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Mormon Missiology: An Introduction and Guide to the Sources

TitleMormon Missiology: An Introduction and Guide to the Sources
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsWhittaker, David J.
EditorRicks, Stephen D., Donald W. Parry, and Andrew H. Hedges
Book TitleThe Disciple as Witness: Essays on Latter-day Saint History and Doctrine in Honor of Richard Lloyd Anderson
PublisherFoundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies
CityProvo, UT
KeywordsMissionary Work

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Mormon Missiology: An Introduction and Guide to the Sources

David J. Whittaker


Missionary work has been a central concern of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (commonly called Mormons) since their beginnings in 1830. The visions of Joseph Smith proclaimed the opening of a new dispensation in which the gospel of Jesus Christ would go forth to all nations. In their study of the Bible, particularly the New Testament, Latter-day Saint leaders identified with early Christian missionaries who were commissioned by the Master to “go ye therefore, and teach all nations” (Matthew 28:19). Latter-day Saint scriptures emphasized and reinforced this missionary outlook. Many passages in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants described the world as a “field . . . white already to harvest” (D&C 4:4; 6:3; 11:3; 12:3; 31:4; etc.), and the faithful were assured that no joy would be greater than that which came as a result of successful missionary work. They understood that once they heard the “good news,” they had a desire and an obligation to inform their neighbors (see D&C 88:81). These same scriptures told the stories and described the qualities of good missionaries (see, for example, Alma 17–26, 29; D&C 4).

Early in the history of the church, missionaries were commanded to assemble “the elect” from throughout the world (D&C 29:7–8; compare D&C 110:11). Their work centered on the concept of the “gathering,” a two-phase process. First, missionaries were to preach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to the honest in heart and then to administer the saving priesthood ordinances (beginning with baptism by immersion and the laying on of hands to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost) to those who accepted their message. Second, converts were to gather physically with other faithful members to assist in building Zion, a covenant community of righteous Saints.1 Immigration to America followed conversion throughout the nineteenth century, and this gathering to a central place gave the Mormon movement great economic, political, and religious power wherever the Latter-day Saints settled. In fact, the process was viewed as a critical part of preparing the earth for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Rejecting old ways and purposefully acting on new knowledge was a significant rite of passage for the new convert. Millennial expectations thus fueled a missionary zeal and outreach that remains unabated to our own day.2

Besides the obvious spiritual benefits of this kind of work, there were also more practical effects. Historically, missionary work served to revitalize church membership at critical periods of stress and strain. New converts also brought much-needed skills and talents during the hectic western pioneering period of the church’s history. The history and development of the various missions of the church were often the testing ground for church leaders as well as for official programs and publications. The mission experience was an important instrument of socialization and testimony building for those who accepted the call to serve. Problems of government and administration that arose in the various mission fields very early required church leaders to deal more comprehensively with matters of organization, licensing, discipline, publication, immigration, and financial management. Thus the study of missions and missionary work is an essential area for students of Latter-day Saint history, or for students of the broader topic of missiology, or the scholarly study of mission history in its broadest sense.3

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints remains a strong missionary organization; as of January 2000 more than 59,000 full-time missionaries were assigned to one of 333 missions in 160 countries and territories worldwide. Each missionary generally serves from one to two years, but missionary service is a task accepted throughout the lifetime of active members. While the majority of missionaries today are nineteen to twenty-three years old, it is common to have self-supporting retired couples also called to serve in a variety of missionary capacities. In addition, about 137,000 members of the church are currently serving church-service missions that range from family history projects to literacy education and public communications. Whether the work of teaching grows out of a formal mission call, or from a more informal setting in one’s own neighborhood, missionary work remains a central concern for the Mormon faithful.

The Latter-day Saint missionary system has been voluntary from the beginning. To study it is to study the history of the church itself, moving as it did from a few committed families in April 1830 to an international membership today. A full discussion of the missionary system would require a look at a variety of topics ranging from preparing to serve; receiving the formal missionary call (including preparing for and receiving the sacred temple ordinances); the conversion process in which the nonmember is converted (including such sociological topics as recruitment, acculturation, and socialization); the mission experience itself (including such topics as testimony, morale, the disciplined life of the missionary, missionary companionships, the mission rules, the quest for orthodoxy in thought, behavior, and literature); the mission experience as a rite of passage into the larger Mormon world; and religious disaffection or apostasy. Until recently these topics have been subsumed into the historical studies of the various missions. But such topics require a closer focus on the missionary as well as on the convert and form the substance of the scholarly field of missiology.

Mormon Missions: A Short Overview

Church membership grew from 6 original members in April 1830 to 268,331 in 1900, by which time Latter-day Saint missionaries had preached in nearly all the countries of the world. The majority of the missionaries who served in the nineteenth century were older by today’s standards and were almost always males who commonly left wives and families behind while serving wherever they were called. The first “foreign” mission attempted was into Ontario, Canada. From 1832 on, individuals or groups of missionaries hazarded trips there, and notwithstanding the few converts that were made in these early years, those who were baptized became instrumental in the opening of the British Mission, the next foreign mission attempted by the church. From its small beginnings in 1837, the British Mission became the most successful foreign mission of the church in the nineteenth century. From 1840 to about 1900 it is estimated that over 50,000 converts immigrated to the United States from Britain.

Very early in their history, the Latter-day Saints also sent missionaries into other countries. Even before the death of Joseph Smith, elders were sent to Australia, India, South America, Germany, and Jamaica. Although they failed to go, Orson Hyde and George J. Adams were even called to Russia. Orson Hyde did visit Palestine in 1842, and other missionaries visited the Society Islands in the Pacific Ocean in 1843. Thus a substantial effort had been expended in missionary work by 1844.

From England, early missionaries made the first proselyting thrusts into Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and continental Europe and then gradually extended themselves in more organized ventures. In 1849, no doubt encouraged by the Revolutions of 1848, calls were issued for the Italian, French, and Scandinavian missions. A mission to Hawaii came in 1850, another to South America in 1851, and in 1852 missionaries were dispatched to Gibraltar, India, Burma, Siam, China, South Africa, the West Indies, British Guiana, and again to Australia. Although few of these more extended missions were successful during the nineteenth century, the very attempt suggests the serious international outlook and millennialism of the early church. As Paul had benefited from the law and transportation routes of the Roman Empire, early Latter-day Saint missionary work followed the paths and locations of the British Empire throughout the world.4

During a period of anti-Mormon persecution and prosecution in the 1880s, foreign missionary work continued. It began in Mexico in 1875 but ended about 1889. Mexico was opened again in 1901 and, with Latin America, has become the most fruitful mission field in the church. In 1883 several missionaries worked in Austria and Hungary, but for many years few significant results were obtained there. In 1885 missionary work was begun in Turkey. In 1888 a mission was organized in Samoa; in 1891 the work was extended to Tonga, which was organized as a separate mission in 1916. In 1901 Japan was opened as the twentieth foreign mission, while the older missions continued to grow.

The stress on the gathering of new converts to an American headquarters meant sacrificing a stable base in the converts’ home country in favor of the colonizing activities in the Great Basin. By 1907 President Joseph F. Smith, following suggestions of George Q. Cannon in 1894, began counseling European members to remain in their own lands. However, despite this counsel, a significant number of converts continued to gather to America. The church itself maintained statistics on these numbers until 1962: 103,000 from 1840 to 1910 (ca. 2,000 per year); 10,185 from 1911 to 1946 (ca. 291 per year); 6,000 from 1947 to 1953 (ca. 1,000 per year), and almost 8,000 from 1954 to 1962.5 While the general trend has been for converts to remain in their native countries, it is obvious that the American pull has been strong on new members.

World wars and the Great Depression hindered but did not stop Latter-day Saint missionary work in the twentieth century. In some cases, it was LDS American servicemen who began or strengthened missionary work in the country to which they were assigned (for example, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand). In some cases, the destruction brought by war opened countries as well as people’s hearts to the message the missionaries brought. By 1950 there were 46 missions.

By the end of the Second World War, as other Christian missionary groups were beginning to apply more systematic and bureaucratic techniques to their proselyting efforts,6 young Latter-day Saint missionaries moved to more systematically organize the missionary program of the church. Particularly influential was the program suggested by Richard Lloyd Anderson. What became known as the Anderson Plan originated in 1948 as a more systematic lesson outline for teaching the gospel in the Northwestern States Mission.7 Its success assured that it would be copied and used throughout the missions of the church. The church itself would issue in 1953 The Systematic Program for Teaching the Gospel, the first set of missionary lessons issued by the church to be used in all missions. Their success built on the pioneering work of individuals like Richard Lloyd Anderson.8 The tremendous missionary success of the LDS Church since 1950 owes much to this more thoughtful and systematic lesson approach for its missionaries, particularly its emphasis on the Book of Mormon as a proselyting tool.9 The 1961 discussions, A Uniform System for Teaching Investigators, and the 1973 discussions, The Uniform System for Teaching Families, are clearly based on these earlier programs.10 The efforts to make “every member a missionary,” with active involvement in every step from referral to fellowshipping, was formalized in the 1960s by President David O. McKay.11 But this success has also raised new challenges for the church, particularly in relation to cultural conflict, translation, and Americanization. The sheer numerical growth of the church has been a significant challenge that can be only partially solved with better training and a broader use of electronic technology.

Thus the latter part of the twentieth century has witnessed a significant growth of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the world. With congregations in 140 nations and in 21 territories and possessions, churchwide membership by 2000 reached 11,000,000. The number of missions reached 331. This growth, which includes an internal increase of about 20 percent, is the result of systematic and aggressive missionary programs. In projecting its numerical growth in 1984, Rodney Stark, a non-Mormon sociologist of religion, suggested evidence of the emergence of a new world religion.12 While no complete history has yet been produced that tells the full story of Mormon missionary work, the following studies offer a useful beginning.

General Studies

Seldom has the study of Latter-day Saint missionary work been put into a broader historical or cultural context. Mormons themselves could learn from the experiences of other Christian missions as could students of Mormon missionary work. An excellent study to begin with is Stephen Neill, A History of Christian Missions, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, Md.: Penguin Books, 1984). For the more ambitious, the works of Kenneth Scott Latourette are essential: A History of the Expansion of Christianity, 7 vols. (London: Harper & Brothers, 1937–45); and Christianity in a Revolutionary Age, 5 vols. (New York: Harper, 1958–62). Useful reference works are Burton L. Goddard, ed., The Encyclopedia of Modern Christian Missions (Camden, N.J.: Nelson and Sons, 1967); David B. Barrett, ed., World Christian Encyclopedia: A Comparative Survey of Churches and Religions in the Modern World, A.D. 1900–2000 (Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1982); Samuel Wilson and J. Siewert, eds., Mission Handbook: North American Protestant Ministries Overseas, 13th ed. (Monrovia, Calif.: Missions Advanced Research and Communication Center, 1986); Wilbert R. Shenk, “North American Evangelical Missions since 1945: A Bibliographic Survey,” in Earthen Vessels: American Evangelicals and Foreign Missions, 1880–1980, ed. Joel A. Carpenter and Wilbert R. Shenk (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1990), 317–34; and Paul D. Peterson, ed., Missions and Evangelism: A Bibliography Selected from the ATLA Religion Database, rev. ed. (Chicago: American Theological Library Association, 1985). Periodicals include the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Missiology, and World Mission (a Catholic publication). A “Selected Annotated Bibliography of Missiology” has appeared in Missiology since 1986.13

Other studies with particular relevance to Latter-day Saint history are Sidney E. Mead, The Lively Experiment: The Shaping of Christianity in America (New York: Harper and Row, 1963); Clifton J. Phillips, Protestant America and the Pagan World: The First Half-Century of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1810–1860 (Ph.D. diss., Harvard University, 1954; published in 1969 by the East Asian Research Center, Harvard University); William R. Hutchison, Errand to the World: American Protestant Thought and Foreign Missions (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); R. Pierce Beaver, “Missionary Motivation through Three Centuries,” in Reinterpretation in American Church History, ed. Jerald C. Brauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), 113–51; R. Pierce Beaver, ed., American Missions in Bicentennial Perspective (South Pasadena, Calif.: Carey Library, 1977); Edward R. Dayton, “Current Trends in North American Protestant Ministries Overseas,” Occasional Bulletin of Missionary Research 1 (April 1977): 2–7; Charles W. Forman, “A History of Foreign Mission Theory in America,” in American Missions in Bicentennial Perspective, ed. R. Pierce Beaver (South Pasadena, Calif.: Carey Library, 1977), 69–140; Henry W. Bowden, American Indians and Christian Missions: Studies in Cultural Conflict (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981); Andrew F. Walls, “The American Dimension in the History of the Missionary Movement,” in Earthen Vessels, American Evangelicals and Foreign Missions, 1880–1980 (1990), 1–25; William A. Smalley, Translation as Mission: Bible Translation in the Modern Missionary Movement (Macon, Ga.: Mercer, 1991); Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America, 1776– 1990 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1992); Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792–1992 (Edinburgh: Clark, 1992); Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History, Studies in the Transmission of Faith (Mary Knoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1996); Timothy Yates, Christian Mission in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); James M. Phillips and Robert T. Coote, eds., Toward the Twenty-First Century in Christian Mission: Essays in Honor of Gerald H. Anderson (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1993). A study of early Protestant missions to the Mormons is T. Edgar Lyon, “Evangelical Protestant Missionary Activities in Mormon Dominated Areas, 1865–1900” (Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1962).

Useful volumes, with extensive bibliographies, suggesting the current trends in Christian missiological studies are Missiology, An Ecumenical Introduction: Texts and Contexts of Global Christianity, ed. F. J. Verstraelen, A. Camps, L. A. Hoedemaker, and M. R. Spindler (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995); and Louis J. Luzbetak, The Church and Cultures: New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology (New Castle, Del.: Oak Knoll Books, 1988).14

Latter-day Saint Missions

Two studies which provide both a large perspective and specific statistical information on Latter-day Saint missionary work are Brad Morris, “The Internationalization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (manuscript, 11 September 1972, copy in Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City); and Gordon Irving, “Numerical Strength and Geographical Distribution of the LDS Missionary Force, 1830– 1974,” Task Papers in LDS History, No. 1 (Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1975). More recent statistics are presented in the annual Deseret News Church Almanac. R. Lanier Britsch, “Mormon Missions: An Introduction to the Latter-day Saints Missionary System,” Occasional Bulletin of Missionary Research 3 (January 1979): 22–27, is a general introduction, while Tancred I. King, “Missiology and Mormon Missions,” Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought [hereafter cited as Dialogue] 16/4 (1983): 42–50, was the first serious attempt to place the study of Mormon missions into the larger area of missiology. See also Leonard J. Arrington, “Missionaries in Church History,” New Era (June 1973): 62–65; L. Grant Shields, “Language Challenges Facing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Preaching the Gospel to ‘Every Nation'” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1976); Leonard J. Arrington, “Historical Development of International Mormonism,” Religious Studies and Theology 7 (January 1987): 9–22; and Samuel M. Otterstrom, “The International Diffusion of the Mormon Church” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1994). Valuable articles on all aspects of missionary work appear in the four-volume Encyclopedia of Mormonism (New York: Macmillan, 1992)Until the establishment of the Manchester England Stake in 1960, church organizations outside of North America were administered as missions.

No one-volume study on the Mormon missionary experience exists.15 Since the Latter-day Saints have been keeping records from their earliest years, numerous missionary records exist upon which such a history could be based. An overview of important sources, particularly journals and autobiographies of members (many of which contain accounts of missionary activities) is Davis Bitton, Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1977). The LDS Church Historical Department in Salt Lake City has the most extensive collection of these records in addition to significant institutional records and compilations that trace the history of the various missions of the church. Most of these manuscript histories were compiled by Andrew Jenson and focus on the nineteenth century, but they are very useful manuscript scrapbooks for LDS missiology. This same repository has a collection containing thousands of letters written between about 1880 and 1915 by prospective missionaries, their relatives, and local church leaders, in response to inquiries from church headquarters about candidates for missionary service. The Historical Department of the church has also been conducting oral histories about LDS missions throughout the world with General Authorities, mission presidents, and selected missionaries. From 1906 to 1929 the Improvement Era ran a series of monthly reports entitled “Messages from the Mission,” which reported various contemporary activities; see Improvement Era (January 1906– October 1929). The Church News ran a series of biographical pieces prepared by members of the Historical Department, “A Church for All Lands,” from 1977 to 1980 (p. 16 of each issue beginning 30 April 1977). The archives at Brigham Young University also hold a significant body of Mormon missionary records, an annotated guide to which is available in Mormon Missions and Missionaries: A Bibliographical Guide to Published and Manuscript Sources, comp. David J. Whittaker with the assistance of Chris McClellan (Provo, Utah: Special Collections and Manuscripts, Harold B. Lee Library, BYU, 1993). The Folklore Archive at BYU contains a number of LDS missionary stories.

