BOOK REVIEW: Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve


Book Cover: Lost Apostles by William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt

This is an adaptation of the Book Review that I wrote of the Signature Books title “Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve” for the Association for Mormon Letters Book Review Panel. I will be presenting portions of this review at the Fall 2014, Salt Lake Sunstone Symposium, on Friday August 1st  in Panel Session 262.  It is entitled  “AUTHORS MEETS CRITICS: THE LOST APOSTLES: FORGOTTEN MEMBERS OF MORMONISM’S ORIGINAL QUORUM OF TWELVE”.  At this point the panelists are both of the books’ authors and myself.  Registration for the symposium is here and is cheaper if you register before July 30th. Both authors will also present on Thursday in Session 131 titled “WILLIAM SMITH AND THE NOTORIOUS HODGES BROTHERS’ CRIMINAL GANG AT NAUVOO.”  This should be FASCINATING!  They go in-depth to the Hodges Gang in the book and I cover it in some detail in my review.

Title: Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve
Author: William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt
Publisher: Signature Books
Genre: Historical Biography
Year Published: 2014
Number of Pages: 400
Binding: Cloth
ISBN13: 978-1-56085-228-5
Price: 35.95

DISCLAIMER: I believe that “Lost Apostles” is one of the most important works of historical biography in the Joseph Smith Restorationist movement from the last 10 years. It approaches the lives and stories of the “Lost” members of the original members of the Twelve in a way that has never been done before and it either provides information not previously available or synthesizes and analyzes the previously available information in a way so as to provide new light and insight on these important early leaders of the Restorationist movement. Because of this I believe that this book will prove to be of much importance to all of those in the greater Restorationite family: Brighimites, Josephites, Strangites, Bickertonites, Hedrickites, etc. That being said, while I have studied many of these groups, and while I have been known to occasionally visit Community of Christ meetings, I am a lifelong member of the Utah based LDS Church, and much of what I discuss in this review reflects on and discusses what I learned about the “Lost Apostles” from my LDS upbringing verses what I learned from reading the book.


A relic of my childhood learning "BEEP"!

A relic of my childhood learning “BEEP”!

Growing up in Provo, Utah in the 1970’s and 80’s I learned a lot of LDS history, first in Junior Sunday School and Primary, and later in Seminary and Mutual.  In this pre-historical time long before the internet and downloadable media, our lessons were often taught with flannel boards, film strips, and Church approved paintings.  It was a time when LDS membership was exploding around the world, especially in South America, and being a “Mormon” was suddenly mainstream and cool.  The Church Correlation and curriculum departments were at their unchallenged heights as they perfected the art of creating basic, standard lessons that were designed to take the stories of Church history and turn them into simple examples of “lessons learned” — of either “good” or “bad” — that could penetrate every continent, visit every clime, sweep country, and sound in every ear until the purposes of correlation should be accomplished and every Church member believed that “Church History” was always and unchallengingly faith promoting.  Indeed the correlation and curriculum committees were working under the following apostolic charge that was originally delivered to seminary teachers who would be teaching LDS history:

“Church history can be so interesting and so inspiring as to be a very powerful tool indeed for building faith. If not properly written or properly taught, it may be a faith destroyer…
“There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not…
“In an effort to be objective, impartial, and scholarly, a writer or a teacher may unwittingly be giving equal time to the adversary…
“In the Church we are not neutral. We are one-sided. There is a war going on, and we are engaged in it. It is the war between good and evil, and we are belligerents defending the good…” (1)
It was during this time of correlated perfection that I began to learn the “faith promoting” versions of LDS history stories.  As I grew and progressed through the Church auxiliaries, I memorized and learned the names, dates, and events of Church history.  As I learned these stories, I quickly learned that *everyone* in Church history could be divided into one of two categories: “White Hats” or “Black Hats”, “Heroes” or “Heels”; “Good Examples” or “Bad Examples”, those who had the “faith to endure” and made it to Zion or those who were “faithless” and were lost or who more often betrayed us along the way.  I learned that those who had faith went on to do great things in the Kingdom, and that those who did not, turned themselves over to “the buffetings of Satan” and became his almost uncontrollable puppets in his efforts to destroy the righteous.  I was taught that Joseph Smith said:
“Before you joined this Church you stood on neutral ground. When the gospel was preached, good and evil were set before you. You could choose either or neither. There were two opposite masters inviting you to serve them. When you joined this Church you enlisted to serve God. When you did that you left the neutral ground, and you never can get back on to it. Should you forsake the Master you enlisted to serve it will be by the instigation of the evil one, and you will follow his dictation and be his servant.” (2)
Later I heard this teaching from Gerald Lund, then a top Church Educational System executive, that was given to CES teachers in their “Annual Symposium” the very year that I took Church History in Seminary (1989).  In his talk that was used to teach the teachers what to teach us as students, Lund emphasized the uselessness of those who were not “strong” enough or “faithful” enough to serve God in His Kingdom:
“(Remember) The story of Symonds Ryder, who drops into apostasy because the prophet can’t spell his name correctly, we think, you IDIOT, where is your good sense?  So our purpose is to help our students be those that are looked to with inspiration.  That people read their journals and use them to teach future Church history classes… 
“The Question was asked, how was Brigham Young able to colonize a desert wilderness?  And the answer came simply, by the time he said ‘this is the right place’, most of the physically weak had died and all of the spiritually weak had been left behind…

“(After telling a story about how flawed and broken steel is useless for horseshoes and must be “thrown into the fire”) Let me read

No good, back in the fire you go!

No good, back in the fire you go!

you who’s not (at the Far West temple site meeting preparing to start the Apostolic mission to England), but should have been,because they were at one time members of the quorum of the twelve.  Thomas B. Marsh, William McLellin, Luke Johnson, William Smith, John Boynton, Lyman Johnson, when the hammer struck (them), the metal shattered, out of the forge comes the steel and that’s one of the great lessons to learn for us.” (3)

Grandaddy Lake, High Uintas, where I learned about the "Lost Apostles" as a 14 year old scout.

Grandaddy Lake, High Uintas, where I learned about the “Lost Apostles” as a 14 year old scout.

As I learned these important lessons from Church History in my youth about who was “weak” and who was “strong” I learned that even the early leaders of the Church were not immune from “shattering” or being “idiots”.  I still remember a Boy Scout camping trip from the mid 1980’s where our Young Men’s President helped us to memorize the names of the original Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Restoration. As we memorized their names he also taught us the roles that each of them played in Church history, and the life lessons that we could learn from each of them.  The “White Hat Heroes” were: David W Patten (he asked the Lord to kill him because he had experienced some doubts), Brigham Young (he kept the faithful members of the Church together and got the ones who obeyed him safely to Utah), Heber C. Kimball (was the grandfather of our prophet, took Satan on personally in England and won), Orson Hyde (dedicated Jerusalem for the return of the Jews, wavered a little, took his lumps, and was faithful to the end), Parley P. Pratt (wrote a cool autobiography and lots of Church books and tracts), and Orson Pratt (super smart, helped invent the

Possible look of "M" Mountain in Provo

Possible look of “M” Mountain in Provo

odometer, did cool astronomy stuff).  The “Black Hat Heels” were: Thomas B. Marsh (there wouldhave been an “M” on our mountain in Provo if it hadn’t been for that darn pint of cream!), William E. McLellin (the one who thought that he was smarter than the Prophet and wanted to beat him up), Luke S. Johnson (was weak, thought that money was more important than God, but managed to sort of come back), William B. Smith (the “bad” Smith Brother), John F. Boynton (weak, proud, not willing to keep serving, threatened the faithful), and Lyman E. Johnson (weak, loved Money more than God, killed himself because his life out of the Church was so miserable and he was too proud to come back). 


For many years, this was my view and understanding of the original Latter-day Quorum of the Twelve.  Then I began to expand my reading and studies.  As I read more diverse sources about Church history I slowly started to see that it was far more complicated than the black and white stories that I had learned in my youth and was still hearing in General Conference, Sacrament meeting talks, Institute lessons, and in the Adult

Was it Brigham Poppins or Mary Poppins  - Either/or - Practically Perfect in Every Way!

Was it Brigham Poppins or Mary Poppins – Either/or – Practically Perfect in Every Way!

