The Mormon Hierarchy
Wealth and Corporate Power
DATE: November 10 (Fullerton) and 11 (La Canada – Flintridge).
TIME: 7:30 p.m.
We are pleased to have as our September 2017 Miller Eccles speaker, renowned LDS historian Dr. D. Michael Quinn, author of the just-released book titled The Mormon Hierarchy: Wealth and Corporate Power. The first two volumes of Dr. Quinn’s best-selling Mormon Hierarchy series were titled Origins of Power (1994) and Extensions of Power (1997). Now, after 20 years, the long-anticipated third volume of the trilogy, Wealth & Corporate Power, has arrived. Always an entertaining and well-informed speaker, Dr. Quinn’s presentation promises to be one you won’t want to miss.
THE TOPIC: Early in the twentieth century, it was possible for Latter-day Saints to engage in commercial activities primarily with businesses managed by their leaders or owned and controlled by the Church itself. For example, one could purchase engagement rings from Daynes Jewelry, honeymoon at the Hotel Utah, and venture off on the Union Pacific Railroad, all partially owned and run by apostles.
Families could buy clothes at Knight Woolen Mills. The husband might work at Big Indian Copper or Bullion-Beck, Gold Chain, or Iron King mining companies. The wife could shop at Utah Cereal Food and buy sugar supplied by Amalgamated or U and I Sugar, beef from Nevada Land and Livestock, and vegetables from the Growers Market. They might take their groceries home in parcels from Utah Bag Co. They probably read the Deseret News at home under a lamp plugged into a Utah Power and Light circuit. They could take out a loan from Zion’s Co-operative and insurance from Utah Home and Fire, all affiliated with the Church or its apostles.
The apostles had a long history of community involvement in financial enterprises to the benefit of the general membership and their own economic advantage. Later in the 20th century, however, the Church went through a period of financial struggle, leading to changes in the way the Church raised money and the way it conducted its business.
In his presentation, Dr. Quinn will discuss what he has learned in his many years of research into LDS Church finances during the period 1830 to 2010.
Wealth and Corporate Power has already garnered a couple of articles in the Salt Lake Tribune. Peggy Fletcher Stack has a good, in-depth article titled “Historian digs into the hidden world of Mormon finances, shows how church went from losing money to making money — lots of it.” Nate Carlisle has a follow-up article titled “Records reveal how money from Utah and U.S. Mormons props up LDS operations overseas.”
THE SPEAKER: D. Michael Quinn is a former professor of history at Brigham Young University. His accolades include the Samuel F. Bemis, the George W. Egleston, and the Frederick W. Beinecke prizes; Best Book and Best Article awards from the Mormon History Association; “Outstanding Teacher” by vote of graduating BYU seniors; and invitations to lecture at the University of Paris’s Foundation de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme and other similar venues. He is the author of J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years; Early Mormonism and the Magic World View; The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power; The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power. He is the editor of The New Mormon History: Revisionist Essays on the Past and a contributing author to American National Biography; Faithful History: Essays on Writing Mormon History; Fundamentalisms and Society: Reclaiming the Sciences, the Family, and Education; Reader’s Encyclopedia of the American West; Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past; and Women and Authority: Re-emerging Mormon Feminism. His research honorariums include grants from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Henry E. Huntington Library, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, Yale University, and others.
Last year the Mormon History Association awarded Dr. Quinn the Arrington Award “for distinguished and outstanding service to Mormon history.”
Posted by Scott Volmar