Official policies and statements dealing with missionary work can be found in a variety of publications. The official conference reports (general and area), including minutes of meetings and addresses of church leaders, have been published from the earliest years. Thus early Mormon periodicals, such as the Times and Seasons (Nauvoo, 1840– 46), the Journal of Discourses (Liverpool, 1854–86), and the Conference Report (Salt Lake City, 1898 to the present) are excellent sources.

Manuals, issued in various editions by the church, that address various aspects of missionary work include the Missionary’s Handbook (Independence, Mo.: Zion’s Printing, 1946), rev. ed. (1957); Uniform System for Teaching Investigators (1961); Priesthood Correlation in the Missionary Program (1964); Suggestions for Operating Stake Missions (1965); Suggestions for Stake Missionaries (1965); Priesthood Missionary Handbook for Stake Missions (1970); Priesthood Missionary Program Fellowshipping Manual (1970); Gordon B. Hinckley, Sharing the Gospel in Military Service (1970); The Uniform System for Teaching Families (1973, 1975); Mission President’s Handbook (1973, 1990); Missionary Guide: Training for Missionaries (1988); Handbook for Missionary Couples (1983); The Returned Missionary: Guidelines for Mission Presidents, Stake Presidents, District Presidents, Bishops, Branch Presidents, and Elders Quorum Presidents (1981); and I Need a Friend: A Friendship Guide for Members of the Church (1978). Compilations from the talks of two recent presidents of the LDS Church focusing on missionary work are Proclaiming the Gospel: Spencer W. Kimball Speaks on Missionary Work (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987), and Ezra Taft Benson, Missionaries to Match Our Message (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990). See also John A. Widtsoe, The Successful Missionary: Letters to Elders in the Field (Liverpool: European Mission, 1932); and Bruce R. McConkie, Proselyting Principles (Salt Lake City, n.d.).

Two useful introductions focusing on the nineteenth century are William E. Hughes, “A Profile of the Missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1849–1900” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1986); and Rex T. Price Jr., “The Mormon Missionary of the Nineteenth Century” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1991). Shorter studies of more recent times include Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd, “Sustaining a Lay Religion in Modern Society: The Mormon Missionary Experience,” in Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, ed. Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995), 161–81; Shepherd and Shepherd, “Membership Growth, Church Activity, and Missionary Recruitment,” Dialogue 29/1 (1996): 33–57; Keith Parry, “The Mormon Missionary Companionship,” in Contemporary Mormonism, Social Science Perspectives (1995), 182–206; and Madison H. Thomas and Marian P. Thomas, “The LDS Missionary Experience: Observations on Stress,” AMCAP Journal 15/2 (1990): 49–79. See also Willis Robinson, “The Value System and the Decision to Do Missionary Work” (master’s thesis, University of Southern California, 1960). Studies of the teaching techniques of Mormon missionaries are Barbara McFarlane [Higdon], “The Role of Preaching in the Early Mormon Church, 1830–1846” (Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, 1961); Jay E. Jensen, “Proselyting Techniques of Mormon Missionaries” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); and Jensen, “The Effect of the Initial Mission Field Training on Missionary Proselyting Skills” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1988). See also David E. Payne, “Socioeconomic Status and Leadership Selection in the Mormon Missionary System,” Review of Religious Research 13 (Winter 1972): 118–25.

The lay nature of the church, with its encouragement of active participation of its members from the youngest years, has helped to develop personal talents and abilities in such areas as public speaking and teaching, which are very useful attributes in missionary work. While not professionally trained in theology or history, young Latter-day Saints have ample opportunities to learn doctrine and history in a variety of church-sponsored settings beyond just Sabbath church attendance. These include seminary and institute classes. The general stress on missionary work throughout the life cycle of the members is suggested in Gary J. Coleman, “Member Missionary Involvement in the LDS Church” (Ed.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1978). The increase of couple missionaries is suggested in a series of short vignettes in “Serving as Couple Missionaries,” Ensign (September 1997): 14–17; and in S. George Ellsworth, “Called to Tubuai: Missionary Couples in French Polynesia, 1850,” Ensign (October 1989): 35–39. A study of married men as missionaries is Robert J. McCue, “Married Men as Full-Time Missionaries,” Third Eye: The Canadian Journal of Mormon History 1 (1996): 47–59.

Calvin S. Kunz, “A History of Female Missionary Activity in the Church . . .” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1976); Ann Gardner Stone, “Louisa Barnes Pratt: Missionary Wife, Missionary Mother, Missionary,” in Sister Saints, ed. Vicky Burgess-Olsen (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1978), 43–59; and Diane L. Mangum, “The First Sister Missionaries,” Ensign (July 1980): 62–65, provide beginning studies on a topic that needs further work, while Carol C. Madsen examines a further dimension in “Mormon Missionary Wives in Nineteenth Century Polynesia,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986–87): 61–85. See also Marie S. Ellsworth, “The First Mormon Missionary Women in the Pacific, 1850–1852,” in Proceedings, Eleventh Annual Conference, Mormon Pacific Historical Society, June 10–16, 1990 (n.p.: Mormon Pacific Historical Society, 1990), 123–41. The first official women missionaries were called in 1898;16 today (2000) about 20 percent of the full-time missionary force are women (ca. 10,000).17 See also Jessie L. Embry, “The Rhetorical Self-Definition of Sister Missionaries, 1930–1970: Oral Histories,” in Annual of the Association for Mormon Letters, ed. Lavina Fielding Anderson (Salt Lake City: Association for Mormon Letters, 1997), 147–51. The Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, BYU, has conducted oral histories with sixty women who have served as LDS missionaries, which interviews have been transcribed and are available in Special Collections, Lee Library, BYU. See also Mormondom’s First Woman Missionary, Louisa Barnes Pratt: Life Story and Travels Told in Her Own Words, 2nd ed. (n.p.: Nettie Hunter Rencher, ca. 1950).

The folklore and humor of Mormon missionaries has been the subject of several essays by BYU folklorist William A. Wilson: “Dealing with Organizational Stress: Lessons from the Folklore of Mormon Missionaries,” in Inside Organizations: Understanding the Human Dimension, ed. Michael O. Jones, Michael D. Moore, and Richard C. Snyder (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 1988), 271–79; On Being Human: The Folklore of Mormon Missionaries, Utah State University Faculty Honor Lecture (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1981); and “Powers of Heaven and Hell: Mormon Missionary Narratives as Instruments of Socialization and Social Control,” in Contemporary Mormonism, Social Science Perspectives (1995), 207–17. A recent study of the German mission folklore is Stephen Van Orden, “Spit-Shined Shoes, Clear Decisions, and the West German Mission Horror Stories: A Study of the Emergence and Function of the Missionary Folklore of the Dresden Mission during 1990” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1996). For a look at the humor of the missionary experience see Darold Westover, Two by Two: A Cartoonist’s Look at Missionary Life (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon, 1992); Bruce Call, From Bad to Verse: A Collection of Missionary Light Verse (American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications, 1992); and John Thompson, Called to the Work: A Comical Look at Life after the Mission Call (Tigard, Ore.: Family Gathering, 1990).

James N. Baumgarten’s “The Role and Function of the Seventies in LDS Church History” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1960) is an important overview of the priesthood quorum that was given major responsibility for missionary work in the nineteenth century. By 1900, 92 percent of Mormon missionaries were seventies; by 1941 only 27 percent were; and by 1986 stake seventies quorums were discontinued, although major shifts and expansions to the First and Second Quorums occurred in April 1989. The Third, Fourth, and Fifth Quorums were organized in April 1997. Additional studies of these important missionary quorums include William G. Hartley, “The Seventies in the 1880s: Revelations and Reorganizing,” Dialogue 16/1 (1983): 62–88; S. Dilworth Young, “The Seventies: A Historical Perspective,” Ensign (July 1976): 14–21; and Richard D. Ouellette, “Seventies Quorums: 1835–1986,” Sunstone 11 (January 1987): 35–37. See also John L. Lund, “An Extensive Annotated Bibliography [to 1970] of Literature Relative to the Office and Calling of the Seventy” (manuscript, copy in Special Collections, Lee Library, BYU). The life of one of the most important and powerful leaders of the seventies is the subject of Truman G. Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980).

The Missionary Training Centers (MTCs) operated by the church (16 currently) function as a kind of boot camp for the young missionaries; in addition to scriptural and doctrinal training and intensive language courses where required, the centers also provide some cultural education and have issued various manuals for this training. For example, see Culture for Missionaries: Mexico and Central America (prepared and issued by the Missionary Training Center of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1977). The basic history of the formal training of missionaries is presented in Richard O. Cowan, Every Man Shall Hear the Gospel in His Own Language: A History of the Missionary Training Center and Its Predecessors (Provo, Utah: Missionary Training Center, 1984). Additional perspectives are provided in LeRoi Snow, “The Missionary Home,” Improvement Era (May 1928): 552–54; Elayne Wells, “Centers Prepare Missionaries to Be Effective Instruments,” Church News, 13 January 1990, 6; Gerry Avant, “Missionary Training Center Expands,” Church News, 19 March 1994, 11; “New Missionary Training Center Dedicated in Brazil,” Ensign (September 1997): 78, with a photograph of the largest church building outside North America; James B. Allen and John Harris, “‘What Are You Doing Looking Up Here?’ Graffiti Mormon Style,” Sunstone 6 (March/April 1981): 27–40 (discusses graffiti on the ceiling tiles of an earlier missionary language training center at BYU); Jeffrey K. Hafen, “Latin American Cross-Cultural Education for Missionaries: Latter-day Saints Missionary Training Center, A Case Study, Provo, Utah, 1987” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1987); Gary J. Bergera, “What You Leave Behind: Six Years at the MTC,” Dialogue 21/1 (1988): 46–55; and Scott D. Miller, “Thought Reform and Totalism: The Psychology of the LDS Church Missionary Training Program,” Sunstone 10/8 (1986): 24–29, with a response by C. Jess Groesbeck (pp. 30–31). A visual mapping of the current mission training facilities appears in the Ensign (January 1997): 76. See also George T. Taylor, “Effects of Coaching on the Development of Proselyting Skills Used by the Missionary Training Center, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Provo, Utah” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1987); and Rawn A. Wallgren, “A Comparison of Mission Programs Used in Three Language Training Missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975).

The 1986 Public Broadcasting System documentary (Sage Productions in association with KCTS/Seattle) by Bobbie Birleffi, “The Mormons: Missionaries to the World,” tried to treat the whole mission experience; an interesting interview with Birleffi is in Sunstone 11 (May 1987): 45–48. See also “A Light unto the World,” where Peggy Fletcher and Bruce L. Christensen discuss in separate articles the problems of public relations and image building in a missionary church: Sunstone 7 (July/August 1982): 16–31. See also Fred C. Esplin, “The Church as Broadcaster,” Dialogue 10/1 (1977): 25–45; Heather R. Miller, “Conversion, The Mass Media and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Ph.D. diss., United States International University, 1981); and John H. Evans, “The Church Bureau of Information: A Great Missionary Force,” Instructor 74 (October 1939): 413–17. God’s Army, a motion picture (1 hr. 47 min.) about Mormon missionaries in Los Angeles, was produced by Richard Dutcher and released on a limited basis in March 2000. An overview of historic sites, visitors centers, and museums that play important roles in public relations and missionary work is Steven L. Olsen, “Museums and Historic Sites of Mormonism,” in Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whittaker (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies Monograph Series, 1995), 522–37.

Training of mission presidents is another aspect of Mormon missiology. Occasionally talks by General Authorities given to the presidents and their wives are published, but most are not. The 1961 seminar was made available: Mission President’s Seminar, 26 June–5 July 1961 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1961). See also Joseph Walker, “A Profile of Those Called to Lead Missions,” Church News, 19 June 1982, 8–10; and George W. Pace, “The Effectiveness of Mission Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as Measured by Six Selected Criteria” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1976), a portion of which was later published as “The Effectiveness of Mission Presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as Measured by Six Criteria,” Review of Religious Research 19 (Winter 1978): 209–19. For a comparison of the leadership styles of six different mission presidents in Finland, see Kaija H. Penley, “Leadership of Mormon Missionary Efforts in Finland and Its Influence on Conversion Rates in the Finnish Mission, 1947–1969” (master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1994). For an area that needs more study, see David E. Payne, “Social Determinants of Leadership in the Mormon Missionary System” (master’s thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1970); Payne, “Socioeconomic Status and Leadership Selection in the Mormon Missionary System,” Review of Religious Research 13 (Winter 1972): 118–25.

The increasing concern with the health of missionaries is revealed in Susan Jensen, “Health Problems of Selected LDS Missionaries throughout the World” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1981); C. Stephen Hatch, Virgil J. Parker, E. Arnold Issacson, and Lindsay R. Curtis, “Minding Body and Soul: The Life of Physician Mission Presidents,” Journal of Collegium Aesculapium 3 (1985): 21–33; Marie L. Sellars, “Mental Health of Proselyting Missionaries” (Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1971); and Charles D. Cranney, ed., “Pathogen, Parasites, and Proselyting: The Medical Advisory Committee Enhances the Health of the Missionaries,” Journal of Collegium Aesculapium 8 (1990): 26– 31. An introduction to the health missionaries is James O. Mason, “A Conversation about the Church’s New Health Missionaries,” New Era (March 1972): 8–11.

The international thrust of the church is the subject of Spencer J. Palmer, The Expanding Church (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), which includes Bruce R. McConkie’s talk, “To the Koreans and All the People of Asia,” 137– 52; F. LaMond Tullis, ed., Mormonism: A Faith for All Cultures (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1978); Lavina Fielding [Anderson], “The Expanding Church,” Ensign (December 1976): 7–13; James R. Moss, R. Lanier Britsch, and Richard O. Cowan, The International Church (Provo, Utah: BYU Publications, 1982); Richard O. Cowan, The Church in the Twentieth Century (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985); Cowan, “From Footholds to Strongholds: Spreading the Gospel Worldwide,” Ensign (June 1993): 56–61; Garth N. Jones, “Spiritual Searchings: The Church on Its International Mission,” Dialogue 20/2 (1987): 58–75; Dean L. Larsen, “The Challenges of Administering a Worldwide Church,” Ensign (July 1974): 18–22; Gardner, “Taking the Church Anywhere,” Ensign (June 1981): 38–44 (deals with internationalization), Marvin K. Gardner, “Taking the Gospel to Their Own People [in Central America],” Ensign (October 1988): 12–16; Edward L. Kimball, “The Administration of Spencer W. Kimball,” Sunstone 11 (March 1987): 8–14; Edwin B. Firmage, Paul and the Expansion of the Church Today (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1979); and Spencer W. Kimball, “When the World Will Be Converted,” Ensign (October 1974): 2–14. Kahlile Mehr, “A LDS International Trio, 1974–97,” Journal of Mormon History 25/2 (1999): 101–20, examines three institutional initiatives that functioned outside normal priesthood channels and helped move the church and its message further into the world: (1) an international ambassador in 1974; (2) expansion of the international missions in 1987; and (3) the founding of an International Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., in 1984. See also Sterling M. McMurrin, “Problems of Universalizing Mormonism,” Sunstone 4 (December 1979): 9–20, including a response by Truman G. Madsen; “For Ye Are All One in Christ Jesus”: The Global Church in a World of Ethnic Diversity, Proceedings of the Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society, 21 August 1995 (Provo, Utah: David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, 1996); J. Michael Cleverly, “Mormonism on the Big Mac Standard,” Dialogue 29/2 (1996): 69–75; and Eugene England, “Becoming a World Religion: Blacks, the Poor,—All of Us,” Sunstone 21 (June–July 1998): 49–60. A valuable collection of essays assessing the future of the church into the next century throughout the world, with each essay giving a focus to a specific country or region, was edited by Armand Mauss and appears in Dialogue 29/1 (1996).

