Mormon Thunder: A Documentary History of Jedediah Morgan Grant, 2nd ed.


by Gene A. Sessions
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Book Synopsis:

Jedediah Morgan Grant was a man who knew no compromise when it came to principles—and his principles were clearly representative, argues Gene A. Sessions, of Mormonism’s first generation. His life is a glimpse of a Mormon world whose disappearance coincided with the death of this “pious yet rambunctiously radical preacher, flogging away at his people, demanding otherworldliness and constant sacrifice.” It was “an eschatological, pre-millennial world in which every individual teetered between salvation and damnation and in which unsanitary privies and appropriating a stray cow held the same potential for eternal doom as blasphemy and adultery.”
     Updated and newly illustrated with more photographs, this second edition of the award-winning documentary history (first published in 1982) chronicles Grant’s ubiquitous role in the Mormon history of the 1840s and ’50s. In addition to serving as counselor to Brigham Young during two tumultuous and influential years at the end of his life, he also portentously befriended Thomas L. Kane, worked to temper his unruly brother-in-law William Smith, captained a company of emigrants into the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, and journeyed to the East on several missions to bolster the position of the Mormons during the crises surrounding the runaway judges affair and the public revelation of polygamy.
     Jedediah Morgan Grant’s voice rises powerfully in these pages, startling in its urgency in summoning his people to sacrifice and moving in its tenderness as he communicated to his family. From hastily scribbled letters to extemporaneous sermons exhorting obedience, and the notations of still stunned listeners, the sound of “Mormon Thunder” rolls again in “a boisterous amplification of what Mormonism really was, and would never be again.”

Comprehensive Table of Contents:


Preface to Second Edition
Preface to First Edition

1. Rising Mist
2. The First Rumblings
3. Southern Legendry
4. Crisis
5. A Full-Blooded Mormon
6. The Third Hundred
7. Mountains and Brown Bread
8. The Lord’s Thunder
9. Truth for the Mormons
10. The Heavens Booming
11. Second Counselor
12. The Eye of the Storm
13. Breaking Branches
14. A Cloud of Darkness
15. The Dry Moon
16. Arrows of the Almighty
17. Catechism
18. White Heat
19. Smoky Visions
20. Reverberations
21. Mormon Thunder: An Analysis

Family Afterword

Appendix A. Biographical Sketches




About the Author:

Gene A. Sessions is Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. A native of Ogden, he received his PhD from Florida State University in 1974 and joined the faculty at Weber the following year. He is the author or editor of numerous works, including Mormon Thunder: A Documentary History of Jedediah Morgan Grant (1982, 2008), Latter-day Patriots: Nine Mormon Families and Their Revolutionary War Heritage (1975), Prophesying upon the Bones: J. Reuben Clark and the Foreign Debt Crisis, 1933-39 (1992), Camp Floyd and the Mormons: The Utah War (with Donald R. Moorman, 1992, 2005), The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism (with Craig J. Oberg, 1993), Utah International: A Biography of a Business (with Sterling D. Sessions, 2002, 2005), and Mormon Democrat: The Religious and Political Memoirs of James Henry Moyle (1975, 1998), for which he received the Mormon History Association’s annual award for best edited work. He has also been a consultant on documentaries and committees exploring the Utah War and the Mountain Meadows Massacre and is past president of the Mountain Meadows Association. With his colleague Microbiologist Craig Oberg, he team-teaches a Massive Open Online Course on the effects of disease on history. He and his wife Shantal have four children and eleven grandchildren.

More Information:

495 pages
ISBN: 978-1-58958-111-1 (Paperback)
Published July 2008

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