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Bibliographical guides

Mormon Americana: A Bibliographical Guide to Printed Material in the British Library Relating to The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints
David J. Whittaker

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly referred to as the Mormon Church, was organized in Fayette, New York on 6 April 1830 by Joseph Smith, Jr. and several of his initial followers, following a series of religious visions and the publication of the Book of Mormon. By 1831 the Church had established itself in Ohio and Missouri and, following much persecution, from 1839 to 1846 in Nauvoo, Illinois. In June 1844 Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were murdered by a mob in Carthage, Illinois. In 1846, under the leadership of Brigham Young, the majority of the Church began their epic trek to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, arriving in what would become the State of Utah in July 1847. Before Brigham Young's death in 1877, over 350 communities were established in the Great Basin; about another 100 were established after 1877, in such areas as southern Alberta Canada and in northern Mexico.

Many of these were colonized by the large number of people converted by Mormon missionaries, particularly from the British Isles and Scandinavia (some 80,000 just from these areas). Today Mormons are found throughout the world, with a total membership of over eight million (October 1993). The movement has more than doubled its membership every decade in the 20th century, making it one of the fastest growing religions in the world. As an American and a world religion, the Mormon Church is a fascinating topic for serious study. Its members have been record-keepers from its earliest days and thus it is one of the most rich-ly documented American-born religions. This selected bibliography seeks to provide a basic guide to the more important studies of the history of the LDS Church, the majority of which are available in the British Library.

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