Preserving the History of the Latter-day Saints
Salt Lake City, UT
The Lord Himself regards the preservation of church history as something of great value. From the earliest days of the church, he has directed church leaders to create and preserve a rich historical record.
Several Latter-day revelations speak to the subject of church history. In them the Lord clearly says that he wants "a record kept" (D&C 21:1) and that the record is to be kept "continually" (D&C 47:3). The record is to include "all things that transpire in Zion" (D&C 85:1) and is to chronicle the "manner of life" and the faith and works of the Latter-day Saints (D&C 85:2).
These carefully revealed details of the Lord's program for preserving church history show the importance he places on this history. So does the timing of the command to keep a record: it was given even before the Lord began to reveal the essential details of church organization, procedure, and doctrine.
The Latter-day Saints continue to be a record-keeping people. In fact, there may be no other people on earth of comparable size who have a richer record-keeping tradition than the people nicknamed Mormons. It is part of the church's administrative system, reaching from small committees to the church's general conferences and from new members to the most senior leaders. Because of this tradition, scholars can readily evaluate Latter-day Saint history from a wealth of primary documents.
This book is a compilation of presentations selected from the annual BYU Church History Symposium hosted by BYU Religious Education. This symposium brought together historians, scholars, educators, and authors to discuss the importance of record keeping and preserving the history of the Latter-day Saints.
Marlin K. Jensen, church historian and recorder, delivered the symposium's keynote address. Assistant church historian and recorder Richard E. Turley Jr. spoke on the significance of his predecessors in that office. Other scholars addressed relevant topics that ranged from the church's earliest efforts at record keeping to the challenging task of preserving its complex and increasingly global history.
Readers will find these papers filled with the experiences and adventures of many who have taken seriously the commission to preserve the history of the Latter-day Saints.
"Archives of the Better World": The Nineteenth-Century Historian's Office and Mormonism's Archival Flexibility
Church History from the International Periphery: The South American Perspective
Collecting, Preserving, and Sharing the Global History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Documents, Volume 6: February 1838-August 1839
Early Mormonism and the Re-enchantment of Antebellum Historical Thought
Fragmented History: Challenges and Perspectives Building a Narrative of the Latter-day Saints in Brazil
Joseph Smith Papers : Histories, 1832-1844, Vol. 1
Néstor Curbelo: The Latin American Andrew Jenson
Producing Ancient Scripture: Joseph Smith's Translation Projects in the Development of Mormon Christianity
Restless Pilgrim : Andrew Jenson's Quest for Latter-day Saint History
Revelations in Context: The Stories Behind the Sections of the Doctrine and Covenants
Taking Mormon History into All the World
The Challenges of Global Church History for Those outside the United States of America
The Joseph Smith Papers : Documents, Volume 2 : July 1831–January 1833
The Joseph Smith Papers : Documents, Volume 3 : February 1833-March 1834
The Joseph Smith Papers : Documents, Volume 6 : February 1838–August 1839
The Office of Church Recorder: A Conversation with Elder Steven E. Snow
The Old Guard and Rearguard Actions : Professionalization and the Church Historian's Office
"To Keep the Church Record and History": The Evolution of the Church Historian's Office
Traveling and Standing Ministers : The Commandment to Travel (or Not) in the Joseph Smith-Era Revelations