By all accounts, the unlikely partnership between the oldest university in the English-speaking world and an upstart American faith seems to be working. Mormon writers, particularly historians, get the academic credibility they crave and Oxford sells a lot of books.
Two years ago, Oxford University Press published Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr. and Glen M. Leonard, three LDS Church scholars . The harrowing account of the 1857 slaughter of 120 unarmed men, women and children by Mormons in southern Utah met Oxford's standards for thorough, honest research and evenhanded narratives -- and it sold thousands.
"Every university press in the country, if not the world, went in the red in 2008, but Oxford made money and it was the Mountain Meadows book that was the margin of difference," says Jack Welch, editor of Brigham Young University Studies. "So everybody was happy with that."