Sunday School “Church History” curriculum.  I began to realize that my youthful understanding that the people that I had learned about could be divided up into Mary Poppinsesque (practically perfect in every way) heroes, and one dimensional, apostate, “tool of Satan” villains, whosesole purpose in life was to serve as a warning/lesson to me, was NOT correct.  As I began to understand this viewpoint I realized that I too was not “practically perfect” in my faith, nor was I likely to be. This made me want to learn about the people from Church history in a real, human way.  I wanted to know more about their struggles; especially the struggles and lives of the early leaders who at first sacrificed so much and then seemingly turned their backs on it all.  I wanted to learn what these early Apostles were really like, what really caused them to “stumble” and to question, and I wanted to know what really happened to them after they did.  

This was not an easy thing to learn because *those* kinds of stories, the “non-faith promoting” ones, are not told in official or even semiofficial Church publications.  But now, thanks to publisher Signature Books, and to authors William Shepard and H. Michael Marquardt, we finally have available to a large audience the stories of the “Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve.”  The specific men whose lives are focused on in this book are the six “bad guy” apostles from my list above, the six men who lost their standing in the Twelve and never regained it: Thomas B Marsh, William E. McLellin, Luke S. Johnson, William B. Smith, John Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson.
He's a Lesson, She's a Lesson, Wouldn't YOU Like to Be a Lesson too?

He’s a Lesson, She’s a Lesson, Wouldn’t YOU Like to Be a Lesson too?

In the introduction to “Lost Apostles” Shepard and Marquardt, after writing that the “lost” nature of the men that they are writing about it all a matter of perspective (they and their families would not consider them “lost”), state that besides reporting their research, their main reason for writing this book is to “correct the injustice we feel has been done to the memory of these men” (p. 4) through the telling of just such stories as the ones that I was taught as a youth.  They then affirm that my experience has definitely been the norm, stating that around theglobe, these “Lost Apostles” are only mentioned or taught about “in the service of cautionary tales about what happens to you if you disobey the prophet, exhibit pride, or fail to follow the commandments” (p. 4).  They also discuss that the accomplishments of these men are rarely mentioned and that when they are discussed in LDS Sunday School manuals they are “openly ridiculed” (p. 5). 

One story that illustrates very well the distortion that Shepard and Marquardt are trying to correct takes place about two thirds of the way through the book.  Pages 246-261 tell a story about Lyman Johnson from the 1840’s.  At this point Johnson is a former Mormon, who is then acting as a lawyer.  The events of the story take place just after the murder of Joseph Smith.  A group known as the “Hodges gang,” who were all nominally Mormon, was accused of several robberies and murders.  A couple of the gang members were arrested and executed and another was murdered, likely to keep him from testifying, although some people blame Church leaders and the Nauvoo police for his murder.  One of the accused gang members was a man named Return Jackson Redden.  In 1845 Redden was hiding in Nauvoo and Johnson was employed by the court to travel there with a writ (warrant) and to help the sheriff secure his arrest.  What happened the day of the arrest attempt was reported in the seven volume “History of the Church” this way:
“The steamer Sarah Ann passed up the river, Doctor Foster and Lyman E. Johnson were on board. When the boat landed Jackson Redden was standing by and L. E. Johnson stepped up to him to counsel concerning his father and brother’s case. Dr. R. D. Foster got a number of men from the boat and undertook to haul Redden on board and take him off with them. Redden knocked the first man down that undertook to lay hands on him; a few of the brethren who were not far off ran to Redden’s assistance and with sticks and stones soon drove the whole crew on board; the captain started immediately, without unloading; the clerk left the bills of lading with a man who handed them to Albert P. Rockwood, but appeared not to know what he did. After the boat started Doctor Foster shot his pistol at the brethren but hurt no one. One of the brethren was cut on the back of the neck with a stone.” (HC 7:486-487, qtd in “Lost Apostles”, pp 259-260)
Shepard and Marquardt use this quote and then demonstrate how distorted it is.  This official LDS Church version of the arrest attempt leaves out the fact that Redden had been “indicted ‘as an accessory before the fact’ in the murder of Colonel Davenport” (p. 258).  It leaves out that Johnson and the sheriff were both badly injured by the Mormon Mob who stopped the arrest attempt.  It distorts what happened by stating that Foster shot *AT* “the brethren” when eyewitnesses said that he fired into the air. In fact, as I read the story in “Lost”, it seems that Foster did not even get off of the boat and was not directly involved in the arrest attempt.  The “Warsaw Signal”, admittedly a paper that wrote against the Mormons at that time, gave the non-Mormon perspective on the arrest attempt stating that Johnson and the sheriff were merely doing their job when they were beaten severely by a mob of Mormons.  While the “Signal” could fairly be described as having an anti-Mormon viewpoint, this non- Mormon version of events was attested to in a statement made by seven members of the Sarah Ann’s crew and nineteen of the passengers, none of whom were likely to have had any ulterior motives for or against the Church (see especially pages 259-261 for more on this story). This is only one of many stories that are provided by Shepard and Marquardt to show that an injustice has been done to the memory of these “Lost Apostles.”
William Smith, Brother of Joseph Smith a "Lost Apostle"

William Smith, Brother of Joseph Smith a “Lost Apostle”

Before I get any farther, let me provide a brief description of the book.  “Lost Apostles” is cloth bound and was produced according to the high quality standards that one normally expects from Signature Books.  “Lost” is made up of eleven chapters.  The first three, “Discovering Mormonism”, “Missionaries”, and “School of the Prophets,” give the backgrounds of the men who would be called as the first quorum of Apostles in the Restoration.  It tells of their learning about the Church, of their service, valor, loyalty, sacrifice, dedication and zealous service as missionaries, and of the various deeds that they did that brought them to the forefront of early Mormonism and caused them to be considered as apostle candidates.   The next two chapters, “A Quorum of Twelve Apostles” and “Jostling for Position,” cover the circumstances surrounding the calling of the Twelve, what happened when they were called, their early apostolic missionary journeys, and the conflicts they experienced with each other and other Church leaders as they, Joseph Smith, and other Church leaders tried to establish the order of the Church hierarchy, tried to define the lines of authority, and determine just who presided over whom.  The chapters “Collapse of Kirtland” and “The End of Zion” discuss the “Apostasies”/conflicts that occurred in the Church in Ohio and Missouri in 1837 and 1838.  They discuss the origins/causes of those conflicts, the involvements, reactions, and roles that the “Lost Apostles” are traditionally assumed to have had and their actual reactions, roles, and deeds during those times.  “The New Twelve Minus One” covers the Nauvoo era for the “Lost Apostles” meaning that it largely focuses on William Smith since he was the only one of them still in the quorum at that time.  The final three chapters, “From Heights to Greater Heights,” “From Prairie to Desert,” and “An Endless Search,” discuss each of the six “Lost Apostles” in pairs from the time that they lost their standing in the quorum through their deaths. 

“Lost Apostles” ends with a brief discussion on “Final Thoughts on Apostasy and Integrity” followed by several pages of historic photographs and two indexes.  Appendix One contains contemporary newspaper accounts of several of the early missionary sermons of the Twelve from non-Mormon reporters; Appendix Two gives the accounts of the Twelve’s ordinations.  The first appendix is especially priceless.  The first-hand accounts of sermons by the early apostles in it are from their pre-apostolic missions in 1831 and 1832, and from their first apostolic mission in 1835.  These sermons were not readily available until now.  They provide some very interesting information about what was going on in the early Restoration Church and help to show what was considered important to early Church leaders and missionaries.  Let me give just one example of how important these sermons are.  Some writers have pointed out that the “First Vision” of Joseph Smith was not known by and/or not considered important by early Church members and leaders (4).  This idea that the First Vision was not known or not considered important early on in the Church is confirmed in these accounts of early missionary and apostolic sermons. 
William E McLellin, one of the "Lost Apostles"

William E McLellin, one of the “Lost Apostles”

The first such example is in an account of a sermon by William McLellin.  It reports that he said that the Church was founded by a young, 23 year old man, after he “was visited by an angel (Moroni)”. The report then goes on to give details about the multiple visits by Moroni to Joseph Smith directing him to go to Cumorah and to obtain and translate the gold plates, the translation process, and a brief description of the Book of Mormon story and its relation to the Bible vis–à–vis Ezekiel 37:16-17.  No mention is made of the “First Vision” (see page 377). Next is an 1832 account of a meeting held by Lyman Johnson and Orson Pratt.  It states that:

In 1827 a young man called Joseph Smith…inquired of the Lord what he should do to be saved – he went to bed without a reply, but in the night was awakened by an angel…who gave information where the (Book of Mormon) Plates were deposited (p. 379).
The account then describes Smith’s trip into Manchester, his ascending the hill, his finding the plates, etc.  It then gives a detailed description of the Book of Mormon story and contents, the story of the three and eight witnesses, and a brief description of Lyman and Orson’s (called Arson in the account) missionary journeys.  The next account (pp. 382-384), also related to Lyman Johnson and Orson Pratt, follows the same pattern of focusing on the visit of Moroni and giving a description of the Book of Mormon story.  One more thing sure to fascinate historians in this account is that the Hill “Cumorah” is called the Hill “Comoro” (5).  Even the last account in the appendix, an 1841 account of an interview with the Prophet Joseph’s brother William Smith, makes *NO MENTION* of the First Vision and instead, again, focuses on the appearance of Moroni.  I am sure that historians will have fun sorting through and analyzing this information for some time to come. 
Thomas B Marsh Headstone, erected in the 20th Century

Thomas B Marsh Headstone, erected in the 20th Century

I could write so much of what I liked about “Lost Apostles” and praise so much about what I learned from it that this review could grow to book length itself.  But, I do not want to spoil all of the surprises and I do not want this review to become too cumbersome, so I will focus on how Shepard and Marquardt treat two of the “Lost Apostles”: Lyman Johnson and Thomas B Marsh.  I choose to focus on these two in part because there is an online available CES video that features the “official” perspective on these two “Lost Apostles” (6) thus allowing for an easy comparison between the LDS “official”/”institutional” perspective on these two men and the one provided by Shepard and Marquardt.  I also chose Marsh because the idea that he left the Church after being “offended” in the “Milk Strippings incident” may be one of the top five most well-known and referred to church history stories of all time.  An entire LDS Adult Sunday School lesson is built around it (7) and it has been quoted or referred to in at least three fairly recent LDS General Conference talks.  In 1984 Gordon B. Hinckley, then a counselor in the First Presidency, built the entire final talk of the April General Conference around the “Milk Strippings incident” taking twelve minutes to retell the story in the traditional manner (8).  In October 2006, David A. Bednar spoke on the theme of “And Nothing Shall Offend Them”. To provide an example of someone who “chose” to be “offended” versus someone who “chose” to be “faithful” he spent about a minute in the middle of his talk telling the “Milk Strippings” story and comparing Marsh’s “electing to take offense” to Young’s “acting in accordance with correct principles” (9).  And most recently, Thomas S. Monson spent about one third of his October 2009 Priesthood session talk entitled, “School Thy Feelings, O My Brother” retelling the “Milk Strippings incident” (10) using the Marsh story as an example of someone who failed to “school his feelings” and suffered and caused the whole church to suffer for it.

The CES video, which is called “If They Harden Not Their Hearts,” has a run time of 11:21.  It was originally designed only to be used in LDS seminary and Institute classes, but has since been made available to use in Sunday school and online.  The video can essentially be divided up into five segments.  The first segment is about three minutes long and shows a fictionalized exchange between Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, and a recent convert to the Church who has just moved with his family to Kirtland.  Johnson attempts to sell the convert/new move in a building lot at an exorbitant rate.  Brigham Young tries to talk Lyman out of it, accuses him of trying to build his own kingdom instead of the Lord’s kingdom and at one point exclaims out of Johnson’s hearing, “What’s gotten ahold of your heart Lyman?”  This first segment shows Lyman as a greedy, worldly, money obsessed man who thinks only of himself.  He opposes and argues with the very faithful Brigham Young.  No positive characteristics that he had are shown (11).
The second segment is one minute long and shows Brigham Young defending Joseph Smith in a meeting of “apostates” held in the Kirtland temple.  He tells them that if they reject Joseph Smith they will “cut the thread that binds them to the Prophet and to God and sink themselves to hell”.  The third segment is about Thomas B Marsh (12).  It shows him interacting with Parley Pratt, Joseph Smith, and Vilate Kimball.  In this video Marsh is depicted as being very proud and self-obsessed.  He constantly talks about himself, his authority, his mission, his responsibility, etc.  The video shows him getting a revelation from Joseph Smith after which the narrator says of him that,  “President Marsh accepted the Lord’s counsel and labored diligently to reconcile the differences in the Quorum.  Still he struggled with his own pride and hardened his heart”.  This narration is read as Marsh seems to be walking from a meeting with Joseph.  He travels to Vilate Kimball’s house.  He tells her that since *HE* did not call/send her husband Heber on his mission, it will be a failure and that the mission cannot succeed until “*I* send someone or go *MYSELF*”.  The narrator then says “*PRIDE* led President Marsh to apostasy.”  While this segment does give Marsh the *brief* compliment that he “accepted the Lord’s counsel and labored diligently to reconcile the differences in the Quorum,” the compliment is completely overshadowed by how the actor/script depict Marsh’s supposed character/pride and it drowns it out in that the compliment sentence leads to his confrontation with Vilate which is immediately followed by the narrator noting his “Pride” and “Apostasy”. 
I want to add here some information about the supposed confrontation between Marsh and Vilate Kimball.  I do so to demonstrate further the great difference between the story of Marsh as presented unadorned by Shepard and Marquardt, and the “Let’s make Marsh an example” version of the story that is usually taught in LDS history lessons.  The video obviously has no footnotes, but as near as I can tell, after consulting with my friends Joe Geisner and Johnny Stephenson (both of whom have a great knowledge of Restoration history), the script writers took the idea from Ronald Esplin, who writes of the incident in a Sperry Symposium article called “‘Exalt Not Yourselves’: The Revelations and Thomas B. Marsh, An Object Lesson For Our Day”.  Esplin relates the story exactly as it is depicted in the video, stating that, as soon as Marsh got the revelation from Joseph Smith (about which Esplin alleges that Marsh “missed the mark” on, and did not understand what it meant), he went “immediately” to Vilate Kimballl and told her that Heber’s mission would fail (13).  Esplin’s only footnote in relation to this incident is to reference his own master’s thesis turned book, “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830-1841.”  I consulted further with Joe Geisner and Johnny Stephenson and we were able to piece some of the backstory on this “incident” together.   On September 6, 1837, Vilate Kimball wrote a letter to her husband Heber about a visit that she had with Marsh.  She wrote:
My Dear Husband, … Elders Marsh and Patten were about to set of[f] for Missouri, they all had the plearure of hearing the letter read and rejoiced with us for your speedy and safe ariveal upon the shores of Europe. … I have filled a good part of my sheet with a Revelation which I thought would be more interesting to you than any thing I could write. I copyed it from Elder Marsh’s book as he wrote it from Josephs mouth he told me there was one thing made known to Joseph while he was receiving it which he told him not to write; it was this, that the dor of proclamation could not be affectually opened till elder Marsh should go or send some one whom he should ordain … [spelling from original maintained]
So while Marsh *MAY* have told Vilate that the “affectual” door for the mission to England would not be opened until he went or sent someone, it was clear to Vilate that the idea was Joseph’s, and *NOT* Marsh’s. Further, five days later on September 11, 1837 Vilate wrote again to Heber and said:
My Dear Heber, could you have been in the house of the Lord here yesterday, surely your heart would have lept for joy, as did mine….Br Mclelin will soon have the priviledg of seeing Br Marsh and Patten who are filled with light and truth, and will be able to strengthen their brethren. I look forward with pleasure to the time when you will receive this letter (if you ever do), for I think it will cheer your heart. I well remember with what feelings you left Kirkland while your brethren (whom you loved) set themselves in battles aray, as it were, against you. But you can now fondly anticipate meeting them with glad hearts and cheerful countenances (this letter is quoted on page 152 of “Lost Apostles”).
Would Vilate tell Heber that Marsh was “filled with light and truth” if he had just told her five days earlier that her husband would be a failure?  Finally, the text of the revelation (now LDS Doctrine and Covenants section 112) reads this way as recorded in Joseph Smith’s Journal:
[7] Verily I say unto my servant Thomas, thou art the man [whom] I have chosen to hold the keys of my Kingdom (as pertaining to the Twelve [Apostles]) abroad among all nations that thou mayest be [struck out in the original] my servant to unlock the door of the Kingdom in all places where my servant Joseph, and my servant Sidney, and my servant Hyrum cannot come for on them have I laid the burden of all the Churches for a little season. Wherefore whithersoever they shall send you, go ye, and I will be with you.[p.208] And in whatsoever place ye shall proclaim my name an effectual door shall be opened unto you that they may receive my word. Whosoever receiveth my word receiveth me and whosoever receiveth me receiveth those (the First Presidency) whom I have sent, whom I have made counsellors for my name’s sake unto you.
/8/ And again I say unto you that whosoever ye shall send in my name by the voice of your brethren the Twelve [Apostles] duly recommended and authorized by you shall have power to open the door of my Kingdom unto any nation whithersoever ye shall send them inasmuch as they shall humble themselves before me and abide in my word and hearken to the voice of my spirit. (14)
So it seems perplexing that the creators of the video would depict Marsh speaking to Vilate in the tone that they do in the movie with her having an upset reaction to him when in reality he was only reporting what Joseph said to him, when she seems to have taken it well, and when just a few days later she said that Marsh was “full of light”. The *only* reason I can see that they did this was to promote the traditional view that Marsh was a pride-filled apostate who must serve as a warning to all future church members.  One last point on this: in an online conversation on this video Michael Marquardt replied to me:
If something like this occurred it quickly faded as Thomas Marsh lived at Joseph Smith’s home (at the time) and worked on editing the Elders’ Journal.
I will go into more depth on Shepard and Marquardt’s ideas on Marsh’s character in a moment.  The fourth video segment depicts a supposed meeting in which the now non-Mormon Lyman Johnson tells the members of the Quorum of the Twelve in the Nauvoo period about how miserable his life as a non-Mormon is (15). Shepard and Marquardt cover this meeting and the potential bias in Brigham Young’s telling of it, I will go into more detail below.  
The last segment of the CES video gives a rendition of the speech that Thomas Marsh gave in Salt Lake City in the Bowery upon his return to Mormonism (16).  I will also compare this depiction to the event as reported by Shepard and Marquardt.
Lyman E Johnson

