Mormon Church Leaders and Historians in Conflict: A History

I wrote this paper in 2003 at Santa Clara University for my historical research class, a requirement for my history major. A family friend had access to Mormon historical documents during the time period when the Salt Lake City archives were open to scholars and she let me read and use them. Given the Church’s latest stance against same-sex couples, I have decided to publish publicly what I know.

Unlike scholars and intellects who regard history as an important guide to the present and the future, religious leaders, especially those with fundamentalist views, frequently see the study of history as a potential threat to the credibility of the holy principles that they believe come directly from God. Since most fundamentalist leaders fear members knowing the historical complexities of the religion, they carefully guard the past and censor the writing of their historians to prevent members from knowing facts that they think might shake their beliefs.

When members do find out information that their leaders tried to keep from them their faith may not falter, instead they may be dissatisfied with the one interpretation of the leaders and may come to their own religious conclusions. This is unacceptable to leaders with fundamentalist views because for them, there is no room for multiple religious interpretations. Since being an historian includes making conclusions and interpretations based on research, leaders often find themselves in conflict with church historians who do not adhere solely to one interpretation of the religion.

A religion in which this conflict is clearly present is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church.

Mormon leaders usually hold strong fundamentalist views, which are reflected in the religious doctrine and policies. As a result, there are numerous fundamentalist attributes in Mormonism, however, a few specifically relate to the tension between church leaders and historians. R. Scott Appleby declared in his article “History in the Fundamentalist Imagination” that fundamentalist religious believers have a unique relationship with their history. Fundamentalists believe that at some past point there occurred a divine revelation or experience which then turned into the basis of the whole religion. For this reason, people who question or disprove the divine experience could shake the foundations of the whole religious structure.[1]

In the Mormon religion, founder Joseph Smith Jr. said God came to him in a vision and told him he should establish a new religion. Smith claimed many other encounters with heavenly beings, including one with an angel named Moroni, who showed Smith buried gold plates and helped him translate them. Mormons believe that the plates contain a record of an ancient people who inhabited the Americas. The translated work, titled The Book of Mormon, along with the belief that Smith’s teachings were divinely inspired, form the basis of the Mormon religion. According to Appleby, this provides a reason for those in power within the Mormon religion to carefully guard its history.[2]

The Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism includes a long article on the Mormon Church. As characteristic of other religions with fundamentalist leaders, in Mormonism there is a heavy reliance on leaders for guidance.[3] The highest leaders of the male-led church include the prophet, also called the president of the Church, his first and second counselors, and the members of the Twelve Apostles, also called the Quorum of the Twelve. Mormons believe that all of these men are “prophets, seers and revelators,” giving the men “the right, the power, and authority to declare the mind and will of God to his people, [while] subject to the over-all power and authority of the President of the Church.”[4]

An effort by the leaders to quiet the views of liberal intellectuals within the religion is another fundamentalist characteristic of Mormonism.[5] Although censoring occurred all during the history of the church, in recent years there has been an increase in it and in disciplinary action towards historians by the General Authorities.

History is important for Mormons, whether it is church, family, or personal history. In 1830 Smith officially founded the Mormon Church, and in that same year he ordered that a record of Church history should always be kept.[6] As a result, the General Authorities collected and stored the official Church records and as many personal journals and letters of important figures as possible.[7] All of the accounts helped them maintain a well-rounded record of the past; however most leaders controlled that information, and only allowed members of the church to know selective parts.[8]


Up until the 1930s and 1940s, the General Authorities hired the majority of the Mormon historians, and made sure that the historians presented everything in a way that promoted the religion.[9] After World War One, new conceptions of logic and empirical science spread, and this greatly influenced progressive historians. They studied history in a more logic-driven way, trying to find new interpretations relevant to the time period.[10] Those not hired by the General Authorities became more objective in their writing of history.

