News Story

History of Canadian Mormons Released to Public

A beautifully illustrated history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada was released to the public on October 30, 2017. The 704-page book covers the early history of the Church in eastern Canada, the Alberta settlement beginning in 1887 and the establishment and growth of the Church in each province as well as the northern territories — from the initial humble beginnings to the current membership of more than 195,000 throughout Canada.

Canadian Mormons: History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canada is the brainchild of Roy and Carma Prete, who began work on it in August 2013 when they were called to serve as full-time missionaries at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Roy retired from a career as a professional historian and professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, located in Kingston, Ontario. Carma brought tremendous research and writing talents that were heavily relied upon in development of the book.

To compile the history, the Pretes devoted nearly three years as missionaries at the Church History Library and almost a year at home. Roy worked as general editor and managed all aspects of the book’s development. Carma conducted intensive research and wrote profiles of Church history in the various provinces and territories.

The Pretes also developed a team of 40 people, nearly all unpaid volunteers with the same passion for the work. The team included 21 authors plus researchers, oral history interviewers, editors, reviewers, a cartographer and a bibliographer.

The work began as a history of the Church in eastern Canada but quickly expanded to all of Canada in order to publish a comprehensive history of the Church for Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary. Research material came from the Church History Library archives, local research, stake and congregational histories and several dozen oral histories conducted throughout Canada.

David Ripley Ross, who wrote the Atlantic Provinces chapter, provided his insights: “When I was asked to write a chapter about the Church in Atlantic Canada, I didn’t think I’d have the time to do it. But I am glad I said yes, not only because I found the history of the Church in my home region so interesting but also because learning the stories of the people who made the Church possible here made me feel closer to them and more grateful for what I have.”

G. Eric and Catherine Jarvis, co-directors of public affairs for the Church in Montreal, authored the chapter on Quebec. Regarding their experience, they stated: “When we began the research for this chapter, we didn’t realize how far the Church had come in Quebec over the last few decades. So many of the members we interviewed were pioneers in the literal sense of the word — such an inspiring legacy. … We were moved to hear their stories of faith and learn how their dedication has brought the Church into a much more secure position now than it was even a few short years ago. We hope that the history of the Church in Quebec will … continue to be recorded for the benefit of generations to come.”

Of his work, Roy Prete commented, “The main purpose of this book is to preserve and enhance the spiritual heritage of the Church in Canada, which is very rich. As we review our past, we can see that much of our lives has been a preparation for this book. This book is the great work of our lives. We are so grateful for the many people that have played a part in [its] development.”

Ardeth G. Kapp, former general Young Women president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, wrote the forward to the book. She stated, “This magnificently illustrated volume will be a treasure for many generations to come, for those in the Church who wish to understand their Canadian roots. It will also allow those not in the Mormon tradition to have an insider’s view of the great panorama of Mormon history in Canada.”

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