H. Grant Ivins papers, 1897-1973

Overview of the Collection

Ivins, H. Grant (Heber Grant), 1889-1974
H. Grant Ivins papers
1897-1973 (inclusive)
3.5 linear feet
Collection Number
MS 0362
The H. Grant Ivins papers (1897-1973) contain diaries, correspondence, memoirs, unpublished manuscripts, and articles on subjects relating to religion and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). This collection documents one man's transition from a devout believer in the divine authority of the members of the LDS Church hierarchy to an outspoken critic of those he later described to Heber Holt as "mere men who make mistakes and who should be willing to admit these mistakes."
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 8015818863
Access Restrictions

Twenty-four hour advanced notice encouraged. Materials must be used on-site. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

H. Grant Ivins was born 2 September 1889, in St. George, Utah, to Anthony W. Ivins and Elizabeth Snow. In 1895, he moved with his family to Colonia Dublan, Mexico. In 1908, Ivins graduated from Juarez Academy and returned with his family to the United States, where Anthony W. Ivins was appointed a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. H. Grant Ivins attended the University of Utah and the Utah State Agricultural College, where he graduated with a B.S. in 1917. Ivins served an LDS mission to Japan and married Bertha Hamblin. He served in various capacities in the LDS Church until around 1945. H. Grant Ivins died of cancer on 18 February 1974 in Salt Lake City.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The H. Grant Ivins papers (1897-1973) contain diaries, correspondence, memoirs, unpublished manuscripts, and articles on subjects relating to religion and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). This collection documents one man's transition from a devout believer in the divine authority of the members of the LDS Church hierarchy to an outspoken critic of those he later described to Heber Holt as "mere men who make mistakes and who should be willing to admit these mistakes." The bulk of this collection is associated with Ivins' writings on polygamy and other matters relative to LDS Church doctrine.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The library does not claim to control copyright for all materials in the collection. An individual depicted in a reproduction has privacy rights as outlined in Title 45 CFR, part 46 (Protection of Human Subjects). For further information, please review the J. Willard Marriott Library’s Use Agreement and Reproduction Request forms.

Preferred Citation

Collection Name, Collection Number, Box Number, Folder Number. Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, The University of Utah.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Organized in two series: I. Personal Material; II. Writings.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Harold Bentley in 1974.

Gift of Guy Ivins, Virginia Ivins, and Sterling McMurrin in 1995 and 1996.

Separated Materials

Photographs were transferred to the Multimedia Division of Special Collections (P0018).

Processing Note

Processed by Robert Charles Walker and Karen Carver in 1997.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Personal MaterialsReturn to Top

The bulk of the material in this section deals with Ivins' religious beliefs and his attempt to develop his personal philosophy within the context of the official teachings of the LDS Church. Box 1 contains his diaries, which deal primarily with his missionary experience in Japan. While in the mission field, Ivins typically wrote daily entries. After his return to the United States, the entries become more and more sporadic and his marriage to Bertha Hamblin in 1918 is the final recorded event. Boxes 2 and 3 contain Ivins' correspondence beginning with the final months of his missionary experience and ending a few weeks prior to his death in 1974. Most of the correspondence in the collection is with Ivins' friends and former colleagues at BYU and contains his thoughts on Mormon doctrine and the LDS Church hierarchy. His missionary correspondence is arranged alphabetically by correspondent, while his general correspondence is arranged chronologically. Other correspondence is organized by correspondent and chronologically within folders. The correspondence files often contain miscellaneous items such as news clippings, articles, and poetry. Also included in this section are Ivins' subject files on David O. McKay, Anthony W. Ivins, African Americans and the LDS Church, the Hatchers and Breeders Association, and race horse gambling.

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Diary No. 1
This diary describes Ivins' missionary farewell, the voyage of the Kamakura (including a storm at sea), the arrival at Yokohama, life in the mission home, Japanese life and customs, the birth of Chiyo Thomas, the departure of Elder Fairbourne, and a New Years celebration. Included are prayers, blessings and tracting statements in Japanese.
October 1910-February 1911
1 2
Diary No. 2
Contains information on Ivins' experience as a missionary including tracting and study, a visit by the "Messenger From The Desert," Sister Kogi's farewell, Bible class, the Tokyo Americans baseball team, an imperial coronation parade, and Ivins' account of money spent from November 1910 to November 1913.
February 1911-July 1911
1 3
Diary No. 3
Description of Brother Satow's baptism, the illness of Elder Marriott, a journey to Morioka, the Mt. Fuji climb, the closing of the Morioka branch, a journey to Matsushima (Pine Islands), the departure of Elders Sowcroft, Miller and Emmett to open the Osaka branch, and a journey to Iwabuchi.
July 1911-November 1911
1 4
Diary No. 4
An account of the mission reorganization, the departure of Elder Jensen to take charge of Osaka, the death of President John Henry Smith, Mr. Kim's dream, Ivins' experience studying and teaching, the funeral of Archbishop Nicoli, a Buddhist hot water ceremony, the baptism of Miss Fujimoto, baseball games, and Elder Anderson's departure.
November 1911-July 1912
1 5
Diary No. 5
Ivins describes the departure of Elder Stimpson, a tour of the battleship California, the police investigation of Ivins and Mr. Kim, the death of Emperor Mutsuhito, Mr. Kommagamine's request for baptism, Ivins' appointment as mission president, a trip to Kofu, President Thomas' farewell and departure, the arrival of Elders Cutler, Allen and Crowther, a trip to Osaka and Kyoto, the Kofu lawsuit, Ivins' glimpse of the Crown Prince, the departure of Elders Emmett and Jensen, and a trip to Sapporo.
July 1912-February 1913
1 6
Diary No. 6
This diary recounts Ivins' studies with Brother Satow, the departure of Elder Barton, the excommunication of Brother Nasa, mission administration and President Thomas' advice, the arrival of Elders Stringham, Bennion and Clark, a visit to Brother Satow's country home, writing articles for the Era, the Emperor's birthday celebration, a conversation on polygamy, tracting in the hinterlands, Brother Satow's apostasy, and the arrival of Elders Adams and Turner.
February 1913-December 1913
1 7
Diary No. 7
Contains an account of the conflict at the Kofu branch, a scandal at the Japanese Mission, the departure of Elders Bennion, Miller, Chipman, Harrington and Stringham, the arrival of Elders Amott and Kingsford, Elder Scowcroft's operation, Ivins' work on an English Life of Christ, the funeral of the Dowager Empress, the illness of Elder Hatch, work on a Japanese songbook, the departure of Elders Scowcroft and Hatch and a visit to the "New Prophet."
December 1913-September 1914
1 8
Diary No. 8
Ivins continues his description of the visit to the "New Prophet," and contemplates the year's trials. The diary also recounts the translation of Talmage's Articles of Faith, teaching and study in the mission home, Brother Satow leaving the church, Ivins' offer to remain in Japan, advice from Anthony W. Ivins, and the arrival of Elder and Mrs. Stimpson. Ivins goes on to report his visit to a poorhouse, the illness and departure of Elder Cutler, the homeward journey on the Nippon Maru, a warm welcome in Hawaii, the ship's arrival in San Francisco and a reunion with family and friends. The diary also briefly summarizes Ivins' post-mission life, including his short-lived engagement to Marguerite Cannon, student life at Utah State Agricultural College, the declaration of war with Germany, a trip to Nevada with Anthony W. Ivins and the formation of the Washington County Committee of Safety.
September 1914-January 1918
1 9
Diary No. 9
This diary describes the funeral of Patriarch Lyman Woods, the acquisition of the Holt ranch, and Ivins' marriage to Bertha Hamblin.
January 1918-April 1918
1 10
Diary of Trip East
Trip to New York and surrounding area to visit family and attend the World's Fair.
August 1939
Box Folder
2 1-11
H. Grant Ivins
Photocopies of typed correspondence from Ivins to various family members, friends, former missionaries, and church authorities written during the last seven months of his mission. These letters, photocopied from a bound volume put together by Ivins, are arranged alphabetically according to recipient.
January 1915-July 1915
2 12-18
H. Grant Ivins
General correspondence arranged chronologically.
December 1917-June 1973
2 19-23
H. Grant Ivins and Anthony W. Ivins
Letters concerning the management of the Ivins family property near Enterprise, Utah.
January 1922-November 1932
2 24-29
H. Grant Ivins and Lowry Nelson
Ivins and Nelson, a sociology professor, met at the Utah State Agricultural College and taught together at BYU. This correspondence centers around the role of the church hierarchy in the affairs of BYU in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including the "spy ring" and the so-called "Negro question."
November 1939-February 1974
2 30-31
H. Grant Ivins and Seth T. Shaw
In addition to personal communication, Ivins and Shaw, a former colleague at BYU, exchange opinions on national politics, Vietnam, and the role of the LDS Church in Utah politics.
December 1962-November 1973
2 32-33
H. Grant Ivins and Heber M. Holt
As a young man in Southern Utah, Ivins served as a mentor to Holt. These letters contain Ivins' criticism of the official Joseph Smith story, his thoughts on the origin and authenticity on the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Word of Wisdom and his opinion on various LDS Church doctrines and on religion in general. Ivins considered this correspondence the most complete expression of his changing view of the LDS Church.
November 1967-April 1968
3 1-3
H. Grant Ivins and A. C. Lambert
Lambert was associated with Ivins at BYU. The correspondence contains discussion of LDS Church doctrine as well as personal communication.
August 1967-February 1973
3 4-6
H. Grant Ivins and John W. Fitzgerald
Correspondence centers around the conflict with LDS Church authorities which resulted in Fitzgerald's excommunication. In addition to correspondence, these folders contain news clippings, Fitzgerald's poetry, documents relating to Fitzgerald's trial before the High Council of Holladay Stake in December 1972 (including Ivins' letter in support of Fitzgerald), and a talk given by Fitzgerald at the First Baptist Church.
February 1969-July 1973
3 7
H. Grant Ivins and Dallin H. Oaks
Correspondence between Ivins and BYU president Dallin Oaks on academic freedom, religion-science conflicts, and racism within the church.
October 1971-November 1971
Personal Writings
Box Folder
3 8-10
Salt Lake Tribune Public Forum
Ivins' letters to the editor regarding racism at BYU and in Mormon theology, the role of the LDS Church in politics, and prophetic infallibility.
March 1966-September 1973
3 11-14
African Americans and the LDS Church
Personal correspondence, letters to the editor and newspaper clippings regarding the controversy surrounding the status of African Americans within the LDS Church. Contains Ivins' thoughts on the theological and cultural roots of Mormon racism.
3 15
"Response to Duane Stanfield"
Contains two versions of a paper submitted to Dialogue with Ivins' thoughts on Stanfield's letter in which Stanfield describes himself as an "apostate Mormon." Also contains related correspondence.
3 16
Correspondence, B. H. Roberts' Comparison, Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews
3 17
B. H. Roberts' Comparison, Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews
Contains an undated carbon copy, originally in the possession of Antoine R. Ivins, of the Roberts comparison.
3 18
Grant Ivins' Notes on B. H. Roberts' "A Book of Mormon Study"
Contains a ledger with 36 pages of handwritten notes. This document is Ivins' chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis of the Roberts comparison. This ledger also contains an inventory of 18 boxes of books.
3 19
Anthony W. Ivins
Photocopies of documents created by Anthony W. Ivins on polygamy, including a list of marriages performed between 1897 and 1904, numbers and ages of marriages, letters to Isaac Russell (1911) and Mrs. R. C. Allred (1934). Also included are two letters to Anthony W. Ivins from George Q. Cannon in 1897 and 1898.
3 20
David O. McKay
Two letters from David O. McKay to First Presidency in 1929, a paper supporting the stand of the Mormon church against polygamy in response to a pamphlet called "Celestial Marriage," and three 1970 clippings concerning David O. McKay.
3 21
Joel Martineau to Harold W. Bentley
Two letters from Martineau to Bentley regarding photographs and biographical sketches of prominent men in Colonia Juarez.
3 22
Miscellaneous Writings
Contains a paper written at Utah State Agricultural College and an article on Japanese Christianity.
3 23
Monument Dedication Services, Dixie Junior College
Anthony W. Ivins and Edward H. Snow were honored as founders of Dixie.
3 24
"Sketch of the Life of Lavina Christensen Fugal"
ca. 1955
3 25
Prayers and Eulogies
3 26
Hatchers and Breeders Association
3 27
Race Horse Gambling
3 28
News clippings, articles, and letter fragments. Also contains Ivins' photo identification from the Office of Price Administration.

