Suggestions on evaluating LDS History

The History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is based upon the journals of Joseph Smith and other documents. This history was published as the "History of Joseph Smith" being a compiled history using a variety of sources. Besides day to day activities it includes many discourses, the majority preached in Illinois. The compilation contains most but not all of Joseph Smith's revelations. Also included are correspondence and minutes of church meetings.

Not included:
Book of Mormon, first edition 1830
New Translation of the Bible (JST)


Davis Bitton wrote, ". . . Rule Number One is "Do not rely on the DHC; never use a quotation from it without comparing the earlier versions." Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought 3 (Winter 1968):32. Rule Number Two: Check with Manuscript History or even better the source upon which it is based. Remember this is a compiled history.

Sources behind the History of the Church

Manuscript History Books, Church History Library (CHL), Salt Lake City, Utah
Joseph Smith Journals, CHL

Helpful material for historical inquiry

H. Michael Marquardt. Joseph Smith's 1828-1843 Revelations Maitland, Florida, 2013.

Selected Collections from the Archives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, 2 vols. DVD. (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, [Dec. 2002], 1:1-2, 18-20.

Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds., Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books, Facsimile Edition. First volume of the Revelations and Translation series of The Joseph Smith Papers. General editors: Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2009.

The revelatory documents originate from Joseph Smith and the earliest manuscripts are the best text to use.

Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, eds. The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Discourses of the Prophet Joseph. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1980.

Dean C. Jessee, comp. and ed. Personal Writings of Joseph Smith. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, rev. ed., 2002.

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