The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the release of the first church history in nearly a century, Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. Unlike past histories, this book brings the stories of past members to life with vivid storytelling that doesn't shy away from controversial church topics. Both accessible and informative, the narrative-form book gives us a look into the lives of the Saints who dedicated their hearts to establishing the Church and spreading the gospel throughout the world.
Saints "is the most well-documented and easy-to-read history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints yet to be published," reviewer Betty Ann Thomas writes. "Citing 600 sources, the Church History Department has laid out well-known and little-known facts about the Restoration. The facts that have been taught for years, and those that may have been perceived as controversial, are presented to the reader for open inspection. Saints, volume 1, provides an opportunity to learn for oneself the complete story of the beginnings of the Church and to search the sources to deepen our testimonies of the Prophet Joseph Smith."
Detailing the lives and untold stories of Latter-day Saints around the world, this exciting book reads like engaging fiction though every detail is based on fact. “While the history includes exciting rushes of revelation that affect the whole Church, some of the most interesting aspects are the individual stories of faithful members,” said Elder Dale G. Renlund.
This will be the first of four volumes, starting with Joseph Smith’s childhood in 1815 and ending with the Saints worshiping in the Nauvoo Temple before embarking on their journey toward Salt Lake in 1846. The next three volumes will cover church history up until the present day and are expected to be released within the next several years.
When asked why it’s so important for members to understand church history in detail, Elder Quentin L. Cook shared that Saints will put church history in context. He said, “Having the total picture that is transparent and tells the whole story . . . seen in context, almost everything will be faith-promoting.”
Elder Renlund added his testimony by saying, “If you take a step back from church history, you see this incredible tapestry that is faith-promoting. But if you go up and pluck a single thread out and look at it out of context, yeah it looks weird. But you put it back . . . that will build faith.”
When asked what her favorite part of being involved with the creation of the book was, Lisa Olsen Tait, review editor of Saints, said that she loved getting to know the imperfect people behind the stories we hear and learning of their real-life experiences. She also mentioned how excited she is for Latter-day Saints to read the book and learn of these faithful early Saints.
Elder Cook says, “We encourage you to read it, trusting that it will assist you in understanding God’s plan, seeing how merciful the Lord has been, enduring faithfully in good times and bad, gaining Christlike empathy for others, and keeping the covenants leading you to exaltation.”
Saints is an inspired work coming from a phenomenal team of church historians, writers, researchers, editors, and of course, the Lord’s gentle guidance. Elder Renlund mentioned how he has seen the Lord’s hand in “directing this work and getting it accessible and available.” The book is available in 14 different languages in the Gospel Library app and is also available through saints.lds.org, Deseret Book, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
The Standard of Truth is the first book in Saints, a new, four-volume narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fast-paced and meticulously researched, Saints recounts true stories of Latter-day Saints across the globe and answers the Lord's call to write history "for the good of the church, and for the rising generations" (Doctrine and Covenants 69:0).