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Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I
AuthorB. H. Roberts
CountryUnited States
SubjectMormon history
PublisherThe LDS Church and Deseret News Press
Publication date
April 6, 1930 [1]
Media typePrint (Hardcover)
Pages3,459 (6 volumes) [2]
Preceded byThe History of the Mormon Church 
Followed bySaints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days 

A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I is a six-volume history published in 1930 by B.H. Roberts, a general authority and Assistant Church Historian of the LDS Church. It should not be confused with the seven-volume History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (nicknamed Documentary History of the Church), which was also edited by Roberts in the early 20th-century but focuses on the history of Joseph Smith.


After the American Historical Magazine, owned by the American Historical Society, published articles on the Spalding–Rigdon theory of Book of Mormon authorship, Roberts requested the magazine also allow him to publish a rebuttal. After his four-part response, the editor was so pleased that he invited Roberts to next write a detailed history of the LDS Church.[1] The magazine was willing to change its frequency and format to accommodate the size of this task. From July 1909 to July 1915 Roberts wrote "The History of the Mormon Church" in forty-two-page installments for each issue of the newly named Americana magazine (sometimes called Americana Illustrated).[1][3]

After the final article appeared, the First Presidency wanted to publish the work in six volumes,[3] but this was dropped due to the cost, despite Roberts' willingness. He even considered condensing the material into a single volume after Joseph Fielding Smith's one-volume Essentials in Church History was authorized for publication.[2] In 1928 Apostle George Albert Smith asked Roberts to revisit and update his work for publication in commemoration of the church's 1930 centennial.[1]

For this reference work used by members of the church, a separate index volume was published in 1959 by the Brigham Young University Library.[4]


The Comprehensive History has been called "Roberts's most important historical labor"[2] and "his magnum opus."[5] It is seen as the "high-water mark" of historical studies before the academics of the New Mormon History[5] and was "far superior to any history of Mormonism which had yet appeared."[6] It was the first to publish some major portions of recent history and to chronicle so wide a period of the Mormon past in one work. It referenced copious primary and secondary sources and sought to reject historical myths, "the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre" that was "based on worthless testimony".[2][5] However, the work has been criticized for manifesting a strong Mormon bias[2] and using Romantic, "rhapsodic prose that sometimes overshoots the mark."[5]

Volumes summary

  • Volume I
Joseph Smith's early history until the church's experience in Missouri
  • Volume II
Settlement in Illinois up unto the exodus from Illinois
  • Volume III
The pioneer trek up until federal intervention in Salt Lake City
  • Volume IV
Various events in Utah in the 1850s
  • Volume V
  • Volume VI
Events leading up to the Manifesto and other events to 1930

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Godfrey, Kenneth W. (2000). "Comprehensive History of the Church, A". In Arnold K. Garr; Donald Q. Cannon; Richard O. Cowan (eds.). Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. ISBN 1-57345-822-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e Walker, Ronald W.; David J. Whittaker; James B. Allen. Mormon History. Urbana: University of Illinois Press. pp. 35–37. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  3. ^ a b Roberts 1930
  4. ^ "Index to A comprehensive history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints". iLink BYU Online Catalog. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  5. ^ a b c d Alder, Douglas D. (1992). "Comprehensive History of the Church". In Daniel H. Ludlow (ed.). Encyclopedia of Mormonism. New York: Macmillan. Retrieved 2010-04-13.
  6. ^ Davis Bitton (Winter 1968). "B. H. Roberts as Historian". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 3 (4): 25. Archived from the original on 2010-09-04. Retrieved 2010-04-13.


  • Roberts, B. H. (1930), "Preface", A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Century I, Salt Lake City: LDS Church.
This page was last edited on 17 December 2020, at 18:32
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