The Joseph Smith Papers Project is a fascinating trip into the early history of the Church. The project, led by the Church Historian’s Office, gathers documents that pertain to the Prophet Joseph Smith. The project’s purpose is to provide a record of the life and history of the Joseph Smith, Jr. so scholars and students can easily access the foundational documents of the Church.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project not only gathers the documents but publishes complete and accurate transcripts of them, both in print and electronically. Large portions of the collection will be published in many print volumes. In addition, transcripts of all known and available Joseph Smith documents are being published on the Joseph Smith Papers website (see http://josephsmithpapers.org/), along with
the annotations from the printed volumes and images of almost all of the documents. The digital site has been up since 2008.
The purpose of this project was primarily academic, according to Ben Godfrey, the senior product manager of The Joseph Smith Papers Project. “Producing a definitive, scholarly edition of Joseph Smith’s papers will allow increased and better scholarship on Joseph Smith. The web and print publications of The Joseph Smith Papers are designed for historians, other scholars, and serious students of Joseph Smith and the early church. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have an interest in the church’s history can also make use of The Joseph Smith Papers.” he explained.
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