Praise for A Vision Splendid: The Discourses of David O. McKay—now available in paperback and ebook!
“There had never been a Latter-day Saint church president in the mold of David O. McKay—and perhaps there will not be another. Clearly distinguished from his predecessors in being a clean-shaven, immaculately dressed monogamist, he created an image that still fits only himself. McKay looked upon the world’s greatest literature as scripture and quoted it at least as often as he did Mormonism’s canon. In the carefully selected and annotated sermons and speeches in this volume, Anne-Marie Wright Lampropoulos introduces us to his lofty, accessible, poetic vision that remains relevant, even vital, in a world he could never have imagined.” — Gregory A. Prince, author (with Wm. Robert Wright) of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism
“Half a century after David O. McKay’s forty-five years of church service came to an end, his words continue to provide rich fodder for personal and scholarly exploration. No one is better suited to approach him from both angles than Lampropoulos, who has familial connections and personal experiences with the prophet as well as the journalistic training to do him justice. Through personal reflections, textual analysis, and careful curation of McKay’s most representative and literarily lush addresses, Lampropoulos sheds new light on his inner workings. A Vision Splendid is a splendid academic contribution, but more importantly it is a warm and majestic testimony to the power of language—scriptural, poetic, inspirational, personal—to shape the soul and lift a people to divinity.” — Neylan McBaine, author of Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact
Now available to pre-order! Method Infinite: Freemasonry and the Mormon Restoration
The connection between Mormonism and Freemasonry has been rife with misunderstanding and misrepresentation, often because scholars lack perspective on one of the two traditions. By drawing on its authors’ intimate familiarity with and rich appreciation of both Mormonism and Freemasonry, Method Infinite uncovers previously missed connections that show how early Mormons were in dialogue with Masonic ideas, practices, and legends from the beginning.
Q&A with A Vision Splendid author Anne-Marie Wright Lampropoulos
Q: The records your aunt, Clare Middlemiss, kept while working as secretary to President McKay are one of the great treasures of recent Mormon history. When did you decide to use them for a book and what directed you towards the topic of McKay’s discourses?
A: I have been fascinated by my Aunt Clare’s work since childhood because of the way my family talked about her and her 35-year service with President McKay, and as the only woman to ever hold the position of private secretary to an LDS Church president. She gave my dad the vast collection of records she kept in her spare time, copious records consisting of thousands of pages of speeches, diaries, and scrapbooks. Her collection resided in a closet next to my bedroom after she passed away. My dad, Bob Wright, and his friend Greg Prince wrote an award-winning biography from Aunt Clare’s collection, David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. As comprehensive as their book was, there was still so much more inside these records. As I read through McKay’s speeches, I noticed how much he relied on beautiful literature and poetry to relay his messages. Gleaning from this treasure trove of material, I have tried to capture the essence of McKay’s inspiration and the remarkable vision he had for the world and the Church he led. Much has been written about McKay’s life and tenure as a Church leader and prophet, but little has been written about his love of literature and his abundant use of beautiful poetry and prose in every address he gave. Study of his speeches provides interesting insight into how he spent his precious free time, the books and journals he read, and the sources he sought for inspiration and understanding.
Q: What criteria did you use to select the three or four representative addresses published in full for each type of discourse?
A: From the tens of thousands of pages of material, I tried to select representative addresses for each genre that would give readers a genuine sense of McKay’s style and tone as well as the characteristic poetry and prose he used. No two speeches were ever the same, or even close, which is surprising given the immense numbers of speeches he gave. The discourses I chose to highlight portray good examples of the messages McKay thought were important and the unique way in which he chose to impart them to Church audiences, communities surrounding new temples and church buildings, civic groups, and mourners. Selected speeches were addressed to believers and non-believers, rural folks and city dwellers, Americans and world citizens.
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