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The Work and the Glory is a nine-part novel series by Gerald N. Lund chronicling the birth and early growth of Mormonism through the lives of the fictional Steed family. The Steeds, throughout the series, meet and come to know well many of the prominent early Church members. The series covers a twenty-year period, opening in 1827 when the Steeds move from Vermont to western New York state, and ending in 1847 when they settle in the Salt Lake Valley. The storyline also includes both fictional and actual events.
The main characters of this series include both fictional and non-fictional people. The Steed family includes the father, Benjamin, his wife, Mary Ann, and their children. From eldest to youngest, these children include Joshua, Nathan, Melissa, Rebecca, and Matthew. Benjamin and Mary Ann had 5 additional children, but four died soon after birth or were stillborn, and one lived only to the age of four.
Joshua marries Jessica Roundy and has a daughter, Rachel, with her. They are eventually divorced, and Joshua then marries Caroline Mendenhall whom he meets in Savannah Georgia. She brings two children to the marriage, William Donovan and Olivia, and together, she and Joshua have three more children, Savannah, Charles Benjamin and Livvy Caroline. Their youngest Livvy is named for her older sister Olivia after she is killed. Livvy was Olivia's nickname. Joshua eventually is baptized into the Mormon religion, although it takes more than 19 years after the Church first came into his life for that to happen.
Nathan marries Lydia McBride, the only daughter of a store keeper in Palmyra, and they have several children, including one named after Nathan's older brother Joshua Benjamin. They also have a daughter named Emily, who becomes best friends with Jessica's oldest daughter Rachel. The other children do not figure prominently in the novels. They are: Nathan Joseph (who dies of malaria while in Commerce, IL), Elizabeth Mary, Josiah, Nathan Joseph (named for his brother and called Joseph), and Patricia Ann (called Tricia and born during the trek west to Utah). As well and one stillborn baby born after Emily they call Nathan Morgan.
Melissa marries Carlton Rogers, and they also have several children, who do not appear frequently in the books. Carl is the only member of the family that never joins the church. Their oldest son young Carlton Hezikiah saves his mother in Volume 9 from a group of evil men. Their other children are David Benjamin, Caleb John, Sarah, and Mary Melissa (who dies after falling into a frozen river after being sick).
Rebecca marries Derek Ingalls from England, they have three children: Christopher Joseph, Benjamin Derek, and Leah Rebecca.
Matthew marries Jennifer Jo McIntre from Ireland and they have two children, Betsy Jo, and Emmaline, although Jennifer Jo informs Matthew in Volume 9 that she is pregnant again.
Jennifer's sister Kathryn and Derek's brother Peter marry each other as well. They have a daughter named Nicole that was born at Fort Pueblo. Peter was a fictional member of the ill-fated Donner party but survived.
Caroline's son Will marries Alice Samuelson, and by the end of the series, they have a young boy named Jared Will. Will and Alice came to the west via a ship bound for California.
Jessica Roundy, Joshua Steed's divorced wife, later marries John Griffith. They have one son together, John Benjamin who is added to her daughter, Rachel, and his two sons, Mark and Luke. John is soon after killed at the Haun's Mill Massacre. Several years later, she marries Solomon Garrett, and they have a daughter, Miriam Jessica, and a son, Solomon Clinton together.
Note: In the preface to volume 9, Lund mentioned that he felt the need to work on other projects, so the Work and the Glory series would temporarily come to an end. He said that it seemed to him like the family was saying that they'd shared enough of their lives with the readers and it was time for them to be left alone. However, he also said that at some future point, he'd like to come back to it and officially end the series with a 10th volume that tells the story of the Steed family descendants in modern times. Lund has since decided not to write the 10th volume and has said that his future book The Undaunted, releases August 2009, would be like another volume.
The Work and the Glory has been developed into three movies to date. They are The Work and The Glory (2004), The Work and The Glory: American Zion (2005), and The Work and The Glory: A House Divided (2006).
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