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Bloggernacle Back Bench: What's new in history and international art

Published: Tuesday, March 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Joseph Smith Papers Project editors Richard L. Jensen, Mark Ashurst-McGee and Karen Lynn Davidson

Emily W. Jensen

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Let’s delve into some history and art this week since I attended both a blogger news conference on the new "The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1" and the Church History Museum’s 9th International Art Competition opening.

Church history: I was privileged to attend a blogger news conference announcing the release of "Joseph Smith Papers: Histories, Volume 1" Monday morning. Three of the editors spoke about working with the documents and pulling together this important work. But I really perked up when they talked about some of the website content they are promoting, including new documents and resources to accompany the new book. If you do not follow the JSPapers Twitter feed (where they often tweet out new documents and videos uploaded to the site) or have not checked the incredible site at josephsmithpapers.org, I invite you to do so now since they often (like daily) upload new historical content.

Also, I was pleased to see one blogger live-blogged the conference, so you can get his quick notes of the meeting. Other bloggers will be following suit in the coming week to give their own analysis of these editors' analyses of the volumes on Joseph Smith.

A few notes from the meeting that I jotted down: An announcement was made on "Histories, Volume 2," which is slated for this fall, and "Documents Series," volumes 1 and 2 are scheduled for 2013.

Some of the cool features of "Histories, Volume 1," as editor Karen Davidson explained, are the charts that outline what the documents are, who scribed the histories and how the dates fit together.

Editor Mark Ashurst-McGee outlined how much work went into analyzing these documents, where they used technological tools including ultravoilet lights, multispectral imaging along with the skills of trained documentary editors to produce the most analyzed and correct version of the Joseph Smith History to date.

And editor Richard L. Jensen explained, “You’ll have to explore the actual history” to find all the gems therein. And the volume editors all learned in the process that Joseph Smith and those who kept his history (and thus the history of the LDS Church) that “history is not as easy to do as one might think.” So many attempts were made in those early days. We, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints today, can “take heart from this in trying to do our personal histories when we find that it is more difficult than we anticipate.” Wow. Again, check out the website for much more information and hidden historical gems!

International art: I love visiting the International Art Competition whenever it is held, both in real life at the Church History Museum and online. The 9th International Art Competition is themed “Make Known His Wonderful Works” and exhibits were unveiled on March 16. It will run through Oct. 14, and I am delighted to say that you can vote online right now for your favorite. You just need to virtually peruse all the entries, then enter your email address for the ones you like the best. I love it. Spend a few hours in a virtual museum appreciating art from Mormons from all over the world!

Now let me point out other historic finds from this last week in the Bloggernacle:

Power pick: Isn’t it so nice that I can feature two new Bible videos yesterday and then turn around and feature two more? These incredible videos are being released each Friday in preparation for Easter. In the last installment, Jesus Christ told Peter that he would deny him. Now you can watch as the prophecy is fulfilled in “Jesus Is Tried by Caiaphas, Peter Denies Knowing Him.” And then prepare yourself for the heartwrenching video “The Savior Suffers in Gethsemane.” Powerful. And please remember to click the share button to pass these potent videos on to others.

Techie tip: What happens when you type in “Youngwomen.lds.org” into your browser? I decided to try it in honor of the coming annual General Young Women Meeting scheduled for this Saturday. Like I thought, it redirects you to the main Young Women site page on lds.org. With training for leaders, messages from leaders, news, links to the youth site, this is a great place to redirect the young women in your life as they prepare to listen to their general leaders this coming weekend. Check it out!

Emily Warburton Jensen loves searching through the LDS blog world for developments and testimonies that best capture the ever-evolving LDS online experience. Email: ejensen@desnews.com

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