About From the Desk

From the Desk: Learning by Study and Faith is an online epicenter of history and religion. While the site has increasingly become devoted to the history of Joseph Smith and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, it also provides extensive coverage of wider historical and religious topics, such as Jim Bridger, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the siege of Masada.


Get free email notifications!

Subscribe to our free email list and we’ll notify you when we publish new content.


Who reads From the Desk?

Millions of people from over 100 countries have read From the Desk content. However, while more than 100,000 users visit From the Desk directly each year, much of our readership stems from media outlets that use our content for their stories.

For example, you can see From the Desk covered in more than 600 publications, including:

  • The New York Times
  • Wikipedia
  • USA Today
  • The Church News
  • LDS Living
  • Patheos
  • Bustle
  • Salt Lake Tribune
  • Deseret News
  • Heavy
  • Slate


What are From the Desk’s most popular articles?

Our Top 20 articles run the gamut from biographies of Latter-day Saints like Henry B. Eyring and Bruce R. McConkie to historical coverage of mysteries the Dead Sea Scrolls and Siege of Masada:

  1. Come Follow Me 2023: New Testament Resources (From the Desk)
  2. Has a Joseph Smith Photograph Finally Been Found? (Lachlan Mackay)
  3. The Many Legacies of Bruce R. McConkie (Dennis B. Horne)
  4. What is the Relationship Between Freemasonry and the Temple Endowment? (Jeffrey M. Bradshaw)
  5. Emma Smith: What Is Her Legacy? (Jenny Reeder)
  6. How Well Do You Know Brigham Young? (From the Desk)
  7. Behind the Scenes of the All In Podcast with Morgan Pearson (Morgan Jones Pearson)
  8. The Life of Henry B. Eyring (Robert Eaton)
  9. What Happened at the Siege of Masada? (Jodi Magness)
  10. What Did It Mean to “Shake Off the Dust of Thy Feet”? (Samuel Weber)
  11. How Did Freemasonry Influence Joseph Smith? (Cheryl Bruno)
  12. Who Was Joseph Smith and What Did He Do? (From the Desk)
  13. Have You Seen This Anthony Sweat Art? (Anthony Sweat)
  14. Jim Bridger vs. Brigham Young (Jerry Enzler)
  15. These Scholars Will Make You Think about Polygamy (Brian Hales and Laura Harris Hales)
  16. Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Jean-Pierre Isbouts)
  17. What Have Scholars Learned about the Book of Mormon? (From the Desk)
  18. When Was Jesus Born? (Jeffrey R. Chadwick)
  19. Let’s Talk about Polygamy (Britany Chapman Nash)
  20. The Truman G. Madsen Biography (From the Desk)

What about hidden gems?

Good question. We have many articles that fall into a “diamond in the rough” category. These interviews don’t get mainstream traffic, but they’re filled with interesting nuggets:


How often does From the Desk publish new content?

From the Desk typically publishes weekly. We believe in quality over quantity—and won’t ever publish clickbait.


Do you have cornerstone content?

From the Desk has four pieces of cornerstone content (with more on the way). These articles are updated frequently and include fascinating scholarly research about religious history:

  1. Book of Mormon
  2. Joseph Smith
  3. Brigham Young
  4. Come Follow Me 2023

Does From the Desk have an agenda?

Yes and no. From the Desk covers interesting historical and religious topics from the perspective of believers who understand that history contains both inspiring strengths and heartbreaking weaknesses. We don’t seek out troubling issues from the past, but we cover them when they pop up. We employ a faithful “warts and all” approach that lies in between hagiography and warts-only.

We shy away from speculation, don’t cover ad hominem content, and generally avoid scholars who receive poor reports in academic peer reviews.


Who writes for From the Desk?

Kurt Manwaring is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of From the Desk. Other contributors include Jerry Winder, Chad Nielsen, and Benjamin Pacini. We’re also looking for new writers with a passion for history, a skill for writing, and a commitment to kindness.


Is From the Desk affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

No.


What is From the Desk‘s relationship with BYU Studies?

BYU Studies sponsors From the Desk as part of its mission to publish scholarship informed by the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The views expressed by interview participants do not necessarily represent those of BYU Studies or From the Desk.


Does From the Desk have inside info on forthcoming scholarship?

Yes. We frequently communicate behind the scenes with today’s leading scholars, presses, authors, historians, and administrators. You’d probably pay big bucks to see our Slack channel.


What is the featured image on About From the Desk?

The featured image on our About page is a digital copy of an Al Rounds painting entitled “South Temple 1892,” and is used by permission. The work conveys the emotion intended in much of our content, namely the beauty of the unfinished state. You can learn more about Al Rounds and his artwork at AlRounds.com.