Episode 82: Tom Kimball and Signature Books

Signature Books Office

John Larsen interviews Tom Kimball of Signature books about his faith journey and about Signature Books.

Signature Books
Signature Books Library

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
In Sacred Loneliness
Insiders View
DNA and The Book of Mormon
Backslider
Nauvoo Endowment Companies
Quorum of the Anointed

Episode 82

25 comments on “Episode 82: Tom Kimball and Signature Books”

  1. Richard of Norway Reply

    Great interview. Thanks for coming on Tom! I agree with what you say about the anti-Mormon reflection so many (ignorant) Mormons have about Signature Books. I blame it on correlation: So many members now won’t buy anything that doesn’t have the Deseret Book stamp on it. Several members in my Ward (in Norway) don’t trust Signature books and say the few books I have of yours (In Sacred Loneliness, Palmer’s book and all of Quinn’s books) are anti-Mormon literature. It irks me to no end!

  2. Richard of Norway Reply

    Great interview. Thanks for coming on Tom! I agree with what you say about the anti-Mormon reflection so many (ignorant) Mormons have about Signature Books. I blame it on correlation: So many members now won’t buy anything that doesn’t have the Deseret Book stamp on it. Several members in my Ward (in Norway) don’t trust Signature books and say the few books I have of yours (In Sacred Loneliness, Palmer’s book and all of Quinn’s books) are anti-Mormon literature. It irks me to no end!

  3. Swearing Elder Reply

    Where would I be in my journey through Mormonism without Signature Books? And where would Mormon Studies generally be without Signature?

    My own shelves have several of their titles, each of which has been important in the development of my understanding of Mormonism: An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, In Sacred Loneliness, Mormon Mavericks, The Backslider (sheer genius), and others. Several others have passed through my hands courtesy of one library or another: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Neither White nor Black, BYU: A House of Faith, to name a few.

    But perhaps the most important to me personally has been Matters of Conscience: Conversations with Sterling M. McMurrin on Philosophy, Education, and Religion. I was taking courses from Jack Newell when the book came out and read excerpts before it was available. I bought a copy as soon as it was published.

    I knew I had my questions about Mormonism, but didn’t really know how to go about asking the questions. This was before the explosion of information about Mormonism on the Internet and even things like Sunstone seemed suspect to my (wanting-to-be) believing mind.

    The parts I had originally read from Matters of Conscience related to McMurrin’s time at the University of Utah (relevant to one of the courses I was in), but when I had the whole book I devoured it. It was liberating to learn about McMurrin’s intellectual and moral integrity when it came to Mormonism, even if I couldn’t myself replicate it. Not wanting to loan out my inscribed copy (by Jack, that is, sadly McMurrin died just as the book was coming out and I never met him), I bought a second copy that I could loan to friends.

    In fact, it was in that book I learned of the original Swearing Elders, the source of my online Mormon moniker.

    So, this is my small thanks to Signature Books for the vital role you play in the World of Mormonism…

  4. Swearing Elder Reply

    Where would I be in my journey through Mormonism without Signature Books? And where would Mormon Studies generally be without Signature?

    My own shelves have several of their titles, each of which has been important in the development of my understanding of Mormonism: An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins, In Sacred Loneliness, Mormon Mavericks, The Backslider (sheer genius), and others. Several others have passed through my hands courtesy of one library or another: Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Neither White nor Black, BYU: A House of Faith, to name a few.

    But perhaps the most important to me personally has been Matters of Conscience: Conversations with Sterling M. McMurrin on Philosophy, Education, and Religion. I was taking courses from Jack Newell when the book came out and read excerpts before it was available. I bought a copy as soon as it was published.

    I knew I had my questions about Mormonism, but didn’t really know how to go about asking the questions. This was before the explosion of information about Mormonism on the Internet and even things like Sunstone seemed suspect to my (wanting-to-be) believing mind.

    The parts I had originally read from Matters of Conscience related to McMurrin’s time at the University of Utah (relevant to one of the courses I was in), but when I had the whole book I devoured it. It was liberating to learn about McMurrin’s intellectual and moral integrity when it came to Mormonism, even if I couldn’t myself replicate it. Not wanting to loan out my inscribed copy (by Jack, that is, sadly McMurrin died just as the book was coming out and I never met him), I bought a second copy that I could loan to friends.

