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“Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days,” Ensign, February

In , President Brigham Young (–77) urged Church historians to change their approach. “Write in a narrative style,” he advised, and “write only about one tenth part as much.”1

The story on the next pages follows that counsel. I am pleased to introduce a new four-volume series called Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. Chapter 1 is included in this issue, and subsequent chapters will be published in this magazine over the next several months. The first book will be available later this year, and the other volumes will follow.

Saints: The Standard of Truth

Illustration by Greg Newbold

Saints was prepared in response to the Lord’s commandment to “keep the church record and history continually” (D&C ). Unlike past histories of the Church, it is a narrative history written in an engaging style that will be accessible to both youth and adults.

Saints, however, is not historical fiction. It is a true story based on the records of people from the past. Every detail and every line of dialogue is supported by historical sources. Notes at the end of each chapter refer to the records and additional sources. Those who want to read the actual records, better understand related topics, and discover even more stories will find links in the back of the books and online at

The Rich Tapestry of the Restoration

These books are not scripture, but like the scriptures, they include both divine truth and stories of imperfect people trying to become Saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (see Mosiah ). Taken together, the four volumes tell the story of the Lord’s Church striving to fulfill its mandate to perfect the Saints (see Ephesians –13).

Saints has a very different format, style, and intended audience than the two multivolume histories the Church has published in the past. The first history was begun by Joseph Smith in the s and published beginning in 2 The second was published in by assistant Church historian B. H. Roberts.3 The global reach of the restored gospel since then and the Lord’s command to keep the history continually “for the good of the church, and for the rising generations” (D&C ) signal that it is time to include more Latter-day Saints in the story.

Saints tells the stories of ordinary men and women from the earliest days of the Church until now. It also provides new detail and insight into better-known people and events from Church history. Each story will help you understand and appreciate the Saints who came before you to make the Church what it is today. Like you, they sacrificed to establish Zion, and they had challenges and successes as they sought to understand and implement divine direction. Woven together, their stories—and yours—create the rich tapestry of the Restoration.

Our Sacred Past

The Book of Mormon record keepers kept both large and small plates. In the large plates they recorded political and military history. They used the small plates for “the things of God” that were “most precious,” including “preaching which was sacred, or revelation which was great, or prophesying” (1 Nephi ; Jacob , 4). The small plates were recorded “for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people” (Jacob ). Saints aims to be a “small plates” history, one that focuses on our sacred past. It thus includes only a small sample of all the stories that could be told to show how the Lord works in the lives of the Latter-day Saints.

Saints is not just about imperfect people in the past who became better with the help of the Lord. It is also for imperfect people now who want to always remember Him. It will help you remember how merciful the Savior has been to His people, how He has made weak people strong, and how Saints around the globe have joined together to further God’s work.


  1. Brigham Young, in Wilford Woodruff, Journal, Oct. 20, , Church History Library, Salt Lake City.

  2. See History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts (–12 [vols. 1–6], [vol. 7]).

  3. See B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I, 6 vols. ().


A: Yes. The First Presidency has said, “We encourage all to read the book and make use of the supplementary material available online.” They continued, “We pray that this volume will enlarge your understanding of the past, strengthen your faith, and help you make and keep the covenants that lead to exaltation and eternal life.” Read the entire statement of the First Presidency.

A: There is no single author of Saints. The books are written under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. A list of contributors to the first volume can be found here. Other contributors are acknowledged here. A list of contributors to the second volume can be found here. Other contributors are acknowledged here

A: Saints, Volume 2 was released in February Volumes 3 and 4 will follow at roughly the pace of one volume every 2 years.

A: No. Saints is written in a narrative style, but all the people, places, and events described are real and supported by historical sources. This introduction to the books explains more.

A: More than one hundred Church History Topics are found in the endnotes in Saints. These short articles explore in more detail the topics in Saints and provide links to additional resources where you can continue your study. To learn more about Church History Topics, see the Introduction to Church History Topics.

