185 Years of Discourses by Latter-day Saint Women

From the banks of the frozen Lake Erie in early May 1831, Lucy Mack Smith admonished her despondent fellow Saints. “Where is your faith in God?” she asked. “If I could make my voice to sound as loud as the trumpet of Michael the archangel I would declare the truth from land to land and from sea to sea.”

At the Pulpit contains fifty-four discourses given by Latter-day Saint women throughout the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Like Lucy Mack Smith, these women drew on inspiration and experience to declare their understanding of eternal truths. This book illustrates the history of women’s public preaching in the church, but its most important feature is the actual words of Mormon women. From the time of Emma Hale Smith’s earliest exhortations at meetings of the Nauvoo Relief Society, Latter-day Saint women have been charged to instruct their families and neighbors, their congregations and Relief Societies, and other organizations. The talks featured in this volume show Mormon women doing the spiritual and intellectual work inherent in a life of Christian faith—seeking to do good works, understand the atonement of Jesus Christ, and strengthen their own faith and the faith of those around them. These women endeavored to live what they believed and to help their listeners do so as well.

Written to the high scholarly standards of the Church Historian’s Press, the book provides a resource for contemporary Latter-day Saints as they study, speak, teach, and lead. Each discourse in this volume begins with an introduction that acquaints readers with the vibrant personalities of some of the women who have shaped the church. Introductions also provide glimpses into the circumstances and forces that shaped these women. Readers will encounter some familiar figures from church history and from the contemporary church—leaders like Eliza R. Snow and Linda K. Burton, current Relief Society general president. But they will also learn from women like Jane H. Neyman, whose stories are largely unknown to modern Latter-day Saints. Neyman applied to join the Nauvoo Relief Society in 1842, but her petition was rejected due to gossip about her daughters. Over twenty-five years later, she spoke in a Relief Society in Beaver, Utah, on charity, urging members to be forbearing and forgiving of one another.

The voices in these pages ring from Nauvoo’s red brick store to the National Auditorium in Mexico City to the Tabernacle on Temple Square and beyond. These discourses offer instruction on gospel principles while also revealing the particular concerns of individual women. At the Pulpit allows us to hear the historical and contemporary voices of Latter-day Saint women—voices that resound with experience, wisdom, and authority.

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Vol. 5, October 1835 – January 1838

Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Vol. 5, October 1835 - January 1838

General Editors: Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, Matthew C. Godfrey.  Volume Editors: Brent M. Rogers, Elizabeth A. Kuehn, Christian K. Heimburger, Max H. Parkin, Alexander L. Baugh, Steven C. Harper.  Salt Lake City UT:  Church Historian’s Press, an imprint of the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2017. Hardbound, 7.25×10.25″, 768 Pages.

 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.

The volume opens in the hopeful season leading up to the completion of the first Latter-day Saint temple, the House of the Lord in Kirtland, Ohio. In these months Joseph Smith pronounced new revelations, spent time organizing and unifying priesthood quorums, and introduced sacred ordinances. He relished such work, once recording in his journal, “This has been one of the best days that I ever spent.”

The pinnacle of the volume is the dedication of the Kirtland temple in spring 1836. Latter-day Saints described remarkable spiritual outpourings at the time of the dedication, including seeing angels and visions. In addition, men who had been ordained to the priesthood recorded receiving the long-promised endowment of spiritual power. Shortly after, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery reported visitations by Jesus Christ and ancient prophets, who bestowed priesthood authority.

Soon, however, the exuberance of the temple dedication seemed like a distant memory. Word came that the Saints in Missouri again faced expulsion from their homes. The Kirtland economy began to collapse amid a national financial panic. The church’s newly founded banking institution, the Kirtland Safety Society, soon crumbled, and many Latter-day Saints, including Joseph Smith, lost substantial money and property. The House of the Lord itself, the center of the Saints’ spiritual lives, was mortgaged in order to pay debts.

