Richard S. Van Wagoner

Richard S. Van Wagoner (July 23, 1946 – October 10, 2010) was a non-academic historian who published works on the history of Utah and the history of the Latter Day Saint movement.

Van Wagoner was a Lehi, Utah, native and a fifth-generation Mormon.[1] He was an Eagle Scout and was a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the church's Central States Mission. In 1970, he graduated from Brigham Young University with an M.S. degree. He was trained as a clinical audiologist and beginning in 1977 operated a hearing center in Salt Lake City, Utah.[1]

Van Wagoner wrote the books Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess and Mormon Polygamy: A History.[1][2] His 1994 biography of Sidney Rigdon won awards from the Mormon History Association and the John Whitmer Historical Association.[1][2]

Van Wagoner was a member of the board of Signature Books, and was described after his death as a "trailblazer in Mormon studies",[2] having published historical articles in Utah Historical Quarterly, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, and Sunstone.[1] He lived in Lehi, Utah, and acted as the town's historical archivist.[1][2]

From the early 1980s, Van Wagoner lost his hearing due to otosclerosis;[2] he received a cochlear implant in 2001, which partially restored his hearing.[2]

Van Wagoner died unexpectedly at his home in Lehi, Utah, at age 64.[1][2]



  • Van Wagoner, Richard S.; Steven C. Walker (1982), A Book of Mormons, Midvale, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 978-0-941214-06-3
  • —— (1989) [1986], Mormon Polygamy: A History (2nd ed.), Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 978-0-941214-79-7, LCCN 85063399, OCLC 19515803, archived from the original on 2014-10-30
  • —— (1990), Lehi: Portraits of a Utah Town, Lehi, Utah: Lehi City Corp., ISBN 978-1-56085-001-4
  • —— (1994), Sidney Rigdon: A Portrait of Religious Excess, Salt Lake City, Utah: Signature Books, ISBN 978-1-56085-197-4
  • —— (2001), Pioneering Lehi City: A 150-Year Pictorial History, Lehi, Utah: Lehi City Corp., ISBN 978-0-9714191-0-0
  • Young, Brigham (2009), Richard Van Wagoner (ed.), The Complete Discourses of Brigham Young, 5, Smith-Pettit Foundation, ISBN 978-1-56085-206-3


Sunstone Symposium presentations


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