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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the "Mormon Church," was founded in 1830 by Joseph Smith in New York after his claims to have seen the resurrected Father and the Son along with his translation of the Book of Mormon. It is a relatively young denomination of Christianity (though there is constant debate about whether Mormons are truly Christian) and one that emerged during the infancy of the United States of America. The study of this group has risen in popularity as the Latter-day Saint movement has grown more influential in recent decades with the failed presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney in 2012 and has continued its rise in popularity in scholarly fields as the church has embraced digitization of historical records with its Joseph Smith Papers Project, an attempt to digitize all the early sources surrounding the enigmatic leader. The history of this church is closely tied with the history of American Western expansion and early American religious history in general, making it a crucial aspect of any historical study of that time period.
This LibGuide offers patrons links to important databases, websites, journals, and introductory materials to begin their research. For further information please use the search bar above to access the catalog.
Databases and Websites
This is the official website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormon Church). This contains all official scriptures, general conference addresses dating back to the 1970, handbooks, hymnals, videos, and other official materials.
Joseph Smith Papers
The Joseph Smith Papers Project is an effort to gather together all extant Joseph Smith documents and to publish complete and accurate transcripts of those documents with both textual and contextual annotation . . . . The Joseph Smith Papers Project is not a “documentary history” project comprising all important documents relating to Joseph Smith. Instead, it is a “papers” project that will publish, according to accepted documentary editing standards, documents created by Joseph Smith or by staff whose work he directed, including journals, revelations and translations, contemporary reports of discourses, minutes, business and legal records, editorials, and notices. The project also includes papers received and “owned” by his office, such as incoming correspondence. The Joseph Smith Papers Project is a comprehensive edition, meaning it will include all known and available documents meeting the project’s criteria as Joseph Smith documents.
The Wilford Woodruff Papers
The Wilford Woodruff Papers Project is like The Joseph Smith Papers. Both present high-resolution images of a prophet's handwritten documents side-by-side with accurate transcriptions based on professional document editing standards and practices. The scope of the two projects, however, is dramatically different. Joseph Smith's papers extend from 1828 to 1844. Wilford Woodruff's records begin in 1828 and end at his death in 1898. The number of Joseph Smith's documents is comparatively small, approximately 2,500, due to the length of his ministry and the difference in record keeping in the early 19th century. Wilford Woodruff daybooks and journals contain more than 11,000 pages. He wrote more than 13,000 letters and received more than 17,000. All of his daybooks and journals and all of his extant letters, together with his sermons and his legal documents and family history records, will be included.
Church History Catalog
The Church History Catalog is the Church History Library’s portal to its collection. Using the catalog’s search features, you can find records, view digitized items, and experience audiovisual materials. The Church History Catalog also contains helpful information about using the catalog as well as links to research guides, research assistance, and featured collections.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints uses this website to make official announcements as well as to keep an archive of announcements.
This site has Conference Reports of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The official website has these archived but only back to the 1970s. If you desire conference addresses prior to that then you will need to search this database.
Gospel Topics Essays
This collection of essays addresses controversial topics surrounding some of the doctrine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With the rise in popularity of Mormon studies, the Church felt the need to make official statements on these topics, which include polygamy, race, DNA studies, etc.
Historical LDS Church Magazines
This is an archive.org collection of 1000s of magazines published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from its inception (c. 1830) until 1971.
Journal of Discourses
This is a collection of sermons given by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1854–86 spanning 26 volumes and over 1,000 sermons. Though not an official publication of the church, it was highly regarded during its era and is an important source of theological teachings of the early leaders.
Signature Books Out of Print Collections
Signature Books is one of the most important publishing houses involved in Mormon Studies. For decades it has published some of the most influential works on the topic. It has graciously digitized many of its now out-of-print works so that scholars throughout the world can use these hard to find works in their studies.
Studies in Mormon History
This database includes citations to articles, books, theses, and Ph.D. dissertations dealing with the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, written from the time of its inception in 1830 to the present. It is intended to be comprehensive, but does not include highly pejorative works, though it does include controversial works that still have historical substance or interest. Subject headings are included for all entries, and many entries include abstracts and links to the full text.
Teachings of the Presidents of the Church
This is a collection of selected writings and sermons of the presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints beginning with Joseph Smith up to Gordon B. Hinckley (d. 2008). These books were used to teach members for 17 years the basic teachings of each president of the Church. They are not exhaustive but give basic principles and events of their lives.
