The Archive of Restoration Culture was founded on the belief that Joseph Smith and the Restoration cannot be appreciated without an understanding of his environment. Student-scholars began working on the Archive project in 1997 and were followed during the next two years by other teams of advanced undergraduates and graduate students.
The papers in the volume are the fruits of their labors. They show how far afield Joseph Smith's thoughts ranged, and how many of his contemporaries were wrestling with similar issues—the role of Israel, the nature of priesthood, the quest for the visionary. The nineteen articles collected in this book are divided into the following categories: priesthood and Church government, visionary leaders in the age of Joseph Smith, distinctive doctrines of the Restoration in historical context, and the cultural background of the Restoration. Joseph Smith becomes both more recognizable and more unusual when placed against this background.