Monday, May 07, 2007
The following article appeared last Friday on the popular, ultra-conservative Meridian online magazine:
Back in 1871, Sebastian Adams invented a new form of history, a visual encyclopedic timeline that depicted streams of history flowing together across fold-out pages, so readers could gain new insights into the context, interrelationships, and forces that create history. Adams's highly successful first book was called the Synchronological Chart or Map of History, and later he came out with A Chronological Chart of Ancient and Modern Biblical History.
Fast-forward to the twenty-first century, when English publisher Ken Webb updated Sebastian Adams's approach and launched a modern series of gorgeously illustrated timelines, which together have sold more than four million copies worldwide in 10 languages. Ken's timelines have addressed historical topics ranging from cities and nations to wars and religions, with some offbeat subjects thrown into the mix as well, such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Putting Together an LDS Version
Now it's Mormonism's turn to be treated to this rich visual presentation that makes the flow of history so much clearer and more dramatic, from the first prophet Adam all the way to President Gordon B. Hinckley. Ken Webb is not a Mormon, but in 2004 his attention was piqued when he heard about Doubleday's well-publicized new edition of the Book of Mormon.
"I decided to investigate the publishing possibilities for The Timechart History of Mormonism," says Ken. "Through a New York publishing friend, I was introduced to Jana Riess, a religion editor at Publishers Weekly. Jana introduced me to author Chris Bigelow, whose enthusiasm, skill, and superb cooperation helped this to be such a success. And Jana was kind enough to act as editor on the project."
Suitable for folding out to its full length of several yards or viewing page by page, the full-color Timechart History of Mormonism depicts the key events and people of the Old Testament, the Book of Mormon, the New Testament, and the Latter-day Saints of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, with an accompanying stream of world history events to put things into perspective.
The reverse side of the timeline features a basic primer on Mormonism, covering beliefs and ordinances, scriptures, temples, prophets, and historical sites. Also bound into the hardcover volume is a 32-page booklet that provides more depth on Joseph Smith and the origins of Mormonism; the major Mormon migrations; LDS contributions to science, art, politics, and popular culture; the faith's modern worldwide expansion; and other topics.
A Worldwide Effort
This Mormon timechart project was truly global in scope, with the writer and image researcher located in Utah, the editor in Ohio, the design team in Connecticut, the publisher in England, the map illustrators in India, and the printer in China.
According to Jeremy Dick, an LDS bishop in Oxford, England, "This timechart is a fantastic idea and a great achievement. It succeeds in condensing a wealth of information about the history, beliefs, doctrines, and statistics of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into a highly engaging format. The degree of detail is remarkable and will surely appeal to those familiar with the Church as much as to those completely new to the religion. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the huge number of photos and items of Mormon artwork that are brought together and placed in the context of the timeline."
Already in its second printing, The Timechart History of Mormonism is designed to appeal to teachers, students, history buffs, and readers of all ages. Many seminary teachers and others are purchasing multiple copies so they can hang the timechart portion on the wall while also keeping copies intact for individual use.
To order this Mormon timechart for only $17.95, click here.
Here's the link to the original article at Meridian online magazine.