FAIR (Faithful Answers, Informed Responses)
FAIR is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief and practice.
Book of Mormon Central
Book of Mormon Central is a team of ardent students of the Nephite scripture working together to share the wonders of this inspired masterpiece with the world. The team consists of archivists, researchers, writers, editors, reviewers, illustrators, narrators, audio engineers, video engineers, web designers, web and mobile developers, graphic artists, and social media publishers in addition to support personnel.
Pearl of Great Price Central
Pearl of Great Price Central is a team of ardent students of the Nephite scripture working together to share the wonders of this inspired masterpiece with the world. The team consists of archivists, researchers, writers, editors, reviewers, illustrators, narrators, audio engineers, video engineers, web designers, web and mobile developers, graphic artists, and social media publishers in addition to support personnel.
The Interpreter Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization focused on the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, the Bible, and the Doctrine and Covenants), early LDS history, and related subjects. This foundation and its accompanying journal of the same name take an apologetic stance on its research.
By Common Consent
By Common Consent (or BCC) was started in 2004 by a group of Mormons to provide a thoughtful, enjoyable, and reasonable place to post and discuss Mormon topics. Over time, we have added new contributors who share this vision. We seek truth, reason, and honesty with our perspectives on faith. However, BCC is a place of charitable discussion for everyone, including those who are not Mormon. We invite you to read past posts and join in the discussion.
The Juvenile Instructor takes its name from the 19th-century Mormon periodical, founded and edited by Mormon Apostle George Q. Cannon in 1866 in Utah Territory. At The Juvenile Instructor, we seek to situate the study of Mormonism within wider frameworks, including American religious history, western history, gender history, and, on occasion, the history of the Republic of South Africa.
Times and Seasons
Times and Seasons has been the premier source for Mormon blogging since its inception late 2003. The blog was founded by four LDS attorneys (Matt Evans, Adam Greenwood, Nathan Oman, and Kaimipono Wenger) after a series of e-mail discussions, at a time when the LDS blog world consisted of a few solo blogs and one small group. Times and Seasons stepped into that gap with flair. In our first year, we added eleven new bloggers (fortunately almost all non-lawyers) to our original four, and the group wrote over 1200 posts overall. We quickly found ourselves drawing 2000 readers per day and generating hundreds-of-comment discussions.
Academic and Ecclesiastical Journals
BYU Studies Quarterly is a Mormon Studies journal that publishes articles that reflect a faithful point of view, are relevant to subjects of interest to Latter-day Saints, and conform to high scholarly standards. BYU Studies Quarterly also includes poetry, personal essays, reviews, and never-before-published documents of significant historical value.
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought
Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought is an independent quarterly established to express Mormon culture and to examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Latter-day Saints who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with the larger stream of world religious thought and with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to ensure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or of the editors.
John Whitmer Historical Association Journal
WHA Journal is published twice a year. There are opportunities for scholars, young and old, professional and armchair, to contribute their ideas, essays, and papers. Specific focus of interest for the Journal is Community of Christ history and culture, as well as the "divergent paths" of the movement.
Journal of Book of Mormon Studies
The Journal of Book of Mormon Studies (previously known as Journal of the Book of Mormon and Other Restoration Scripture (2008–2013)) is the leading venue for scholarly work on the Book of Mormon. The journal publishes research articles, research notes, book reviews, review essays, literature reviews, and interviews focused on the Book of Mormon. The journal serves a general readership, including scholars interested in the Book of Mormon as an object of research and lay readers hoping to learn more about their sacred text. It thus aims at producing top-rate scholarship working at the highest academic level, even as it asks contributors to recognize the ethical complexity of dealing with a text held sacred by believers. Peer reviewers are drawn from a wide range of relevant disciplines and a variety of academic institutions.
Journal of Mormon History
The Journal of Mormon History is an official publication of the Mormon History Association (MHA). Its purpose is to publish scholarly work covering the full scope of Mormon history, which represents domestic and international perspectives of the several religious organizations that descend from what was first called the Church of Christ in 1830.
