The Joseph Smith Papers
“If a single phrase might be used to describe this series, it would be ‘state of the art.’ Each published volume stands as a model both in terms of scholarly workmanship and bibliographic nuance. The series’ volumes stand as a marker of what might be accomplished in publishing stunning reproductions of original archival documents accompanied by high-quality scholarly commentary.”
—Paul Gutjahr, Review of Revelations and Translations, Volume 3, in Mormon Studies Review 4 (2017): 163–167.
“This documentary edition of the papers of the founding father of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has joined, if not displaced, leading-edge projects dedicated to more secular founders. . . . Simply stated, The Joseph Smith Papers Project is indeed a marvelous work and a wonder. Its editors are committed people of faith who are also rigorous scholars of early Mormon history and professionals trained in the best practices of the modern documentary editing tradition and who rely on the latest in modern technology and are supported and sustained by a resourceful and history-minded church.”
—Mark A. Mastromarino, “Rough Stone Rising: The Joseph Smith Papers Project,” Mormon Studies Review 2 (2015): 86–104.
“The Joseph Smith Papers (including the wealth of resources on the project’s website) is already the single most valuable resource for students of early Mormonism. . . . For their attention to detail, for their abundant citation of other primary sources, for the lavish inclusion of photographs and maps, for their contextualization of Smith’s prophetic career, the JSP is indeed a ‘great and a marvelous work.’”
—John G. Turner, “Remember, He Was a Prophet,” Reviews in American History 42 no. 3 (Sept 2014): 422–427.
“Edited according to the highest professional standards, meticulously presented, and eventually to include a comprehensive collection of extant Smith documents, the Joseph Smith papers represent a landmark in historical scholarship.”
—Cathy Rodabaugh, Ohio History 120 (The Kent State University Press, 2013): 140–141.
“The single greatest contribution of the Joseph Smith Papers Project will not be a particular volume published, but will be instead the unparalleled (though of course still imperfect) example of professional precision with which its editors analyze their material. . . .The volumes are presented in a manner to maximize the ease of access to the material for those not intimately familiar with early Mormon History. . . . The annotation is extremely helpful and the foreword and back matter integrate the content of the volume for the expert and uninitiated alike.”
—Jonathan A. Stapley, “Worth the Wait,” Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 46, no. 1 (Spring 2013): 200–206.
“Historians of American religion will find perusing these volumes fruitful in at least two ways. First of all, the religious development of Mormonism itself provides insight on popular religious culture and opportunities to see comparative aspects of American religions. . . . Second, Smith and other early Mormons had contact with leaders from a number of religious traditions. . . . These attractive volumes represent a tremendous scholarly resource presented effectively and comprehensively.”
—Ruth Alden Doan, review of The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839; Revelations and Translations, Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books; Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books (Facsimile Edition); Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations, in Journal of the Early American Republic 32, no. 3 (Fall 2012): 518–522. Abstract posted with permission of the University of Pennsylvania Press.
Administrative Records, Council of Fifty, Minutes, March 1844–January 1846 (Published 2016)
“This volume is unique in that the minutes were both unpublished and ardently desired. Thus, Administrative Records, vol. 1, will likely have wide appeal, reaching those who have not followed the JSP project nor purchased any volumes previously. . . . The addition of a substantial new primary source after so much ground has been repeatedly plowed, is an event worthy of the attention and expectation this volume has and will receive. . . . The publication of the minutes will likely serve as a particularly potent catalyst spurring further secondary treatments better equipped than before to assess the development of Mormonism.”
—Bryan Buchanan, Review of Council of Fifty Minutes, March 1844–January 1846, in Dawning of a Brighter Day (Association for Mormon Letters Blog), http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/reviews/current-reviews/grow-et-al-the-joseph-smith-papers-administrative-records-council-of-fifty-minutes-march-1844-january-1846-reviewed-by-bryan-buchanan/.
