The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is the religious version of recession food. Since the end of the Civil War, the Mormon membership numbers have grown every single year, and quite often they've grown at an astonishing pace. In the late 1970's and 80's, they added members at a rate of 5-6% a year. Today, their worldwide membership is around 15 million.
But, the Churches' start was a lot shakier. There were schisms and defections, especially during the lifetime of the founder, Joseph Smith. On today's show, we're going to talk about Smith, about his life, about his violent death, and about whether the LDS are essentially the outgrowth of one man's vision or whether they've essentially outlived the reality of Joseph Smith.
Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam joins us to talk about his new book, American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church, a story about religious intolerance, murder, and the state of the Mormon Church.
- Alex Beam is a columnist for The Boston Globe and the author of American Crucifixion: The Murder of Joseph Smith and the Fate of the Mormon Church