The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today appointed Reid L. Neilson as a new assistant Church historian and recorder. He will serve together with current assistant Church historian and recorder Richard E. Turley Jr. He is the latest in a long line of assistant historians, including Orson F. Whitney, Brigham H. Roberts, Junius F. Wells and Andrew Jenson.
Neilson said he is excited about the opportunities and challenges that await him and his leadership team. “Since my childhood I have loved studying the history of the Latter-day Saints and feeling the spirit of the gospel,” he said. “Researching, writing and testifying of the Restoration is what I have dedicated my professional talents and personal life to. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by a remarkable team of likeminded scholars and leaders at the Church History Department.”
“Over the past five years Reid Neilson has helped lead our Church History Department to new heights. I am very pleased that the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have recognized his major contributions as a disciple-scholar to Mormon studies through this appointment,” Church historian Elder Steven E. Snow said. “Reid has shown tremendous leadership as our managing director. He is one of the most prolific publishers of Church history content around. His passion for the Restoration is inspiring.”
Since 2010 Neilson has served as managing director of the Church History Department, where he leads the staff of the Church History Library, Church History Museum and Granite Mountain Records Vault. In addition to serving on a number of Church committees, including the Historic Sites Executive Committee and the Scriptures Coordination Committee, Neilson sits on the editorial boards of the Deseret Book Company and the Joseph Smith Papers. He also worked as an assistant professor of Church history and doctrine in religious education at Brigham Young University from 2006 to 2009.
Today’s announcement of Neilson’s new role is just the beginning of a number of exciting milestones anticipated by the leadership and staff of the Church History Department in 2015. This fall they, together with collaborating departments, plan to reopen the newly renovated Church History Museum, complete with a new exhibit, “The Heavens Are Open,” highlighting the founding events of the Restoration. They also expect to complete the construction of the priesthood restoration site in Harmony, Pennsylvania, which will tell the story of the restoration of the priesthood and translation of the Book of Mormon, and the renovation of the Granite Mountain Records Vault facility.