Considering we might want to learn something about Mormonism, in light of the upcoming presidential election, here are some titles that explore the Mormon religion, in non-fiction and fiction.
First from the more factual side:
The Mormon People: the Making of an American Faith by Matthew Bowman: Religious historian Bowman presents 180 years of Mormon history and doctrine, recounting the church's origin and development, and explaining how Mormonism came to be one of the fastest-growing religions in the world. He then sets the scene for the 2012 presidential election, with its potential to mark a major turning point in the way the faith is perceived by the American public.
Under the Banner of Heaven : a Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer: Using mostly secondary historical texts and some contemporary primary sources, Krakauer details the history of the Mormon church from its early 19th-century creation to its violent journey from upstate New York to the Midwest and Utah, where, after the renunciation of the church's holy doctrine sanctioning multiple marriages, it transformed itself into one of the world's fastest-growing religions. While Krakauer demonstrates that most nonfundamentalist Mormons are community oriented, industrious and law-abiding, he poses some striking questions about the policies of the religion--and many religions in general.
Understanding the Book of Mormon : a Reader's Guide by Grant Hardy: Hardy offers a comprehensive analysis of the work's narrative structure, by identifying the book's literary techniques, such as characterization, embedded documents, allusions, and parallel narratives, and shows how the narrators--Nephi, Mormon, and Moroni--each has a distinctive voice woven into an integral whole.
And now some pure fiction:
The 19th Wife : a novel by David Ebershoff: The story of Ann Eliza, the 19th wife of Brigham Young, and her crusade against polygamy is intertwined with a tale of murder involving a polygamist family in modern-day Utah.
The Lonely Polygamist : a novel by Brady Udall: Golden Richards, husband to four wives, father to 28 children, is having the mother of all midlife crises. His construction business is failing, his family has grown into an overpopulated mini-dukedom beset with insurrection and rivalry, and he is done in with grief: due to the accidental death of a daughter and the stillbirth of a son, he has come to doubt the capacity of his own heart. This is a tragicomic story of a deeply faithful man who, crippled by grief and the demands of work and family, becomes entangled in an affair that threatens to destroy his family’s future.