The Joseph Smith Papers Project illuminates the Prophet Joseph and the Restoration. Larry H. Miller and KJZZ Television partnered with the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a variety of prominent scholars to discuss the project, the documents, and the life and work of Joseph Smith.
Episode 1 describes in more depth the organization and significance of The Joseph Smith Papers. Ronald K. Esplin, managing editor of the Papers, discusses the different types of documents - journals, histories, revelations, and administrative and legal documents - that will be included.
Joseph Smith's New England ancestry - from the Mayflower immigrants to the Revolutionary War soldiers to the ordinary farmers - instilled in him many of the qualities that came to define his character. This episode offers and in-depth look at the family heritage that helped shape Joseph Smith, including profiles of his parents and grandparents.
In 1805 - the year of Joseph Smith's birth - America was still a young nation. Thomas Jefferson was president, and the Constitution had been ratified only eighteen years before. This episode explores the historical context into which Joseph Smith was born.
Joseph Smith came of age in Palmyra, a small upstate New York town on the edge of the Erie Canal. This episode provides a window into the lives of the Smith family during their time in Palmyra.
This episode sets the stage for the first event in what would become the Restoration of the gospel: the appearance of God the Father and Jesus Christ to the fourteen-year-old Joseph Smith.
Joseph Smith's 1820 vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ was extraordinary by any measure. This episode explores that vision by examining the Prophet's different accounts of the experience.
Joseph Smith called the Book of Mormon the "keystone" of the religion he founded. This episode looks specifically at the story of the records from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon - how he obtained them and how he set about translating them.
The town of Harmony, Pennsylvania, was a significant place in the life of Joseph Smith. There he met his wife, there he experienced the birth and death of his first child, there he translated a significant portion of the Book of Mormon. This episode discusses the significance of Harmony and the events that took place there.
The restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods enabled the restoration of all other gospel ordinances. This episode examines how, when, where, and by whom these powers were restored to the earth.
This roundtable discussion, chaired by Ronald K. Esplin, managing editor of The Joseph Smith Papers, features members of the Papers staff explaining why this project has significance for people with the LDS Church and without.
In this second roundtable, members of the Joseph Smith Papers Project staff describe the day-to-day work of producing the Papers - from acquisition of documents to transcription to editorial policies - and share things they've learned.
The translation of the Book of Mormon was at the heart of Joseph Smith's prophetic calling. In this episode, scholars present textual evidence that helps give an idea of what the actual process of translation may have been like.
Printing the first five thousand copies of the Book of Mormon was a huge task, undertaken by printer Egbert G. Grandin in 1830. In this episode, scholars discuss the publication of the first edition, including the process of printing and the local reaction to the book's publication.
Lucy Mack Smith began writing about the life of her son Joseph in 1844, not long after his death. This episode discusses the resulting biography, one of the first and most valuable works of LDS history.
Pioneering Joseph Smith scholar, Dean C. Jessee discusses the early instruction to the Prophet that "there shall be a record kept" and Joseph's effort to obey that command.
Joseph Smith's journals provide an unprecedented look into his character and personality. In this episode, scholars discuss these journals and the human side of the Prophet that they reveal.
Oliver Cowdery was at the center of the early Church, from his beginnings as a scribe for the Book of Mormon translation to his role as second elder of the Church until his disaffection, excommunication, and rebaptism. In this episode, scholars discuss Cowdrey, his relationship to Joseph Smith, and his place in Church history.
This episode offers descriptions of Joseph Smith from his contemporaries - within the Church and without - as well as perspectives on his influence from several modern scholars.
Doctor Nathan Smith was perhaps the only doctor in the United States who could have saved young Joseph Smith's leg when he contracted osteomyelitis in 1813. This episode explores Joseph's childhood illness and the remarkable physician who treated it.
In July 1833, Joseph Smith completed his inspired revision of the Bible. That text, which was never published in his lifetime, was lost to the Church form more than a century. In this episode, Robert J. Matthews discusses the Joseph Smith Translation and his role in bringing it to light.
Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible was one of the most significant endeavors of his life. This episode explores the divine instruction to revise the Bible, the process of translation, and the storied history of the JST manuscript.
Joseph and Emma spent much of their seventeen-year marriage apart, writing letters to each other while Joseph was traveling or imprisoned. This episode delves into the surviving letters of this remarkable couple.
The belief in continuing revelation espoused by Joseph Smith set him apart from other Christians in his day, and it continues to distinguish the Church he founded. This episode discusses these diving communications and how they came to be in their present form in the Doctrine and Covenants.
The Church of Christ was officially organized in a meeting on April 6, 1830. This episode revisits that meeting - the meeting that provided the organizational foundation upon which the Church has built ever since.
Kirtland, Ohio, was the first designated gathering place for members of the fledgling Church of Christ. This episode focuses on Kirtland - its history, its problems, and its importance in Church history.
The Kirtland Temple, the first temple constructed in this dispensation, was built through the sacrifices of countless Church members. This episode explores some of the hardships of the Kirtland period, as well as the purpose of and plans for the house of the Lord.
The site of remarkable sermons, visions, and pentecostal experiences, the Kirtland Temple was the focal point of the Church through much of the 1830s. This episode looks at the events that took place in the temple and how those events shaped the Church.
Jackson County, Missouri, was on the edge of the American frontier when Joseph Smith arrived there in 1831 and received a revelation that it was to be the location of Zion, the New Jerusalem. This episode focuses on Zion, both as a concept and as a physical place.
