Zion in the Courts
About the BookWinner of an Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award
The inability of American society to tolerate the peculiar institutions embraced by Mormons was one of the major events in the religious history of nineteenth-century America. Zion in the Courts explores one aspect of this collision between the Mormons and the mainstream: the Mormons' efforts to establish their own court system--one appropriate to the distinctive political, social, and economic practices they envisioned as Zion--and the pressures applied by the federal legal system to bring them to heel.
This first paperback edition includes two new introductory pieces in which the authors discuss the Mormon emphasis on settling disputes outside the court, a practice that foreshadows current trends toward arbitration and mediation.
Reviews"This definitive study is certainly not dry-as-dust legal history. While providing a perceptive analysis of positions taken in the courts by Mormon leaders against repressive federal legislation, the authors have also presented a revealing glimpse of the development of a church court system to deal with contentious issues arising at all levels in the Mormon society. . . . Firmage and Mangrum have skillfully used the church court records to offer an intimate portrayal of the nature of early Mormon communities and doctrines." — Choice
"A major work of scholarship which deserves close attention from those interested in the Mormon encounter with American legal and cultural values." — Marvin S. Hill, Church History
"[Zion in the Courts] is a major contribution to Mormon history. More than that, it should provide a comparison with American law in general that all students of legal history will have to consider." — Davis Bitton, coauthor of The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints