The Joseph Smith Papers Project announces the release of the second volume in its Documents series, Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833 (The Church Historian’s Press, $54.95). The Documents series presents in chronological order the core of Joseph Smith’s documentary record. This volume contains revelations, correspondence, minutes of meetings in which Joseph Smith participated, and licenses provided to church officers. These documents allow readers to see both the administrative growth of the Church of Christ and Joseph Smith’s maturation as its leader.
Documents, Volume 2 contains over forty revelations, many of which were later printed in the Doctrine and Covenants. By presenting these revelation texts, this volume chronicles administrative and doctrinal developments in the church. These revelations were pronouncements in the voice of Deity that Joseph Smith’s followers accepted as God’s word. Some revelations unfold stunning new doctrines, including an account of the three kingdoms of heavenly glory awaiting God’s children and a detailed delineation of the two priesthood authorities God had bestowed on humankind. Others provide specific direction to church members on the establishment of the city of Zion in Missouri and emphasize the importance of gathering to that area. The volume also contains two letters from Joseph Smith to his wife Emma. These poignant letters depict a family man who missed his wife and daughter when he was traveling and who worried about their safety and well-being. The introductions and footnotes that accompany each document offer new research and provide historical context to help readers understand the circumstances of the documents’ creation.
The editors for Documents, Volume 2 are Matthew C. Godfrey, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley. This volume, along with all previously published volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers, is available for purchase through Deseret Book Company, the distributor for the project, and many other booksellers.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project announces the release of the inaugural volume of its Documents series, Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831 (The Church Historian’s Press, $54.95). This series includes each of Joseph Smith’s revelations in its earliest form, reports of his discourses, and letters he sent and received. Also found in the series are articles and editorials he wrote for newspapers, minutes of meetings in which he participated, and records of his ecclesiastical administration.
In contrast to previously published volumes, which feature larger, stand-alone works such as journals and compilations of revelations, the Documents series presents in chronological order the core of Joseph Smith’s documentary record. Together these texts provide unparalleled insight into the life and thought of one of the most important figures in American religious history.
This first volume of the Documents series features Joseph Smith’s earliest surviving papers, including more than sixty of his revelations, most of which were later canonized in the Doctrine and Covenants. Through rich annotation and introductions, the editors present new research explaining the when and why behind the documents. This contextualization helps readers better understand a foundational period of Mormon history, when Joseph Smith translated and published the Book of Mormon and established the Church of Christ. The book also traces the proselytizing mission by Oliver Cowdery and others to Ohio and Missouri and its effects, including the migration of the church from New York to Ohio.
Editors of Documents, Volume 1 are Michael Hubbard MacKay, Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley. Documents, Volume 2 is scheduled for release in early December 2013. It includes documents from July 1831 through January 1833.
The publication of The Joseph Smith Papers two centuries after the birth of the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints opens a window on a life filled with what he called “marvelous experience” amid constant opposition. Despite having received little formal schooling, Joseph Smith left an extensive legacy of letters and other written records which is now being made widely available.
The Joseph Smith Papers series is expected to span more than twenty volumes when complete. The Documents portion of the series will comprise about half of the total. This volume, along with all previously published volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers, is available for purchase through Deseret Book Company, the distributor for the project, and many other booksellers.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project announces the addition of the following new content and features to its website, josephsmithpapers.org:
Also recently added are Joseph Smith’s Letterbook 2, Sidney Rigdon’s Appeal to the American People, second edition, and over 100 documents from 1841. In the coming months more documents from the Documents, Journals, Histories, Revelations and Translations, and Administrative Records series will be added. Eventually the website will contain images and transcripts of all extant and available Joseph Smith papers.
We are pleased to announce that the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has approved the use of the Nauvoo-era Council of Fifty minutes in annotation for forthcoming volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers and the eventual publication of those minutes as a separate volume.
Joseph Smith established the Council of Fifty in March 1844, a few months before his death. The minutes of the council meetings have heretofore not been available for research and have never been published. They record unpublished Joseph Smith sermons and instructions, as well as his participation in council discussions that illustrate early Latter-day Saint views on government and the Kingdom of God. Following Joseph Smith’s death, the council reconvened under Brigham Young’s leadership in February 1845. The council then met in Nauvoo until January 1846 and played a key role in planning for the westward trek across the Great Plains to the Salt Lake Valley. The minutes were recorded in three small, hardbound volumes by William Clayton, the council’s clerk.
Historians working for the Joseph Smith Papers have been preparing these significant records for publication for some time. The Nauvoo-era minutes of the Council of Fifty will be published in the Administrative Records Series of the Joseph Smith Papers.
On March 1, 2013, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new edition of the Latter-day Saint scriptures. The 2013 edition includes adjustments to the headings of seventy-eight sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. For more information on these changes, see the materials posted with the First Presidency’s announcement. In particular, see Adjustments, an overview of the types of adjustments made in the new edition of the Latter-day Saint scriptures; and Side by Side Comparison, a comparison of the former Doctrine and Covenants section headings against the revised headings.
Information supporting these changes through section 88 of the Doctrine and Covenants will be made available in two forthcoming volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers. The volumes are Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831 (fall 2013) and Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833 (late 2013 or early 2014). Information supporting changes beyond section 88 will be made available in subsequent volumes.
Explanations for most of the significant changes made to the headings are provided below, in advance of publication of the Joseph Smith Papers volumes.
Introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants
For the 2013 edition, the introduction was revised to provide more information about the recording and publishing of the revelations. For more information, see "Introduction to the Manuscript Revelation Books" and Joseph Smith–Era Publications of Revelations."
The revised heading in the 2013 edition changes the date of the revelation from summer 1828 to "likely around April 1829." For more information, see the Historical Introduction to Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10].