A Study in Scarlet

Depiction of Mormonism

According to a Salt Lake City newspaper article, when Conan Doyle was asked about his depiction of the Latter-day Saints' organisation as being steeped in kidnapping, murder and enslavement, he said: "all I said about the Danite Band and the murders is historical so I cannot withdraw that, though it is likely that in a work of fiction it is stated more luridly than in a work of history. It's best to let the matter rest".[6] However, Conan Doyle's daughter has stated: "You know, father would be the first to admit that his first Sherlock Holmes novel was full of errors about the Mormons."[6]

Years after Conan Doyle's death, Levi Edgar Young, a descendant of Brigham Young and a Mormon general authority, claimed that Conan Doyle had privately apologised, saying that "He [Conan Doyle] said he had been misled by writings of the time about the Church"[6] and had "written a scurrilous book about the Mormons."[7] However, in a preface to Volume II of The Complete Novels and Stories of Sherlock Holmes, Loren D. Estleman noted the implied criticism of the Mormons. He states that the story was not controversial at the time of the story's release, probably due to reports of the Mountain Meadows massacre and the small membership of the church.

In August 2011, the Albemarle County, Virginia School Board removed A Study in Scarlet from the district's sixth-grade required reading list following complaints from students and parents that the book was derogatory toward Mormons.[8][9] It was therefore moved to the reading lists for the tenth-graders, and remains in use in the school media centres for all grades.[10]


This content is from Wikipedia. GradeSaver is providing this content as a courtesy until we can offer a professionally written study guide by one of our staff editors. We do not consider this content professional or citable. Please use your discretion when relying on it.