As the head of an ambitious project with plans to publish 30 volumes of historical material over the next 20 years, Ronald Esplin has several objectives in place.

Defending Joseph Smith, however, is not among them.

Esplin's field is documentary editing, not apologetics. But as managing editor of the Joseph Smith Papers, a project that operates under the history department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Esplin and his colleagues are aware of their work's religious and scholarly significance. They also know that if they just do their jobs, the Prophet will fare well enough.

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