Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death” as Want to Read:
In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  107 ratings  ·  24 reviews
A compelling new interpretation of early Mormonism, Samuel Brown's In Heaven as It Is On Earth views this religion through the lens of founder Joseph Smith's profound preoccupation with the specter of death.

Revisiting historical documents and scripture from this novel perspective, Brown offers new insight into the origin and meaning of some of Mormonism's earliest beliefs
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published January 2nd 2012 by Oxford University Press (first published December 1st 2011)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In Heaven as It Is on Earth, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In Heaven as It Is on Earth

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  107 ratings  ·  24 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
An absolutely fascinating treatment of Joseph Smith and the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, In Heaven as It Is on Earth deals with the persistent human problem of death through the lens of Smith's Mormon theology as it emerged. Dr. Brown provides deep insights into early LDS perspectives on death, dying, family (including polygamy), sealing, and temple worship, all within the larger context of antebellum Protestant America.

Many aspects of early LDS history that
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015, religiosity
Worth reading simply for the chapters on the evolution of temple theology...whether you accept Brown's overall theme regarding death's influence on Joseph Smith's development as a prophet or not. A fascinating read! ...more
Clayton Chase
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating journey through Mormon doctrine as viewed through the lens of Joseph Smith's quest to literally conquer death. ...more
Jan 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history-us

As a scholarly analysis of the origins of the religious thinking of Joseph Smith and of how the continuing evolution of his thought influenced the ritual and theology of first generation Mormonism, this work will be valuable to anyone interested in the religious and intellectual history of the first half of nineteenth century America - whether Mormon or 'Gentile'.

The work is objective, scholarly, deeply researched. It does not explicitly proselytize. While respecting Mormon traditions, implicit
Andrew Knighton
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr Brown offers a compelling glimpse into understanding the history and development of the sealing practice in Mormonism. This understanding provides possible insights into early Mormon marital practice.
Mike Day
May 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a good book. I think I need to re-read some parts. The idea that Joseph was establishing a community that would transcend death is a great thought that Mr. Brown worked to illustrate. This is a book you would read after reading "Rough Stone Rolling"... good history. ...more
Jan 22, 2021 marked it as to-read
Maxwell Institute podcast episode 5
Interesting ideas about spiritual adoption by heavenly parents.
Oct 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Recently, I finished Samuel Morris Brown's book entitled In Heaven as It Is on Earth: Joseph Smith and the Early Mormon Conquest of Death. I picked this book up in conjunction with my capstone research at the suggestion of Jonathan Stapley, who was kind enough to suggest a few possible research avenues to me. At that time, I planned to discuss the ramifications of the theme of necromancy within the context of the Restoration and Isaiah 29:4. While I would still like to pursue this angle, I quick ...more
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Samuel Morris Brown, an Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Utah/Intermountain Medical Center (so a medical doctor), has written a wonderfully creative and convincing academic study of Mormon culture as it defines and is defined by death culture. Framed in the broader hearth of early American religious death culture, which includes "holy dying," Brown demonstrates how much of Joseph Smith's "religion-making" (so-to-speak) focused on dealing with, reso ...more
Quirky Shauna
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I was hooked the first time I heard about Samuel Brown. His work closely mirrors my own; he is a critical care physician and involved in bioethics part of the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities.
I, too, search for meaning to explain suffering, disease and death.

This is an incredibly scholarly work that I wasn't prepared for. It is extremely well written and meticulously researched. It took quite a bit of time for me to digest all this information.

I really enjoyed learning more about the Ma
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
While in the MTC ('98) I heard a talk about some smart guy who wanted to serve his mission in Russia, was called to Louisiana instead, resented it and almost didn't go, but went anyway and loved his experience.

Last year I encountered a book on early Mormonism published by Oxford, written by Sam Brown. John G. Turner said he was a manic genius. I looked up this guy's testimonial and said, hey that's the guy they spoke about in the MTC.

I decided to read this book because I'm very interested in the
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: churchy-stuff
A fascinating take on Joseph Smith's religious innovations from the vantage point of antebellum American death-culture. Sam Brown is a medical doctor by profession, so his focus on early Mormonism's confrontation with death clearly stems from personal experience. But the book is an impressive and well-researched academic work.

