Cover image for Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Encyclopedia of Mormonism
Ludlow, Daniel H.
Publication Information:
New York : Macmillan, [1992]

Physical Description:
5 volumes : illustrations ; 29 cm
v. 5. The book of Mormon, The doctrine and covenants, The pearl of great price.
Added Author:






Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BX8605.5 .E62 1992 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
BX8605.5 .E62 1992 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
BX8605.5 .E62 1992 V.4 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference
BX8605.5 .E62 1992 V.3 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



A reference work on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints. It aims to help readers understand the dynamic growth and vitality of the LDS community. Entries include complete biographies of the prophets and church leaders, as well as articles on practice, scripture and church organization.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This, the first encyclopedia of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is typical of denominational encyclopedias. It presents the research efforts of committed believers on a host of topics relating to the founding and growth of the church, its history, its doctrine, and its role in the modern world. The Mormon Church represents one of the most distinctive and successful religions organized in the U.S. The establishment of the church dates from the 1820s when its founder, Joseph Smith, received his first visions near Palmyra, New York. Mormon pioneers began moving west from Illinois in 1846, entering the valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1847. Utah remains the center of the church, which today numbers eight million adherents with members on every continent. Edited at church-owned Brigham Young University, the encyclopedia includes more than 1,500 articles written by 730 specialists. Six lengthy articles describe the history of the church, 250 articles explain its doctrines, and over 150 articles describe aspects of the church from the building of temples to biographies of prominent church leaders. Finally, about 100 articles describe the church's relationship to the modern world in terms of family and society. While the encyclopedia does not represent the official position of the church, it does represent the opinions of committed members. The articles are generally well written and present the latest Mormon scholarship on most topics. This is particularly true in such problematic articles as Book of Mormon Commentaries. According to the Book of Mormon, the Jaredites, the Nephites, and the Melekites migrated to the Western hemisphere from the Near East in antiquity. The author of this article is careful to point out that this account has been challenged and that no concrete evidence exists substantiating the links with the Near East. There is excellent coverage of the church's position on AIDS, alcohol, capital punishment, coffee, dancing, divorce, marriage, sex education, and a host of social issues. The article Blacks notes that the church's relationship with blacks can be divided into pre- and post-1978 eras. Before that date, while accepted as members, blacks were generally denied entry into the lay priesthood of the church, and little missionary work was done in predominantly black areas of the world. Following widespread criticism, in 1978 the church president announced the revelation that all worthy males could hold the priesthood. Anti-Mormon Publications treats its topic at length. The most famous of these is Fawn Brodie's No Man Knows My History, a 1945 biography of Joseph Smith. Regrettably, all the items listed for further reading are from church sources. To aid the researcher, the set includes an alphabetical list of articles and a synoptic outline that groups all the articles under six broad categories. Numerous internal cross-references are provided. Hundreds of black-and-white illustrations complement the text. Contributors with their affiliations are listed in the first volume. Twelve appendixes are located in volume 4. They include a biographical register of church officers, a chronology of church history, a selection of LDS hymns with music, and church membership figures as of 1991, organized geographically. There is also a glossary of terms and a detailed index in this volume. Volume 5 reproduces the standard works of the church: The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine and the Covenants (revelations given through Joseph Smith), and The Pearl of Great Price (selected writings of Joseph Smith). Overall, with the caveat that it contains principally the writings of committed believers of a particular faith, this is an excellent reference encyclopedia. It provides well-organized and clearly expressed information on one of our fastest-growing indigenous religions. (Reviewed May 1, 1992)

Choice Review

This addition to Macmillan's admirable subject encyclopedias does not attempt an "objective" study of the historicity or morality of the Mormons, officially the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Instead, it provides the Mormons' interpretation of themselves. The editorial board is composed entirely of Mormons and the great majority of the 738 contributors are Mormons. Their 1,100 articles tell of a religion of continuing revelation, including appearances of Jesus Christ to several Mormon leaders. The encyclopedia tells the history of Mormonism, which is both significant and problematic. About 1,000 years of pre-Columbian history are revealed in the Book of Mormon, and the encyclopedia treats this as history without offering external evidence. Plural marriage became part of the revelation in 1843, but after many Mormons were jailed for polygamy, an 1898 revelation called for an end to this practice. The latest controversial revelation came in 1978, several years after the heaviest attack on Mormons because of racism. President Spencer W. Kimball revealed that henceforth all worthy males "without regard for race or color" could be admitted to the priesthood, a privilege formerly accorded to almost all white male adult members. All this, and much more, is presented from a Mormon perspective. The controversies are ignored or treated as minor issues, except in the articles titled "Anti-Mormon Publications," "Blacks," and "History of the Church." This reviewer found two significant errors of omission. The encyclopedia fails to report that in the Book of Mormon the evil Laman and his descendants were cursed by God with a dark skin, even though Laman is a central character, and this curse is mentioned several times. The other omission is that the index has about 300 subtopics under "Smith, Joseph," the founder, but none refers to his running for president of the US in 1844, though this fact is mentioned in at least two articles. Like other Macmillan encyclopedias, this one is outstanding in providing multiple means of access, with cross-references from articles, an alphabetical list of articles, and a detailed index. Especially noteworthy is a 43-page listing of the articles in outline form, arranged under the following broad topics, each with subtopics: history, scriptures, doctrines, organization and government, and procedures and practices. Volume 4 has 13 appendixes, including a chronology of Mormon history, selected hymns, dedicatory prayers, membership figures, and a glossary. Volume 5 gives the full text of the Book of Mormon and two other Mormon works which are all regarded as sacred scripture, though the preface closes with the following caution: "In no sense does the Encyclopedia have the force and authority of scripture." This work is appropriate for theological libraries and others wanting a wide ranging and readable treatment of Mormonism by Mormons. More objective, though not nearly as full, treatments are available in the 3-volume Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience (CH, May'88) and the 16-volume Encyclopedia of Religion (CH, Jun'88), also from Macmillan.-J. R. Kennedy Jr., Earlham College