“The publication of the Council of Fifty minutes is a momentous occasion in modern studies of Mormon history. The minutes are invaluable in helping historians understand the last days of Joseph Smith and his project to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. They offer an important glimpse into the religious and political mindset of early Latter-day Saint leaders and shed much light on events once obscured by lack of access to the minutes. The Joseph Smith Papers Project has outdone itself in its presentation of the minutes in the latest volume of the series. The minutes are essential reading for anyone interested in early Mormon history.”
—Stephen O. Smoot, “The Council of Fifty and Its Minutes: A Review,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 23 (2017): 45–52.
“Administrative Records: Volume 1 stands as the only publicly accessible collection of the Nauvoo minutes, assembled by one of the most qualified documentary editing teams available. As with all Joseph Smith Papers volumes, A1 is expertly crafted. The transcriptions, annotations, and introductions are impeccable and informative. This volume, by nature, placed Mormonism into its historical and political context within the United States to a greater extent than have the other thirteen JSP volumes thus far, giving us a glimpse not only into Mormonism’s past but also the political landscape of the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. In my estimation, Administrative Records: Volume 1 . . . may be the most important JSP volume to date, not only for its content but for the leap in institutional transparency that it represents.”
—Brian Whitney, “Council of Fifty Minutes: Anti-American Sentiment, Theocratic Aspirations, and Institutional Transparency,” Worlds Without End (blog), 21 Sept. 2016, http://www.withoutend.org/2016/09/.
Documents, Volume 4: April 1834–September 1835 (Published 2016)
“These documents will help students to see the ways that Joseph Smith and other priesthood leaders collaborated on matters both practical and spiritual. . . . These documents portray a very human side to Joseph, a valuable counterbalance to hagiographic narratives that downplay the parts of the Prophet’s life not directly related to Church governance or doctrine. . . . I wholeheartedly recommend that teachers use the documents from the Joseph Smith Papers Project to add variety and detail to their lessons and to increase their own gospel knowledge.”
—J. Stuart, “Review of Documents, Volume 4: April 1834–September 1835,” RSC Blog, 31 Oct. 2016, https://rsc.byu.edu/blog/review-of-documents-volume-4-april-1834-september-1835/.
“My brief description of Documents Volume 4 is that it is an essential book of history, filled with top notch scholarship, well written and informative introductions/historical essays, and documents of vital importance to understanding the developing thoughts and doctrines of Joseph Smith and the church that he founded.”
—Andrew Hamilton, “Book Review: The ‘Joseph Smith Papers—Documents Volume 4: April 1834 to September 1835,’” Approaching Justice, 3 July 2016, https://approachingjustice.net/2016/07/03/book-review-the-joseph-smith-papers-documents-volume-4-april-1834-to-september-1835/.
“This series offers unique challenges to the project editors because such a wide variety of documents are featured, including minutes, revelations, letters, property deeds, blessings, licenses and certificates, etc. But the choices they have made serve the project well.”
—John Hatch, “Review of Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume Four: April 1834–September 1835,” Worlds Without End (blog), 16 May 2016, http://www.withoutend.org/review-joseph-smith-papers-documents-volume-four-april-1834-september-1835/.
“The introductory material to each document is . . . very helpful; trying to read these documents without the introductory material would often leave the reader confused as to what was going on. Seeing the actual words of these early actors in early Church history actually conveyed a kind of voyeuristic quality to the material for me. You’re not reading an analysis of events by a modern scholar; you’re looking over the shoulders of the actual actors themselves in real time and reading their very own words. In that sense, I found it a fascinating experience to read the actual documents themselves.”
—Kevin Barney, “Review of JSP Documents, Vol. 4,” By Common Consent (blog), 7 May 2016, https://bycommonconsent.com/2016/05/07/review-of-jsp-documents-vol-4/.
