Michael Hubbard MacKay was an assistant professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University when this was written. He received an engineering degree from the US Air Force before receiving a double major in history and political science at Weber State University. He received an MA from the University of York in England, focusing on world history, culture, and the history of science and medicine. His PhD was also awarded by the University of York, where he studied cultural theory, the history of science and medicine, and print culture. He was also the lead historian and editor on Documents, Volume 1 of The Joseph Smith Papers and a document specialist for Histories, Volume 1.