"Historians of the Joseph Smith story have followed his mother’s lead in highlighting the precedent set by his uncle Jason for an experiment in communalism and as a religious seeker in whom the New Testament gift of healing by prayer was wonderfully restored. They have also left whole decades of Mack’s life unexamined. Only Richard Anderson’s patient exploration of the Prophet’s grandparentage takes part of the story a level deeper.2 As with Anderson’s work, the threads of Mack’s biography drawn together here do not corroborate the more remarkable claims in his sister’s Biographical Sketches. Neither do they cast special doubt on them. What they offer are fresh starting points for understanding an intriguing character at the margin of every serious account of Mormon beginnings."