Joseph Smith Papers' 'Histories' Vol. 2 released

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"Joseph Smith did not maintain control over these histories," she said. "Both Whitmer and Corrill … continued to write after they were excommunicated. They described their alienation in their own words. You will find Whitmer very angry in his last three chapters. You will find Corrill heartbroken in the last chapter of his history."

In answer to the perhaps inevitable questions of why the church would publish these histories and how it will help members, Davidson said, "If we're going to have any credibility as a documentary editing project, it all has to be out there without any tampering, without a whole lot of spin on it."

It is a given that people have left the church in all periods of its existence, she said. "We can get a very vivid idea about the Missouri period and what was going on, not only from the accounts of people who endured and triumphed, but also from the accounts of people who were overwhelmed."

Richard L. Jensen, another of the volume editors, highlighted some noteworthy points in the Partridge history, including early efforts to forestall mob opposition to the Latter-day Saints in Missouri by "certain patriotic individuals." Among these was Marston Clark, a federal Indian sub-agent who traveled 30-40 miles from his subagency among the Kanza Indians to confront those who wanted to drive the Mormons from Jackson County. Clark proposed to decide the outcome of the conflict by Clark and an opponent fighting it out, saying it would be better for one or two individuals to die than for hundreds to perish.

"Another interesting thing that Partridge was quite frank about was the fact that the anti-Mormons gave the Latter-day Saints the offer that if any of them would leave the church and deny the faith they could stay in Jackson County in peace," Jensen said. According to Partridge, a number of them took advantage of that offer.

The Joseph Smith Papers Project has a companion website, josephsmithpapers.org. Lead production editor Nathan N. Waite said that though this new volume completes the print form of the Histories series in the project, there are a number of components that have been and will be added to the website. One is an online edition of the six-volume History of the Church, the one excerpted in the Pearl of Great Price and the one that B.H. Roberts edited. Veteran historian Dean C. Jesse is tracking down all the documentary sources that were used for that multi-volume history, Waite said. At the moment, the first two volumes are on the website, with the third volume expected to be included by the end of this year.

Waite said supporting documents or bonus material to Histories volumes 1 and 2 are on the website, including photo images and transcriptions of the printer's manuscripts for the Corrill and Partridge histories.

New to the website are all six of the extant Book of Abraham manuscripts published in the Pearl of Great Price, as well as the Book of Abraham as published in The Tmes and Seasons in March and May 1842, Waite said. In addition, the website will include other Egyptian materials.

An 1835 hymnal, the first published by the church, is now on the website.

Other new content includes a "Revelations Correspondence Chart" showing the relationship between the different versions of the revelations as they appear in various sources, including the Book of Commandments, the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, and the modern Doctrine and Covenants.

Four Internet videos pertaining to the new Joseph Smith Papers Project release can be viewed on the Deseret Book product page.They feature volume editors discussing the content of the new book. They can be found by searching online for "Joseph Smith Papers, Histories volume 2."

Email: rscott@desnews.com

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