Monday, September 6, 2010
For those of you who know me you know that I am always in the middle of a good book and usually in the middle of a few good books. You may also know that I am a huge fan and advocate of Porter Rockwell. One of the good books that I have recently finished reading is John W. Rockwell (The great-great grandson of Porter Rockwell) and Jerry Borrowman's "Stories from the Life of Porter Rockwell".
I have read basically every book that I could get my hands on about Porter Rockwell from the Richard Lloyd Dewey 4 book series to Dewey's Biography on Rockwell. I have even read a few hard to find books on Porter Rockwell including Porter Rockwell The Mormon Frontier Marshal by Nicholas Van Alfren. I guess you could consider this a review on the above noted book by J. Rockwell and J. Borrowman. I consider it one of the more easy reading Porter Rockwell books and I think they did a good job simplizing the history surrounding Porter without compromising his character. I can even say that they shed some light on the real Porter Rockwell that I had never grasped on too until now. I had never realized that Porter Rockwell was a member of the seventy even until his death. I knew that Porter Rockwell was a pretty good business man and owned many businesses including hotels, taverns, ferry boats, livery goods, and plenty others. The one I found most ironic was that our modern day sampson once owned a barber shop, I found that ironic and entertaining as well. I enjoyed that fact that the authors pointed out that although Porter was illiterate he was a great business man and died one of the wealthiest men in Utah at the time of his death. I loved the portion of the book where it told of Brigham getting the saints ready to head west by getting all their temple covenants performed in the Nauvoo. Apparently Porter not only took out his own endowments and later accepted an assignment to act as an officiator in the endowment and as the authors stated,"It will take some readers just a few seconds to figure out what role he played, but its best to leave it at that." With all this said I would advise people to read this book to get a good picture of what I think Porter was really like. Too me it just adds to the character of Porter Rockwell that even though he had received the blessing from Joseph Smith jr in regards to not cutting his hair he wouldn't be harmed by either knife or gun that he was eventually willing to cut his hair for a wig to be made while he was visiting California and had stumbled across the widow of Joseph's younger brother Don Carlos Smith who had recently recovered from a Typhoid fever epidemic that left her with know hair.
I had read a review by a BYU student done a few years ago on his blog where he to some degree critisized Mormons for loving old Porter but knowing that they would never like their own daughters to marry a modern day Porter. I can honestly say that I would feel honored to have my daughter marry a member of the 70 who devoted his life to the protecting the prophets of his time and the church as a whole. Although he had his darkside to some degree I think we all do. His may have been his alcohol and what some call lawlessness but in reviewing his history I think the confirmed stories paint a picture of a Porter Rockwell who actually had a human side and although willing to kill at the drop of a dime he was most always a righteous and forgiving man. He also had his addiction to alcohol but I think his accomplishments are much greater than the fault. Here is an interview with the authors in regards to this book.