Welcome to the Latter-day Saint Reference Library

 
Our Goal

The Latter-day Saint Reference Library is meant to be a tool for scholarship.  Academics often start a new project by first researching and reading what has already been written about their topic.  We wondered, what are the ten or so most important books on various gospel and church history topics?   If someone wants to start a new project on one of these topics, the list of books we provide is a good place to begin.   We recognized that these lists might also be of interest to those looking to deepen their own study of a particular topic.  

Our Process

The John A. Widtsoe Foundation solicited suggested books from a variety of friends of the foundation.  We compiled this list into 14 categories, acknowledging that some of the books cross into more than one category.  With these draft lists, we contacted scholars who are experts in each area and asked them to review the list, take off books that did not meet the criteria we set forth, and suggest additional readings.

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Topics

* As an Amazon Associate, the Widtsoe Foundation earns from qualifying purchases.

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Act in Doctrine: Spiritual Patterns for Turning from Self to the Savior

Act in Doctrine: Spiritual Patterns for Turning from Self to the Savior

The Miracle of Forgiveness

The Miracle of Forgiveness

A Voice of Warning and Key to the Science of Theology

A Voice of Warning and Key to the Science of Theology

Jesus the Christ

Jesus the Christ

“This is My Doctrine”: The Development of Mormon Theology

“This is My Doctrine”: The Development of Mormon Theology

Joseph Smith the Prophet

Joseph Smith the Prophet

Prophetic Authority: Democratic Hierarchy and the Mormon Priesthood

Prophetic Authority: Democratic Hierarchy and the Mormon Priesthood

The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology

The Power of Godliness: Mormon Liturgy and Cosmology

Ordering Antinomy: An Analysis of Early Mormonism’s Priestly Offices, Councils, and Kinship

Ordering Antinomy: An Analysis of Early Mormonism’s Priestly Offices, Councils, and Kinship

Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective

Sisters in Spirit: Mormon Women in Historical and Cultural Perspective

Women and the Priesthood: What One Latter-day Saint Woman Believes (revised edition)

Women and the Priesthood: What One Latter-day Saint Woman Believes (revised edition)

Tabernacles of Clay: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Mormonism

Tabernacles of Clay: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Mormonism

The Best of Women’s Conference: Selected Talks from 25 Years of Women’s Conference

The Best of Women’s Conference: Selected Talks from 25 Years of Women’s Conference

The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson

The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson

Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do

Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do

Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols.

Messages of the First Presidency, 6 vols.

Lectures on Faith

Lectures on Faith

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

The Mormon Culture of Salvation

The Mormon Culture of Salvation

The Hope of Nature

The Hope of Nature

The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism’s Most Controversial Scripture

The Pearl of Greatest Price: Mormonism’s Most Controversial Scripture

Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith

Carthage Conspiracy: The Trial of the Accused Assassins of Joseph Smith

Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess

Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess

Understanding our Catholic Neighbors

Understanding our Catholic Neighbors

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Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings

Mormon Feminism: Essential Writings

Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith

Beginning of Better Days: Divine Instruction to Women from the Prophet Joseph Smith

Gay Rights and the Mormon Church: Intended Actions, Unintended Consequences

Gay Rights and the Mormon Church: Intended Actions, Unintended Consequences

The Mormon Priesthood Revelation and the Sao Paulo, Brazil Temple

The Mormon Priesthood Revelation and the Sao Paulo, Brazil Temple

Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley

Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 4 vols.

We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

We Believe: Doctrines and Principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Mormon Doctrine

Mormon Doctrine

The Gospel and Man’s Relationship to Deity

The Gospel and Man’s Relationship to Deity

Thinking Otherwise: Theological Explorations of Joseph Smith’s Revelations

Thinking Otherwise: Theological Explorations of Joseph Smith’s Revelations

Power From on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood

Power From on High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View

Early Mormonism and the Magic World View

Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations

Opening the Heavens: Accounts of Divine Manifestations

Understanding our Jewish Neighbors

Understanding our Jewish Neighbors

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Women’s Voices: An Untold History of The Latter-Day Saints 1830-1900

Women’s Voices: An Untold History of The Latter-Day Saints 1830-1900

Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Women and Mormonism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example

Same-Sex Dynamics among Nineteenth-Century Americans: A Mormon Example

A More Powerful Effect Upon the Body’: Early Mormonism’s Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race

A More Powerful Effect Upon the Body’: Early Mormonism’s Theory of Racial Redemption and American Religious Theories of Race

Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon

Christ and the New Covenant: The Messianic Message of the Book of Mormon

The Melchizedek Priesthood

The Melchizedek Priesthood

Gospel truth: discourses and writings of George Q. Cannon

Gospel truth: discourses and writings of George Q. Cannon

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith

Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols

Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols

Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity

Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity

Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy.

Standing Apart: Mormon Historical Consciousness and the Concept of Apostasy.

The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith

The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith

Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Settings for Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations

Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Settings for Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations

Joseph (Smith) in Egypt: Babel, Hieroglyphs, and the Pure Language of Eden

Joseph (Smith) in Egypt: Babel, Hieroglyphs, and the Pure Language of Eden

God the Mother: And Other Theological Essays

God the Mother: And Other Theological Essays

The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History

The First Fifty Years of Relief Society: Key Documents in Latter-day Saint Women's History

The Routledge Handbook of Mormonism and Gender

The Routledge Handbook of Mormonism and Gender

At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women

At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women

Our Search for Happiness

Our Search for Happiness

To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort

To My Friends: Messages of Counsel and Comfort

Recommend a Book (beta)

Recommendations will be reviewed and updated periodically.

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