After the Latter-day Saints were expelled from Jackson County, Missouri, in the winter of 1833, Joseph Smith was directed by revelation to gather a band of men to restore the Jackson County Saints to their lands. This episode focuses on that expeditionary force, later known as Zion's Camp.
Between building the Kirland Temple, providing lands for immigrant Saints, and many other endeavors, the Church was deeply in debt by 1837. This episode discusses how economic woes and the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society helped precipitate a crisis in Kirtland.
Joseph Smith once wrote that he believed in "obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law." During his lifetime, however, numerous lawsuits were brought against him. This episode discusses a few of those encounters with the law, focusing on the Prophet's time in New York and Ohio.
After their expulsion from Jackson County, Missouri, the Latter-day Saints found themselves unwelcome in other Missouri counties as well. Eventually, they were given exclusive permission to settle in Caldwell County, where they built the city of Far West. This episode discusses the experiences of the Saints in northern Missouri.
Tensions between the Latter-day Saints and the other citizens of Missouri were already mounting in 1838. After conflicts and aggression from both sides, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs issued the infamous Extermination Order, directing that the Saints be "exterminated or driven from the state." This episode looks at the causes and the events of what became known as the Mormon War.
Arrested and charged with treason, Joseph Smith was incarcerated in a series of Missouri jails to await trial. This episode explores Joseph's experience in Liberty Jail - how he came to be there, what he endured while there, and how his time there changed him.
In late 1838, members of the Missouri state militia arrived in Far West to execute Governor Bogg's Extermination Order. They drove the Saints from their homes and from the state. This episode examines the Saints' winter exodus and their arrival in Quincy, Illinois.
The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles arrived in England in early 1840 to preach the gospel to the people of that country. England was to be the proving ground for the young quorum. This episode discusses that mission, which not only swelled the ranks of Church membership with thousands of British converts but also refined the leadership of the Twelve.
In addition to intimidation and armed conflicts, Joseph Smith and other Saints faced significant legal challenges during their time in Missouri. This episode examines these challenges.
After taking temporary refuge in Quincy, Illinois, Church leaders authorized the purchase of land in Commerce, Illinois, which would serve as a new gathering place and later be renamed Nauvoo. This episode examines how the swampy land of Commerce was transformed into the City Beautiful.
Believing that the Constitutional rights of the Latter-day Saints had been violated when they were driven from their lands in Missouri, Joseph Smith traveled to the nation's capital to seek redress from the federal government. This episode focuses on that effort and on Joseph's experience with Martin Van Buren, president of the United States.
Unlike many Christian ministers of his day, Joseph Smith delivered his sermons extemporaneously, not from prepared texts. Partly as a result of this, few records of Joseph's public sermons exist today. This episode discusses some of the few extant accounts of sermons, as well as other reasons for the scarcity of such texts.
In 1840 and 1841, Joseph Smith gave direction that the Saints should build a temple in Nauvoo. But, by revelation, he also mandated that a second edifice - the Nauvoo House - be built to the Lord. This episode explores the purpose and construction of those two buildings.
Having heard of Joseph Smith as a man rumored to be able to translate ancient texts, Michael Chandler arrived in Kirtland in 1835 with four mummies and some Egyptian papyri for display and sale. Joseph purchased Chandler's wares and translated the text of the Book of Abraham from the papyri. This episode discusses the processes of acquisition, translation, and publication of the text.
For many reasons, the Nauvoo period was crucial to the development of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as we know it today. This episode explores the evolution of doctrines, beliefs, revelations, and ordinances in Nauvoo.
What began as a women's sewing society to provide clothing for the men working on the Nauvoo Temple evolved into a multifaceted organization, founded on the principle of charity. This episode explores the foundation and early history of the Relief Society.
The charge of treason that had been brought against Joseph Smith in Missouri was officially dismissed in August 1840. Despite this, Governor Boggs and his successor, Thomas Reynolds, petitioned the state of Illinois for the extradition of Joseph Smith to Missouri. This episode explores the ensuing legal battle.
From early on, Joseph Smith envisioned the preaching of the restored gospel as an international endeavor. He called missionaries to preach in Great Britain, Canada, the South Pacific, and elsewhere. This episode looks at the first efforts to create an international church.
Joseph Smith's continued legal troubles and the introduction of the doctrine of plural marriage bred dissent inside and outside the Church in Nauvoo. This episode explores the mounting tension surrounding these issues, with emphasis on the reaction to plural marriage.
In the months before his death, Joseph Smith sent a missionary force throughout the United States to promote him as a candidate for president of the United States. In Nauvoo, he gave final instructions on priesthood organization and temple ordinances. This episode discusses the last months of the Prophet's life - the capstone of his ministry.
On June 27, 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were shot and killed in an attack on the jailhouse in Carthage, Illinois. This episode discusses the martyrdom and the events leading up to it, including the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor.
The death of Joseph and Hyrum Smith was met by the Saints with confusion, disbelief, and profound grief. The loss of their founder and leader precipitated a crisis of leadership among the Saints, with several parties claiming the right and authority to lead the Church. This episode discusses the unfolding of this crisis in the days, weeks, and months after the martyrdom.
In August 1844, most of the Latter-day Saints voted for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, led by Brigham Young, to take over leadership of the Church. This final episode explores the crisis of succession after the death of Joseph Smith and the eventual exodus from Nauvoo.