Making Church History Come Alive: A Conversation with LaMar C. Berrett


Church History, LaMac Berrett, Mormon History


Several years ago I accompanied LaMar C. Berrett on a fact-finding mission to some of the Mormon historical sites in northern Missouri. It was a cold and wet November, and he was dressed for the occasion, which included wearing his “pole” boots as he called them. These leather boots were so tall that they reached nearly to the bottom of his knees. “You will never get chiggers or ticks with these on,” he said, “and they’ll protect you from snakes too!” It was on that trip that I learned that LaMar had worn these boots while exploring and identifying LDS Church history-related sites from Massachusetts to Illinois, and along nearly every stretch of the Mormon Trail from Nauvoo to Salt Lake City–not just once, but numerous times. Since that time I’ve learned a lot more about him and concluded that he might very well be the Mormon equivalent of Indiana Jones. Like his boots, he never went anywhere without his 35mm camera. “He took so many photos,” one colleague remarked, “that he kept Kodak in business.” Another associate once told me, “While most Mormon historians talk and write about what happened in Mormon history, LaMar is the person who can tell you exactly where it happened!” His lifetime of achievement and service in the field of Mormon History was recognized this past May when he was presented with the Leonard J. Arrington Award by the Mormon History Association. To learn more about his life and his passion for history, I conducted the following interview with him at his home in Orem, Utah, on 30 November 2001.

Original Publication Citation

“Making LDS Church History Come Alive: A Conversation with LaMar C. Berrett,” Mormon Historical Studies 2, no. 2 (Fall 2001): 163–80.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Mormon Historical Studies




Religious Education


Church History and Doctrine

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor