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The Joseph Smith Papers: Histories Volume 2: Assigned Histories, 1831-1847
For Joseph Smith, recording the history of the church was a crucial
and ongoing priority-a responsibility never far from his mind. He
created or supervised the documents featured in Histories, Volume 1,
but he also assigned four trusted associates-first William W. Phelps,
then John Whitmer, John Corrill, and Edward Partridge-to write narrative
histories. Each was an eyewitness of many events in early Church
history. These four histories together compose the vivid, personal, and
sometimes surprising contents of Histories, Volume 2. Each of these four
histories (three of which were published during the Prophet's lifetime)
gives us a chance to see early historical events through different eyes.
The writers speak candidly, showing the personal side of Church history.
Some of these historians include comments that are critical of the
Church or Church leaders. John Corrill, for example, ultimately found
fault with Joseph's prophetic leadership and left the Church. His history
included not only an explanation of the Church's teachings that led him
to join the Church, but also an exposition of his disappointment with
the religion and its leaders.
The accounts are filled with the faith and heartaches that reflect the
struggles of the time. They recount many dramatic events, including the
siege at de Witt, the battle of Crooked River, the extermination order,
the events at Haun's Mill, and the surrender at Far West. The histories
constitute an essential primary source for research into the life and times
of the Prophet Joseph. Histories, Volume 2 will also include a comprehensive index for volumes 1 and 2.
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