Joseph Smith Papers Website Updated

  By Jeffrey Cannon, Church History Department

  • 9 February 2012

Article Highlights

  • Included in the release is the second volume of the manuscript history of the Church.
  • More than 50 letters, discourses, minutes, and other documents from 1840 were also added.
  • More of the helpful reference material available to readers of the letterpress volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers is now available to online readers.

Hundreds of pages of documents from the early years of Latter-day Saint history as well as helpful reference material have been added to the Joseph Smith Papers website to enable casual readers and serious scholars to read and better understand the papers of Joseph Smith.

Manuscript History of the Church

Included in the release is the second volume of the manuscript history of the Church, covering the period from September 1834 to November 1838. During this eventful period the Church’s first temple was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio. The history records spiritual manifestations connected with the dedication, including a visitation of Jesus Christ to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, accepting the building as His house.

The history also recounts the June 13, 1837, departure of the first missionaries to England, who just before leaving visited Joseph Smith while he lay in bed too ill to rise and greet them. The volume ends in the days following Joseph Smith’s arrest by Missouri officials and at the beginning of his forced march to Independence, Missouri, before being sent to Richmond and his long imprisonment in Liberty Jail.

1840 Documents

More than 50 letters, discourses, minutes, and other documents from 1840 were also added. As 1840 dawned, Joseph Smith was visiting the Saints in the eastern United States during his journey to seek redress from the federal government for the losses suffered by the Church and its members in Missouri. By the end of the year he was back in Illinois building up the city of Nauvoo, strengthening the Church there, and giving instructions to members, missionaries, and leaders on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Readers can now read these documents and learn more about the events of this important time.

Reference Material

More of the helpful reference material available to readers of the letterpress volumes of The Joseph Smith Papers is now available to online readers. Much of the online material is now sourced, and nearly 100 new geographical descriptions have been added to help readers in their own research.

Other Additions

Also recently added are Revelation Book 2, images of the 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, and images of the four editions of the Book of Mormon published in Joseph Smith’s lifetime (1830—Palmyra, NY; 1837—Kirtland, OH; 1840—Nauvoo, IL; and 1841—Liverpool, England). In the coming months, more documents from the Documents, 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.

For more information, visit josephsmithpapers.org.