Marlin K. Jensen
|Marlin K. Jensen|
|First Quorum of the Seventy|
|April 1, 1989– October 6, 2012|
|Called by||Ezra Taft Benson|
|End reason||Designated an emeritus general authority|
|Presidency of the Seventy|
|August 15, 1998– August 15, 2001|
|Called by||Gordon B. Hinckley|
|End reason||Honorably released|
|Emeritus General Authority|
|October 6, 2012|
|Called by||Thomas S. Monson|
|Born||Marlin Keith Jensen
May 18, 1942
Huntsville, Utah, United States
Marlin Keith Jensen (born May 18, 1942) has been a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) since 1989. He served as the official Church Historian and Recorder of the church from 2005 to 2012. He was the 19th man to hold that calling since it was established in 1830. Jensen was made an emeritus general authority in the October 2012 general conference.
- 1 Biographical background
- 2 General authority
- 3 Major statements
- 4 Publications
- 5 Notes
- 6 External links
Jensen was born in Huntsville, Utah. As a 19-year-old, he served as a missionary for the LDS Church in West Germany until 1964. He graduated from BYU with a B.S. in German. He obtained a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Utah College of Law in 1970, graduating first in his class. At the relatively young age of 28, he served as bishop of his ward in Huntsville, as had both his father and grandfather. He later served as president of the Huntsville Utah Stake. In 1987 he became a regional representative for the Kaysville Utah and Layton Utah regions.
Professionally, Jensen was an attorney in private practice in Ogden, Utah, specializing in business and estate planning. This supported his real passion of living a farming lifestyle. His family operates a ranching enterprise called Jensens' Middle Fork Ranch, in which he is a partner.
In 1989, Jensen became a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy at the age of 46. In 1993, he was made assistant executive director of the church's Priesthood Department, later becoming executive director until 2001. From 1993 to 1995, while a general authority, Jensen served as president of the church's New York Rochester Mission. In 1995, Jensen became a member of the church's Public Affairs Committee. From 1996 to 1998 he was executive director of the Church Historical Department. He served in the First Quorum of the Seventy until 1998, when he became a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, and in 2000 he also became the general president of the church's Sunday School. Jensen served in these positions until 2001. In 2004, he replaced D. Todd Christofferson as executive director of the Family and Church History Department, a position he held previously when it was just the Historical Department. In 2005, he became the first Church Historian and Recorder to serve since 1997. He served in this capacity until 2012 and was designated an emeritus general authority in October 2012.
Jensen has served in various area presidency positions. As a new Seventy in 1989, he was counselor to John K. Carmack, president of the Utah Central Area. From 1990 to 1992, Jensen served as president of the Utah North Area. He later served first as a counselor, then as president, of the North America Northeast Area. He was president of the Europe Central Area from 2001 to 2003.
Jensen has been Church Historian and Recorder since 2005, and executive director of the church's history department since 2004. In these roles and as a church official, he has spoken at General Conference, BYU Women's Conference (1998), BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference (2006), Northern Utah Family History Conference (2006), Yale's American Society of Church History (2007), and the Mormon History Association Conference (2005 and 2007). Jensen has also notably attended various conferences, including the Library of Congress' Worlds of Joseph Smith Symposium (2005) and UVSC's Mormon Studies Conference (2008).
Several major developments have occurred during Jensen's leadership over the church's history department.
- Joseph Smith Papers Project: In 2001, the LDS Church and BYU created the Joseph Smith Papers Project, intended to revise and expand on the longtime work of Dean C. Jessee to collect and publish all known writings of Joseph Smith, Jr. Under Jensen, the project expanded into a 30-some volume, multi-year effort endorsed by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives. In 2005, Jensen said this was "the single most significant historical project of our generation".
- Church History Library: Plans were finalized in 2005 to build a new 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2), 5 floor building near Temple Square to house the church archives and history department staff. It was opened to the general public in June 2009.
- Researchers return to archives: From 1980–1982, the church moved the History Division of the Historical Department to Provo, Utah, to become the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Church History at BYU. In late 2004, discussions began about returning researchers to the LDS Archives to increase pace and reduce costs in the Joseph Smith Papers Project. In June 2005, the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute was closed and the staff moved back to the Church Office Building, and in 2009 relocated again to the new Church History Library.
