Formerly at UCLA and now the editor of Mormonism and Early Christianity, Compton has compiled a meticulously researched and masterly study of Mormon Joseph Smith's 33 wives. The women are presented individually, with many of their own documents cited. Compton contends that "Mormon polygamy was characterized by a tragic ambiguity": infinite dominion in the next life vs. a social system that did not work, thus resulting in acute neglect of the wives. These "key women have been comparatively forgotten," surprisingly so considering the reverence Mormons hold for their founding prophet and how important polygamy was to Smith. The "sacred loneliness" refers to Smith's promise of salvation combined with the solitude of the forsaken multiple wives. A plenary reference and bibliography and a collection of the wives' photographs fill out this tome, making it a fascinating work. Valuable for both lay readers and scholars, this is recommended for public and academic libraries with good collections in history and women's studies.?Kay Meredith Dusheck, Anamosa, IA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I am not a Mormon, so I cannot speak of their theology.
However, I found this book fascinating. Merely ask yourself such questions as:
1. Read more
Plural marriage has been a subject of much contemplation for me, which is why I borrowed this book when I came across it. Read morePublished on April 30 2002
Compton's book won the Best Book Award from the Mormon History Association and with good reason. The books greatest strength is its fairness and even handedness. Read morePublished on Sept. 8 2001 by John Hatch
Compton focuses on the devotion and inner lives of women involved directly with the development of polygamous marriage within Mormon theology. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2001 by Kolby
I literally could not put this book down. The concept is amazing and while the church admits to its history of polygamy they usually skirt the issue but never really delve into... Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2001 by Shawn Tassone
I am sure many people will comment on this book for religious reasons, originally Mormon social history was the reason that I read In Sacred Loneliness, and religion seems to breed... Read morePublished on July 31 2000 by T. Mazerolle
The author does a wonderful job of first determining which women were actually, strongly documented wives of Joseph Smith, then those that there is some evidence for, then some... Read morePublished on May 25 2000 by L. Troy Beals
The author of this book started out with a premise: Men having more than one wife (polygamy, plural marriage) is a bad thing. Read morePublished on April 26 2000 by John Walsh
To say the least, this was a very informative book! I had long suspected that there was more to Joseph Smith's plural wives, and I am grateful to have a book which has provided me... Read morePublished on March 27 2000