Consider an American born religion, a classic cult, having 14,000,000 members and billions of dollars in assets and members in high government positions. Fiction? Not possible! Joseph Smith, a treasure hunter and opportunist founded such a religion in 1827. It has been known by many names and has spun off a dozen factions. You know it as the Mormon Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.
Jeff Wells, a Los Angeles attorney and western pleasure horseman returns to the Wolf Creek lodge in the mountains of Arizona to help an old friend charged with the murders of three rustlers. Jeff discovers that the murders are not about horse thieves but are the consequences of ancient crimes buried in the archives of American history.
The friend, Big Jim Higgins, who has been jailed without bail as he awaits trial, lives in a world where friends and foes alike search for the most sacred of Mormon artifacts, The Golden Plates. Jeff is introduced to the realm of seer stones, blood oaths and magical Golden Plates reputed to be written in ancient hieroglyphics by the Angel Moroni and his predecessors who lived in North America hundreds of years ago.
A doctor and dealer in antiquities, Don Orr, and his beautiful daughter, help Jeff demystify how Joseph Smith was able to birth a religious empire and how his successor Brigham Young utilized that empire to serve his purposes and to annihilate all opposition to his ambitions. Jeff learns that the Golden Plates which the prophet Smith claimed to have used to write the Book of Mormon are indeed real but from a far different time and culture than professed by the Mormons.
The search for and the mystery surrounding The Golden Plates lead Jeff not only into a land of unbridled greed and hypocrisy but also into the realm of Native American mysticism. Drawn to the Four Corners where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet, Jeff comes face to face with Lutakaw, a Hopi holy man, who helps Jeff unearth the Golden Plates. The consequences of his discovery change the shape of this religion in a dramatic fashion.
Land of the Saints and its crossover genres will appeal to a broad audience and in light of the 2012 field of presidential contenders should generate a spirited discussion in the readership and the media.