Mormonism: Primary Resources

In writing my book, I had to make a major decision concerning what primary Mormon resources I would use. As you can see from the quotations and notes, I drew extensively—although not exclusively—from the writings of Mormon founders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, official LDS Web sites, the manuals and curriculum produced and distributed by the LDS Church Educational System, the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Richard Lyman Bushman’s biography Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling, Bruce McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine, and the books of contemporary Brigham Young University professors Dr. Stephen Robinson and Dr. Robert Millet.

Bruce McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine

Claiming low sales, the LDS Deseret Book declared in May 2010 that it would stop publishing the late Mormon apostle and theologian Bruce McConkie’s renowned book Mormon Doctrine. First published in 1958,
Mormon Doctrine served as the quasi-official encyclopedic explanation and main authoritative source of LDS teachings with the support of the LDS hierarchy of 15 apostles. After all, it is the all-time LDS best seller. It went through around 40 printings, selling hundreds of thousands of copies, and has had an unprecedented theological influence on the LDS Church. Dying in 1985, McConkie was the son-in-law of late LDS Church President and Prophet Joseph Fielding Smith, and his book Mormon Doctrine provided straight-forward answers to most questions concerning Mormonism and left little room for ambiguity. It was consistently cited in the LDS curriculum—especially in LDS Church Educational System materials—and took on almost a scriptural stature.

Although it is now out of print, I have quoted McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine in my book because of its thoroughness, and because of its historic reputation and usage in the LDS Church. Brigham Young University professor Dr. Robert Millett also frequently quotes Mormon Doctrine is his 2016 book, Precept upon Precept: Joseph Smith and the Restoration of Doctrine.