On Sept. 4, the Church will release a new history unlike any it has ever published before.
"Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days" presents the inspiring true story of the women and men who dedicated their lives to establishing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints across the world. Unlike past histories, which were primarily written as reference works, "Saints" is written as a narrative that is engaging to read.
“'Saints' is a different kind of history,” said Ben Godfrey, product manager for the "Saints" project. “Instead of a dry recitation of the facts, 'Saints' relates the events through the eyes of the people who lived them. The result is fast-paced and enjoyable to read.”
'Saints' is also a multilayered history that allows readers to explore topics in depth with links to explanatory topics and the primary sources behind the text. It is based on decades of rigorous research. Every event, character, and statement is supported by historical sources. There is no historical fiction here, the history’s writers and editors say.
The explanatory Church History Topics provide detail that goes beyond the narrative. Each article has links to additional reading and trustworthy supporting sources. Readers will find links to the topic articles in the footnotes in 'Saints,' or they can find them in the Church History section of the Gospel Library app or by visiting saints.lds.org.
Elder Steven E. Snow, Church Historian and Recorder and a General Authority Seventy, explained that “'Saints' was prepared in response to the Lord’s commandment to ‘keep the church record and history continually’ (Doctrine and Covenants 47:3).”
Speaking of the importance of "Saints" today, especially for younger generations of Church members, Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “The young adults of the Church are truly remarkable. They face important life decisions during a time when Satan is raging in the hearts of men and women everywhere.
“I believe we will discover that even though times have changed, the same principles that helped the early Church members overcome their trials of faith will be equally valuable for us today.”
"Saints" illuminates aspects of Church history that have been lesser known or misunderstood. It includes details and context that are important for understanding topics like violence in Missouri and Illinois, plural marriage in the early Church, the Kirtland Safety Society, and many more.
"Saints" is also a global history, presenting the experiences of women, men, and children involved in important events of the Restoration all over the world.
The first volume in the series, titled "The Standard of Truth," covers the period from Joseph Smith’s youth through the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple (1815–1846). It will be available on Sept. 4 in 14 languages digitally and in print in English. Print editions in other languages will follow before the end of the year.
Volumes two through four will chronicle the growth of the Church worldwide, from the pioneer exodus to the present day, and will be released over the next several years.