    In fact, it was in that book I learned of the original Swearing Elders, the source of my online Mormon moniker.

    So, this is my small thanks to Signature Books for the vital role you play in the World of Mormonism…

  5. Chino Blanco Reply
  6. Chino Blanco Reply
  7. Tom Kimball Reply

    Chino

    I’ll stick to what I said. It is pretentious to herald yourself in third person.

    “she’s (Joanna Brooks) an award winning American religion scholar and writer.”
    – JOANNA BROOKS

    Having said that, I listened to her speak at Sunstone and she simply just impressed the hell out of me. If she needs someone to herald her in first person … pick me!

    As for Holly Welker, she is probably not the best example to give here. A very dark cloud follows Holly around–all of her own making. To bad, because for the most part, she has an important message that deserves consideration.

    Swearing Elder

    “McMurrin died just as the book was coming out and I never met him.”

    Yeah, me too. I came into the book world just as he died. Thanks for the complements, I think you are going to really like our forthcoming lineup. Stay tuned.

    —-

    Richard

    “the anti-Mormon reflection so many (ignorant) Mormons have”

    Harsh dude! I could easily echo that except that one of those “ignorant” Mormons was me not too long ago. I like to think that we all have a lifetime to mature. I like to consider myself a work in progress and try and think the same for others.

    Having said that, I share your frustration. Thanks for the comment.

    –Tom

    • Holly Welker Reply

      Tom Kimball has a dark cloud of his own making following his as well. Anyone wanting to know how Tom Kimball views Mormon women and their concerns should check out the session he arranged for Sunstone 2010, on the virtues of a male-only priesthood. That’s right: Tom Kimball wanted a panel on the virtues of an all-male priesthood. He made the women at Sunstone take care of the details, but he really, truly proposed and chaired a Sunstone panel on the virtues of an all-male priesthood, his basic argument being that ladies don’t really need it ’cause they already know how to nurture, but men need the training in being decent and kind that the priesthood provides. During the Q&A, he announced condescendingly that the main reason Mormon women don’t have the priesthood is that they haven’t asked for it.

      In his original proposal to Sunstone, Tom specifically asked that I be on that panel and knock down what he had to admit was a very weak argument, but when I challenged some of his more ridiculous assertions, he lost his cool.

      Women are unwilling to work with Tom Kimball and the other men at Signature because of the way they treat women and dismiss women’s issues. Their collective misogyny is simply too obvious to ignore or overcome.

      • Tom Kimball Reply

        The above is a fairly good example of why Holly is problematic. She struggles to see the friendlies from the foes.

        In speaking with Judith Fox, founder of the National Organization for Women about Signature’s book on the Equal Rights Amendment, I learned that some in NOW would see Signature’s efforts in woman’s equality to be a soft push rather than a hard push. I thank Judith for helping me understand the difference, and maybe that’s what is at stake here. I probably have not prepared myself to give a hard push for equality for women. This is not to say that I’m not empathetic to the issue.

        As for the out-of-print book “Women and Authority.” The last few years it was still in print, the book really struggled in sales. Only a handful of copies sold those last few years it was available in-print.

        Understanding the importance of the book in Mormon Studies, I wanted to make sure it was one of the first books we placed on our signaturebookslibrary.org website as a free book. I felt that in doing so, it could reach a new generation of on-line Mormon women. I’m now aware that several University professors who now use chapters from the book as required reading and that the Mormon Feminist Housewives were reading it as a group from the website. This is something I’m personally very proud of.

        Signature is dedicated to producing quality Mormon women studies. We have a good track record of this in the past, and we hope to do much more. I personally have high hopes.

        I’m very sorry that Holly misunderstood the purpose of my Sunstone session, or the purpose for presenting at any sessions for that matter. I’m also very sorry to the people who were on my panel who fell target to Holly’s over-the-top rude behavior. Something I will more carful about in the future. I was very honored to have LIsa Butterfield, founder of Mormon Feminist Housewives call me a “good Mormon feminist” after my paper. I was disturbed to see Holly holding her face in her hands, shaking her head while the rest of us presented.

