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Joseph Smith Papers: Documents, Volume 13 Published

SALT LAKE CITY—The Church Historian’s Press today announced the release of the latest volume of The Joseph Smith Papers. Documents, Volume 13 includes documents from August through December 1843 and details Joseph Smith’s ongoing efforts to lead, teach, and minister to the growing number of Latter-day Saints in the United States and abroad.

During the months covered in this volume, Nauvoo, Illinois, was humming with activity as migrants continued to pour into the city and surrounding towns from the eastern United States and Great Britain. Civic and church leaders worked to develop Nauvoo’s infrastructure, and the city grew closer to becoming the “corner-stone of Zion.” As the Latter-day Saints constructed the Nauvoo temple on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River, Smith elucidated key religious principles associated with the temple, such as priesthood, election, and the sealing power, in public discourses and private meetings.

This volume features ninety-eight documents, including Joseph Smith’s correspondence, accounts of his discourses, and petitions seeking redress from the federal government. Key documents include a petition, approved by the city council of Nauvoo on 21 December 1843, asking the United States Congress to grant Nauvoo the rights and powers of a federal territory. Also in December, Joseph Smith and other city leaders took action to protect Nauvoo and its citizens from increased violence by passing a city ordinance that suspended legal processes originating outside the city. Leaders also created a full-time police force, mobilized the local militia, and asked Congress to empower the mayor to, if necessary, “call to his aid a sufficient number of United States forces.” The texts presented in this volume, with their detailed historical annotation, chronicle a tumultuous period in church history and provide necessary context for understanding the explosive events that unfolded during the final six months of Joseph Smith’s life.

Documents, Volume 13 was edited by Christian K. Heimburger, Jeffrey D. Mahas, Brent M. Rogers, J. Chase Kirkham, Matthew S. McBride, and Mason K. Allred. Visit josephsmithpapers.org for more information.