Adventures of a church historian

by Leonard J. Arrington


Adventures of a Church Historian details how Leonard J. Arrington opened up archival resources and presided, for a time, over an unprecedented era of enlightenment as he and those working under his aegis produced path-breaking works of Mormon scholarship. Arrington was the first professional historian and the first noncentral authority to serve as church historian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a position he held from 1972 to 1982. Arrington's church appointment came at a crucial point in LDS history, when the institution was being transformed from a regional church whose ecclesiastical hierarchy directly presided over its congregants into a modern, worldwide church with an elaborate bureaucracy. His description of conducting research in the LDS Church Archives in the days of Elder Joseph Fielding Smith and Brother A. Will Lund provides a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the LDS First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Riveting chapters on the actions of the controversial Historical Department reveal details of Arrington's release and replacement as the old system gave way to the new.

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