The book begins with a thorough exploration of the general preoccupation with death in early 19th century America and the Smith family's experience with death in particular
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion
This book addresses the development of the teachings on death and eternal life that Joseph Smith developed as the first leader and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The author addresses the ideas surrounding death in the early 19th century that Calvinists and evangelicals (Methodists, Baptists, etc etc) taught. Their ideas about death and salvation left Smith dissatisfied: they were too pessimistic (Calvinism, in which very few were saved and with no chance of affecting
Feb 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: valued-content
Because Samuel Morris Brown makes use of his own words in portraying a deeply, moving depiction of Joseph Smith in human terms, I'm reluctant to try to find words to review this book. Since Mr. Brown approaches the subject matter of his book from the perspective of a physician, he adds another element and dimension for ways to view Joseph Smith. This book had a powerful influence on me in providing another framework in which to add stronger human definition to the man Joseph Smith. A look inside ...more
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
A masterful in-depth study of Joseph Smith’s worldview on death and dying, In Heaven as It Is on Earth reveals the influences contributing to the early and continual development of that view and how it influenced an entire religious movement’s perspectives on death as an important transitional part of life, rather than its end.

What Brown describes as Joseph Smith’s “conquest of death” seems to be as deeply intense and personal for Brown as he reports it was for Smith. As a medical researcher and
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mormonism
This is a fascinating reading of early LDS history. I think that my only very mild criticism would be that Dr. Brown didn't make it clear that this was one of the forces shaping early LDS thought. Because it is a book length treatment, there might be some who would see this as more crucial than it was. That doesn't diminish this tour de force, however. Dr. Brown shows how the mediation of concerns over death informed much of early LDS thought and some of its theology. Tucked into corners are som ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: lds-studies
Sam Brown does a fabulous job in taking various parts of early Mormon culture and tying them all together. I did have a bit of a problem with his assertion that all of these things in the theology and culture were solely aimed at conquering death; Joseph's theology was much more than that, and I don't think we got a clear picture of all the influences that helped the prophet refine his thinking about his revelations over time from this book. Though it's a good description of how LDS theology hel ...more
Austin Archibald
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mormonism
Beautifully written with some real substance. I was a bit confused with his layout or path and felt a little discombobulated, but the 2nd half is strong and meaningful. It sparked a new look on a theology I have studied in great depth for many years. It particularly brought deeper levels of meaning to my own temple worship, which is where Joseph culminated his "conquest of death." However, as Joe Steve Swick III mentions, the author does not adequately thread masonry to bolster his thesis. There ...more
Karrie Higgins
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As a non-Mormon living in Utah and coming to grips with the loss of a brother, I have become fascinated by the LDS perspective on death. I specifically wanted to understand better the LDS view on material continuity and the resurrection. This book gave me so much more insight into how those views developed, and I even felt a kinship at times with Joseph Smith as I learned more about his experience of brother loss. It has also led me to other invaluable sources. I am so glad I stumbled upon this ...more
Sharman Wilson
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lds, non-fiction

Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things that insiders miss. Samuel Brown's framing of Mormonism is brilliant and respectful. He can take ideas and issues from early Mormonism that modern Mormons would just as soon forget, and make sense out of them. Great research & amazing insight--this book is a huge contribution to Mormon studies!
May 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
An excellent, if dense, read. The brilliant shining portions of this book include an expansion of our understanding of translation and the exploration of the relationship between Mormon temple rites and Masonic traditions.
Louise Hartvigsen
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fascinating book about the world Joseph Smith lived in and many aspects that relate to death and eventually the LDS temple. Not easy reading for me. As others have said, it's dense and scholarly. So definitely not a casual read, but worth the effort. ...more
rated it liked it
Dec 07, 2019
rated it it was amazing
May 11, 2018
rated it it was ok
Sep 11, 2016
Adam Laughton
rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2015
rated it it was amazing
Jan 12, 2013
Benjamin Jenkins
rated it really liked it
Oct 04, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The God Who Weeps: How Mormonism Makes Sense of Life
  • No Country for Old Men
  • Cities of the Plain (The Border Trilogy, #3)
  • Stand a Little Taller
  • Mormon Polygamy: A History
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • The Children of Men
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight #1
  • Papa Married a Mormon
  • People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture
  • The Political Culture of the American Whigs
  • Magician: Apprentice (The Riftwar Saga, #1)
  • Religion of a Different Color: Race and the Mormon Struggle for Whiteness
  • Dragonsdawn (Pern, #9)
  • Rediscovering the Book of Mormon
  • Elric of Melniboné and Other Stories (Elric Chronological Order, #1)
  • Nightfall and Other Stories
  • An ancient American setting for the Book of Mormon
See similar books…
Samuel Morris Brown (born 1972), a medical researcher and physician, is Assistant Professor of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Associate in the Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities at the University of Utah and attending physician in the Shock Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Intermountain Medical Center. He investigates hidden rhythms in heart function during life-threatening infection ...more

News & Interviews

  Some people love books. Some people fall in love. And some people fall in love with books about falling in love. Every month our team...
29 likes · 2 comments