Lyman E Johnson

The Lyman Johnson that I learned about in official histories, scouts, Sunday school, seminary, and institute was just as he is depicted in the video: greedy, selfish, rebellious, confrontational with other Church leaders, and after his exit from the Restoration Church sad, miserable, and depressed to the point of being suicidal.  The Lyman Johnson that I learned about from “Lost Apostles” was a completely different man.  This Lyman Johnson was a zealous and a valiant missionary who brought many into the fold (see pages 45-50 for one mission report as an example). He was righteous enough and spiritually in tune enough to receive an angelic visitation from the Angel Moroni who showed him the Gold Plates in much the same fashion that the Three Witnesses saw them (see pp. 43, 46, 91).  This visitation to Lyman Johnson is something that I had never heard or read about until I read “Lost Apostles.”  As an interesting side note, during the time that I was reading “Lost Apostles” and working on this review, my priesthood quorum had a lesson called “Witnesses of the Book of Mormon” (17).  During the lesson I raised my hand and tried to share what I had learned about Johnson’s visitation with Moroni and his having been shown the Gold Plates.  The teacher cut me off and said that what I was saying was impossible because “The Church” only taught about the “Three and Eight Witnesses” and since Lyman Johnson became an “Apostate” he must have been lying about the experience. 

Other things that I learned about Johnson include that he and his brother Luke dared to defy the Missouri mobs by crossing the Missouri River and standing briefly on what they considered to be the sacred soil of Jackson County at the end of traveling with Zion’s Camp (see pages 75 and 76, the official “History of the Church”, recorded after Johnson’s “Apostasy,” mentions this incident but only states that Joseph Smith, “On the first of July…crossed the Missouri River, in company with a few friends”; no names for those friends are given).   One positive story about Lyman in the book that I had heard before was that he gave a cloak to Heber C Kimball as Kimball was leaving for his first mission to England.  This was after Lyman was out of the church (see page 144).  However, whenever I heard his story in the past it was always in the context of how faithful Kimball was for going on the mission and how unfaithful Lyman Johnson had become; it was never told to put Lyman in a positive light.  
What amazed me the most was what I learned about Lyman’s life after his excommunication.  The second video clip which portrays Lyman speaking to the Twelve in Nauvoo would have you believe that, after he was out of the church, Lyman described his whole life as being “darkness, pain, sorrow, misery in the extreme. I have never since (leaving Mormonism) seen a happy moment.” (The speech that Johnson gives in the video is actually a quote from an 1877 sermon by Brigham Young where he attributes the words to Johnson.  The problem of accurately ascribing these words to Johnson is also addressed in “Lost Apostles”).  And Wilford Woodruff, after claiming that Lyman had once, in the Kirtland Temple, cursed Joseph Smith to his face and took the Sacrament bread “and flung it into his mouth like a mad dog His face turning black … with rage and with the power of the devil” said that after Lyman left the Church: 
He ate and drank damnation to himself. He did not go and hang himself, but he did go and drown himself, and the river went over his body while his spirit was cast into the pit where he ceased to have the power to curse either God or His Prophet in time or in eternity (in Millennial Star 57:339-340, Quoted on page 152 of “Lost Apostles”).
However, Lyman Johnson, far from being a miserable, pain-drenched, suicidal glutton who was unable to accomplish anything meaningful with his life, was really quite an amazing man after leaving the Restoration behind.  I will quickly mention just a few of the things that I learned from “Lost Apostles” that contradict what I had previously learned about Lyman and contradict how Lyman is depicted in the CES video clips and in Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff statements about him.  In July, 1838, Lyman hosted about 30 people who were still church members, including Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde who were returning from their missions in England, to a dinner at a Richmond, Missouri hotel (p. 237).  Johnson went to great expense to host his former Church and Quorum mates despite the fact that Mormon Danites had previously pillaged his house in Far West and robbed him of most of his valuables (see p. 238).  As previously mentioned Lyman Johnson became a lawyer after leaving the restoration and did fairly well at the practice (p. 239).  He built a fine house in Keokuk that was so stately it became a local landmark and a bank. Later, he built other brick homes; one of these was a “mansion” that also was seen as a local landmark (pp. 242, 261-262).  Johnson was admired in local society and was even mentioned in local papers (p. 262).  He also owned and operated several hotels (pp. 263-265).  All in all his post restoration life was very good to him until his wife died in 1851.  Things were rougher for him after that and he likely knew some misery.  But this would have been long after the meeting in Nauvoo which Brigham Young supposedly quotes and which forms the basis for the second Lyman video clip.  And while it is true that Lyman’s 1859 death was as a result of drowning, it was purely an accident; there was nothing suicidal or satanic about it, as Woodruff claimed (pp. 265-266). 

Just as it was with Lyman Johnson, the Thomas B. Marsh that I learned about in “Lost Apostles” was *NOT* the Thomas B. Marsh that I

Thomas Marsh University: "Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Not be a 'Bad Example'"

Thomas Marsh University: “Enter to Learn, Go Forth to Not be a ‘Bad Example'”

learned about as a youth or that is portrayed in the CES video.  That Thomas B Marsh was always vain, proud, and weak-willed. He seemed so unfaithful you wondered how he got called in the first place, and really seemed to have few if any redeeming qualities.  The main thing that he was known for, besides his pride in general, was that he left the Church over a pint of cream, thus missing out on becoming president of the Church (and having a BYU named after him — that one ALWAYS came up when I was growing up in Provo, Utah), and thus he was the perfect example of how if we were not careful we would let our pride lead us right out of the Church as it had with Thomas B Marsh. 

