The Journal of Discourses is a 26-volume series of sermons by Latter-day Saint pioneers like Brigham Young, John Taylor, and Orson Pratt. However, the accuracy of the published transcriptions is questionable. Bruce R. McConkie even attempted to publish a shorter 10-volume edition that removed what he viewed as false doctrines. In this interview, LaJean Purcell Carruth says that most of the discourses contain significant unauthorized changes—and rarely represent what was actually said.
Category: 19th Century
The Church History Department and Relief Society General Presidency recently published Relief Society general board minutes covering the years 1842–2007. The minutes include notes from the first meeting of the Nauvoo Relief Society, preparations for World War II, and the impact of global events. Anne Berryhill explains that the Relief Society minutes also contain accounts of prominent Latter-day Saints such as Emma Smith, Eliza Snow, and Zina D. H. Young.
Joseph Smith is known for telling his family very little about the First Vision. The Prophet’s history in the Pearl of Great Price records that he simply told his mother, “I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.” Historian Kyle Walker discusses newly discovered sources from the Smith family, lending weight to Steven C. Harper’s assertion that no one knows how many First Vision accounts Joseph Smith gave.
William W. Phelps was closely associated with many key events in the early history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was called “a printer unto the church” in D&C 57, and wrote popular hymns like The Spirit of God. According to biographer Bruce A. Van Orden, W. W. Phelps was also a prolific ghostwriter for Joseph Smith.
B H. Roberts is an important public figure in the history of the Church. As the author of numerous works about Latter-day Saint theology and history, including the Comprehensive History of the Church, his influence on Latter-day Saint thought is difficult to overestimate. In this interview, John Sillito discusses the life and legacy of Elder Roberts, drawn from his biography, B. H. Roberts: A Life in the Public Arena.
George D. Watt was the first Latter-day Saint convert baptized in the British Isles. He kept a diary as he crossed the ocean and traveled the pioneer trails on his way to Salt Lake. Watt became indispensable thanks to his expertise with Pitman shorthand, and created the Journal of Discourses. You can now read his 1851 journal, thanks to the efforts of LaJean Purcell Carruth and Ronald G. Watt.
Saints 3 is the third volume in the new official history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Scott Hales (General Editor and lead writer) and Jed Woodworth (General Editor and lead historian) discuss the Saints book and tease Saints Volume 4.