James Henry Moyle was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under U.S. president Woodrow Wilson, Commissioner of Customs under President Theodore Roosevelt, and special assistant to treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau. He was also president of the LDS Eastern States Mission. By his own count, he had two religions, Mormonism and the Democratic Party, and he alternately praised and criticized both. As one who was intimately acquainted with every major religious and political figure in Utah and elsewhere over six decades–and as the father of a future LDS apostle–he mustered surprisingly profound and entertaining insights in his memoirs.
Part of his prominence was due to his aristocratic flair. Apostle Matthew Cowley admitted that he “always had to take another look when [he] passed Brother James H. Moyle on the street.” Nor was this large-framed, gray-haired statesman one to mince words. It is the raw edge to his comments that makes his autobiography so memorable. This former political kingpen’s life is also recounted in LDS church president Gordon B. Hinckley’s James Henry Moyle: The Story of a Distinguished American and Honored Churchman, who, by his own account, refers to Moyle as a colorful, highly opinionated, uncensored voice, who has a unique value.
Gene A. Sessions, a professor of history at Weber State University, is the author of Latter-day Patriots: Nine Mormon Families and Their Revolutionary War Heritage, Mormon Thunder: A Documentary History of Jedediah Morgan Grant, and Prophesying Upon the Bones: J. Reuben Clark and the Foreign Debt Crisis; and is co-author of Camp Floyd and the Mormons: The Utah War. He is the editor of Mormon Democrat: The Religious and Political Memoirs of James Henry Moyle and co-editor of The Search for Harmony: Essays on Science and Mormonism.