Monday, April 14, 2008

The Essential Latter-day Saint Library

I love books. This is not a secret. Anyone who has been to my home will immediately recognize that books are prominent in my life. Specifically I love books about Church topics. Doctrinal. Scriptural. Historical. Biographical. Nearly everything except historical fiction.

Last week we had a campout with our Young Men. One of them is reading all kinds of books about the Restored Gospel. I think it is wonderful. He knows I read and collect books and asked what he should read next.

I get that question every once in a while. So, I thought I would post what I consider to be the essential books every Latter-day Saint should have in their home library. I realize that every list will be different and include other books. Not a problem. This list is based on my experience and learning. It is probably more of a reflection on what I like to read and what has influenced me more than anything else. Also, I have had my library inventory posted for over a year on the blog (actually a link to it). If you are interested in seeing what is in my entire collection click here. But what I am posting below is what I consider to be foundational to a good Latter-day Saint library. It should go without saying that the Standard Works are a given, so I have not included them.

This is a difficult thing to do, because I love all my books. As I put this list together, looking at my bookshelves, I resisted the urge to include every book, keeping in mind this is an essential library, not my library. And so, if you see a book that you think should be included but is not, please know that I most likely considered including it as well. I could also most certainly include a brief explanation as to why each book is included. Perhaps that will be another post. For now, I am just pleased to get this list together. I should also state that these books for the most part are not going to be considered scholarly by some. Such is not my purpose. I have and love those books as well. This list is based on what I would recommend for every member of the Church.

I also should note that these books are not only to be on a bookshelf, but to be read. I often get asked when people come to my house and see my books, "Yeah, but have you read all of them?" The answer is nearly all of them. I would say I have read about 85-90% of my books. There are a few that do not seemed to be designed to be read cover to cover and I use those primarily for reference. However, I have read in all of my books, if that counts for anything.

But enough of that. Without further commentary... my list (in absolutely no particular order):


Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, edited by Joseph Fielding Smith

The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo discourses of the Prophet Joseph, edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook

Gospel Doctrine, Joseph F. Smith

Doctrines of Salvation, Joseph Fielding Smith

Answers to Gospel Questions, Joseph Fielding Smith

Jesus the Christ, James E. Talmage

Messiah Series, Bruce R. McConkie

  • Promised Messiah
  • Mortal Messiah, volume 1
  • Mortal Messiah, volume 2
  • Mortal Messiah, volume 3
  • Mortal Messiah, volume 4
  • Millennial Messiah

Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie

A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, Bruce R. McConkie

Lectures on Faith, Joseph Smith et al

Messages of the First Presidency, 6 volumes, edited by James R. Clark

Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 volumes, Bruce R. McConkie

Priesthood and Church Government, edited by John A. Widstoe

Masterful Discourses of Orson Pratt, edited by N. B. Lundwall

Writings of Parley P. Pratt, edited by Parley Robison

A Witness and a Warning, Ezra Taft Benson

Christ and the New Covenant, Jeffrey R. Holland

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, four volumes, Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L Millet

Revelations of the Restoration, Joseph Fielding McConkie

Inevitable Apostasy and Promised Restoration, Tad R. Callister

Lost Language of Symbolism, Alonzo L. Gaskill

Called of God by Prophecy, Dennis B. Horne

Receiving Gifts of the Spirit, Matthew B. Brown


History of the Church, Joseph Smith and editors

Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, edited by Dean Jessee

Opening the Heavens, edited by John W. Welch

Remembering Joseph, edited by Mark L. McConkie

Eyewitness Accounts of the Restoration, edited by Milton V. Backman

The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Vol. 1: 1832-1839, edited by Dean C. Jessee et al

Wilford Woodruff Journals, volumes 1-9

Evening and Morning Star

Messenger and Advocate

Times and Seasons

Mormons at the Missouri, Richard Bennett

Kirtland Council Minute Book, edited by Fred C. Collier

Kirtland Elder's Quorum Record 1836-1841, edited by Lyndon W. Cook and Milton V. Backman, Jr.

Far West Record: Minutes of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 1830-1844, edited by Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook

The Nauvoo High Council Minute Books of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, edited by Fred C. Collier


Presidents of the Church, edited by Leonard J. Arrington

History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, Lucy Mack Smith

Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, George Q. Cannon

Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, Parley P. Pratt

Wilford Woodruff, Orson F. Whitney

Life of Joseph F. Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith

Go Forward with Faith, Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, Sherrie Dew

Marion G. Romney: His Life and Faith, F. Burton Howard

The Bruce R. McConkie Story, Joseph Fielding McConkie

Boyd K. Packer: A Watchman on the Tower, Lucile C. Tate

Yearning for the Living God, F. Enzio Busche

No comments: