TV show to preview Smith Papers Project

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  • Steve Harper
    Nov. 12, 2007 3:52 p.m.

    It's interesting, though otherwise mainly a waste of time, to read this discussion. It generates much more heat than light. The Joseph Smith Papers national editorial board is composed of Stephen Stein, Mary Jo Kline, Harry Stout, and Terryl Givens, all impeccable scholars, 3 of whom are not LDS. The Joseph Smith Papers Project is endorsed by the National Historic Records Preservation Commission, which is the highest credential such a project can attain. Many of the editors on the project have equally high individual credentials in documentary editing and many have advanced degrees in history. The Book of the Law of the Lord will be published in the Journals Series. There will be a living website to go along with the shelf full of books. Your patience is appreciated. For those who want to know, your patience will be rewarded. I don't know what to say to those who, either pro or con, already know it all.

  • Brettski
    Nov. 8, 2007 2:59 p.m.

    Dean Paynter was my Jr. Jazz coach believe it or not. He's a good man, I"m sure it will be good. PS Dean, you still owe us a pizza party. :)

  • The Truth - Matt
    Nov. 7, 2007 8:29 a.m.

    Truth is not a buffet of idealism or opinion, available for the "picking and choosing" to justify any given lifestyle. It is absolute, unchanging and constant. Discover it, understand it, and come to know it... then more will be "given" without contradiction to the foundational truth already understood.

    Discovering the truth always involves a change in lifestyle if obedience to truth is the objective. There is no reason to debate the truth if you know it. If you know it AND are obedient to it, you are free!

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 6, 2007 10:56 p.m.

    Amen to spv's comments. There are too many cover-ups in church and government. Please give the people the truth. I can handle it.

  • spv
    Nov. 6, 2007 9:21 p.m.

    The truth(if not watered down or diluted or altered) shall make us free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Greg in Oz
    Nov. 6, 2007 9:11 p.m.

    I came across this chat in an email bulletin. I am an LDS member and a scientist. I feel no fear of the disclosure of truth in any form. In the end truth will win out whatever arguments we have. I am impressed that a Church accused of so much calumny continues steadfast in its message of love and truth and continues to publish so much of its documentary material and encourage its people to seek out truth from all sources. I respect diversity of belief and opinion. I can live with critical alternative viewpoints comfortably, and I can respect those viewpoints as valid beliefs of another honest person without the need to accuse them of dishonesty or stupidity. Let's respect one another's beliefs as genuinely held and get on with making the world a better place where the good in all people of goodwill can be harnessed for the common good of mankind.

  • Moijnair
    Nov. 6, 2007 4:19 p.m.

    Why all the debate and discussion? Ask God yourself in faith and nothing doubting and He will reveal the truth of all things to you.

    God lives and He talks to everybody, but it all depends on who is listening.

    Read Moroni 10:4-5 --

    4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
    5 And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.

  • Tim
    Nov. 6, 2007 12:48 p.m.

    Better break out the Urims & Thummin glasses so we can read this stuff.

  • Answers
    Nov. 6, 2007 11:59 a.m.

    The quote from Elder Packer has been misrepresented.

    He did not mean that truth is not important. He meant that truth can be abused if used to just "gossip" historically to try to discredit an historical figure. The accomplishment or message of a great historical figure can be much more important than to spend our time trying to find his human frailties, if those are used to try to discredit what he brought to the rest of us.

    It is not a matter of trying to hide the truth so that people can't know. It is a matter of priority. He didn't say to hide the truth. He said that it just isn't always useful, and he is right.

    We can confuse ourselves with the idea that just because it is true that we have to know it, or that it is necessary for our judgement of something. It just isn't always necessary. To suppose the Church is hiding things to fool you is just a personal problem of not knowing where to put your trust and faith. You can always put it with God and He has chosen at this time for you to get it from the Church.

  • Answers
    Nov. 6, 2007 11:28 a.m.

    Of course, truth is found all over the world. However instead of just finding it under rocks, around trees, up the hill and down in the valleys, in one village or another, truth has always been specifically given to the world by a prophet, chosen from a people. Whether it is Moses, Paul, Joseph Smith, or others.

    You say you don't think God would just give it to just one people? No, he gives it to all of the world, but always through a people. But the world threw it away and it had to be restored. Again, it was restored just as it has always been given: by a prophet chosen from a people, who share it with everyone.

    If you try to make it into a contest about who has the truth - it isn't. It is just His way of making sure it remains pure and is protected from the adversary. The Church has the truth and shares it in a uniform program for all to find and use.

    Hebrew, Jew, Christian, Mormon, or whatever, they are all the same to God at the moment he chooses that people to administer His gospel to the world.

  • Dr H
    Nov. 6, 2007 2:46 a.m.

    For the anonymous person that wondered what it would be like to read John Taylor's journal, his personal secretary's journal was just published by Signature Books, entitled In the President's Office: The Diaries of L. John Nuttall 1879-1892 and it is available from Amazon. Brother Nuttall accompanied President Taylor in nearly all his official activities, including meetings in the temple with the twelve, etc. I am not yet halfway through it, but it is very interesting. If you're looking for some kind of smoking gun, I don't think you'll find it. In particular, the editor notes that despite Brother Nuttall's intimate association with Taylor, nowhere is there anything about him ordaining people to continue plural marriages after his death, as some modern polygamists claim he did.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2007 8:24 p.m.

    Joseph Smith never claimed to be infallible or impervious to error. Why does such an idea permeate the minds of almost every active member I have ever met?

    Perhaps it comes from quotes from the prophets in charge during the Manifesto (and renunciation of polygamy)?

    But their point was to keep the membership faithful despite their abandoning the Law of God for the sake of the rules of men.

    So which "revelation" was leading the saints "astray"? "The New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage"? or the Manifesto?

    I suppose we will find out when "the people" are "ready" - until then, we get milk...

    ...give me a break!

  • DJ
    Nov. 5, 2007 8:14 p.m.

    Once again, we are faced with the case of an elite leadership treating the common members as "too foolish" and too stupid to be able to handle the truth, or to govern themselves, or to know what is best for themselves, etc. etc. - all the same old, tired excuses for justifying tyranny, exploitation, deception, and corruption.

    Beware. If true history has taught us anything, it is that this elitist, priest/king manipulation is the most dangerous of forces.

  • Laguna to Josh
    Nov. 5, 2007 7:46 p.m.

    You get an A+ for spin. But in context of Elder Packers statement that I quoted, he was speaking about history and it being useful or not, even if true.
    He was not talking about telling the kids that the easter bunny is really uncle Ted dressed up in the fluffy suit.
    Most people, would like to know if a historical event happened or not. They can as an adult make up their own minds as to the events ramifications on their religious beliefs. It seems that you want the church to filter the faith-promoting evidence from the straight fact and spoon feed it to people. Sorry, I guess I wouldnt consider that to be an honest approach. Rather, it is pure manipulation and cult-like.

  • My Thoughts
    Nov. 5, 2007 7:41 p.m.

    To Raymond Takashi Swenson | 10:09 a.m.

    I have read the Book of Mormon through 5 times, including 2 times as part of a Literature of Belief course where we spent a great deal of time on the Book of Mormon.

    I do not find any "inspiring" sermons that are not already found in the King James Bible. There are stories, and within the stories there are expressions of common religious ideas using many superlatives, but there are no profound insights, no significant understandings to be gained.

    Without meaning to offend, I must confess that my assessment of the Book of Mormon is consistent with what Mark Twain thought of it: "chloroform in print."

    I am always open to the profound, and if the BOM contains something profound, please point it out. Otherwise, it appears to be like most "psychic readings" - you have to really believe (a priori) in order to "see" them. If that is so, then the BOM belongs at the carnivals along with the crystal balls.

  • Joseph the Man
    Nov. 5, 2007 7:22 p.m.

    These documents will reveal what Bushman concluded in his biography of Joseph - that he was a common man, full of faults, errors, and sins.

