When the First Presidency recently called me to serve as Church Historian, they counseled in partial explanation that the resources and techniques of genealogical research should be closely aligned with those of historical research. This counsel reflects a concern for correlation of agencies, programs, institutions—not to abandon the values of specialization but to enable these to be pooled cooperatively to serve larger long-range purposes.
The World Conference on Records, sponsored in 1969 by the Genealogical Society of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has done much to alert experts throughout the United States and abroad to the resources, motivations, and ever-improving technology that stand behind Mormon collections of genealogical and historical data. One result is a new regard and a new sense of mutual helpfulness in the huge task of retrieval and record maintenance.
We commend the interdepartmental and inter-university efforts of the Institute of Mormon Studies and mark the results of another year of research, some of which appears in this issue of BYU Studies. Institute researchers working in close cooperation with our microfilmers as well as with our Church Historian Office staff have deepened the store of creditable data on Mormon origins, early leaders, and the New York period. Drawing together a variety of disciplines (including archaeology and historiography at the Whitmer home) they have assisted in discovering, relating, and weighing such findings.
We commend all those who are contributing to or who may yet contribute to these efforts. We encourage their continuance and intensification and pledge our cooperation in the more effective gathering and use of the past that is always the prologue of the destiny of mankind.
Howard W. Hunter