Facing these difficulties, some Saints—even some of Joseph Smith’s closest friends—turned agains him, declaring him a fallen prophet. Smith spent time in hiding as he faced threats against his life. Finally, in January 1838, a revelation commanded the First Presidency to leave Kirtland and seek refuge among the Missouri Saints.

The months between the temple dedication and Joseph Smith’s relocation to Missouri are some of the least documented in early Mormon history. The texts presented her, together with the extensive annotation accompanying them, constitute one of the best sources for researching and understanding this tumultuous period. This volume also highlights the activities and perspectives of women by including letters from Emma Smith to her husband and relying on accounts by such eyewitnesses as Eliza R. Snow, Mary Fielding, and Vilate Murray Kimball.

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Vol. 4 April 1834 – 1835

Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Vol. 4 April 1834 - 1835

General Editors: Ronald K. Esplin, Matthew J. Grow, Matthew C. Godfrey.  Volume Editors: Matthew C. Godfrey, Brenden W. Rensink, Alex D. Smith, Max H. Parkin, Alexander L. Baugh.  Salt Lake City UT:  Church Historian’s Press, an imprint of the Church History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hardbound, 7.25×10.25″, 712 Pages.

 

Accomplishing the “redemption of Zion” was Joseph Smith’s primary concern for much of 1834 and 1835. After the Latter-day Saints had been forcibly removed from their lands in Jackson County, Missouri—the place where they believed God had commanded them to build the city of Zion—Joseph Smith led numerous efforts to reclaim those lands and restore the Saints to their homes. Covering April 1834 through September 1835, the ninety-three documents featured in this fourth volume of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papersshed light on Joseph Smith’s attempts to redeem Zion and reveal his maturation as a leader and prophet for a growing church facing nearly constant challenges.

The project of redeeming Zion placed large demands on Joseph Smith’s time and resources. He left his home in Kirtland, Ohio, in May 1834 to lead a company of about two hundred individuals, known as the Camp of Israel and later as Zion’s Camp, to Missouri to aid the beleaguered Saints there. Smith also sought to redeem Zion through the construction of the House of the Lord (or temple) in Kirtland, where the elders of the church were to receive an “endowment of power,” and the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of revelations that provided instruction to the Saints on church doctrine and theology. Funding these projects proved difficult, however. In part because of the loss of the printing press in Jackson County and the mounting construction costs of the Kirtland temple, Smith and the church faced severe financial problems in the mid-1830s. Several documents in this volume describe these projects, the church’s financial strain, and the resulting assignments given to some individuals to collect donations for the church.

Meanwhile, the number of Saints in and outside Kirtland continued to increase. To address the challenge of growth, Joseph Smith further developed the church’s governing bodies and created a more complex administrative structure. Some documents presented herein, for example, detail the creation of new leadership positions in the church, including the offices of apostle, seventy, and church patriarch.

The types of documents included in this volume range from minutes and administrative documents to personal letters and revelations. Particularly prominent are a number of recorded blessings. These documents reveal the growing importance that Joseph Smith placed on giving blessings that provided personalized instructions and promises to various individuals, including veterans of the Camp of Israel and new church leaders.

The documents reproduced in this volume have been transcribed and annotated to the highest standards of documentary editing. Altogether, they open a window into Joseph Smith’s efforts to establish the kingdom of God on earth and his development as a leader of a growing religious movement. This volume is an indispensable resource for those studying the life of Joseph Smith during this formative and turbulent period.

First Fifty Years of Relief Society, The: Key Documents In Latter–day Saint Women’s History

First Fifty Years of Relief Society, The: Key Documents In Latter--day Saint Women's History

Jill Mulvay Derr, Carol Cornwall Madsen, Kate Holbrook, Matthew J. Grow, Editors.  Salt Lake City, Utah:  The Church Historian’s Press, 2016.  Hardcover, 7.25 x 10.25″, 767 pages.

This collection of original documents explores the largely unknown nineteenth-century history of the Relief Society, the women’s organization of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois, the Relief Society was initially led by Emma Smith, wife of president Joseph Smith. The substantial minutes of the organization’s proceedings from 1842 to 1844, published unabridged herein for the first time in print, document the women’s priorities, contributions, and teachings. The Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book also contains six sermons Joseph Smith delivered to the society, the only recorded words he directed exclusively to the women of the church.

