Church History Symposium
Business, Wealth, Enterprise, and Debt: The Economic Side of Mormon History, 1830–1930
In 1958, Leonard J. Arrington published Great Basin Kingdom, a seminal study in Mormon economic history. Arrington followed this work with several other studies pertaining to the economic history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and of the State of Utah. Other scholars have examined in detail financial operations of the church in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois, including explorations of the law of consecration (first revealed to Joseph Smith in 1831) and its implementation, enterprises such as the United Firm and the Kirtland Safety Society, and the economic impact of creating new communities throughout the Great Basin. Picking up where Arrington and others left off, there are new and exciting developments in the study of sex, society, race, and the environment that can enlighten the financial aspects of Mormon history.
The 2018 Church History Symposium will explore the intersection of finance and religion in the LDS Church between 1830 and 1930. In doing so, we hope that scholars will take a fresh look at Mormon history through the vantage point of economics and finance. We hope that this symposium will add to, complicate, or even revise portions of the standard economic history narratives mentioned above, while also exploring other areas of Mormon history through an economic and spiritual lens.