    But people will continue to pander their children.

    In other words, keep the kids believing in Santa Claus, Joseph Smith, and the Church until they are so enmeshed that they cannot extricate themselves without severe social consequences.

    [Isn't that what they did at Jonestown? and Waco?]

  • laguna
    Nov. 5, 2007 6:50 p.m.

    My Dear Josh,
    It didnt seem like the esteemed Apostle was talking about when to tell the kids that the easter bunny was really uncle Ted dressed in a fluffy suit. The context was about history. I know the church does it differently, but to most people, history is made up of events that either happened or not. It is not conditional on when a person can handle an event in history, it either happened, according to available evidence or it did not. Only when manipulation is the goal is your approach used.

  • R.S.
    Nov. 5, 2007 6:23 p.m.

    The point of a documentary edition is to publish the raw documents, so that historians of whatever viewpoint can then easily access the documents and form their own conclusions. I believe the Joseph Smith Papers will do this, in the finest scholarly way. A documentary edition also includes annotation to illuminate the documents, and annotation is necessarily subject to debate, no matter who one is writing about. Some may quibble with this or that aspect of the annotation, but all in all I believe there will be no defensible claim that anything has been "hidden" (aside from items that might document the temple rituals) or that the Mormons have "whitewashed" history. I don't blame those who are suspicious of the whole idea of the church publishing its own history, but at bottom I think the claim that the LDS church is hiding something quite damaging is a canard. What do we expect to find, some letter where Smith finally admits in a "moment of clarity" that everything he said and did was a sham?

  • personal
    Nov. 5, 2007 6:05 p.m.

    THE truth? What we teach as a church is that all churches have much that is true, but through revelation we have additional to make all truth that is had today. That isn't to hurt others but to be a comfort and invitation. Stop to think of it, what would anyone really want to know and believe? Righteous people can ask themselves that and then look and find it in the LDS Church. The Church is fact - not fancy and the truths are blessings. Anyone can study with prayer and an open heart and the blessings can be their own as well, or not as they choose, but if not it isn't necessary to throw stones or get hot behind the ears.

  • Josh to Laguna
    Nov. 5, 2007 5:15 p.m.

    If I'm not mistaken, Elder Packer taught this to Church educators whose stewardship is to the youth enrolled in LDS Seminary and young adults in Institute. In a greater context (see "Teach Ye Diligently" for this same quote), Elder Packer is talking about keeping the purpose of seeking all things "virtuous, lovely, of good report or praiseworthy" in our minds as well when we are deciding how and when to divulge certain truths.

    There are plenty of things that I don't tell my children at their young age, but instead I wait for the correct time when they are ready for it. Am I taking on a whole lot of responsibility with that stewardship? Oh, yeah. It is always difficult to "decide" when someone in your flock is ready for information that you have. This is why the Church must be guided by revelation--I don't think that any mortal has the capacity to be the steward of God's entire family w.r.t. church history, but God is capable enough to communicate to His servants, the prophets, regarding when the time is right.

  • The Truth?
    Nov. 5, 2007 4:33 p.m.

    Many people have thought they have had the truth here on earth. I believe that people can be inspired, but I do not believe in one "truth". Just like many other religions believe their books and scriptures, LDS people have that right too.
    But remember that there will always be many more people (billions to be exact) that have their own "truths". Share if another person desires, but do not think that everyone has to be the same in their beliefs. They never will be. You can also believe that everyone will be in heaven, but this is ridiculous to many people so do not push this.
    There are those that believe that your believes were either intentional or unintentional deceits of the incompetent. This is my personal belief and I will hold to it and find my own ways in the many "truths" I find in the world's teachings.

  • Henry Drummond
    Nov. 5, 2007 3:28 p.m.

    For those who asked about the 400,000 documents the church released in 2002, the title of the work is: "Selected Collections from the Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints".