Several influential historians studied during this time period and learned how to look at history more logically and research more thoroughly. One of these historians, Fawn M. Brodie, born in 1915, published an influential book titled No Man Knows My History in 1945. She researched and wrote her book as a biography on Joseph Smith Jr., and unlike Mormon historians before her, she included the negative aspects of his life she found while researching.[11] In 1946 conflict ensued and the Mormon leaders excommunicated her on grounds of apostasy. The Mormon Guide to the Scriptures defines excommunication as, “The process of excluding a person from the church and taking away all rights and privileges of membership.”[12] Apostasy is publicly opposing the church, its leaders, or teachings, and the General Authorities declared Brodie was guilty of this for denying the divine origins of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith’s divine instrumentality in forming the church. Despite the disapproval by some Mormons, many people praised her book for her secular, logical approach to researching and writing, and, more importantly, her book encouraged many Mormon historians to follow her in objectivity, openness, and honesty in their portrayal of the past, instead of always showing it as religiously true.[13]


After World War Two, a community of historians who wished to write more objectively formed. An increase in graduate research in Mormon history, which happened in part because of assistance from the government-subsidized education for war veterans called the G. I. Bill of Rights, influenced the growth and formation of the historical community. Former Mormon Church historian Leonard J. Arrington, one of those who benefited from the G. I. Bill of Rights, said about this time period, “A sizable group of scholars spent their summers working in the Church Archives in Salt Lake City … we shared research findings … we shared strategms by which we could overcome the reluctance of A. William Lund, watchdog of the Archives, to allow us access to the rich materials housed there.” He recalled how after they received their degrees, they all kept in touch and their community of Mormon historians developed and grew.[14]


As this group of Mormon historians grew, they decided to formally become an organization. In 1966, they officially founded the Mormon History Association (MHA), with Arrington as the president. The MHA formed to stimulate research and the exchange of ideas among historians, and to support each other in the difficult task of being both orthodox Mormons and historians trained to look at the subject skeptically, critically, and analytically.[15] A term coined “New Mormon Historians” title these more objective Mormon historians. According to Mormon intellect Alexander G. Thomas’ article “Historiography and the New Mormon History: A Historian’s Perspective,” New Mormon History describes the way Mormon scholars “recognized both the human and divine side of Mormon history, and that both they and non-LDS writers in this tradition have considered both the secular and religious aspects of the Mormon experience, without trying to explain away the latter.”[16]

Not only did historians form a community, they also immediately found places to publish their writing. In the same year as the founding of MHA, the scholarly journal Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought started. It emphasized an interpretive Mormon history. In 1969, Brigham Young University Studies decided to devote issues to church history from then on, providing historians with another place to publish articles.[17]

During this time of increased interest in Mormon history, other individuals within the church also fostered a more objective look at and growth of interest in Mormon history. In the 1960s, Earl Olson, the Church archivist, attended professional seminars to learn how to make archives available to the public, and in 1967, he gained clearance from the First Presidency for several historians to gain unrestricted access to the archives for scholarly work.[18] Unrestricted access to the archives meant that the General Authorities could not stop historians from reading the material previously kept hidden, and thus historians could write more accurately because they saw a fuller picture of the past.


In the 1970s, there was an unprecedented amount of support for historians by General Authorities. In 1970 when former Church Historian Joseph F. Smith became the president and prophet of the Mormon Church, he appointed Howard W. Hunter as Church Historian and assigned him the task of converting the library-archives from a preservation depository to a working archive and research center.[19] Arrington recalled that President Harold B. Lee, the leader of the Church from mid-1972 to the end of 1973, said to him, “The best defense of the church is the true and impartial account of our history.”[20]

President Kimball, the leader of the Church from the end of 1973 to late 1985, said to Arrington, “Our history is our history, Brother Arrington [in formal settings, members of the church refer to each other by the word “brother” or “sister” before the last name], and we don’t need to tamper with it or be ashamed of it.”[21] In 1978, General Authority G. Homer Durham said in a talk entitled “Why Study History?” that history enhances religious understanding and faith, as well as helps people understand and appreciate their religion and apply it to their lives.[22]

