LaMar Petersen papers, 1829-2005

Overview of the Collection

Petersen, LaMar, 1910-2005
LaMar Petersen papers
1829-2005 (inclusive)
11.25 linear feet
Collection Number
MS 0524
The LaMar Petersen papers (1829-2005) consist of book reviews, correspondence, publications, and an interview concerning Petersen and his controversial research regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).
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

LaMar Petersen (1910-2005) was born 23 December 1910, the ninth child of Adam and Anna Petersen, postmaster and postmistress at Eden, in Weber County, Utah. He grew up in Salt Lake City, where he cultivated his talents as a pianist. He was the director of the Mozart School of Music for twenty years, and was on the faculty of the McCune School of Music and Art at the University of Utah. Petersen's interest in researching discrepancies in the doctrine of the LDS Church, and in the life of Joseph Smith, led to his excommunication from the church in 1969. His first publication on the subject, a pamphlet called "Problems in Mormon Text," in 1957, began the controversy which led to the excommunication of him and his family. Petersen became active in a discussion group led by Angus Woodbury, which continued the research of controversial Mormon documents. His book, Hearts Made Glad: The Changes of Intemperance against Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, about the lifestyle of Joseph Smith, was published in 1975. Petersen died on 16 September 2005.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The LaMar Petersen papers (1829-2005) consist of book reviews by Petersen, correspondence concerning his research in Mormon history and ideology, his publication, "Problems in Mormon Text," his book, Hearts Made Glad: The Changes of Intemperance against Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet, and personal papers and articles. There are also two bound volumes of materials entitled "Memoirs of LaMar Petersen: Controversies in Mormonism," and "Correspondence on Mormon History," which further document Petersen's 1950-1980 research. The first part of "Memoirs" contains an edited transcript of three interviews recorded at the home of LaMar Petersen with Kent and Mischel Walgren during 1978. In these, Petersen recounts his association and discussion with various individuals regarding Mormonism. The bulk of the volume contains a typed photocopied manuscript of Petersen's "Controversies in Mormonism." The second volume, "Correspondence," contains photocopies of his correspondence and a few articles dating 1969-1978. Also included in the collection are various articles that Petersen collected that concern Mormonism and related subjects as well as several subject files which Petersen collected for his research.

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

Acquisition Information

Box 1 was donated by LaMar Petersen in 1981.

Box 2 was donated by Kent Walgren in 1987.

Boxes 3-18 (7.75 linear feet) were purchased in 1997.

Separated Materials

Five tapes were removed to the Special Collections Multimedia Division collection (A0295).

Processing Note

Processed by Jennifer Breaden in 1990.

Addendum processed by Jonathan D. Hepworth in 2008.

Addendum (box 19, folder 1) processed by Betsey Welland in 2013.

Addendum (box 20) processed by Betsey Welland in 2018.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Book Reviews, Articles, and Personal PapersReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 1
Book Reviews and Letters
1 2
Book Reviews and Articles
1 3
"Problems in Mormon Text" and "History of Eden"
"The History of Eden," is an autobiography of Petersen's childhood.
1 4
Lists of Christian Groups Working with Mormons
1 5
Mozart School of Music Papers
1 6
Personal Papers
Included in this folder is Sonia Johnson's article "In Defense of Equal Rights."

CorrespondenceReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
2 1
General Correspondence
2 2
Memoirs of LaMar Petersen, Controversies in Mormonism
This is a transcribed interview with Petersen, by Kent Walgren. The bulk of this volume contains the manuscript regarding controversies in Mormonism.
2 3
Correspondence on Mormon History

Writing and ResearchReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
3 1
Petersen Writings and Related Documents
3 2
Correspondence Concerning Problems in Mormon Text
3 3
Petersen Writings Publicity
3 4
Book Reviews and Letters
3 5
Petersen Papers for Utah State Historical Society

Papers on Mormonism Reviewed by PetersenReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
4 1-3
Papers Reviewed by Petersen and Correspondence
4 4
45 Abstracts on Mormon History Subjects
4 5
Articles on Early Mormon History
4 6
Thayne I. Andersen, Intoxicants in the Book of Mormon
4 7-8
Richard Andrews, Mormonism, A Monumental Lie