Journals, Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844 (Published 2015)
“Reading the third and final volume of the journals of Joseph Smith is a lot like watching a documentary about the Titanic: you know how it ends, but you cannot help but be enthralled. . . . Those interested in the history of early Mormonism, both professional historians and informed lay readers, will find Journals, Volume 3 to be an invaluable resource and an impressive compilation of information. Once again, the editorial staff of the Joseph Smith Papers Project delivers a top-quality scholarly edition of documents pertaining to the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
—Michael Pasquier, Review of Journals, Volume 3, in Mormon Studies Review 4 (2017): 159–162.
“Serious students of Mormon history and theology, as well as those who value print resources, will want a copy of this book on their shelves because it is one of the most significant reference books with regard to our current understanding of Mormon history. . . . I think that most seminary and institute teachers, as well as any professional researchers or faculty with an interest in Mormonism, would do well to seriously consider picking up a copy of this book to have on hand. This book is the strongest history on the last year of Joseph Smith’s life written thus far.”
—Greg Seppi, “Review: Hedges, et al, ‘The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844,’” Dawning of a Brighter Day (Association for Mormon Letters Blog), http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/reviews/older-reviews/hedges-et-al-the-joseph-smith-papers-journals-volume-3-may-1843-june-1844-reviewed-by-greg-seppi/.
“This concluding volume of the Journals series was worth the wait. With all of this information being made available, this is truly a great time to be studying the origins of the Church. While these volumes are primarily intended for scholars to use as primary sources, they should be of interest to anyone who wants to learn more about Joseph Smith and the Restoration.”
—Trevor Holyoak, “Book Review: ‘The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals: Volume 3: May 1843–June 1844,’” FairMormon (blog), 24 Jan. 2016, http://blog.fairmormon.org/2016/01/24/book-review-the-joseph-smith-papers-journals-volume-3-may-1843-june-1844/.
Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon (Published 2015)
“Skousen and Jensen’s editorial work on these two facsimile volumes of the printer’s manuscript offer both scholars and lay readers alike wonderfully researched and beautifully executed volumes that make accessible each page of the handwritten manuscript that served as the source text for the earliest printed volumes of the Book of Mormon. . . . These types of scholarly volumes make such manuscript pages (with vitally informative marginal commentary) accessible to a wider readership, a readership that reaches far beyond the specialist scholars who most often have sole access to such delicate and treasured archival material. In this sense, facsimile editions such as these volumes are a move toward democratizing knowledge, and there are few textual projects that make this move as well as The Joseph Smith Papers.”
—Paul Gutjahr, Review of Revelations and Translations, Volume 3, in Mormon Studies Review 4 (2017): 163–167.
“All of the volumes in the Joseph Smith Papers series are beautifully presented, with important photographic and excellent typographic versions of the texts. . . . These volumes are an essential resource, and are both more elegant and ultimately more usable than Skousen’s previous transcriptions, which were until now the most important resource for scholars interested in the text of the Printer’s Manuscript.”
—Brant A. Gardner, “Beauty Way More Than Skin Deep,” Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 20 (2016): 345–347.
“As any textual scholar is well aware, no study on these grounds [the Book of Mormon] can proceed very far without rigorously produced base texts. Thus, publication of the latest volume in the Joseph Smith Papers series—‘Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon’—is a very welcome development. . . . As befits the flagship project of Mormon history, this eleventh volume in the Joseph Smith Papers is a jewel of painstaking textual scrutiny and attention to detail.”
—Bryan Buchanan, “Review: Skousen and Jensen, ‘The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations, Volume 3, Parts 1 & 2: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon’,” Association for Mormon Letters Discussion Board, 11 Nov. 2015, http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/skousen-and-jensen-the-joseph-smith-papers-revelations-and-translations-volume-3-parts-1-2-printers-manuscript-of-the-book-of-mormon-reviewed-by-bryan-buchanan.
“The newest volume in the Revelations and Translations series of the Joseph Smith Papers (JSP) follows the high level of quality that has come to be expected of the JSP in both the quality craftsmanship of the hardcover book itself and the contents on each page. This volume in particular is exciting for those interested in studying Mormonism for either an academic or devotional perspective (or both)…. This new volume complements and strengthens the other volumes already published in the series, and gives me great hope for the future volumes yet to come out.”
—Hans Rosekat, “Review: Royal Skousen and Robin Scott Jensen, eds., The Joseph Smith papers, Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Parts 1–2, Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon,” Rational Faiths (blog), 14 Aug. 2015, http://rationalfaiths.com/review-royal-skousen-and-robin-scott-jensen-eds-the-joseph-smith-papers-revelations-and-translations-volume-3-parts-1-2-printers-manuscript-of-the-book-of-mormon/.
Documents, Volume 3: February 1833–March 1834 (Published 2014)
“As has come to be expected, this volume includes cutting edge scholarship with exhaustive documentation. Future research and publications on the conflicts in Missouri and the plans for building Zion as well as the Kirtland Temple will greatly benefit from the insight and painstaking analysis from the editors of this volume.”
—Bryan Buchanan, Review, Dawning of a Brighter Day (Association for Mormon Letters Blog), http://associationmormonletters.org/blog/reviews/older-reviews/dirkmaat-et-al-the-joseph-smith-papers-documents-vol-3-february-1833-march-1834-reviewed-by-bryan-buchanan/.
“I am taken with the excellent editorial work in these volumes, and I find no real weakness. . . . Joseph Smith’s History of the Church, edited by B. H. Roberts and first published over a century ago, was a remarkable achievement for its time and is still the documentary source most often cited in historical writings about the Church’s founding era. However, with the continuing publication of the Joseph Smith Papers, that should change. When this multivolume, multiseries project is complete, scholars interested in this era will be sadly amiss if they do not consult and cite it often. . . . These volumes [are] an absolutely essential resource for those who want to explore the life of Mormonism founding prophet in detail. We eagerly look forward to all future volumes of the Documents series, which is the core of the project.”
—James B. Allen, Review of Documents: Volumes 1–3, in BYU Studies 55, no. 3 (2016): 174–182.
Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833 (Published 2013)
“This volume demonstrates close attention to principles of documentary editing while also carefully placing the documents in question within historical and doctrinal context.”
—David E. Speich, Ohio History 123, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 91–92.
“Well researched, scrupulously proofread, and expertly annotated, these volumes, and this edition, will surely stand as the definitive one for many generations.”
—Kenneth P. Minkema, Review of The Joseph Smith Papers, ed. by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, Richard Lyman Bushman, and Matthew J. Grow; Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831, ed. by Michael Hubbard McKay, Gerrit J. Dirkmat, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley; and Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833, ed. by Matthew C. Godfrey, Mark Ashurst-McGee, Grant Underwood, Robert J. Woodford, and William G. Hartley, Journal of the Early Republic 35, no. 1 (Spring 2015), 157–159.
“The volumes [of the Joseph Smith Papers] published thus far represent the high-water mark for LDS documentary editing. . . . The editors should be commended for their painstaking attention to detail and the overall quality of the publications.”
—Thomas A. Wayment, “Review: The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volumes 1–2,” Religious Educator 15, no. 3 (2014): 129–131.
“This [Documents] series is where the ‘trickle down’ effect of the Papers in the hands of future historians and biographers will probably be most powerful. As has come to be expected, these volumes feature painstaking precision and a primary source focus. A fine achievement and a welcome addition to any library, either for a researcher or interested reader.”
—Bryan Buchanan, “Review: The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, vol. 1: July 1828–June 1831 and The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, vol. 2: July 1831–January 1833,” Association for Mormon Letters Discussion Board, 25 January 2014.
Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831 (Published 2013)
“The Project in general and the editors of D1, in particular, have marshaled an unparalleled effort to ferret out even the most obscure references to people, places, and chronology and critically assess them. As a result D1 offers sometimes surprisingly novel insights into the documents which it contains, and in several cases radically alters our understanding. D1 is the starting point for any serious study of early Mormonism.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: Documents, Volume 1, 1829–1831 of the JSPP,” By Common Consent (blog), 16 June 2014, http://bycommonconsent.com/2014/06/16/review-documents-volume-1-1829-1831-of-the-joseph-smith-papers-project.
Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Histories, 1831–1847 (Published 2012)
“The opportunity in these volumes to understand Smith and his earliest adherents on their own terms, in their own words, and in their own times is unprecedented and will be of great benefit not only to rank-and-file members of the LDS Church . . . but also to scholars of Mormonism and historians of American religion.”
—Kenneth P. Minkema, Journal of American History 100 (Sept. 2013): 508–509.
“The juxtaposition of H2’s documents provides a lesson in contrasting perspective, a key for historians, but hopefully also a key for everyone. . . . The divergent perspectives of the authors is Histories 2’s greatest strength. Both professional historians and interested observers will benefit from their use.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: JSPP, Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Histories, 1831–1847,” By Common Consent (blog), 21 July 2013, http://bycommonconsent.com/2013/07/21/review-jspp-histories-volume-2-assigned-histories-1831-1837.
Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832–1844 (Published 2012)
“The editors of H1 have produced an exemplary documentary edition. Their work typifies the kind of outstanding research and analysis that distinguishes good scholarly and documentary editions of historical texts. Their comprehensive proofreading plan, rules for transcription, introductions, explanatory annotations, text-specific source notes, and historical essays provide readers with an experience comparable to reading the original documents.”
—Diana Dial Reynolds, Mormon Historical Studies 14 no. 2 (Fall 2013): 213–215.
“Importantly, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories subtly educates its readers about the craft of history and the many perplexities that surrounded the creation of early Mormonism's story. The volume editors skillfully address the questions of authorship and Joseph Smith's use of scribes/collaborators/co-authors like Warren Parrish, Howard Coray, and W.W. Phelps. . . .The volume's detailed notes and commentaries provide readers with the tools to understand the meaning and significance of these documents. It is a volume that will benefit both serious historians and casual students of Mormon history.”
—Brett D. Dowdle and Samuel Morris Brown, Journal of Mormon History 39 no. 2 (Spring 2013): 255–258.
“The result is a volume that is absolutely necessary to any serious study of the period, but also a volume that should be used far outside the discipline. It presents consummate material for studies in textual criticism, memory, and narrative studies. H1 maintains the strict and high standards of document editing that continue to push all publishers and scholars interested in Mormonism to increased excellence.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: JSPP, Histories, Volume 1: Joseph Smith Histories, 1832–1844,” By Common Consent (blog), 13 July 2012, http://bycommonconsent.com/2012/07/13/review-joseph-smith-papars-histories-volume-1-joseph-smith-histories-1832-1844.
“As readers of previous JSP volumes know, the introductory and contextual matter is a hallmark of the project. The editors have done an excellent job of noting the complexity of the earliest histories. . . . Having happily dug into the wealth of detail in the introductions in previous volumes, I was pleased to see this standard of excellence continued. The editors are meticulous in supporting their conclusions and broad in their reading.”
—Bryan Buchanan, “Review: The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, vol. 1 (Joseph Smith Histories: 1832–1844),” Association for Mormon Letters Discussion Board, 16 May 2012.
“This new volume presents ‘the six personal and church histories written, dictated, or closely supervised by Joseph Smith’ prior to his death. Early Latter-day Saints sought to give explicit narrative shape to their experiences as they understood them. . . . More and more records are being meticulously transcribed and published for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, giving us easier, more intimate, and unprecedented access to our early church history. . . . The Joseph Smith Papers Project, that remarkable product of our official Church History department, seeks to place all the cards we have on the table.”
