Here’s another attempt at a mellow Christmas post. Let’s talk about what we got for Christmas. By favorite things, I really mean favorite Mormon books, but you could also talk about the ones you wanted but didn’t get. You can even talk about gadgets (for example, a Urim and Thummim from Amazon). I’ll go first.

This Christmas, no books. No room in the luggage to haul a half dozen books home anyway, but still, zero? I did, however, talk my Millennial son into getting a library card so I could hit the local library. I found a copy of Thomas G. Alexander’s Brigham Young and the Expansion of the Mormon Faith (Oklahoma Univ. Press, 2019) which I did not even know existed until I saw it on the shelf. I’ve read Arrington’s Brigham Young: American Moses and Turner’s Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. I’m guessing Alexander’s book falls somewhere in between the two.

My interesting fact to share so far is that Brigham was into glossolalia (“speaking in tongues”) in his early religious years, and brought that into the early Church. Joseph Smith was initially against the practice and strongly discouraged it when it appeared, but when Brigham Young showed up and did it, suddenly Joseph Smith was onboard with it and even tried it himself. That’s neither the first nor the last time Joseph flip-flopped on a doctrine or belief. It sure is strange to think of stolid Brigham — the antithesis of religious enthusiasm who in later post-Joseph years tried one formal revelation of the D&C variety, then gave up — babbling away in front of a congregation. That leads right into a book I didn’t get or find but would be interested in getting or finding: A Pentecostal Reads the Book of Mormon: A Literary and Theological Introduction (CPT Press, 2016).

If you want to spend your Christmas money on Mormon books, here are a couple of posts you should go read from Juvenile Instructor. First, a post with notable Mormon books from 2021. The winners in that bunch seems to be the two new biographies of Eugene England, one by Terryl Givens and one by Kristine Haglund. Second, a post with forthcoming books in 2022. Lots of good stuff there. Cheryl Bruno’s book on Freemasonry and Mormonism; biographies of B.H. Roberts and D. Michael Quinn; a book of essays on Joseph Smith’s revelations in an early American context edited by Colby Townsend.

So what’s the favorite thing that you got for Christmas?