American Polygamy/American Zion: A Conversation with Craig L. Foster and Marianne T. Watson

Sep 19, 2020, 4:00 pm

The Book Bungalow is excited to host Betsy Gaines Quammen, Craig L. Foster, and Marianne T. Watson for a conversation about their books American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God & Public Lands in the West and American Polygamy: A History of Fundamentalist Mormon Faith.

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What happens when members of an American religion—one built in the nineteenth century on personal prophecy and land proprietorship—assert possession over western federal lands, armed with guns and a certainty that God wants them to go to war? American Zion is the story of the ongoing feud between Mormon ranching family the Bundys, the federal government, and the American public. Historian Betsy Gaines Quammen examines the roots of the Bundys’ cowboy confrontations, and how history has shaped an often-dangerous mindset which today feeds the militia movement and threatens public lands, wild species, and American heritage.


Today’s Fundamentalist Mormons in the American West resist assimilation like their forefathers. Centered on faith, they survive despite efforts to permanently end their cherished plural family arrangements. While some Fundamentalists like Warren Jeffs go rogue and corrupt their beliefs in heinous crimes, most hold steadfastly to a religion they say is biblical and restored by the first Latter-day Saint prophet, Joseph Smith, in the early 1800s. Mormon historians Craig Foster and Marianne Watson present more than two hundred photos and exclusive insights to explain how an estimated thirty thousand Fundamentalist Mormons still venerate a much-debated legacy—despite its difficult challenges—and persist in living plural marriage.

This event is made possible with support from Torrey House Press, the Book Bungalow, and Utah Humanities

Zoom Conference Call

202 W 300 N
Salt Lake City , UT 84103-1108
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Event Contact:

Michelle Wentling