Reid L. Neilson: Mormon Historian

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Reid L. Neilson Mormon Historian

In April 2022, Reid L. Neilson was appointed as the assistant academic vice president for religious scholarly publications at Brigham Young University. This newly created position at the university will oversee three organizations on campus: the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, the Religious Studies Center, and BYU Studies. The appointment is effective August 1, 2022. Neilson was serving as president of the Washington DC North Mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time of his appointment.

He was assistant church historian and recorder for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 2015 to 2019 and managing director of the Church History Department from 2010 to 2019. He was a member of the Church History Department Editorial Board. Previously he was also an assistant professor of Latter-day Saint church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University.

He is the author, editor, and coeditor of several books, including Peter Neilson Sr.: A Consecrated Life (author, 1997); A Historian in Zion: The Autobiography of Andrew Jenson, Assistant Church Historian (author, 2016); The Rise of Mormonism (editor, 2005). He edited (with Terryl Givens The Columbia Sourcebook of Mormons in the United States (2015) and Joseph Smith Jr.: Reappraisals after Two Centuries (2008).

Neilson holds a PhD in religious studies with an emphasis in American religious history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was named an International Studies Scholar for Tomorrow Fellow. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international relations from BYU. He also holds graduate degrees in American history and business administration from BYU.

He worked for Arthur Andersen’s Strategy, Finance, and Economics Division in Los Angeles and London, consulted for Walt Disney’s Strategic Planning Division in Tokyo, and researched for the University of Michigan Business School’s Asia-Pacific Human Resources Partnership in Hong Kong.

He is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He and his wife, Shelly, have five children.