D Golding

David Golding

Historian, Church History Library, Salt Lake City

Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University
History of Christianity & Religions in North America

  • David Golding Portrait
  • About Me

    I’m a historian of missions, Mormonism, and American religion.

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      I graduated with a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity and religions of North America at Claremont Graduate University.

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      I specialize in transdisciplinary research methods, drawing from the field of religious studies.

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      I have written and lectured on missionaries and their interactions with proselytes.

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      I have taught courses on world religions and Mormon history at Brigham Young University.

  • Missionary Interests

    Protestant and Mormon Missions in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

    Co-Edited with Christopher Cannon Jones

    • American missionaries, both Mormon and Protestant, have embarked on intrepid and audacious campaigns to evangelize the world.

      Despite sometimes wide differences in religious belief and practice, these groups shared in dividing the world categorically along lines of race, status, and exoticism, and in occupying liminal spaces between proselytizer and proselytized, feminine and masculine, colonizer and colonized.

      This series of essays offers an often overlooked juxtaposition between Protestant and Mormon missionary efforts during periods of sustained outreach and features top scholars in the field of missionary history.


  • Contents

    Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp


    Christopher Cannon Jones and David Golding


    Kathryn Gin Lum

    Heathen Landscapes: Of Souls and Soils

    Emily Conroy-Krutz

    Before “Woman’s Work for Woman”: Protestant Missionary Applications and Gender

    Devrim Ümit

    Humanitarian Encounter in Late Ottoman Turkey: State, American Protestant Missions, and the Christian Herald Armenian Relief Fund

    Taunalyn Ford

    Dueling Orientalisms: The Scottish Imagination in the Mormon Missionary Mind

    Amanda Hendrix-Komoto

    Shoshone Worlds, Bannock Zions: Protestant and Latter-day Saint Missionary Work among the Shoshone and Bannock

    Jeffrey G. Cannon

    Traveling Elders: The Latter-day Saint Gaze on Africa in the Early Twentieth Century

    Lauren F. Turek

    Earthquakes, Mudslides, and Hurricanes: Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Aid in Evangelical Missionary Strategy

    David J. Howlett

    Inventing Rupture in India and America: Adivāsi Converts, Hindu Nationalists, and American RLDS Missionaries, 1966–1996

    Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye

    Technological Christianity: Transferring Processes, Forms, and Organizational Tools within Global Missionary Encounters

    David Golding

    Missing Missiology: Latter-day Saint Missionary Pragmatism and the Search for Scholarship

    David A. Hollinger

    American Missionaries and the Struggle for Control of Christianity’s Symbolic Capital

  • Synopsis of the Four Gospels

    King James Reader’s Edition

    • A reader-friendly column layout bringing the Four Gospels into parallel view.

      Many “gospel harmonies” lay the gospel texts side by side. This edition offers the King James Version in a parallel format arranged by pericope—the story units that circulated among the earliest followers of Jesus as narrative traditions before they were written down.

      This synopsis affords students of the gospels a new reading sequence in a familiar translation. Released under a Creative Commons license and free to download.

  • Superstitions of the Heathen

    Foreign Missions and the Fashioning of American Exceptionalism, 1800–1861

    Ph.D. Dissertation, Claremont Graduate University

    • In 1800, the first missionary periodicals to be published in the United States entered circulation.

      Readers would soon rely on this growing literature for information about the world beyond.

      This dissertation traces the ways missionaries abroad defined the “foreign” for home audiences, and in turn, shaped early ideas of American exceptionalism.


Featured essays and musings on religious studies and history

  • Jesus Wrote a Letter? Possibly

    January 9, 2023

    It’s well known that nothing Jesus wrote, if he wrote anything down, has survived history. And there’s his letter to Abgar V that Eusebius of Caesarea claimed to have read and translated from Syriac into Greek.

    Where Did the New Testament Come From?

    January 5, 2023

    We pull out our trusty King James Bible, turn to the New Testament, and see Matthew, chapter 1, verse 1. Where did this text come from?

    Catalog of Doctrine and Covenants Documents

    September 22, 2021

    A thorough resource for reading all published and previously published sections of the Doctrine and Covenants and all published and unpublished revelations of Joseph Smith.

  • A Messenger Stood Near Them

    December 24, 2020

    Strict historicity of narrative elements in the Nativity Story brings out some novel revisions to how we imagine the birth of Yeshua (Jesus).

    Emergence of the Missionary Department

    January 9, 2020

    Missions touch virtually every congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and are managed by the Missionary Department headquartered in Salt Lake City. Despite such scope and activity, this department’s administrative history has yet to be written.

    Rediscovering Fanny Alger Custer

    July 31, 2018

    Some newly discovered sources allow us to consider Fanny Alger Custer independently of the Mormon prophet Joseph Smith and even get a sense of a more complete biography. Here is a highlight from the new sources, something stunning from Fanny herself—her own voice.

    The Time Neil Armstrong Searched for Gold Plates

    July 20, 2018

    It’s true: Neil Armstrong led an expedition into an Ecuadorian jungle to search for gold plates. The story begins with a Latter-day Saint mission president, an eccentric anthropologist, and an Italian Catholic missionary. It ends with Donny Osmond. And there are aliens in the middle.

    Joseph Smith Biographies: The Essentials

    May 25, 2016

    If we were to craft the perfect graduate seminar syllabus or the perfect comprehensive exam reading list on Joseph Smith, what works would it include?

Get in Touch

Feel free to contact me.

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    801 240–5192

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    Church History Library
    Attn: David Golding 316
    15 East North Temple Street
    Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-1600