The Prophet Joseph Smith

Essays on the Life and Mission of Joseph Smith


In the preface to their volume, editors Larry C. Porter and Susan Easton Black note the serious dichotomy between faith and scholarship in many of the books about the life and mission of Joseph Smith. They also remind us that most of these texts simply “rewrite known facts” while “ignoring well-documented new discoveries” (viii). Apparently, then, this book is intended to present new discoveries and at the same time “expand faith.” This approach appealed to us, and a review of the contributors to the volume heightened our expectations. With a small handful of notable exceptions, it would be hard to gather a more seasoned collection of faithful Latter-day Saint scholars on the life of Joseph Smith and early Church history. They have paid their research dues, and most have made significant, if not major, contributions to the Church’s growing historiography. All have demonstrated their faith in both Joseph Smith and the church he restored.


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