Steven C. Harper is a covenant son of God who strives to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. His primary work is to teach the restored gospel of Jesus Christ in ways that help students develop resilient faith in, and become lifelong disciples of, the Savior.
He is a professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University, editor in chief of BYU Studies, and executive editor of The Wilford Woodruff Papers. From 2012 to 2018 he was the managing historian and a general editor of Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days. From 2002-2012 he was a volume editor of The Joseph Smith Papers.
Professor Harper is married to Jennifer Sebring. They graduated from BYU in 1994, she in art education and he in history. He earned an MA in American history from Utah State University, where his thesis analyzed determinants of conversion to the restored gospel in the 1830s. He published chapters of his thesis as articles in the Journal of Mormon History and Religion and American Culture that were awarded by the Mormon History Association with the T. Edgar Lyon Award for best article of the year and the Juanita Brooks Award for best graduate student paper. He earned a PhD in early American history from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where he was Lawrence Henry Gipson Dissertation Fellow.
Professor Harper joined the religion and history faculties at BYU Hawaii in 2000 and the Church history and doctrine faculty at BYU in 2002, when he also became a volume editor for The Joseph Smith Papers. He taught at the Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies in 2011-2012. He has been awarded several research fellowships including a Gest Fellowship by Haverford College Quaker Collection, a Mayers Fellowship by the Huntington Library, and the Eliza R. Snow Fellowship by Brigham Young University.
Professor Harper's books include Promised Land (Lehigh University Press, 2006), Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants (Deseret, 2008, winner of the Harvey B. and Susan Easton Black Award), Joseph Smith's First Vision (Deseret, 2012), First Vision: Memory and Mormon Origins (Oxford University Press, 2019, winner of the Harvey B. and Susan Easton Black Award and the Smith-Petit Best Book Award), and Let's Talk About the Law of Consecration (Deseret, 2022). He has published dozens of articles and is currently working on a study of The Doctrine and Covenants to be published in the Guides to Sacred Texts series by Oxford University Press.