We are excited to announce that Matthew C. Godfrey, Brenden W. Rensink, Alexander L. Baugh and Max H. Parkin will be here on Wednesday, May 18, to discuss the latest volume of the Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 4: April 1834 – September 1835 (published by the Church Historian’s Press). They will be here from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.—speaking at 6:00—and will answer questions and sign books before and after that time. We hope you will be able to make that night but, if not, we can mail signed copies (Alex Smith is not able to attend the event but will sign copies beforehand) or hold them here at the store for pick-up. To RSVP on Facebook, click here.
Accomplishing the “redemption of Zion” was Joseph Smith’s primary concern for much of 1834 and 1835. After the Latter-day Saints had been forcibly removed from their lands in Jackson County, Missouri—the place where they believed God had commanded them to build the city of Zion—Joseph Smith led numerous efforts to reclaim those lands and restore the Saints to their homes. Covering April 1834 through September 1835, the ninety-three documents featured in this fourth volume of the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers shed light on Joseph Smith’s attempts to redeem Zion and reveal his maturation as a leader and prophet for a growing church facing nearly constant challenges.
The project of redeeming Zion placed large demands on Joseph Smith’s time and resources. He left his home in Kirtland, Ohio, in May 1834 to lead a company of about two hundred individuals, known as the Camp of Israel and later as Zion’s Camp, to Missouri to aid the beleaguered Saints there. Smith also sought to redeem Zion through the construction of the House of the Lord (or temple) in Kirtland, where the elders of the church were to receive an “endowment of power,” and the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, a collection of revelations that provided instruction to the Saints on church doctrine and theology. Funding these projects proved difficult, however. In part because of the loss of the printing press in Jackson County and the mounting construction costs of the Kirtland temple, Smith and the church faced severe financial problems in the mid-1830s. Several documents in this volume describe these projects, the church’s financial strain, and the resulting assignments given to some individuals to collect donations for the church.
Meanwhile, the number of Saints in and outside Kirtland continued to increase. To address the challenge of growth, Joseph Smith further developed the church’s governing bodies and created a more complex administrative structure. Some documents presented herein, for example, detail the creation of new leadership positions in the church, including the offices of apostle, seventy, and church patriarch.
The types of documents included in this volume range from minutes and administrative documents to personal letters and revelations. Particularly prominent are a number of recorded blessings. These documents reveal the growing importance that Joseph Smith placed on giving blessings that provided personalized instructions and promises to various individuals, including veterans of the Camp of Israel and new church leaders.
Matthew C. Godfrey is a general editor and the managing historian of the Joseph Smith Papers, and is a member of the editorial board. He holds a PhD in American and public history from Washington State University. Before joining the project, he worked for eight years at Historical Research Associates, a historical and archeological consulting firm headquartered in Missoula, Montana, serving as president of the company from 2008 to 2010. He is the author of Religion, Politics, and Sugar: The Mormon Church, the Federal Government, and the Utah-Idaho Sugar Company, 1907-1921 (2007), which was a co-winner of the Mormon History Association’s Smith-Petit Award for Best First Book.
Brenden W. Rensink is an Assistant Professor of History, Assistant Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University, and general editor of Intermountain Histories. Before joining the faculty at BYU he earned a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, was visiting faculty at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and a historian and editor for the Joseph Smith Papers. He co-authored A Historical Dictionary of the American Frontier (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).
Alexander L. Baugh completed a master’s degree at BYU in history in 1986 with an emphasis in western American and Mormon history. He became a full-time faculty member in Religious Education at BYU after completing his PhD in American history. In addition to his professorship, he also serves as a co-director of research for the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University.
Max H. Parkin holds a Ph.D. from BYU in Church history. A former institute instructor, he is the author of Conflict at Kirtland and directs tours to Church history sites and to the Middle East.
The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 4: April 1834 – September 1835 ed. by Matthew C. Godfrey, Brenden W. Rensink, Alex D. Smith, Alexander L. Baugh and Max H. Parkin. Church Historian’s Press, 2016. 668pp. Hardback. $54.95 (10% off to subscribers to the series).
Other volumes in the Joseph Smith Papers:
Journals, Vol. 1: 1832-1839. 2008. $49.95
Journals, Vol. 2: 1841-1843. 2011. Reg. $54.95, SALE $19.99
Journals, Vol. 3: May 1843-June 1844. 2015. $57.95
Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books: Facsimile Edition. 2009. Reg. $99.99, SALE $59.99 **SIGNED BY ALL THREE VOLUME EDITORS** Very limited quantity available.
Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books: Facsimile Edition. 2009. Reg. $99.99, SALE $79.99. **SIGNED BY ALL THREE VOLUME EDITORS AS WELL AS THE THREE GENERAL EDITORS. AS FAR AS WE KNOW, THESE FEW COPIES SIGNED BY ALL SIX EDITORS ARE AVAILABLE NOWHERE ELSE, WHICH MAKES THESE ALL THE MORE RARE AND VALUABLE!**
Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations & Translations, Vol. 1. 2011. $79.95. This “library edition” includes all of the color-coded transcriptions of the facsimile edition with limited full-color images of important manuscript pages (rather than all pages as in the Facsimile Edition) such as the “Sample of Pure Language” as well as pages showing editorial marks.
Joseph Smith Papers, Revelations & Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Church Historian’s Press, 2011. Hardback. Reg. $69.95, SALE $19.99
Joseph Smith Papers: Revelations and Translations, Volume 3: Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon, Parts 1 & 2. 2015. $89.99/each part
Histories, Vol. 1: Joseph Smith Histories (1832-1844). 2012. $54.95
Histories, Vol. 2: Assigned Histories (1831-1847). 2102. Reg. $54.95, SALE $19.99
Documents, vol. 1: July 1828 – June 1831. 2013. Reg. $54.95, SALE $19.99
Documents, vol. 2: July 1831 – January 1833. 2013. $54.95
Documents, vol. 3: February 1833-March 1834. 2014. Reg. $54.95, SALE $19.99
Shipping: $6.50 for the first book (inquire for rates for additional books). Priority/UPS/FedEx options available–inquire for details.
Utah residents–add 7.05% sales tax.