Book Review: The Lincoln Hypothesis
Liberty is your Birthright! ~Abraham Lincoln to Americans of all colors, races, and creeds
It was a dark time in the history of America. The covenant land had fallen into sin, perpetrating or at least condoning the evils of slavery and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities. But there was an answer to the country’s woes, and two great leaders both knew it. Those leaders were Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.
Joseph Smith was killed for his attempts to bring the nation to repentance; Abraham Lincoln lived long enough to play a crucial role in returning the country to its covenant relationship with God. In this fascinating account, author Timothy Ballard shows how that role developed and how Lincoln came to consider himself “a humble instrument in the hands of God.”
“As you read,” Ballard writes, “you will, like a prosecutor reviewing a case, or like a jury determining a verdict, identify valuable pieces of evidence that can be fully substantiated. You will also identify pieces of evidence that cannot. I ask you to consider all the evidence and weigh it all accordingly. Through this study, many questions regarding the interplay between the restored gospel and the Civil War will be answered. New questions may emerge that will not be so easily answered. Either way, in the end you will find yourself on a most exhilarating investigative journey.”
Civil War history facts
Contrary to current opinion, it was the Democrat party that favored slavery. The Republican party was anti-slavery. In election campaign of 1864, Lincoln had already issued the Emancipation Proclamation, and Douglas opposed him on the Democrat ticket with a platform favoring slavery.
Although at first the Civil War was about preserving the Union, the North came to accept that the war was punishment by God for the sin of slavery. The resulting 13th and 14th amendments adjusted the Constitution so that the evils of slavery and the persecution of religious and ethnic minorities by individual states were done away.
Are we seeing a current breach of the American Covenant?
“For a good while, there has been going on in this nation a process that I have termed the secularization of America . . .We as a nation are forsaking the Almighty, and I fear that He will begin to forsake us. We are shutting the door against the God whose sons and daughters we are . . . .
“Future blessings will come only as we deserve them. Can we expect peace and prosperity, harmony and goodwill, when we turn our backs on the Source of our strength? If we are to continue to have the freedoms that evolved within the structure that was the inspiration of the Almighty to our Founding Fathers, we must return to the God who is their true Author . . . .
“God bless America, for it is His creation.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley
The Lincoln Hypothesis–Book Review
By Marie Leslie
Much has been written about Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, but The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard is an account unlike any other.
It is not a biography, it is not a political history, and it is not a religious history.
It falls somewhere in between all three.
Timothy Ballard, the author, calls this book in his preface an “investigative journey—an exploration.” While there are certainly many historical facts in this book, and much historical context, it also explores Mr. Ballard’s “unsubstantiated, yet compelling ideas that [he believes] are also worthy of serious consideration.”
I believe reading the preface and introduction are really essential to understanding the book and the theories he presents. In short summary, the book jacket offers this: “A modern-day abolitionist investigates the possible connection between Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Abraham Lincoln.”
Mr. Ballard researches and gathers evidence throughout the book to support his hypothesis that Abraham Lincoln may have read the Book of Mormon and that his understanding of it may have influenced the decisions he made during his presidency—and during the Civil War.
It is an interesting book, though I will admit to reading it with some degree of frustration. Like a good investigator, the author takes us through his investigation step-by-step. Sometimes the steps move a little too slowly and a little too repetitively for my impatient mind (I’m really kind of a let’s-get-to-the-point gal). It reminded me a bit of my college thesis-writing class: tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them. Parts of the story for me kept feeling like “tell them what you’re going to tell them” over and over.
Once I got used to the writing style, I did find the subject matter interesting and learned quite a bit about Lincoln and his presidency that I did not know before. I have read many books about Lincoln and the Civil War over the years and I have never failed to be impressed by the enormity of the trials he faced, the decisions he made and the way in which he conducted his life.
Did Lincoln read the Book of Mormon? We’ll probably never know for sure—at least not in this life. But it would not surprise me. More importantly, the evidence presented in this book at least for me overwhelmingly points to a man of great faith who had a sincere desire to do what he felt was right before God. Now it’s up to you to read it and see what conclusions you draw from the evidence.
The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard is available in hardcover and eBook formats through Deseret Book by clicking here.