A significant number of early missionaries published accounts of their labors. The most important works for the nineteenth century are Heber C. Kimball, Journal of Heber C. Kimball . . . Giving an Account of His Mission to Great Britain (Nauvoo, Ill.: Robinson and Smith, 1840); Orson Hyde, A Voice from Jerusalem . . . (Liverpool, 1842); Erastus Snow, One Year in Scandinavia . . . (Liverpool, 1851); Lorenzo Snow, The Italian Mission . . . (London, 1851); Orson Spencer, The Prussian Mission . . . (Liverpool, 1853); George Q. Cannon, My First Mission [to Hawaii] (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1879); and Wilford Woodruff, Leaves from My Journal (Salt Lake City, 1881). James Linforth, ed., Route from Liverpool to the Great Salt Lake Valley . . . (Liverpool, 1855), and George A. Smith, Rise Progress and Travels of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (1872) contain useful summaries of early missionary work, as do the “General Epistles” issued by the First Presidency in the nineteenth century; see especially volume 2 of James R. Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–74). Other published accounts include E. F. Parry, Sketches of Missionary Life (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon, 1899); Preston Nibley, ed., Missionary Experiences (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1942); and Dean Hughes and Tom Hughes, We’ll Bring the World His Truth: Missionary Adventures from around the World (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995).

A good study of the formative missionary work is Barbara McFarlane [Higdon], “The Role of Preaching in the Early Mormon Church, 1830–1846” (Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, 1961). Valuable accounts of the earliest years are Dean C. Jessee and William G. Hartley, “Joseph Smith’s Missionary Journal,” New Era (February 1974): 34–36; The Journals of William E. McLellin, ed. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah, and Urbana, Ill.: BYU Studies Monograph and University of Illinois Press, 1994), which includes a short annotated guide to “Other Early Mormon Missionary Journals and Accounts,” 408–12; Larry C. Porter, “‘The Field Is White Already to Harvest’: Earliest Missionary Labors and the Book of Mormon,” in The Prophet Joseph: Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith, ed. Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 73–89, and Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography, ed. Parley P. Pratt Jr. (New York: Russell, 1874). A study of more recent times is James L. Bateman, “The Speaking in the Mormon Missionary System” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1950). Studies of the early missionary literature include David J. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1982); Peter Crawley, “Parley P. Pratt: Father of Mormon Pamphleteering,” Dialogue 15/3 (1982): 13–26; David J. Whittaker, “Orson Pratt: Prolific Pamphleteer,” Dialogue 15/3 (1982): 27–41; and Peter Crawley and David J. Whittaker, Mormon Imprints in Great Britain and the Empire, 1836–1857 (Provo, Utah: Friends of the Brigham Young University Library, 1987). The most significant works used in Mormon missionary work include the Book of Mormon (1830); Parley P. Pratt, A Voice of Warning (1837); Parley P. Pratt, Address to the Citizens of Washington, D.C. (1840); Orson Spencer, Letters . . . (Liverpool, 1848); Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (Edinburgh, 1840), and two series of tracts Orson Pratt issued in 1848–51 and in 1856–57; Lorenzo Snow, The Only Way to Be Saved (1840) and Voice of Joseph (1852); Charles  W. Penrose, “Mormon” Doctrine Plain and Simple (Salt Lake City, 1882) and Rays of Living Light (Liverpool, 1898); and John Morgan, Doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1885) and The Plan of Salvation (1881). Two books by James E. Talmage are consistently used by Mormon missionaries in their personal study: The Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1899), and Jesus the Christ (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1915). An overview of the literature and tracting system is given in Jensen, “Proselyting Techniques of Mormon Missionaries,” 9–24. Several works by Ben E. Rich, especially Mr. Durant of Salt Lake City, “That Mormon” (Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon and Sons, 1893), and A Friendly Discussion upon Religious Subjects (Brooklyn, ca. 1898) along with Matthias F. Cowley, Cowley’s Talks on Doctrine (Chattanooga, Tenn.: Ben E. Rich, 1902) were popular tracts down to the 1940s and 1950s. Another popular work is Le Grand Richards, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1950). A useful chronological guide to the writings of the General Authorities of the church, many of which deal with missionary themes, is Gary Gillum, “Out of the Books Which Shall Be Written,” Dialogue 12/2 (1979): 99–123.

A scholarly introduction to the “Appeals of Mormonism” is in Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (New York: Knopf, 1979), 20–46. An important one-volume history of the LDS Church, which gives ample attention to its missionary work, is James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992).

Missionary work is a voluntary enterprise, the majority costs of which are borne by each missionary and his or her family. In addition, some funds are available from friends, the local congregation, or the general church missionary funds. In an attempt to standardize mission costs, the church has set official monthly costs for each missionary from the United States or Canada who goes out. See “Church Equalizes Costs for Single U.S. and Canadian Missionaries,” Ensign (February 1991): 78, for the initial policies, which have now been expanded. A useful study of the problems of financing early missions is Richard L. Jensen, “Without Purse or Scrip? Financing Latter-day Saint Missionary Work in Europe in the Nineteenth Century,” Journal of Mormon History 12 (1985): 3–14, but it ought to be supplemented by David J. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Pamphleteering,” Journal of Mormon History 4 (1977): 35–49, a study that examines, in part, the sales and distribution of church literature by missionaries for income. See also Jessie L. Embry, “Without Purse or Scrip,” Dialogue 29/3 (1996): 77–93, which focuses on the years after World War II.

The geographical widening and consequent realignments of mission boundaries as well as the personnel and leadership changes and assignments can be traced through such church publications as the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star (1840–1970); Skandinaviens Stjerne (Copenhagen, 1851–1956); Zion’s Watchman (Sydney, 1853–56); Der Stern (1869–1986); the Improvement Era (1898–1970); the Ensign (1970–present); and the Deseret News, particularly the weekly supplement, the Church News section. The Deseret News Church Almanac (generally published annually from 1974 to the present) is a very useful compilation of facts and statistics about the church with ample space being devoted regularly to missions and missionary topics. Occasionally, specific articles have appeared in the Church News, such as “From Whence Come Missionaries” (27 September 1947): 6–7, and it regularly features short articles on missionary successes throughout the world. There has been a significant body of published material issued by various missions; these range from formally printed magazines to mimeographed and computer-generated newsletters. Both the LDS Church Library in Salt Lake City and the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University in Provo have substantial collections of these mission publications, although neither library has made a systematic attempt to identify or collect all of them. More significant examples include the LDS Millennial Star (begun in 1840), which remains a basic source for all foreign missions before 1900 and for the British Mission until 1970, at which time the periodical was discontinued; Liahona: The Elders’ Journal was the official mission publication of the Central and Southern States Missions during the first half of the twentieth century. A useful introduction to the latter publication and its role in the missions is Arnold K. Garr, “A History of ‘Liahona: The Elders’ Journal’: A Magazine Published for the Mormon Missions of America, 1903–1945” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1986). See also David Buice, “Chattanooga’s Southern Star: Mormon Window on the South, 1898–1900,” BYU Studies 28/2 (1988): 5–15. Other church publications, especially in the nineteenth century, are valuable sources for mission history.18

A sampling of lesser-known mission publications, ranging from mission magazines to newsletters, include the following: Accelerator (Australian Mission); The Reaper (Alabama Florida Mission); Atalaya (Mexico City Mission); Aurora (North British Mission); Avante! (Brazil Central Mission); Blick ins Feld (North German Mission); Cumorah’s Southern Messenger (South African Mission); Thoroughbred Pacer (Kentucky-Tennessee Mission); Echo Asia (Southeast Asia Mission); Ka Elele oiaio (Hawaiian Mission); L’Etoile (French Mission); Este (Argentina East Mission); The Revontulet (Finnish Mission); Gaamalii (Southwest Indian Mission); Hvezdicka (Czechoslovakia Mission); Ko e tuhulu (Tongan Mission); Te-Kare (New Zealand Mission); The Piper (Scottish Mission); and the Trumpet (Italian Mission). These titles represent only a small number of the publications issued by LDS missions in the twentieth century. The student ought not ignore these mission organs, but should be forewarned that the titles can vary within each mission (for example, the newsletter for the Australia East Mission was titled at various times The Aurora Australis, Austral Star, Australia East Mission News, Australia Mission Branch News, and Australia Sydney Mission News); or that the same title was used by various missions (for example, the title Challenge was used for the newsletters of the Swedish, New Zealand North, Central German, and Central Atlantic States Missions).

The many varieties of Mormon missions and missionary work are surveyed in A. Glen Humpherys, “Missionaries to the Saints,” BYU Studies 17/1 (1976): 74–100; Gary L. Phelps, “Home Teaching—Attempts by the Latter-day Saints to Establish an Effective Program during the Nineteenth Century” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975); and William G. Hartley, “Every Member Was a Missionary,” Ensign (September 1978): 21–24.19

One of the great values of Mormon missionary records is the insight that they can give the social historian into the lives of ordinary people among whom the missionaries worked. Beyond the daily cares and cycles of the lives of common people are insights into the economic and political worlds they inhabited. Poverty, inflation, population mobility, family and community structure, and religious attitudes are just a sample of the indices missionary journals and letters can provide. The experiences of Mormon missionaries in the American South in the 1880s, for example, reveal the tensions and even bloodshed of a section of the country trying to regain local control after Reconstruction. The few episodes of the murder of Mormon missionaries must also be treated.20 Mormon missionary records from Germany in the 1920s help historians reconstruct the high inflation and related tensions during the rise of the Third Reich. Mormon missionaries and their records in New Zealand have helped to keep the Maori language alive.

United States and Canada

The best study of early missionary work still remains S. George Ellsworth, “A History of Mormon Missions in the United States and Canada, 1830–1860” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1951). It is especially valuable in its detailed research and its accounts of the growth of the missionary system from an informal program reaching out first to families in a village setting and then into more urban centers, to a centralized system controlled by the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.21 Ellsworth traces the geographical widening of the missionary program as well as the appearance of the more formal dimensions of missionary work, such as specific mission rules and licensing. Other studies of these missions include Richard S. Williams, “The Missionary Movements of the Latter-day Saint Church in New England, 1830–1860” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1969); Laurence M. Yorgason, “Some Demographic Aspects of Social, Geographical and Religious Backgrounds of One Hundred Early Mormon Converts, 1830–1837” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); V. Alan Curtis, “Missionary Activities and Church Organization in Pennsylvania, 1830–1840” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1976); Steven C. Harper, “Missionaries in the American Religious Marketplace: Mormon Proselyting in the 1830s,” Journal of Mormon History 24/2 (1998): 1–29; Harper, “Infallible Proofs, Both Human and Divine: The Persuasiveness of Mormonism for Early Converts,” Religion in American Culture 10/1 (2000): 99–118; Warren A. Jennings, “The First Mormon Mission to the Indians,” Kansas Historical Quarterly 37 (Autumn 1971): 288–99; Richard Lloyd Anderson, “The Impact of the First Preaching in Ohio,” BYU Studies 11/4 (1971): 474–96; Mark R. Grandstaff, “The Impact of the Mormon Migration on the Community of Kirtland, Ohio, 1830–1839” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1984); M. Terresa Baer, “Charting the Missionary Work of William E. McLellin: A Content Analysis,” in The Journals of William E. McLellin (1994), 379–405; Davis Bitton, “Kirtland as a Center of Missionary Activity, 1830–1838,” BYU Studies 11/4 (1971): 497– 516; Eugene England, “Brigham Young as Missionary,” New Era (November 1977): 30–37; Donald Q. Cannon, “Wilford Woodruff’s Mission to Maine,” Improvement Era (September 1970): 82–86; LaMar C. Berrett, “History of the Southern States Mission, 1831–1861” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1960); Leonard J. Arrington, “Mormon Beginnings in the American South,” Task Papers in LDS History, No. 9 (Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976); Heather M. Seferovich, “History of the LDS Southern States Mission, 1875–1898” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1996); Arthur M. Richardson, The Life and Ministry of John Morgan (Salt Lake City: Nicholas G. Morgan Sr., 1965); Faith-Promoting Experiences in the Ministry of President John Morgan (Salt Lake City: Morgan, 1964); David Buice, “‘All Alone and None to Cheer Me’: The Southern States Mission Diaries of J. Golden Kimball,” Dialogue 24/1 (1991): 35–54; Buice, “Excerpts from the Diary of Teancum Williams Heward, Early Mormon Missionary to Georgia,” Georgia Historical Quarterly 64/3 (1980): 317–25; Benjamin L. Rich, “That Missionary: Ben E. Rich,” Improvement Era (June 1952): 403, 486–87; Ted S. Anderson, “The Southern States Mission and the Administration of Ben E. Rich, 1898–1908, Including a Statistical Study of Church Growth in the Southeastern United States during the Twentieth Century” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1976); Steven C. Harper, “Ministerial Tramps: Southern States Missionaries, 1920–1930,” Mormon Heritage Magazine 2 (September/October 1995): 29–37; Brigham D. Madsen, Against the Grain: Memoirs of a Western Historian (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), 73–113 [Tennessee and North Carolina, 1934–36]; William B. Smart, “Mormonism’s First Foothold in the Pacific Northwest,” Utah Historical Quarterly 29 (January 1961): 21–30; Asahel H. Woodruff, “Historical Sketch of the Northern States Mission,” Millennial Star 66 (4 February 1904): 65–68; Davis Bitton, “B. H. Roberts at the World Parliament of Religion [1893],” Sunstone 7 (January/February 1982): 46–51; Charles Hart, “The Canadian Mission,” Improvement Era (May 1928): 571–73; Melvin S. Tagg, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada, 1830–1963” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1963); Wilbur G. Hackney, “History of the Western Canadian Mission” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1950); Richard E. Bennett, “A Study of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Upper Canada, 1830–1850” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975); Jerald R. Izatt and Dean R. Louder, “Peripheral Mormondom: The Frenetic Frontier,” Dialogue 13/2 (1980): 76–89; Louder, “Canadian Mormon Identity and French Fact,” in The Mormon Presence in Canada, ed. Brigham Y. Card et al. (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1990), 302–27; “The Mission Experience of Spencer W. Kimball,” BYU Studies 25/4 (1985): 109–40; Eugene E. Campbell, “A History of the Church . . . in California, 1846–1946” (Ph.D. diss., University of Southern California, 1952); Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography (1874; reprint 1985); David J. Whittaker, “Brigham Young and the Missionary Enterprise,” in Lion of the Lord: Essays on the Life and Service of Brigham Young, ed. Susan Easton Black and Larry C. Porter (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 85–104; and Donald Q. Cannon, “Licensing in the Early Church,” BYU Studies 22/1 (1982): 96–105. The growth of the church on the east coast of the United States has yet to be fully studied; a look at the Philadelphia area in the 1840s is found in David J. Whittaker, “East of Nauvoo: Benjamin Winchester and the Early Mormon Church,” Journal of Mormon History 21/2 (1995): 31–83. A number of histories produced by local church units include mission history material.

Demographic studies of Mormons provide useful insights into the consequences of missionary successes. See Donald Meinig, “The Mormon Cultural Region: Strategies and Patterns in the Geography of the American West, 1847–1964,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 55 (June 1965): 191–220; Paul T. Johnson, “An Analysis of the Spread of the Church . . . from Salt Lake City, Utah, Utilizing a Diffusion Model” (Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa, 1966); Dean L. May, “A Demographic Portrait of the Mormons, 1830–1980,” in After 150 Years, The Latter-day Saints in Sesquicentennial Perspective, ed. Thomas G. Alexander and Jessie L. Embry (Provo, Utah: Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, BYU, 1983), 37–69; Lowell “Ben” Bennion, “The Geographic Dynamics of Mormondom, 1965–1995,” Sunstone 18 (December 1995): 21–32; Lowell Bennion and Lawrence A. Young, “The Uncertain Dynamics of LDS Expansion, 1950–2020,” Dialogue 29/1 (1996): 8–32; and Jack W. Carlson, “Income and Membership Projections for the Church through the Year 2000,” Dialogue 4/1 (1969): 131–36. A reflection on Mormon growth is James B. Allen, “On Becoming a Universal Church: Some Historical Perspectives,” Dialogue 25/1 (1992): 13–36.

An introduction with extensive bibliography on Mormon missionary work with Native Americans is David J. Whittaker, “Mormons and Native Americans: A Historical and Bibliographical Introduction,” Dialogue 18/4 (1985): 33–64. For an analysis of the centrality of missionary work among Native Americans in Joseph Smith’s thought, see Ronald W. Walker, “Seeking the ‘Remnant’: The Native American during the Joseph Smith Period,” Journal of Mormon History 19/1 (1993): 1–33.

