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The Standard of Truth: 1815–1846

(Saints #1)

4.54  ·  Rating details ·  5,759 ratings  ·  1,140 reviews
In 1820, a young farm boy in search of truth has a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Three years later, an angel guides him to an ancient record buried in a hill near his home. With God’s help, he translates the record and organizes the Savior’s church in the latter days. Soon others join him, accepting the invitation to become Saints through the Atonement of Jesu ...more
Kindle Edition, 1065 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
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Sep 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have several friends who have left the Church after learning about aspects of the life of the Prophet Joseph Smith, or the history of the Church that disturbed them. This book feels like an attempt to address those issues, and to be up front about them so that people aren’t blindsided by them later, or given the impression that the Church is trying to hide something.

Being a narrative history it was a quick and easy read, and I can see why it was done this way to make the information more avail
Cory Howell
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading as someone who is not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I found this book to be a very detailed account of the early years of the Latter-day Saints movement. As an official Church publication, I suppose one could make the argument that the book is biased in favor of the traditional narrative, but I don't think that really impacts negatively on the book's value as a historical work. There's a lot of fascinating history here, and it's told well, and extensively f ...more
Heath Workman
Nov 02, 2018 rated it liked it
As a former member of the LDS church who lost his faith largely over issues in LDS history, I find it interesting to put my finger on the pulse of how they are telling their story. So, I decided to read this book.

First off, the narrative style of this history book is engaging and very readable. The personal stories are inspiring and it was nice to see that the church is becoming more comfortable talking about things that have been, well, glossed over in the past. Some might say that they were hi
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, 2018, lds-history
I am shamelessly proud of my Church and the great strides they have made in the publishing of Saints: The Standard of Truth. This is fantastic history and beautiful prose. I have always been an avid reader, my early encounters with Church history weren't positive: I remember reading excerpts from Our Heritage in Sunday School and finding it absolutely dry. Perhaps I have matured since then, and I do feel more invested in my Church and its history now. But I think part of that is finding Church h ...more
Linda Hart
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Awesome book...literally couldn't put it down. I shy away from history books, but Saints #1 is a captivating read despite being history. Written in a narrative / documentary style, it was quick, interesting, and compelling reading. It is a chronological compilation of carefully researched books, papers, and quotes from Joseph Smith and his contemporaries, giving us a rounded view of the gospel that doesn’t shy away from the more controversial moments in early church history. “ does not go b ...more
Brad Hart
I just finished reading volume 1 of the church's new book "Saints." I know Mormon history has been a hot topic for many Latter-day Saints, so naturally this book has appeal. Let me first start off with...


-This book is, in my opinion, the very best general audience history that the church has ever published. It is far better than earlier works like "Our Heritage," "Marvelous Work and a Wonder," etc.

-The book is incredibly reader friendly and flows beautifully. I give high marks to whome
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: joseph-smith
The most refreshing thing about the book "Saints" is that it does not hide the fact that the men and women of the early church were flawed individuals. Even though they had been called to some of the Lord's most important work, their human frailties and weaknesses came out over and over again. But this didn't stop them or the work. The repentant and humble were still allowed to be instruments in the hands of the Lord. And their struggle, is OUR struggle. Each of us is called to move the Lord's k ...more

I will admit to being very excited about this book when I first heard about it from an editor around a year ago. The editor is a very well-known and respected Latter-day Saint fiction author. When she described the scope and effort going into this book (series), I thought, awesome.

Saints should be read by every member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like Jesus the Christ. Given the dense previous records of church history and how it stops before the global expansion, this
Derek Pando
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Most engaging LDS church history book I've read, does not skirt the more controversial parts of the history, while being still faith building.
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot about this time period. I also had many good feelings. So much we just cant comprehend about this time period. I'm so glad I read this.
Devan Jensen
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days, Volume 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815–1846. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2018. 699 pp., $5.75 print, $1.99 digital.

Short version: The book is very readable, with stories and accurate dialogue to share deep emotions felt during intense times of crisis. The book includes valuable female perspectives (both old and young). It is intimate, referring to Joseph and Emma Smith by first name.
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was phenomenal. Be warned it is a very honest history of the church. Many parts were difficult to read... I truly feel the purpose of this book is not solely to build your testimony. In my opinion the purpose was largely to show church history in context so we can draw conclusions on our own about what was wise, what should have been done, why certain actions were taken etc.

I found this SUCH an engaging book which surprised me. I finished it in only 1 week!! I’m so glad the church has
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Very interesting narrative history. Many stories I was already familiar with plus so many others I had never heard. Fascinating but I felt like much of it barely skimmes the surface of too many of the stories and I want to know more.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the years listed in the title. It goes through Joseph Smith’s life, and how he came to be confused and prayed about which church to join. It describes God, the Father’s and Jesus Christ’s visitation to him to tell him not to join any of the churches of that day. The truth was not on the earth. It needed to be restored. And so it was. This book shows the history from that time forward 30 years from the restoration ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this to be a very interesting and informative read. I listened to the audio of the book available for free through the Gospel Library app. I am a lifelong active member of the church who has studied church history, so I was familiar with the overall history, and very familiar with many of the incidents covered. However, there was still information that was new to me, and added details to familiar stories.

