2013 News and Updates

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New Videos Provide Context for Joseph Smith Documents

December 17, 2013, Salt Lake City

An effort to release a series of videos that provide further context for Joseph Smith’s papers is under way. The first three videos can be viewed below, and additional videos will be added to the website in the coming months.

A Character Sketch of Joseph Smith Sr.

Kyle R. Walker, Richard Lloyd Anderson, and Jeffery O. Johnson reveal insights to Joseph Smith Sr.’s character and personality.

 

Second Great Awakening

Milton V. Backman Jr. and Chad M. Orton speak on the religious excitement Joseph Smith Jr. encountered in his youth.

 

Early Palmyra

Donald C. Enders shares information on early Palmyra, New York, providing a backdrop for Smith family history.

Joseph Smith Papers Staff Present at Conference

December 10, 2013, Salt Lake City

Two members of The Joseph Smith Papers team presented at “Researching New York: Perspectives on Empire State History,” which was held 14 and 15 November 2013 in Albany, New York.

Gerrit J. Dirkmaat presented “‘The Work Is Soon to Be Put to Press in This Village’: Joseph Smith’s Negotiations with New York Printers to Publish the Book of Mormon Manuscript,” which explained the difficulty Joseph Smith had persuading publishers in New York to print the Book of Mormon and indicated the enormity of the cost of printing. It also charted Smith’s initial negotiations with E. B. Grandin, publisher of the Wayne Sentinel; Grandin’s initial refusal to print the Book of Mormon; Smith’s attempts to convince other New York printers to publish the book; and Grandin’s ultimate agreement to print the Book of Mormon.

Brent M. Rogers presented “The Continuing Presence of Mormonism in Western New York in the 1830s,” in which he maintained that many pivotal moments in Latter-day Saint history took place in New York after what has been termed an exodus of the Saints from the state. New York continued to be a central location for recruiting and fund-raising efforts during the church’s formative years.

Joseph Smith Papers Project Publishes Documents, Volume 2

December 3, 2013, Salt Lake City

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.

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 that is now being made widely available.

The Joseph Smith Papers edition is expected to span more than twenty volumes when complete. The Documents portion of the series will comprise about half of the total. Documents, Volume 2, 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.

Matthew C. Godfrey, a volume editor for the Documents series, discusses Documents, Volume 2.

 

 

TV Program to Discuss Documents, Volume 2

November 27, 2013, Salt Lake City

A new episode of the program History of the Saints (KSL 5 TV) will focus entirely on Documents, Volume 2. It will air Sunday, December 1, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. MST and will draw on interviews with a number of historians, including Matthew C. Godfrey and Mark Ashurst-McGee, two of the editors of the volume.

Documents, Volume 2 is now available in stores and can be ordered online here.

Managing Historian Matthew C. Godfrey Discusses Documents, Volume 2

November 14, 2013, Salt Lake City

Kirk Caudle of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship recently interviewed Matthew C. Godfrey, managing historian of the Joseph Smith Papers Project and coeditor of Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833.

In the interview, available here, Godfrey discusses important documents treated in the volume, including two holograph letters from Joseph Smith to his wife Emma. He also reflects on the difficulties church members faced as they built up major centers of the church in Jackson County, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, during this period.

Volume editors for Documents, Volume 2 are Matthew C. Godfrey, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley. The book is expected to be in stores in early December 2013.

The Maxwell Institute, a research group at Brigham Young University, seeks to encourage respect among people of all faiths through the scholarly study of religious texts and traditions.

Joseph Smith Papers Project Publishes First Documents Volume

November 11, 2013, Salt Lake City

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.

General editor Ronald K. Esplin discusses the Documents series.

 

 

Gerrit Dirkmaat, a volume editor for the Documents series, discusses Documents, Volume 1.

 

Joseph Smith’s Habeas Corpus Hearings Presented at Illinois Law Event

November 6, 2013, Salt Lake City

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission recently produced a reenactment of the habeas corpus hearings of Joseph Smith. The event, titled “The Habeas Corpus Hearings of Joseph Smith and Discussion,” took place in Springfield, Illinois, on 24 September 2013 and in Chicago, Illinois, on 14 October 2013. Participants sought “to explore how the courts have protected minority rights” by reenacting the court proceedings occasioned by Missouri’s three attempts to have Joseph Smith extradited to Missouri, where in 1838 he had been imprisoned with other Latter-day Saint leaders while his people were driven from the state. A panel then discussed the use of habeas corpus through time. This is the third annual reenactment of important nineteenth-century legal cases in Illinois. Last year’s event explored the rights of the mentally ill through a reenactment of the custody hearing of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln.