—BHodges, “What Has the ‘Joseph Smith Papers Project’ to Do with Islam?,” By Common Consent (blog), 20 Mar. 2012, http://bycommonconsent.com/2012/03/20/what-has-the-joseph-smith-papers-project-to-do-with-islam.
Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843 (Published 2011)
“The editors of the volume have produced transcripts that scholars may rely upon with confidence. . . . Ancillary material included in the volume and on the Smith Papers website is outstanding and will serve as an essential reference library to scholars. . . . The examination of this volume revealed no reason to doubt that the editors have risen to the challenge and produced an unfiltered view of the documents left behind by the founders of the Church. In ways both subtle and immediately evident it is clear that the editing standards applied at the Smith Papers are forthright and rigorous.”
—Hobson Woodward, Mormon Historical Studies 13, nos. 1–2 (Spring/Fall 2013): 239–241.
“The value of this volume lies in the journals themselves, the annotations, and the remaining scholarly apparatus. All reflect the resources and talent that the Church History Department continues to devote to this venture. . . . The chronology, outstanding maps, biographical directory, complex charts of church officers, and bibliography will all also be of great use to anyone active in Mormon Studies. Any instructor with students who might write research papers on Mormon topics should have their libraries buy the (not inexpensive) volumes of the JSP.”
—John Turner, “Joseph Smith Journals,” Religion in American History (blog), 6 Dec. 2011, http://usreligion.blogspot.com/2011/12/joseph-smith-journals.html.
“For a serious student of Joseph and his journals, the introductions to [the Book of the Law of the Lord] and the memorandum books alone are worth the price of admission. . . . The somewhat stricter transcription standards also ensure that anyone citing the journals is as close to the original as printably possible. The annotation, appendices and back matter are also extremely helpful in contextualizing Nauvoo events. Journals, vol. 2 is a worthy addition to this highest-quality series.”
—Bryan Buchanan,“The Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 2: December 1841–April 1843,” Association for Mormon Letters Discussion Board, 25 Nov. 2011.
“One of the lasting contributions of the JSPP generally will be their highly meticulous transcription process. . . . The depth of the editors’ familiarity with every imaginable feature of the journals and their context is really quite astonishing. . . . [The project has] a level of professionalized precision that flirts with the incredible. It includes generous reference materials documenting civil and religious leadership, biographical details and local cartography. Journals 2 maintains the highest standards of the project’s preceding releases, while incorporating the vast and complex available context of the Nauvoo period.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: JSPP, Journals, Volume 2, 1842–1843,” By Common Consent (blog), 6 Jan. 2012, http://bycommonconsent.com/2012/01/06/review-joseph-smith-papers-journals-volume-2-1842-1843/#more-32666.
Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations (Published 2011)
“The introductions to this volume are first rate. The editors explain important developments that occurred with the publication of these revelations. . . . This kind of detail about the printing shows how much the editors appreciate the publication of these sacred books. . . . As with the facsimile edition [Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books, Facsimile Edition], this volume is an essential tool in understanding the evolutionary process of Smith’s revelations. . . . Every student of Mormonism will be pleased with the work of the Joseph Smith Papers project as they search this volume for a better understanding of how a modern-day prophet communed with his God and how the followers of this new religious movement sought to publish these revelations. I highly recommend this volume.”
—Joseph Geisner, Review of Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations, in Journal of Mormon History 38, no. 3 (Summer 2012): 232–236.
“This volume gives good background information on the publication of the [Book of Commandments] and the 1835 D&C [Doctrine and Covenants]. The footnotes are usually informative. The value of the books is the detailed comments on the sources for printing the D&C. . . . It is refreshing to have scholars address [alterations in revelations] as evidenced from an examination of manuscripts and comparing the words between the printed revelations. . . . For those who love to examine the textual history of Restoration scriptures, volume two is a must to have in their library.”
—H. Michael Marquardt, The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 31, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 2011): 152–156.
