The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its membership felt a substantial impact from the effects of World War I. Although other authors have attempted to bring forward the events of these hostilities, they are few in number and the research in this area is small. Additionally, few have focused on the effects of the war on the Church. In order to increase the understanding of this influence, this work examines how the First World War affected the lives of Latter-day Saints both during and after the conflict. The entire world felt the effects of the world war and the Latter-day Saints were not exempt. Yet during this war, the LDS soldiers had an opportunity to change the way that others viewed the Church. Whether during times of training or on the battlefield, the valiant actions of these men often caused other soldiers to rethink the way they felt about the Saints. One incorrect stereotype that these men helped to remove was that the Latter-day Saints had no feelings of national loyalty. Soldiers of other faiths could not continue to hold such misconceptions after having spent time working with LDS servicemen. In addition to attitude-changing influences, Church President Joseph F. Smith was particularly conscious of the effects this conflict would have on the Church. The war would disrupt missionary work as its violence closed certain areas and missionary age young men were called on to bolster the armed forces. President Smith also feared the cost of the war in lives, which deaths increased with the outbreak of the influenza epidemic. In addition to these misgivings, the president of the Church worried about the possibility that Latter-day Saints of opposing countries would have to fight one another. it would have on missionary work, the cost in lives, and the possibility of LDS servicemen having to fight against other Saints. The influence of the war was not only felt by the soldiers. Those who remained at home learned to live thriftily and to give generously to the war effort. In addition to the general ways in which the war influenced the Church, individual soldiers also had a chance to help the Church. During this war the Church appointed for the first time multiple chaplains: Brigham H. Roberts, Calvin S. Smith, and Herbert B. Maw. These three men had opportunities to work with individual soldiers and influence them for good. Veterans from this war returned home and served in positions of leadership. Some continued military service, while others sought political positions and yet others were called to serve in general leadership positions. So, in both broad and specific ways, World War I changed the lives of Latter-day Saints.
College and Department
Religious Education; Church History and Doctrine
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Mangum, James I., "The Influence of the First World War on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" (2007). Theses and Dissertations. 840.
World War--1914-1918, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, loyalty, war experiences, Alberta, Utah National Guard, missionary work, Spanish Influenza epidemic, LDS chaplains, B. H. Roberts, Calvin S. Smith, Herbert B. Maw, World War I veterans, homefront, Liberty Loans, thrift, War Savings Stamps