I often mention Lowell Bennion, T. Edgar Lyon, Eugene England, Leonard Arrington and now Richard Bushman as personal heroes with regard to how they were/are able to deal with Mormon history directly and candidly, but still retain a faith, and even a commitment to the LDS Church. Unfortunately, I too often omit Richard D. Poll.

Richard Poll wrote one of the most important essays ever written for thinking Mormons: What the church means to people like me. In this essay he first explores the “Liahona vs. Iron Rod” metaphor for approaches to LDS faith.

Well, I’m very pleased to announce that Signature Books, via Tom Kimball, has made the full text of a book by Richard Poll available online, entitled, “History and Faith: Reflections of a Mormon Historian”. Richard Poll was definitely an amazing and faithful Mormon historian, and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

Thanks Tom.


  1. RoastedTomatoes February 1, 2007 at 11:14 am

    Yep, I love this book. Highly recommended — Poll’s a great writer and, I think, a good role model.

  2. Matt Thurston February 1, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    Cool. I’ve used Poll’s What the Church Means to People Like Me as the text of a Sunday School class I taught last year.

    Now I’ve got something to print and read at five minute intervals at work during bathroom breaks.

  3. Mike Thomas February 2, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    A Freudian slip I am sure, “thinking Mormons.”

  4. […] Bushman’s interviews with John at http://www.www.mormonstories.org. I’m not so angry at Joseph Smith any […]

  5. zionssuburb March 3, 2007 at 8:56 pm


    I’m finding this a little late, but I cracked up when I saw this. I thought I was the only one who did Mormon Studies in “five minute intervals at work during bathroom breaks”.

    I remember when I was first talked to a son of Richard Bushman in a new Ward. After a pleasant conversation that led directions that normally aren’t pursued at Church we exchanged the secret code words Liahona and Iron Rod. Interesting at the time, my almost 9 years in the Kansas City area led me to believe that nobody here knew of that terminology.

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