Willard Richards as Historian

From the very organization of the Church on 6 April 1830, the writing of the history of the Church was considered a “duty imperative.” Although Joseph Smith was the prime motivator behind most of the Church’s early record keeping and history writing, he lacked the necessary literary skills for much of the work and therefore relied heavily upon his clerks and the Church historians to accomplish the day-to-day work. But with variations in title and frequent changes in personnel, the offices of Church recorder and Church historian functioned erratically until 1843, when both callings were consolidated and assigned to Willard Richards. Richards, who brought new stability, talent, and impetus to these offices, was singularly qualified among all the early elders of the Church.

Purchase this Issue