Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some Weird and Rare Books I Own, part 2

I have a library of around 4,ooo volumes so there are quite a few weird and rare books in the office. And now in no particular order.

MARCUS KING, MORMON by Nephi Anderson

This is the same guy who wrote the better known ADDED UPON, which I also have an old copy of but it is from 1939 and Marcus King was printed in 1900 by George Q. Cannon & Sons. I'm not sure if there even was a Deseret Book yet and maybe the former became D.B. I can't remember at 1:A.M. Anyway it's old and that was the point of the post. Its about a reverend who surprise surprise, converts to the gospel and is disparaged by his former friends and neighbors but says at the end it was all worth it. That's a quick summary of thumbing it just now because I have not yet read it. Originally published in serial in the Juvenile Instructor they (George Q. Cannon & Sons) published it in book form for the LDS audience. Sorry if I didn't go into better depth for all you die-hard Anderson fans out there.


These are a little more into the weird category since I don't think they are that rare for anyone who would really look. Pretty sure I got mine at Sam Weller's. Ogden Kraut is a fundamentalist and an independent, or at least he was, he's deceased now. I actually have a lot of his books for the same reason I have a lot of LDS Archival Publishers books, for the sake of history. He does have some out there theories in a lot of his self-published stuff but nothing too terribly weird or unexpected. I liked these 2 books in particular for the Mormon folklore aspect.

For those that don't know John Koyle was at one time a Bishop in Salem. In 1894, he supposedly received a heavenly messenger,that told him of an ancient Nephite gold mine, still full of treasure that would some day save the Church. I have no problem with any of this in theory. I want to believe, to quote Fox Mulder, but I am not convinced and it has nothing to do with threatenings of Koyles excommunication or the geologic analysis of the mountain behind Salem by non-other than Apostle James E. Talmage, declaring there would be no gold from the mine. Despite all of this I don't buy it. Though I do know a couple of shareholders. But I don't buy it because even though numerous prophecies by Bishop Koyle seem to have come true, I cannot find anything to tell me that the man TESTED the spirit that gave him the information. Without testing a spirit, even if it appears clothed in light, I wouldn't trust it all. But this is really starting to go on a tangent, so I'm gonna close this one with the idea is cool, I'll use it in my books eventually but do I believe it? No, I don't.

Out of four, I have volumes 3 and 4. They are rather interesting encyclopedias from 1890. A lot of the scientific fact within is laughable. I think they may have been handy-dandy old west school marm material. A lot of nice wood-cut illustrations inside.

THE GOLDEN BOUGH by Sir James G. Frazer
My copy is only from 1950, so its not too old. I may be the most religious person to appreciate this work. I must say I don't agree with his conclusions anymore than I do with Joseph Campbells, Hero with a Thousand Faces. But I like it for the sake of ancient cultures and beliefs. Ultimately Frazer's goal was to illustrate the shared belief structure of people culminating in religion. In a nutshell, religion and spirituality are hooey. I'm much to spiritual and have had too many personal experiences to believe his agnostic premise. But as a source book on paganism it is wonderful. I have used somethings for HEROES OF THE FALLEN and BLOOD OF OUR FATHERS. Now that I think about it those titles almost seem FRAZERIAN. But they're not, they're JOSEPH-SMITHIAN.


Th. said...


Haven't read Marcus yet, but I have a feeling I will eventually work my way through Anderson's entire oeuvre. And I've heard from one quarter that Marcus is his best.

David J. West said...

I willgive it a better look-see. Shouldn't be too hard, it is pretty short. I'll keep you posted.

Christine Bryant said...

Wow, what a collection. I've heard of a couple of them, but never read them. Guess I'll have to put them on my list of "summer reading" I'm compiling. Great Post.

lachish said...

That is a very cool list.

I have a copy of Prince of Peace with Heber J. Grant's signature in the front (in fountain pen). Awesome signature.

By the way, I hate to do this to you, but you better check out my blog today.