This decade also saw significant changes within the Church History department, including the encouragement of extensive research and publications on all topics in Mormon history. In 1972, Church President Joseph F. Smith decided that a real historian should head the History department, and assigned Arrington to the job.[23] By assigning Arrington as the first Church Historian in more than a century who was not also a General Authority, the Church leaders loosened their control over the department.[24]

Arrington took advantage of this freedom and ran the History department according to his beliefs. He believed it was important to tell complete histories because selectivity falsifies the truth and prevents people from identifying with fallible humans who achieved their goals in spite of problems, not in the absence of them. In an effort to tell complete histories, Arrington and his staff undertook major projects such as preparing a multivolume history of the Church, biographies of past Church leaders and women, and collecting oral histories.[25] Arrington also wanted these sources to be available to the public. The Managing Director of the Historical Department said in 1972 that the diaries and letters of the Presidents of the Church, previously kept from the public, would be arranged, classified, and indexed, and made available to all members of the Church and others interested.[26]

The new freedom to explore archives led to an explosion in historical interest and publications. One of Arrington’s assistants, Davis Bitton, said in 1975, “it is safe to say that never has LDS history been the subject of so much interest to professional historians.”[27] Along with many biographies and edited books, historians found scholarly outlets to publish articles in the Journal of Mormon History, started in 1974, Sunstone in 1975, and the B.H. Roberts Society in Salt Lake City for monthly or quarterly presentations of historical issues.[28]

1980s & 1990s

The open, earnest desire to thoroughly explore Mormon history and present all aspects of it continued among historians into the 1990s, but in the 1980s, they found themselves facing growing opposition from the hierarchy over what they wrote. With the increase of material to research, many of the fallibilities of the early church leaders and church policies that have since been changed found their way into the writings of historians. Due to the characteristic described by Appleby, that fundamentalist religions are based on a divine experience, the discussion of people and events involved in the divine founding of the Mormon Church caused General Authorities discomfort. They did not want people to know that the founder and other divinely inspired people made mistakes, or that a church under the direction of God could change; facts related to these topics were what they had kept from the public prior to the late 1960s, and now what they wanted to resume hiding or censoring. Since the General Authorities could not prevent historians from publishing articles and books, they tried to censor them in other ways.

General Authorities dealt with historians and their objective interpretations by reinforcing their divinely given absolute authority and possession of the true interpretations of Mormon history. According to Church-hired Mormon historian William E. Berrett, God picks prophets and under the inspiration of God, the prophets direct the Church.[29] In a First Presidency Message during 1979, N. Eldon Tanner declared that everyone must follow the prophet because, when the prophet speaks, he ends any debate.[30] Ezra Taft Benson, an influential member of the Mormon hierarchy, preached at the Church-owned Brigham Young University (BYU) that, “the prophet is the only man who speaks for the Lord in everything …The prophet will never lead the church astray.”[31] Speeches such as these made people afraid to question the authority of their leaders, including their religious interpretations, because that meant questioning God. Leaders took advantage of this and presented their ideas as absolutes. They carried this authoritarianism into their attitude toward history.

A few of the General Authorities of the 1980s and early 1990s were especially vocal about their dislike of the way that objective historians wrote, because as leaders with extreme fundamentalist views, they did not want historians promoting other interpretations of the past. Benson was one of them, and as one of the two counselors to the Prophet in the years prior to 1985, and as the Prophet of the church from that year until the early 1990s, he held much influence.[32] Benson greatly desired to present a sanitized version of the past to people within and outside the religion.[33]

In his essay “On Being a Mormon Historian (and Its Aftermath),” Mormon historian Michael D. Quinn quoted Benson as saying, “We would hope that if you feel you must write for the scholarly journals, you always defend the faith.”[34] Benson publicly warned member about Mormon historians who “inordinately humanize the prophets of God so that their human frailties become more evident than their spiritual qualities.”[35] In the same BYU speech referred to previously, Benson said, “The two groups who have the greatest difficulty in following the prophets are the proud who are learned and the proud who are rich.”[36]