WritingsReturn to Top

This series contains writings which Ivins intended to publish. At the urging of friends and family members, Ivins set out to document his personal experience with the practice of polygamy. He began a series of sketches and reminiscences that served as the basis for three works. "Stories of My Life in Mexico," a compilation of boyhood reminiscences, was completed by the Ivins family after the death of H. Grant Ivins in 1974. This document is in box 4, folders 12-17. The second manuscript to emerge from this material, a typescript entitled "Autobiography of H. Grant Ivins, Sr.," centers on the Ivins ancestry, the lives of H. Grant Ivins' grandfathers, Erastus Snow and Israel Ivins, and the life of his father, Anthony W. Ivins through the 1897 move of the family from St. George, Utah, to Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Two versions of this manuscript are located in box 4, folders 18-21. The third manuscript, developed from personal reminiscences, is in box 4, folders 22-28. This manuscript, edited by Sterling McMurrin, describes (in the context of Ivins' experience) the nature and extent of plural marriages occurring among Mormons in Mexico between the 1890 Woodruff Manifesto proscribing any marriages not in accordance with the "law of the land" and the 1904 Smith Manifesto declaring the proscription in force throughout the church. Boxes 5 and 6 contain the unfinished manuscript of Ivins' memoirs. This manuscript relies heavily on the diaries found in box 1 and on Ivins' personal correspondence. The remainder of the material in this section concerns H. Grant Ivins' views on religion. Box 7 contains Ivins' lecture notes on the subject of religion in general and the Mormon and Eastern religions in particular. Folders 12-15 contain a fragment of an unfinished Ivins text concerning religion, entitled "Application of Life to Religion." Also included are articles written by others on subjects related to religion.

Container(s) Description Dates
Autobiographical Writings
Box Folder
4 1
"Mexico's Bad Man"
4 2
4 3
"Kosterlitzke," "Antoine," "Shopping in El Paso," and "Stampede"
4 4
"Sonora Trip," "Garcia Trip," and "Social and Religious Activities"
4 5
"Broken Nose," "Mexican Bull," and "Juarez Stake Academy"
4 6
"West Side Home"
4 7
"Horses in Mexico"
4 8
4 9
"Smallpox," "McKeller Story," "Ward Teaching," and "Wart Removal"
4 10
"Survey Party"
4 11
Untitled Fragment on Colonia Juarez
4 12-17
"Stories of My Life in Mexico"
4 18-19
"Autobiography of H. Grant Ivins," Early Draft
4 20-21
"Autobiography of Heber Grant Ivins, Sr., 1889-1974"
4 22-23
"Mormon Polygamy in Mexico," Original Draft
4 24-25
"Polygamy in Mexico as Practiced by the Mormon Church, 1895-1905"
4 26
"Polygamy in Mexico," Sterling McMurrin Editorial Copy
Draft contains McMurrin's pencil editing.
4 27-28
"Polygamy in the Mormon Colonies of Mexico"
Contains Grant Ivins= rewrite after McMurrin=s comments.
This box contains a typescript of Ivins' memoirs, written between 1970 and 1974. The period of his early boyhood was covered in his "Stories of My Life in Mexico." This memoir begins with Ivins' trip to Salt Lake City to rejoin his family after he graduated from Juarez Academy in 1908 and ends with another move to Salt Lake City after the sale of the Ivins family property in Southern Utah. The typescript is contained in folders 3-21. A photocopy of Ivins' original handwritten draft begins in folder 22.
Box Folder
5 1-2
"Grade School" and "Baseball"
5 3
University of Utah Period
5 4-12
Japan Mission
5 13-14
Utah State Agricultural College
5 15-21
The Enterprise Period
5 22-25
Memoirs, First Draft
Contains Ivins' handwritten draft beginning with a description of his grade school days and ending with a description of the birth of Chiyo Thomas at the Japanese mission.
This box contains a continuation of Ivins' handwritten first draft of his memoirs. The manuscript in this box continues the Japanese mission period and ends with the Enterprise period.
Lecture Notes and Articles by Others
Box Folder
7 1-2
Lecture Notes
Contains notes on lectures and speeches given at BYU, various civic clubs, before the stake High Priests Quorum, and at LDS Church services from Pleasant Grove to Colonia Juarez.
7 3-11
Lectures on Comparative Religion
Contains lecture notes for Ivins' BYU lectures on Eastern religions. In addition to discussing the major Eastern religions, Ivins holds forth on the importance of developing a rational philosophy of life. Folder 11 contains a statement of Ivins' personal religious philosophy.
ca. 1935
7 12-15
"Application of Life to Religion"
Contains a typescript of a series of lessons developed by Ivins on the place of religion in everyday life. This manuscript is incomplete.
7 16
Parley A. Christensen, Tragedy as Religious Paradox
7 17
William Evans, "Are The Indians of Mongolian Origin?"
7 18
Sterling M. McMurrin, The Patterns of Our Religious Faiths
7 19
Lowry Nelson, "The Church and Academic Man"
7 20
M. Wilford Poulson, Background of Mormon Word of Wisdom
7 21
Walter F. Prince, "Notes on the Book of Mormon"
7 22
Mrs. Pearsall Smith, Practice of the Presence of God
7 23
Thomas W. Smith, "A Brief History of Early Pahreah Settlements" and "A Pioneer Story of an Encounter with the Indians"
7 24-25
Bess Snow, "History of Levi and Lucina Streeter Snow Family"
7 26
James E. Talmage, The Earth and Man

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Mormon Church--Missions--Japan
  • Mormons--Diaries
  • Mormons--Mexico
  • Mormons--Missionary experiences--Japan
  • Mormons--Polygamy
  • Polygamy

Personal Names

  • Ivins, Anthony Woodward, 1852-1934
  • Oaks, Dallin H.

Geographical Names

  • Dublan (Mexico)
  • Japan--Social life and customs
  • Juarez (Chihuahua, Mexico)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Autobiographies
  • Correspondence
  • Diaries
  • Essays