“In Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations, the Joseph Smith Papers editors have not only maintained their very high standard of documentary excellence, but they have transformed the scholarly approach to Joseph Smith’s revelation. The revelation texts and other materials presented in this volume are a pillar that still stands, supporting the lived religion of millions. Documenting the construction of that pillar, and the mechanics involved, the editors deftly present their unparalleled familiarity with the source material. We will all benefit from the avenues of research now open.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: The Joseph Smith Papers, Published Revelations,” By Common Consent (blog), 2 Aug. 2011, http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/08/02/review-the-joseph-smith-papers-published-revelations/#more-27819.
“The Joseph Smith Papers Project is engaged in scholarly work of the highest caliber—their documentary editing skills and presentation expertise are par excellence in Mormon academic circles. . . . The Joseph Smith Papers Project excels in challenging its readership to get their facts straight, to ground their narratives in historical documents, and to build a better foundation for understanding LDS history. The academic scholarship is vigorous, the research is thorough, and the presentation is attractive and inviting.”
—Ben P., “Where Heaven Meets Earth; Or, the Importance of the Joseph Smith Papers,” The Juvenile Instructor (blog), 27 Mar. 2011, http://www.juvenileinstructor.org/where-heaven-meets-earth-or-the-importance-of-the-joseph-smith-papers.
Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books (Facsimile Edition Published 2009)
“This is a unique and momentous publication, done in a way unlikely to be duplicated. It is also one that every scholar seriously interested in the founding documents of the Church must inevitably examine.”
—James B. Allen, BYU Studies Quarterly 51, no. 2 (2012): 151–160, https://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=9023.
“When a guest lecturer at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, who is working on a documentary edition of papers by people involved in writing the Declaration of Independence, saw this volume, her reactions—which surely bespeak a typical first reaction—visibly exuded astonishment mingled with glee, together with expressions of sincere congratulations and longing admiration.”
—John W. Welch and Dallin T. Morrow, Journal of Mormon History 37 no. 2 (Spring 2011): 237–243.
“A particularly useful contribution of the editors is identifying the hands that contributed to the manuscript text. On the transcript pages, the work (sometimes only marks of punctuation) of Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon, and John Whitmer is distinguished by a different color of ink. This puts at the disposal of readers the expertise it took the editors hours to acquire becoming familiar not just with the singular shapes characteristic of the handwriting of each individual, but also with even the most minute, but important elements of an individual’s style.”
—David B. Gracy, II, Mormon Historical Studies 11, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 177–180.
“The Joseph Smith Papers Project began working with [Revelation Book 1, which is labeled “Book of Commandments and Revelations”] in the middle of 2006. In that short period they have done a magnificent job. . . . I recommend this volume (with transcriptions) for the serious inquirer of Latter Day Saint scriptures. If there is just one book that you should own of the Joseph Smith Papers, this is the book.”
—H. Michael Marquardt, The John Whitmer Historical Association Journal 30 (2010): 275–278.
“It is hard to overstate the significance of [Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books] to Mormon historiography. Editors have transformed these foundational records, much of them only recently discovered, into a vividly accessible volume that exceeds all documentary standards and reveals the process of Mormon revelation in stunning detail.”
—J. Stapley, “Review: The Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books,” By Common Consent (blog), 4 Nov. 2009, http://bycommonconsent.com/2009/11/04/review-revelations-and-translations-manuscript-revelation-books-jspp.
“This new volume will allow each person [to] access . . . these revelations and see for themselves the changes that have been made. By seeing these pages of scripture in their early form the reader can have an informed understanding of this revelatory process. I highly recommend this book.”
—Joe Geisner, with additional comments by Jeffrey Needle, “The Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translation, Vol. 1,” LDS Book Lovers, 27 Oct. 2009, http://www.ldsbooklovers.com/bookreview.asp?rid=239&bid=2449&pid=18.
