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New Book Focuses On Early Church History

Sep 4, 2018, 7:28 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2018, 1:43 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints launched a new book that focuses and addresses the church’s early history. It was the first time an official history of the church has been published since 1930.

The 700-page book was called “Saints,” and focuses on the Church’s history from 1815-1846.

“It’s for the rising generation, but it is for all members of the church. We hope that individuals who have questions about Church history will read these volumes and learn more about out story,” said Elder Steven E. Snow, church historian and recorder.

Elder Snow has overseen the effort to research and publish the book over the last five years. He said it was written in a narrative style to attract the interest of younger readers.

For those with an interest in the faith’s history, church historians called the project a landmark effort.

“The Church has published two multi-volume histories in the past. It has been almost 90 years since we have done that, and so much has changed in the church in the past 90 years,” said Matthew Grow, of the Church History Department.

The first volume of “Saints” focuses on the church’s early history from 1815 through the Nauvoo era of 1846. Subsequent volumes planned in years to come will include the arrival of the Mormon pioneers to the Salt Lake Valley, followed by the church’s worldwide expansion.

The final volume will include church’s history up to the present day, focusing on the faith of Latter-day Saints around the world.

“(It will focus on) how this Church really is global in nature. To ignore that history and to focus on a narrow portion of the Church would be incorrect and incomplete,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Church officials said the book has been peer reviewed by academic scholars and does address controversial moments in the faith’s history.

Elders Dale G. Renlund and Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“We want a transparent history, but we want it in context of the people who were living it and who had the great blessings of being early members of the church, who left their words and much of it is faith promoting and will bless people in a wonderful way,” said Elder Quentin L. Cook, also of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“Those who have been bothered by one thread can see the context of that thread and they can get the whole truth as it is there, the whole historical experience with which to judge. Some will likely remain with questions. That is not a problem, but at least we have done everything we can do to get the historical truth in front of people,” Elder Renlund added.

The book was available online free of charge at saints.lds.org and is being published initially in 14 languages.

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New Book Focuses On Early Church History