Leonard J. Arrington was the foremost LDS historian of the twentieth century. He authored hundreds of articles and books, including the path-breaking Great Basin Kingdom and Brigham Young: American Moses. During the 1970s, he served as the first academically trained official historian of the LDS Church and is widely recognized as the father of the New Mormon History. At the time of his death in 1999, he had completed his final work, a celebration of faith and intellect in the lives of Latter-day Saints, here published for the first time.
“These essays are written in the historical tradition of exemplary lives. I try to give a vision of greatness in both intellect and faith among selected LDS leaders. The men and women described are human beings, with observable imperfections, but they exhibited, I believe, intellectual vitality, spiritual power, and moral courage, and appealed to ‘the better angels of our nature.’ God’s spirit shone through their writings and actions.”
Leonard J. Arrington served as the first-ever academically credentialed Church Historian of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1972 to 1982. Among his many books are Great Basin Kingdom: An Economic History of the Latter-day Saints (1958) and Brigham Young: American Moses (1985), which won the Evans Biography Award. He is co-author with Davis Bitton of The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (1979). Arrington is the recipient of awards from the Mormon History Association and the Western History Association and taught at North Carolina State University, University of California at Los Angeles, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University. During his tenure at BYU, he was Lemuel Redd Professor of Western History and also director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History.