Encyclopedia of Mormonism
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism:The History, Scripture, Doctrine, and Procedure of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a series of four reference volumes containing approximately 1500 articles on topics primarily related to the history and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The volumes also contain biographies, images, maps, charts, appendixes, and an index. A fifth volume contains the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.
Editor in chief Daniel H. Ludlow noted in his preface:
- Lest the role of the Encyclopedia be given more weight than it deserves, the editors make it clear that those who have written and edited have only tried to explain their understanding of Church history, doctrines, and procedures; their statement and opinions remain their own.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism articles were written by scholars in a wide variety of fields, many of whom were professors at Brigham Young University. The volumes were a joint effort of BYU and Macmillan Publishing Company. Ludlow also notes that the contents “do not necessarily represent the official position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He said that the “primary audience” for the series are those “interested in learning more about the Church. We have assumed that the reader will have no familiarity with Church history, organization, scriptures, doctrine, or culture; therefore, needed background will be provided within the entries themselves.” He also noted that the volumes would be beneficial for members of the Church.
The Ensign Magazine published “A Conversation about the Encyclopedia of Mormonism” in its December 1990 issue. The first paragraph explains the reason for the article and specifies the support of the Brethren:
- The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, a project and title approved by the First Presidency and published by Macmillan Publishing Company, is nearing completion.
In the interview for the article, Ludlow said, “This will be the first time the Church has ever let an outside publisher print the scriptures; but in preparing the encyclopedia, it became apparent that it was essential to have the scriptures as part of the project.”
According to Wikipedia, some critics reviewed the series and considered it to fall short of expounding on issues related to the Book of Mormon.
Since its publication, John W. Welch, who was one of the editors, worked to have the volumes become available online. In 2007, the volumes became available through the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.