Another influential fundamentalist leader of the Church during this time, Boyd K. Packer made many speeches that expressed his dislike of objective and critical scholars and through the 1990s, he openly condemned them. In 1981, he presented a talk at the Fifth Annual Church Educational System Religious Educator’s Symposium entitled “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater than the Intellect,” in which he expressed his objection to Mormons using critical thinking and objectivity in researching and presenting history. He advised them not to tell everything if it is not faith promoting or worthy.[37] Packer criticized historians for omitting the “spiritual dimension from their studies of prophets.”[38]

In 1993, Packer declared “feminists, homosexuals, and ‘so-called intellectuals’ dangers to the Church.”[39] He also described intellectuals as “dogs nipping at the heels” of “true pilgrims.”[40] Both Benson and Packer demanded that historians “omit any reference to human frailty” when writing about Mormon leaders and important figures.[41]

These men had an effect on the Church History department. Benson and others felt uneasy while Arrington presided as Church Historian because, unlike Arrington, they believed it was wrong to tell the whole truth of Mormon history but it was justifiable to hide facts that might make the Church look bad.[42] In 1982 The First Presidency wrote a letter to Arrington, releasing him as Church Historian.[43] The same year, a new rule within the Church Archives Department declared that, “No manuscript materials, including papers, journals or diaries, or record books of any General Authority member, past or present, living or dead, could be researched by any Mormon scholar other than those employed by the history division of the church.”[44] Another new decree stated, “researchers must apply for admittance, be interviewed by an archives official, and sign a statement agreeing to abide by archival rules which include submitting a pre-publication copy of quotations and their context to the Copyrights and Permissions Office.”[45]

Despite the best efforts of the General Authorities to censor historians in this manner, many historians already possessed information from documents they gained during the time of openness in the archives. Los Angeles Times reporter John Dart said in 1985, “research challenges to the credibility of the Book of Mormon are prompting church officials to downplay the significance of the findings.”[46] Not only did they try to ignore or downplay the research, they disciplined those who published works that they considered too controversial.

From the 1980s through to the mid 1990s, numerous BYU professors and other Mormon scholars faced opposition over how and what they taught and wrote. Historian Anderson wrote a fifty-three page article on the relationship between scholars and Mormon leaders, with forty-one pages devoted to citing numerous instances between 1982 and 1993 where the hierarchy tried to and succeeded in threatening or disciplining intellects, including historians, over what they wrote or said about the past.[47] Mormon historian Quinn believed that the Mormon hierarchy disciplined historians who shared information about early controversial Church history because they hoped that if they could discredit the messenger, they could discredit the message.[48]

One of the earlier cases of the hierarchy taking disciplinary action against historians happened after the 1984 publication of Linda King Newell and Valeen Tippetts Avery’s co-authored biography about Joseph Smith’s wife Emma Hale Smith. Despite the awards it won, Mormon leaders demanded the women not discuss their book or the facts they found while researching in any church settings; in their book, through their extensive research, they showed the many fallible characteristics of Joseph Smith.[49]

In the 1980s, several professors at BYU found themselves faced with the choice of altering their way of teaching or losing their job. Sunstone editor Elbert E. Peck stated, “Good, faithful professors have been disciplined for applying rational approaches to areas traditionally left to Church leaders.”[50] General Authorities mostly comprised the board of trustees at BYU, thus putting “free expression” on campus more or less in their control.[51] Quinn, author of numerous books and articles, was one of these professors, and due to numerous threats, he resigned in 1988 from BYU.[52]

