Thomas G. Alexander

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 Book Written by Thomas AlexanderBook Written by Thomas Alexander
Thomas G. Alexander (born 1935) is a historian and academic who was the Lemuel Hardison Redd, Jr. Professor of Western History Emeritus at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. He is the former director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. He was president of the Mormon History Association from 1974–1975.[1]

Alexander is a practitioner of what has been called the "New Mormon History." New Mormon Historians are a group of faithful members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and sympathetic non-Mormons who reject both positivism and objectivism (the belief that you can use the methodology of classical physical and biological sciences which, in fact, many scientists have rejected). They however try to write truthful history and so are willing to present past Latter-day Saints as less than perfect people and reject claims about the history of the Church that are based purely on rumor and speculation.

Alexander was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in a working-class section of Ogden, Utah. He served a Mission for the Church in Germany and earned his A. A. at Weber State University, his B.A. and M.A. degrees from Utah State University in Logan, Utah, and his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Alexander is well known for a carefully crafted biography of Wilford Woodruff. This biography provides insight into the development of the Church and the American West. He asserts that Woodruff was "... arguably the third most important figure in all of Church history after Joseph Smith ... and Brigham Young" (p. 331). While other Latter-day Saint and western historians may disagree with the ranking, his work provides a careful study of a very important leader in the emerging Mormon faith. Woodruff was a central leader of nineteenth century Mormonism, a member of the Church's Quorum of the Twelve Apostles between 1835 and 1889, and president of the Church from 1889 until his death in 1898 at age 91. Alexander's research of President Woodruff convinced him that a (plural) marriage between Wilford Woodruff and Madam Mountford could not have taken place, as was asserted by Mike Quinn.

In 2004, Alexander retired from full-time teaching at BYU and served an Church mission in Berlin, Germany, with his wife. They were Church Educational System missionaries who worked under Horst Gruse, supervisor of the Institute of Religion in that city. The Alexanders served at the institute as outreach missionaries in the Church's outreach initiative.

Brother Alexander is a past president of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.


  • A Conflict of Interests, Interior Department and Mountain West, 1863-1896
  • The Rise of Multiple-Use Management in the Intermountain West: A History of Region 4 of the Forest Service
  • Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-day Saints, 1890-1930
  • Mormons and Gentiles: A History of Salt Lake City with James B. Allen
  • Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, a Mormon Prophet. Signature Books, Incorporated. Salt Lake City, Utah, reprint 1993. ISBN 1-56085-045-0
  • Utah: The Right Place
  • Line Upon Line: Essays on Mormon Doctrine
  • Grace and Grandeur: A History of Salt Lake City
  • The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past

As Editor

  • Manchester Mormons: The Journals of William Clayton, 1840-1842 with James B. Allen
  • The Mormon History Association's Tanner Lectures, with Dean L. May, Reid L. Neilson, Richard L. Bushman (Editor), Jan Shipps (Editor). University of Illinois Press, 2006. ISBN 0-252-07288-X
  • Utah's History with Richard Poll, Eugene Campbell, and David Miller