Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye was born and raised in Costa Mesa, California. She received undergraduate and PhD degrees from Harvard University and taught modern Chinese history and the history of global Christianity at universities in the United States, Hong Kong, and New Zealand for fourteen years. Currently she is a historian in the Church History Department, specializing in the Department’s Global Histories initiative. Her monograph on the history of a Chinese Pentecostal church, titled China and the True Jesus: Charisma and Organization in a Chinese Christian Church, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. She has also published a number of books for Latter-day Saint audiences, including two books co-published by the BYU Maxwell Institute and Deseret Book: in 2019, Crossings: a bald Asian Latter-day Saint woman scholar’s ventures through life, death, cancer, motherhood (not necessarily in that order), and in 2023, a volume co-edited with the late Kate Holbrook, Every Needful Thing: Essays on the Life of the Mind and Heart. Dr Inouye’s most recent book, Sacred Struggle: Following Christ on the Path of Most Resistance, was published with Deseret Book in October 2023.
Dr Inouye is most known for her work to connect scholarship of the Restoration with larger currents of scholarship in religion, global Christianity, gender studies, and regional history. In 2015 Dr Inouye founded an academic research network called the Global Mormon Studies Research Network, which brings together scholars from around the world with an interest in the restorationist traditions originating with Joseph Smith. In 2019 she received the University of Auckland’s highest award for undergraduate teaching at the early career stage, and in 2021 she was awarded the International Service Award by the LDS International Society.
Dr Inouye and her husband currently live in Draper, Utah, with their four children and one very hairy, but good natured, dog named Bertie.