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.”
About the author: Gene A. Sessions was born in Ogden, Utah, and received his Ph.D. degree from Florida State University in 1974. He is the author and editor of numerous other works, including 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), The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism (co-edited with Craig J. Oberg, 1993), 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. Professor Sessions is Presidential Distinguished Professor of History at Weber State University in Ogden and is currently serving as chair of the History Department. He has also been a consultant on documentaries and committees exploring the Utah War and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. He and his wife, Shantal Hiatt Sessions, have four children and seven grandchildren.