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

Earlier this month, the Joseph Smith Papers published 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.
Documents, Volume 7 is a particularly important volume of The Joseph Smith Papers,” says Spencer W. McBride, coeditor of the book. “The design and building up of Nauvoo is at the heart of the volume, along with Joseph Smith’s trip to Washington DC. These events are foundational to the way Joseph approached his leadership of the church and in Nauvoo during the final years of his life.”
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. Visit our website for more information about this volume.