I just went through and tallied votes thus far. The results are interesting. Besides being a potential catalog of essential texts, the results also illustrate the broad range of ideas that people consider “Mormon studies”. A total of eight (sort of) texts received more than one vote.
The eight texts to receive more than one vote so far (with the number of votes listed in parentheses) are:
R. Bushman, Joseph Smith (4)
Quinn, Magic World View (3)
Nibley, Approaching Zion (3)
Givens, By the Hand (2)
Barlow, Mormons and the Bible (2)
McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (2)
Sorenson, Ancient American Setting (2)
The Standard Works (2) (I list these here as one choice, not as separate books; both votes for them included all of the standard works).
In addition, there were a number of texts which received either one vote or “half a vote” (meaning that some said “either x or y” for a particular slot). (Note that this was counted as a “half” vote even where a single slot was split between three or four books).
1 vote each for:
Arrington, Mormon Experience
McMurrin, Theological Foundations
Arrington, Great Basin
Nibley, An Approach to the BOM
Nibley, The World and the Prophets
Firmage & Mangrum, Zion in the Courts
Alexander, Mormonism in Transition
Underwood, Millenial World
LaSueur, Missouri War
Ricks & Welch, Allegory
Brodie, No Man
Quinn, Mormon Heirarchy
Compton, In Sacred Loneliness
Palmer, Insider’s View of Mormon Origins
Robinson & Blomberg, How Wide
Lectures on Faith
Teaching of the prophet Joesph Smith
Discourses of Brigham Young
Half a vote each for:
Roberts, Mormon Doctrine of Deity
Roberts, Seventies’ Course
Roberts, The Truth, The Way,The Life
Roberts, Documentary History
Roberts, Comprehensive History
C. Bushman, Mormon Sisters
Beecher & Anderson, Sisters in Spirit
Hanks, Women and Authority
Derr, Women of Covenant
That is the tally to date, reflecting the views of 43 commenters so far. But why stop there? Let’s keep the discussion going. I encourage readers to weigh in with their top five. The compilation above may be a useful reference tool for readers deciding on their choices, though voters are free to add own new choices as they vote. Let’s continue this valuable project of finding out what the essential texts in Mormon studies are (or at least, what they are perceived to be)!
1. Quick note on methodology (or lack thereof): I tallied votes where it was evident that someone was voting for a work. The threads discussing these works also contain lots of random musings by different commenters about different works. These musings were not included as votes in this tally. The dividing line between a “vote” and a “musing” was subjectively determined by me as I read the comments (though I thought that the division was generally pretty clear). Also, instances where people who had alread voted, and then began commenting on another book, were not counted as votes unless there was a clear recission of a prior choice.
2. Quick note on titles: Rather than retype lots of full titles, I generally entered authors names and full titles where short, and author and (hopefully) obviously identifying abbreviations where the titles were longer. Full titles of these books can generally be found in the previous threads on this topic.