I enjoy reading history that is written in a narrative style like this book, and I l
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: religious
This was a good read. It reads very fast for a big book and I think it's pretty well put together. In my opinion, it's a good move to being more transparent about some of the controversial parts of Church History. It is remarkable that the church survived these early days and it was very insightful to see how many doctrines started and then evolved over time. It gave me a much greater appreciation for the early saints and their faith. Those were very trying times.
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Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I read this on the website. It has been marketed as the first history of the Church written in 88 years, though it does read more as a story, which the title suggests, than a history.

I do appreciate that the writers did include some of the more controversial subjects. Many of these topics were glossed over, not given in full detail, and make whatever happened sound justified. Many of the controversial points were explained as a product of his time, rather than in the context of being tau
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many stories in this book of church history were familiar to me, and I give credit for that to Gerald Lund’s The Work and the Glory series (which is a favorite series of mine and which I’ve been rereading again this year). There were many other stories I hadn’t heard before, though, so this first volume was an interesting look into church history. The first Saints experienced innumerable trials and hardships. I wonder if I would’ve been as faithful as they were had I experienced what they did. S ...more
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened this for a few weeks while working on quilting, embroidery and sewing projects. In other words, I transported myself back to this time while working on projects that I also would have been doing at that time. My goal was to read this as a way to immerse myself in the restoration to prep for General Conference. Finished in the nick of time.

First - there was so much apostle infighting, disorganization and some parts felt fanatical. All, a far cry from how the church is run today. So it
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Over the last decade, hundreds of new books have been written that shed new light on polygamy, the priesthood ban, the nature of translation and revelation, the participation of women, the development of the priesthood, and many other topics in the development of The Church of Jesus Christ. While not an in-depth analysis on any one of those topics (since that’s not the intent of the book), Saints does an incredible job of honestly presenting and summarizing information on the entire restoration ...more
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually give books with a cliffhanger one less star... so there you have it! Ha ha ... I understand there are to be 4 volumes. I happened to get an advanced copy of volume 1 in pdf form. I really enjoyed this narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There was lots of material that I had never heard before and I hadn’t considered myself completely ignorant of Church history. The narrative was well done and had me feeling the poignant emotional road of the founder, p ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
I've been listening to this over the course of the last 6 months or so. Next time I read it, I'd like to read a hard copy and read it in a shorter span of time. I appreciate the historians who wrote this book and the research they presented. It was all very fascinating, but admittedly, some parts made me uncomfortable. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints tried to be very open and present facts that may have been glossed over in the past--those were the difficult parts though I apprec ...more
Conner Wilson
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Legitimately couldn’t put it down. This is a simple yet phenomenal resource for any Latter-Day Saint or anyone interested in reading a more fully fleshed out account of the early period of Joseph Smith’s life and the beliefs of the Mormon church. It’s a compilation of carefully researched books, papers, and quotes from Joseph Smith and his contemporaries, giving us a rounded view of the gospel that doesn’t shy away from the more controversial moments in early church history. It taught me a few f ...more
Tyler Critchfield
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faith
Don't be intimidated by its length - it reads quicker than it looks. I enjoyed learning new details and being more familiar with lesser-known names and stories. I'm eager to see how they write the more modern history of the church.

Update: Still good the 2nd time around. I'm glad I refreshed myself on this before I started the next one. Learning more about church history can be very disheartening at times when you hear of all the terrible things that happened to the faithful Saints. But it is als
Matt Sutherland
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I liked it quite a bit. Very easy to read and the narrative is entertaining. It seemed like a fair view of the history of the Saints, but always from a believer's perspective.

Compared to Rough Stone Rolling, it is less dense and more digestible. It gives less insight insight to the critics' point of view, but it does feel like it has a greater emphasis on historical transparency than most other church history books you'd read.

As a devout follower, I found it affirming my beliefs that Joseph ac
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Saints" was a great foundational history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love how it was written in an easy to read/listen to narrative form. My favorite aspect was learning more about everyone involved, the "regular" individuals included. They weren't perfect, but they went about their daily lives trying to do right. They overcame significant challenges and accomplished many great things along the way.
Graham Bradley
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
At times thorough and detailed, and other times an exercise in skimming, I found this to be an enlightening and informative volume that works well as a primer for more exhaustive works on early Church history (e.g. Bushman, which is on my shelf.) Contrary to many of the negative reviews I saw heading into it, it touches on the practice of plural marriage much more than I expected, while still keeping a broad focus on the challenges and achievements of the early-1800s Saints.
Nov 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
It feels like an attempt to give believing members enough information that they feel they’re aware of the crazy history that’s driving so many people away from the church, yet it’s told in such a way that the crazy stuff doesn’t seem quite as crazy as it really is. If you really want to understand the history, keep researching. The church is allowed to tell their history however they want, even if it is misleading.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Great history of the Church, well documented, but so many people's stories intertwined it's a little difficult to follow a specific story. Also many stories are terribly abbreviated which I'm sure is due to the massive size of the work necessitating leaving out some clarifying or simply interesting details. I highly recommend the book for gaining a better understanding of the Prophet Joseph Smith's time. It's a highly readable book.
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