    It is available from BYU studies. The cost is quite pricey, $999.00 for both volumes. This consists of 80 DVDs. These are mostly jpgs of handwritten documents, letters, and minutes of church meetings - most of them never before published or available to the public. The paper has asked that we not put in URLs or I would put the link in but you should have no trouble using google to find them.

    You might wish to visit a library like the University of Utah or BYU and view some of them there before purchasing them. What you might want to do is to start by reading the entries starting with July 24th, 1847 on DVD 2. Everyone talks about the pioneer trek but few people think about what it took to settle this area. You can read first hand how they did it and most importantly how the felt about it.

    Best of luck, and thanks to you all for a wonderful discussion!

  • B-Rex
    Nov. 5, 2007 2:44 p.m.

    There are usually more than one view to history and unfortunately those who cry for full-disclosure are usually the ones who focus on one minor inconvienient truth and tend to throw away volumes of good and positive evidences. How many times have we heard that Joseph Smith was a False Prophet because they never built the temple in Missouri. I am for full disclosuer to those who are prepared to receive it with open minds. Unfortunately, that is not the environment we live in today.

  • What?!
    Nov. 5, 2007 12:59 p.m.

    So, are there actually any objective mormon historians involved with this project?


  • Anonymous
    Nov. 5, 2007 11:46 a.m.

    I would love to see the "closed sections" of John Taylor's diary (locked away in the 1st pres. vault) open to the public someday. I wonder what they say?

  • The Truth
    Nov. 5, 2007 11:32 a.m.

    Dear Dance and Cheer. Apparently you feel that God had no value for those who lived on the American Continent and where not worthy of him even talking to them. How shallow is your opinion of God! It is God who decides when and where he will talk to people and when he does they write it down and it becomes scripture. That is God speaking to us. Your insinuation that the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Price are false is not based on spiritual seeking, but based on closed minded biases.

    Joseph Smith did not become and instant prophet overnight. It took him time to learn that role. He is as human as most of us, but God choose him,just as he choose Moses, but wouln't let Moses enter the promised land. Abraham, Jacob and Isaac were prophets, but they were not perfect, yet God choose them to do his work on earth.

    Peter denied Christ three times, yet Christ choose him to lead His Church. Let this research be done then make your decision on the truth. Don't be closed minded before it is even completed.

  • laguna
    Nov. 5, 2007 10:49 a.m.

    this is for the writer who called me on a reference to my earlier quote.

    "Some things that are true are not very useful.
    Historians seem to take great pride in publishing something new, particularly if it illustrates a weakness or mistake of a prominent historical figure. For some reason, historians and novelists seem to savor such things. If it related to a living person it would come under the heading of gossip. History can be as misleading as gossip and much more difficult--often impossible--to verify. "
    Aug. 22, 1981 at fifth annual church ed. symposium

    there are plenty more like these that show that the church leaders dont want too much truthfullness.

  • To Henry Drummond
    Nov. 5, 2007 10:24 a.m.

    In your first post you mentioned, "Five years ago the church released about 400,000 documents in DVD format".

    Do you have a name for that DVD? I would like to try and get a copy of it.

  • Thanks Reality
    Nov. 5, 2007 10:12 a.m.

    I know that sometimes things get put "out of context", however, let a person judge for themselves. This is our right as Americans. In my study I have found fallibility in even church leaders. Sometimes people don't want to face reality and think of them as some type of a "Santa Claus". They were not. It's time to see the world as it is: sometimes good, sometimes evil, and sometimes with truth, sometimes not. God is with all people of the world and I don't believe God would give a small portion of "truth" to one group of people.
    "Truth" can be found all over the world.

  • Raymond Takashi Swenson
    Nov. 5, 2007 10:09 a.m.

