Joseph Smith, the nineteenth-century American prophet who founded the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, can, at times, be considered an elusive historical figure. There were many forces that drove this man, along with the thousands of individuals who followed him, to create a flourishing religious movement that not only influenced minds, but fostered communities, built cities, and engaged in politics. The Mormons drastically influenced American culture, and they continue to impact the United States and the world in impressive ways. Join me as I talk with the managing historian of the Joseph Smith Papers project, Matthew C. Godfrey
, about a recently released documents volume (The Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 7: September 1839 - January 1841
). The book explores the geographical, political, and theological significance of Nauvoo, Illinois (a Mormon hub along the Mississippi River), the extraordinary proselytizing missions by the Church’s Quorum of Twelve Apostles in England, and the further development of Mormon doctrine, especially the introduction of baptism for the dead. This new volume of the Joseph Smith Papers engages these topics with breadth and depth like never before, giving us a detailed view of how the Mormons negotiated their existence and growth within Jacksonian America and Victorian England.
Daniel P. Stone holds a PhD in American religious history from Manchester Metropolitan University (United Kingdom) and is the author of
William Bickerton: Forgotten Latter Day Prophet (Signature Books, 2018). He has taught history courses at the University of Detroit Mercy and Florida Atlantic University, and currently, he works as a research archivist for a private library/archive in Detroit, Michigan.