News Release

Upcoming "Saints" volume three looks back at the history of the Church in Europe

Contributions of early Latter-day Saints strengthens faith across generations

British historian James Perry sees history as a way to “work out why things are the way they are.” His curiosity turned into a passion and later a career. As a writer and historian for the third volume of “Saints,” a narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Perry’s research is focused on the lives of early Church members in the United Kingdom and Europe. Volume three is scheduled to be published in the first half of 2022.

He said that volume three is most likely the “least known period of Church history” and that “readers can expect to learn more about the history of the Church in Europe, how it weathered two world wars and economic crises. Also, how the Church addressed past practices of polygamy and overcame some of the financial and political pressures it was experiencing in America.” This volume will also show how the Swiss Temple came about and the way it influenced the development of temples around the world.

Perry said that this volume of “Saints” will cover stories about Latter-day Saints in Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and other European countries.

James Perry, PhD, FHEA is a writer and historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

In his work, Perry reads letters, records and journals and also reviews scrapbooks and other historical documents to find and verify the stories he comes across. He and other historians seek to find stories that are “interesting enough to get readers to turn the page, show change within the Church and are spiritually uplifting. We address controversial events as well, but we also look to inform, educate and inspire members of the Church.”

“I'm always surprised by the sacrifices that members of the Church are willing to make. Especially when you envision yourself in someone else's situation as they have lost loved ones in wartime, their husbands have died, and they've got every reason to turn away from religion and from God, but, they draw closer and are still willing to sacrifice even when they have nothing. It's just very inspiring.”

Producing “Saints” is a collaborative process between historians and creative writers,” Perry said. “As a historian, I try and find characters and provide the creative writers with several different options. Once they've looked at the sources we gathered, they'll start to sketch out what the story might look like, weaving in as many different developments that have taken place in the Church.”

He said this work would not be possible without the personal journals and records that have been kept since the early days of the Church. Perry encourages modern-day Latter-day Saints to do the same.

“We are just one link in the chain of the history of the restoration and are entitled to draw strength on those who have gone before us. We also share the responsibility to leave a legacy for those who will follow us,” said Perry.

It is his desire that members and friends of the Church in Europe will read Saints and “come away with a desire to try a little harder, to be a little better and to draw strength on the contributions others have made in the past,” Perry said. “The condition of the Church today in Europe is largely a result of those who have gone before us. They have overcome stereotypes, built buildings, shared the gospel, wrote newspaper articles and each of these actions have continued to shape the Church and its place in society today.”

James Perry Image 01
James Perry with his family2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

For those who would like to read “Saints” volumes one and two, hard copies can be purchased at distribution centres near Latter-day Saint temples or online at the Church’s online store (in 14 languages). The series is also available at no charge in the Gospel Library and in other formats here. Readers tip: a temple dedication bookends each book in the series; volume one, the Nauvoo Temple; volume two, the Salt Lake Temple and volume three, the Switzerland Temple.

In addition, a series of six stories researched and written by Perry will be published monthly in Church newsrooms across Europe. These articles will feature the contributions of Latter-day Saints to the foundation of the Church in Europe. The series is titled, “Milestones and Miracles: The heritage of Latter-day Saints in Europe” beginning with Arthur Winter: “One of Britain’s great gifts to the work of the Church.”

About James Perry, PhD, FHEA

James Perry became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young man in England. Two years after he was baptised he served a full-time mission in the England Manchester Mission. He felt honored to serve in areas where Latter-day Saint missionaries and members had lived during the early days of the Church.

Following his mission Perry studied history at Lancaster University earning an undergraduate degree and a Master’s and PhD. He is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and previously was a researcher and associate lecturer at Lancaster University, and a manager of university career and academic support teams at Newcastle College.

Perry works full-time for the Church as a writer and historian and currently serves as the branch president of his congregation in northern England where he lives with his wife and two children.

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