The organization was suspended from 1845 until the mid-1850s, when attempts were made to organize the Relief Society on a congregational level in some areas of Utah Territory after the emigration of the Latter-day Saints to the American West. A more general and permanent reorganization began in 1867, under the leadership of Eliza R. Snow, and the Relief Society’s roles within the church structure and within women’s lives expanded over the succeeding decades.

The example of the Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book helped create a record-keeping sensibility among Latter-day Saint women, who conscientiously created thousands of official and private records during the nineteenth century. The seventy-eight key documents in this collection include minutes of meetings, sermons by both women and men, annual reports from local Relief Societies, newspaper articles and editorials, political petitions and speeches, poetry, letters, journal entries, and reminiscences. They were produced not only near church headquarters but in far-flung settlements in the Mountain West and in areas as remote as Hawaii and England.

These records from the first fifty years of Relief Society give insight not only into the spiritual and ecclesiastical dimensions of Latter-day Saint women’s lives but also into their political, temporal, and social pursuits. Relief Society women cared for their families and the poor. They manufactured and sold goods, worked as midwives and doctors, gave healing blessings, appointed and set apart Relief Society officers, stored grain, built assembly halls, fought for woman suffrage, founded a hospital, defended the practice of plural marriage, and started the church organizations for children and young women.

Prominent in the documents are the towering figures of Mormon women’s history from this period—Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow, Sarah M. Kimball, Mary Isabella Horne, Emmeline B. Wells, Zina D. H. Young, and many others. In addition, some two thousand lesser-known Latter-day Saints appear in these records. Each document has been meticulously transcribed and is placed in historical context with an introduction and annotation. Taken together, the accounts featured here allow readers to study this founding period in Latter-day Saint women’s history and to situate it within broader themes in nineteenth-century American religious history.

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3, Part 2: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3, Part 2: Printer's Manuscript of the Book of Mormon

Royal Skousen. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.), 2015.  Hardbound, 7×10.25″, 437 pages.

The Book of Mormon is the centerpiece of Joseph Smith’s documentary record. It served to Smith’s followers as a witness of his divine mission and as a foundation of their newfound faith. This volume, the third in the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, gives readers unprecedented access to an early Book of Mormon manuscript through full-color photographs, a color-coded transcript, introductions, and reference material.

From early April to late June 1829, Joseph Smith dictated the majority of the text of the Book of Mormon. He and other believers explained that Smith translated the Book of Mormon from writings on ancient metal plates to which he had been led by a heavenly messenger. Smith’s translation of the plates was not the conventional process of converting text from one language to another through expert knowledge of both languages—instead, he recounted that he dictated the text “by the gift and power of God.” With the aid of “interpreters” he found buried with the plates and a seer stone already in his possession, Joseph Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery and several other scribes. The manuscript they created is known as the original manuscript. Because of significant water damage suffered in the nineteenth century, less than 30 percent of the original manuscript has survived. Most of it is held by the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

After the original manuscript was completed and Joseph Smith had secured the services of a printer, Smith directed that a second copy, now known as the printer’s manuscript, be created. This would allow the original manuscript to be kept safe while the second copy was taken to the print shop. Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, and a third, unknown scribe created the printer’s manuscript from roughly August 1829 to January 1830, and pages of it were taken in batches to E. B. Grandin’s print shop in Palmyra, New York, as printing proceeded. The first edition of the Book of Mormon went on sale in Palmyra on March 26, 1830, and Smith formally organized a church less than two weeks later. The printer’s manuscript was consulted again by Joseph Smith and others when the second edition of the Book of Mormon was printed in 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. The manuscript was eventually obtained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), headquartered in Independence, Missouri, and it is reproduced here with their generous permission. The carefully preserved manuscript is virtually complete—only three lines of text are missing.