Latter-day Saint Historical Studies (formerly Mormon Historical Studies)
Latter-day Saint Historical Studies (formerly Mormon Historical Studies) is an independent periodical that includes essays, biographies, documents, book reviews, historic site descriptions, indexes, and archival listings relevant to subjects of general interest to Latter-day Saints, while striving for high scholarly standards. From 1989-1999 the periodical was published under the title of the Nauvoo Journal.
Liahona (Formerly The Ensign)
This is the official magazine of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It began publication in 1971 and continues to the present day in monthly issues.
Mormon Studies Review
The Mormon Studies Review tracks the vibrant, varied, and international academic engagement with Mormon institutions, lives, ideas, texts, and stories. It chronicles and assesses the developing field of Mormon studies with review essays, book reviews, and roundtable discussions related to the academic study of Mormonism. The Review offers scholars and interested non-specialists a one-stop source for discussions of current scholarship on Mormonism, ranging across disciplines and gathering voices from a broad cross-section of the academy, both LDS and non-LDS.
The Religious Educator
The Religious Educator is an academic journal with a focus on the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saint scriptures, and Latter-day Saint history. Its goal is to provide carefully prepared, inspirational, and informative articles that will benefit a broad range of Latter-day Saints who love the gospel and its teachings. Issues published up to a year ago are available to everyone.
Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 1989–2011
Since 1989, the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon has published review essays to help serious readers make informed choices and judgments about books and other publications on topics related to the Latter-day Saint religious tradition. It has also published substantial freestanding essays that made further contributions to the field of Mormon studies. In 1996, the journal changed its name to the FARMS Review with Volume 8, No 1. In 2011, the journal was renamed Mormon Studies Review.
Sunstone discusses Mormonism through scholarship, art, short fiction, and poetry. The foundation began the publication in 1974 and considers it a vehicle for free and frank exchange in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The magazine's motto is Faith Seeking Understanding.
Utah Historical Quarterly
Utah Historical Quarterly is the official journal of Utah history, published on behalf of the Utah State Historical Society since 1928. UHQ’s mission, from its earliest issues to the present, is to publish articles on all aspects of Utah history and to present Utah in the larger context of the West. UHQ’s editorial style emphasizes scholarly credibility, accessible language, and variety. The quarterly is filled with articles, book reviews, and photographs, as well field notes about documents, artifacts, historiography, oral history, and public history.
All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage by Armand L. Mauss
All Abraham's Children is Armand L. Mauss's long-awaited magnum opus on the evolution of traditional Mormon beliefs and practices concerning minorities. He examines how members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have defined themselves and others in terms of racial lineages. Mauss describes a complex process of the broadening of these self-defined lineages during the last part of the twentieth century as the modern Mormon church continued its world-wide expansion through massive missionary work. Mauss contends that Mormon constructions of racial identity have not necessarily affected actual behavior negatively and that in some cases Mormons have shown greater tolerance than other groups in the American mainstream. Employing a broad intellectual historical analysis to identify shifts in LDS behavior over time, All Abraham's Children is an important commentary on current models of Mormon historiography.
The Book of Mormon: A Biography by Paul C. Gutjahr
Gutjahr looks at how the Book of Mormon emerged from the burned-over district of upstate New York, where revivalist preachers, missionaries, and spiritual entrepreneurs of every stripe vied for the loyalty of settlers desperate to scratch a living from the land. He examines how a book that has long been the subject of ridicule--Mark Twain called it "chloroform in print"--has more than 150 million copies in print in more than a hundred languages worldwide. Gutjahr shows how Smith's influential book launched one of the fastest growing new religions on the planet, and has featured in everything from comic books and action figures to feature-length films and an award-winning Broadway musical.
Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet by John G. Turner
Brigham Young was a rough-hewn New York craftsman whose impoverished life was electrified by the Mormon faith. Turner provides a fully realized portrait of this spiritual prophet, viewed by followers as a protector and by opponents as a heretic. His pioneering faith made a deep imprint on tens of thousands of lives in the American Mountain West.
Under his fiery tutelage, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints defended plural marriage, restricted the place of African Americans within the church, fought the U.S. Army in 1857, and obstructed federal efforts to prosecute perpetrators of the Mountain Meadows Massacre. At the same time, Young’s tenacity and faith brought tens of thousands of Mormons to the American West, imbued their everyday lives with sacred purpose, and sustained his church against adversity. Turner reveals the complexity of this spiritual prophet, whose commitment made a deep imprint on his church and the American Mountain West.
