Welch, John W. (editor). Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 2006. Hardbound, 6.25×9.25″, 335 pages.
The Worlds of Joseph Smith contains all the papers presented at the Joseph Smith bicentennial conference in the Library of Congress, May 6-7, 2005. This volume elucidates Joseph’s life and mission by positioning him — to the degree possible — within the larger framework of American spirituality and world religions. The papers in this volume examine the worlds of Joseph Smith, past, present, and future. Part 1 explores the early nineteenth-century world of his day. Part 2 examines his interaction with ancient worlds. Part 3 introduces readers to Joseph Smith at a personal level. Part 4 explains the theological world that his revelations challenged. Part 5 develops issues relating to the future and his efforts to build up the kingdom of God throughout the world.
Presenters included Latter-day Saint and other Christian scholars from Brigham Young University, Columbia University, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pepperdine University, Roanoke College, the University of Richmond in Virginia, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and the University of Durham in England, namely: Richard Bushman, Robert Remini, Richard Hughes, Grant Underwood, Terryl Givens, Margaret Barker, John Clark, John Welch, Dallin Oaks, David Paulsen, Richard Mouw, Randall Balmer, Robert Millet, Douglas Davies, Gerald McDermott, Jan Shipps, and Roger Keller.
The idea behind this extraordinary conference originated as Robert Millet, religion professor at Brigham Young University, and professor Gerald McDermott of Roanoke College, were speaking about a Library of Congress conference about the Puritan preacher Jonathan Edwards. Concurrently, James Hutson, director of the Manuscripts Division at the Library of Congress, was bringing to BYU an exhibition on religion in the early American Republic. Soon, plans were being laid for this serious, academic conference about Joseph Smith.
The Worlds of Joseph Smith was presented to a full house in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library of Congress. It was also simulcast on the web to thousands of viewers worldwide. In addition to publishing these remarkable papers, this book also contains photographs of the rare Joseph Smith documents that were on display in the Library of Congress during this conference.