Larry C. Porter
Larry C. Porter is professor emeritus of church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University where he served as chair of the Department of Church History and Doctrine for seven years and as the director of the Church history area of the Religious Studies Center for seven years. Before joining BYU’s faculty, he worked for 11 years as an instructor, principal, and district coordinator in the Seminary and Institute programs in the Church Educational System. He retired in 2001.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Utah State University and his master’s and doctorate degrees from BYU in the history of religion, specifically Latter-day Saint church history.
He is coeditor of Truth Will Prevail; The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith; and Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life and Service of Brigham Young. He served on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Mormonism and was an associate editor of BYU Studies. He contributed to the six volume Sacred Places series and has helped on the Joseph Smith Papers Project.
Porter traveled extensively in connection with his research in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, California, Canada, and Great Britain. He lived for a year at the Martin Harris Farm in Palmyra, New York. Porter was part of the team of colleagues who searched for information about the Church.
- In some cases, said Brother Porter, gathering the best information required that a price be paid before librarians understood the earnestness of the quest and would assist. On one occasion, after Brother Porter had spent about 10 days studying in a library, the librarian recognized his commitment and invited him to study material safeguarded in a back room that included, among other things, the doctor's report following the autopsy of Alvin Smith, the Prophet's older brother who died at age 25 in 1823.
- On another occasion Brother Porter's perseverance earned a curator's respect. "He gave me access to material that exceeded all expectations," he said. The material included letters from the master typesetter for E.B. Grandin who first printed the Book of Mormon, as well as other uncataloged letters from people such as Brigham Young that offered details and insights into the early Church.
Porter was born in Logan, Utah, on January 7, 1933. He and his wife, LaDawn are the parents of nine children. They served in the New York Rochester Mission after his retirement.
He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served for 11 years on the Church’s Correlation Review Committee. As a young man, he served a full-time mission in the Northern States Mission. He was also a first lieutenant airborne ranger during the Korean War.