- Church Historian's Press: On February 25, 2008, a new imprint called the Church Historian's Press was announced as the long awaited publisher for the Joseph Smith Papers. Jensen mentioned the press could be used to publish George Q. Cannon's journals or other documentary works, and perhaps someday narrative histories and biographies that make use of the Church Archives.
- Department separation: On March 12, 2008, the Family and Church History Department was divided into the Family History Department and the Church History Department.
- New Assistant Church Historian called: On March 12, 2008, when the Church History Department was formed, Richard Turley was called as the first Assistant Church Historian since Davis Bitton was released in 1982.
- Mountain Meadows landmark: At the 2007 sesquicentennial of the Mountain Meadows massacre, descendants of the victims petitioned the LDS Church to secure landmark status for its holdings at the Mountain Meadows site. On March 28, 2008, Jensen addressed three descendants organizations and announced the LDS Church will seek National Historic Landmark designation for these properties.
In January 2012, it was announced that, after a transition period, Steven E. Snow would replace Jensen as the Church Historian and Recorder later in the year. Snow succeeded Jensen on August 1, 2012.
On October 6, 2012, Jensen was released from the First Quorum of the Seventy and designated as an emeritus general authority at the LDS Church's semi-annual general conference.
Jensen has at times addressed the press and public as a church representative. While not always official church positions, his statements illustrate his views as a mainstream leader in the LDS Church.
On April 22, 1998, Jensen was sent by the First Presidency to give an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune in reaction to a 1998 First Presidency statement and to explicitly state that someone could be a devout Mormon and a member of the Democratic Party. He lamented the decline of the Utah Democratic Party, and regretted that the Republican Party might be seen as the "church party". He felt that good Latter-day Saints will have conflicts with either party's platform, from which they must selectively pick and choose.
Coming from a church official on assignment from the First Presidency, the comments surprised many prominent Utah politicians and Latter-day Saints.
The Mormons (PBS)
- Doubt: Jensen described questioning his religion while in philosophy classes where he had to "test [his] belief against ... other theories." This led him to reinforce his faith through deeper study.
- Correlation: "We are really trying to take account of cultural differences and to not feel that this Utah influence or even the American influence has to be worldwide."
- Folklore of the priesthood ban: Jensen recalled his attempts to have the church repudiate the rationale some use to explain the priesthood ban.
- Historical truth claims: "I think we take it very literally. We don't deconstruct and feel that what we have is the figment of language or our imagination, or that there is some middle ground. I know that is very polarizing. In a sense, I think the hardest public relations sell we have to make is that this is the only true church."
- Homosexuality: Jensen said the gospel allows either heterosexuality or celibacy. He sympathized with celibate gay members, since the church cannot offer them hope of eventually finding love in this life as it can with single heterosexuals.
- Faith-promoting history: Jensen questioned whether the Church Historian should only focus on reinforcing faith, or if he should also focus on "objective" histories.
- Excommunicable doctrines: Jensen mentioned that members may receive disciplinary action in supporting gay marriage or opposing Book of Mormon divinity, if they are "openly vocal" and "malign the leadership in the church for not adopting that position."
On February 13, 2008, Jensen urged the Utah State Legislature to show compassion in considering laws that would affect undocumented immigrants. Several bills were under debate to block undocumented access to jobs and public benefits, such as in-state tuition and driving privilege cards. On behalf of the First Presidency at Westminster College's Interfaith Dialogue on Immigration, Jensen said lawmakers should "take a step back" since this "deal[s] with God's children" and "a more humane approach is warranted".
In a February 25, 2008 press release about the new Church Historian's Press publishing the Joseph Smith Papers, Jensen offered instruction on how to approach church history. He asked for LDS historians to "not be in an apologetic mode, but to be as open, candid and fair about our own history as we can". They should foster a culture of mutual openness with the general historical community. Jensen observed "greater dialogue coming about, less suspicion and a greater openness that is coming to pass".