A: Each of Joseph Smith’s firsthand accounts is available in the Gospel Library.

A: Saints does not make claims about Book of Mormon geography. For further information on this question, see here.

A: Yes. Saints is available in 14 languages. Check out our home page in each language:

A: Yes. A recording of the broadcast is available in 14 languages.

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Saints (book)

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days is a planned four-volume history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), published beginning in

The first volume of Saints was initially published in fourteen languages and made available as a free digital book.[1] It was written by a team of six writers, edited by another team, and reviewed by several historians for accuracy.[2]

Saints is the first official history published by the LDS Church since general authorityB. H. Roberts put together his six-volume chronicle, Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[2]Steven E. Snow is credited with the production and introduction of this new, narrative history of the LDS Church.[3] The first volume was published in September and sold a reported , copies; the second volume followed in February [4] The first volume tackles sensitive topics, "A nearly page book that covers early church history from – doesn't dwell on polygamy, but doesn't entirely skip over it either."[5]

Summary of volumes[edit]

  • Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 1: The Standard of Truth: – (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, September 4, )
Beginning with the childhood of Joseph Smith and ending with the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois.[1]
  • Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days: Volume 2: No Unhallowed Hand: – (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, February 12, )
Beginning with the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, and tracing the history of the church through to the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple in [6]

Two more volumes are planned for release:

  • Volume 3 will cover the history of the church starting after the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple and ending with the dedication of the temple in Bern, Switzerland, in
  • Volume 4 will cover the church's history from to the present day.


  1. ^ ab"Fast facts about ‘Saints’ — the new history of the LDS Church", The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 September Retrieved on 26 March
  2. ^ abStack, Peggy Fletcher and Pierce, Scott D. "Mormon church publishes its first official history in nearly a century, and the result is an easy-to-read volume that tackles some hard facts, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 September Retrieved on 26 March
  3. ^"General authority talks about his tenure as church historian and tricky topics like Brigham Young on race, Joseph Smith’s polygamy, the LGBTQ policy", The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 August Retrieved on 26 March
  4. ^"The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ Continues in Volume Two of ‘Saints’", Church News, 20 June Retrieved on 26 March
  5. ^McCombs, Brady. "New LDS Church narrative history book includes polygamous roots", Associated Press, 4 September Retrieved on 26 March
  6. ^Walker, Sydney (February 11, ). "'Saints, Volume 2' features women's perspectives, native voices, context on controversial topics". Church News.

External links[edit]


LDS Church releases second volume of &#;Saints,&#; a history of the church

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the second volume of historical church accounts — "Saints: No Unhallowed Hand" — Wednesday, Feb. 12,  

Courtesy Intellectual Properties LLC

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"Saints: No Unhallowed Hand," the second volume in a four-volume set on the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was released Wednesday, Feb. 12,

Courtesy Intellectual Properties LLC


Since the first recordings of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned by the Prophet Joseph Smith in , and the second history published by B.H. Roberts in , much has changed in the church.

When the history was published, the church still had less than one million members. It now has over 16 million members worldwide.

“In , 90% of the church was in the U.S. and Canada,” said Jed Woodworth, managing historian of “Saints,” the church’s latest published historical account. “In when the (“Saints”) project was approved, there were more Spanish speakers than English. We needed to account for that change.”

On Wednesday, the church released the second volume of the four-volume history of the church, “Saints: No Unhallowed Hand.”

The second volume of “Saints” is now available for purchase from the church’s online store and at retail outlets. A digital version is available for free in the Church History section of the Gospel Library app.

With more than , print copies sold and more than one million digital views of Volume 1 of “Saints: The Restoration,” the series is considered a big success by church leaders and historians. Volume 1 takes the church from the time Joseph Smith was 10 years-old to his martyrdom and the members preparing to leave for the West. Volume 2, “No Unhallowed Hand,” picks up where Volume 1 left off and is set from to The second volume begins with thousands of Latter-day Saints fleeing mobs in Nauvoo, their gathering place for the previous seven years, according to the church.

