A Voice in the Wilderness

The 1888-1930 General Conference Sermons of Mormon Historian Andrew Jenson

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Reid L Neilson, Scott D. Marianno
  • Oxford, England: 
    Oxford University Press
    , July
     360 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Alan J. Clark forthcoming.


In April 1888, Andrew Jenson, Danish immigrant and convert to the Mormon faith, received an unexpected invitation from church leaders to speak at their general conference. Jenson was an outsider to this conference tradition, a layman whose only standing before the main body of Latter-day Saints came from a contracted position with the Church Historian's Office.

Forty-two years later, in April 1930, Jenson offered his twenty-eighth and final general conference sermon. He had become the voice of institutional record keeping in his over forty-year career as an Assistant Church Historian. His sermons demonstrated the growth and expansion of the Mormon general conference tradition in the twentieth century, as they placed the Latter-day Saint story front and center for church members to learn from and celebrate. In addition, Jenson urged conference goers to keep better personal and institutional records and believed he was often the solitary advocate for church record keeping and historical preservation. 

A Voice in the Wilderness presents all twenty-eight of Andrew Jenson's general conference sermons, with introductions and annotations that set them within their historical and religious contexts. His speeches capture a unique period in Mormon history, one of institutional change, accommodation, and growth. This study of Jenson's sermons uncovers the richness and diversity that thrives just beneath the surface of official ecclesiastical discourse.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Reid Neilson is Assistant Church Historian and Recorder and Managing Director of the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 

Scott Marianno is a Historian/Writer for the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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