Gilbert W. Scharffs

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Gilbert Woodrow Scharffs[1] (June 27, 1930 - February 26, 2015)[2][3] was a Latter-day Saint religious educator and author.


Scharffs was born to Fritz and Louise Scharffs and raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).[4] He served as a missionary in the East German Mission of the LDS Church in the late 1950s,[5] where he served as editor for publications and later second counselor to the Mission President.[6] In 1959 he was married in the Salt Lake Temple to Laura Virginia Smith, a granddaughter of LDS President Joseph F. Smith. They would have four children,[1] one of which, Brett, would become a legal scholar.[7][8]

Scharffs received a B.A. in marketing from the University of Utah in the class of 1954,[9] a master's degree in business from New York University, and a Ph.D. in religion from Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1969.[10] His doctoral research was on the history of Mormons in Germany, where Scharffs had served as a missionary, and his dissertation was published by Deseret Book in 1970. Historian Donald Q. Cannon considers Scharffs' dissertation as part of the "major scholarly contribution to the study of Mormon history" that occurred during the 1960s.[11]

For many years Scharffs taught with the Church Educational System (CES). He was on the faculty of the Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah for 27 years,[12] having served as director following Reed C. Durham in 1974.[13] Scharffs also taught at BYU.

Among other callings in the church, Scharffs has served multiple times as a stake missionary,[14] a bishop in the early 1990s,[15][16] and a counselor in a stake presidency.[17]



  • Scharffs, Gilbert W. (1970). Mormonism in Germany: A History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany Between 1840 and 1970. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book. 
  • —— (1983). 101 Reasons Why I Like to Go to Church. Salt Lake City, Utah: Hawkes Publishing. ISBN 0-89036-181-9. 
  • —— (1986). The Truth About "The God Makers". Salt Lake City, Utah: Publishers Press.  Issued again in 1989, republished by Bookcraft in 1994.
  • —— (2002). The Missionary's Little Book of Answers. American Fork, Utah: Covenant Communications. ISBN 1-59156-038-1. 
  • —— (2006). Mormons & Masons. Setting the Record Straight. Orem, Utah: Millennial Press. ISBN 1-932597-37-9. 

Scharffs response to The God Makers is also available online at the Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research's website.[18]



  • Scharffs, Gilbert W. (1960), A Decade of Mormonism in U.S. Journalism, Unpublished paper in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library .
  • Stout, Hosea; —— (1967), Excerpts from the Journal of Hosea Stout Arranged in Topic form Giving Dates, Places and Page Numbers for Each Entry, Unpublished paper in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library .
  • —— (1967), An Appraisal of the Current Trends in the Growth and Geographic Distribution of the Mormon Church, Unpublished paper in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library .
  • —— (1967), No Sir, That's Not Research: A Search for the References Cited in Quest for Empire; The Political Kingdom of God and the Council of Fifty in Mormon History, Unpublished paper in the BYU Harold B. Lee Library .
  • —— (1969), History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany Between 1840 and 1968, Ph.D. dissertation, Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University, Department of Graduate Studies in the College of Religious Instruction 


  1. ^ a b Gilbert Scharffs's wife's obituary: "Obituary: Laura Virginia Smith Scharffs". Deseret News. April 16, 2000. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  2. ^ "The Truth about "The God makers" / Gilbert W. Scharffs". Copyright Catalog (1978 to present). United States Copyright Office. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  3. ^ "Gilbert Woodrow Scharffs". Holbrook Mortuary. Retrieved 2016-06-08. 
  4. ^ Gilbert Scharff's sister's obituary: "Death: Virginia Faye Rasmussen". Deseret News. November 13, 1997. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Book of Mormon Taught With Illustrated Lectures". Church News. Deseret News. March 16, 1957. p. 8. Retrieved 2010-01-20. 
  6. ^ Harris, Elaine Robbins; Lucile Christenson Tate (September 2008), "Mission President, August 1957 – December 1959", Burtis and Edythe: A life sketch of Brutis France Robbins and Edythe Lovena Christenson (PDF), p. 397, retrieved 2010-03-02 
  7. ^ Article from BYU Law Review by Brett Scharffs
  8. ^ Schaeper, Thomas J.; Kathleen Schaeper (2004). Rhodes Scholars, Oxford, and the Creation of an American Elite. New York: Berghahn Books. p. 388. ISBN 1-57181-683-6. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  9. ^ "Juniors". Utonian. Salt lake City: University of Utah. 1953. p. 191. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  10. ^ "History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Germany between 1840 and 1968". iLink BYU Online Catalog. Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  11. ^ Cannon, Donald Q. (Spring 2004). "[Review of] Leland Homer Gentry. A History of the Latter-day Saints in Northern Missouri from 1836 to 1839". Journal of Mormon History. 30 (1): 241. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  12. ^ "An Insider's Look at The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown". Meridian Magazine. November 19, 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  13. ^ Scharffs, Gilbert W. (1989). "'A Marvelous Work' (Isaiah 29:14)". The Truth About "The God Makers". Salt Lake City, Utah: Publisher's Press. Retrieved 2010-01-05. 
  14. ^ Scharffs, Gilbert W. (August 1972). "The Case against Easier Abortion Laws". Ensign: 58. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  15. ^ "Death: George Mills". Deseret News. September 23, 1990. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  16. ^ "Death: Doris Barney". Deseret News. March 8, 1992. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  17. ^ Anderson, Lavina Fielding (Summer 1994). "A Clarification". Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. 27 (2): ix. Retrieved 2010-02-03. 
  18. ^ FAIR Journal, Sept. 2002

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