Articles on Mormonism and Related SubjectsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
5 1
Book Review: Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon
5 2
Bostonia Magazine, "Mormonism, Nearly a Nation"
5 3
James E. Chapman, Dissent in the Church
5 4
James R. Clark, Article on Early Mormon Kingdom
5 5
Clayton W. Cook, Why Should They Become White and Delightsome?
5 6
Lee Descombes and Pat Boone, Revelations
5 7
A. Chris Eccel, The Role of the Mormon Apologist
5 8
Rulon R. Fairbanks Correspondence
5 9
Edwin B. Firmage On Priesthood for Women
5 10
Audrey Godfrey, "Housewives, Hussies, and Heroines"
5 11
Bob Gottlieb and Peter Wiley, "Static In Zion"
5 12
Gordon Hackney, LDS Church vs. The Sabbath
5 13
Heber Q. Hale, A Heavenly Manifestation
5 14
Marvin S. Hill, "Joseph Smith and the 1826 Trial"
5 15
Two Articles by Marvin S. Hill
5 16
Sonia Johnson, Patriarchal Panic
5 17
Stanley S. Ivins, Polygamy Notes and Moses Thatcher Case
5 18
Jeffrey Kaye, "An Invisible Empire: Mormon Money in California"
5 19
Eugene Kovalenko, The Reincarnation of Joseph Smith
5 20
A. C. Lambert, Correspondence and Writings
5 21
Stan Larson, Articles
5 22-23
Irene S. Leland, Research and Writings
6 1
Los Angeles Times Magazine, "White Salamander Murders"
6 2
Brigham Madsen Articles
6 3
H. Michael Marquardt, Articles
6 4
Masonry and Mormonism Compared
6 5
Sterling McMurrin, Correspondence and Articles
6 6
Dee Jay Nelson Materials
6 7
Oui Magazine, Latter-Day Intrigues of the Mormon Church
6 8
Clarence F. Packard Essays
6 9
Michael Parrish, Mountain Meadows
6 10
Michael Parrish, "The Saints Among Us"
6 11
Mark E. Petersen, Race Problems As They Affect the Church
6 12
Waldemer P. Read, What Freedom in Local Culture?
6 13
William D. Russell Articles
6 14
Don Simpson, The Golden Myth of Mormonism
6 15
George D. Smith Articles
6 16
Robert F. Smith, Oracles and Talismans
6 17
Edwina Jo Snow, William Chandless Article
6 18
A. D. Sorenson, Russell Against the Book of Mormon
6 19
R. Jan Stout, Spectrum of Religious Beliefs in Mormon Community
6 20-21
Samuel W. Taylor, Articles, Correspondence, and Speeches
7 1
Kent L. Walgren, James Adams Article and Sentimental Thoughts
7 2
Douglas K. Walker, Review of Since Cumorah
7 3
Wesley P. Walters, Joseph Smith Family's New York Moves
7 4
Wesley P. Walters Materials
7 5
Watchman Expositor
7 6
Disfellowshipment of Robert D. Bagley
7 7
William Clayton, Journal Excerpts
7 8
Correspondence with Ernest Cook
7 9
Mark Hofmann Materials
7 10
LDS Church Discipline
7 11
Helen Radkey (Olmstead) Excommunication
7 12-13
George Arlen Petereit Correspondence, Papers, and Documents

Articles and Topical FilesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
8 1
Morris L. Reynolds Correspondence
8 2
Lucy Mack Smith to Mary Pierce
8 3
Jerald and Sandra Tanner Materials
8 4
John Phillip Walker Materials
8 5
John Whitmer, History of the Latter-day Saints, Last 3 Chapters
8 6
Woodbury Group Meetings
8 7
Topical Files, A
Includes: Book of Abraham, archaeology, anti-Mormon, authority, atheists, apostles.
8 8
Topical Files, B
Includes: Book of Mormon, Blood Atonement, Brigham Young University, Ezra Taft Benson, John Birch Society, John Beck, Bible,
8 9
Topical Files, C
Includes: Church, Carthage Jail, Carl Carmer, Conformity, Conference, Communism, Civil Rights, Book of Commandments, Centennial Free Press, Censorship
8 10
Topical Files, D
Includes: Deseret News, Doubt, Devils, Danites, Doctrine and Covenants, Dialogue, Dissent, Bernard DeVoto.
8 11
Topical Files, E-F
Includes: Nauvoo Expositor, Easter Island, Excommunication, Education, Evolution, Albert Einstein, First Vision, Peggy Fletcher, John W. Fitzgerald Correspondence: between Petersen and Allen Fifield; between Rulon R. Fairbanks and LDS Church Authorities;