As Quinn continued to publish historical works that the hierarchy disproved of, he faced excommunication in late 1993; five other historians and/or feminists also faced discipline the same month.[53] In his many publications, Quinn showed, among other controversies, less than perfect images of past leaders and doctrine.[54] Although his research gave him a different perspective on the religion, Quinn still believed it to be inspired by God. After his excommunication, he said, “I remain a Mormon in heritage, culture, and belief,” and, “I regard Joseph Smith as a prophet in the same way that Moses was.”[55]

Other intellectuals faced extreme discipline during the early 1990s. After in-depth research and through a historical criticism approach to studying the Book of Mormon, David Wright, professor of Hebrew Studies and the Bible at Brandeis University, concluded that it is a nineteenth century book, not a translated ancient text.[56] However, he did not feel this made Mormonism false, he only felt it altered his own interpretation and wished to present this to others.[57]

In 1994 he was excommunicated for publishing his conclusions and presenting his religious interpretation of Mormonism.[58] Brent Metcalfe, editor of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, a book composed of essays that question the Book of Mormon’s historicity, found himself excommunicated a year after its 1994 publication.[59] An historian in hobby, CIA Lawyer Michael Barrett found himself excommunicated in 1994 because he refused to stop publishing letters on controversial Mormon history in national newspapers.[60] Church leaders also disciplined those who commented on this very action. In 1993 Anderson received a notice that declared her an apostate because “of her writings and speeches about church members who claim to have been bullied, censored, or punished by ecclesiastical leaders.”[61]

Of these intellects, all but Metcalfe devoutly believed in the Mormon religion and said that what they found in their research only strengthened their beliefs, not weakened them, as the Mormon hierarchy believed. Mormon intellect James E. Chapman summed up the sentiments of Mormon historians and liberals nicely in an article called “Dissent in the Church: Toward a Workable Definition” in which he said that “for committed Latter-day Saints, dissent never seeks to destroy or destabilize the church but rather consolidate a base of influence and to employ this influence to promote democratic change.”[62]

Another Mormon liberal wrote in defense of them in his article “The Art of Dissent Among the Mormons.” He believed that, “the Church does in fact change for the better, and the dissent of loyal members is a rich source of improvement that ought to be managed with tolerance and finesse rather than rudely suppressed.”[63]

Not only were most historians not negatively affected by their research, but the general Mormon population was not either. On the day of its founding in April 1830, six people could claim membership to the Mormon religion, and by 1971 the membership reached nearly 3,100,000 members.[64] By 1990, the membership reached just over 7,700,000.[65] The continuing increase in Church membership testifies that these historians did not hurt the religion.

Mormon Church leaders mostly attribute their control over history to their desire to protect members from losing their faith. However, the unique decade where Mormon leaders supported historians allowed many historians to write more full, objective histories, and despite the leader’s assumptions that this would ruin the religion, it did not. Most historians continued to believe in Mormonism and the membership of the church increased by huge numbers each year. The leaders kept censoring and disciplining historians despite the lack of negative effects because they disliked people having interpretations of Mormonism that differed from the one they preached at the pulpit.

There will continue to be tension between the leaders and the historians and other intellectuals unless, as happened in the 1970s, the Mormon Church has leaders with less fundamentalist views who will tolerate numerous historical interpretations.


[1] R. Scott Appleby, “History in the Fundamentalist Imagination,” The Journal of American History 89 (2002): 498–501.

[2] Ibid, 498–501.

[3] Brenda Braser, Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism (New York City: Routledge, 2001), 317–323.

[4] Richard O. Cowan, The Church in the Twentieth Century (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985), 410.

[5] Ibid, 322.

[6] Leonard J. Arrington. “Learning about Ourselves through Church History,” Ensign, September 1979, 6. see also G. Homer Durham, “Why Study History?” Ensign, September 1978, 59. (all Ensign and New Era articles can be found on the LDS church website through searching in the Gospel Library, found on the homepage )

[7] Arrington. “Learning about Ourselves.” 6.

[8] John Heinerman and Anson Shupe, The Mormon Corporate Empire (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 210–214.

