New Content on the Joseph Smith Papers Website
August 3, 2021
The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce its latest web release. This release features the entirety of Documents, Volume 8: February–November 1841, including annotation and introductions; the Nauvoo Cemetery Records and weekly records of deaths; calendars of documents for each of the Nauvoo City Council meetings with links to extant documents; introductions and documents related to the finances and land transactions of the early church; and introductions to eight legal cases from New York, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois.
Documents, Volume 8 includes documents chronicling the organization of the city of Nauvoo, letters to and from Horace Hotchkiss concerning payment for land in the city, documents regarding the commencement of construction work on the Nauvoo temple, and other letters and reports of discourses between February and November 1841.
In the Financial Records series, we have published several new introductions for Ohio and Missouri land transactions and financial records. This release also adds new content regarding the United Firm and its subsets, N. K. Whitney & Co. and F. G. Williams & Co. This includes introductions for the associated firms as well as images and transcripts for two account books. The F. G. Williams & Co. account book documents the business conducted by the Kirtland printing office, including entries about everyday life, expenses for the members of the firm, and notable donations, like that of John Tanner. The second account book was kept by Newel K. Whitney for his firm, N. K. Whitney & Co., and lists purchases from wholesale merchants in New York in 1833 and 1834. Whitney introduced Joseph Smith and others to some of these merchants, using his reputation to help them gain credit.
In the Legal Records series, we have published an introduction and documents for two legal cases brought against Joseph Smith in southern New York in 1830. In June 1830, Joseph Smith was arrested and tried for allegedly violating the state’s disorderly persons statute through his use of seer stones. A dozen witnesses testified regarding his character and his use of seer stones. Smith was ultimately discharged.
This release also includes an introduction to two legal cases arising out of the 1838 conflict between Latter-day Saints and other residents of Missouri (State of Missouri v. Worthington et al. for Larceny and State of Missouri v. JS for Receiving Stolen Goods), as well as documents and an introduction to an 1842 civil case initiated by Joseph Smith against George M. Hinkle in Lee County, Iowa, to recover damages sustained during the Missouri conflict. Three Illinois cases (Sweeney v. Miller et al., Niswanger v. Greene, and Clayton v. E. W. Rhodes et al.) are also being published.
Registration Open for the Joseph Smith Papers Conference
July 1, 2021
To commemorate the upcoming completion of the Revelations and Translations series, which includes the breadth of Joseph Smith’s revelation and translation projects, the Joseph Smith Papers Project will host the fifth annual Joseph Smith Papers Conference on September 10, 2021. See here for more information.
New Content on the Joseph Smith Papers Website
May 10, 2021
The Joseph Smith Papers Papers is pleased to announce its latest web release. This release concludes the online publication of all versions of the Nauvoo City Council records, as well as all financial records in the Joseph Smith Office Papers. It also includes calendar entries for March–July 1843, an introduction to the Kirtland Mercantile Firms, and introductions and documents for two significant legal cases.
In the Financial Records series, we are releasing an introduction to the Kirtland Mercantile Firms that provides context to the Kirtland stores and their records. This introduction provides explanatory information concerning the firms Cahoon, Carter & Co.; Rigdon, Smith & Co.; Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery; and H. Smith & Co. It also contextualizes the financial documents connected to those firms, including the invoices included in the prior release, as well as many of the financial documents from the Joseph Smith Office Papers.
The legal series is publishing an introduction to and documents from the Missouri government’s third attempt to extradite Joseph Smith. This attempt stemmed from a charge that Joseph Smith had committed treason during the 1838 conflict between the Latter-day Saints and their antagonists in Missouri. Jackson County, Missouri, sheriff Joseph H. Reynolds and Hancock County, Illinois, constable Harmon T. Wilson were dispatched to bring Joseph Smith into custody.
When Reynolds and Wilson tried to take Joseph Smith in on 13 June 1843, he tried to slip out the back door, but they seized him, repeatedly hit him with their firearms, and held him at gunpoint, threatening to shoot if he resisted. The lawmen also reportedly refused to show him their warrant or grant him access to an attorney.
