Ten years ago, people around the world marked the bicentennial of Joseph Smith's birth. In June 2005, a two-day conference was convened at the Library of Congress, which I attended with my wife, pictured above; two major biographies were published; and a handy resource of crucial primary sources about the key events of the Restoration (Opening the Heavens) was published. Since then, eleven volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers have appeared. Dozens of groundbreaking studies have been published, many in BYU Studies, about Joseph Smith's first vision and his many legal encounters. Monumental works on the translation of the Book of Mormon have been produced. Thus it is with great pleasure that we bring out at this time another strong issue featuring new information and important insights about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Much is known about Joseph Smith that was not known ten years ago, and there is still more to come.
More than ever before, people are agreeing that the innovative and spiritual achievements of Joseph Smith are difficult to discount. As Josiah Quincy, a prominent nineteenth-century American, mused in 1883, the Mormon prophet's "powerful influence upon the destinies of his countrymen" would long be remembered (BYU Studies 39, no. 4, p. 71). Recently, Christian theologian Stephen H. Webb stated, "He was unmatched in the nineteenth century in his capacity for spiritual won-der and his talent in synthesizing so many aspects of Christianity that had fallen into fragmentation and disuse" (America: The National Catholic Review, online).