The British Isles

The great success of Mormon missionaries in Victorian Britain has assured that these missions have received the lion’s share of scholarly and popular attention. A short overview of the beginnings of the British Mission is Stanley B. Kimball, “First Mission to Britain,” Improvement Era (October 1961): 720–21, 744, 746; Walter M. Wolfe, “History of the British Mission,” Millennial Star 66 (14 July 1904–4 August 1904): 4-part series; and Agnes M. Smith, “The First Mormon Mission to Britain,” History Today 37 (July 1987): 24–31. The first book-length study, based extensively on material in the LDS Millennial Star, is Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1937; reprinted, 1987). V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987 (Sollihul, England: Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987), is an uneven attempt to update the Evans volume; unfortunately the endnotes were excluded from the Bloxham volume. The Winter and Spring 1987 issues of BYU Studies are devoted to the history of the church in the British Isles. The best overall study remains Philip A. M. Taylor, Expectations Westward: The Mormons and the Emigration of Their British Converts in the Nineteenth Century (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966). A book-length study of the early missions is James B. Allen, Ronald K. Esplin, and David J. Whittaker, Men with a Mission: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles, 1837–1841 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992). Five of the key individuals in the early missions to England are examined in James B. Allen and Thomas G. Alexander, eds., Manchester Mormons, The Journal of William Clayton, 1840–1842 (Salt Lake City: Peregrine Smith, 1974); James B. Allen, Trials of Discipleship: The Story of William Clayton, a Mormon (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987); Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young, American Moses (New York: Knopf, 1985); Thomas G. Alexander, Things in Heaven and Earth: The Life and Times of Wilford Woodruff, A Mormon Prophet (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1991); and Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981). An extended bibliography, which includes many references to missionary work, is David J. Whittaker, “Mormonism in Victorian Britain: A Bibliographic Essay,” in Mormons in Early Victorian Britain, ed. Richard L. Jensen and Malcolm R. Thorp (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989), 258–71. The Ensign carried a number of essays in its 1987 issues on the early missions in Britain, including Ronald K. Esplin, “‘A Great Work Done in That Land [the 1837 mission],'” (July 1987): 20–27; Esplin, “Brigham Young in England” (June 1987): 28–33; and Paul T. Smith, “Among Family and Friends: John Taylor’s Mission to the British Isles” (March 1987): 36–41.

Studies of the later years of the nineteenth century include Richard W. Sadler, “Franklin D. Richards and the British Mission [1847–48],” Journal of Mormon History 14 (1988): 80–95; Samuel W. Richards, “Missionary Experience,” Contributor 11 (February 1890): 155–59 (president of British mission relates his experiences answering questions before a parliamentary committee); Richards, “Missionary Experience Recalled by the Death of Queen Victoria,” Improvement Era (March 1901): 363–67; and Kenneth W. Godfrey, “Charles W. Penrose: The English Mission Years,” BYU Studies 27/1 (1987): 113–25. More contemporary studies are Ronald W. Walker, “Heber J. Grant’s European Mission, 1903–1906,” Journal of Mormon History 14 (1988): 17–33; and Richard L. Bushman, “The Crisis in Europe and Hugh B. Brown’s First Mission Presidency,” Dialogue 21/2 (1988): 51–59. A short piece with good photographs of church office buildings in Liverpool and London is R. Eugene Allen, “The Mission President in Europe: Some Reflections on an Eventful Administration Overseas from 1904 to 1906,” Improvement Era (November 1936): 694–95. A problem episode in Mormon missionary work in Europe (especially Britain) is studied in D. Michael Quinn, “I-Thou vs. I-It Conversions: The Mormon ‘Baseball Baptism’ Era,” Sunstone 16 (December 1993): 30–44; and Richard Mavin, “The Woodbury Years: An Insider’s Look at Baseball Baptisms in Britain,” Sunstone 19 (March 1996): 56–60. An autobiographical history by an LDS leader in contemporary England is Derek A. Cuthbert, The Second Century, Latter-day Saints in Great Britain, Volume I, 1937–1987 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press for the author, 1987), some of which is summarized in Cuthbert, “Breakthrough in Britain,” Ensign (July 1987): 28–32. George K. Merritt and Richard Jensen have presented a statistical profile of the Mormons in the British Isles in the Ensign (July 1987): 19. See also Joy A. O’Banion, “The Convert as Social Type: A Critical Assessment of the Snow-Machalek Conversion Typology as Applied to British Mormon Converts” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1988); and Don L. Searle, “The Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland,” Ensign (June 1998): 40–51.

On Ireland and Scotland, see Brent A. Barlow, “History of the Church . . . in Ireland since 1840” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1968); Breck England, “Gospel Seeds in Scottish Soil,” Ensign (February 1987): 26–31; Frederick S. Buchanan, “The Emigration of Scottish Mormons to Utah, 1849–1900” (master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1961); Buchanan, “The Ebb and Flow of Mormonism in Scotland, 1840–1900,” BYU Studies 27/2 (1987): 27–52; and Buchanan, ed., A Good Time Coming: Mormon Letters [l853–1872] to Scotland (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1988). The Scottish mission diaries (1897–99) of David O. McKay have been edited by Stan Larson and Patricia Larson in “What E’er Thou Art, Act Well Thy Part”: The Missionary Diaries of David O. McKay (Salt Lake City: Blue Ribbon Books, 1999).

The Welsh Mormon experience has received increased attention in recent years. See Douglas J. Davies, “The Mormons at Merthyr-Tydfil” (B.Litt. thesis, Oxford University, 1972); Davies, Mormon Spirituality: Latter-day Saints in Wales and Zion (Nottingham: University of Nottingham, 1987); Ronald D. Dennis, “Dan Jones, Welshman: Taking the Gospel Home,” Ensign (April 1987): 50–56; Dennis, “The Welsh and the Gospel,” in Truth Will Prevail (1987), 236–67; Dennis, The Call of Zion: The Story of the First Welsh Mormon Emigration (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1987); and Dennis, Welsh Mormon Writings from 1844 to 1862: A Historical Bibliography (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1988).

Other studies that provide information relating to the history and administration of the British mission and include much emphasis on social history are Sam Hamerman, “The Mormon Missionaries in England, 1837–1852” (master’s thesis, University of California, Berkeley, 1938); John Cotterill, “Midland Saints: Mormon Mission in the West Midlands, 1837–77” (Ph.D. diss., University of Keele, 1985); Jan G . Harris, “The Mormons in Early Victorian Manchester” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1987), some of which she presents in “Mormons in Victorian Manchester,” BYU Studies 27/1 (1987): 47–56; Susan L. Fales, “The Nonconformists of Leeds in the Early Victorian Era: A Study in Social Composition” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1984); James B. Allen and Malcolm R. Thorp, “The Mission of the Twelve to England, 1840–1841: Mormon Apostles and the Working Classes,” BYU Studies 15/4 (1975): 499–526; Malcolm R. Thorp, “The Religious Background of Mormon Converts in Britain, 1837–52,” Journal of Mormon History 4 (1977): 51–65; Thorp, “The Field Is White Already to Harvest,” appendix A, in Men with a Mission (1992), 323–44; and David J. Whittaker, “Harvest in Herefordshire [Wilford Woodruff’s British mission, 1840–41],” Ensign (January 1987): 46–51.

The emigration of European converts, most of whom were channeled through Liverpool with the assistance of the Perpetual Emigrating Fund (1849–1887), has been covered by Mark W. Cannon and Graham Dodd, “Mormon Immigrants: Dregs or Doers?” Improvement Era (March 1968): 5–7; W. H. G. Armytage, “Liverpool, Gateway to Zion,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 48 (April 1957): 39–43; M. Hamlin Cannon, “Migration of English Mormons to America,” American Historical Review 52 (April 1947): 436– 55; Cannon, “The ‘Gathering’ of British Mormons to Western America: A Study of Religious Migration” (Ph.D. diss., American University, 1950); Bryan R. Wilson, “Migrating Sects: Review Article,” British Journal of Sociology 18 (Summer 1967): 303–17; Norman Hill, “The Trumpet of Zion: Mormon Conversion and Emigration in Britain,” Tangents 3 (Spring 1975): 56–69; Gustive O. Larson, “Story of the Perpetual Emigration Fund,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 18 (September 1931): 184–94; Larson, Prelude to the Kingdom (Francistown, N.H.: Marshal Jones, 1947); William Mulder, “Mormonism’s ‘Gathering’: An American Doctrine with a Difference,” Church History 23 (September 1954): 248–64; Glen M. Leonard, “Westward the Saints: The Nineteenth Century Mormon Migration,” Ensign (January 1980): 6–13; Richard L. Jensen and Gordon Irving, “The Voyage of the Amazon: A Close View of One Immigrant Company,” Ensign (March 1980): 16–19; William G. Hartley, “‘Down and Back’ Wagon Trains,” Ensign (September 1985): 26–31; Hartley, “The Great Florence Fitout of 1861,” BYU Studies 24/3 (1984): 341–71; Hartley, “Coming to Zion: Saga of the Gathering,” Ensign (July 1975): 14–18; and Lily Pritchard, “Across the Waves: Mormon Emigration of British Saints, 1840–1870” (Ph.D. diss., University of Bradford, 1989). On the large literature dealing with the Mormon Trail, see Stanley B. Kimball’s essay, “Mormon Emigration Trails,” in Mormon Americana: A Guide to Sources and Collections in the United States, ed. David J. Whittaker (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies Monograph Series, 1995), 406–36; and Kimball, “Sail and Rail Pioneers before 1869,” BYU Studies 35/2 (1995): 7–42.

The rich ethnic heritage of Utah, in large part a product of missionary work and the consequent immigration of converts, is surveyed in essays gathered in Helen Z. Papanickolas, ed., The Peoples of Utah (Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1976). See also John A. Olson, “Proselytism, Immigration, and Settlement of Foreign Converts to the Mormon Culture in Zion,” Journal of the West 6 (April 1967): 189–204. Surveys of ethnic branches and wards in the United States include Jessie L. Embry, “Ethnic Groups and the LDS Church,” Dialogue 25/4 (1992): 81–97; and Embry, “In His Own Language”: Mormon Spanish-Speaking Congregations in the United States (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1998), which provides information on the 350 LDS Spanish-speaking congregations in the United States, as well as on the 500 full-time Spanish-speaking missionaries in the United States.

Europe, Russia, and the Middle East

A recent historical survey of the church in Europe, from an American perspective, using almost exclusively American sources, is Bruce Van Orden, Building Zion, The Latter-day Saints in Europe (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996). Its strengths and weaknesses are suggested in an essay review by Wilfried Decoo, “Issues in Writing European History and in Building the Church in Europe . . . ,” Journal of Mormon History 23/1 (1997): 140–76; and in the discussion in the Journal of Mormon History 24/1 (1998): v–lvii. Other works provide the background and details of the many other missions in Europe; the most successful after Britain was Scandinavia. On northern Europe, see Andrew Jenson, History of the Scandinavian Mission (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1927); Janne M. Sjodahl, “The Beginning of the Scandinavian Mission,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 3 (July 1912): 103–11; Nelson White, “A Flame Was Kindled in the Northlands,” Improvement Era (June 1950): 476–77, 525–27 (Scandinavia); William Mulder, Homeward to Zion: The Mormon Migration from Scandinavia (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1957); Mulder, “Mormons from Scandinavia, 1850–1900: A Shepherded Migration,” Pacific Historical Review 23 (1954): 227–59; Mulder, “Image of Zion: Mormonism as an American Influence in Scandinavia,” Mississippi Valley Historical Review 43 (June 1956): 18–38; Albert L. Zobell Jr., Under the Midnight Sun: Centennial History of Scandinavian Missions (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1950); John A. Widtsoe, In the Gospel Net: The Story of Anna K. G. Widtsoe (Independence, Mo.: Zion’s Printing, 1941); Andrew Karl Larson, Erastus Snow: The Life of a Missionary and Pioneer for the Early Mormon Church (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1971); Alfred Christiansen, “Scandinavians and the New Zion in the West,” American Scandinavian Review 60 (1972): 263–71; Ronald K. Watkins, “Notes on the Early Mormon Mission in Denmark,” The Bridge: Journal of the Danish American Heritage Society 3 (August 1980): 1–5; Jens P. Wilde, “Bleeding Feet, Humble Hearts: Danish Mormon Migration, 1850–1860,” The Bridge: Journal of the Danish American Heritage Society 3 (August 1980): 6–19; H. N. Hansen, “An Account of a Mormon Family’s Conversion to the Religion of the Latter-day Saints and of Their Trip from Denmark to Utah,” Parts I and II, Annals of Iowa 41 (Summer and Fall 1971): 709–28, 765–79; Helge Seljaas, “The Mormon Migration from Norway” (master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1972); Richard G. Ellsworth, “The Dilemma of a Pernicious Zion,” BYU Studies 8/4 (1968): 407–22; Gerald Haslam, “Early Norwegian Converts to the LDS Church,” Genealogical Journal 9 (June 1980): 78–89; Richard L. Jensen, “A New Home, A New Life: Contributions of the European Saints in Building the Kingdom,” Ensign (August 1973): 56–62; Douglas F. Tobler, “Update on Western Europe,” Ensign (August 1976): 30–34; Tobler, “Alone with God,” Ensign (April 1993): 50–52; Gerald Haslam, “The Norwegian Experience with Mormonism, 1842–1920” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1981, published in New York by Peter Lang in 1984); Curtis B. Hunsaker, “History of the Norwegian Mission from 1851 to 1960” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1965); Gideon N. Hulterstrom, “Mormonism in Sweden,” Millennial Star 92 (30 October 1930): 761–65; Sheryl R. Benson, “Emigration of Swedish Mormons to Utah, 1905–1955” (master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1965); A. Dean Wengreen, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sweden, 1850–1905” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1968); Carl-Erik Johansson, “History of the Swedish Mission . . . 1905–1973” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1973); Frank I. Kooyman, “The Netherlands Mission,” Millennial Star 92 (6 November 1930): 769–75; T. Edgar Lyon, “Landmarks in the Netherlands Mission, 1861–1936,” Improvement Era (September 1936): 546–47, 573; Keith C. Warner, “History of the Netherlands Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1861–1966” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1967); Marius A. Christensen, “History of the Danish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1966); Douglas F. Tobler, Barton W. Marcois, and J. L. W. van Langendijk, “Geschiedenis van de Mormoonse Kerk Nederland en Vlaanderen [Mormons in the Netherlands, 1841–74],” Horizon 1/2 (March 1982): 46–55; 1/4 (July 1982): 48–55; 1/5 (September 1982): 51–56; 2/2 (March 1983): 47–53; 2/3 (May 1983): 50–57; 2/5 (September 1983): 53–60; Gilbert W. Scharffs, “History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany between 1840 and 1968” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1969); published as Mormonism in Germany: A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Germany between 1840 and 1970 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1970); Michael Mitchell, “The Mormons in Wilhelmine, Germany, 1870–1914: Making a Place for an Unwanted American Religion in a Changing German Society” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1994); Joseph M. Dixon, “Mormons in the Third Reich: 1933–1945,” Dialogue 7/1 (1972): 70–78; Alan F. Keele and Douglas F. Tobler, “The Fuhrer’s New Clothes: Helmuth Hübener and the Mormons in the Third Reich,” Sunstone 5/6 (November/December 1980): 20–29; When Truth Was Treason: German Youth against Hitler, comp., trans., and ed. Blair R. Holmes and Alan F. Keele (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995); Douglas F. Tobler, “Before the Wall Fell: Mormons in the German Democratic Republic, 1945–89,” Dialogue 25/4 (1992): 11–30; Dale Z. Kirby, “History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Switzerland” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971); J. Roger Fechser, “Historical Review of the French Mission,” Millennial Star 92 (2 October 1930): 695, 698–700; Gary Ray Chard, “A History of the French Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1850–1960” (master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1965); Douglas F. Tobler, “Heinrich Hug and Jacob Tobler: From Switzerland to Santa Clara, 1854– 80,” Dialogue 26/4 (1993): 107–27; John C. Jarvis, “Mormonism in France: A Study of Cultural Exchange and Institutional Adaptation” (Ph.D. diss., University of Washington, 1991); Ronald D. Dennis, “William Howells: First Missionary to France,” in Supporting Saints, Life Stories of Nineteenth-Century Mormons, ed. Donald Q. Cannon and David J. Whittaker (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1985), 43–81; Kahlile Mehr, “The Trial of the French Mission,” Dialogue 21/3 (1988): 27–45; Wilfried Decoo, “Mormonism in a European Catholic Region: A Contribution to the Social Psychology of LDS Converts,” BYU Studies 24/1 (1984): 61–78 (the original questionnaires used for this study, completed by Dutch converts, 1980–84, are in Special Collections, Lee Library, BYU); and C. Brooklyn Derr, “Messages from Two Cultures: Mormon Leaders in France, 1985,” Dialogue 21/2 (1988): 98–111.

