Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith's Legal Encounters

  • ISBN:         978-1-938896-70-5
  • Publisher:  BYU Studies
  • Year:         2014
  • Pages:       563
  • Size:         
  • Cover:       Softcover

Joseph Smith believed in sustaining the law. This book presents his main legal encounters in the context of his day. Party to more than two hundred suits in the courts of New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere, he faced criminal charges as well as civil claims and collection matters. In the end, he was never convicted of any crime, and he paid his debts. These incidents were significant institutionally as well as personally.

Eleven legal scholars analyze these legal encounters. Topics cover constitutional law, copyright, disorderly conduct, association, assault, marriage, banking, land preemptive rights, treason, municipal charters, bankruptcy, guardianship, habeas corpus, adultery, and freedom of the press.

A 53-page legal chronology presents key information about Joseph's life in the law. An appendix provides biographies of sixty lawyers and judges with whom he was involved, some being the best legal minds of his day. This book is for anyone interested in the life of Joseph Smith, whether general readers, historians, lawyers, or law students. Each chapter tells a fascinating story based on controlling legal documents—many just recently discovered—that allow detailed legal analysis and accurate understanding.

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Table of Contents
Sample Pages

Title Author Page Price
Preface and Introduction Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, John W. Welch v $0.00
1. Joseph Smith and the Constitution John W. Welch 1 $1.99*
2. The Smiths and Religious Freedom: Jesse Smith's 1814 Church Tax Protest John W. Welch 39 $1.99*
3. Standing as a Credible Witness in 1819 Jeffrey N. Walker 51 $1.99*
4. Being Acquitted of a "Disorderly Person" Charge in 1826 Gordon A. Madsen 71 $1.99*
5. Securing the Book of Mormon Copyright in 1829 Nathaniel Hinckley Wadsworth 93 $1.99*
6. Organizing the Church as a Religious Association in 1830 David Keith Stott 113 $1.99*
7. Winning against Hurlbut's Assault in 1834 David W. Grua 141 $1.99*
8. Performing Legal Marriages in Ohio in 1835 M. Scott Bradshaw 155 $1.99*
9. Looking Legally at the Kirtland Safety Society Jeffrey N. Walker 179 $1.99*
10. Tabulating the Impact of Litigation on the Kirtland Economy Gordon A. Madsen 227 $1.99*
11. Losing Land Claims and the Missouri Conflict in 1838 Jeffrey N. Walker 247 $1.99*
12. Imprisonment by Austin King's Court of Inquiry in 1838 Gordon A. Madsen 271 $1.99*
13. Protecting Nauvoo by Illinois Charter in 1840 James L. Kimball Jr. 297 $1.99*
14. Suffering Shipwreck and Bankruptcy in 1842 and Beyond Joseph I. Bentley 309 $1.99*
15. Serving as Guardian under the Lawrence Estate, 1842-1844 Gordon A. Madsen 329 $1.99*
16. Invoking Habeas Corpus in Missouri and Illinois Jeffrey N. Walker 357 $1.99*
17. Defining Adultery under Illinois and Nauvoo Law M. Scott Bradshaw 401 $1.99*
18. Legally Suppressing the Nauvoo Expositor in 1844 Dallin H. Oaks 427 $1.99*
Legal Chronology of Joseph Smith Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, John W. Welch 461 $0.00
Lawyers and Judges in the Legal Cases of Joseph Smith Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, John W. Welch 515 $0.00
Glossary of Early Nineteenth-Century Legal Terms Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, John W. Welch 546 $0.00
Index Gordon A. Madsen, Jeffrey N. Walker, John W. Welch 557 $0.00

*These chapters are free for subscribers.