Mormon Inquiry

Mormon Inquiry

First volume of Joseph Smith Papers published

And on sale at a bookstore near you, if you live in Utah, or at Amazon, if you don’t. Keepapitchinin provides excellent commentary. The LDS Newsroom has posted an article giving additional details. It starts out:

The inaugural volume of the much-anticipated Joseph Smith Papers, released today, brings to light a project that has been under way for many years. This landmark publishing venture begins with Joseph Smith’s personal journal entries, covering the years 1832 to 1839.


Interestingly, the series is being published by the Church, under the “Church Historian’s Press” label, with the copyright held by Intellectual Reserve, Inc., the Church’s intellectual property arm. It makes sense the Church wants to retain rights and control over the publication of these volumes. Official sponsorship also pretty much guarantees the resources needed to complete this massive project will continue.

I will be very interested in a detailed review of the first volume that compares what is in the Papers series with what has already been published, particularly in: (1) Dean C. Jessee’s Personal Writings of Joseph Smith (Deseret Book and BYU Press, rev. ed. 2002); (2) Dean C. Jessee’s 2-volume Papers of Joseph Smith (Deseret Book, 1989); and (3) Dan Vogel’s 5-volume Early Mormon Documents (Signature, 1996-2003). My understanding from statements made by some of the scholars working on the project is that most of the documents coming out in the various volumes of the Papers series have been published previously, although some of the legal documents that will come out in later volumes are new. It would be nice if a reviewer identifies those documents and volumes in the series that either release better transcripts of previously published documents or that release new and previously unavailable documents. In any case, this is truly a landmark publishing event that will be a marvelous resource for the next generation of scholars working in Mormon Studies.

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Randy B.

posted December 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Word is that the first printing (12,000 copies) is sold out. If true, that’s pretty amazing. My copy is supposedly on the way via UPS. Here’s crossing my fingers.

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Jacob J

posted December 2, 2008 at 2:27 pm

So Dave,
Now that you are on beliefnet, do you have to put up with tools like Ty writing unrelated sermons on all your posts?

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Jacob J

posted December 2, 2008 at 4:13 pm

I guess the answer is no since Ty’s comment has disappeared. On topic: I understood that this project was largely funded by a private donation. Do you know how much of the funding is coming from the church itself?

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David G.

posted December 2, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Dave, you’ve heard right, for the most part. This first volume of the journals series covers all of JS’s journals from the 1830s, and as such, closely parallels vol. 1 of the Papers of Joseph Smith (which included his journals through December 1842). The new volume will have more extensive annotations (the annotations in the Papers volume were pretty sparse). You’re also correct that the legal volumes will contain a ton of new, previously unpublished documents. I also hear that the Revelations and Translations series will have a few previously unpublished revelations and other important insights into the earliest versions of the D&C revelations.

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M Peterson

posted December 2, 2008 at 6:44 pm

Is it True that the 1st 12,000 are gone? Who knows when they will be printing more. I called all the Desert Bookstores and no one had any.

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posted December 2, 2008 at 9:51 pm

If all the books truly are sold out already I am sure many others have the same reaction as I, :(:(:(:(:(
I feel like one of the unprepared virgins who didn’t prepare and were left outside. I didn’t even think of the fact that they may all sell out very quickly and I would be left out in the cold until more are printed.
Here’s hoping I can find one somewhere!

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LDS Resources

posted December 3, 2008 at 1:00 am

If you want them as soon as they are printed you could order from Amazon (which has a great sale price right now) and as soon as they come in, it is shipped to you.

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posted December 3, 2008 at 2:43 am

They are all sold out, at the stores, online at amazon and deseret book! This is what Deseret book is saying:
AVAILABILITY NOTE: Due to the overwhelming response to this book, we are temporarily out of stock. The next printing is due in later this month (Dec. 2008). Quantities will again be limited. Order today to ensure that you will receive a copy of the next printing.
Sounds like they are going to be hard to get for awhile:(

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Anon this time

posted December 3, 2008 at 9:38 am

It’s a bit more complicated, from what I understand. Apparently the printer didn’t have enough paper for the complete run, so they were a few thousand short. First the printer screwed up the index, now the print run. Not a good start for the Church Historian’s Press…

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J. Stapley

posted December 3, 2008 at 11:08 am

Note that the printer didn’t screw up the index. That was a choice made by the JSPP.

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