Posted by: rusch | July 31, 2007

Meetin Dr. Bushman

Today I met author and historian Richard Bushman.  As I stepped through the door to the BYU bookstore I saw a familiar looking man sitting at a table.  I knew I recognized him from somewhere.  As I got closer, I realized it was Richard Bushman, one of my favorite authors.

What is most appealing to me, is that Dr. Bushman writes great history that is not only appealing to an LDS audience but that his works are recognized by those outside the world of Mormonism.  He also has the credentials and training necessary to give his work the kind of credibility that make his works most enjoyable to me.

The thing that I enjoyed most of all was briefly chatting with Dr. Bushman about his books and how they have helped me by answering questions that I have had for years about Church history.  When I was serving my mission in Northern California, I came across a lot of anti-Mormon literature.  I tried my darnedest to avoid the stuff like a sexually transmitted disease.  But in the end, some of the claims of anti-Mormons were able to shake me a bit.  However I quickly recovered and was able to continue with my missionary labors and have been a very active believing Latter-day Saint since.

But there were still those lingering questions and seemingly no one to turn to sufficiently answer my questions.  What added more fuel to the fire of my questions was when I found out there was usually some truth in the claims made by critics of the Church.   But when I took my Mormon studies class at BYU-Hawaii, I discovered there were authors who wrote about those issues in a thoughtful, academic way that laid my questions to rest.  Richard Bushman was one of those authors.

What I appreciate about Richard Bushman’s book Joseph Smith Rough Stone Rolling was that in a thoughtful, respectful, and academically credible way, Bushman dealt with issues surrounding the early days of the Church without falling into the traps that many authors who try to write this kind of history fall into.

Well, meeting Dr. Bushman was the highlight of my day.  I bought another copy of his book that he graciously signed for me.  I consider it a privilege to have met him.  He is, after all, getting up there in years and who knows how much longer he will be with us?  Hopefully long enough to write many more thoughtful, wonderful books on Mormonsim 🙂

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