        I don’t claim perfection for myself. I actually learned a great deal from that Sunstone session (which is the actual point of presenting). I actually learned a great deal from Holly. I also know that I’m a work in progress. This is not to say that Holly’s description of the session is in anyway accurate. It was just the perception from someone thinks everyone else is a fool.

        I found this recap of our session on Mormon Matters: http://mormonmatters.org/2010/08/17/sunstone-2010-a-feminist-recap/

        You can also order the session directly from Sunstone. 801-355-5926.

        • Holly Welker Reply

          In speaking with Judith Fox, founder of the National Organization for
          Women about Signature’s book on the Equal Rights Amendment, I learned
          that some in NOW would see Signature’s efforts in woman’s equality to be
          a soft push rather than a hard push. I thank Judith for helping me
          understand the difference, and maybe that’s what is at stake here. I
          probably have not prepared myself to give a hard push for equality for
          women.

          Indeed.

          As for the out-of-print book “Women and Authority.” The last few years
          it was still in print, the book really struggled in sales. Only a
          handful of copies sold those last few years it was available in-print…. I’m now aware that several
          University professors who now use chapters from the book as required
          reading…. This is something I’m personally very proud of.

          A marketing director of a publishing house might also know that ending up with your titles as required reading is a good way to make sure your titles sell enough to remain in print.

          I’m very sorry that Holly misunderstood the purpose of my Sunstone session

          I was provided with a copy of Tom’s initial query to Sunstone about the panel.  Here it is:

          “Men and the Priesthood: Taking on the Feminine”
          I would like to write a thesis of why the Priesthood forces men to take
          on the unnatural role as nurturer. And that this may be a positive
          consideration as to why women may want “men only” to have the
          priesthood.I guess I’ll be setting up a straw man of sorts
          because I want a strong “Women Only” response panel including folks like
          Holly Welker, Lavina, Page, maybe Page’s sister Ruth, or you, and
          probably one of the “Feminist Mormon Housewives” crew. It would be nice
          to have ONE woman who would say, “I don’t want the priesthood.” Maybe a
          polygamist wife.
          Certainly I don’t have a death wish. I basically, think it would be
          an interesting discussion about the possible pros, and certainly the
          cons of our “male only” priesthood.
          How have I misunderstood that Tom considers “nurturer” an unnatural role, or that he specifically requested that I “knock down what he had to admit was a very weak argument”?

          It was just the perception from someone thinks everyone else is a fool.

          By no means do I think that “everyone else is a fool.”  But I admit I have little patience or respect for someone who cannot keep track of his own intellectual projects or positions, or who announces publicly that his ability as a father to show affection and love for his children is contingent on having a form of power and authority that women do not.

    • Holly Welker Reply

      Another indication of how little Tom Kimball and Signature Books care about Mormon women and their concerns: their list of women’s studies titles. http://signaturebooks.com/category/books/womens-studies-books/

      They don’t even list “Women and Authority” by Maxine Hanks. It’s one of the most important titles in Mormon women’s studies, but they don’t even mention it. They let it go out of print, and made it available on the web instead, which means they don’t have to pay to reprint it–or give royalties to the woman responsible for it.

  8. Tom Kimball Reply

    Chino

    I’ll stick to what I said. It is pretentious to herald yourself in third person.

    “she’s (Joanna Brooks) an award winning American religion scholar and writer.”
    – JOANNA BROOKS

    Having said that, I listened to her speak at Sunstone and she simply just impressed the hell out of me. If she needs someone to herald her in first person … pick me!

    As for Holly Welker, she is probably not the best example to give here. A very dark cloud follows Holly around–all of her own making. To bad, because for the most part, she has an important message that deserves consideration.

    Swearing Elder

    “McMurrin died just as the book was coming out and I never met him.”

    Yeah, me too. I came into the book world just as he died. Thanks for the complements, I think you are going to really like our forthcoming lineup. Stay tuned.