This treatment of Joseph Smith led his lawyers to file multiple law actions to hinder the extradition, including JS v. Reynolds and Wilson, the other case for which we are publishing an introduction and documents. This case resulted in a verdict awarding Joseph Smith $40 in damages; however, the court was not able to collect that sum until after Smith’s death.
Finally, this release includes new entries in the Calendar of Documents adding information about hundreds of other documents from the time period of Documents, volume 12.
Documents, Volume 12 Released
Salt Lake City—The Church Historian’s Press today announced the release of the latest volume of The Joseph Smith Papers. Documents, Volume 12 includes documents from March through July 1843 and reveals a period of astonishing busyness as Joseph Smith grappled with legal challenges while he continued to fulfill his leadership roles in the church and the city of Nauvoo.
“During the months covered in this volume, Joseph Smith’s time was filled with his ever-present ecclesiastical and civic responsibilities in Nauvoo. He also had to deal with ongoing challenges from enemies in Illinois and Missouri,” said David W. Grua, who served as coeditor of the book. “Yet during these months, the prophet made teaching the Saints a priority, as he preached on several occasions about the temple that church members were sacrificing so much to build.”
This volume features ninety-six documents, including correspondence, accounts of discourses, blessings, legal and financial records, and minutes of meetings. Key texts include documents and discourses related to the state of Missouri’s third attempt to extradite Joseph Smith, documents illustrating the growth of the church outside Nauvoo, and documents illuminating Joseph Smith’s expanding understanding of eternal and plural marriage. The texts presented in this volume, with their detailed historical annotation, make this book an important resource for those seeking a more thorough understanding of the life and leadership of Joseph Smith.
Documents, Volume 12 was edited by David W. Grua, Brent M. Rogers, Matthew C. Godfrey, Robin Scott Jensen, Christopher James Blythe, and Jessica M. Nelson. Visit josephsmithpapers.org for more information.
New Content on the Joseph Smith Papers Website
February 11, 2021
The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce its latest web release, which includes an essay and six cases relating to the Nauvoo Municipal Court’s dealings with habeas corpus cases; annotation and introductions for Revelations and Translations, Volume 4: Book of Abraham and Related Manuscripts; annotation, introductions, and transcripts for over forty invoices for Kirtland, Ohio, stores; and a new introduction to Joseph Smith’s Office Papers.
In the Legal Records series, this release includes introductions and documents for six habeas corpus cases heard in Nauvoo, Illinois, as well as an essay explaining the principle of habeas corpus and how it functioned in Nauvoo. The six cases are:
- State of Illinois v. Goddard et al. on Habeas Corpus
- State of Illinois v. J. Hoopes and L. Hoopes on Habeas Corpus
- State of Illinois v. Drown on Habeas Corpus
- State of Illinois v. Greene et al. on Habeas Corpus
- Related case: City of Nauvoo v. Easton
- State of Illinois v. Colton on Habeas Corpus
The release includes three additional Illinois legal cases:
In the Revelations and Translations series, we have added the annotation and introductions found in the print edition of Revelations and Translations, Volume 4. This volume includes the extant fragments of Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith and others purchased in 1835; the “Egyptian-language documents,” which are associated with the attempt by Smith and others to decipher hieroglyphic and hieratic characters from the papyri; and the various manuscripts and first print publication of the Book of Abraham text. All the papyri and other images on the website have been updated to the high-resolution images created for the print volume. Also included is a character comparison chart, which facilitates research by linking to each instance of an Egyptian or other non-Roman character across all documents.
In the Financial Records series, this release includes more than forty invoices prepared for three Kirtland mercantile firms—including Rigdon, Smith & Cowdery, in which Joseph Smith was a partner—by wholesale merchants in New York. These invoices are presented with full transcripts as well as annotation defining less-common terms. The goods, purchased in New York and sold in Ohio, ranged from food and hardware to textiles, shoes, and books. Also included are introductions to the Camp of Israel and four Kirtland mercantile firms operated by Latter-day Saints:
As part of this release, we have reorganized the Joseph Smith Office Papers collection into genres, allowing for easier reference and research. A new introduction for this section includes a description of Joseph Smith’s office and an explanation of which documents might have been present in his office.