Joseph Smith (1805–1844) was the founding prophet and first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Joseph Smith Papers Project is an effort to gather together all extant Joseph Smith documents and to publish complete and accurate transcripts of those documents with both textual and contextual annotation. All such documents will be published electronically on this website, and a large number of the documents will also be published in print. The print and electronic publications constitute an essential resource for scholars and students of the life and work of Joseph Smith, early Latter-day Saint history, and nineteenth-century American religion. For the first time, all of Joseph Smith’s known surviving papers, which include many of the foundational documents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, will be easily accessible in one place.
The Joseph Smith Papers Project is not a “documentary history” project comprising all important documents relating to Joseph Smith. Instead, it is a “papers” project that will publish, according to accepted documentary editing standards, documents created by Joseph Smith or by staff whose work he directed, including journals, revelations and translations, contemporary reports of discourses, minutes, business and legal records, editorials, and notices. The project also includes papers received and “owned” by his office, such as incoming correspondence.So far, 28 volumes of documents have been printed and the entire publication is far from finished. The entire set of books is available for free access online. The online digital images of the books have copies of the original documents as well as careful transcriptions of the texts and extensive annotations. I am certain that this is one of the most exhaustive collections of original documentary sources that any church has ever published and made available to the public perhaps with the exception of the proposed Vatican Digital Library. Publication of all these documents is one of the best if not the best way to counter the constant and consistent persecution of the Church.
With the publication of this huge collection, the decision was made to also publish a "new" history of the Church. That history is called "Saints" and Volume 1 of the series was published and is available to the public both in print format and in digital format. With the publication of Volume 2, the in-depth fully annotated history continues. Here are links to both volumes. Member of the Church can access the volumes with the Gospel Library App. The volumes are also available in an audio version.