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Published Volumes

When completed, The Joseph Smith Papers will include accurate and unabridged transcripts of all extant Joseph Smith documents to which the editors can gain access. The project includes both print and electronic components. At present, it is contemplated that the print edition of The Joseph Smith Papers will consist of about two dozen volumes, divided into six series: Documents, Journals, Revelations and Translations, Histories, Administrative Records, and Legal and Business Records. All of the printed material will eventually appear on the Joseph Smith Papers website. This website will also publish many documents in advance of the printed edition and will include many documents that will never be included in the printed volumes.

The following paragraphs give more information about the printed volumes. Much of this information also pertains to the materials published electronically, as the electronic edition is modeled in many respects after the print edition.

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. Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen
Volume 1 of the Journals series, published in 2008, features Joseph Smith’s first five journals. Although later journals were exclusively kept by clerks, the initial journals included personal writings and dictation by Smith and therefore give the reader a more intimate view of his character, his private piety, and his sense of mission. The early journals also convey his perspective on the spiritual manifestations experienced in Kirtland, Ohio, the origins of the “Mormon War” in Missouri, and the founding of what would become Nauvoo, Illinois.

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. Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843, edited by Andrew H. Hedges, Alex D. Smith, and Richard Lloyd Anderson
Volume 2 of the Journals series, published in 2011, features the first Nauvoo, Illinois, journal of Joseph Smith as well as part of the second, covering the seventeen months from December 1841 through April 1843. These journals chronicle such significant developments as the organization of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo, proxy baptism for deceased persons, the publication of the Book of Abraham, the construction of the Nauvoo temple, the continued growth of the church and ongoing settlement of Nauvoo, and the maturing of Joseph Smith as a religious and political leader. The journals also detail the many challenges Joseph Smith faced during this period, including the agitation of dissenters such as John C. Bennett and an attempt by Missouri and Illinois officials to have Smith extradited to Missouri for trial.

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. Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books (Facsimile Edition), edited by Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper
The first volume of the Revelations and Translations series, published in 2009, features two manuscript books into which many of Joseph Smith’s revelations were copied by early church scribes. These manuscript revelation books are among the most important documents owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They preserve the earliest known copies of most of Smith’s early revelations, and they are the key sources available for understanding the process of publishing the early revelations. The transcripts in this volume reproduce the original manuscripts of those books with great care, preserving corrections and revisions of any kind. Since several scribes penned revisions in the manuscripts, the handwriting of each scribe is rendered in a different color to facilitate analysis. This volume is an oversize facsimile edition (nine by twelve inches), featuring full-color photographic facsimiles of every page of the original documents on the left-hand page with the corresponding transcript on the right-hand page.

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. Revelations and Translations, Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books, edited by Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper
This volume of the Revelations and Translations series, published in 2011, presents the same textual transcripts and editorial material as the facsimile edition of the same volume (that is, the volume described immediately above) but does not include the full-color photographs of each page of the revelation books. It is essentially a library edition, or a condensed edition, of its predecessor. The volume uses the same color scheme as the facsimile edition to present scribal changes made to the revelation texts and has the same page size as Journals, Volume 1 (seven by ten inches).

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. Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations, edited by Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., and Riley M. Lorimer
Volume 2 of the Revelations and Translations series, published in 2011, presents Joseph Smith’s revelations in the form that most early Latter-day Saints read and experienced them. The volume features high-quality photographs of each page of the Book of Commandments (1833), the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835), and seven additional texts added to the second edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1844). The volume also includes transcripts of twenty-six revelation texts published in the church newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star and its later, reprinted version, Evening and Morning Star. Volume 2 also includes a proposed reconstruction of what likely would have been included in the final thirty-two pages of the Book of Commandments and selected photographs of a copy of the Book of Commandments marked up to prepare revelations for publication in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Volume 2 goes hand in hand with the first volume in this series, and together they illuminate the process by which revelations were revised, edited, prepared for publication, and printed. The volume is the same size as Journals, Volume 1 (seven by ten inches) and is printed in three colors.

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Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832–1844, edited by Karen Lynn Davidson, David J. Whittaker, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Richard L. Jensen
Volume 1 of the Histories series, published in 2012, presents the six personal and church histories written, dictated, or closely supervised by Joseph Smith. This volume includes accounts of Joseph Smith’s foundational spiritual experiences, including his first vision of Deity, the ministering of the angel Moroni to him, the discovery of the gold plates and translation of the Book of Mormon, and the bestowal of priesthood authority. Other histories in this volume give a day-by-day account of the mid-1830s in Kirtland, Ohio, and Joseph Smith’s narration of the “Mormon War” and the events leading up his imprisonment in Missouri. Also included is Joseph Smith’s original summary of church beliefs and practices, later known as the Articles of Faith.