Latter-day Saint Canonical Scriptures
The canonical works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints include: The King James Version of the Holy Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine & Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. This also has versions in various major languages
Encyclopedia of Mormonism (4 vols.) by Daniel H. Ludlow ed.
This four-volume work is a comprehensive look at Church history, doctrine, scripture, and culture written at the educational level of a high school graduate or beginning college student. The work does not, however, substitute for the scriptures, nor is it an official Church publication.
Historical Dictionary of the Latter-day Saints by Thomas G. Alexander; Davis Bitton
The fourth edition of Historical Dictionary of the Latter-day Saints contains a chronology, an introduction, and an extensive bibliography. The dictionary section has over 400 cross-referenced entries on the important people, ideas, doctrine, and events during the hundred-ninety year history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This book is an excellent resource for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
An Introduction to Mormonism by Douglas J. Davies
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is one of the fastest growing religious movements in the world. It is highly visible, with a massive missionary program, yet it remains a mystery in terms of its core beliefs and theological structure. This 2003 book provides an introduction to the basic history, doctrines and practices of The LDS - the 'Mormon' Church. Written by a non-Mormon it neither seeks to prove or disprove the truthfulness of the religious claims of that faith but rather to describe them in ways that non-Mormons can understand. Particular emphasis is given to sacred texts and prophecies as well as to the crucial Temple rituals of endowments, marriage and baptism for the dead, through which human beings may achieve their divine potential. This rich comparative study offers an understanding of Mormon theology and ideas of humanity.
Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman
In Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Richard Bushman, an esteemed American cultural historian, and a practicing Mormon, tells how Smith formed a new religion from the ground up. Moving beyond the popular stereotype of Smith as a colorful fraud, the book explores the inner workings of his personality, and his personal piety, his temper, his affection for family and friends, and his incredible determination. It describes how he received revelations and why his followers believed them.
This along with Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History (see below) are considered the best biographies on the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mormon Doctrine (2nd ed.) by Bruce R. McConkie
Though no longer in print, this controversial book was one of the most influential works in the modern period of Mormonism. Though its influence has waned since the death its author, Bruce R. McConkie (1915–85), one of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it is an important work when doing historical studies, especially from 1950–2000 as this was when it was highly regarded in LDS circles. The work provides meticulous commentary on hundreds of important topics in Mormon theology.
Mormonism: a Guide for the Perplexed by Robert L. Millet; Shon D. Hopkin
Mormonism: A Guide for the Perplexed explains central facets of the Mormon faith and way of life for those wishing to gain a clearer understanding of this rapidly growing world religion. As The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues to grow in the United States and especially in other countries (with a total membership of over 15 million, more than 50% of which is outside the US), and as theologians and church leaders wrestle with whether Mormonism is in fact a valid expression of modern Christianity, this distinctive religious tradition has become increasingly an object of interest and inquiry. This book is the ideal companion to the study of this perplexing and often misunderstood religion. Covering historical aspects, this guide takes a careful look at the whole of Mormonism, its tenets and practices, as well as providing an insight into a Mormon life.
Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction by Richard Lyman Bushman
Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction explains who Mormons are: what they believe and how they live their lives. Written by Richard Lyman Bushman, an eminent historian and practicing Mormon, this compact, informative volume ranges from the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the contentious issues of contemporary Mormonism. Bushman argues that Joseph Smith still serves as the Mormons' Moses. Their everyday religious lives are still rooted in his conceptions of true Christianity. They seek revelation to solve life's problems just as he did. They believe the authority to seal families together for eternity was restored through him. They understand their lives as part of a spiritual journey that started in a "council in heaven" before the world began just as he taught. Bushman's account also describes the tensions and sorrows of Mormon life.
Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy by Merina Smith
In Revelation, Resistance, and Mormon Polygamy historian Merina Smith explores the introduction of polygamy in Nauvoo, a development that unfolded amid scandal and resistance. Smith considers the ideological, historical, and even psychological elements of the process and captures the emotional and cultural detail of this exciting and volatile period in Mormon history. This fresh interpretation draws from diaries, letters, newspapers, and other primary sources and is especially effective in its use of family narratives. It will be of great interest not only to scholars and the general public interested in Mormon history but in American history, religion, gender and sexuality, and the history of marriage and families.
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