    —-

    Richard

    “the anti-Mormon reflection so many (ignorant) Mormons have”

    Harsh dude! I could easily echo that except that one of those “ignorant” Mormons was me not too long ago. I like to think that we all have a lifetime to mature. I like to consider myself a work in progress and try and think the same for others.

    Having said that, I share your frustration. Thanks for the comment.

    –Tom

  9. Mr. IT Reply

    My only regret when it comes to Signature Books is that I don’t make more money!

    Great interview!

    And Tom thank you for all that you do. BTW, I really appreciate you holding your last paper copy of “Lucy’s Book” for me and understanding my situation enough to wait patiently for me to show up with the money. I treasure that title.
    ( http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/Lucy/introduction.htm )

    And I just want you to know that I have a testimony of the Book of Laman – I testify that it’s absolutely hilarious! And no Anti-Laman can persuade me otherwise!
    ( http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/laman/cover.htm#cover )

    Thank you and Signature Books so much for that and for making this Mormon Studies Scholar’s life so much richer!

    • Mr. IT Reply

      BTW, asking for feedback on Grant Palmer’s definition of an “Anti-Mormon” has certainly generated some interesting discussion on AnswerBag:

      T/F: An “Anti-Mormon” is anyone who lies about the true history and/or doctrine of the LdS Church thus misrepresenting it’s nature in fact.
      http://www.answerbag.com/profile/839637/questions/#ixzz10ikEerKH

      Personally, I think that Mr. Palmer has “nailed it” here!

  10. Mr. IT Reply

    My only regret when it comes to Signature Books is that I don’t make more money!

    Great interview!

    And Tom thank you for all that you do. BTW, I really appreciate you holding your last paper copy of “Lucy’s Book” for me and understanding my situation enough to wait patiently for me to show up with the money. I treasure that title.
    ( http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/Lucy/introduction.htm )

    And I just want you to know that I have a testimony of the Book of Laman – I testify that it’s absolutely hilarious! And no Anti-Laman can persuade me otherwise!
    ( http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/laman/cover.htm#cover )

    Thank you and Signature Books so much for that and for making this Mormon Studies Scholar’s life so much richer!

    • Mr. IT Reply

      BTW, asking for feedback on Grant Palmer’s definition of an “Anti-Mormon” has certainly generated some interesting discussion on AnswerBag:

      T/F: An “Anti-Mormon” is anyone who lies about the true history and/or doctrine of the LdS Church thus misrepresenting it’s nature in fact.
      http://www.answerbag.com/profile/839637/questions/#ixzz10ikEerKH

      Personally, I think that Mr. Palmer has “nailed it” here!

  11. Mike Tannehill Reply

    This was a great interview. I think it was partly because Tom and John enjoyed the same books and could converse easily on the different titles and authors brought up.

    I’d like to see this type of conversation continue. Maybe a few book reviews where you two can go more in depth on certain titles? We did a group one on Mormon Doctrine, I think something like “In Sacred Lonliness” or “The Magic World View” could receive the same treatment from John and Tom and maybe one other.

    Also I doubt that John would have a problem with getting an advance copy of something so that you could promote it with an interview and discussion.

  12. Mike Tannehill Reply

    This was a great interview. I think it was partly because Tom and John enjoyed the same books and could converse easily on the different titles and authors brought up.

    I’d like to see this type of conversation continue. Maybe a few book reviews where you two can go more in depth on certain titles? We did a group one on Mormon Doctrine, I think something like “In Sacred Lonliness” or “The Magic World View” could receive the same treatment from John and Tom and maybe one other.

    Also I doubt that John would have a problem with getting an advance copy of something so that you could promote it with an interview and discussion.

  13. Tom Kimball Reply

    “I doubt that John would have a problem with getting an advance copy of something so that you could promote it with an interview and discussion.”

    I think I can make that happen ….

    Tom

  14. Tom Kimball Reply

    “I doubt that John would have a problem with getting an advance copy of something so that you could promote it with an interview and discussion.”

    I think I can make that happen ….

    Tom

  15. Portseven Reply

    Great interview, Tom’s entusiasim is infectious!

    My question is are you providing any titles in Kindle format?

  16. Addie Reply

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