Response Page | Critics Page

T.B.H. & Fanny Stenhouse 

"Actually the most serious threat to the Mormons in the 1860s came from divisions within their own ranks. In 1869 William S. Godge and a number of disaffected Mormon businessmen and intellectuals, including Amasa Lyman, T. B. H. Stenhouse, and Edward Tullidge, urged the church to adapt to the new era by participating in mining and trading. Godbe and his friends were disillusioned with several aspects of Mormonism, especially the `interference' with what they regarded as private concerns. They dabbled in spiritualism and criticized the frank materialism and authoritarian leadership style of Brigham Young. When Godbe and his associates were expelled from the church, they established the New Movement, often known as Godbeites. As a religion the movement soon floundered, but its periodical, Utah Magazine, continued and later, as the Salt Lake City Daily Tribune, became the most effective organ of the territory's Gentiles." (Arrington & Bitton 1979, 176)

"Mormon historical writing of a class different from any yet discussed is that of the "apostate" who neither affiliated with any dissident sect nor joined the ranks of the typical expose' authors. Two such men were John Corrill and T. B. H. Stenhouse. . . Stenhouse was sufficiently prestigious within the Church to be an emissary to the Lincoln administration. He became an associate in the `Godbeite Heresy' of 1869, a rebellion of a group of able and influential Mormons directed in part at the threat to individualism posed by the monopolistic aspects of church polity and the ironclad rule of Brigham Young (who drove the dissidents summarily from the Church). Leaving Utah for the East, Stenhouse published The Rocky Mountain Saints; A Full and Complete History of the Mormons (New York, 1873), constituting, together with a work by his wife giving the distaff point of view, the most sensational expose' of Mormonism since John C. Bennett in 1842. . . Stenhouse saw the Mormon faith as delusion, not hoax or fraud; he was critical of Smith and Young but did not doubt their sincerity. . . . The Rocky Mountain Saints is therefore something of an early landmark in Mormon historical writing, a forerunner of later discriptive and analytical works." (Flanders 1966, 55)

"the producers of anti-Mormon epics. . . seem incapable of anything but endlessly repeating each other. `A' picks up a story from `B' and hands it on to `C,' from whom it progresses through the hands of `D,' `E,' `F,' etc., whose combined authority ultimately convinces `I,' `J,' and `K' that they must be telling the truth. So one of these last becomes assigned reading for the students or even the congregation of Drs. `O' and `P,' and so on. Thus Mr. Irving Wallace will take some grisly tale from the pages of Mrs. Ann Eliza Webb Young Denning, who has got the story from her friend Mrs. Stenhouse, who got it from the terrible Bill Hickman, whose book was written by a rather sordid hack writer named Beadle, who confirms his frightful charges by appealing to Judge Harding, who got his best Mormon stories from his cousin Pomeroy Tucker, who is beholden to J. C. Bennett for his insights. And every one of these people steps before the public as firsthand authority on the Mormons, bandying the old threadbare tales about with the skill and assurance of one who really knows." (Nibley 1991, 411)

"put Burton on one side, and I think I can defy any one to name another book about the Mormons worthy of honest respect. From that truly awful book, The History of the Saints, published by one Bennett (even an anti-Mormon has styled him `the greatest rascal that ever came to the west') in 1842, down to Stenhouse's in 1873, there is not, to my knowledge, a single Gentile work before the public that is not utterly from its distortion of facts. Yet it is from these books--for there are no others that the American public has acquired nearly all its ideas about the people of Utah. (Sinners and Saints 1883, p. 245)" (Roberts 1965, vol 4, p.528-29)