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 David

    David Golding is a historian of Mormonism and missions.

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      He graduated with a Ph.D. in the history of Christianity at Claremont Graduate University.

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      His specialization is transdisciplinary, drawing from the field of religious studies.

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      He has written and lectured on missionaries and their interactions with proselytes.

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      He teaches courses on Mormon history at Brigham Young University.


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for reading all published and previously published sections of the Doctrine and Covenants and all published and unpublished revelations of Joseph Smith.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

  • 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.

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