Bruce Van Orden
We’ll Sing and We’ll Shout
The Life and Times of W. W. Phelps
Brigham Young University 2018
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network March 29, 2019 Daniel Stone
If you’re a Latter Day Saint, you’ve probably heard of W. W. Phelps, and no doubt, you’ve probably sung some of his hymns. But did you know that he printed the Book of Commandments and other early church works? Or that he was one of the “council of presidents” that guided the Church in Kirtland, Ohio and helped publish the newspaper in Nauvoo, Illinois? Or as political clerk, he assisted Joseph Smith in his roles as mayor of Nauvoo and contender for the U.S. presidency? Phelps also played a key role in the Council of Fifty. He went west with the Saints, helped propose the “State of Deseret,” and published prose and poetry in the Deseret News and his Deseret Almanac. Phelps’ strong feelings even put him at odds with Church leaders, and he was excommunicated three times, rejoining each time!
Dr. Bruce Van Orden explores Phelps’ fascinating life in the first ever comprehensive biography on him, entitled, We’ll Sing and We’ll Shout: The Life and Times of W. W. Phelps (Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2018). Dr. Orden makes some compelling arguments that have never been fully teased out by scholars. Whether you’re a Latter Day Saint historian, an American religion scholar, or just an interested student.