Ronald E. Romig is the former archivist for the Community of Christ, and past president of the Mormon History Association and the John Whitmer Historical Association. He has recently been appointed one of three world church historians for the Community of Christ. He is the editor of a brief series of illustrated documentary histories, including Emma’s Nauvoo and Martin Harris’s Kirtland.
As the Whitmers were one of the three most prominent families in early Mormon history (the others being the Smiths and the extended Knight clan), a volume about their family is long overdue. Some readers initially might wonder why Romig did not focus on John Whitmer’s better-known younger brother, David, but that thought is quickly put to rest as Romig documents early on in the volume the vast contributions John made to early Mormonism. During the earliest years from 1828 to 1833, John acted as a scribe for both the Book of Mormon and Bible translations and served as one of the eight witnesses of the Book of Mormon plates. John was designated an elder, an apostle (prior to the more formal Quorum of Twelve being established), and labored as one of the most trusted confidants of Joseph Smith. Following the mission to the Lamanites and the success in Kirtland, Ohio, it was John who was sent to provide important leadership to those early converts prior to Joseph Smith’s arrival.