On May 5, 2008, Jensen officially responded to Timothy Egan's New York Times op-ed piece which claimed that FLDS polygamy "is a look back at some of the behavior of Mormonism's founding fathers". Jensen strongly disagreed and pointed out that by 19th-century norms a 15-year-old bride was not unusual nor considered abused and the "common-law marriage age for women was 12". Plural marriages were "not controlled by the authority of one individual" and "the consent of individual women was always honored in any marriage proposal". In addition, many 19th-century polygamous wives were well-educated, politically active professionals.
On September 19, 2010, at a meeting of the Oakland, California stake where people were invited to share their experiences and responses to the LDS Church's involvement in the Proposition 8 campaign, Jensen made the statement: “To the full extent of my capacity, I say that I am sorry .... I know that many very good people have been deeply hurt, and I know that the Lord expects better of us.”
- Jensen, Marlin K.; Sandra Stallings Jenkins (June 1990). "Friend to Friend". The Friend: 6.
- —— (November 18, 1990). "Follow the Gospel Plan". (Fireside addressJ. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University.). Provo, Utah:
- —— (1993). "Loving with the Spirit and with the Understanding". Devotional and Fireside Speeches, 1992-93. pp. 91–99.
- —— (October 1994). "A Union of Love and Understanding". Ensign: 46–51.
- —— (1996). "Living After the Manner of Happiness". Speeches (Brigham Young University) 1995-96. pp. 29–37.
- —— (1997). "Martin Harris". Heroes of the Restoration. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft. ISBN 1-57008-291-X.
- —— (Fall 1997). "Where Art Thou?: Answering God's Interrogatories". Clark Memorandum (Provo, Utah: J. Reuben Clark Law Society): 3–7.
- —— (1998). "Gospel Doctrines—Anchors to Our Souls". BYU Women's Conference.
- —— (1999). "Upon These We Bestow More Abundant Honor". In Ronald W. Walker, Doris R. Dant. Nearly Everything Imaginable: The Everyday Life of Utah's Mormon Pioneers. Provo: BYU Studies, Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History. pp. 3–26.
- —— (August 1999). "How to Be Happy". New Era: 4–7.
- —— (2000). "May the Kingdom of God Go Forth". 29th Sperry Symposium: Out of Obscurity. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book. pp. 1–15.
- —— (June 2001). "Making a Mighty Change". New Era: 4–7.
- —— (2002). "Answering God's Interrogatories". In Galen L. Fletcher, Jane H. Wise. Life in the Law: Answering God's Interrogatories. Provo: J. Reuben Clark Law Society.
- ——; Melvin Leavitt (June 2006). "Friend to Friend: My Brother Gary". The Friend: 8–9.
- —— (Spring 2008). "Church History: Past, Present and Future". Journal of Mormon History (Mormon History Association) 34 (2): 20–42.
- —— (October 2008). "Gospel Doctrines: Anchors to Our Souls". Ensign: 58–61.
- —— (July 2008). "The Joseph Smith Papers: The Manuscript Revelation Books". Ensign: 46–51.
- —— (2009). "Those Who Are Different". Religious Educator (Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University) 10 (2).
General Conference addresses
- —— (November 1989). "'An Eye Single to the Glory of God'". Ensign: 27–28.
- —— (May 1994). "The Power of a Good Life". Ensign: 47–49.
- —— (May 1999). "Friendship: A Gospel Principle". Ensign: 64–65.
- —— (May 2001). "'To Walk Humbly with Thy God'". Ensign: 9–11.
- —— (May 2007). "Remember and Perish Not". Ensign: 36–38.
- Jensen, Marlin K.; John K. Carmack (June 1997). "Conversation: Church Museum Strengthens Members and Visitors". Ensign: 77–78.
- ——; Harrie, Dan (August 1998). "'To Have a Robust, Multi-Party System': Transcript of Salt Lake Tribune Interview with Elder Marlin K. Jensen". Sunstone 21 (3): 82–87.
- ——; Boone, David F. (2007). "A Historian by Yearning: A Conversation with Elder Marlin K. Jensen". Religious Educator (Religious Studies Center) 8 (3): 1–13.