This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers provides a facsimile edition of the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Because of the length of the printer’s manuscript, this volume has been split into two parts: Part 1 contains introductory and explanatory materials, the copyright and preface pages of the printer’s manuscript, and the text of the Book of Mormon from 1 Nephi through Alma 35. Part 2 contains the text of the Book of Mormon from Alma 36 through Moroni 10, statements of Book of Mormon witnesses, and reference material, including a chronology, a biographical register, and a table documenting how the printer’s manuscript was used in printing the 1830 and 1837 editions of the Book of Mormon. While the volume and document introductions in Part 1 place the printer’s manuscript in its historical context, the annotation throughout the volume focuses strictly on textual issues, including identifying significant variants between the printer’s manuscript, the original manuscript, and early printed editions. Readers wishing to study the full text will need to consult both Part 1 and Part 2.

Designed for those who wish to carefully research the early text of the Book of Mormon and efforts to that book, the transcript in this volume reproduces the printer’s manuscript exactly as it appears today. The transcript preserves corrections and revisions of any kind, line and page breaks, and even the locations of interlinear insertions. Since several scribes penned revisions in this manuscript, the handwriting of each is rendered in a different color to facilitate analysis. The photographs included her—the first complete photographic of the printer’s manuscript ever published—allow comparison with the transcript and provide details that can never be fully captured in transcription.

 

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3, Part 1: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon

Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 3, Part 2: Printer's Manuscript of the Book of Mormon

Royal Skousen. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.), 2015.  Hardbound, 7×10.25″, 580 pages.

The Book of Mormon is the centerpiece of Joseph Smith’s documentary record. It served to Smith’s followers as a witness of his divine mission and as a foundation of their newfound faith. This volume, the third in the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, gives readers unprecedented access to an early Book of Mormon manuscript through full-color photographs, a color-coded transcript, introductions, and reference material.

From early April to late June 1829, Joseph Smith dictated the majority of the text of the Book of Mormon. He and other believers explained that Smith translated the Book of Mormon from writings on ancient metal plates to which he had been led by a heavenly messenger. Smith’s translation of the plates was not the conventional process of converting text from one language to another through expert knowledge of both languages—instead, he recounted that he dictated the text “by the gift and power of God.” With the aid of “interpreters” he found buried with the plates and a seer stone already in his possession, Joseph Smith dictated the text to Oliver Cowdery and several other scribes. The manuscript they created is known as the original manuscript. Because of significant water damage suffered in the nineteenth century, less than 30 percent of the original manuscript has survived. Most of it is held by the Church History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

After the original manuscript was completed and Joseph Smith had secured the services of a printer, Smith directed that a second copy, now known as the printer’s manuscript, be created. This would allow the original manuscript to be kept safe while the second copy was taken to the print shop. Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, and a third, unknown scribe created the printer’s manuscript from roughly August 1829 to January 1830, and pages of it were taken in batches to E. B. Grandin’s print shop in Palmyra, New York, as printing proceeded. The first edition of the Book of Mormon went on sale in Palmyra on March 26, 1830, and Smith formally organized a church less than two weeks later. The printer’s manuscript was consulted again by Joseph Smith and others when the second edition of the Book of Mormon was printed in 1837 in Kirtland, Ohio. The manuscript was eventually obtained by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now Community of Christ), headquartered in Independence, Missouri, and it is reproduced here with their generous permission. The carefully preserved manuscript is virtually complete—only three lines of text are missing.

This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers provides a facsimile edition of the printer’s manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Because of the length of the printer’s manuscript, this volume has been split into two parts: Part 1 contains introductory and explanatory materials, the copyright and preface pages of the printer’s manuscript, and the text of the Book of Mormon from 1 Nephi through Alma 35. Part 2 contains the text of the Book of Mormon from Alma 36 through Moroni 10, statements of Book of Mormon witnesses, and reference material, including a chronology, a biographical register, and a table documenting how the printer’s manuscript was used in printing the 1830 and 1837 editions of the Book of Mormon. While the volume and document introductions in Part 1 place the printer’s manuscript in its historical context, the annotation throughout the volume focuses strictly on textual issues, including identifying significant variants between the printer’s manuscript, the original manuscript, and early printed editions. Readers wishing to study the full text will need to consult both Part 1 and Part 2.