“This may be the first time that many readers have a chance to examine, even second hand, a primary manuscript from the 19th century. At some point, many will probably test themselves at trying to read a few lines of manuscript before looking at the printed ‘cheat sheet.’ Depending on the chosen page, there will likely be some pride at how well the novice can read the unfamiliar handwriting, or—if the chosen page is one that is faded or particularly carelessly written—some marveling at the success of the volume editors in transcribing what seems an impossible mass of pale pen strokes.”
—Ardis E. Parshall, “First Impressions of the Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations Volume,” Keepapitchinin (blog), 23 Sept. 2009, http://www.keepapitchinin.org/2009/09/23/first-impressions-of-the-joseph-smith-papers-revelations-volume.
Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839 (Published 2008)
“Readers need not raise a skeptical eyebrow when they see this edition is produced by LDS members and printed by an LDS press. While this project is meant in part to be a resource for its own constituency, there is an impartiality and professionalism here in the tone, subjects, and sources that bode well for this series and edition as a reliable resource for all.”
—Kenneth P. Minkema, Documentary Editing 31 (2010): 120–122.
“The transcription practices of the project are excellent and are carefully explained in the volume’s front matter. The editors preserve the exact language, spelling, and punctuation of the original journals. . . . Overall, this is an excellent start to this very important addition to the history of the Latter-day Saints.”
—Kenneth Stevens, Mormon Historical Studies 11, no. 2 (Fall 2010): 175–177.
“The editorial staff have gathered every available Smith document, subjected them all to a three-step verification process, and provided an extensive historical annotation without theological commentary in conjunction with an advisory board of Smith scholars. . . . In addition to extensive introductory material, the volume contains useful reference material including a chronology, maps, glossary, and essay on sources. . . . This is an extraordinary work. . . . Highly recommended.”
—Daniel Liestman, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, July 2009.
“Journals, Volume 1 is . . . massive in its scope and a welcome addition to historical documents in the study of the history and scriptures of the Latter-day Saints. . . . [It] is a beautifully bound volume with high-quality paper. The typeface is easy to read. The book is a significant improvement in historiography of Joseph Smith. This is scholarly work but simple enough for a general audience. The editors should be proud of their work. I recommend the book.”
—H. Michael Marquardt, Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 4 (2009): 233–239.
“Both LDS and non-LDS scholars, in short, will wish to use this and future volumes produced by the Joseph Smith Papers. Though the editors acknowledge being LDS adherents, they have done their work according to the modern standards of documentary editing and are at no point guilty of preparing or presenting their texts in tendentious ways. . . . All in all, the volume is an impressive achievement, and it is to be hoped that future volumes in the Joseph Smith Papers Project will match its quality of scholarship.”
—Thomas Coens, BYU Studies 48, no. 3 (2009): 148–151, http://byustudies.byu.edu/showTitle.aspx?title=8374.
“[Journals, Volume 1] contains generous background information, abundant annotations (recommending a variety of primary and secondary sources), illustrations, and maps. . . . These volumes—may I live to see the release of the entire series—will be indispensable for the next generation of scholars on Mormon history.”
—John Turner, “Joseph Smith Papers,” Religion in American History (blog), 23 Jan. 2009, http://usreligion.blogspot.com/2009/01/joseph-smith-papers.html.
“This first volume in the upcoming . . . series is a monumental achievement in so many ways. It provides both content and context—it relates what Joseph wrote, and gives the modern reader a glimpse at what was going on around him. And, in many ways, it represents a major step in Mormonism’s emergence into the light of the 21st century. . . . This volume, and, I suspect, the ones that will follow, will constitute one of the greatest contributions to the lore of Mormonism’s founder that we’ve seen in some time.”
—Jeff Needle, “The Joseph Smith Papers: Journals, Vol. 1: 1832–1839,” LDS Book Lovers, 10 Jan. 2009, http://www.ldsbooklovers.com/bookreview.asp?rid=207&bid=2414&pid=0.