    Joseph Smith is certainly one of the more written- about Americans, but people who criticize him have not felt impelled to base their statements on any factual ground. This project is another phase in digging deeper into the original documents, but already we have such a volume of first hand witness statements and Smith's own personal correspondence that one thing is clear: Joseph Smith sincerely believed in what he did and said. There is nothing in the direct evidence that would correspond with the statements or intentions of a charlatan. In 19th Century America, there were lots of ways for a smart person to become popular and wealthy. Joseph Smith did not follow them. He took a deliberate course of challenging and confronting people's assumptions despite the anger and rejection of the majority. He placed his life and freedom in constant jeopardy by refusing to compromise. No historian has offered a sensible alternative explanation, for his actions or his accomplishments, to the one that he offered, that he had actually had encounters with heavenly beings. What unlettered deceiver has produced any volume full of inspiring Christian sermons like the Book of Mormon?

  • Reality
    Nov. 5, 2007 9:32 a.m.

    The Mormon Church should open up all historical records to responsible writers to review for documenting the true history of this time and part of American history. America's history belongs to all Americans.

  • Elder Packer?
    Nov. 5, 2007 8:12 a.m.

    Laguna, since this is a historical topic, I'm sure you can site your reference and context for you Elder Packer quote that we should "always remember". I'd like the reference for that... so we can all know how credible YOUR comment may be...

  • Dance and Cheer
    Nov. 5, 2007 7:30 a.m.

    Hey Letter: Why do you feel it necessary to attack all those as anti-Mormons who dance and cheer that when claims about the Salamander letter and other documents turn out to be false?

    I get along fine with Mormons, but I also have an opinion about the veracity of claims made by the LDS Church. There are many false documents put forward by the Church, including scripture, but that doesn't make me an anti-Mormon, nor does it make me hate Mormons.

    Get some perspective.

  • Letters
    Nov. 5, 2007 3:56 a.m.

    True Historians-- The so-called 'Salamander' letter and other False documents caused the anti-Mormons to dance and cheer and call Joseph a false prophet gold digger.

    I knew then that one man could never have found that many church historical documents in 20 life times.

    Now we have some letters that seem to be historical/authentic but haven't been printed yet. Anti-Mormons think they already know what is written and what we should believe they contain.
    Sheeeesh.. 'give me a break'..

    I think I will wait until they are printed before I pass any judgments..

  • To my friend the Army Guy
    Nov. 5, 2007 2:43 a.m.

    For better or worse, the Church and its members do have a lot of warts in their history. Whether those things are released to the public or not is a separate issue but there existence is a fact. I only point this out to you because at some point in your life you may find something out that you didn't necessarily believe could be possible about some beloved leader in the Church, and I don't want you to quit everything and leave all the good behind because of it. People make mistakes, some very serious, and the Church is made up of people, so there are going to be some very serious mistakes. That's how it was meant to be and that's how it is. I think if people understood this point generally we wouldn't have such a high rate of inactivity throughout the Church.

  • Henry Drummond
    Nov. 4, 2007 11:44 p.m.

    For those who wish to know, the vault of the First Presidency is hardly a sinister secret.

    Church Historian Leonard Arrington speaks of it in his Bibliographic Essay in "Brigham Young - American Moses" on page 302 & 303. He states that he was not allowed access to several works including the diaries of George Q. Cannon and Francis M. Lyman even though he was the Church Historian and was writing the book for the Church.

    This also came up during the Mark Hoffman Murder and Forgery investigations. Elder Oaks speaks openly of it in the Ensign of October 1987 on page 63 in this context.

    Other documents that the Church has said are in this vault that would have a direct bearing on the writings of Joseph Smith include "The Book of the Law of the Lord", and the diaries of William Clayton and John Taylor.

    I should state that the last five years have seen a stunning reversal in the Church's position on sequestering documents and much more has become available. I am a non-believer but still find LDS history to be heroic and epic. I have high hopes for Dean Jesses's project of a lifetime.

  • laguna
    Nov. 4, 2007 11:04 p.m.

    Always remember that Elder Packer said that some truthful things are not always helpful. Lets not reveal any new facts about the prophet that may cast him in a bad light.

  • weightless skittles
    Nov. 4, 2007 7:57 p.m.