Designed for those who wish to carefully research the early text of the Book of Mormon and efforts to that book, the transcript in this volume reproduces the printer’s manuscript exactly as it appears today. The transcript preserves corrections and revisions of any kind, line and page breaks, and even the locations of interlinear insertions. Since several scribes penned revisions in this manuscript, the handwriting of each is rendered in a different color to facilitate analysis. The photographs included here—the first complete photograph of the printer’s manuscript ever published—allow comparison with the transcript and provide details that can never be fully captured in transcription.

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 2: Published Revelations

Joseph Smith Papers, The: Revelations and Translations, Volume 2, Published Revelations

General Editors: Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.), 2011.  Hardbound, 7×10.25″, 768 pages.

Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations, features the Book of Commandments and the other major printed versions of Joseph Smith’s revelations that were published or in the process of being published during his lifetime. Reproduce herein as high-quality photographs are the Book of Commandments (1833); the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835), including the portion that has come to be known as the “Lectures on Faith”; and seven additional texts added to the second edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1844). Reproduced herein as transcripts are twenty-six complete or partial revelation texts published in the church newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star (1832-1833) and its later, reprinted version, Evening and Morning Star (1835-1836). Because these newspaper versions were produced in connection with editing and typesetting work on the Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, they are critical sources for understanding the textual history of the revelations.

This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers also includes two appendixes that provide important related material. The first is a proposed reconstruction of what likely would have been included in the final thirty-two pages of the Book of Commandments, had the print shop not been destroyed mid-run by vigilantes. The second presents selected photographs of a copy of the Book of Commandments owned by Oliver Cowdery and marked up to prepare revelations for publication in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.

Revelations and Translations, Volume 2 goes hand in hand with Manuscript Revelations Books, the first volume in this series. Manuscript Revelation Books presents the earliest surviving manuscripts of many of Joseph Smith’s revelations, the ones used by Smith and his associates in preparing the published scriptures of their day. Volume 2 presents the printed revelations in the form that most Latter-day Saints read and experienced them. Together the two volumes make the early revelations more accessible than ever before.

Contents
Detailed Contents
Timeline of Joseph Smith’s Life
Map: Joseph Smith’s Residences
Volume 2 Introduction: Joseph Smith – Era Publications of Revelations
Editorial Method

Published Revelations
Book of Commandments
Appendix 1: Proposed Sixth Gathering of the Book of Commandments
Revelations Printed in The Evening and the Morning Star
Doctrine and Covenants, 1835
Appendix 2: Selections from Oliver Cowdery’s Copy of the Book of Commandments
Doctrine and Covenants, 1844 (Sections 101-107)

Reference Material
Chronology for the Years 1831-1835, 1844
Directory of Printers
Substitute Words in the 1835 and 1844 Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants
Works Cited
Corresponding Published Versions of Revelations

Acknowledgments

JSP Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Vol. 1: Manuscript Revelation Books

Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 1, Manuscript Revelation Books

General Editors: Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press (Intellectual Reserve, Inc.), 2011.  Hardbound, 7×10.25″, 571 pages.

The Revelations and Translations series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project presents transcriptions of Joseph Smith’s written revelations and translations.Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books is a sister volume to the 9” x 12” Facsimile Edition that was published in 2009. This version is the smaller, 7″ x 10″ library edition of the earlier book. Like the Facsimile Edition, it presents scores of Joseph Smith’s revelations, dated from 1828 to 1834, that became the basis for the canonized books of revelations: the Book of Commandments (1833) and the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835). Unlike the earlier Facsimile Edition, this edition does not include reproductions of the handwritten revelations themselves. However, this volume does include:

  • Complete, color-coded transcripts of the handwritten revelations, rendering each scribe’s handwriting in a different color, to facilitate analysis of revisions made by various scribes
  • Introductions to place these vital documents in their historical settings and enhance our understanding of them