“There is a purpose in life--to raise men nearer to the likeness of God. Whoever seeks that ideal, daily, finds joy; and in no other way can true joy be found.”
John A. Widtsoe

The Widtsoe Family Scholarly Archives will become the largest online repository of works by John A. Widtsoe, an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It will include his teachings about Latter-day Saints doctrine, thought and life including never-before-seen personal letters, photos and memorabilia. This repository will be a key part of a vast library known as the Latter-day Saints Scholars Archive, which is being assembled by the John A. Widtsoe Foundation.

About the Widtsoe Family Collection

The Widtsoe Family Collection will be the largest, most comprehensive online database ever assembled of Elder John A. Widtsoe’s masterworks, speeches, doctrinal writings, and memorabilia.

Forming the core of the collection will be Elder Widtsoe’s General Conference addresses and speeches, books on the Word of Wisdom, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Priesthood and Church Government, as well as his sentinel work, A Rational Theology, and years of articles from the Improvement Era and other Church publications. Widtsoe family descendants will also contribute letters, journals, photos and other personal effects that shed insight into the life and scholarship of this great man.

Elder Widtsoe’s writings are considered the foundation of modern Latter-day Saint scholarship.

Directing the Widtsoe initiative is Dr. Laura Redford, a member of the John A. Widtsoe Foundation Board of Directors, who has taught at Scripps College and UCLA.  Widtsoe’s repository will become a key part of a larger library known as the Latter-day Saints Scholars Archive and include the scholarship of other well-known LDS scholars such as B.H. Roberts, Truman Madsen, and James Talmage.


Audio Clips of John A. Widtsoe

Quotations from John A. Widtsoe

“True freedom, which is full joy, is the complete recognition of law and adaptation to it. Bondage comes from ignorance of law or opposition to it.”
― John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology

“Do not make loose promises. But, when you make a promise, keep it. Be true to yourself. Be dependable. Whatever you have to do, do it the very best you can. It is not the fuss and feathers that count; it is the hard, steady effort that makes the grade.–SP 64 (SP is Studies in Priesthood, European Mission, 1930)”
― John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government

There is a spiritual meaning of all human acts and earthly events. … It is the business of man to find the spiritual meaning of earthly things. … No man is quite so happy … as he who backs all his labors by such a spiritual interpretation and understanding of the acts of his life.”
― John A. Widtsoe

“I will seek out, in modesty and humility, but incessantly and vigorously, those who love truth.” 
― John A. Widtsoe

“It is the business of man to become acquainted with the material universe in all of its manifestations, so far as may be possible, in order to provide a foundation of knowledge on which the reasoning mind of man may increasingly build.” 
― John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology

“An acquaintanceship with the literature of the world may be won by any person who will devote half an hour a day to the careful reading of the best books. The habit of reading good books is one that gives great comfort in all the stages and among all the vicissitudes of life. ― John A. Widtsoe, Priesthood and Church Government

Accomplishments of John A. Widtsoe

Graduated with honors from Harvard University in chemistry, biological and earth sciences, and then graduated with two degrees, including a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the prestigious University of Göttingen in Germany.

President of two universities – the Agricultural College in Logan, Utah, now Utah State University, and the University of Utah.

Authored nearly 30 books on religion, agriculture, science, health, education, and the scriptures, including a biography of LDS Church leader Brigham Young, a scriptural concordance, and two autobiographies of his mother and himself.

Served as an Apostle, Mission President, and held numerous positions of leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints including director of the Church Board of Education and the Melchizedek Priesthood Committee.

Besides his books, Widtsoe was a prolific writer of magazine and newspaper articles, pamphlets, tracts, radio broadcasts, encyclopedia and other writings and was editor of the Improvement Era for 17 years.

Special advisor to the U.S. Secretary of the Interior for Water Reclamation.

Became an international authority on agricultural chemistry in harsh climate and pioneered new concepts in irrigation and dry farming that became the definitive work in both fields.

Contact the Widtsoe Family Collection

Kari Robinson, Chair of the WFSA Steering Committee


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