On southern and eastern Europe and the Near East, see Michael W. Homer, “The Italian Mission, 1850–1867,” Sunstone 7 (May/June 1982): 16–21; Homer, “The Budding of Mormon History in Italy,” Dialogue 25/1 (1992): 174–76; Diane Stokoe, “The Mormon Waldensians [Italy]” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1985); James R. Christianson, “Early Missionary Work in Italy and Switzerland,” Ensign (August 1982): 35–46; Autobiography of Jabez Woodard (Provo, Utah: Stevenson, 1976); Mark L. Grover, “Migration, Social Change, and Mormonism in Portugal,” Journal of Mormon History 21/1 (1995): 65–79; Grover, “Pioneers in a Land of Explorers [Portugal],” Ensign (April 1997): 42–47; Ralph L. Cottrell Jr., “A History of the Discontinued Mediterranean Missions of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1963); LeGrande W. Smith, “Trial and Triumph in Thessaloniki: The Challenges of Opening Greece for the Preaching of the Gospel,” Latter-day Digest 3 (July 1994): 20–34; Joseph W. Booth, “The Armenian Mission,” Improvement Era (October 1928): 1048–52 (the extensive Booth diaries are at BYU); Daniel J. Pingree, “‘And Your Name Will be Remembered . . .’: The History of John Alexander Clark’s Turkish Mission,” Thetean 24 (1995): 30–50; Rao H. Lindsay, “History of the Missionary Activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Near East, 1884–1929” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1958); Russell M. Nelson, “Drama on the European Stage,” Ensign (December 1991): 6–17 (opening of eastern Europe for missionary work in 1980s); Howard L. Biddulph, The Morning Breaks: Stories of Conversion and Faith in the Former Soviet Union (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996); Gary L. Browning, “Out of Obscurity: The Emergence of the Church . . . in ‘That Vast Empire’ of Russia,” BYU Studies 33/4 (1993): 674–88; Browning, Russia and the Restored Gospel (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997); Browning, “Pioneering in Russia,” Ensign (June 1997): 24–30;Thomas F. Rogers, A Call to Russia, Glimpses of Missionary Life from the Journal of a Mission President in the Russia St. Petersburg Mission (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies Monographs, 1999); Tania Rands, “Mormonism in a Post-Soviet Society: Notes from Ukraine,” Dialogue 30/1 (1997): 71–96; Kahlile Mehr, “The 1903 Dedication of Russia for Missionary Work,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986–87): 111–23; Mehr, “The Gospel in Hungary: Then and Now,” Ensign (June 1990): 8–13; Mehr, “The Eastern Edge: LDS Missionary Work in Hungarian Lands,” Dialogue 24/2 (1991): 27–46; Albert L. Zobell Jr., “Twenty Years in the Czechoslovakian Mission,” Improvement Era (January 1950): 32–33, 76–77; Kahlile Mehr, “Enduring Believers: Czechoslovakia and the LDS Church, 1884–1990,” Journal of Mormon History 18/2 (1992): 111–54; Mehr, “Keeping Promises: The LDS Church Enters Bulgaria, 1990–1994,” BYU Studies 36/4 (1996–97): 69–105; Stanley B. Kimball, “The Mormons in the Hapsburg Lands, 1841–1914,” Austrian History Yearbook 9–10 (1973–74): 143–65; Garold Davis and Norma Davis, “Behind the Wall: The Church in Eastern Germany (Part 1: Saints in Isolation, 1945–1989),” Ensign (April 1991): 22–27; Davis and Davis, “The Wall Comes Down: The Church in Eastern Germany (Part 2: 1989–1990),” Ensign (July 1991): 32–36; David B. Galbraith, “Orson Hyde’s 1841 Mission to the Holy Land,” Ensign (October 1991): 16–19; Arnold H. Green, “A Survey of LDS Proselyting Efforts to the Jewish People,” BYU Studies 8/4 (1968): 427–43 (from his master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1967); Green, “Jews in Mormon Thought,” BYU Studies 34/4 (1994–95): 137–64; Steven Epperson, Mormons and Jews: Early Mormon Theologies of Israel (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1992); Steven W. Baldridge, Grafting In: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Holy Land (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Branch, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1989); Ivan J. Barrett, “The Story of the Mormons in the Holy Land” (typescript, Lee Library, BYU, 1977); Rao H. Lindsay, “The Dream of a Mormon Colony in the Near East,” Dialogue 1/4 (1966): 50–67; Richard O. Cowan, ed., “Mischa Markow: Mormon Missionary to the Balkans,” BYU Studies 11/1 (1970): 92–99; William H. Kehr, “Missionary to the Balkans: Mischa Markow,” Ensign (June 1980): 29–32; Spencer J. Palmer, ed., Mormons and Muslims (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1983); Marianne Perciaccanti, “The Mormon-Muslim Comparison” (master’s thesis, University of Virginia, 1988); Anson D. Shupe and John Heinerman, “State-within-a-State Diplomacy: Mormon Missionary Efforts in Communist and Islamic Countries,” in The Politics of Religion and Social Change, ed. Anson D. Shupe and Jeffrey K. Hadden (New York: Paragon House, 1988), 67– 83; Terry N. Montague, “. . . Mine Angels Round About”: Mormon Missionary Evacuation from Western Germany, 1939 (Murray, Utah: Roylance, 1989); David F. Boone, “The Worldwide Evacuation of Latter-day Saint Missionaries at the Beginning of World War II” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1981) and Joseph F. Boone, “The Roles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Relation to the United States Military, 1900–1975” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1975). The special 1946 mission of Ezra Taft Benson to postwar Europe is told in A Labor of Love: The 1946 European Mission of Ezra Taft Benson (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989). Because so much of Mormon mission history has focused on church leaders, it is instructive to compare an account of a church leader with the accounts of local members: Thomas S. Monson, Faith Rewarded: A Personal Account of Prophetic Promises to the East German Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996); and Behind the Iron Curtain, Recollections of Latter-day Saints in East Germany, 1945–1989, comp., trans., and ed. Garold Davis and Norma Davis (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies Monograph Series, 1996).

Mexico and South America

In recent years the most successful area for Mormon proselyting has been Mexico and South America. Mormon missionaries have been quite successful in countries where Catholics have preceded them. Today (1998) Spanish is the language spoken by the majority of convert members. Thus Mormon missiology must look closer here. The best place to begin is with F. LaMond Tullis, Mormons in Mexico: The Dynamics of Faith and Culture (Logan: Utah State University Press, 1987), which includes a good summary of the Third Convention movement (pp. 137–68), a nativist reaction to American leadership. Additional studies of the history of Mormonism in these areas include the following: Rey L. Pratt, “History of the Mexican Mission,” Improvement Era (April 1912): 486–98; Reva H. Stanley and Charles C. Camp, “A Mormon Mission to California in 1851, from the Diary of Parley P. Pratt,” California Historical Society Quarterly 14 (March and June 1935): 59–73; 175–82; F. LaMond Tullis, “California and Chile in 1851 as Experienced by Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt,” Southern California Quarterly 67 (Fall 1985): 291–307; Tullis, “Early Mormon Exploration and Missionary Activities in Mexico,” BYU Studies 22/3 (1982): 289–310; Tullis, “Reopening the Mexican Mission in 1901,” BYU Studies 22/4 (1982): 441–53; A. Delbert Palmer and Mark L. Grover, “Hoping to Establish a Presence: Parley P. Pratt’s 1851 Mission to Chile,” BYU Studies 38/4 (1999): 115–37 ; Kenneth W. Godfrey, Moses Thatcher and Mormon Beginnings in Mexico,” BYU Studies 38/4 (1999): 139–55; Mark L. Grover, “Execution in Mexico: The Death of Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales [17 July 1915],” BYU Studies 35/3 (1995–96): 6–28; and Dale F. Beecher, “Rey L. Pratt and the Mexican Mission [Mexico City, 1906–24],” BYU Studies 15/3 (1975): 293–307; and Byron J. McNeil, “The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico” (master’s thesis, San Jose State University, 1990); Henri P. P. Gooren, “De expanderende Mormoonse Kerk in Latijns Amerika: schetsen uit een wiik i San Jose Costa Rica” (master’s thesis, University of Utrecht, 1991); and Gooren, “Rich among the Poor: Church, Firm, and Household among Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in Guatemala City” (Ph.D. diss., University of Utrecht, 1998). See also “Conversation: The Church in Central America,” Ensign (August 1998): 79–80.

The South American Mormon experience is discussed in John D. Peterson, “History of the Mormon Missionary Movement in South America to 1940” (master’s thesis, University of Utah, 1961); G. Wallace Fox, “A Historical Resumé: Missions of South America, Argentina–Brazil, 1925–1935,” Improvement Era (December 1935): 746–49; Joel A. Flake, “The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in South America: 1945–1960” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1975); Frederick S. Williams and Frederick G. Williams, From Acorn to Oaktree: A Personal History of the Establishment and First Quarter Century of the South American Missions (Fullerton, Calif.: Et Cetera Graphics, 1987); Marcus H. Martins, “The Oak Tree Revisited: Brazilian LDS Leaders’ Insights on the Growth of the LDS Church in Brazil” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1996); G. Benson Whittle, “From the Mission Field–Brazil,” Dialogue 1/4 (1966): 135–40; Mark L. Grover, “Mormonism in Brazil: Religion and Dependency in Latin America” (Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1985); Grover, “Religious Accommodation in the Land of Racial Democracy: Mormon Priesthood and Black Brazilians,” Dialogue 17/3 (1984): 23–34; Grover, The Mormon Church in Latin America: A Periodical Index, 1830–1976 (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1977); Grover, “Relief Society and Church Welfare: The Brazilian Experience,” Dialogue 27/4 (1994): 29– 38; Patrick Madden, “East of the River of Birds [Uraguay],” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1999); David C. Knowlton, “Thoughts on Mormonism in Latin America,” Dialogue 25/2 (1992): 41–53; Knowlton, “The Creation of Sacred Mormon Myth: Missionary, Native, and General Authority Accounts of a Bolivian Conversion,” Sunstone 13 (January 1989): 14–23; Knowlton, “‘Gringo Jeringo’: Anglo Mormon Missionary Culture in Bolivia,” in Contemporary Mormonism, Social Science Perspectives (1995), 218–36; Knowlton, “Mormonism in Chile,” in Mormon Identities in Transition, ed. Douglas J. Davies (London: Cassell, 1996), 68–79; Michael R. Morris, “Chile’s Fruitful Vineyard,” Ensign (December 1995): 32–41; Gordon Irving, “Mormonism and Latin America: A Preliminary Historical Survey,” Task Papers in LDS History, No. 10 (Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1976); Wesley W. Craig Jr., “The Church in Latin America: Progress and Challenge,” Dialogue 5/3 (1970): 66–74; F. LaMond Tullis, “Three Myths about Mormons in Latin America,” Dialogue 7/1 (1972): 79–87; Tullis, “The Church Moves outside the United States: Some Observations from Latin America,” Dialogue 13/1 (1980): 63–73; Terence L. Hansen, “The Church in Central America,” Ensign (September 1972): 40–42; Michael Smurthwaite, “Sociopolitical Factors Affecting the Growth of the Mormon Church in Argentina since 1925” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1968); A. Delbert Palmer, “Establishing the LDS Church in Chile” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1979); Marvin K. Gardner, “Pioneers in Paraguay,” Ensign (March 1994): 39–45; Allen Litster, “Pioneering in the Andes,” Ensign (January 1997): 16–22; Michael R. Morris, “Chile’s Fruitful Vineyard,” Ensign (December 1995): 32–41; and Judy C. Olsen, “Argentina’s Bright and Glorious Day,” Ensign (February 1998): 36–43. An interesting collection of personal essays on his mission experiences in Uruguay is Patrick Madden, “East of the River of Birds” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1999). A brief look at the independent work of Cordell Anderson in Guatemala is in Elizabeth Shaw, “Alone in a Valley: Cordell Anderson’s Private Peace Corps,” Sunstone 1 (Spring 1976): 45–52, and Melvin A. Lyman, Out of Obscurity into Light (Salt Lake City: Albany Book, 1985), 165–93.

