Insights From a Church Historian
DATE: April 14 (Fullerton) and April 15 (La Canada – Flintridge).
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
We are pleased and honored to have as our April 2017 Miller Eccles guest, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, First Council of Seventy Emeritus and former LDS Church Historian.
THE TOPIC: Elder Jensen served as Church Historian during a key period for that office–from 2005 to 2012. It was during this time that the Joseph Smith Papers Project took off and it has been producing important new volumes almost every year for the past decade. In addition, the new Church History Library was constructed and the History Department expanded and moved into modern new quarters. The scholars and researchers who had been at Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at BYU were brought back to Salt Lake. The Church Historian’s Press was launched as the publisher of the Joseph Smith Papers, as well as selected other important Church history volumes.
Elder Jensen has been lauded as one of the most important moving forces behind the new openness in Church History. During his tenure, thousands of important historical documents have been digitized and made available to researchers. The Church began to direct more focus on its international history and historians were called to individual areas and countries to collect oral histories as a means of preserving these important stories. A number of new essays on difficult historical topics were issued by the Church during this period and Elder Jensen’s Historical Department was key in researching and overseeing the writing of those essays for approval by the brethren. This will be our chance to meet this outstanding Church leader and ask our own questions about the many projects that were under his direction.
THE SPEAKER: Marlin K. Jensen was born, and has lived most of his life, in Huntsville, Utah. He served a mission in West Germany, then received his B.A. in German from BYU. He went on to obtain a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah, graduating first in his class. He was called as a bishop at age 28 to preside over the same Huntsville ward where his father and grandfather had previously served in the same calling. In 1989, Elder Jensen became a member of the First Quorum of Seventy at the age of 46. He served for a time as executive director of the Church’s Priesthood Department. In 2004 he became executive director of the Church History Department and one year later he was called as Church Historian and Recorder. After retiring from his History Department position in 2012, Elder Jensen became a member of the University of Utah Board of Regents.
Prior to his calling as a general authority, Elder Jensen practiced law, specializing in business and estate planning. However, his real love is farming, and he oversees a family ranching enterprise. He is married to the former Kathleen Bushnell and they are the parents of eight children and some 25 grandchildren.
Posted by Morris Thurston