Members of the Joseph Smith Papers Project who participated in the event are editorial board members Jeffrey N. Walker and Richard E. Turley Jr., Legal and Business Records series volume editors Gordon A. Madsen and John W. Welch, general editor Ronald K. Esplin, and volume editor Alex D. Smith.

Walker, series editor for the Legal and Business Records series, played a large role in creating the program for the event. He also sat on the panel that discussed the hearings, along with Jeffrey D. Colman, chair of the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission; Hon. Sue E. Myerscough, United States district judge for the Central District of Illinois; and Michael A. Scodro, Illinois solicitor general. Gery J. Chico, chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, moderated the Springfield session, and David A. Strauss, Gerald Ratner Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, moderated in Chicago.

The event included testimony of Mormon experiences in Missouri, the historical backdrop for Joseph Smith’s hearings, and generated further discussions of habeas corpus and its applicability in the current legal system. The Illinois State Board of Education organized a post-event workshop in which materials from the reenactment were mined to create teaching units for use in both middle school and high school classes statewide.

New Content on Joseph Smith Papers Website

October 29, 2013, Salt Lake City

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.

Histories Series Receives Award

October 11, 2013, Salt Lake City

The John Whitmer Historical Association recently presented volumes 1 and 2 of the Histories series with the Best Documentary History Book award at its 2013 annual meeting in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Volumes considered for the award are evaluated according to established standards of transcription, annotation, and document contextualization.

The John Whitmer Historical Association is a scholarly society dedicated to promoting interest in and research of Latter-day Saint history.

Recent Presentations by Joseph Smith Papers Staff

October 11, 2013, Salt Lake City

Several members of the Joseph Smith Papers Project recently presented papers related to the project, which are summarized in the following list.

Brigham Young University Education Week
August 19–23, 2013

Ronald K. Esplin, “Revelations and the Documents Series: The Historical Core of the Joseph Smith Papers,” provided an overview of the Joseph Smith Papers print editions and situated the forthcoming Documents series as the largest and most important historical series in the print edition. The presentation also explained the prominence of the revelations and shared some of the significant documents and historical finds in the first two volumes of the Documents series.

Ronald K. Esplin, “Empowering the Quorum of the Twelve to ‘Carry Out all the Measures of Joseph’: The Providential Partnership of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young,” discussed the 1835 Record of the Twelve, which has been released on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Jeffrey N. Walker, “Legal Highlights from the Restoration,” discussed in several lectures some important findings concerning the 1838 Mormon War in Missouri, the legal efficacy of Joseph Smith’s incarceration, and the impact of the Kirtland Safety Society.

Jeffrey N. Walker, “Habeas Corpus in Early Nineteenth-Century Mormonism: Joseph Smith's Legal Bulwark for Personal Freedom,” examined the nineteenth-century legal system’s views of the writ of habeas corpus and argued the legality of invoking that right in Missouri and Illinois.

Mormon History Association Conference
June 6–9, 2013

Matthew C. Godfrey, “The Influence of the Natural World on the Establishment of Zion, 1831–1833,” examined the building of the city of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, through the lens of environmental history, showing that church members saw Jackson County as a wilderness in need of redemption through the application of industry and agriculture.

Joseph F. Darowski, “Exodus West, from Kirtland to Missouri, 11 September 1831–27 October 1838: Expectations and Realities,” discussed church members’ relocation from Kirtland, Ohio, to Missouri in 1838, exploring the idea that they were not simply fleeing their neighbors’ hostility; they were gathering to Zion as they had intended.

Brent M. Rogers, “‘Armed Men Are Coming from the State of Missouri and Also from the Territory of Iowa’: Sworn Affidavits, Interstate Commerce, and the Mormon Attempt to Secure Governmental Intervention in Nauvoo, May 31–June 21, 1844,” explored federalism and interstate affairs, concepts important to the context and content of several affidavits made by church members in Nauvoo about the threat of an interstate anti-Mormon alliance growing in the region. The interstate threat made the best case to date for the Mormons to gain federal investigation, intervention, and protection.

Michael H. MacKay, Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, Mark Ashurst-McGee, and Robin Scott Jensen, “New Insights from the Joseph Smith Papers Project,” emphasized the importance of investigating or reinvestigating the dates of documents by providing case studies encountered while working on the Joseph Smith Papers.

MacKay and Dirkmaat shared information on the redating of Doctrine and Covenants 19 from March 1830 to summer 1829, providing new information regarding the context of the revelation, including Martin Harris’s circumstances and decision to pay for the publication of the Book of Mormon.

Ashurst-McGee shared the discovery of new textual evidence supporting the correction of a date of a revelation from 5 January 1834 to 5 January 1833 and explained the relevance of the dating to understanding the content of the document.

Jensen explored the use of the Book of Commandments and Revelations as a historical source and a model for historical writing for the early Latter-day Saints, ranging from John Whitmer to Orson Pratt.

Robin Scott Jensen and Emily Utt, “Mormonism and Material Culture,” discussed the material culture of the early church and argued that valuable information can be gleaned by looking at documents not simply as sources written about the past, but also as cultural artifacts created in the past.

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Volume Editor Gerrit Dirkmaat Discusses Documents, Volume 1

October 8, 2013, Salt Lake City

Gerrit J. Dirkmaat was recently interviewed by Kirk Caudle of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. In the interview, Dirkmaat explains that an accurate historical context is essential to understanding Doctrine and Covenants 41 and other documents available in Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831. The interview can be accessed here.

Volume editors for Documents, Volume 1 are Michael Hubbard MacKay, Gerrit J. Dirkmaat, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley. The volume is expected to be on shelves in early November 2013.

The Maxwell Institute, a research group at Brigham Young University, seeks to encourage respect among people of all faiths through the scholarly study of religious texts and traditions.

Joseph Smith Papers Receives Permission to Use and Publish Nauvoo-era Minutes of the Council of Fifty

September 7, 2013, Salt Lake City

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.

Joseph Smith Papers Project Hires New Staff

September 5, 2013, Salt Lake City

Three team members recently joined the Joseph Smith Papers Project.

Christian Heimburger received a PhD in modern American history from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and now serves as a historian with The Joseph Smith Papers. He previously worked as an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University, as a visiting scholar at Brigham Young University, and as an author and consultant for the Colorado History Education Initiative. He has presented research at conferences of the American Historical Association, Western History Association, and Association for Asian American Studies.

Brenden W. Rensink, also a new historian with the project, holds a PhD in history from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Before joining The Joseph Smith Papers, he was a visiting assistant professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He has published a number of articles, book chapters, and reviews on the North American West, transnational borderlands, indigenous North American history, and comparative genocide studies. He is active in the Western History Association and has presented research at its annual conferences, as well as at the Newberry Library in Chicago and other forums.

Kelley Konzak, a production editor for the project, is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in English language and a minor in editing. She previously worked as an editorial assistant at the Church History Library. She has also edited for the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship and for Cedar Fort Publishing and Media.

In other news, Matthew C. Godfrey has been appointed as the project’s managing historian, replacing Andrew H. Hedges, who accepted a faculty position at Brigham Young University. Robin Scott Jensen has been appointed as associate managing historian, replacing Godfrey in that position.

For more complete biographies of the members of the project, see the Project Team page.

Project Member Presents at Association for Documentary Editing Conference

August 6, 2013, Salt Lake City

R. Eric Smith, production manager of the Joseph Smith Papers Project, presented a paper on digital publishing at the annual conference of the Association for Documentary Editing, held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 11–13 July, 2013. Smith’s paper, titled “A War on Two Fronts: Challenges and Opportunities of Simultaneously Publishing Print and Digital Editions,” discussed ways the project’s electronic publications can facilitate textual comparison, textual analysis, and other types of study. He also emphasized the importance of establishing clear publishing goals and priorities, particularly for digital projects. Other panelists were Paul Israel, Thomas Edison Papers; Daniel Stowell, Papers of Abraham Lincoln; and Scott Nesbit, Digital Scholarship Lab, University of Richmond.

New Articles Published concerning Joseph Smith Papers

August 5, 2013, Salt Lake City

The latest issue of the Religious Educator, published by the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University, includes two articles that draw on publications of The Joseph Smith Papers. The articles are J. B. Haws, “Reconciling Joseph Smith—History 1:10 and 1:18–19,” and Kenneth L. Alford, “Using The Joseph Smith Papers in the Classroom.” Haws uses Joseph Smith Papers materials in discussing aspects of Joseph Smith’s first vision, and Alford suggests that using the Papers can “inform and enliven” the way church history is taught.

New Content on Joseph Smith Papers Website

July 30, 2013, Salt Lake City

The Joseph Smith Papers Project announces the addition of the following new content and features to its website, josephsmithpapers.org:

  • Joseph Smith’s Letterbook 2, a compilation of copied letters and other items dated 25 April 1837 through 9 February 1843, with a handful of letters dating from 1829, 1833, and 1834.
  • Sidney Rigdon, Appeal to the American People, 1840, second edition, a source text to the histories published in Histories, Volume 2.
  • Appendix to Journals, Volume 2: William Clayton’s personal journal from 1–4 April 1843; these entries served as a source for Joseph Smith’s journal entries for those dates.
  • Over one hundred letters, discourses, minutes, and other documents dating from 1841, including revelations, doctrinal discourses, documents relating to the organization of the Nauvoo Legion, and documents related to land transactions in and around Nauvoo, Illinois.
  • New and updated reference material, including source citations for 63 biographical descriptions, 21 updated or new glossary entries, and 50 new or updated event descriptions.

