Book Notice/Book Signing: Amasa Mason Lyman, Mormon Apostle and Apostate, A Study in Dedication by Edward Leo Lyman

By July 10, 2009

This announcement comes from Benchmark books, which I’ll post here for your reference. This is the latest fulfillment from the forthcoming list I made last year.  I’m pleased to see this biography of such an important figure and hope for continued work on some of the lesser-known apostles of this and subsequent periods.



3269 So. Main Street, Suite 250

Salt Lake City, UT  84115

Phone: 800-486-3112, (801) 486-3111



It is our pleasure to announce the publication of AMASA MASON LYMAN, MORMON APOSTLE AND APOSTATE, A STUDY IN DEDICATION by Edward Leo Lyman, published by the University of Utah Press. The author will be here on Wednesday, July 22, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to talk about and sign his book. He will speak at 6:00 p.m. and answer questions from the audience, signing books before and after that time.

Mormon history is made up of many fascinating characters, and few more so than Amasa Lyman, who joined the Mormons early on and rose through the ranks of church leadership, replacing Orson Pratt in the Quorum of the Twelve after Pratt’s excommunication. He was a member of Zion’s Camp, the Council of Fifty, and Brigham Young’s pioneer company in 1847. He helped found San Bernardino (California) and Fillmore, Utah. After the Mountain Meadows Massacre, he tried to bring some of the main planners and participants to justice. Later Lyman became disillusioned with Brigham Young, was accused of teaching false doctrine, played a dominant role in the “New Movement” (Godbeites), and was ultimately excommunicated.

Though Amasa Lyman has been largely forgotten, this new biography provides a unique and revealing account of the early days of Mormonism and Lyman’s role in creating that history.  This substantial (nearly 700 pages) volume features the meticulous research and penetrating, candid narrative we have come to expect from Leo Lyman, who is the award-winning author of Political Deliverance: The Mormon Quest for Utah Statehood, The Overland Journey from Utah to California: Wagon Travel from the City of Saints to the City of Angels, and many other books and articles on Mormon, Utah, and western history.

Thomas Alexander calls the book “a stellar biography of one of the most significant figures of nineteenth century Mormon and Utah history . . . fascinating and enlightening.” Douglas Alder says it a “powerful biography.”

We hope you will be able to attend this event which is sure to be fascinating and informative, but, if you can’t and would like to have books signed or personalized, we will be happy to take prepaid orders and either hold or ship them to you. Books are hardback unless otherwise noted.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. Thanks, Jared. If this is anything like some of Lyman’s previous work, it should be a solid contribution.

    Comment by David Grua — July 10, 2009 @ 1:49 pm

  2. Thanks, David. I agree.

    Comment by Jared T — July 10, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

  3. Thanks, Jared – I’ll have to buy that one! I keep a print-out (from the Selected Collections DVDs) of Amasa Lyman’s diary entry for mid June 1833 in western NY State: “met brother Cahoon in Villanova[,] preached & baptized 4 persons . . . preached in the Mc Bride Settlement . . .” That was the entry of my family into the Church (g.g. grandfather James McBride, brother of Reuben and Martha McBride Knight-Smith-Kimball) and others. Very cool to see Lyman’s picture, above.

    Comment by Rick Grunder — July 10, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  4. That’s an awesome connection, Rick. Hopefully one of the missionaries that baptized my dad (or one of the ones that baptized my mom) has an entry like that that I can one day have a copy of.

    Comment by Jared T — July 11, 2009 @ 1:05 am

  5. Thanks for the notice. It sounds like a great book.

    Comment by Edje Jeter — July 11, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  6. Wow! Very interesting. I’m actually related to Amasa Mason Lyman. He married one of Edward Partridge’s daughters and our family line comes through Caroline Ely Partridge, who was one of Amasa’s wives. I’ll have to check this book out.

    Comment by ama — July 11, 2009 @ 8:49 pm

  7. Thanks for the notice, Jared.

    Comment by Christopher — July 11, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  8. Ama: It’s always nice to have an apostolic connection 🙂 I hope you like the book.

    Chris: Thanks!

    Comment by Jared T — July 12, 2009 @ 12:06 am

  9. Looks great. I also spoke with Ron Watt, and it looks like USU Press is going strong, which I was thrilled to hear. It sounds like his bio should be out soon as well.

    Comment by J. Stapley — July 13, 2009 @ 3:12 pm

  10. That’s great news, J. I’m glad to hear both that his Bio is on the move and that USU has thus far been spared the worst of the budget cuts.

    Comment by Jared T — July 13, 2009 @ 4:57 pm

  11. I purchased a signed copy of the Lyman biography yesterday at Benchmark Books. It felt like I waited forever for this to come out but I have it now and am not disappointed. The preface alone has given me much to think about.

    Comment by Sanford — July 14, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  12. Glad to hear, Sanford. Thank you.

    Comment by Jared T — July 14, 2009 @ 5:16 pm

  13. I just wrapped up with the biography then night before last. I’ve been interested in Amasa for a few years now and was excited to see the publication of a full treatment. I am working on my review of the book, but my preliminary feeling is one of disappointment. Overall, it seems to be too much of a morality play between white-hatted Amasa and black-hatted Brigham. At times it was simply too over-the-top black-and-white for my taste, and for what I think the historical record would show. Edward clearly has no love for Brigham Young, and too much time is spent vilifying the leader and his “regime.” Always his “regime.” Anyway, a fuller review to come. If I had to wrap it up in one word it would be “disappointment,” and if I had to wrap it up in 2 it would be “missed opportunity.”

    Comment by BHodges — July 21, 2009 @ 4:59 pm

  14. PS- some of the more praiseworthy aspects of the book will get more play in my actual review. 🙂

    Comment by BHodges — July 21, 2009 @ 5:29 pm

  15. Blair, thanks for the sneak preview. That is disappointing.

    Comment by David G. — July 21, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  16. Blair, thanks for the report. I look forward to tomorrow’s lecture and in reading it myself.

    Comment by Jared T. — July 21, 2009 @ 7:26 pm


Recent Comments

Steve Petersen on 2019 In Retrospect: An: “Joey, thanks for putting this together! I still need to make it through a lot of these, but it’s nice to have a collection to…”

J Stuart on 2019 In Retrospect: An: “Thank you, Steven and David!”

David Morris on 2019 In Retrospect: An: “The University of Szeged in Hungary recently published our anthology "Mormonism in Europe: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives". The 382-page book features essays by leading…”

Steven L Mayfield on 2019 In Retrospect: An: “American Polygamy by Craig Foster and Mary Ann Watson The History Press”

wvs on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “Looking forward to this. Thanks J.”

Daniel Stone on JWHA CFP 2020 (St.: “Thanks much for posting this, Joey!”