Of the making of encyclopedias there is no end. And now Mormonism has one. Actually, we have had our Andrew Jenson encyclopedias for many years, and if Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine isn’t a one-volume encyclopedia of its subject, at least in intent, I don’t know what it is. But now we have a lavish, multivolume, semiofficial encyclopedia, intended for libraries, for the general reader, and for Latter-day Saints. If its bulk and price tag assure that it will not go in the suitcases of missionaries or be carried in little zippered leather tote bags to Sunday meetings, we can nevertheless be sure that it will be much used and will be around for a long time.
Soon I will indulge in the reviewer’s prerogative of grumbling just a little (although I hope not murmuring), but first tribute must be paid to Daniel Ludlow and his editorial board for just getting the job done. When Macmillan indicated an interest and when Brigham Young University and its board of trustees responded affirmatively, the task remained of planning the content, finding contributors, and riding herd on them to get their contributions submitted according to guidelines. And of course there then had to be completed a mammoth work of assembling illustrations, preparing maps, editing, and production. It was enough to be more than a little intimidating. Some of us winced as we thought of the many ways such a work could go sour, creating problems and failing in its purpose. Yet the simple fact is that the job was done, with thoroughness and responsibility, and on time. It must say something about the accumulated talents of Brigham Young University, reinforced by other scholars of the Church, that such an enterprise could be carried to a successful conclusion. One cannot imagine such a feat occurring in that distant year of 1948 when I entered the Y as a freshman.