Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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England, Eugene ; Johnson, G. Wesley
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B. H. ROBERTS AS HISTORIAN Davis Bit ton If the Mormon community has today an informative record of its past, much credit must be given to B. H. Roberts. Davis Bitton, Associate Professor of History at the University of Utah, who has published both European and Mormon history, assesses the work of Roberts from the point of view of the professional historian. In 1930, when B. H. Roberts published his six-volume Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learned journals were silent. But he himself, with pardonable pride, had described his work as "monumental." One Mormon, answering Bernard De Voto's contemptuous description of Utah as an intellectual desert, hailed Roberts as "another Gibbon."1 Although hyperbolic, the favorable judgment was in general well deserved. Not only was the Comprehensive History of the Church (hereafter referred to as the CHC) far superior to any history of Mormonism which had yet appeared; even today it is a work which no serious student of the subject can afford to ignore. Nevertheless, the work did have some flaws, and Roberts had his limitations as an historian. It is the purpose of the present essay to examine his historical writings, making some judgments on their quality and hopefully arriving at a just estimate of his place in the development of Mormon historiography. Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City, 1930), VI, 550-51. J. R. Paul's response to De Voto is in the Improvement Era, XXXIV (March, 1931), 253.