The Pacific, Asia, and India

The best place to begin studying Mormonism in the Pacific Basin is with R. Lanier Britsch, Unto the Islands of the Sea: A History of the Latter-day Saints in the Pacific (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986). A companion volume by the same author on the history of the church in Asia is Britsch, From the East: The History of the Latter-Day Saints in Asia, 1851– 1996 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1998). A pioneering work that tried to cover too much ground was Robert C. Patch, “An Historical Overview of the Missionary Activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Continental Asia” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1949). All of the following studies of their respective areas contain information that illuminate the proselyting picture: David J. Whittaker, “Parley P. Pratt and the Pacific Mission: Mormon Publishing in ‘That Very Questionable Part of the Civilized World,'” in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World: Studies in Honor of John L. Sorenson (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1998), 51–84; Richard C. Harvey, “The Development of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hawaii” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); Norman Douglas, “Latter-day Saint Missions and Missionaries in Polynesia, 1844–1960” (Ph.D. diss., Australian National University, 1974); Russell T. Clement, comp., Mormons in the Pacific: A Bibliography (Laie: The Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1981); Jay Todd, “Hawaii,” Improvement Era (May 1966): 383–86; Francis J. Russell, “Diamond Jubilee of Missionary Effort in Hawaii,” Improvement Era (May 1926): 613–19 (re: George Q. Cannon); R. Lanier Britsch, Moromona: The Mormons in Hawaii (Laie: Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1989); Andrew Jenson, “The Society Islands Mission,” Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 5–8 (January 1914–April 1917): 12-part series; Marba C. Josephson, “A Glance at Hawaiian Mission History,” Improvement Era (August 1950): 619–20, 666–69; Comfort Margaret Bock, “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hawaiian Islands” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1941); Castle H. Murphy, Castles of Zion–Hawaii: Autobiography and Episodes from the Life of Castle A. Murphy, Missionary to Hawaii (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1963); Guy Bishop, “Henry William Bigler: Mormon Missionary to the Sandwich Islands during the 1850s,” Hawaiian Journal of History 20 (1986): 122–36; Donald R. Shaffer, “A Forgotten Missionary: Hiram Clark, Mormon Itinerant, British Emigration Organizer, and First President of the L.D.S. Hawaiian Mission, 1795–1853” (master’s thesis, California State University, Fullerton, 1990); Shaffer, “Hiram Clark and the First LDS Hawaiian Mission: A Reappraisal,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 94–109; Scott G. Kenney, “Mormons and the Smallpox Epidemic of 1853,” Hawaiian Journal of History 31 (1997): 1–26; Joseph H. Spurrier, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Hawaiian Islands (Salt Lake City: Hawkes, 1978); Spurrier, Sandwich Island Saints: Early Mormon Converts in the Hawaiian Islands (Oahu: Spurrier, 1989); W. Karl Brewer, Armed with the Spirit: Missionary Experiences in Samoa (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1975); Max E. Stanton, “Samoan Saints: Samoans in the Mormon Village of Laie, Hawaii” (Ph.D. diss., University of Oregon, 1973), some of which appears in “Mormons, Matais, and Modernization: Stress and Change among Samoans of Laie, Hawaii,” in New Neighbors . . . Islands in Adaptation, ed. Cluny McPherson, Bradd Shore, and Robert Franco (Santa Cruz: Center for South Pacific Studies, University of California, 1978), 272–85; R. Lanier Britsch, “The Lanai Colony: A Hawaiian Extension of the Mormon Colonial Idea,” Hawaiian Journal of History 12 (1978): 68–83; Donna Higgins, “Samoa,” Improvement Era (May 1966): 395–98, 448; Matthew Cowley, “Maori Chief Predicts Coming of L.D.S. Missionaries,” Improvement Era (September 1950): 696–98, 754–56; Peter Lineham, “The Mormon Message in the Context of Maori Culture,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 62– 93; Duane P. Harris, “Missionaries in the Last Kingdom [Tonga]” (honors thesis, Harvard University, 1989); John H. Groberg, In the Eye of the Storm [Tonga] (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1993); Groberg, The Fire of Faith (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996); Fa’aki Kihelotu ‘Alatini Richter, “Missionary Work in Tonga,” in Proceedings, Second Annual Conference, Mormon History in the Pacific, May 8–9, 1981 (n.p.: Mormon Pacific Historical Society, 1981), 49–64; Ian G. Barber, “Between Biculturalism and Assimilation: The Changing Place of Maori Culture in the Twentieth Century New Zealand Mormon Church,” New Zealand Journal of History 29 (October 1995): 142–69; Marjorie Newton, “From Tolerance to ‘House Cleaning’: LDS Leadership Response to Maori Marriage Customs, 1890–1990,” Journal of Mormon History 22/2 (1996): 72–91; Newton, “Mormonism in New Zealand: A Historical Appraisal,” (Ph.D. thesis, University of Sidney, 1998); Doyle L. Green, “Tahiti: Looking Back on a Century of Work in French Oceania,” Improvement Era (October 1939): 592–93, 632–33; Green, “French Polynesia,” Improvement Era (May 1966): 377–80; Green, “Mission to Polynesia: The Story of Addison Pratt and the Society Islands Mission,” Improvement Era (March 1949–March 1950): 10-part series; R. Carl Harris, Samoa Apia Mission History, 1888–1983 (n.p.: Samoa Printing, 1983); Jennie M. Hart, John W. Hart, and R. Carl Harris, The Expanded Samoan Mission History, 1888–1900, vol. 1 (n.p.: Corporation of the President, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1988); Eugene England, “Mission to Paradise,” BYU Studies 38/1 (1999): 170–85; Marvin E. Pack, “The Sandwich Islands Country and Mission,” Contributor 17 (November 1895–October 1896): 11-part series (skips March), last five deal with missionary work; S. George Ellsworth, Zion in Paradise: Early Mormons in the South Seas (Logan, Utah: The Faculty Association, Utah State University, 1959); Ellsworth, “New Wine in Old Bottles: The LDS Conversion Experience in French Polynesia,” in Proceedings, Second Annual Conference, Mormon History in the Pacific, May 8–9, 1981 (n.p.: Mormon Pacific Historical Society, 1981), 1–10; Ellsworth, ed., The Journals of Addison Pratt . . . (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990); Ellsworth, ed., The History of Louisa Barnes Pratt, Being the Autobiography of a Mormon Missionary Widow and Pioneer (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1998), esp. 95–191 (Tahiti, 1850–52); Ellsworth, Seasons of Faith and Courage: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in French Polynesia: A Sesquicentennial History, 1843–1993 (Sandy, Utah: Perrin, 1994); David W. Cummings, Mighty Missionary of the Pacific: The Building Program of the Church (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1961); Alice C. Pack, Building Missionaries in Hawaii, 1960–1963 (Laie: Church College of Hawaii, ca. 1963); Alma Greenwood, “My New Zealand Mission,” Juvenile Instructor 20–21 (March 1885–March 1886): 22-part series; Brian W. Hunt, “History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in New Zealand” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971; published by the Church College of New Zealand, 1977); Harold T. Christensen, “The New Zealand Mission during the Great Depression: Reflections of a Former Acting President,” Dialogue 24/3 (1991): 69–76; Ruby Welch, “Ethnicity among Auckland Mormons” (master’s thesis, University of Auckland, 1989); Ian R. Barker, “The Connexion: The Mormon Church and the Maori People” (master’s thesis, Victoria University of Wellington, 1967); Tamar G. Gordon, “Inventing Mormon Identity in Tonga” (Ph.D. diss., University of California, Berkeley, 1988); Louis Midgley, “A Singular Reading: The Maori and the Book of Mormon,” in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World (1998), 245–76; R. Lanier Britsch, “Mormon Intruders in Tonga: The Passport Act of 1922,” in Mormons, Scripture, and the Ancient World (1998), 121–48; Max E. Stanton, “A Gathering of Saints: The Role of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Pacific Islander Migration,” in A World Perspective on Pacific Islander Migration, ed. G. McCall and J. Connell (Centre for South Pacific Studies, The University of New South Wales, 1993), 23–37; William A. Moody, Years in the Sheaf: The Autobiography of William Alfred Moody [in Samoa] (Salt Lake City: Granite Publishing, 1959); R. Lanier Britsch, “The Founding of the Samoan Mission,” BYU Studies 18/1 (1977): 12–26; Britsch, “The Expansion of Mormonism in the South Pacific,” Dialogue 13/1 (1980): 53–62; Britsch, “Refounding of the LDS Mission in French Polynesia, 1892,” Pacific Studies 3 (Fall 1979): 68–80; Britsch, “The Church in the South Pacific,” Ensign (February 1976): 20–27; Britsch, “On the Pacific Frontier: The Church in the Gilbert Islands,” Ensign (October 1981): 28–31; “Conversation: The Church in the Pacific,” Ensign (February 1998): 79–80; Garth N. Jones, “Expanding the LDS Church Abroad: Old Realities Compounded,” Dialogue 13/1 (1980): 8–22; Jones, “Spreading the Gospel in Indonesia: Organizational Obstacles and Opportunities,” Dialogue 15/4 (1982): 79–90; Jones, “The Ahmadis of Islam: A Mormon Encounter and Perspective,” Dialogue 19/2 (1986): 39–54; Amasa Potter, “Missionary Sketches,” Millennial Star 33 (22 August 1871–3 October 1871): 4-part series on Australia; John D. Hawkes, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia to 1900” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1965); John Devitry-Smith, “William James Barratt: The First Mormon ‘Down Under,'” BYU Studies 28/3 (1988): 53–66; Marjorie A. Newton, “Southern Cross Saints: The Mormon Church in Australia” (master’s thesis, University of Sidney, 1987), published as Southern Cross Saints, The Mormons in Australia (Laie: Mormons in the Pacific Series, The Institute for Polynesian Studies, 1991); Newton, “Pioneering the Gospel in Australia,” Ensign (October 1986): 32–41; Newton, “The Gathering of the Australian Saints in the 1850s,” BYU Studies 27/2 (1987): 67–78; Newton, “‘Seduced Away’: Early Mormon Documents in Australia,” BYU Studies 35/3 (1995–96): 149–65; Newton, “‘Almost Like Us’: The American Socialization of Australian Converts,” Dialogue 24/3 (1991): 9–20; Ross Geddes, “Before Stakehood: The Mission Years in Brisbane, Australia,” Journal of Mormon History 22/2 (1996): 92–119; Alison Craig, “The Saints in Indonesia,” Ensign (January 1977): 86–90; R. Lanier Britsch, “The Early Missions to Burma and Siam,” Improvement Era (March 1970): 35–44; Britsch, “Early Latter-day Saint Missions to South and East Asia” (Ph.D. diss., Claremont Graduate School, 1968); Britsch, “From Bhutan to Wangts’ang: Taking the Gospel to Asia,” Ensign (June 1980): 6–10; R. Lanier Britsch and Richard C. Holloman Jr., “The Church’s Years in Vietnam,” Ensign (August 1980): 24–30; William R. Heaton Jr., “Vietnam and the Restored Church,” Ensign (June 1973): 35–37; David L. Hughes, “The Saints in Saigon: An End, A Beginning,” This People 6 (April 1985): 46–51; Spencer Palmer, The Church Encounters Asia (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1970); Craig G. Christensen, “The Beginnings in Thailand,” Improvement Era (March 1970): 32–34; Joan P. Ford and LaRene Gaunt, “The Gospel Dawning in Thailand,” Ensign (September 1995): 48–55; J. Talmage Jones, In Singapore and Other Asian Cities (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1984); Beng L. Pang, A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Singapore: Journey to Stakehood, 1964–1997 (Singapore: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Singapore Stake, 1997); Manoth Suksabjarern, “Roman Catholic, Protestant and Latter-day Saint Missions in Thailand: An Historical Survey” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1977); and Don Hicken, “The Church in Asia,” Dialogue 3/1 (1968): 134–42.

For China, see R. D. Barney and Gary G. Y. Chu, “Differences between Mormons’ Perceptions and Chinese Natives’ Expectations in Intercultural Transactions,” Journal of Social Psychology 98 (February 1976): 135–36 (compare Chu’s master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); R. Lanier Britsch, “Church Beginnings in China,” BYU Studies 10/2 (1970): 161–72; Paul V. Hyer, “Revolution and Mormonism in Asia: What the Church Might Offer a Changing Society,” Dialogue 7/1 (1972): 88–93; Robert J. Morris, “Middle Buddha,” Dialogue 4/1 (1969): 41–50; Robert J. Morris, “The Church and the Orient,” review of The Church Encounters Asia, by Spencer J. Palmer, Dialogue 5/3 (1970): 104–6; William R. Heaton, “Mormonism and Maoism: The Church and People’s China,” Dialogue 13/1 (1980): 40–50; Bruce J. M. Dean, “Chinese Christianity since 1849: Implications for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1981); and Feng Xi, “A History of Mormon-Chinese Relations: 1849– 1993” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1994). See also Spencer J. Palmer, Brigham Young University and the People’s Republic of China: The First Five Years (Provo, Utah: David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, BYU, 1984). A study of Chinese converts in 1996–97 is Caroline Pluss, “Chinese Participation in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) in Hong Kong,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 14/1 (1999): 63–76. For a brief look at Mongolia, see Charlotte D. Lofgreen, “Mongolia: The Morning Breaks,” Cameo: Latter-day Women in Profile 2 (February 1994): 9–26.

For Korea, see Dong S. Choi, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Korea, 1950–1985” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1990); and Spencer J. Palmer and Shirley H. Palmer, The Korean Saints: Personal Stories of Trial and Triumph, 1850–1980 (Provo, Utah: Religious Education, BYU, 1995).

For Japan, see Alma O. Taylor, “About Japan and the Japan Mission,” Improvement Era (November 1906): 1–9; Taylor, “Memories of Far-off Japan: President Grant’s First Foreign Mission, 1901–1903,” Improvement Era (November 1936): 690–91; A. Ray Olpin, “The Art of Tracting in Japan,” Improvement Era (November 1917): 40–44; Murray L. Nichols, “History of the Japan Mission of the Church . . . 1901–1924” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1957); Ronald W. Walker, “Strangers in a Strange Land: Heber J. Grant and the Opening of the Japanese Mission,” Journal of Mormon History 13 (1986–87): 21–43; Heber J. Grant, A Japanese Journal, comp. Gordon A. Madsen (n.p.: by the compiler, n.d. [available at BYU]); R. Lanier Britsch, “The Closing of the Early Japan Mission,” BYU Studies 15/2 (1975): 171–90; John A. Widtsoe, “The Japanese Mission in Action,” Improvement Era (February 1939): 88–89, 125, 127 (re: direction of Japanese mission from Hawaii after closure of the mission in 1924); Christopher Conkling, “Members without a Church: Japanese Mormons in Japan from 1924– 1948,” BYU Studies 15/2 (1975): 191–214; Terry G. Nelson, “A History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Japan from 1948–1980” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1986); Seiji Katanuma, “The Church in Japan,” BYU Studies 14/1 (1973): 16–28; R. Lanier Britsch, “The Blossoming of the Church in Japan,” Ensign (October 1992): 32–38; Jiro Numauo, “How International Is the Church in Japan?” Dialogue 13/1 (1980): 85–91; Frederick R. Brady, The Japanese Reaction to Mormonism and the Translation of Mormon Scripture in Japanese (Tokyo: Sophia University, International College, 1979); and Tomoko Aizawa, “The LDS Church as a New Religious Movement in Japan” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1995). For Guam, see David M. Walden, “An Exploration of Recent Religious Conversion on Guam” (master’s thesis, University of Guam, 1978).

For the Philippines, Lawell E. Call, “Latter-day Saint Servicemen in the Philippine Islands: A Historical Study of Their Religious Activities and Influences Resulting in the Official Organization of the Church . . . in the Philippines” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955); and Joseph P. Gray, “Ecclesiastical Conversion as a Social Process: A Case Study from the Philippines” (Ph.D. diss., University of Colorado, 1976).

For India, see R. Lanier Britsch, “The Latter-day Saint Mission to India: 1851–1856,” BYU Studies 12/3 (1972): 267–78; Britsch, “A History of the Missionary Activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in India, 1849–1856” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1964); Britsch, Nothing More Heroic, The Compelling Story of the First Latter-day Saint Missionaries in India (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999); David J. Whittaker, “Richard Ballantyne and the Defense of Mormonism in India in the 1850s,” in Supporting Saints (1985), 175–212; Ross Findlay and Lonnie Findlay, comps., Missionary Journals of Hugh Findlay, India-Scotland (Ephraim, Utah: by the compilers, 1973); Elizabeth S. VanDenBerghe, “Edwin Dharmaraju: Taking the Gospel Home to India,” Ensign (April 1990): 60–62; Alma Heaton and Marie Heaton, Behind the Taj Mahal, Spiritual Adventures in [Southwestern] India (Provo, Utah: n.p., 1992); Michael R. Morris, “India: A Season of Sowing,” Ensign (July 1995): 40–48; Roger R. Keller, “India: A Synopsis of Cultural Challenges,” in Mormon Identities in Transition (1996), 87–92; and J. David D. Peck, “Mormonism and Eastern Mysticism,” Dialogue 21/2 (1988): 113–26.

Looking at a modern “gathering,” the experience of the Oakland California Stake, is Robert G. Larsen and Sharyn H. Larsen, “Refugee Converts: One Stake’s Experience,” Dialogue 20/3 (1987): 37–55. Jessie L. Embry’s oral histories with LDS Asian Mormons are synthesized in her Asian American Mormons: Bridging Cultures (Provo, Utah: Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, BYU, 1999). An early plea for Mormons to better understand Asian culture by a BYU professor and later a mission president in the Far East, was Russell N. Horiuchi, “Church Must Study Oriental Cultures to Meet Missionary Work Challenge,” Daily Universe, BYU student newspaper, 15 November 1962, 2.


Significant LDS missionary work in Africa has only come since 1978, when the church approved the ordaining of worthy black males to offices in the priesthood. The first overview of the Mormon experience in Africa was Farrell R. Monson, “History of the South African Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1853– 1970” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971). Other studies include Samuel Martin, “The Growth of the South African Mission,” Improvement Era (October 1928): 1044–47; Eric Rosenthal, “Mormons in Africa,” in his Stars and Stripes in Africa (London: Routledge and Sons, 1938), l00–103; Spencer J. Palmer, Mormons in West Africa: New Terrain for the Sesquicentennial Church, Annual Religion Faculty Lecture, 27 September 1979 (Provo, Utah: BYU Religion Department, 1979); David J. Whittaker, “Early Mormon Imprints in South Africa,” BYU Studies 20/4 (1980): 404–16; William Lye, “From Burundi to Zaire: Taking the Gospel to Africa,” Ensign (March 1980): 10–15; Newell G. Bringhurst, “Mormonism in Black Africa: Changing Attitudes and Practices, 1830–1981,” Sunstone 6 (May/June 1981): 15–21; Evan P. Wright, “A History of the South African Mission, Period I, 1852–1903” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1977); Wright, A History of the South African Mission, 1852–1970, 3 vols. (n.p., 1977–1986); Marjorie E. Woods, “Saints in South Africa,” Ensign (September 1986): 45–48; Janet Brigham, “Nigeria and Ghana: A Miracle Precedes the Messengers,” Ensign (February 1980): 73–76; Anthony U. Obinna, “Voice from Nigeria,” Ensign (December 1980): 29–30; E. E. Fourie, “From Queenstown to Cimezile,” Ensign (September 1987): 30–31; Alexander B. Morrison, “The Dawning of a New Day in Africa,” Ensign (November 1987): 25–26; Morrison, The Dawning of a Brighter Day: The Church in Black Africa (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1990); “The Church in Africa,” Ensign (September 1997): 79–80, a short conversation with the Area Presidency of the African Area; James B. Allen, “Would-Be Saints: West Africa before the 1978 Priesthood Revelation,” Journal of Mormon History 17 (1991): 207–47; Andrew Clark, “The Fading Curse of Cain: Mormonism in South Africa,” Dialogue 27/4 (1994): 41–56; E. Dale LeBaron, “Gospel Pioneers in Africa,” Ensign (August 1990): 40–43; LeBaron, “All Are Alike unto God”: Fascinating Conversion Stories of African Saints (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1990); LeBaron, “Mormonism in Black Africa,” in Mormon Identities in Transition (1996), 80–86; Marjorie W. Folsom, Golden Harvest in Ghana (Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers, 1989); and Rendell N. Mabey and Gordon T. Allred, Brother to Brother, The Story of the Latter-day Saint Members Who Took the Gospel to Black Africa (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984); Mabey and Allred, An African Legacy, rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Artistic Printing, 1998). A history of LDS attitudes and practices relating to black Africans and Afro-Americans is told, with extensive bibliography, in Lester E. Bush Jr. and Armand L. Mauss, eds., Neither White nor Black: Mormon Scholars Confront the Race Issue in a Universal Church (Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, 1984). See also Chester L. Hawkins, “Selective Bibliography on African-Americans and Mormons, 1830–1990,” Dialogue 25/4 (1992): 113–31; Peggy Fletcher Stack, “LDS in Africa: Growing Membership Sees American Church with Unique Vision,” “Missionaries in Africa Grow as They Seek New Converts,” and “African Culture Presents Challenges for Mormon Converts,” Sunstone 21 (June– July 1998): 71–74 (from Salt Lake Tribune, 4 April 1998).