“We wanted to write it in a way that is accessible to a variety of people,” said Scott Hales, general editor, lead writer and literary editor. “People from 10 to can read it; that is what sets it apart from earlier histories.”

Hales added that one had to read almost on a scholarly level to understand it earlier published histories of the church.

Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who chairs the Church History Department, said he had an emotional experience while reading Volume 2 during a long airline flight.

“I was in tears four different times reading a hundred pages,” Cook said in a prepared statement. “I don’t (usually) read and get in tears, but I was in tears because I just feel so deeply about our faith and our church history. And what the members … (and) leaders of the church have done is just incredible.”

Volume 2 follows Brigham Young and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as they journeyed west across the plains, trusting that God had prepared a home for them beyond the peaks of the Rocky Mountains.

Volume 2 explores other facts and events from the mid- to lates time period, including pioneers’ accounts of trials and miracles, and the settling of Salt Lake City and the surrounding communities. It also gives insight into the first Latter-day Saints in the Pacific, complicated relationships with Native American tribes and the U.S. government, the practice of plural marriage, and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

The work also discusses the founding of the Young Women and Primary organizations, white women in Utah Territory winning the right to vote, the completion of the St. George Utah Temple, Church President Wilford Woodruff’s revelation in to initiate the end of plural marriage and much more.

“People connect with stories,” Hales said at the release of the book. “Stories have a way of teaching people but also entertaining them at the same time. One of the purposes of ‘Saints’ is to teach the saints their history. If you want to engage a reader, especially someone who doesn’t necessarily like history or is put off by academic writing, then narrative is the way to go — because everybody loves a good story.”

Angela Hallstrom, one of the Volume 2 writers, said it was important to stay true to the source materials. A great amount of time and research was spent going through historical records, which made it important to create a strong and compelling narrative.

“I had been used to writing in such a way that I could create all the details that I wanted in order to be able to draw the reader in,” Hallstrom said. “But as a writer for Saints, it’s extremely important that you stay very, very close to the source material. We can’t use any details that are not in the historical record and well-sourced.”

The final volumes of Saints will be published in the next few years. Volume 3 will focus on the church’s global growth and conclude with the dedication of the temple in Bern, Switzerland, in Volume 4 will bring readers to the recent past, relaying the ongoing challenges of membership growth and having temples located all over the world, according to the LDS Church History Department.

Volumes 1 and 2 are available digitally in 14 languages: Cebuano, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Samoan, Spanish, Tagalog and Tongan. Print editions for the second volume of “Saints ” in languages other than English will be available within a few months.


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Volume 3 saints lds

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days

Read the inspiring true story of the Restoration in this new, four-volume narrative history.
Read Now

Read the inspiring true story of the women and men who dedicated their lives to establishing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the globe. Volume 1, The Standard of Truth, – and Volume 2, No Unhallowed Hand, – are available now.

Read Saints Now

Volume 2 is now available in the Gospel Library.

Read Now

Featured Topics and Videos

Church History Topics features over topics and videos exploring the people, places, events, and subjects in Saints.

How to Get a Copy

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days is available in a variety of formats. Choose from the options in the list below, and experience the fast-paced narrative that will captivate readers and increase faith in homes and families.

Order a Copy

Saints in the Classroom

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days is a key resource to add perspective and context as you teach the truths of the Restoration and sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Connect with Saints

Find us on social media, listen to our podcast, and check out our FAQ.

Let The Redeemed Of The Lord Praise Him

History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Volume 3 by Smith et al.

AuthorSmith, Joseph, Jr., CreatorChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day SaintsEditorRoberts, B. H. (Brigham Henry), Title History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Volume 3 LanguageEnglishLoC ClassBX: Philosophy, Psychology, Religion: Christianity: Churches, Church movementsSubject Smith, Joseph, Jr., Subject Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints CategoryTextEBook-No.Release DateDec 19, Copyright StatusPublic domain in the USA.Downloads45 downloads in the last 30 days.Project Gutenberg books are always free!

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