    " If you look for the bad in people, you surely will find it." - A quote from Pollyanna.- Cynics are cancerous miseries. Joseph Smith was a REAL man. He never stated he was perfect. Quite the contrary. He lived over 150 years ago. His paradigms were quite different than ours in 2007. Yet, I doubt very few people today could stand up to the intense scrutiny of what Joseph Smith's name has been through in the last 187 years since that morning in a wooded grove. The more I know about his "real side" the more I respect his ability to move forward the work of the Lord.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 4, 2007 7:28 p.m.

    If the Church historians don't know about it, how do you? That is the problem. LDS Historians know what goes on inside the Temple, but non mormons do not. Maybe they should tell us if the are True Historians.

  • Christopher T.Jones
    Nov. 4, 2007 7:23 p.m.

    GOD BLESS LARRY H. MILLER---not only for this but for all the other projects the man is responsible for that few know about. I love the man!

  • Army Guy
    Nov. 4, 2007 7:00 p.m.

    As for Henry Drummond's "embarassing contradictions" in official church history--really? What deep dark secrets do you think the church has to hide? Why keep potentially damaging information in a secret vault--if we don't know about it, why not just destroy it? Nobody would miss it, right? What's the point in keeping it? But you say the First Presidency is directly involved in a plot to keep information from the "Church's most trusted and faithful historians." That's a pretty serious charge. I seriously doubt you have access to that kind of information. If the Church historians don't know about it, how do you?

  • Army Guy
    Nov. 4, 2007 6:54 p.m.

    To Clio's Muse:

    Despite your condescending assumption, I don't want an institutionally sanitized document either--that was not my point. My point was, how pathetic it is to assume that the board can't be objective unless there is a non-LDS viewpoint. That's insulting. And here's something else for you: there is no such thing as 100% objectivity in the field of history, or any other field for that matter. There is always an element of revisionism based on the researcher's personal, inescapable bias. So no matter what the composition, someone will complain that this board wasn't being objective enough for their taste.

  • Henry Drummond
    Nov. 4, 2007 3:12 p.m.

    Five years ago the church released about 400,000 documents in DVD format. As an historian I use them quite often. While there is a great deal of uncensored information there are also several hundred entries that are blacked out.

    Most of them can be seen as an attempt to protect revealing sacred things like the temple, or to protect matters that were confessional in nature. Unfortunately, a comparison with journals and other credible documents reveal that some of these items were blacked out to avoid embarrassing contradictions with official church history.

    Likewise, I suspect you will find that certain materials will not be available for this project because they are sitting in a special vault in the office of the First Presidency out of the hands of even the Church's most trusted and faithful historians.

    Things are much better than they were when Dr. Arrington was unceremoniously released as Church Historian, but I doubt the Church will really want to release all the documents of Joseph Smith. I don't know if a table of contents of all the papers is available yet, but I could tell you just from that what is being held back.

  • Speculation vs. Fact
    Nov. 4, 2007 1:43 p.m.

    "By the fruits shall ye know them." The "assumption" is that the volumes will either be "great" or "non-inclusive" or "manipulated." Let's wait and see the results. Everyone knows that openness and truth always wins in the end.

  • Clio's Muse
    Nov. 4, 2007 1:23 p.m.

    LDS History Buff, well said. Army Guy, there are decent, well intentioned people out there (I know this is hard to believe for you) who want to see all the documents of Joseph Smith published, warts and all. This doesn't mean they revel in his shortcomings; it means they don't want their history sanitized by an institution. I would like to know who is on the editorial board and who, specifically, represents an non-LDS perspective. I don't think for a minute Jan Shipps, the most eminent non-LDS historian, would allow the record to be censored. Will the D. News find this out and print a story?

  • Drs. Jack Ayre
    Nov. 4, 2007 12:29 p.m.

    Thank you Mr. Miller for your great contributions to this scholarly project. I also look forward to the documentaries and the printed materials.
    I for one trust the outcome and believe it will follow the procedures and rules as outlined by the reviewing parties. These methods have gained worldwide acceptance and I believe the qualified researchers will not endanger their reputations.

  • LDS History Buff
    Nov. 4, 2007 1:02 p.m.