The Thomas B Marsh of “Lost Apostles” was a much different man than this one-dimensional straw man Thomas B Marsh.  I will share just a few of the things that I never knew or had limited knowledge about until reading “Lost Apostles”.   As with Lyman Johnson and the other members of the original Twelve, Marsh was a zealous missionary whose labors attracted the attention of church leaders.  He wrote faith-promoting messages that were printed in the “Messenger and Advocate” (see p. 107).  He played an essential role in getting the Church established in Caldwell County, Missouri, after they were forced to leave Clay County.  While I was aware that he had some involvement in this before, I did not realize the extent of his work as in official Church lessons it was usually brushed over on the way to getting him excommunicated (see page 111).  In 1837, when Marsh expressed concern about Parley Pratt leaving on a mission to Canada and Heber C Kimball and Orson Hyde leaving for England, it was not, as the video and my previous lessons taught, over pride that *HE* had not sent them, rather it was over his concerns that the Quorum work in unity and in an orderly fashion (see p.  111-112). After arriving in Kirtland and learning that Pratt, Kimball, and Hyde had been sent on missions, Marsh, rather than becoming angry and pride filled as he does in the video, actually did much to defend Joseph Smith as president of the church and “interjected a spirit of calm at a time when it was most needed” (p 113).  In this context, at a time when, according to traditional/official church histories and the CES video, Marsh was supposedly becoming increasingly prideful and verbally assaulting Vilate Kimball, “Lost Apostles” quotes Mary Fielding (Smith) as stating that:
Elder Marsh is a most excellent Man.  He seems to be a Man of great faith.  He says that he believes that the difficult[ie]s between the Presidency & the twelve will very shortly be settled (p. 114).
As previously noted, during this time Marsh moved in with Joseph Smith and helped to act as a moderator and reconciler between Smith and some of the disaffected parties (p. 114).  This included convincing some of the disaffected apostles to try and make reconciliation with the church (p. 115).  It was during this time, a time which the video shows Marsh supposedly harassing Vilate Kimball, that Vilate actually wrote to her husband Heber about the good feelings that Marsh was helping to establish in Kirtland amongst the church members (p. 115).  Another thing that I had never learned until reading “Lost Apostles” was that in early 1838, during the time that Marsh and David Patten were, in Joseph Smith’s absence, trying establish stability and control in the church in Far West, Missouri, Marsh’s 14 year old son James died (p. 119-120).  During this time of personal bereavement, Marsh put himself at much personal risk and showed great loyalty to Joseph Smith by defending him to Church members and leaders who were now against Joseph’s leadership. His loyalty to and defense of Smith were so strong that Shepard and Marquardt describe him as being “Smith’s accomplice” during this time period (p. 164-167). 
19th Century Cheese making

19th Century Cheese making

It was during this time period that something changed for Thomas B. Marsh that caused him to go from being one of Joseph Smith’s strongest defenders to turning “states evidence” against him.  The traditional story for why Marsh left the Church is the well-known “Milk Stripping’s” incident.   Shepard and Marquardt document that there are four sources for this story, none of which are contemporary and three of which are tied to George Albert Smith.  The earliest source is also the briefest.  In 1845 George Albert Smith, speaking in the Nauvoo Temple to a select group and as recorded in William Clayton’s diary, said that, “The apostacy of Thomas B. Marsh was caused by so small a thing as a pint of strippings” (quoted on p. 182).  The most famous and oft-quoted account was also by George Albert Smith and was given ten years later on April 6, 1856.  The third account was by Henry Bigler, a nephew of George Albert Smith, and was not recorded until the 1890’s.  The final account is by Wandle Mace and was also apparently recorded in the 1890’s (pp 181-182).  While admitting that there could have been a disagreement over milk and cream between the two women, Shepard and Marquardt demonstrate pretty well that this “incident” and long standing “pride problems” were not the reasons that Marsh left and testified against the Saints.  During the 1838 “Mormon War” Marsh preached pacifism, caution, and humility to his fellow Saints (p. 123, 185) at a time when they were organizing the “Danites” to seek revenge on the Missourians and even discussing killing critics of the church (p. 176).  He objected to Danite activities, including driving excommunicated members out of Far West p. 176-177).  He was opposed to the atrocities being committed by Mormons (p. 183). Up through this time of violence, Marsh was one of the few top leaders to consistently defend Joseph Smith (pp 193-194). He had walked hundreds of miles without purse or scrip laboring for the church, endured persecution, and “took seriously his role as quorum leader” and his responsibility for “spreading the gospel around the world” (p. 292). It was when Sidney Rigdon denounced “pacifists” in a public speech and when the Mormons attacked Gallatin and Millport when something broke in Marsh and he made the decision to leave Far West and to testify against Joseph Smith.  After demonstrating Marsh’s true reasons for leaving Mormonism Shepard and Marquardt conclude that:

The strippings story reduces (Marsh) a man of proven judgment and leadership, into a petty and vindictive caricature…that may be the very reason why the story became so popular…it alleviated the dissonance people experienced when trying to make sense of the mass apostasy of the 1830’s (p. 183).
I want to note a few final inconsistencies between the CES video/the way the Marsh story is usually told and the historical record as presented by Shepard and Marquardt.  President Hinckley and President Monson accurately quote a letter that Marsh wrote to Heber C. Kimball describing how Marsh felt that he had suffered because of his decision to leave the church.  The CES video accurately reproduces the words Marsh said as recorded by the church transcriptionist when he spoke in the bowery after his rebaptism into the church.  However, in the letter and speech there is no mention of “the strippings” and just because Marsh admits to making a mistake about leaving the church, admits to feeling pride, and felt like he had experienced an apostasy, does not justify reducing him to a one-dimensional character who only had these feelings and qualities.  The record as provided by Shepard and Marquardt proves that the opposite is true (see especially pp. 296-298).  
The Brethren call him "Brother Brigham", but the Sisters call him "Rico Suave"!

The Brethren call him “Brother Brigham”, but the Sisters call him “Rico Suave”!

Also, while the last CES video clip accurately quotes the transcription of Marsh’s speech, it very inaccurately represents how Brigham Young treated him that day.  In the video Brigham Young gently guides an ailing Marsh to the pulpit and then looks at him with looks that convey support, kindness, and sadness.  In reality, once Marsh concluded his discourse, Young stood up and mocked the aging former apostle.  Young made fun of his health, how he looked, and joked about how he could get any woman he wanted while Marsh was so feeble no woman would want him (pp 298-299).  Once again, the story as presented by Shepard and Marquardt is far more detailed and accurate than anything previously available.  *PLEASE NOTE* I am *NOT* accusing President Gordon B. Hinckley, President Thomas S. Monson, Elder David A. Bednar, or CES of lying about or willfully misrepresenting the story or history of Thomas B. Marsh or Lyman Johnson.  They are simply telling the traditional story that has been passed down to them.  I believe that they were sincere in their desires as they told the stories as they knew them.  But now, Shepard and Marquardt have, through their meticulous and detailed research, given us the most accurate versions of these stories and they have provided for all of the Restoration family the version of history on these men that should become the new standard (18).

Lest readers of this review think that Shepard and Marquardt turned the six “Lost Apostles” from one dimensional villains into one dimensional heroes, they do present them as complex and at times troubled men who made mistakes and bad decisions, who suffered through challenges, worries and distractions, and who even committed serious sins.  At one point, Shepard and Marquardt provide the following description of the early apostles:
The enthusiasm these men showed and their ability to work independently were winning traits in the mission field but led to their lack of success at church headquarters… they were promoters outside a revival tent beckoning people inside, and not the main event (pp. 58-59).
About Lyman Johnson several specific things come up.  Shepard and Marquardt do cover, as the CES video does, that Lyman got involved in land speculation, and also in the mercantile business while serving as an apostle.  But unlike the video which just makes Lyman sound greedy, they do put his involvement in these activities into the context of him trying to provide for a growing family (see pages 138-139).  One incident is mentioned in the book where Lyman, along with John Boynton, bought a large tract of land and then subdivided and re-sold it.  They were unable to make their payments so everyone they subdivided it to lost their land and their money.  One individual involved lost 1500 dollars and said that the two apostles came after him for more (see page 140).  Shepard and Marquardt also include information that Brigham Young accused Lyman of beating up his brother and they do not offer any direct disputations of what Brigham said.  But, in light of Lyman’s character as presented throughout the rest of the book, and given the friendly treatment that he continued to show to church members after his excommunication (including treating Orson Hyde, Heber C. Kimball and about 28 others to the previously mentioned supper shortly after he was to have assaulted Young’s brother), maybe they did not have to counter this charge as Brigham’s story seems like something that Lyman was rather unlikely to have done. 
I did find a few editorial errors in “Lost Apostles” and there were few places where I have questions about what I read, although some of the things I found may reflect the fact that I was reading an Advanced copy and not the final published version.  There was also a place or two where I wanted more information and where I disagreed with the author’s interpretation of events or information.  The main place where I found myself disagreeing with Shepard and Marquardt was over their interpretation of why the original members of the Latter-day Twelve were chosen to be in the quorum.  The official/traditional reason as given by Joseph Smith and maintained (at least in the LDS Church) since that time is that the 12 men who were selected were chosen as apostles for their faithful service during Zion’s Camp.  Shepard and Marquardt dispute this theory.  For instance, after describing the apostles’ early missionary zeal and success they state:
For the apostles, the fire of adversity was not Zion’s Camp, but rather the privations and persecution of the mission field. Selecting these seasoned missionaries also reinforced the importance to the church of proselyting and the purpose of the Quorum of the Twelve in spreading the gospel message (57-58).
John F Boynton, A "Lost Apostle"

