Early Mormon Documents Volume 1

Early Mormon Documents Volume 1

from the publisher:
As historians continue to sort through the beginnings of Mormonism, Dan Vogel’s comprehensive inventory of all relevant primary documents is an unparalleled achievement. In this first of a multi-volume series, Joseph Smith’s family–Emma, Katharine, Lucy, Joseph Sr., William, and others–recount how they became convinced of his high calling, feeling “the spirit of God like a burning fire shut up in [their] bones.” These narratives are carefully presented in their original forms with full documentation and annotation.

As confidantes, the Smith family were intimately acquainted with their son’s and brother’s extraordinary supernatural encounters. Their narratives form an Urgeschichte that they repeated with considerable consistency over the years, despite the fact that Joseph’s published autobiography, which became the accepted, canonized version, differs significantly in several areas.

According to family tradition, the young seer retired to his bedroom one evening after discussing the Bible with his parents and siblings. In a night vision he saw an angelic messenger who told him that his sins were forgiven and that he would uncover an ancient record buried near their home. The next day, working in the fields alongside his older brother, he fainted from lack of sleep and again saw the messenger who commanded him to go and retrieve the sacred record.

He found the book, which was inscribed in an unknown script on gold leaves, hidden in a stone box with a pair of eye-glasses, the lenses of which were made of diamonds the size of “an English crown only slightly thicker.” By looking through the glasses, then at an opaque seer stone placed in a hat, the book’s script appeared as illuminated English words. He published his translation as the Book of Mormon. Later, in a friend’s bedroom, Joseph was impressed to ordain elders and to organize a new church. Almost immediately his followers performed miracles, beginning with a dramatic levitation and exorcism which inaugurated the restoration of primitive Christianity.

from Benchmark Books:
This is the first of a multi-volume reference series that will include all known primary documents relating to the origins of the Mormon church, many of which having never before been published. Volume one features over 450 documents relating to pre-1831 Mormon origins (many otherwise unavailable outside library archives). They include autobiographical writings (diaries, letters, interviews, reminiscences, and statements) of Smith family members such as Emma Hale Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Katharine Smith, Joseph Smith, Sr., William Smith, and the Prophet himself. For example, one of the documents is the 1832 “Joseph Smith History” that contains Joseph’s earliest account of the First Vision. There are also statements, documents, and observations by various Smith relatives, as well as several early converts and acquaintances. Rounding out the collection are official records such as census, court, parish, school, and tax reports.

The editor provides lengthy and informative annotations and numerous footnotes that give the necessary background to put these important documents in their historical context. The unprecedented wealth of first-person narratives in Early Mormon Documents makes this an essential resource for anyone interested in Joseph Smith’s formative years. This series promises to be an unparalleled achievement which, when completed, will provide more primary source material on Mormon origins and history than has ever been made available to the reading public before.

Contents of Volume 1:

Part I. Joseph Smith Family Testimony
A. Joseph Smith, Jr., Collection
B. Lucy Mack Smith Collection
C. Joseph Smith, Sr., Collection
D. William Smith Collection
E. Katharine Smith Collection
F. Emma Hale Smith Collection
G. Relatives of Smiths Collection
H. Miscellaneous Smith Family Documents

Part II. Mormon Origins in Vermont and New Hampshire
A. Miscellaneous Sources
B. Miscellaneous Documents

Part IV. Mormon Origins in Colesville and Bainbridge, New York
A. Knight Family Collection
B. Stowell Family Collection
C. Miscellaneous Early Sources
D. Miscellaneous Late Sources
E. Miscellaneous Non-Resident Sources
F. Miscellaneous Documents

Part V. Mormon Origins in Harmony, Pennsylvania
A. Hale/Lewis Family Collection
B. Miscellaneous Early Sources
C. Miscellaneous Late Sources
D. Miscellaneous Non-Resident Sources
E. Miscellaneous Documents

Part VI. Mormon Origins in Fayette, New York
A. David Whitmer Collection
B. John Whitmer Collection
C. Miscellaneous Whitmer Family Testimony
D. Miscellaneous Early Sources
E. Miscellaneous Late Sources
F. Miscellaneous Non-Resident Sources
G. Miscellaneous Documents

Appendix A: Early Church Membership in New York
Appendix B: Chronology

Future volumes to include:

Volume 2:

Part III. Mormon Origins in Palmyra and Manchester, New York
A. Philastus Hurlbut Collection
B. William H. and Edmund L. Kelley Collection
C. Charles C. Thorne Collection
D. Arthur B. Deming Collection
E. Palmyra Newspapers
F. Martin Harris Collection
G. Oliver Cowdery Collection
H. John H. Gilbert Collection

Volume 3:

Part III. Mormon Origins in Palmyra and Manchester, New York [Continued]
I. Miscellaneous Early Sources
Eli Bruce Diary, 5 November 1830
William W. Phelps to E. D. Howe, 15 January 1831

J. Miscellaneous Late Sources
Solomon Chamberlain Accounts, 1845 & Circa 1858
Orsamus Turner Account, 1851
Pomeroy Tucker Reminiscence, 1858

K. Miscellaneous Non-Resident Sources
Rochester (NY) Gem, 15 May 1830
Cincinnati Advertiser and Ohio Phoenix, 2 June 1830

L. Miscellaneous Documents
Palmyra (NY) Road Lists, 1817-1822
Palmyra (NY) Highway Survey, 13 June 1820
Smith Manchester (NY) Land Assessment Records, 1821-1823 & 1830
Samuel Jennings Estate Papers, 1822
Palmyra (NY) Presbyterian Church Records, March 1830