Search This Blog

2024 Bookish Books Reading Challenge (Hosted by Yours Truly)

2024 Challenge Sign-Up Post

January Reviews Link-Up

February Reviews Link-Up

March Reviews Link-Up

April Reviews Link-Up

May Reviews Link-Up

June Reviews Link-Up

July Reviews Link-Up

August Reviews Link-Up

September Reviews Link-Up

October Reviews Link-Up

November Reviews Link-Up

December Reviews Link-Up

My Progress:

11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (3)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia (1)
- Hawaii
- Idaho (2)
- Illinois (1)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine (1)
- Maryland
- Massachusetts (2)
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York (2)
- North Carolina (3)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (1)
- Oklahoma (1)
- Oregon (2)
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Tennessee (1)
- Texas (3)
- Utah
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (1)
- Washington (2)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming
- Washington, D.C.* (1)

- Australia (1)
- Canada (1)
- England (8)
- France (1)
- Indonesia (1)
- Ireland (2)
- Italy (1)
- Scotland (2)
- The Netherlands (1)

My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

16 / 50 books. 32% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

21 / 50 books. 42% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

My Progress:

43 / 50 books. 86% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

My Progress:

38 / 52 books. 73% done!

2024 Build Your Library Reading Challenge

My Progress:

25 / 40 books. 63% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

15 / 40 books. 38% done!

2024 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

My Progress:

9 / 25 books. 36% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

2024 Mystery Marathon Reading Challenge

My Progress

6 / 26.2 miles (second lap). 23% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

22 / 100 books. 22% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

60 / 165 books. 36% done!
Friday, May 03, 2013

Mormon Mentions: Barbara Taylor Sissel

If you're not sure what a Mormon is, let alone a Mormon Mention, allow me to explain:  My name is Susan and I'm a Mormon (you've seen the commercials, right?).  As a member of  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (commonly known as the Mormon or LDS Church), I'm naturally concerned with how my religion is portrayed in the media.  Because this blog is about books, every time I see a reference to Mormonism in a book written by someone who is not a member of my church, I highlight it here.  Then, I offer my opinion—my insider's view—of what the author is saying.  It's my chance to correct misconceptions, expound on principles of the Gospel, and even to laugh at my (sometimes) crazy Mormon culture. 

I recently finished Evidence of Life, a mystery by Barbara Taylor Sissel set in the Texas Hill Country.  According to Wikipedia, this region in Central Texas includes parts of San Antonio, Austin and surrounding areas.  In the novel, Dennis Henderson, the sheriff of Bandera County, is discussing the history of the region with the main character, Abby Bennett:
They were crossing a field when he asked her if she was aware that Mormons were some of the first settlers around.
Abby answered she hadn't heard that.    
- (Page 138; text taken from an advanced uncorrected proof)
If you grew up in The United States, chances are you learned about the Mormon pioneers at some point in your schooling.  A quick refresher:  Because of intense—and often violent—religious persecution in some portions of the U.S., early members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were forced to leave their homes in search of a place where they would have true freedom to worship as they pleased.  Joseph Smith, who the people respected not just as the church president, but also as a prophet of God, revealed that place to be far away in the Rocky Mountains.  Between 1847 and 1869, an estimated 70,000 Mormon pioneers from all over the country and the world made the exhausting (and often fatal) journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

Within weeks of arriving in the valley, groups of settlers were sent to colonize the whole area.  According to The Pioneer Story at
Within ten years of Brigham Young's death in 1877, Latter-day Saint colonies ranged from Cardston, Alberta, Canada to northern Chihuahua, Mexico; from Laie, Hawaii and San Bernardino, California to southern Colorado. Today monuments to such settlements—many of them the first nonnative communities in the state—dot the western landscape, throughout Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California, Montana, Idaho, Texas, Wyoming, and Canada and Mexico.
As for central Texas, it appears (from a quick Google search) that it was settled by Lyman Wight, a disgruntled Mormon pioneer who left the main body of the church because of disagreements with Brigham Young, Joseph Smith's successor as president and prophet.  Along with about 200 of his followers (called "Wightites"), they arrived in Texas in 1845, where they established several colonies.

Not only are pioneers revered among their descendants (me included) for their great faith and bravery, but they're also recognized by historians for their hard work and perseverance in settling much of the country.  For more information on Mormon pioneers in general and their role in the settling of Texas in particular, please visit the following excellent sites:

The Pioneer Story at (the official church website)
"Mormons" at the Texas State Historical Association's page
Hill Country History from the Texas Historical Commission  

*Book image from Barnes & Noble; pioneer image from

0 bookworm(s) said...:

Post a Comment

Comments make me feel special, so go crazy! Just keep it clean and civil. Feel free to speak your mind (I always do), but be aware that I will delete any offensive comments.

P.S.: Don't panic if your comment doesn't show up right away. I have to approve each one before it posts to prevent spam. It's annoying, but it works!

Blog Widget by LinkWithin


Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson


The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

Followin' with Bloglovin'


Followin' with Feedly

follow us in feedly

Grab my Button!

Blog Design by:

Blog Archive