Mormonism begins with Lucy Mack, mother of the prophet Joseph Smith. In her dictated memoir, readers will detect the same seeds of religious fervor and frontier idiom that characterized her son's writings and sermons.
Although much of her original voice was lost through editing in the more formal, first published edition of her memoir—14 percent of the overall content having been discarded—Lucy's original manuscript survives and is presented here for the first time in its entirety. For comparison's sake, it is arranged in parallel columns with the first (1853) edition. Significant variants from later printings are indicated in the editor's footnotes, with prefatory chapters that provide historical background and textual genealogy.
Lucy's story is gripping and occasionally heart-breaking. As Irene Bates notes in the foreword, the memoir is given "to a new generation of [Lucy's] spiritual grandchildren" as both history and as inspiration. By restoring passages that relate Mother Smith's own, personal understanding of important events, her reactions to them, and her portrayal of Mormon women as competent and strong (a theme that was removed from later editions), editor Lavina Fielding Anderson has allowed Lucy to say what she originally intended.
Best Book Award, John Whitmer Historical Association
Best Documetary Book Award, Mormon Historical Association