The Joseph Smith Papers is pleased to announce the release of Documents, Volume 7, which covers September 1839 through January 1841. This volume helps illuminate this challenging period—a time when Joseph Smith strove to regroup church members after their forced expulsion from Missouri and attempted to establish a new gathering place for the Saints. This volume contains 129 documents, including personal correspondence, discourses, minutes, a revelation, and a memorial to the United States Congress. Specific topics addressed in these documents include the practical and spiritual building of Nauvoo, Illinois; the struggle to obtain redress for the property and lives lost in Missouri; the missionary efforts of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in England; and the introduction of new teachings and doctrines, including baptism for the dead.
These documents are critical to understanding Joseph Smith as a person, as a husband and father, and as a prophet. The documents reveal a church leader trying to unify his people and extend the church's reach through missionary work, especially through the efforts of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. They show a man concerned for the health and well-being of his followers—and a man striving to obtain redress for the wrongs they suffered in Missouri. These documents are also critical to comprehending the foundations of the Mormon experience in Nauvoo and to grasping the larger context of events in the United States and elsewhere that influenced Joseph Smith and the church in late 1839 and early 1841.
Documents, Volume 7 was edited by Matthew C. Godfrey, Spencer W. McBride, Alex D. Smith, and Christopher James Blythe, with Shannon Kelly Jorgensen as the lead production editor, assisted by Rachel Osborne and Caroline Bliss Larsen. The volume is now available for purchase from Deseret Book and Amazon.