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A Quick Guide to Church Historians

Historian is someone who is researching, studying and writing about past and is deemed as an authority on it. Historians are a lot more concerned with methodical narrative, continuous and research of past events in regards to human history and even study all history in time. On the other hand, if someone is concerned with events that are preceding written history, then that person may be called as a historian of pre-history.

It’s reserved more recently to those who’ve acquired graduate degrees in such disciplines despite the fact that historian can be used in describing amateur and professional historians alike. However, there are some historians who were recognized through training or publications and experience. Due to the reason that there were continuous growth of research universities in parts of Germany and elsewhere, it has made historian being a professional occupation in the late 19th century.

On the other hand, when it comes to church historian and recorder or typically shortened to just church historian, they are more of a priesthood calling in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The major role of church historian is to be sure that there is a precise and comprehensive record of churches and activities of it at the same time. The office is gathering history sources and preserving records, minutes, ordinances, procedures, revelations and several other documents. The recorder is chair as well to the Records Management Committee and Historic Sites Committee and also, can function as an authoritative voice of church in historical matters.
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Such office is additionally based on revelations to Joseph Smith, which calls to keep records and prepare the church history. The first in this position is Oliver Codery and is the one who originally recorded patriarchal, meeting minutes, membership information, blessings, priesthood ordinations and a type of narrative church history. For a time, the callings of Church Recorder and Church Historian were actually separate. These callings were merged in 1842 and now, Church Historians can act as a Church Recorder.
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In 1972, the office of Church Historians was renamed to Historical Department. In 2000, the department was then merged with Family History Department in an effort to become the Family and Church History Department. Later on March 12, 2008, again the Church Historian separated itself from Family History Department and became the Church History Department.

And while many of the Church Historians and recorders have been general authorities of church, there have been exception to the practice. Oftentimes, church historians are assisted by individuals referred as the Assistant Church Historian. The research assistant and the several other personnel at the same time are hired in the office of Church Historian.