U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SOLICITOR
UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE
AMBASSADOR TO MEXICO
J. Reuben Clark was all of these prior to his call to the LDS First Presidency. As a counselor to three church presidents—Heber J. Grant, George Albert Smith, and David O. McKay—he served longer than any other member of this high church council.
Already controversial before he assumed his church duties, his blunt, independent style created even more ripples at LDS headquarters. Still, his impact, intellectually and administratively, was immense. His most important legacy may well be the professionalization of church government; where apostles previously met and decided issues based mostly on their collective years of experience, Clark drew from his secular training to introduce outside research, position papers, and extended discussion, all of which, for better or for worse, added to the administrative bureaucracy.
In this impressive study of the “elder statesman,” as reporters labeled Clark, D. Michael Quinn considers what it meant for a Latter-day Saint to attain such national and international stature, although Quinn never loses sight of Reuben’s very human qualities either. This fresh, intimate approach presents Clark on his own terms and draws readers into Clark’s world in the context of the larger society of his time and place.
D. Michael Quinn (Ph.D., history, Yale University) is an Affiliated Scholar at the University of Southern California’s Center for Feminist Research. He has been a full-time researcher and writer, a professor of history at Brigham Young University, and a visiting professor of history (2002-03) at Yale. His accolades include Best Book awards from the American Historical Association and the Mormon History Association.
His major works include Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, Elder Statesman: A Biography of J. Reuben Clark, the two-volume Mormon Hierarchy series (Origins of Power, Extensions of Power), and Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example. He is the editor of The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past and a contributor to American National Biography; Encyclopedia of New York State; Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education; the New Encyclopedia of the American West; Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past; and others.
He has also received honors—fellowships and grants—from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Henry E. Huntington Library, Indiana-Purdue University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In addition, he has been a keynote speaker at the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture, the Chicago Humanities Symposium, Claremont Graduate University, University of Paris (France), Washington State Historical Society, and elsewhere, and a consultant for television documentaries carried by the Arts and Entertainment Channel, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the History Channel, and the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).