The Mormon village was originally conceived as a place removed from the rest of the world, a place where the Saints could live strong faith-based identity. Although common in Europe, the pattern that Mormons used of residential villages with outlying farms was unusual in the American West. The first studies of these villages were by travelers who lived among the Mormons and wrote about their experiences. By linking these early accounts to the move of more formal academic studies of the twentieth century, “Saints Observed” provides the most complete look at Mormon community life.
Howard M. Bahr is a professor of sociology at Brigham Young University, where he teaches social theory, the sociology of religion, and ethnic relations. His recent books include Toward More Family-Centered Family Sciences: Love, Sacrifice, and Transcendence (with Kathleen S. Bahr) and The Navajo as Seen by the Franciscans, 1920–1950.