In September 1969, the leaders of the Reorganized LDS Church published Volume Five of their Church history. The first four volumes included the history through the year 1890 and were authored principally by Heman C. Smith, who served as both Church Historian and one of the Twelve Apostles. Volume Five is a history of the Church from 1891 through 1902, compiled by F. Henry Edwards, long-time counselor in the First Presidency. Married to Alice Smith, great granddaughter of the Prophet Joseph Smith, he is highly revered by the membership of the Reorganized Church. He was called to be an Apostle in 1922, and in 1946, as a counselor to Israel A. Smith, third president of the RLDS Church. Then in April 1966, his function was changed to that of “writing and teaching.” Relieved from his duties in the First Presidency, it was possible for him to have time to compile such work as Volume Five.
Close family ties and years of devoted Church service have earned Mr. Edwards the confidence of the Reorganized Church officials as well as complete access to Church documents and records and minutes of the meetings of the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve Apostles. He has drawn heavily from The Saints’ Herald, official organ of the Church, and is frank to admit in his preface that this volume is not an impartial record, as the material in the book was selected from a mass of material available, and that selected has been influenced by the author’s “interests and prejudices.” This is a commendable recognition and should apply to all historians, although many may not be as frank in admitting it.