General Editors: Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman. Volume Editors: Karen Lynn Davidson, David J. Whittaker, Mark R. Ashurst-McGee, Richard L. Jensen. Salt Lake City, Utah: The Church Historian’s Press, 2012. Hardbound, 7×10”, 560 pgs.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project is a collection of primary Joseph Smith documents that is invaluable to American history scholars, Mormon history scholars, and of importance to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The latest volume, Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832–1844, contains a number of highly readable and compelling historical narratives, some familiar to Latter-day Saints and historians, and some not well-known.
With the assistance of Frederick G. Williams, Joseph Smith first set about recording his own history in the summer of 1832. In it he recounted for the first time in writing his first vision of Deity and the discovery of the gold plates. Two years later a more ambitious project, the 1834-1836 history, was initiated. This history drew largely on existing records, including Oliver Cowdery’s account of the translation of the Book of Mormon and the conferral of priesthood authority. Like the 1832 history, this manuscript remained unfinished.
Presented in this first volume of the Histories series are the six histories that Joseph Smith personally wrote, dictated, or supervised. This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers includes:
- History, circa Summer 1832
- History, 1834-1836
- History Drafts, 1838-circa 1841
- “Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839
- “Church History” (familiarly known as the “Wentworth Letter”) 1 March 1842
- “Latter Day Saints,” 1844
- Appendix: Orson Pratt, A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions, 1840