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Council of Fifty Minutes Now Online

In 2016, the Joseph Smith Papers Project published in print the minutes from the Council of Fifty in Nauvoo, Illinois. We are pleased to announce that those minutes are now available on this website, including images of the record books. On 11 March 1844, Joseph Smith organized a council that he and his closest associates saw as the beginning of the literal kingdom of God on earth. Among other things, the council explored possible Mormon settlement sites outside the boundaries of the United States and oversaw Joseph Smith’s electioneering campaign for United States president. For more on the Council of Fifty, see the volume introduction, “The Council of Fifty in Nauvoo, Illinois.”

In addition to the Council of Fifty minutes, this latest web content release includes more than 125 documents from March, April, and May 1844, including letters, discourses, deeds, and Nauvoo City Council business. Some highlights:

  • A discourse about the spirit of Elias, Elijah, and the Messiah, given 10 March 1844
  • A letter to presidential candidate Henry Clay dated 13 May 1844 chastising him for not taking a stronger stand on protecting liberty
  • A memorial to the U. S. Congress concerning Texas and Oregon, 26 March 1844

In the Legal, Business, and Financial Records series, we have added documents to four Missouri legal cases against Joseph Smith (for riot, treason, and arson), as well as editorial introductions to the riot case and several Ohio court cases.


New Content on the Joseph Smith Papers Website

The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce its latest web content release. Featured in this publication are over a hundred documents from January and February 1844, including letters, deeds, and Nauvoo City Council business. Some highlights:

  • Correspondence with Illinois governor Thomas Ford about continuing difficulties with the Mormons’ neighbors
  • Documents related to the transfer of Joseph Smith’s “Mansion House” to Ebenezer Robinson
  • A pamphlet describing Joseph Smith’s views on government
  • Correspondence with Joseph Smith’s agents in Kirtland, Ohio, concerning the disposition of property

In the Legal and Business Records series, we have added editorial introductions to several Ohio court cases and to Joseph Smith’s 1826 trial in New York.

Also included in this release are images for the “History of Joseph Smith” as published in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. Joseph Smith began publishing this history, which he began composing in 1838, in the church newspaper in March 1842; church historians completed the project in 1858.

Researchers will also find hundreds of new entries in the calendar of documents for September 1839 through January 1841, as well as more biographical and geographical entries.


Documents, Volume 7: September 1839–January 1841 Is Now Available

The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce the release of Documents, Volume 7, which covers September 1839 through January 1841. This volume contains 129 documents, including personal correspondence, discourses, minutes, a revelation, and a memorial to the United States Congress. Specific topics addressed in these documents include the practical and spiritual building up of Nauvoo, Illinois; the struggle to obtain redress for the property and lives lost in Missouri; the missionary efforts of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in England; and the introduction of new teachings and doctrines, including baptism for the dead.

This volume helps illuminate this difficult period—a time when Joseph Smith strove to regroup church members after their forced expulsion from Missouri and attempted to establish a new gathering place for the Saints. The documents reveal a church leader trying to unify his people and extend the church’s reach through missionary work, especially through the efforts of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They show a man concerned for the health and well-being of his followers—and a man striving to obtain redress for the wrong they suffered in Missouri. These documents are critical to understanding Joseph Smith as a person, as a husband and father, and as a prophet to his people; to comprehending the foundations of the Mormon experience in Nauvoo; and to grasping the larger context of events in the United States and elsewhere that influenced Joseph Smith and the church from 1839 to 1841.

Documents, Volume 7 was edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, Spencer W. McBride, Alex D. Smith, and Christopher James Blythe, with Shannon Kelly Jorgensen as the lead production editor. The volume is now available for purchase from Deseret Book and Amazon.


Call for Papers: Joseph Smith Papers Conference

On October 26, 2018, the Joseph Smith Papers will host a conference in Salt Lake City on the topic of translation and Latter-day Saint history. We encourage papers that utilize the Revelations and Translations series of the Joseph Smith Papers to illuminate the ministry and work of Joseph Smith, how Joseph Smith and other Saints understood the gift of translation, and the methods behind specific translation projects. See the call for papers for details.


New Content on the Joseph Smith Papers Website

February 6, 2018

The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce its latest web content release. Included in this substantial publication are all documents, introductions, and annotation in Documents, Volume 4: April 1834–September 1835, which was published in print in 2016. Documents, Volume 4 includes documents from the 1834 Camp of Israel expedition (later called “Zion’s Camp”) that marched to Jackson County, Missouri, to redeem the Saint’s land; the 1835 calling of and blessings for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the Seventies; the construction of the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio; and many other minutes, letters, and revelations.

Also published in this release are appendix items for the recently released Documents, Volume 6, mainly concerned with the 1838 struggles of the Saints with their Missouri neighbors:

We have also added minutes from the Nauvoo City Council from 1844 and 1845 as well as more documents from the Nauvoo Municipal Court. Users will also find new editorial introductions to several New York and Ohio court cases.