Become more personally acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith and early Church history through the engrossing volumes of the Documents series. Each volume contains reproductions of 75 to 100 revelations, letters, and other papers presented in chronological order. Historical introductions to each document explain where, when, and why it was created. From revelations to sermons to newspaper editorials to personal correspondence, the documents of this series allow you to see through the eyes of Joseph as early Church history unfolded.
This volume marks the beginning of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers. When complete, the Documents series will publish more than a thousand documents created, authorized, or owned by Joseph Smith, including each of his revelations in its earliest form, reports of his discourses, and correspondence. 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. This first volume of the Documents series consists of documents written from July 1828 to June 1831. Among the contents of this volume are more than five dozen revelations that were presented in the first-person voice of Jesus Christ, including texts later published in the Doctrine and Covenants, the expansive “visions of Moses” (now found in the Pearl of Great Price), and revelations never canonized. In addition, several documents in this volume trace the process of translating and printing the Book of Mormon, as well as early efforts to evangelize using the book and its message. These texts provide the earliest textual insights into Joseph Smith and the founding of what was then called the Church of Christ. They offer glimpses into the religious leader’s thoughts, concerns, and initiatives in a crucial early period of the religious movement he started. This book allows the reader not only to study Joseph Smith but also to gain a greater understanding of his followers and the millenarian movement they participated in during the Second Great Awakening.
This second volume of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers opens in the summer of 1831 with the designation of Jackson County, Missouri, as the location of Zion and follows a period of administrative growth and doctrinal development in the church Joseph Smith founded. The volume contains revelations, correspondence, minutes of meetings in which Joseph Smith participated, and licenses provided to church officers. It documents the creation of the United Firm, the decision to print Joseph Smith’s revelations, and the first meeting of the School of the Prophets. The volume also illuminates Joseph Smith’s family life through two poignant letters from Joseph to his wife Emma.
A primary focus of the time period covered in Volume 3 is the effort to build temples and develop Zion in Missouri. Volume 3 also documents the challenges Joseph Smith faced as the population of the Church grew in both Ohio and Missouri and as the violent persecution of the Saints in Jackson County intensified. As with the first two volumes, this volume includes many revelations, including the Word of Wisdom (D&C 89), that were later published in the Doctrine and Covenants, making it a valuable companion to studying that standard work.
Volume Editors: Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, Brent M. Rogers, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley.
Between April 1834 and September 1835, Joseph Smith and the church he led faced tumultuous times. The documents in this volume of The Joseph Smith Papers highlight Joseph Smith's struggle for Zion's redemption during this period, whether through the calling of the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion's Camp) or through the continued construction of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio, where the Saints would be endowed with power. Other documents highlight the development of new leadership positions in the church, such as those of Apostle and Seventy. Still other documents show the great efforts that Joseph Smith and other church leaders made to publish a compilation of Smith's revelations, called the Doctrine and Covenants, in 1835. Together, the documents provide insights into the development of the church and characteristics of Joseph Smith as a husband, father, and leader of a growing religious movement.
Perhaps no volume of the Joseph Smith Papers conveys the highs and lows of Joseph Smith's life better than Documents, Volume 5. Through letters, revelations, and meeting minutes—as well as more unusual documents such as a map, an essay on abolition, and a study of the Egyptian language—this volume brings to life the consequential and often emotionally charged months from October 1835 to January 1838.
Fearing for his life, Joseph Smith fled Kirtland, Ohio, in January 1838 and traveled hundreds of miles to Far West, Missouri. Over the next year and a half, he sought to establish Far West as a city of Zion with a temple, was involved in armed conflict between the Latter-day Saints and other Missourians, was arrested and imprisoned, escaped custody and fled to Illinois, and helped establish new settlements in Illinois and Iowa Territory for the Saints. These events are covered in this sixth volume of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers.
Just months after he escaped from state custody in Missouri and less than a year after church members were violently driven from the state, Joseph Smith and the Latter-day Saints gathered in October 1839 to officially designate the Commerce, Illinois, area as a center of gathering for the saints. During the next fifteen months, Joseph Smith and the church focused their efforts on establishing the city that became known as Nauvoo, gaining restitution for the property lost in Missouri, and extending the church’s reach through missionary work.
Documents, Volume 7 begins with church leaders earnestly striving to settle the Commerce area. They created a plat for the planned town of Nauvoo and began selling town lots to the Saints. But as they progressed in establishing a Zion community, church members in the Commerce area suffered greatly from disease, particularly malaria.
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