John F Boynton, A “Lost Apostle”

In the next chapter of the book they cover Zion’s Camp and discuss that nine of the twelve men selected were in Zion’s Camp, two were waiting in Missouri, and only one, John Boynton, missed it all together.  The authors then state:

The issue is not whether they did their part, but whether, as the later explanation went, the march on Missouri was divinely designed as a boot camp for future apostles, testing their perseverance and faith.  It does not seem to have been so (p. 74).
Then one chapter later, in the discussion of the actual calling and setting apart of the Twelve, Shepard and Marquardt put forth their argument once again by writing:
Joseph was personally impressed by the Zion’s camp participants who had remained loyal to him through adversity. Yet despite the pressure to succumb to Joseph’s influence, the three witnesses disregarded this display of military zeal and drew instead upon missionary veterans, *some* of whom had not been in the militia.  They gravitated toward men who were strong willed and had independent spirits, who were forceful speakers (pp. 80-81, emphasis mine).
The argument that “some of whom were not in the militia” does not make sense since in the previous chapter they point out that nine of the twelve were completely involved and two were partially involved.  Only one twelfth of the quorum had no involvement in Zion’s Camp.  So they did not win me with that argument.  *YES* the witnesses “gravitated toward men who were strong willed … had independent spirits (and) were forceful speakers” but this does not rule out the possible importance of their Zion’s Camp experience.   I think that Shepard and Marquardt have a good argument that the Twelve’s missionary labors were very important and played a major part in their being chosen as apostles, and I agree that their “strong willed” nature, their “independent spirits”, and their ability as “forceful speakers” as demonstrated on missions all played a role in their being called.  I just do not see it as the *ONLY* role as Shepard and Marquardt do.  Reading “Lost Apostles” convinced me that *both* Zion’s Camp and the Twelves’ missionary experiences, skills, and zeal played a role.  So they converted me half way to their argument, but not all the way.   
Page 88 tells of a time that William McLellin was on a mission.  While traveling he stayed one night with a Mr. Drune and his wife.  McLellin had good things to say about Mr. Drune *BUT* described his wife as “a great slut, very nasty”.  After dropping that tidbit of information the authors move on.  I would have liked more context for this story (if available), both historical and situational.  I know what that very charged word means now, but, did it have the same meaning in the 1830’s?  If so, do we know why McLellin used such a strong word to describe Mrs. Drune?  Did she make a pass at him?  More information here would have been interesting.
On page 135 the authors are covering the “Great Apostasy” of 1837.  After discussing some of the things that were going on in Kirtland that year they state:
George A. Smith, an eyewitness to the conflicts of 1837, told an audience *thirty years* later that the dissenters were guilty of ‘adultery or covetousness’ and had ‘gone to hell’.
The footnote then states that the cited George Albert Smith talk was given on January 10, 1858, so the text should read that Smith gave his eyewitness account *twenty* years later.  Speaking again in connection with George A. Smith on page 155 the authors state:
As John Smith informed his son George A. Smith, though without a complete grasp of the church structure, ‘John E. Page and John Taylor are appointed to fill [vacancies in the] Bishoprick in the place [of] Luke Johnson & John Boynton.’
I am assuming that they state that John Smith was “without a complete grasp of the church structure” because he used the term “Bishoprick” when speaking of the men being called to the quorum of twelve apostles.  While this would be an unusual language usage today, it has a scriptural precedent.  In the King James Bible, in the Book of Acts, when Judas Iscariot is being replaced by Matthias in the ancient Quorum of Twelve, the account reads:
For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. (Acts 1:20)
So the term “Bishoprick” here is used in a more generic sense to mean priesthood office or responsibility.  The Joseph Smith Papers website confirms this usage during this period of Church history:
The term bishopric was also used in the 1830s to describe priesthood positions generally, as in, for example, the idea that one could have his “bishoprick” taken from him (19).
A link in the previous line takes you to the entry that became the LDS Doctrine and Covenants section 114 which on the website reads:
Inasmuch as there are those among you who deny my name, others shall be planted in their stead and receive their bishoprick Amen (20).  
So, I believe that John Smith was using the term in that sense.  Also, in regards to this same letter by John Smith, when you read the footnote it states that “George A. Smith would later become a Utah apostle.” While it is *true* that George A. Smith went to Utah where he would later serve as a counselor to Brigham Young, he was actually called as an apostle in 1839 by Joseph Smith to help fill the vacancies caused by the death of David W Patten and from Thomas B. Marsh and Orson Hyde separating themselves from the Church.  This is actually mentioned in the book on page 123 so calling him a “Utah apostle” doesn’t exactly fit. On page 183 the “traditional” spelling of “Haun’s Mill” is used, although elsewhere in the book the correct spelling “Hawn’s Mill” is used.  On page 185 the book states:
On October 10, after holding out for two months, the starving, outnumbered, and highly stressed (Mormon) residents (of DeWitt) bowed to the inevitable and surrendered…
This should read “two weeks”, not “two months,” and *is* correct in footnote 57 on the bottom of the same page where it states that the Mormons were “weakened by the two week siege”. Pages 187 and 188 had what I found to be a strange/out of place statement on them.  The subject being discussed on these and the preceding pages are the events which lead to Thomas Marsh separating himself from the Church.  The last paragraph on page 187 (trailing onto 188) reads:
The more certain end of Marsh’s career as resident of the Twelve came on October 24 when he agreed to testify to the mayhem he had observed.  He did so in Richmond before Justice of the Peace Henry Jacobs, a Mormon who would later marry Zina Huntington.  According to her statement, she later became a plural wife of Joseph Smith and then Brigham Young…
The paragraph then continues by quoting much of Marsh’s affidavit about the claims that he made against Joseph Smith and the Church.  As the rest of the narrative had nothing to do with the complicated marital arrangements of Jacobs, Huntington, Smith and Young (21), I did not really see what the point was to throw that line into the book here.  Moving on I found the beginning of chapter 8 to be worded somewhat confusingly.  It states that:
The loss of so many prominent leaders in Kirtland and Far West left a troublesome void that Joseph Smith could not fill during his incarceration at Liberty jail.  By the time he escaped custody in April 1839 and arrived in Commerce…, Illinois, the high council had approved ordination of John E. Page and John Taylor to the Quorum…which occurred in Far West on December 19, 1838 (p. 197).
Luke Johnson, A "Lost Apostle"

Luke Johnson, A “Lost Apostle”

This makes it sound like Page and Taylor were called in Smith’s absence and without his knowledge or approval (at least, that is how I read it) because he had been unable to fill the vacancies in the Twelve before his incarceration. But Page and Taylor (along with Willard Richards and Wilford Woodruff) had been issued their calls by Joseph Smith in July of 1838 through a document now canonized as LDS D&C 118.  This was previously acknowledged by the authors on pages 155 and 180.  I do not think that the authors were purposefully being deceptive; this paragraph was, to me, worded in a way that was unclear.  Continuing from there, the next page (198) mentions the call in 1841 of Lyman Wight to the twelve, the mission of the Twelve to England, their return to Nauvoo, the introduction of polygamy, and the introduction of “the endowment” to the Twelve and other key members.  The authors then state: “The new Quorum of the Twelve remained intact throughout the remainder of Joseph’s life…” (p. 201).  This is not quite accurate; at this point the authors had not mentioned the short term ejection of Orson Pratt from the Quorum, the call of Amasa Lyman to take his place, and Orson Pratt’s return to the Twelve with Amasa Lyman being moved to the First Presidency to open up a spot for him.  I also want to be a little nit-picky about something in this chapter. At the bottom of page 202 it is stated that Sidney Rigdon “was most likely manic depressive”.  “Manic depressive” is really more of a lay term.  It is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association.  The official diagnosis (assuming one could be made on a person long dead) would be “Bipolar Disorder.”

Chapter nine tells the stories of Lyman Johnson and John Boynton after their removal from the Twelve.  Lyman’s story is first on pages 238-266 and Boynton’s fills the remainder of the chapter.  Oddly though, the second paragraph of Johnson’s story (p 238) contains a seemingly out of place sentence explaining that:
Boynton’s sister Olive Boynton Hale and her husband, Jonathan, remained in the Church, both eventually dying in September 1846 in Council Bluffs.
The narrative then switches back to Johnson for the next 28 pages before picking up any more information on Boynton.  There are four more spots in the story of Lyman Johnson’s post-Twelve life that confused me.  Pages 252-254 explain that Ervine Hodges of the Hodges Gang was murdered, likely by Return Jackson Redden, in June of 1845.  As I explained earlier in the review, Johnson was tasked in September of 1845 with aiding the sheriff in arresting Redden for Hodges’ murder.  After explaining how the Redden arrest attempt went down and its aftermath, the authors write:
Even William Smith wrote in the Sangamo Journal that Ervine Hodges was “running at large in Nauvoo” under the protection of Brigham Young (p. 261, cited letter printed November, 1845)
I am guessing that they meant that William Smith wrote that Redden was under Young’s protection since that is what the rest of the paragraph is about and William would have likely been aware of Hodges death six months earlier. If William really did write about Ervine Hodges and did not know he had been dead for six months, the authors should have explained this.  Then, the very next paragraph which starts immediately after the citation of the Smith letter starts this way:
William Clayton wrote that ‘Lyman Johnson, one of the old Twelve, headed a party of the mob from Keokuk’ that plundered the city, although Clayton was on the western side of Iowa by September 25, 1846, and could not have known this himself (p. 261).
At first, I thought that the date was wrong and that it was supposed to read September 25, 1845 and that maybe, angry about his being mobbed in Nauvoo, Johnson had attacked back.  Then I realized that the authors had jumped in time and were writing about Johnson’s accused participation in the Battle of Nauvoo in September 1846.  To me the way that this transition was written with a jump of nearly one full year in time from the arrest attempt to the Battle of Nauvoo with no explanation was awkward.  The third thing that confused me is at the end of the story of Lyman Johnson’s life.  The book explains that Johnson and another man were riding across the frozen Mississippi river in December of 1859 when the ice broke and they were drowned.  The text then states that Lyman’s body was “not recovered until March”. After the word March is footnote “105.” Footnote 105 refers the reader first to two local/topical newspaper references from 1859 and 1860 and then states:
Apostle Matthias Cowley, speaking at the October 1901 general conference, reported, ‘I remember hearing President Snow say on more than one occasion how determined Lyman E. Johnson was to see an angel from the Lord. He pled with and teased the Lord to send an angel to him, until he saw an angel; but President Snow said that the trouble with him was that he saw an angel one day and saw the devil the next day, and finally the devil got away with him.’ (22, See page 265 of Lost”)
I was unsure why Shepard and Marquardt put that citation there, which seemingly connects Cowley’s telling of the story of Lyman’s seeing an “Angel” and the “Devil” with his death.  From my reading of the speech (and the book) there was no connection and Cowley was not implying that there was.  If they wanted to use this Cowley quote I think that there were other places in Lyman Johnson’s story where it would have fit better. The final thing on Johnson that I wondered about occurs in the very last paragraph in his section as the authors conclude his story.  It states:
What is touching about his story is the bond he felt with the other apostles, especially Amasa Lyman, Heber Kimball, Orson Pratt, and Brigham Young (p. 266).
The confusing thing about this paragraph to me was that Amasa Lyman was not in the Quorum at the same time as Lyman Johnson was.  Amasa Lyman was one of the replacements called when Lyman Johnson and the others of the “Lost Apostles” were removed from the Quorum.  Shepard and Marquardt do mention on page 45 that Lyman Johnson baptized Amasa Lyman on a mission in 1832.  They leave out that for a time Amasa Lyman lived with Lyman Johnson and worked for his family when he first arrived in Kirtland (23).  If Shepard and Marquardt meant to say Amasa Lyman in that sentence then this extra detail about Lyman and Amasa’a story would have helped to explain why they would have been so close when they were not apostles at the same time. 
There was one other point I found in the book that seemed to contain an editorial error.  It occurs in the chapter/section on what happened to William Smith after his excommunication.  After explaining that Isaac Sheen wrote in support of William, including calling him “the Elijah of this dispensation,” the following run on sentence appears:
One can imagine that since William was in the audience in Kirtland when Elijah appeared to his brother Joseph behind the curtain, the meaning was probably that William was more like the ancient Hebrew prophet than a literal reincarnation knowing that the Brighamites had begun taking oaths against the United States to ‘avenge the blood of Joseph Smith on this nation,’ Smith and Sheen protested in a petition to the Federal Committee on Territories in Late 1849, adding that those in Utah were guilty of ‘blasphemy’ (p. 335-336).
Shepard and Marquardt have forever changed the way that I think about the “Lost Apostles” and about “apostasy and “Apostates” in general.  At the beginning of this lengthy review I cited a CES training meeting on Church History from 1989.  In this same meeting a CES executive named Calvin Stephens stated that “apostasy deals with those often who are traitors, who no longer are loyal to a cause that they have espoused or an obligation or covenants that they have entered into”. He then provides a list of ten reasons why early church members apostatized and four things that modern church members can do to avoid their fates. The first list includes “criticism of church leaders…being offended…persecution…desire for wealth…deep sin, especially immorality…pride…neglect of duty” and others.  To stay faithful he suggests that his listeners “watch…pray…read (and study) the scriptures…(and) follow the living prophet” (24). Based on what I learned from Shepard and Marquardt, the idea that the “Lost Apostles” were traitors who can be easily lumped into a category of having apostatized because they were “filled with deep sin”, “or neglected their duties”, “were filled with pride” etc., does not fit.  While they did make mistakes, commit sins (25), and some struggled with pride or desire for money, they also did the positive things that Stephens mentions.  They did “watch” and “pray” and “study the scriptures” and for some time tried to “follow the prophet”.  They were also all very diligent in trying to fulfill their callings. 
While sin and pride usually get the blame for why the “Lost Apostles” left, Shepard and Marquardt point out that what is almost always forgotten is that overall these men had proven to be men of
…Sound judgment and moral consistency.  They had remained loyal to Joseph through thick and thin, when most other people would have long since abandoned him.  When some of them decided to break off their association with the church, it was not a decision they took lightly (p. 136).
In another place, in the context of the various problems in Kirtland and Missouri, including the militarization of the Church (Zion’s camp, the Danites, etc.), the authors mention that the Apostles had suffered through more strain and stress than would ever be expected of most people, and then state:
These men had signed up for a Church and had inherited a military camp.  They had not expected to be required to follow orders, and their consciences, after leading them to the church, led them away from it (p. 161).
Other factors came into play too.  The Twelve were not always treated equally under the “Law of Consecration”, many of them objected to the growing militancy in the church and/or the atrocities that were committed by the Mormons during the “war” in Missouri, etc., etc. Shepard and Marquardt have taught me that the lives of the six “Lost Apostles”, and indeed of all those who choose to leave the Restoration, were multilayered and complex, they cannot be used as simple, one dimensional, “moral/cautionary tales”.
“Lost Apostles” has come at an important time in Restoration history and I believe that it will have a long-term impact for some time to come.  The struggle with “apostasy” is just as important now in the LDS Church as it was in the mid to late 1830’s.  In a 2012 meeting in Logan, Utah, then LDS Church Historian and Seventy Marlin Jensen said, “maybe since Kirtland, we never have had a period of, I’ll call it apostasy, like we’re having right now”(26). As I was writing this review I became involved in a Facebook discussion where an individual said that “all apostates” leave the LDS Church because they have been “offended”.  When I joined the discussion and tried to say that it was more complex than that, even citing the October 2013 talk by President Uchtdorf to back myself up (27), most in the discussion shouted me down.  Then, as I was trying to finish this review, multiple news stories broke about several “high profile bloggers” and activists in the LDS Church who were being called into disciplinary hearings for charges that come under the umbrella idea of “apostasy”.  After several had been excommunicated amidst much press coverage, the LDS First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve issued a rare joint statement defining apostasy and how church members can appropriately question matters of history and doctrine (28).  
On a happy/positive note, as I was doing research related to this review I visited the LDS CES website and found the following teaching in relation to the “Milk Strippings” incident: “While this situation did not lead him to leave the Church, it compounded with his other frustrations. He became increasingly critical of other Church leaders, and he eventually turned against the Saints” (29).  Also, while the earlier cited Sunday school lesson still blames Marsh’s leaving the church on the “Milk Strippings incident,” the LDS “Church History” website has an article titled “The Faith and Fall of Thomas Marsh” that paints the best “official” picture of Marsh yet.  This site still states that Marsh, “fell prey to a spirit of apostasy”, but acknowledges that Marsh “was among several Latter-day Saints who became disturbed by the increasingly violent relationship between Church members and their Missouri neighbors”.  It then states that the “Milk Strippings incident” “contribut(ed) to his deepening dissatisfaction” (30).  So it would seem that at LDS headquarters there is a movement to acknowledge that Marsh’s life and decisions are more complex and nuanced then previously acknowledged. 
NOW, my final advice in this review is this, if you have *ANY* interest or connection to Restorationist history, then buy a copy of “Lost Apostles: Forgotten Members of Mormonism’s Original Quorum of Twelve”, read it, and join the discussions now taking place from a more historically informed position. 

