Grass Roots in Mexico: Stories of Pioneering Latter-day Saints by F. LaMond Tullis (Provo: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2021) was one of the books I was most excited to see on the lists of books coming out in 2022. Released in early July, Grass Roots in Mexico offers an important glimpse into the Church’s history in Mexico. The first two chapters give a brief overview of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. These are followed by 19 chapters of short biographies or vignettes of Latter-day Saints in Mexico. The selection includes a range of different people—from indigenous converts to Euro-American colonists from Utah, both men and women, relatively well-known stories (i.e., Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales), and some about people who are largely unknown. The book is not, by any means, comprehensive, but it does provide snapshots of various experiences of Latter-day Saints in Mexico.
One thing to know going in is that the book does have a devotional dimension to it. It is a history of the Church written by and primarily for faithful members. Within the vignettes (the 19 short biographies), the majority of them follow a pattern of focusing on conversion stories followed by brief overview of some way in which they contributed to the Church and then a note on how many descendants they have in the Church and what high-profile Church callings those descendants have held. A few chapters cover some more intensive contributions to the Church, such as Agustín Gutiérrez Ruiz (who translated much of the Book of Mormon into the Tzotzil-Mayan language after facing some intense persecution in his remote village for converting to the Church) or Isaías Juárez (a significant leader of the Church in Mexico during a difficult time period). There were some notable gaps (i.e., no vignette about Rey Pratt or Guadalupe Morales), though the author acknowledges that to be the case up-front. Regardless, most of the stories were engaging and faith-promoting, with a few of the chapters breaking new ground in capturing the history of the Church in more recent years. Grass Roots in Mexico: Stories of Pioneering Latter-day Saints by F. Lamond Tullis is definitely a book worth reading if you are interested in learning more about the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico and is a worthy contribution to the history of the Church.