Abstract and Keywords
Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, ordered scribes, historians, and church members to keep records by divine injunction, leading to a sizeable collection documenting the institutional management and growth of the early church. This chapter charts the evolution of the study of Mormonism from its beginnings to its current state. Evolving from its nineteenth-century documentary roots, important attempts were later made to synthesize church history into a manageable narrative that moved the study of Mormon history in new directions. The 1930s to the 1960s saw a period of professionalization that culminated in “New Mormon History,” with significant scholarly works produced inside and outside of the church’s official history department. Only recently has Mormon Studies moved fully into the academy, augmented by a range of methodologies and interdisciplinary work. What can result from this fresh approach is an understanding of the movement’s complexities and the proliferation of multiple Mormon studies.
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