies that Mormons should have made me want to shout out, “Thank you! If only modern-day Mormons realized this!!!” But, there were still some parts that made me cringe a bit about his decisions or double think his character or motivation. Really, it made me feel extremely bad for Emma as his wife. It also made me just sad for Joseph–he may have helped to restore Christ’s church and priesthood on the Earth, but he was definitely not as infallible or pure as many in the Church want to believe.

I realize that the LDS Church’s history is grimy and iffy, and that’s something I’m going to have to live with my entire life. But, I do know that the basic Gospel truth taught by this church is true. And, regardless of how I may feel about Joseph Smith, I am glad I got to know him better than I previously did.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Book review on Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

We actually bought this book years ago when Matt Smith became the 11th doctor. We’ve both flipped through it a few times, but I have never actually sat down and read it cover to cover. I decided to put it in the bathroom to read while Rhys was taking a bath or trying to go on his training potty, or for my own entertainment. It was fun to relive the 9th, 10th, and 11th Doctors and looking back at the different episodes and characters.

This book is set up like a children’s Discovery World books I used to check out from the library as a kid. It’s mostly pictures with captions. Rhys has also gotten in the habit of flipping through it. I’ve started teaching him the different characters in Doctor Who. He knows Daleks are robots, and that the Weeping Angels either look like they are crying or going “boo”. He also knows who Davros, creator of the Daleks, is and can say his name. It’s so cute!

Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

Book review on Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

** I received a copy of this book from Cedar Forts Publishing in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feels very strongly about gender identity and the importance of family. In 1994, the First Presidency of the church created a document called Family: A Proclamation to the World to explain our beliefs. Almost every Mormon family has it hanging somewhere in their house.

This books is a children’s book, in the form of a comic book, and teaches the principles of the Family Proclamation.

Book review of Defenders of the Family by Benjamin Hyrum White

I loved the illustrations and how White made it simple for little kids to understand. When I received my copy in the mail, Rhys helped me open it and was excited to see that it was a book. He sat by me and let me read the entire thing to him. I am so glad that I have this book on my shelves now for my children as they grow up. It’s also a perfect book to take to Sacrament Meeting for your kids!

Find out more about Benjamin Hyrum White here.

Buy the book here:
Amazon // Barnes & Noble //


What books did you read this month?

Tayler from The Morrell

Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. I’ve heard the Rough Stone Rolling book come up in conversation twice now – maybe it’s something I need to look up!

    I also found what you said about revering Joseph Smith really interesting, mostly because I was just thinking the other day that I never heard talk of him. At least in my area, our conversation focuses around the current prophets. I noticed the contrast when I lived overseas and heard the European members bearing testimony of JS every Sunday, but no one ever talking about Pres. Monson. Anyway, I found your comment interesting, because it reminded me that while doctrine/practices remain the same, the culture just changes everywhere you go 🙂

    1. I guess it does depend on the area of the Church you are in. And, I totally agree what you said about other while the Gospel stays the same, the culture changes and I think that’s the hardest part of being a Millennial Mormon: sometimes it’s hard to differentiate between true doctrine and cultural tradition. But, it’s definitely a worthwhile read.

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