The Mormon History Association's Tanner Lectures

The First Twenty Years
Author: Edited by Dean L. May and Reid L. Neilson with Richard Lyman Bushman, Jan Shipps, and Thomas G. Alexander
Twenty-one eminent non-Mormon historians’ “outsider” perspectives on Mormon history
Paper – $40
Publication Date: May 2006
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About the Book

The Tanner lectures, now firmly entrenched as an institution at the annual Mormon History Association meetings, were established in 1980 as a means of providing scholars of Mormonism with a valuable new perspective for their historical record. All twenty-one lectures are presented by well-known non-Mormon scholars that were invited to prepare presentations in their own specialties that also encompass some aspect of Mormon history. In the course of preparing their talks, the presenters are expected to immerse themselves for a year in current historical writings on Mormons and Mormonism. As this collection amply demonstrates, when these scholars do their homework, the results are enlightening. This volume includes the Tanner lectures for the last two decades of the twentieth century, a general introduction, and specialized introductions to each individual lecture.

About the Author

Dean L. May (1938 -2003) was a professor of history at the University of Utah. He is the author of Three Frontiers: Family, Land, and Society in the American West, 1850 -1900 and other books. Reid L. Neilson is a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the editor of The Rise of Mormonism and other books.


"Although the association's work and membership has tended to be rather insular, this volume of 21 collected Tanner Lectures represents some of the best of what its activities have contributed to the field of Mormon studies. Highly recommended."--Choice "Each lecture brings a different perspective, a different lens to the Mormon past. Reading the essays in order, Shipps points out, reveals not only the findings of the studies but also something of 'the history of the doing of Mormon history across twenty years.'"--BYU Studies


"Many of us have never had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the Mormon History Association, but we're well aware of the many contributions it has made to study of the Restoration tradition. I am glad to recommend this book to anyone interested in studying these ideas."--Jeff Needle, Association for Mormon Letters