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Signature Books

Signature Books
Signature Books office
Status Active
Founded 1980
Founder George D. Smith and Scott G. Kenney
Country of origin United States of America
Headquarters location Salt Lake City, UT
Publication types fiction, non-fiction, biography, history, documentary history, essays, poetry, women's studies
Nonfiction topics Mormon and Western Americana
Number of employees 8
Official website

Signature Books is a Salt Lake City, Utah.


  • History 1
  • Present 2
  • Controversy and criticism 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


In the late 1970s, Scott Kenney decided there needed to be a Mormon-related press that didn’t have ties to Eugene E. Campbell, Everett L. Cooley, David Lisonbee, D. Michael Quinn, Allen Dale Roberts, and Richard S. Van Wagoner; and an editorial board consisting of Lavina Fielding Anderson, Maureen Ursenbach Beecher, Davis Bitton, Orson Scott Card, and Jay Parry.


Signature Books produces from eight to ten books a year, which deal with topics of western and Mormon history, fiction, essay, humor and art. Among these are the diaries of Mormon leaders such as Joseph Smith, William Clayton, Heber C. Kimball, Wilford Woodruff, L. John Nuttall, Anthon H. Lund, John Henry Smith, Rudger Clawson, B. H. Roberts and Reed Smoot. Signature has also published noted studies of well-known early Mormon theologians such as James E. Talmage, B. H. Roberts, Orson Pratt, Parley P. Pratt, Brigham Young, John Widtsoe, and award winning biographies of significant early Mormons such as, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Wilford Woodruff, John Taylor, as well as a biography of thirty three of the plural wives of Joseph Smith.

Controversy and criticism

A number of books produced by the publisher related to Mormon history have been considered controversial. Some authors view this as "quality liberal thinking on controversial LDS topics."[1] Terryl Givens states that the publisher is "the main vehicle for publications that challenge the borders of Mormon orthodoxy."[2]

Signature Books is sometimes at odds with the Simon Southerton referred to Signature Books as "a perennial thorn in the side of FARMS."[3] One example was Signature Book's publication of Grant Palmer's book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. The publication of this book immediately resulted in five negative book reviews by FARMS.[4] Ron Priddis of Signature Books responded to these reviews by stating: "Is nothing beyond the reach of sarcasm by FARMS polemicists?"[5]

At one point in early 1991, FARMS claims that Signature Books threatened a lawsuit over several reviews of its books that appeared in the Review on Books of the Book of Mormon.[6] The item which initiated the lawsuit threat was a book review published by Stephen E. Robinson, on Signature-published The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture, in which Robinson blasted, "Korihor's back, and this time he's got a printing press. In its continuing assault upon traditional Mormonism, Signature Books promotes with its recent and dubiously titled work, The Word of God, ...naturalistic dealing with Latter-day Saint belief."[7] Signature Books asserts that several of the scholars who participated in New Approaches considered themselves active and participating members of the LDS faith. The FARMS reviewers, for their part, considered these authors to be opponents to the LDS tradition. Signature management made an inquiry with the FARMS management, holding that such inferences were insulting and could be considered libelous. Signature then requested a retraction.


In 2004, Signature Books posted on its web site a speech given by John Hatch, in which Hatch said, "After reading the (FARMS) reviews myself, it appears to me, and is my opinion, that FARMS is interested in making Mormonism's past appear as normal as possible to readers by attacking history books that discuss complex or difficult aspects of the church's past. ... I am deeply troubled by what I see as continued efforts to attack honest scholarly work."[10]


  1. ^ Ostling & Ostling 2000, p. 353
  2. ^ Givens 2002, p. 296 note 123
  3. ^ Southerton 2004, pp. 148–149
  4. ^ Cobabe 2003
  5. ^ Priddis, Ron. "A Reply to FARMS and the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute". Signature Books. Archived from the original on 2007-01-29. Retrieved 2007-02-01. 
  6. ^ Peterson 1992
  7. ^ Robinson 1991
  8. ^
  9. ^ Utah County Journal, 2 August 1991; Provo Daily Herald, 12 August 1991; Salt Lake Tribune, 21 August 1991.
  10. ^ Midgley 2004 Although Hatch's essay was present on the Signature Books website on 24 April 2004, it has since been removed.


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  • Cobabe, George E (2003), A Summary of Five Reviews of Grant Palmer's "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins", Provo, UT: .  
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  • Ostling, .  
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External links

  • The official Signature Books Website
  • Out-of-print Signature Books on-line
  • About Signature Books
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