Joseph Smith Papers Website Adds New Documents

  • 6 June 2012

  The Joseph Smith Papers Project includes original manuscripts of many early Church documents, like The Book of Commandments and Revelations, pictured here. Several new documents and resources were added to the project on June 5, 2012.

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  • The Joseph Smith Papers Project added new material to its website, including Joseph Smith’s first letterbook as well as other historical accounts from early Church leaders.

The Joseph Smith Papers Project released a broad range of material to its website, josephsmithpapers.org, on June 5, 2012. With this latest release, the project expands its already impressive array of resources on the life and papers of Joseph Smith. “The Joseph Smith Papers website provides free online access to many of the documents that make up The Joseph Smith Papers. In time, the website will house all the documents associated with this important project,” said Patrick Dunshee, marketing and communications manager for the project.

Among the newly released documents is Joseph Smith’s first letterbook. In this volume Joseph Smith and his scribes copied letters dated from June 14, 1829, to August 4, 1835. Many of the letters include instructions regulating the Church’s affairs in Missouri and for building the city of Zion. Joseph Smith’s November 27, 1832, letter to William W. Phelps provided important information concerning Zion, and parts of it were later excerpted and canonized as Doctrine and Covenants section 85. A letter written circa June 25, 1833, provides more information about Zion, describing the complex of temples to be built for the different activities of the Church’s quorums. The letterbook also includes the earliest known account of Joseph Smith’s first vision of God and Jesus Christ, penned partially in his own hand. In addition to being published online as part of the letterbook, this important history is available as a separate document with helpful historical commentary in Histories, Volume 1, recently published by the Church Historian’s Press.

Several additional histories written by early Latter-day Saints are part of the new web release. Accounts of historical events are included from Church Presidency member Sidney Rigdon, Apostle Parley P. Pratt, early bishop Edward Partridge, and Church Historian John Corrill.

To assist scholars and Latter-day Saints in their research, the project has also improved and added to its extensive collection of online reference material. Included are new and enhanced biographical summaries and synopses of historical events.

Go to josephsmithpapers.org for more information.