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Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Joseph Smith Papers

I saw a story on The Joseph Smith Papers on the LDS World Report between conference sessions last weekend. I have since visited the website: www.josephsmithpapers.net, and I am very excited about the release of this material. The first volume will be published later this year and a hardbound copy can be pre-ordered soon for about forty dollars. The Church is literally opening up the Archives and will be publishing these volumes on the Internet as well. A Church Historian's Press has been created and the World Report story hinted at the possibility of other Archive projects publishing other primary sources pertinent to Church history. The project has received substantial financial support from the owner of the Utah Jazz, and that is almost enough to convert me into a Jazz fan.

I am very glad to see the Church taking this approach. We have allowed ourselves for so long to be defined by critics outside the Church, with mainly only Apologetic efforts to defend ourselves. It is refreshing to see that we are showing the world that there is nothing to hide. The Church is true and need not be ashamed or secretive of its history. Church leaders are asking the general membership to make their beliefs known as publicly as possible, including participation on the Internet in the form of discussion groups and blogs. Hence, readers will likely encounter several religious themed posts on this blog.

I expect that the content of some of the documents which will be made available by the Church Historian's Press may challenge some long held perceptions and understandings of many Church members. I noticed a significant focus throughout the Saturday sessions of General Conference on the need for members of the Church to have their own, independent, and abiding testimony of the Gospel. I have personally found that a foundation of an independent testimony has sustained me through many challenges to my faith throughout the years.

The most central pillar in my personal testimony is my knowledge that Joseph Smith is a Prophet and that he restored the true Church of Jesus Christ. I have found that there is nothing I have ever seen, heard or read that has ever been able to shake that foundation. I have been asked to speak on the subject of Joseph Smith several times, and I may, in the future, reproduce some of those talks here in written form. I look forward to receiving the first volume of The Joseph Smith Papers. I am fairly certain that Rebecca will let me pre-order it when it becomes available.

2 comments:

campbellz3 said...

The Joseph Smith papers sound really great and I can't wait to get them. It is awesome to be studying the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith this year in priesthood and relief society. Of course, most of the study is personal since the people teaching the lesson have very little time to cover the information...not to mention the fact that each lesson goes off on a fun tangent.
by the way, we have a blog also and you are welcome to check it out.
http://campbellz3.blogspot.com/

Ashley said...

The Joseph Smith Papers sound awesome! I missed that report between conference sessions so this is the first I've heard of them. Thanks for putting the link on your blog.

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