EP 537 – Keith Erekson, Director of the Church History Library

Church History Library Director Keith Erekson discusses his new book, "Real vs. Rumor: How to Dispel Latter-day Myths."

Director of the Church History Museum, Keith Erekson, joins us for a discussion on how Latter-day Saints can equip themselves with the necessary tools to discern truth from error, particularly as we wade into aspects of Church history and Latter-day Saint urban legends. Even faith-promoting stories are not always true. Keith has a new book, Real vs. Rumor: How to Dispel Latter-day Saint Myths.

Whether it’s a girls camp motto that is erroneously the words of Satan, or the truth behind the destruction of the original cupola on the St. George Temple, it’s important for Latter-day Saints to learn the difference between what is real… and what is a rumor. And why has fact checking become a four-letter term not just among those of the Latter-day Saint faith, but across society?

Keith A. Erekson is an award-winning author, teacher, and public historian. Since 2014 he has worked for the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, directing the Church History Library and encouraging historical outreach and public engagement. He also serves on the editorial board of the Church Historian’s Press.

Erekson has authored numerous books and articles on topics including politics, hoaxes, Abraham Lincoln, Elvis Presley, and Church history. His work has been published in various scholarly journals, including the Journal of American HistoryThe History Teacher, the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, the Oral History Review, and Latter-day Saint history journals.


03:09 – Keith’s background
05:14 – What is a public historian?
06:41 – What does the director of the Church History Library do?
10:09 – Protecting ourselves from misinformation
12:37 – Latter-day Saints being susceptible to scams
17:29 – Who decides which past to remember?
21:31 – Examples of bias in the Book of Mormon
25:19 – The importance of firsthand accounts
30:12 – We don’t believe in infallible prophets
33:46 – What to do when prophets are wrong
39:24 – Working through doubt
44:33 – Constantly revising our understanding of history (even LDS history)
53:44 – Overcoming resistance to fact-checking
1:00:29 – Involvement in publishing Joseph Smith’s seer stone
1:03:54 – What’s the coolest object in the Church History Library?
1:06:16 – What are the best sources?
1:08:23 – Why little mention of Mark Hofmann in the book?
1:10:20 – Opinion (or not) on Book of Mormon geography?
1:13:22 – Pro or con “The Last Jedi”

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