Special Topics

Because missionary work touches so many areas in Mormon history and culture, the variety of topics that the student of missiology must address is quite large. The “gathering” of converts to America in the nineteenth century is one such area, many studies of which have already been cited. Ronald G. Watt, “LDS Church Records on Immigration,” Genealogical Journal 6 (March 1977): 24–32, suggests the rich archival sources; also valuable are Conway B. Sonne, Saints on the Seas, A Maritime History of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983); Sonne, Ships, Saints, and Mariners, A Maritime Encyclopedia of Mormon Migration, 1830–1890 (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1987); and Richard L. Jensen, “Steaming Through: Arrangements for Mormon Emigration from Europe, 1869–1887,” Journal of Mormon History 9 (1982): 3–23. The problems of language, already suggested in several studies above, is further considered in Marcellus Snow, “Translating Mormon Thought,” Dialogue 2/2 (1967): 49–62; and Joseph G. Stringham, “The Church and Translation,” BYU Studies 21/1 (1981): 69–90. What is becoming more clear is that language is only part of a whole cultural system of which missionaries must be aware. Another aspect of the conversion process is briefly discussed in Arturo De Hoyos and Genevieve De Hoyos, “The Dilemma of Pluralism in the Mormon Conversion Process,” Society for the Sociological Study of Mormon Life, Newsletter 2 (July 1987): 3. The missionary experience for young Latter-day Saints is a rite of passage, a period that Brigham Young referred to as “a sort of probation—a kind of middle period between boyhood and manhood—a time which as you improve or neglect, will make or mar your future career.”22 Much ritual and humor has developed around the mission in recent years, including the local community’s anticipation of the formal “call,” preparation for departure, and the missionary “farewell” where an extensive part of the sacrament worship meeting is devoted to the missionary and his or her family, even though the official policy of the church is to keep the focus of these meetings on the sacrament service and the worship of the Savior. At the end of the mission another such meeting is set apart for the “homecoming,” where a formal report of the mission experience is given to the local congregation. Thus a significant amount of formal church service is centered on missionaries and missionary work. Finally, there are annual mission reunions usually planned around one of the church’s general conferences in April or October. In 1988 there were about 900 such reunions. Surprisingly, few studies have appeared dealing with this important part of the Mormon experience.

There seems to be no end to the publishing of “how to” books for missionaries,23 but few of the farewell or homecoming talks are ever published or made available, although the habit has developed wherein some families tape-record their missionary’s part in the meeting. A sensitive exception is Douglas H. Parker, “Remarks at Chase’s Missionary Farewell,” Dialogue 17/3 (1984): 117–21. Some returned missionaries have written about their experiences. They range from Jack S. Bailey, Inside a Mormon Mission (Salt Lake City: Hawkes, 1976), to Lynn K. Packer, A Missionary Experience (New York: Carlton, 1969).

What some suggest is one of the finest plays written in Mormon culture tries to address one aspect of the mission experience itself, the struggle to find a testimony in the face of honest questioning and the pressure to conform to the group: Robert Elliott, “Fires of the Mind,” Sunstone 1 (Winter 1975): 23–93. The larger impact of the mission experience is considered in John M. Madsen, “Church Activity of LDS Returned Missionaries” (Ed.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1977). An early survey was Rudger Clawson, “The Returned Missionary: A Statistical Survey,” Improvement Era (October 1936): 590–94.24 See also L. A. Groberg, “A Preliminary Study of Certain Activities, the Religious Attitudes and Financial Status of 74 Returned Missionaries Residing in Wayne Stake, 1936” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1936); I. S. Searle, “A Comparative Study of Latter-day Saint Missionaries and Non-Missionaries in Scholastic Aptitude, Academic Achievement and Vocational Interests” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1958); S. L. Callister, “The Relationship of Self-Concept Discrepancies to Academic Achievement, Intelligence, Extracurricular Activities, and Mission Experience” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1962); R. W. Roskelley, “The LDS Missionary System in a Local Area: A Study of Some Social and Economic Aspects of 142 Converts and 130 LDS Missionaries now residing in certain towns in Cache Valley [Utah]” (master’s thesis, Utah State University, 1933). Another aspect of Mormon missionary culture is examined in Lavina Fielding Anderson, “Truth and Consequences: The Identity Crisis in L.D.S. Missionary Fiction,” Sunstone 3 (September/October 1978): 30–34. For a thoughtful reflection by a non-Mormon see Robert L. Lively, “A Non-Mormon Religion Professor’s Impressions of Mormon Missionaries,” BYU Studies 33/1 (1993): 151–59. See also Wayne C. Booth, “Confessions of an Aging, Hypocritical Ex-Missionary,” Sunstone 21 (March–April 1998): 25–36; and Booth, “The Rhetoric of Fundamentalist Conversion Narratives,” in Fundamentalisms Comprehended, ed. Martin E. Marty and R. Scott Appleby, Fundamentalism Project of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. 5 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995), 367–95.

Another area where recent research adds to our understanding concerns itself with the topics of retention and disaffiliation of converts. It is not enough to count baptisms when a number of converts drop out of activity; some missions report at least a 70 percent inactivity rate. Church leaders have focused on this matter in recent years. Sociological studies of particular importance are Rodney Stark and William S. Bainbridge, “Networks of Faith: Interpersonal Bonds and Recruitment to Cults and Sects,” American Journal of Sociology 85 (May 1980): 1376–95; Rodney Stark, “How New Religions Succeed: A Theoretical Model,” in The Future of New Religious Movements, ed. David G. Bromley and Phillip E. Hammond (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1987), 11–29; Armand L. Mauss, “Dimensions of Religious Defection,” Review of Religious Research 10/3 (1969): 128–35; Stan L. Albrecht and Howard M. Bahr, “Patterns of Religious Disaffiliation: A Study of Lifelong Mormons, Mormon Converts, and Former Mormons,” Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion 22 (December 1983): 366–79; Marie Cornwall et al., “The Social Bases of Religion: Factors Influencing Religious Belief and Commitment,” Review of Religious Research 29 (September 1987): 44–56; Stan L. Albrecht, Marie Cornwall, and Perry H. Cunningham, “Religious Leave-taking: Disengagement and Disaffection among Mormons,” in Falling from the Faith: Causes and Consequences of Religious Apostasy, ed. David G. Bromley (Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1988), 62–80; Stan L. Albrecht, “The Consequential Dimension of Mormon Religiosity,” BYU Studies 29/2 (1989): 57–108; James T. Duke and Barry L. Johnson, “Changes in the Religious Devotion of Latter-day Saints throughout the Life Cycle,” BYU Studies 36/1 (1996–97): 139–58; and Howard M. Bahr and Stan L. Albrecht, “Strangers Once More: Patterns of Disaffection from Mormonism,” Journal of the Scientific Study of Religion 28 (June 1989): 180–200. An important study of the conversion process and its determinants is Linda Charney, “Religious Conversion: A Longitudinal Study” (Ph.D. diss., University of Utah, 1986). Two essays by Wilfried Decoo provide a very useful perspective on the nature of conversion and retention of European converts: “Mormonism in a European Catholic Region: A Contribution to the Social Psychology of LDS Converts,” BYU Studies 24/1 (1984): 61–77; and “Feeding the Fleeing Flock: Reflections on the Struggle to Retain Church Members in Europe,” Dialogue 29/1 (1996): 97–118. See also Decoo’s reflections in “Issues in Writing European History and in Building the Church in Europe . . . ,” Journal of Mormon History 23/1 (1997): esp. 163–76. A larger context for America is suggested in Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America: Winners and Losers in Our Religious Economy (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1992); and Darren E. Sherkat and John Wilson, “Preferences, Constraints, and Choices in Religious Markets: An Examination of Religious Switching and Apostasy,” Social Forces 73 (March 1995): 993–1026. See also Laura M. Marwick, “From Mormon to Evangelical: A Look at Disaffiliation and Conversion” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1994);25 and James T. Duke, “Latter-day Saint Exceptionalism and Membership Growth,” in Mormon Identities in Transition (1996), 46–51.

Compilations of conversion stories are abundant in LDS literature since the 1830s. For more recent works see Kevin Stoker, Missionary Moments: Inspiring Conversion Stories (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1989); Hartman Rector Jr. and Connie Rector, eds., No More Strangers, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1971–1990); Eugene England, ed., Converted to Christ through the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989); and Bruce Van Orden, D. Brent Smith, and Everett Smith Jr., eds., Pioneers in Every Land (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997). A useful guide for new members is Clark L. Hidd and Kathryn H. Kidd, A Convert’s Guide to Mormon Life: A Guidebook for New Members (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998).

Summary Thoughts

The history of missionary work is the history of Mormonism itself. It began with the first vision of Joseph Smith in 1820 and has continued to proclaim that the heavens are again open. It remains the heart of the Mormon enterprise as the doctrines and rites of the church tie members back to their ancestors and ahead to their posterity. Mormon theology offers a cosmic view for understanding the origins and destiny of all peoples. It sees this mortal experience as a part of an eternal journey that began long before birth into this world. Sent from the presence of heavenly parents, this chosen “exile” has divine purposes. We are being tried and tested as to what choices we make and how true we will be to the covenants we have made or will make. We are on this pilgrimage together; we all belong to the same family, and our relationships are to reflect this. All people will have a chance to hear the gospel message and all will be judged according to a fair and just God who makes every effort to warn and save us. The central place of Jesus Christ in this plan has been taught by Mormon missionaries since 1830. As a nonspeculative religion, Mormonism continues to emphasize the same core truths it espoused in its earliest years.

The community of the faithful, constantly growing and extending itself, has meant that the average member of the church today is a first-generation convert. The zeal of new converts is apparent throughout the church, as is the natural conservatism and doctrinal orthodoxy such newness encourages. It is sometimes a challenge for such a fast-growing church to meet the needs of the older members who regularly sit through lessons taken from manuals that primarily target new converts. This is one of the reasons that the potential for a kind of “underground church” is always present; the growth of member study groups seems to suggest this reality, and the membership of these groups would seem to come from second- and third-generation members.

When Joseph Smith organized the School of the Prophets in Kirtland in 1833, its primary purpose was to better prepare those who would be sent out as missionaries.26 Much of the historical development of the Church Educational System (especially in the twentieth century) has been related to the concern church leaders have felt for better-prepared missionaries. The expansion of CES missionaries, consisting of retired couples, also focuses on the education and training of new converts.

The study of Mormon missionary history is a valuable way to discover some of the details of how the church has reached its current status. While statistics must be part of such a study, to focus on counting converts can lead to seeing the gospel as a product to be sold and whose success can be easily quantifiable. But such a narrow focus will leave much unanswered. For example, how do new converts learn about the history of the church they have joined? How does this history become relevant for those in non-American societies? What are their “stories” and how do they differ when understood in their own language and culture? How much of the “Utah” church will not be essential in an international setting?27

We have suggested that the study of Mormon missiology cuts across many topics: the printing and use of scriptures, the challenges of ethnicity, administrative history, doctrines and policies of the church, apologetics, the broad subject of Mormon biography, and the internationalization of the church, to mention only the most obvious. With a successful missionary system that has witnessed the doubling of the church membership every decade, the future promises even more topics for Mormon historical study. To study Mormonism is to study Mormon missiology.


  1. A useful introduction is Rex E. Cooper, Promises Made to the Fathers: Mormon Covenant Organization (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1990).
  2. While it is beyond our concern here, a critical relationship exists between the Mormon missionary enterprise and Mormon expectations of the second coming of the Savior. Mormon millennialism generally avoided setting dates for this event, but anticipations for it fueled missionary zeal. Recent studies include Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Joseph Smith and the Millenarian Time Table,” BYU Studies 3/3–4 (1961): 55–66; Louis G. Reinwand, “An Interpretive Study of Mormon Millennialism during the Nineteenth Century with Emphasis on Millennial Developments in Utah” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971); Keith E. Norman, “How Long O Lord?: The Delay of the Parousia in Mormonism,” Sunstone 8 (January 1983): 48–58; Stephen J. Stein, “Signs of the Times: The Theological Foundations of Early Mormon Apocalyptic,” Sunstone 8 (January 1983): 59–65; and Grant Underwood, The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993).
  3. Because the scholarly study of missiology is anchored in and is a critical reflection about the traditional Christian church’s mission history, it is not easy to apply these categories and perspectives to the study of Mormon missions. In general, based on the Latin roots of the word, missiology literally means a study of the sending forth or expansion of the church. An excellent summary and contemporary perspective is Dallin H. Oaks and Lance B. Wickman, “The Missionary Work of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” in Sharing the Book: Religious Perspectives on the Rights and Wrongs of Mission, ed. John Witte Jr. and Richard C. Martin (Mary Knoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1999), 247–75.

A brief overview of the definition and history of the discipline of mission history in Protestant and Catholic traditions is Louis J. Luzbetak, The Church and Cultures: New Perspectives in Missiological Anthropology (Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis Books, 1988), 12–23. A useful introduction to the non-Mormon “What Do We Mean by ‘Missiology,'” is in Missiology, An Ecumenical Introduction, Texts and Contexts of Global Christianity, ed. A. Camps et al. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1995), 1–7. See also Mark A. Noll, “The Potential of Missiology for the Crisis of History,” in History of the Christian Historian, ed. Ronald A. Wells (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdman’s 1998), 106–23.

  1. A useful atlas that includes visuals on missionary work and membership is Historical Atlas of Mormonism, ed. S. Kent Brown, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard H. Jackson (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994).
  2. Based on information in Richard L. Jensen and William G. Hartley, “Immigration and Emigration,” in Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:676.
  3. See Andrew Walls, “World Christianity, the Missionary Movement and the Ugly American,” in World Order and Religion, ed. Wade C. Roof (Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, 1991), 147–72. Such bureaucratizing included (1) uniformity of message and delivery, “(2) goal setting and outcome measurement by objective criteria, (3) standardized and programmatic training of missionaries, (4) systematic supervision of missionary performance, and (5) cost-benefit accountability,” as outlined by Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd, “Membership Growth, Church Activity, and Missionary Recruitment,” Dialogue 29/1 (1996): 36. Given this routinization, the Shepherds suggest the relevance of the military analogy for Mormon missions.
  4. See A Plan for Effective Missionary Work, Northwestern States Mission (1949 and later printings by various missions). See also Richard Lloyd Anderson, comp., A Plan for Effective Missionary Work (Kaysville, Utah: Inland Printing, 1954). Anderson discusses the Plan in “Transcript of Interview with Richard Lloyd Anderson, March 12, 1993,” Appendix F, 34–51, in Robert E. Lund, “A Review of the Missionary Lessons for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” L.I.S. 694 (Provo, Utah: Independent Research, School of Library and Information Science, BYU, 1993), copy in possession of Victor W. Purdy. See also Lewis C. Christian, “A Study of the Development of the Missionary Plan of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1950” (paper for Religion 544, Brigham Young University, 1975), copy in Special Collections, Lee Library, BYU. At the same time, Willard A. Ashton, in the Great Lakes Mission also moved to create a systematic missionary plan. These missionary lessons focused on the Book of Mormon, and Reid Bankhead, another church member who had served in the Navy with Richard Lloyd Anderson, would also move to emphasize the Book of Mormon as the key to Mormon missionary work. See Glenn L. Pearson and Reid E. Bankhead, A Doctrinal Approach to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1962); and Reid E. Bankhead and Glenn L. Pearson, The Work and the Witness: The Unique Witness of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1970). See also Ezra Taft Benson, “The Book of Mormon—Keystone of Our Religion,” Ensign (November 1986): 4–7; and Benson, A Witness and a Warning: A Modern-day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988). This increased use of the Book of Mormon is studied in Melvin R. Maxfield, “The Book of Mormon and the Conversion Process to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: A Study of Recent Converts” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1977). See also Noel B. Reynolds, “The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon in the Twentieth Century,” BYU Studies 38/2 (1999): 6–47; and Richard O. Cowan’s discussion, “Richard Lloyd Anderson and Worldwide Church Growth,” in this volume, pages 105–15.

Of course, there were earlier works that had served missionary needs. A sample includes Lorenzo D. Barnes, References to Prove the Gospel in Its Fullness (Philadelphia, 1841); Charles Thompson, Evidences in Proof of the Book of Mormon (New York, 1841) and Benjamin Winchester, Synopsis of the Holy Scriptures and Concordance (Philadelphia, 1842). These items were recommended as “prompters” for the early missionaries in Times and Seasons 3 (15 September 1842): 923–24. Other examples are Ready References, A Compilation of Scripture Texts, . . . Designed Especially for the Use of Missionaries and Scripture Students (Liverpool, 1884; Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 2nd ed., 1887); Eldin Ricks, Combination Reference: A Simple and Orderly Arrangement of Selected References to the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1943, and later printings); and Keith Marston, Missionary Pal (n.p.: Inland Printing, 1956).

Also, John Jaques, Catechism for Children (Liverpool: Richards, 1854), was a very popular instrument for teaching young members about the church and its doctrines. It was also used as a missionary tool for teaching. See Davis Bitton, “Mormon Catechisms,” Task Papers in LDS History, No. 15 (Salt Lake City: Historical Department of the LDS Church, 1976). See also B. H. Roberts, On Tracting (New York: Eastern States Mission, n.d.); The Elder’s Manual (Chattanooga, Tenn.: Southern States Mission, ca. 1915); Aids in Proselyting: Questions Most Frequently Asked a Mormon Missionary [Basil, Switzerland, 1936]; Hyrum L. Andrus and E. Paul Palmer, Helps for Missionaries (Rexburg: Rexburg Journal for the Division of Religion, Ricks College, 1949); M. Russell Ballard and Quinn G. McKay, Street Meeting Suggestions (London, n.d.); Not with Wisdom of Words: An Appeal for a Discriminative Method of Tracting (Stockholm: Swedish Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1951); and Cottage Meeting Outline, Central Atlantic States Mission (Roanoke, Va., 1952).

An example of the early suggestions that commercial salesmanship could be valuable for Mormon missionaries was Some Suggestions for Latter-day Saints from the Field of Successful Commercial Salesmanship, comp. Earl W. Harmer (Salt Lake City: by the compiler [c.1929], six editions by the end of the 1930s). Such approaches help explain the continued presence of such books as Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in the World; Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking; Russell Conwell, Acres of Diamonds; Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People; Charles M. Sheldon, In His Steps; and other such examples of popular psychology and salesmanship in the literature of the mission field.

  1. Richard Lloyd Anderson’s professional work has continued to focus on several aspects of missionary work. His scholarship in LDS Church history has been devoted to (1) studying the lives of the witnesses of the Book of Mormon, (2) studying and defending the life and work of Joseph Smith, and (3) researching the life of the greatest early Christian missionary, Paul. Thus he is, in the classic sense, a Christian apologist—one who seeks to explain and defend the Christian message and its history. Richard’s early training as a lawyer was an ideal background for an “advocate” of a cause.
  2. From 1830 to 1996, over 83,000,000 copies of the Book of Mormon were printed, with about 56,000,000 from 1982. See the chart in the Ensign (March 1998): 75.
  3. Paul VanDenBerghe, “Keeping Converts,” Ensign (October 1998): 54–57, discusses the newest program.
  4. A good overview is in Jay E. Jensen, “Proselyting Techniques of Mormon Missionaries” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974), 56–73. See also Arlene Crawley, “The Beginnings of the Family to Family Program,” in Converted to Christ through the Book of Mormon, ed. Eugene England (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1989), 10–19.
  5. See Rodney Stark, “The Rise of a New World Faith,” Review of Religious Research 26 (September 1984): 18–27. Stark’s most recent study of early Christianity uses the Mormon church as a modern parallel; see Stark, The Rise of Christianity: A Sociologist Reconsiders History (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996). See also Stark, “Modernization and Mormon Growth: The Secularization Thesis Revisited,” in Contemporary Mormonism: Social Science Perspectives, ed. Marie Cornwall, Tim B. Heaton, and Lawrence A. Young (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994), 13–23; Stark, “So Far, So Good: A Brief Assessment of Mormon Membership Projections,” Review of Religious Research 38 (December 1996): 175–78; Stark, “The Basis of Mormon Success: A Theoretical Application,” in Latter-day Saint Social Life, Social Research on the LDS Church and Its Members, ed. James T. Duke (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1998), 29–70. In the same volume, James T. Duke provides a supportive analysis of certain aspects of Stark’s thesis: “Cultural Continuity and Tension: A Test of Stark’s Theory of Church Growth,” 71–103. Stark’s most recent reflections are in his Mormon History Association Obert C. Tanner Lecture: “Extracting Social Scientific Models from Mormon History,” Journal of Mormon History 25/1 (1999): 174–94.
  6. We ignore here an important area of contemporary missiology: the use of electronic media. The LDS Church owns a number of radio, shortwave, and television stations, and has actively used satellite technology in its communication efforts. The appearance of a satellite receiving dish at most Mormon stake centers suggests the tremendous communications infrastructure now in place throughout the world. For a useful guide to the growing literature on the general uses by Christian churches of the electronic media, see the essays by Leonard I. Sweet and Elmer J. O’Brien in Communications and Change in American Religious History, ed. Leonard I. Sweet (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1993). A positive assessment for its use in Mormonism is James B. Allen, “Testimony and Technology: A Phase of the Modernization of Mormonism since 1950,” in After 150 Years, The Latter-days in Sesquicentennial Perspective, ed. Thomas G. Alexander and Jessie Embry (Provo, Utah: Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, BYU, 1983), 171–207.
  7. Latter-day Saints will, no doubt, feel uncomfortable with the growing relativism of much of the current Christian mission theology, which can argue that both Buddhism and Christianity are appropriate avenues to “salvation.” Such broad ecumenicalism ultimately denies an exclusive truth claim of any religion. Such a position could never be part of the Mormon message.
  8. A book on the topic, Mormon Passage: A Missionary Chronicle, by Gary Shepherd and Gordon Shepherd was published by the University of Illinois Press in 1998. In addition to a historical overview, it includes a focus on their own missions in different areas in Mexico. For a short comparative study of LDS and RLDS missionary systems in 1959, see Ivan Vallier, “Church, Society, and Labor Resources: An Interdenominational Comparison (Mormons and Reorganites),” American Journal of Sociology 68 (July 1962): 21–33.
  9. An important biographical study of the Provo, Utah, bishop who issued the first calls to single women missionaries (Jennie Brimhall and Inez Knight) is Clinton D. Christensen, “Joseph Brigham Keeler: The Master’s Builder” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1997). As this study shows, Keeler also pioneered more systematic religious training for the young men in the church in the form of the first Aaronic Priesthood lesson manuals, one goal of which was to produce better trained missionaries.
  10. In the priesthood session of October 1997 General Conference, President Gordon B. Hinckley seemed to call for a decrease in the number of sister missionaries, saying that women and their bishops should not feel they had a responsibility to go but that there was still a great need for their service if they felt it was an appropriate thing to do. Some local leaders have said that speech was not a change of policy toward sister missionaries but a response to some bishops who made women feel guilty if they did not want to go on a mission. President Hinckley did remind the young men of their priesthood responsibility in the area of missionary work.
  11. The most complete guide is Chad J. Flake, A Mormon Bibliography, 1830–1930: Books, Pamphlets, Periodicals, and Broadsides Relating to the First Century of Mormonism (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1978). A ten-year supplement appeared in 1989: Chad J. Flake and Larry W. Draper, A Mormon Bibliography, 1830– 1930: Ten Year Supplement (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1989). A title index to both volumes was issued by the same press in 1992. See also L. R. Jacobs, Mormon Non-English Scriptures, Hymnals, and Periodicals, 1830–1986: A Descriptive Bibliography (Ithaca, N.Y.: by the author, 1986); and Joseph Sudweeks, Discontinued L.D.S. Periodicals (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1955).
  12. See also T. Edgar Lyon Jr., “In Praise of Babylon: Church Leadership at the 1851 Great Exhibition in London,” Journal of Mormon History 14 (1988): 49–61; Gerald J. Peterson, “History of Mormon Exhibits in World Expositions” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1974); Melvin K. Johnson, “A History of the Temple Square Mission of the Church . . . to 1970” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1971); Martha S. Bradley and Lowell M. Durham Jr., “John Hafen and the Art Missionaries,” Journal of Mormon History 12 (1985): 91–105; Charles W. Whitman, “The History of the Hill Cumorah Pageant, 1937–1964 . . .” (Ph.D. diss., University of Minnesota, 1967); “The Ends of the Earth: A Conversation about the New International Mission,” Ensign (April 1974): 7–10; Jessie L. Embry, “Missionaries for the Dead: The Story of the Genealogical Missionaries of the Nineteenth Century,” BYU Studies 17/3 (1977): 355–60. We ignore here the economic and colonization missions of the nineteenth century, which were just as significant and required the same commitment as the proselyting missions. A good introduction is Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1958). A survey of the material on colonization is Wayne L. Wahlquist, “A Review of Mormon Settlement Literature,” Utah Historical Quarterly 45 (Winter 1977): 4–21. Also generally ignored in this essay is the important Latter-day Saint concern with missionary work for those who have died. Such work involving genealogical research and vicarious ordinance work in temples also demands a significant time commitment by members. A useful introduction, with an extensive bibliography by Daniel B. McKinlay, is James B. Allen, Jessie L. Embry, and Kahlile B. Mehr, Hearts Turned to the Fathers: A History of the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1894–1994 (Provo, Utah: BYU Studies Monograph Series, 1995).

An interesting study of the interfaith marriages of Mormons and their resulting high conversion rate is Brent A. Barlow, “Mormon Endogamy and Exogamy in Northern Florida” (Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, Tallahassee, 1972), part of which is summarized in “Notes on Mormon Interfaith Marriages,” Family Coordinator 26 (April 1977): 143–50.

  1. The topic of Mormon missionary martyrdom has not been comprehensively treated, but specific studies have begun to appear. The murder of Elders John Gibbs and William Berry in Tennessee in August 1884 is well documented in Mormon missionary literature. The Gibbs collection at BYU contains the diaries and papers of John Gibbs, and it includes the threatening note the missionaries received warning them to get out of the area “or else.” BYU Archives also has the papers of Willis E. Robison, the first missionary to arrive at the scene after the attack. For other accounts see Horatio [B. H. Roberts], “The Tennessee Massacre,” Contributor 6 (October 1884): 16–23; Roberts, “A Mormon Elder in the Southern States,” Contributor 7 (June 1885): 326–31; (July 1885): 389–92; Willis E. Robison, “An Unpublished Letter on the Tennessee Massacre,” Improvement Era (November 1898): 1–14; John Nicholson, The Tennessee Massacre and Its Causes . . . (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884); and William W. Hatch, “There Is No Law: A History of Mormon Civil Relations in the Southern States, 1865–1905 (New York: Vantage, 1968). On the murder of Joseph Standing, another Mormon missionary, in Georgia in 1879, see John Nicholson, The Martyrdom of Joseph Standing (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1886); Ken Driggs, “‘There Is No Law in Georgia for Mormons’: The Joseph Standing Murder Case of 1879,” Georgia Historical Review 73 (Winter 1989): 745–72; and David S. Hoopes and Roy Hoopes, The Making of a Mormon Apostle: The Story of Rudger Clawson (Lanham, Md.: Madison Books, 1990).

For more recent tragedies, see David C. Knowlton, “Missionaries and Terror: The Assassination of Two Elders in Bolivia,” Sunstone 13 (August 1989): 10–15; and Ken Driggs, “The 1974 Texas Missionary Murders: Who Was Bob Kleasen and What Motivated Him?” Sunstone 20 (December 1997): 27–34. More recently, missionaries have been slain or seriously injured in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Ufa, Russia. These assaults were not directed at the missionaries’ religious views but were random attacks or robberies.

  1. More detail on the earliest history of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles is in Ronald K. Esplin, “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830– 1841” (Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1981).
  2. Brigham Young to Joseph A. Young, 3 February 1855, in Letters of Brigham Young to His Sons, ed. and comp. Dean C. Jessee (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book for the Historical Department, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1974), 13. Richard L. Bushman, speaking at his son’s missionary farewell in 1985, likened the missionary experience to the vision quest of Native Americans. See Susan Buhler Tabler, Mormon Lives: A Year in the Elkton Ward (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 236–37.
  3. A sampling includes Roy W. Doxey, Missionary Guide (Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1949); Alvin R. Dyer, The Challenge (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1962); Robert W. Daynes, Missionary Helps (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967); John D. Whetten, Making the Most of Your Mission (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981); Joseph L. Bishop, The Making of a Missionary (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982); Barbara Jacobs, Missions for Marrieds (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983); Joe J. Christensen, Making Your Home a Missionary Training Center (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985); Bruce L. Olsen, The Successful Returned Missionary (Orem, Utah: Belmont, 1988); Marc Garrison, Teaching Children the Love of Missionary Work (Orem, Utah: Aspen Books, 1990); Elaine Cannon, Called to Serve Him: Preparing Missionaries to Bring People to Christ (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991); Ed J. Pinegar, Preparing for Your Mission (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1992); Randy L. Bott, Serve with Honor: Helps for Missionaries (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1995); John Bytheway, What I Wish I’d Known before My Mission (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996); and Carlos E. Asay, The Seven M’s of Missionary Service (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996).
  4. What became the largest fraternity for LDS returned missionaries, Delta Phi Kappa, began in 1869 at the University of Deseret (now the University of Utah) as a debating society. It lasted until about 1904 and was revived in 1920 by John A. Widtsoe, president of the University of Utah, as a fraternity for returned missionaries. First named the Friars Club, it merged with the dormant Delta Phi society in 1931. It is estimated that its membership numbered about 10,000 between 1920 and 1978, at which time it was absorbed into the more service-oriented Sigma Gamma Chi fraternity. A useful history is William G. Hartley, Delta Phi Kappa Fraternity, Debating Society, Friars Club of the 1920s, National Fraternity for LDS Returned Missionaries (Salt Lake City: Delta Phi Kappa Holding Corporation, 1990). A similar organization for returned LDS women missionaries was the Yesharah Society, the papers (minute books, 1929–60; account books, 1935–51) of which are housed in the BYU Archives.
  5. An interesting call for new ways to treat conversion is Roger Finke, “The Illusion of Shifting Demand: Supply-Side Interpretations of Religious History,” in Retelling U.S. Religious History, ed. Thomas A. Tweed (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 108–24, 256–60. See also Armand Mauss, The Angel and the Beehive: The Mormon Struggle with Assimilation (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994); and Mauss, “Identity and Boundary Maintenance: International Prospects for Mormonism at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century,” in Mormon Identities in Transition, ed. Douglas J. Davies (London: Cassell, 1996), 1–19. See also Eric A. Eliason, “Toward the Folkloristic Study of Latter-day Saint Conversion Narratives,” BYU Studies 38/1 (1999): 137–50.
  6. See Doctrine and Covenants 88; John Z. Patrick, “The School of the Prophets: Its Development and Influence in Utah Territory” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1970); and Milton V. Backman Jr., The Heavens Resound, A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830–1838 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1983), 264–75. For the twentieth century, see John L. Fowles, “A Study concerning the Mission of the Week-Day Religious Educational Program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1890–1990: A Response to Secular Education” (Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, Columbia, 1990). For an example of internally produced material for instructors in the Church Education System, see Missionary Approach to the Gospel, Teacher Outline for Institute Instructors (Provo, Utah: Church Education System, 1969).
  7. In this light the church career of William G. Bangerter needs fuller study. His pivotal leadership and work in Brazil, from his early mission there when the missionaries only focused on the white European populations, to his mission president years (1958–63) when he led a “New Era” in Brazilian Mormon missionary work—including better prepared missionaries, the notion of multi-Zions, less emphasis on the lineage issues when teaching investigators, and the increased use of local leaders in decision making—all foreshadowed major shifts in Mormon missionary work. Given Spencer W. Kimball’s supervisory role in South America after 1959, it is interesting to note that most of the key changes during Kimball’s years as church president had their origins in earlier programs in Brazil. The 1978 revelation giving men of all races access to the priesthood came just five months before the dedication of the Sao Paulo Brazil Temple.

The issues of race and linage are an important part of Mormon missiology. Much of this history focused on the literal conceptions of “Israel” and suggested, particularly in the first one hundred years, a missionary quest to gather modern descendants of these ancient lineages. Much work has yet to be done on this important topic. For one analysis of part of the story, see Armand Mauss, “In Search of Ephraim: Traditional Mormon Conceptions of Lineage and Race,” Journal of Mormon History 26/1 (1999): 131– 73; for another, see Thomas W. Murphy, ” From Racist Stereotype to Ethnic Identity: Instrumental Uses of Mormon Racial Doctrine,” Ethnohistory 46 (Summer 1999): 451–80.