    As a member of the LDS Church and an historian, I am intrigued by this project. However, the LDS Church -- especially over the last couple of decades -- has been VERY careful about what kind of information is released. They tend to avoid controversial and negative information and only focus on the "faith-promoting. This way, the LDS Church and its members are viewed positively.

    Since this project is funded, produced, and promoted by LDS sources, I fear it will not be objective. I hope I'm wrong because Joseph Smith was such an amazingly interesting individual, but based on past experience, I don't have much faith in the LDS Chruch's ability to offer "full disclosure".

    Projects and articles released by the LDS Church during the last 20 years, have been disappointing to me. Although they were, in most respects, historically accurate, they often chose to ignore or edit out controversial and negative aspects while emphasizing the positive. The end results were something that gave readers an unrealistic portrayal of actual events.

    Nevertheless, I'm anxiously waiting to view this project when released. I hope it will be worthwhile.

  • Ken Baguley
    Nov. 4, 2007 12:54 p.m.

    Thanks Larry Miller for your generous support...Some of us can't wait to read history generated from real live documents. Joseph, Joseph, Joseph...He was and is great.

  • Army Guy
    Nov. 4, 2007 11:16 a.m.

    The project isn't even close to being finished, and there are already critics lined up outside. Amazing! How can anyone question objectivity when the texts haven't been produced yet? That is both insulting and revealing--the "objectivity" you are interested in is anything that casts a shadow on Joseph Smith or the LDS Church. Pathetic.

    I, for one, am looking forward to reading these letters when they are published. We all should thank Larry H. Miller too, since his financial contributions resurrected this project that started in the '60s and stalled because of money. And thanks to all the scholars and specialists who have ensured that "millions shall know Brother Joseph again."

  • Carl
    Nov. 4, 2007 10:34 a.m.

    It's great to see this project happening. The more we learn about Joseph, the more I am glad we named a son after him.

    It was interesting to see "the Church-owned newspaper" candidly prints even the snide remark by the reporter, in paragraph 12. The haters will grab onto her statement as if it were fact, and not attempt to question it.

    Her gratuitous editorial opinion in the midst of reporting may or may not be true; and, how do we know the motivations of unnamed leaders in his "reassignment"? It sounded like those self-appointed historians who take as fact any opinion that makes LDS leaders look conspiratorial, while overlooking the preponderance of wisdom and honesty in the Church's leadership and history.

    Even honesty (non-censorship) in publishing the article. We've seen a lot of articles in the DMN that demonstrate this openness, and expect it will continue.

    I eagerly await the TV shows described.

  • What?!
    Nov. 4, 2007 9:22 a.m.

    So, are there actually any objective non-mormon historians involved with this project?


  • Ron
    Nov. 4, 2007 9:10 a.m.

    Glad to see Dean Paynter's name on the television project. It's sure to be a quality production.

  • David Arntsen
    Nov. 4, 2007 6:52 a.m.

    I look forward to visiting the website that will be created for these documents, and in learning all that I can that confirms the life's mission of this remarkable man.

  • Anonymous
    Nov. 4, 2007 5:50 a.m.

    As a historian, I know firsthand that the church doesn't want to publish things that do not make the church--or its founders--look good. How do we know this won't happen with the Joseph Smith Papers project? We need more than Ron Esplin's word.

  • Steve Romero
    Nov. 4, 2007 5:28 a.m.

    How important is it to know Joseph Smith as a person? Priceless.

  • iteasdal
    Nov. 4, 2007 5:02 a.m.

    I wonder... Would Joseph Smith rather have the letters published on a website where anyone in the world could easily download and view or have them published in books that are, we're delighted to learn in this article, less than $2400 for the entire set?
    I'd guess the former. Maybe the project directors are planning to do both and the website part was just omitted from this article.

  • Bob
    Nov. 4, 2007 5:39 a.m.

    How about running the Joseph Smith Papers Project on BYU-TV after it runs on KJZZ so those of us outside of the Utah media market can watch it?