[9] James B. Allen, “Since 1950: Creators and Creations of Mormon History,” in Essays in Honor of Leondard J. Arrington, ed. Davis Bitton and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987), 409. onnor of

[10] Marvin S. Hill, “Positivism or Subjectivism? Some Reflections on a Mormon Historical Dilemma,” Journal of Mormon History 8 (1981): 10.

[11]Newell G. Bringhurst, “Fawn McKay Brodie: Dissident Historian and Quintessential Critic of Mormondom,” in Differing Visions, Dissenters in Mormon History, ed. Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 289 .

[12] Guide to the Scriptures,” n.d., (02 March 2003).

[13] Bringhurst. “Brodie.” 289–295.

[14] Leonard J. Arrington, “Reflections on the Founding and Purpose of the Mormon History Association,” Journal of Mormon History 10 (1983): 91–92.

[15] Ibid, 100. see also Davis Bitton and Leonard J. Arrington, Mormons and Their Historians (Salt Lake

City: University of Utah Press, 1988), 147.

[16] Thomas G. Alexander, “Historiography and the New Mormon History: A Historian’s Perspective,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19 (1986): 25.

[17] Michael D. Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian (And its Aftermath),” in Faithful History Essays on Writing Mormon History, ed. George D. Smith (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992) n.p. (to find this article, go to the Signature Books website: )

[18] Arrington, “Historian as Entrepreneur: A Personal Essay,” BYU Studies 17 (1977): 206.

[19] Bitton and Arrington, Mormons and Their Historians, 136.

[20] Arrington, “Reflections,” 101.

[21] Ibid, 101.

[22] Durham, “Why Study History?” 59.

[23] First Presidency, “Policies, Prodedures, People,” Ensign, March 1972, 77, see also Alvin R. Dyer, “The Future of Church History,” Ensign, August 1972, 59.

[24] “History is Then — and Now: A Conversation with Leonard J. Arrington, Church Historian,” Ensign, July 1975, 8.

[25] Ibid

[26] Dyer, “The Future of Church History,” 59.

[27] Davis Bitton, “Reading Mormon History: There’s Never Been More,” Ensign, December 1975, 70.

[28] Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” n.p.

[29] William E. Berrett, The Latter-day Saints, A Contemporary History of the Church of Jesus Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret Books, 1985), 320.

[30] N. Eldon Tanner, “First Presidency Message ‘The Debate is Over,’” Ensign, August 1979, 2.

[31] Ezra Taft Benson, “Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophets” 1980, in Anderson, “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 13.

[32] First Presidency, “A Look at the Church: 1951–1995,” Ensign, October 1999, 46.

[33] George P. Lee, Excommunication of a Mormon Church Leader (SLC: Signature Books, 1989), 8.

[34] Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” n.p.

[35] Ibid, 14.

[36] Benson “Fourteen Fundamentals” in Anderson “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 13.

[37] Boyd K. Packer, “The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect,” BYU Studies 21 (1981): 263.

[38] Tanners, Mormon Purge, 30.

[39] Patty Henetz, “Dissident Mormon Scholars,” n.p.

[40] Peggy Fletcher Stack, “Sunstone: The Cost of Intellectualism,” The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 17 June 2001, n.p.

[41] Ibid, 30.

[42] Jerald and Sandra Tanner, The Mormon Purge (SLC: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1993), 20.

[43] Anderson, “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 18.

[44] Heinerman and Shupe, Mormon Corporate Empire, 214.

[45] Anderson, “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 19.

[46] John Dart, “Critics in Mormon Church Express Doubts on the Book,” Los Angeles Times, 5 October 1985, Religion, 4.

[47] Anderson, “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 19–60.

[48] Quinn, “150 Years of Truth and Consequences about Mormon History,” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 16 (1992) 12.

[49] Ibid, 25, see also John Dart, “Mormons Forbid Female Biographers of Smith’s Wife to Address Church,” Los Angeles Times, 29 June 1985, vol. 104, SII, 5.

