Noted LDS historian R. Davis Bitton dies

Published: Monday, April 16 2007 12:14 a.m. MDT

R. Davis Bitton, historian and retired University of Utah professor, died April 13, 2007, at his home in the Salt Lake City Avenues district. He was 77.

He was well-known as an assistant historian for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a position he held from 1972 to 1982. Among his publications was a 1979 book, "The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints," co-authored with Leonard J. Arrington, who at the time was the church historian.

Mr. Bitton earned his bachelor's degree at Brigham Young University, Provo, and his master's and doctorate degrees from Princeton University, N.J.

He taught at the University of Texas and the University of California, Santa Barbara. For 29 years he was a professor at the University of Utah. There, he prepared a biography of diaries that are relevant to Utah history.

In 1969, he won a "Silver Award" presented by Dialogue Magazine, "a Journal of Mormon Thought" for an essay about historian B.H. Roberts.

"A nurturing home throughout my life has been The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," says the obituary he wrote himself. He noted that he served in a variety of church positions.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Salt Lake Elgin LDS Stake Center, 135 A St. Friends may call Monday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Larkin Mortuary, 260 E. South Temple, and Tuesday from noon until 12:45 p.m. at the stake center. Interment will be at Salt Lake City Cemetery.

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