Topical FilesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
9 1
Topical Files, G-J
Includes materials on: God, nature of God, Geography and the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and LDS Church History, writings by G. T. Harrison, Utah Heritage Foundation, Hate Groups, Indians, Salt Lake Institute of Religion, Jews.
9 2
Topical Files, K-M
Subjects/items include: Kinderhook Plates, Language, John D. Lee, , Joseph Lewis, Liquor, Lost Ten Tribes, William Mulder, David O. McKay, H. Michael Marquardt, Mormon culture. Correspondence: Petersen correspondence with Carlyle B. Lambert, A. C. Lambert, Stan Larson, Macmillan Company, Librarian of Masonic Temple; Mrs. Rex F. Larsen letter to Richard L. Evans; O. Boyd Mathias to John Fitzgerald, Monroe H. Fleming, A. R. Mortensen, LaMar Petersen.
9 3
Topical Files, N
Subjects include: New York Public Library, Blacks and Mormonism, Hugh Nibley
9 4
Topical Files, O-Q
Subjects include: priesthood, prayer, prophecy, polygamy Correspondence: between Petersen and individuals concerning Problems in Mormon Text, Thomas F. Preshaw, Bruce Owens, Pat Pendse.
9 5
Topical Files, R-S
Topics include: religion, Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Community of Christ Church), racial predjudice, Dead Sea Scrolls, Sunday School, sex Correspondence: between Petersen and Hartman Rector Jr; Joseph Fielding Smith to Christine Sweet, Mont Woolley; between J. Raymond Cope and George Albert Smith.
9 6
Topical Files, T-Z
Subjects include: truth, telephone, temple, tithing, tongues, lost Ten Tribes, translation of Book of Mormon, Unitarianism, David Whitmer, Brigham Young Correspondence: Petersen to Jerald Tanner, Bill Timmins; L. Gerald Burrus to John W. Fitzgerald; between James D. Wardle and Charles A. Davies, Israel A. Smith, Lloyd Treadgold, Richard P. Howard, Dialogue Editors; Wilford C. Wood to Edmoad C. Gruss

Tracts, Booklets, and Other Mormon LiteratureReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
10 1-2
LDS Booklets and Newsletters
10 3
LDS Church General Handbook of Instructions
10 4
Mormon and Anti-Mormon Tracts
10 5
Mormon Symposiums
10 6
Newsclippings on Mormonism
10 7
RLDS (Community of Christ) Church Booklets

Utah, Related Subjects and General DocumentsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
11 1-2
General Correspondence, Articles, and Documents
11 3
Mixed Religious Booklets and Newsletters
11 4
In Memoriam Eulogies
11 5
Justin C. Stewart, History of Sundance, Utah
11 6
Sunstone Foundation, Sesquicentennial Mormon History Calendar
11 7
The Ten Commandments (Movie) Booklet
11 8
Tourist Pamphlets and Maps
11 9
Utah Sites, Events, and Language Booklets
11 10
John M. Bourne, Utah State Historical Society Assessment
11 11
Utah State University, Heber C. Snell Papers Register
Brigham Young University, Speeches of the Year

Note Cards and Research MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Note Cards for Hearts Made Glad
Subjects include: Introduction, Chapter I, Palmyra, Manifestations, Word of Wisdom, Missouri, Nauvoo, Epilogue, Reference, Bibliography
Large Subject Note Cards
Subjects include: Abraham, Archaeology, Blood Atonement, Caracters, Cowdery, Cursings/Cut-off/Damnation/Vengeance, Danites, Devils, Doctrine and Covenants, Ethnology, First Vision, Geography, God, Language, Manifestations, Masonry, Mormons, Money Digging, Blacks, Plates, Polygamy, Priesthood, Prophecy.
Large and Small Subject Note Cards
Subjects for the Large Note Cards are: Revelation, Joseph Smith, Stone, Temple, Translation, Visions, Witnesses, Zion, Intemperance. Subjects for the Small Note Cards are: Blood Atonement, Book of Commandments, Cowdery, Cursings/Cut-off/Damnation/Vengeance, Danites, Devil, First Vision, Bible in Book of Mormon, Book of Mormon, Changes, Chronology, Destruction of Nephites, Geography, Confession, Cumorah, Vast or limited? [Book of Mormon Georgraphy], Landing and Narrow Neck of land [Book of Mormon Geography].
Small Subject Note Cards
Subjects include: God, [numbered] 3-10, Inspired Revision, Intemperance, Jesus, Manifestations, Polygamy, Priesthood in Book of Mormon, Priesthood in Bible, Rebaptism, Revelations, Salvation, Conditions for Salvation, Definition, Endless torment, Resurrection, Sin, Joseph Smith, Temple, Tongues, Visions, Brigham Young, Zion.
Small Subject Note Cards
Subjects include: [no subject], Miracles, Money Digging, Prophecy, Stone, Translation, Wars, Witnesses, Plates in Book of Mormon, Population, Language (Philology), Literary, Tantology, Verbs, Ungrammatical, Merit, Logic, Anachronisms, Whitmer.

General MaterialsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Tourist Pamphlets and Maps for Intermountain West
19 1
" Memories of Our Father and Grandfather: LaMar Petersen, 1910-2005"
General Materials
This box contains news clippings and other materials regarding the Mormon Church.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Latter Day Saint churches--Controversial literature

Personal Names

  • Petersen, LaMar, 1910-2005--Interviews

Form or Genre Terms

  • Articles
  • Correspondence
  • Criticism
  • Interviews