Come October We Will Bid Goodbye to Elder Jensen as LDS Church Historian

By January 12, 2012

He will be given Emeritus status at the October General Conference and Elder Steven E. Snow will become the new Church Historian.

I don’t know a lot about Elder Snow, but I do know that Elder Jensen will be sorely missed. He has been a tremendous advocate for Church History and those who have had even the most passing personal contact with him know him to be a genuine gem of a person.

Back when I was an undergraduate and still very unsure about the course my life would take (I’m a little more sure now, but only a little), through an interesting series of events I was given the opportunity to have lunch with Elder Jensen and Rick Turley in Elder Jensen’s office. Their candor and compassion as well as the wisdom they shared on that occasion gave me some much needed encouragement and helped me move forward. Somewhere in there Elder Jensen made the remark that Rick Turley would be there for a while but he “was just passing through.” Now, that reality is at hand.

Please join me in expressing a heartfelt thank you to Elder Jensen for all of his labors and a hearty welcome to Elder Snow.

Article filed under Miscellaneous


  1. […] highlighted in Jared’s write-up, the Church announced today that Elder Jensen will be stepping down as Church Historian in October, […]

    Pingback by Juvenile Instructor » History News Roundup: Pew Survey, Elder Jensen, and others — January 12, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  2. This Friday evening, Elder Jensen will be teaching the stake leaders and bishops (and their spouses) for the 5 stakes around Indianapolis. I look forward to hearing from him again. We hope he will give us some info regarding our upcoming temple.

    It will be sad to see him move on, but I know he’ll stay busy in Church work for many years to come….

    Comment by Rameumptom — January 12, 2012 @ 11:47 am

  3. Elder Jensen will be sorely missed.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — January 12, 2012 @ 11:51 am

  4. Elder Jensen came and spoke to a group of us grad students at Claremont a few years ago. The humility and openness he expressed is without comparison in Church hierarchy.

    Comment by the narrator — January 12, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  5. My brief personal interaction with Elder Jensen came in 2007, as Jeff Cannon and I walked 2-3 blocks to the MHA hotel when it was in SLC. Elder Jensen was very gracious and chatted with us. He will be sorely missed.

    Comment by David G. — January 12, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

  6. Those are some big shoes to fill! Elder Jensen has done amazing and wonderful things for Mormon history.

    I just spent a bit of time reading about Elder Snow. He’s a story teller! He’s told some pretty memorable stories in General Conference, including the one about the Ugandan kids sharing a piece of candy, and in three of his four General Conference addresses, he’s told pioneer stories.

    Next, he’s from St. George. I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the women of the St. George DUP on a couple of projects, and it has been a delightful experience. If that’s any indication of how it will be to work with Elder Snow, I’d say there are plenty of good things ahead.

    And, he’s funny — some comments about life as a small-town lawyer:

    ?One half of the town loves you, and the other half hates you ? until you sue the other half, and then they all hate you.?

    And his advice to students:

    ?First, always go for the big engine. Live a big life. Don?t be afraid of trying new things…Second, the early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. In all your planning, plan to be surprised. Third, never, ever underestimate the power of stupid people in a big crowd. Don?t let the crowd define you personally or professionally.?

    Sad times as Elder Jensen leaves, but like I said, it sounds like good times ahead.

    Comment by Amy T — January 12, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  7. I’ve had limited interaction with Elder Jensen as well, but he has come off as a wonderful person and leader. After only talking to him once or twice, he remembered my name and would even ask me for updates, demonstrating that he sincerely cared about me.

    Also, while his work as Church Historian is legend, he was also one of my favorite General/Regional conference speakers on the gospel. He once spoke at my regional conference on always seeking out people on the periphery, people who needed friendship and support, people who were often the target of bullies. His endearing speaking style, poignant message, and humble approach made me glad to share a religion with him.

    Comment by Ben P — January 12, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

  8. Thanks for the nice post, Jared. I had the opportunity to get to know Elder Jensen a bit better at MHA this past year as I planned and ran the student reception. As many of you know, those things tend to be a bit more relaxed than most of MHA–a chance for students to enjoy one another’s company, chat freely about stuff, etc.

    Elder Jensen, along with his wife, attended because the Church’s historical department sponsored the event. I admit to being a bit nervous about how this would effect the dynamics of the event, but Elder Jensen seemed right at home. After telling me initially he could only stay for a few minutes (to say a few words to the students in attendance), he ended up staying the entire evening and really seemed to enjoy himself. He made jokes, laughed at others’ jokes, and participated openly. I’ve always admired the fact that he not only attended MHA and other conferences, but listened attentively and actively, often taking notes and seemingly genuinely interested in what was presented. He will definitely be missed.

    Here’s to hoping Elder Snow can continue the precedent set by Elder Jensen.

    Comment by Christopher — January 12, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  9. So, what does this do to my long-running bet that Elder Jensen would be called as an Apostle?


    Comment by Hunter — January 12, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

  10. Wow–big news concerning Elder Jensen. I met Elder Jensen in person (he was close to my in-laws and was the sealer for my sister-in-law’s wedding) and I’ve never been more sincerely impressed by someone’s genuine kindness and Christian goodness.

    Intellectually, I’ve seldom (if ever) been more impressed by a general authorities’ grasp of “the real” Church history and candor. He, perhaps more than any other, has been truly inspirational to me, spiritually and intellectually–and he just radiates humility. I recently accepted a calling as ward historian with him as a Church historian hero.

    I’ve long been holding out for him to be called as an apostle. Now with impending emeritus status, well, darn it for me but probably nice for him. He really will be missed.

    Comment by Clean Cut — January 12, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  11. Elder Jensen leave enormous shoes to fill. His kindness, humor, humility, and intelligence were all legendary. I’m so glad to have been a part of the Historical Department of the Church during much of the time that he was in charge.

    Comment by Marjorie Conder — January 12, 2012 @ 3:41 pm

  12. Elder Jensen was our Regional Rep before he was called to the 70, and has been a favorite ever since. One of the best experiences had to do with a stake conference he attended back in our stake just after his call to the 70, which he attended as a senior apostles junior GA companion. In the Saturday night session, the apostle (who shall remain nameless because I still love him) mostly chastised our Davis County stake for coming late to the meeting, and for falling short on any number of other things, leaving many of us feeling rather discouraged and guilty. The next morning, Elder Jensen spent his 30 minutes reminding us of how great we all were, the wonderful work we were doing, and how much the church leadership valued our efforts. It was just what we needed, and has been so typical of Elder Jensen’s approach to all of his service to the Church. I will miss his talks, his presence in Church history activities, and his smile.

    Comment by kevinf — January 12, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  13. I had the good fortune of having Elder Snow as my mission president. He is a deeply compassionate man, and will be a great Church Historian, in my view.

    Comment by Tom O. — January 12, 2012 @ 8:48 pm

  14. It’s hard to say enough good about Elder Jensen. Godspeed in his next phase of life. And welcome to Elder Snow.

    Comment by smb — January 12, 2012 @ 9:59 pm


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