Encyclopedia of Mormonism Online

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism is now online as a part of the digital online collection at the Harold B. Lee Library.

This is very nice; it provides pdfs with the actual graphics and pagination of the print editions. It is complete, and you can browse if you like. In the past, I’ve just been able to find the text of individual articles from the All About Mormons site.

I remember when this came out. My mentor S. Kent Brown had been deeply involved with it and got me excited about it. The Church intended for this to take the place of Mormon Doctrine as a general reference work, but when it came out I recall that my print copy was about $200, so I suppose relatively few members actually bought one. But now that it is completely available for free online, my hope is that more people will be able to make use of this excellent resource.


  1. Aaron Brown says:

    NO!!!!! We don’t need an Encyclopedia of Mormonism. Bruce R. McConkie has already given us the definitive work on this subject. His tome is infallible (I mean the ’58 edition). It cannot be improved upon. Those who quarrel with any of McConkie’s doctrinal intreprations will surely forfeit their eternal reward.

    Aaron B

  2. Kevin,

    Thanks for the head’s up and the link.

  3. Ditto. Thanks, Kevin.

  4. Mike Parker says:

    I’m disappointed that the EoM has been so long out of print. It really is an excellent resource (despite its 17 years of age). I wish the Church or Deseret Book would buys the rights and reprint it in an inexpensive paperback form.

    Share this link with as many people as possible, otherwise it may never be noticed.

  5. I didn’t realize EoM was out of print. I agree about the paperback idea. I believe excerpts are available in paperback, but why not the whole thing…? I think I would buy a paperback version. I’ve been impressed with the articles I’ve stumbled upon.

  6. Thanks for the link. I’ve also wished for an affordable copy of this.

    Incidentally, does anyone know what happened to the All About Mormons site? I know that at least one site has an archived version available, but I’ve wondered why the site was discontinued.

  7. Nice, but is it really too much to ask for a browsable HTML version? 8.2 MB to load one article? WTH?

  8. Left Field says:

    Deseret Book did publish five paperback volumes that contain all the articles. I don’t know if they are still available, but the cost was about $15-20 per volume. Each volume contains articles on a general topic: Jesus Christ and His Gospel; Priesthood and Church Organization; Church History; The Church and Society; and Scriptures of the Church.

  9. Kevin Barney says:

    As I recall, the Church asked John Walsh (who ran All About Mormons) for the url, and then I think he decided it was too much to maintain anyway, or something like that.

  10. Some history for those who may not know:

    The Encyclopedia of Mormonism was published by Macmillan – just at the time the Robert Maxwell publishing empire (which owned Macmillan) was being broken up in the wake of Maxwell’s death following his disappearance from his yacht.

    Financially troubled, the publishing empire went into bankruptcy proceedings and the American portion of Macmillan that published the EOM was sold off to reference publisher Gale.

    It is my understanding that Gale then sold the rights to the EOM to Deseret Book, which published the selections mentioned above, but never republished the entire encyclopedia as a set.

    I suspect that the EOM would have remained in print for much longer had Macmillan not gone through the convulsions it did. Gale evidently didn’t see the value in it, and Deseret Book, since it is NOT a reference book publisher and doesn’t have the relationships with customers who purchase reference books (generally libraries), has no ability to make significant sales of the EOM to customers.

    Today, IMO, a work like this is best included in a database, like those run by Gale and ProQuest, where academics can find and use it. Unfortunately, its ownership by DB means that it likely won’t be included in such a database, because users will assume that it is not objective.

    Incidentally, the inclusion of the EOM in the All About Mormons website always bothered me. It seemed like it was a violation of copyright, and Walsh never bothered to indicate whether or not he had permission to post the articles there. I could never figure out why so many other sites ended up shutting down because of minor violations, but All About Mormons stayed up for so long!!

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    Thanks for the history, Kent.

    Re: AAM, yeah, I think it was violative of copyright, but apparently no one ever called John on it, and before long he was no longer maintaining the site and it was just carried on mirror sites. (But even though it was violative of copyright, I’ll confess to being glad to have electronic access to some of the articles, even if I had to find them using google searches rather than in a single coherent location.)

  12. Kevin Barney says:

    BTW, the EoM was completed in record time by Macmillan standards; just a few years, IIRC.

    The reason was that instead of being written by a small handful of experts, as is usually the case, the writing of the EoM was distributed among a very large number of Mormons, such that no one had responsibility for more than three articles.

  13. Kristine says:

    Filial piety compels me to take this opportunity to shill for my dad and David Whitaker’s entry on “Intellectual History.” The best part may be the bibliography at the end (David Whitaker is an underappreciated treasure in the church–a veritable walking bibliography of all things Mormon). If you’re looking for a quick romp through the major controversies within the Church over scholarship, and the thin, wavering line that has shown the limits at which “to be learned is good,” or even if you didn’t know that’s what you were looking for, this is not a bad place to start.

  14. Steve Taysom says:

    Not only is David Whittaker a trove of historical knowledge, he is also a genuinely nice guy, FWIW.

  15. Kevin, it looks like your investment has become more valuable – copies on Ebay and Amazon are going for around $350. I wonder if its rarity is a factor.

    I know that once the New Grove Dictionary of Music (another many volume work, farmed out to hundreds of scholars) became available online (through subscription), OUP was trying to offload the print version at a deep discount.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    An interesting exercise is to review the List of Contributors in the front matter. For instance, Kristine, in addition to your pops on intellectual history, there is an Elizabeth Haglund of the University of Utah on Public Relations. Since your profile assures us that you are related to all of the Haglunds, presumably this too is a relative of yours.

    Our own Elouise Bell wrote the article on “Holiness.”

    There are articles by Marti Bradley, Todd Compton, Martha Nibley Beck, Stephen Covey. Lots of interesting folks.

    There are also perhaps a half-dozen articles written by prominent non-LDS scholars, usually on topics related to the Bible or ancient history.

    As I recall, there was also some politics and blackballing that went on. For instance, I believe Blake has it on good authority that no one was allowed to cite anything he had written. (This was back in a period where a lot of people didn’t seem to know what to make of him.) Since by that time he had published some pretty landmark stuff, this led to some creative citation in some of the mini-bibliographies.

  17. Aaron Brown says:


    I’d be interested in your elaborating on Blake’s exclusion. Was it just his Modern Expansion article that scared the powers-that-be, or was it that plus something else?

    Also, didn’t Thomas Alexander or someone write an article about the behind-the-scenes intrigue in JMHA or somewhere. I never read it, but I seem to recall that it’s out there.

    Aaron B

  18. Kevin Barney says:

    Aaron, it was the modern expansion article, as you guess.

    I believe you are thinking of the review from JMH by Richard Poll.

    (Krisitne, he liked your dad’s contribution.)

    It was interesting to me that a conscious decision was made not to have GAs write articles (with only a few exceptions due to special circumstances).

    He also talks about the article on evolution, which went through quite a ringer.

  19. Kevin Barney says:


  20. I’ve always liked the entry on “Societies and Organizations” by David Cherrington. The entries in the area of social science, such as “Social Characteristics” and “Vital Statistics,” are also valuable.

  21. Thanks for the announcement; I would not have known otherwise. Having it online is the obvious choice because it’s certainly a great reference. I have to wonder who made the decision to scan it as images and then convert to pdf. That’s just clunky. And isn’t it against a library’s credo to not make something searchable?

    I’m not sure why the fuss about it not being available. I searched my local library system and found it in 12 libraries within a 45 minute drive, plus our meetinghouse library has it. (That’s where I’ve used it.) All the same, having it available for free is great.

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