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Council of 50 300x225Due From Signature in September 2014, “The Council of Fifty: A Documentary History” (YTFIF to the initiated) from Jedediah S. Rogers, editor of “In the Presidents Office: The Diaries of L. John Nuttall, 1879-1892” Significant Mormon Diaries Series No. 11

1) Boyd K Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far, Greater Than the Intellect” in “Charge to Religious Educators,” 3rd ed. pp. 64-67.
2) Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 324.
3) Lund, Gerald, “A Stone Out” CES tape DCS89A-08, 1989 CES Doctrine and Covenants Symposium, tape copy and digital copy in my possession, emphasis in his delivery).
4) See for example, Shipps, Jan (1985), Mormonism: The Story of a New Religious Tradition, Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, page 30 where she says that the First Vision was “practically unknown” among early members; Bushman, Richard Lyman (2005), Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, New York: Knopf, page 39 which states, “At first, Joseph was reluctant to talk about his vision. Most early converts probably never heard about the 1820 vision;” and James B. Allen, “The Significance of Joseph Smith’s ’First Vision’ in Mormon Thought.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 1 No. 3 (1966): 29–46)
5) For more on why this pronunciation/spelling may be important see for example: “Retelling the Greatest Story Ever Told: Popular Literature as Scripture in Antebellum America,” Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr., “Dialogue” 29:04 pp. 69-86; “The Roots of Early Mormonism: An Exegetical Inquiry” MA Thesis Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr., University of Calgary 1990; “The Quest for the Historical Nephi”, Clyde R. Forsberg, Jr., Ph. D. Dissertation Queen’s University, 1994; blog posts by Michael G Reed at and and also, “Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd Lore, and Treasure-Seeking in New York and New England during the Early Republic” by Noel A. Carmack, “Dialogue” 46:3 pp 78-159.
6) “If They Harden Not Their Hearts” CES, “Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Media”, 1998, available to stream or download at .
7) Lesson 24: “Be Not Deceived, but Continue in Steadfastness” – Doctrine and Covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teacher’s Manual, (1999), 134– 39
8) “Small Acts Lead to Great Consequences”, Gordon B. Hinckley, April 1984 General Conference. Excerpt on YouTube here , The link to the full video and transcript at the general conference website was not working when I was finishing this review, nor was the transcript in the May Ensign for that year accessible.
9) “And Nothing Shall Offend Them”, David A. Bednar, October 2006 General Conference. Excerpt here full talk and transcript here
10) “School Thy Feelings, O My Brother”, Thomas S. Monson, October 2009 General Conference. Excerpt here , Full talk and transcript here,
11) This segment can be watched here I do realize that this video is meant to be brief and it could be argued that there was no time to show any of Lyman Johnson’s faithful actions in it. This segment also contains an anachronistic error. When the new convert meets Lyman Johnson, Brigham Young, and Orson Hyde he exclaims, “I didn’t reckon on meeting so many apostles my first day in Kirtland” to which Johnson replies, “Here in Kirtland you can’t hardly take a step without meeting an apostle or two.” In the time frame depicted in the video the Apostles did not yet have “General Authority” status. They were still considered a “travelling high council” whose main function was to direct missionary work and in theory they only had authority outside of the organized “stakes of Zion”. They were not seen as the Church’s top level file leaders and were not addressing Church wide conferences every six months. A new convert back then would not have been as near as impressed to meet an apostle (assuming that they even knew their names) as one would be now.
12) Clip is here
13) Essay/talk available in “Sperry Symposium Classics, the Doctrine and Covenants, pp.275-294 or at
14) A Revelation given [in] Kirtland, July 23rd 1837, Scott H. Faulring, An American Prophet’s Record, p.207–208 – THANK YOU Joe Geisner and Johnny Stephenson
15) Clip here
16) Clip at
17) In Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, Joseph Fielding Smith,
18) Both President Hinckley and President Monson include a major anachronism in their talks. They each state that when the disagreement came up between Sister Marsh and Sister Harris that the first thing that they did was to appeal “the matter was … to the home teachers to settle.” This is impossible. “Home Teachers” did not exist in the 1830’s. Their predecessors, “Ward Teachers” did not exist in the 1830’s. Even the predecessors to “Ward Teachers” called “Block Teachers” came about in the Nauvoo time period. George A Smith, in his account that has become the basis for all retellings, said that after the two women quarreled, “it became a matter to be settled by the Teachers” (JD 3:293 ) Smith would have been referring to the “Teachers Quorum” then filled by adults and *NOT* by 14 year old boys. According to the Doctrine and Covenants the Teachers Quorum has the responsibility to “The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them; And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, backbiting, nor evil speaking” (DC 20:53-54).
21) For more on the complicate marriage life of Zina Huntington Jacobs Smith Young see the Signature Books title “4 Zinas”
22) Matthias Cowley, General Conference, October 1901 p. 18, for a transcript of the full speech see
23) See, “A House Divided: The John Johnson Family,” by Keith Perkins, Ensign, February 1979,
24) “Apostasy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, Calvin Stephens, CES Doctrine and Covenants Conference, 1989, tape DCS89A-04, copy and digital file in my possession.
25) William Smith’s sins were perhaps the most serious and did include adultery and sexual assault, but you will have to read “Lost Apostles” for yourself to learn more about that!
26) See, for more information, mp3 recording of the meeting is in my possession.
27) “Come, Join with Us”, By President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2013. This was the talk where he said, “One might ask, ‘If the gospel is so wonderful, why would anyone leave?’Sometimes we assume it is because they have been offended or lazy or sinful. Actually, it is not that simple. In fact, there is not just one reason that applies to the variety of situations”.

11 replies »

  1. Prior to being re-baptized, Marsh wrote a letter to Heber C. Kimball that included “I have met with G[eorge] W. Harris and a reconsiliation has taken place with us, and when that was accomplished I was so overjoyed that I was constrained to say in my heart truely this is an evidence the Lord Loves me after all my rebellion & my sins.” Harris is the only person mentioned by name in the letter.

    Do Shepard and Marquardt give any detail on this, on why Marsh felt a need to reconcile with Harris?

  2. Stellar review on an excellent book! My hat is off not only to the authors, but to Mr. Hamilton as well. Your hard work for this review is not going unnoticed; makes me want to read the book again!

    • I am glad that you are able to find much of the story there. TO my knowledge this is still the first attempt to put all of the information into one book and to portray these men in a positive rather than a negative light. Also my review mostly focused on comparing the book to “official” portrayals (SS manuals , CES materials, etc) and those have, with what I found and experienced, never told the full, balanced story.

  3. Would love to listen to the reference, “Apostasy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints”, Calvin Stephens, CES Doctrine and Covenants Conference, 1989.” Does anyone have access to a copy for purchase or download? Thanks.

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