Return to the City of Joseph: Modern Mormonism's Contest for the Soul of Nauvoo
Urbana: University of Illinois Press
[2019 John Whitmer Historical Association Winner for Best Book]
"The Lord has beheld our sacrifice: come after us," someone inscribed in gilded capital letters on the wall of the assembly room of the Mormon temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1846. Though intended as an invitation to join in the exodus of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Latter-day Saints, LDS, or Mormons) as they sought a new home in the West, the message powerfully summarizes what has occurred in this sleepy Mississippi River town during the twentieth century as well. Beholding the sacrifice of those who built and then abandoned Nauvoo in the nineteenth century, the Church and its members have com back to the place they call the City of Joseph, after its founder, Joseph Smith. By the hundreds of thousands, they have "come after" the earlier Mormon residents of Nauvoo, returning as pilgrimage tourists to a city restored to a glimpse of the splendor it enjoyed in the 1840s."