- —— (December 2007). "There Shall Be a Record Kept among You". Ensign: 28–33.
- Lloyd, R. Scott (May 28, 2005). "Historian by yearning' collects, preserves: Elder Marlin K. Jensen is historian/recorder". Church News. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
- "Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the First Quorum of the Seventy". Ensign. May 1989. p. 91. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Marlin K. Jensen". Contributor Bios. The Joseph Smith Papers Project. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Donor Report". Res Gestae (Salt Lake City: University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law) 29: 35. Autumn 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Appointments". Ensign. June 1987. p. 79. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Elder Marlin K. Jensen". Keynote Speakers and Frequent Presenters. Evergreen International. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- "Called to Serve: An Historic Event—159th Annual General Conference". New Era. July 1989. p. 16. Retrieved 2008-05-28..
- "A Conversation on Preparing Ourselves for the Temple". Ensign. May 1993. p. 103. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
- "Changes in Presidency of Seventy". Ensign. August 2001. p. 75. Retrieved 2008-06-12.
- "Transcript of Marlin Jensen Interview". Latter-day Reference. Kevin Ashworth. April 22, 1998. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- Turley, Richard E., Jr. (2000). "Historian, Church". In Garr, Arnold K.; Cannon, Donald Q.; Cowan, Richard O.. Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. pp. 494–5.
- Christofferson, Ryan P. (2005). "Family History: A Conversation with Elder D. Todd Christofferson". Religious Educator 6 (2). Retrieved 2008-06-12.[dead link]
- Ayres, Jr., B. Drummon (May 22, 1998). "Political Briefing; A Democratic Mormon Offers Hope in Utah". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
- "Area Presidency Assignments". Ensign. November 1989. p. 105. Retrieved 2008-05-28.
- Justin (March 5, 2008). "History of the Joseph Smith Papers Project". Mormon Wasp. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- "New Church History Library to Be Constructed". Newsroom (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). April 20, 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
- Lloyd, R. Scott (June 25, 2009). "'A record kept' among His people". Church News (Deseret News). Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- "Dr. Arrington Demoted". Salt Lake City Messenger. March 1982. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Moore, Carrie A. (June 21, 2005). "Scholars moving to S.L.". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Jared T (March 12, 2008). "Breaking News: Changes in Family and Church History Department Organization". Juvenile Instructor. Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Moore, Carrie A. (September 12, 2007). "Groups want church to back historic landmark status". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- Moore, Carrie A. (March 29, 2008). "Mountain Meadows landmark plan aims to heal, unite". Deseret News. Retrieved 2008-12-03.
- "First Presidency Urges Citizen Participation". Ensign. April 1998. p. 77. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- Harrie, Dan (May 3, 1998). "GOP Dominance Troubles Church". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-29.
- "Marlin Jensen". The Mormons: Interviews. PBS. March 7, 2006. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- According to this 1998 Los Angeles Times article, Jensen was asked by some LDS members in 1996 to address this problem.
- Bulkeley, Deborah (February 15, 2008). "Have compassion for immigrants, lawmakers urged". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Romboy, Dennis (February 15, 2008). "Debate resumes over illegal immigrants' status in LDS Church". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Bulkeley, Deborah (February 15, 2008). "Compassion call could affect immigration bills". Deseret Morning News. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- "Elder Marlin K. Jensen discusses transparency, openness and dialogue within the context of Mormon scholarship". New Publishing Imprint Set to Boost Mormon Scholarship. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. February 25, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-02.
- Egan, Timothy (April 23, 2008). "Faith of Our Fathers". Outposts. The New York Times Blog. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
- "Polygamy Then and Now", lds.org, accessed 2008-05-30.
- Joanna Brooks, "Mormon Leader: ‘I’m Sorry’ For Hurtful Legacy of Prop. 8", Religion Dispatches, 2010-09-28.
- "General Authorities: Elder Marlin K. Jensen", lds.org
- PBS Interview with Marlin K. Jensen
- Grampa Bill's G.A. Pages: Marlin K. Jensen
- Biography at Joseph Smith Papers Project website (accessed May 4, 2012)