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Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Histories, 1831–1847, edited by Karen Lynn Davidson, Richard L. Jensen, and David J. Whittaker
Volume 2 of the Histories series, published in 2012, presents four histories written by church historians by assignment from Joseph Smith. The volume includes works by two men, John Whitmer and John Corrill, who both distanced themselves from the church before finishing their histories. Also found in volume 2 are two histories published in Latter-day Saint newspapers, William W. Phelps’s “Rise and Progress of the Church of Christ” and the Times and Seasons series “A History, of the Persecution, of the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints, in Missouri.” Together these histories provide a rich, multifaceted view of the early years of the Latter-day Saint movement, particularly the “Mormon War” of 1838.

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Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831, edited by Michael Hubbard MacKay, Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley
This volume inaugurates the core series of The Joseph Smith Papers, the Documents series. It includes the first three years of what survives of Joseph Smith’s papers, including letters he sent and received, revelations, minutes of meetings he participated in, deeds and other financial papers, and records of ecclesiastical administration such as priesthood licenses. This collection of documents covers key events from Mormon history, including the translation and publication of the Book of Mormon, the establishment of a church, and the mission by Oliver Cowdery and others to preach to American Indians on the western frontier of the United States.

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Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833, edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley
This second volume of the Documents series, published in 2013, contains revelations, correspondence, minutes of meetings in which Joseph Smith participated, and licenses provided to church officers. These documents chronicle administrative and doctrinal developments in the church, including the organization of the United Firm. Many of the documents trace the establishment of the city of Zion in Missouri and emphasize the importance of gathering to that area. The volume also contains two poignant letters from Joseph Smith to his wife Emma that give insights into Smith’s family life.

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. Volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers are available to the public in a limited leather-bound edition. For pricing and availability, visit http://deseretbook.com/leather or email leatherbooks@deseretbook.com.

Additional Materials

The following additional materials related to the published volumes are available:

• Indexes to Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 and Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843. Bound hard copies will also be sent free of charge upon request. To request a bound copy of either index from Deseret Book Company (the distributor for The Joseph Smith Papers), please fill out the Index Request Form.

• Combined index to volumes 1 and 2 of the Histories series.

Using The Joseph Smith Papers: An Introduction to Journals, Volume 1 from the Inside Out.

• Errata sheets for Journals, Volume 1, Journals, Volume 2, Revelations and Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books (Facsimile Edition), Revelations and Translations, Volume 2, Histories, Volume 1, and Histories, Volume 2.

Typical Volume

Each volume is designed and will be used principally as a reference work, not as a narrative to be read cover to cover. For that reason, a modest amount of “friendly redundancy” is not only tolerated but expressly built in. For example, a theme introduced in the volume introduction might be treated briefly again in a document introduction so that a reader who goes directly to the document will have the essential information at hand.

The main editorial components of a volume include the following.

Front Matter

Introductions: The first volume in each series has a series introduction. This briefly introduces readers to the class of documents in the series and to the criteria for inclusion, along with other information helpful to understanding the series generally. In addition, each volume has a volume introduction, which sketches the broad historical setting of the events and the concerns relevant to the documents in the volume. It may also introduce important themes and issues pertinent to a number of documents in the volume and therefore not easily handled in a single document introduction.

Editorial method: This is a statement of editorial principles governing treatment of the text and of the editorial apparatus supplied by the editors.

Main Body

Source notes: These provide full bibliographic and physical descriptions of each document as well as information about handwriting, dating, chain of possession, and other relevant details.

Historical introductions: These orient readers by providing information and historical context necessary to understand each document.

Transcripts: These are verified and edited transcripts of each featured document. The final product is the result of editing the thrice-verified transcript according to the project’s style guide.

Footnotes: Textual footnotes provide details about the manuscript that cannot be easily presented in the transcript itself. Historical footnotes illuminate textual passages or supply clarifications, identifications, and other information that help readers understand the documents as a contemporaneous reader might have.

Illustrations: Textual photographs provide readers a better feel for the nature of key documents and permit graphical reproductions of some pages or passages. Other illustrations include photographs, paintings, or other graphical representations of relevant people, artifacts, places, and so forth.

Reference Material

The volumes include several types of reference material, placed in the back of the volume. For reasons of space and simplicity, reference material is published in print without documentation. This website will eventually present full documentation for most reference material.

Chronology: This tool covers the dates spanned by each volume and will be as detailed as volume needs require. For example, a chronology in the volume of the Documents series that presents documents for the year 1837 will help readers understand why there are so few documents for that year.

Geographical Directory, Maps, Biographical Directory, and Glossary: These tools provide contextual information helpful to understand the documents. They also minimize the need for editors to include footnotes to identify places, people, and terms.

Charts: Charts will be used as needed to present genealogical data, information about church organization, and other material.

Sources and Works Cited: Each volume will include a brief essay introducing major sources or collections of sources, along with a comprehensive listing of works cited. Short titles used in the footnotes correspond to full bibliographic information in the Works Cited.

Index: Most volumes will include a detailed index that indexes texts, substantive data in annotation, and some elements of reference material.