Also recently added are two manuscript versions of Lucy Mack Smith’s historyJoseph Smith’s Nauvoo journals as published in Journals, Volume 2, and Joseph Smith’s Summer 1832 history. 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.

Volumes 1 and 2 of Histories Series Receive Award

July 8, 2013, Salt Lake City

The Mormon History Association recently honored volumes 1 and 2 of the Histories series with the Best Documentary History Award for 2013. The award, which was also extended to Journals, Volume 1 in 2009, is presented for the best published documentary on Mormon history.

The Mormon History Association was created in 1965 under the American Historical Association and became a separate organization in 1972. Its purpose is to encourage understanding and scholarship in the field of Mormon history.

Production Manager R. Eric Smith to Present at Conference

July 2, 2013, Salt Lake City

R. Eric Smith, production manager for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, has been invited to present a paper at the annual meeting of the Association for Documentary Editing, to be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 11–13 July 2013.

He has designed his presentation, titled “A War on Two Fronts: Challenges and Opportunities of Simultaneously Publishing Print and Digital Editions,” as a set of case studies to explore three challenges or opportunities the project has encountered as it has endeavored to publish a robust edition in paper while simultaneously publishing a comprehensive digital edition.

The Association for Documentary Editing was created in 1978 to foster cooperation and exchange of ideas in the documentary editing community.

New Content on Joseph Smith Papers Website

May 14, 2013, Salt Lake City

The Joseph Smith Papers Project announces the addition of the following new content and features to its website, josephsmithpapers.org:

  • Two manuscript versions of the history written by Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of Joseph Smith, after his death. Lucy dictated a rough draft version to Martha Jane Knowlton Coray (with some additional scribal help from Martha’s husband, Howard) beginning in 1844 and concluding in 1845. In 1845, the Corays inscribed a fair copy of the history under Lucy’s direction. These two manuscripts chronicle the history of Joseph Smith’s family and the growth of the church through Joseph Smith’s death.
  • Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo, Illinois, journals as published in Journals, Volume 2, with all their accompanying annotation (first Nauvoo journal; second Nauvoo journal, book 1; second Nauvoo journal, book 2). Covering the period 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.
  • History, circa Summer 1832, which includes the earliest account of Joseph Smith’s first vision of deity and was written by him and scribe Frederick G. Williams.
  • Introductions to the Nauvoo journals and Joseph Smith’s history writing efforts.
  • New and updated reference material, including source citations for 81 biographical descriptions.

Also recently added are the Kirtland Egyptian Papers, volume C-1 of the 1838–1856 history, and an updated search feature that makes it easier to navigate to search results within the documents. 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.

Explanations for the Doctrine and Covenants Section Headings

February 28, 2013, Salt Lake City

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."

Section 10

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].

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Joseph Smith Papers Project to Publish Book of Mormon Manuscripts

February 14, 2013, Salt Lake City

The Joseph Smith Papers Project is pleased to announce that it has received permission from officials of the Community of Christ to publish the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon as part of the print edition of The Joseph Smith Papers.

It is anticipated that the manuscript, which was used to set the majority of type for the first edition of the Book of Mormon, will be published in the future as the third volume of the project’s Revelations and Translations series. The volume will be a facsimile edition, featuring a photographic image of each page of the manuscript arranged in a parallel format with a transcript of that page.

The editors of the volume are Royal Skousen, professor of linguistics and English language at Brigham Young University, and Robin Scott Jensen, a historian with the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Skousen and Jensen will work together to apply the project’s stylistic conventions to the transcript of the printer’s manuscript earlier published by Skousen as part of his Book of Mormon Critical Text Project.

Community of Christ officials have also generously permitted high-resolution photographs of the manuscript to be taken by Welden C. Andersen, a photographer with the Publication Services Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Andersen’s photographs, taken in fall 2012, will be included in the volume.

Management and staff of the Church History Department and the Joseph Smith Papers Project are deeply grateful for the collaboration of Community of Christ officials, Professor Skousen, and Brigham Young University administrators on this significant project.

After the printer’s manuscript is published, Skousen will work with Jensen and other project editors to prepare and publish a facsimile edition, with photographs and transcripts, of the surviving portions of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.