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Second Volume of Journals Series Now Available

The Church Historian’s Press is pleased to announce that Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843, the latest letterpress volume of The Joseph Smith Papers, is now available for purchase.

This second of three planned volumes in the Journals series begins in December 1841 as the Saints regrouped after their expulsion from Missouri. Swampy acreage at Commerce, Illinois, purchased by the church in 1839, had been transformed into the growing city of Nauvoo, the place of gathering for the Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith was preparing to open his new store on Water Street, and plans to build the Nauvoo temple and a new hotel to be called the Nauvoo House were proceeding. The next twelve months, documented in the first Nauvoo journal, were a time of rapid growth for the city and the church. Joseph Smith organized the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, explained the doctrine of proxy baptism for deceased persons, and presided over the Nauvoo Legion. The first Nauvoo journal also chronicles disappointment and distress—the disaffection and excommunication of John C. Bennett, mayor of Nauvoo; an attempt to extradite Joseph Smith to Missouri to stand trial for the attempted murder of former Missouri governor Lilburn W. Boggs; and months of hiding as the Mormon leader avoided arrest. Joseph Smith rarely addressed the church directly during this time of hiding, but he was active in preparing letters and expressions of gratitude, many of which are preserved in the journal.

As the year 1842 drew to a close, changed circumstances allowed Joseph Smith to come out of hiding to appear before a federal judge to seek relief from the extradition attempt. The first Nauvoo journal gave way to Joseph Smith’s second and final Nauvoo journal, which was kept in a series of four small memorandum books. These small books allowed the recording of events as they happened, and in the first, published in this volume, scribe Willard Richards kept detailed notes of several events, including Joseph Smith’s successful January 1843 habeas corpus hearing. Richards, who was a physician, also made extensive notes during a medical malpractice trial over which Joseph Smith presided in his capacity as mayor of Nauvoo. Volume 2 ends as the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles prepared for a mission to the eastern states to raise funds to continue construction of the Nauvoo House. The portion of the second Nauvoo journal occurring after April 1843 will be published in the third and final volume of the Journals series.

Journals, Volume 2 allows scholars and lay readers alike ready access to Joseph Smith’s activities through journal entries dictated to or written by scribes Willard Richards and William Clayton. Created under the direction of Joseph Smith himself, the journals constitute an essential primary source for research into the life of the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during one of the most dynamic periods in the history of the faith.

As with all other volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers, the documents contained in Volume 2 will be posted on the project website at a future date. Journals, Volume 2 is available for purchase through Deseret Book Company, the distributor for the project, and many other booksellers. Also available for purchase are four previously published volumes: Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839; Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books (facsimile edition); Revelations and Translations, Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books (7 x 10 version); and Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations.