Thursday, April 24, 2014

Retired professor creates new pictorial introduction to the LDS Church

By Trent Toone, Deseret News

Published: Thu, Dec. 19 5:00 a.m. MST

 Editor Roy A. Prete has compiled a new book that uses photos to illustrate the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Editor Roy A. Prete has compiled a new book that uses photos to illustrate the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

(Merrell Publishing)

"THE MORMONS: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," edited by Roy Prete, Merrell Publishers, $34.95, 160 pages (nf)

In February 2012, Roy A. Prete and his wife were listening to Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve speak at the Deseret Book annual authors' banquet in Salt Lake City.

During his remarks, Elder Perry encouraged the audience of authors to write more books in order to keep up with the growing interest in Mormonism.

"It burned so deeply into my soul that I was willing to take it on," Prete said.

Prete, a retired history professor, drew upon his experience as a missionary in France in the mid-1960s to come up with a book idea. He recalled using a pictorial introduction to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints titled, "The Mormon Story," by Rulon S. Howell, published in 1957, on his mission.

He also remembered a similar book called "Meet the Mormons," by Doyle L. and Randall L. Green, that was used in the 1960s and ’70s to introduce people to the church. He envisioned the creation of a new book with up-to-date photos and information, Prete said.

"The book would have as key themes the centrality of Jesus Christ in the Mormon belief system, the importance of the family in the divine plan, and the consequent focus on strengthening the family," Prete said. "It would also reiterate that Mormons are ordinary people, serving in their communities all over the world, wherever there is religious freedom."

Almost two years later, the book, titled "The Mormons: An Illustrated History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," is now published and available for purchase at, Deseret Book, and other bookstores.

"It brings me immense satisfaction," Prete said. "At times I didn't think it could be done."

The book, designed by Stephen Hales, is full of color photos that portray an overview of the LDS Church. Associate editors include Richard O. Cowan, John P. Livingstone and Craig J. Ostler.

Prete said all proceeds will be donated to LDS Charities, with one-third going to the Perpetual Education Fund and two-thirds to LDS Humanitarian Aid.

Email: Twitter: tbtoone

1. Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT,
Dec. 19, 2013

I'll bet it will be completely thorough and objective.

2. Joan Watson
Dec. 20, 2013

This will hopefully be a compliment to the pictorial book 'The Mission'. published in 1995. This edition featured beautiful and professional photographs concerning the life and beliefs of members of the church - with an introduction by President Gordon B. Hinckley 'Why I am a Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints', and a epilogue by Roger Rosenblatt, 'Images of Faith'.

3. Lillith70
Dec. 20, 2013

"I'll bet it will be completely thorough and objective."

This is rather a funny comment. Objective religious book? What would need to be included, the national narrataive of the rest of the USA at every point in the story? A equal time commnet section by Sandra Turner.

That ought to make a really great book for selling. Could be that thinking folks can get their own fair and balanced arguments if they don't like the picture titles. Pictures may be neutral or objective or should dark clouds and gloom be added to the pictures of a happy people?

Ah, youth?

4. laVerl 09
St Johns, AZ,
Dec. 20, 2013

At first I winced at the price and yet was still going to buy it, but when you said all proceeds were going to charity, I was happy to pay the price. Thx for advertising it.

5. Capella
Bakersfield, CA,
Dec. 21, 2013

I will check it out first and if it is a thorough exposé, I will happily purchase it. If it is yet another whitewashed, sanitized (sans MMM and the controversies), it will be relegated to the vast quantity of selective rewrites that adorn our paternities' shelves already.

Hope springs eternal, but not realistically. Will we ever see a polygamous Joseph or an angry Brigham at the cairn in Mountain Meadows, or any of my great-grandpas in their striped prison uniforms doing "time" rather than abandoning their plural wives and children?....