In fact, the office of Church Historian was first constituted on the day the church was organized in 1830 as one of the first three positions. Since then, people have been trying to gather, collect, preserve and share the history of the church.
"In the past we sent people out. They've traveled the world, interviewed people and gathered documents, took photographs and brought it back to the Church History Department to be preserved," said Wayne Crosby, director of global support and training. "As the church grew, it just became too unwieldy to continue that same model."
Last year, it was decided that they needed to implement a decentralized model and start making church history more accessible to the world. Under the direction and approval of area authorities, options will be given to preserve area histories locally — and hopefully, in the future, digitally.
"We wondered, 'How do we fulfill the commandments of the Lord to keep a history of the church continually and do it in a way that we weren't asking the brethren for millions more dollars in head count by controlling everything from headquarters?'" Crosby said.