[50] Elbert E. Peck, “What is a University For?” Sunstone, 18 (1995): 10.

[51] Omar M. Kader, “Free Expression: The LDS Church and Brigham Young University,” Dialogue 26 (1993): 33.

[52] Anderson, “The LDS Intellectual Community,” 29, see also Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” n.p.

[53] Peck, “News: Six Intellectuals Disciplined for Apostasy,” Sunstone, 16 (1993): 68.

[54] Quinn, “On Being a Mormon Historian,” n.p.

[55] Brasher. Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism. 323.

[56] David P. Wright, “Historical Criticism: A Necessary Element in the Search for Religious Truth,” Sunstone 16 (1992): 35.

[57] Peck, “The Wright Excommunication Documents,” Sunstone 17 (1994): 66–76.

[58] Ibid, 65, see also Henetz, “Dissident Mormon Scholars,” n.p.

[59] Peck, “News: Editor of Essays on Book of Mormon Excommunicated,” Sunstone 18 (1995): 88, see also Henetz “Dissident Mormon Scholars,” n.p.

[60] Peck, “News: CIA Lawyer Michael Barrett Excommunicated,” Sunstone 17 (1994): 79.

[61] “Mormon Scholar Says She was Excommunicated,” New York Times, 25 September 1993, sect. 1, 10.

[62] James Chapman, “Dissent in the Church: Toward a Workable Definition,” Dialogue 26 (1993): 124.

[63] Levi S. Peterson. “The Art of Dissent Among the Mormons,” Sunstone 16 (1994): 33.

[64] First Presidency, “The Annual Report of the Church,” Ensign, March 1972, 77.

[65] First Presidency, “Time Line 2000,” New Era, January 2000, 20.


1) Primary Printed Sources:

Anderson, Lavina Fielding. “The LDS Intellectual Community and Church Leadership: A Contemporary Chronology.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26, no. 1 (1993) : 7–64.

Arrington, Leonard J. “Foreward.” In Differing Visions, Dissenters in Mormon History. Edited by Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Arrington, Leonard J. “Historian as Entrepreneur: A Personal Essay.” BYU Studies 17, no. 2 (1977) : 193.

Arrington, Leonard J. “Reflections on the Founding and Purpose of the Mormon History Association.” Journal of Mormon History 10 (1983): 91.

Berrett, William E. The Latter-Day Saints, A Contemporary History of the Church of Jesus Christ. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985.

Bitton, Davis, and Leonard J. Arrington. Mormons and Their Historians. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988.

Lee, George P. Excommunication of a Mormon Church Leader. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989.

Quinn, Michael D. “150 Years of Truth and Consequences about Mormon History.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 16, no. 1 (1992):12–14.

Peck, Elbert E. “News: CIA Lawyer Michael Barrett Excommunicated.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 17, no. 2 (1994) : 79.

Peck, Elbert E. “News: Editor of Essays on Book of Mormon Excommunicated.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 18, no. 1 (1995) : 88.

Peck, Elbert E. “News: Six Intellectuals Disciplined for Apostasy.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 16, no. 6 (1993) : 65–73.

Peck, Elbert E. “The Wright Excommunication Documents.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 17, no. 2 (1994) : 65–76.

Wright, David P. “Historical Criticism: A Necessary Element in the Search for Religious Truth.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 16, no. 2 (1992) : 28–37

2) Primary Sources Printed off the Internet:

Arrington, Leonard J. “Learning About Ourselves through Church History.” Ensign, September, 1979, 6.

Bitton, Davis. “Reading Mormon History: There’s Never Been More.” Ensign, December 1975, 70.

Dart, John. “Critics in Mormon Church Express Doubts on the Book.” Los Angeles Times, 5 October 1985, 4.

Dart, John. “Mormons Forbid Female Biographers of Smith’s Wife to Address Church.” Los Angeles Times, 29 June 1985.

Durham, G. Homer. “Why Study History?” Ensign, September 1978, 59.

Dyer, Alvin R. “The Future of Church History.” Ensign, August 1972, 59.

First Presidency of LDS Church, “A Look at the Church: 1951–1995,” Ensign, October 1999, 46.

First Presidency of LDS Church. “Policies, Procedures, People.” Ensign, March, 1972, 77.

First Presidency of LDS Church. “The Annual Report of the Church.” Ensign, July 1972, 131.

First Presidency of LDS Church. “Time Line 2000,” New Era, January 2000, 20.

“History Is Then — — and Now: A Conversation with Leonard J. Arrington, Church Historian.” Ensign, July 1975, 8.

“Mormon scholar says she was excommunicated.” New York Times, 25 September 1993 sect. 1, 10.

Quinn, Michael D. “On Being a Mormon Historian (And its Aftermath)” in Faithful History Essays on Writing Mormon History. Ed. George D. Smith Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992.

Stack, Peggy Fletcher. “Sunstone: The Cost of Intellectualism.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire. 17 June 2001.

Tanner, N. Eldon. “First Presidency Message ‘The Debate is Over.’” Ensign, August 1979, 2.

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Alexander, Thomas G. “Historiography and the New Mormon History: A Historian’s Perspective.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 19, no. 3 (1986) : 25–47.

Allen, James B. “Since 1950: Creators and Creations of Mormon History.” In Essays in Honor of Leonard J. Arrington. Edited by Bitton, Davis, and Maureen Ursenbach Beecher. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987.

Appleby, R. Scott. “History in the Fundamentalist Imagination.” The Journal of American History 89 (2002): 498–501.

Brasher, Brenda E., ed. Encyclopedia of Fundamentalism. New York: Routledge, 2001.

Bringhurst, Newell G. “Fawn McKay Brodie: Dissident Historian and Quintessential Critic of Mormondom.” In Differing Visions, Dissenters in Mormon History. Edited by Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Cragun, Leann. “Mormons and History: In Control of the Past.” Ph.D. diss., University of Hawaii, 1981.

Chapman, James. “Dissent in the Church: Toward a Workable Definition.” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26, no. 1 (1993) : 124–125.

Cowan, Richard O. The Church in the Twentieth Century. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985.

Heinerman, John, and Anson Shupe. The Mormon Corporate Empire. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.

Hill, Marvin S. “Positivism or Subjectivism? Some Reflections on a Mormon Historical Dilemma.” Journal of Mormon History 20, no. 1 (1994).

Kader, Omar M. “Free Expression: The LDS Church and Brigham Young University.”

Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 26, no. 3 (1993). 33–55.

Launius, Roger D., and Linda Thatcher. “Introduction: Mormonism and the Dynamics of Dissent.” In Differing Visions, Dissenters in Mormon History. Edited by Roger D. Launius and Linda Thatcher. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1994.

Peck, Elbert E. “What’s a University For?” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 18, no. 2 (1995) : 10.

Peterson, Levi S. “The Art of Dissent Among the Mormons.” Sunstone, Mormon Experience, Scholarship, Issues, & Art 16, no. 8 (1994) : 33–39.

Poll, Richard D. History and Faith, Reflections of a Mormon Historian. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1989.

Tanner, Jerald, and Sandra Tanner. The Mormon Purge. Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1993.

Wood, Charles L. The Mormon Conspiracy, A Review of Present Day and Historical Conspiracies to Mormonize America and the World. Chula Vista, CA: Black Forest Press, 2001.

4) Secondary Sources Printed off the Internet:

Dart, John. “Mormon Church Passes 7-Million Mark Growth: Its missionaries total 40,000 around the globe. But analysts say 40% of the church’s membership is inactive.” Los Angeles Times, 6 January 1990.

Henetz, Patty. “Dissident Mormon Scholars say excommunications will continue.” The Associated Press State & Local Wire, 10 December 2002.