Joseph Smith‘s death in Carthage, Illinois was traumatic for the Latter-day Saints. His assassination was the culmination in a series of events that had consequences for the community of Saints—particularly those living in Nauvoo. In this interview, historian Spencer W. McBride discusses the events surrounding the Prophet’s death as shared in Road to Carthage: A Joseph Smith Papers Podcast.
Joseph Smith taught many truths about Jesus Christ that stemmed from his First Vision and other revelatory experiences. For example, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said that Joseph’s depiction of a weeping Jesus in the Book of Moses reveals more about the true nature of Christ than any theological treatise. In this interview, historian Keith Erekson draws on the Joseph Smith Papers to explain what the Prophet taught about the Savior.
Joseph Smith Jr. has been a topic of conversation since his First Vision in 1820. Today, the discourse continues. Whether discussing the possibility of a Joseph Smith photograph or his relationship with Brigham Young, historians continue to learn new things about the first prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Joseph Smith began his translation of the Book of Abraham in 1835. However, he left no record of the process, making it impossible to know the precise mechanics. We do know that the translation likely included a mix of secular learning and divine revelation. And we know that he revised his initial translation, even incorporating Hebrew after studying the Biblical language. In this interview, Stephen O. Smoot discusses the complexity of the Prophet’s translation and marvels at the inspired final product.
Media outlets caused a stir when they announced that the first-known photo of Joseph Smith had been discovered in 2022. The daguerreotype had a stronger provenance than any earlier candidate, but it still lacked hard data prior to 1992, making it difficult to objectively authenticate. In this interview, Curtis G. Weber explains that his amateur forensic analysis may support claims that the man in the the Smith-Larsen daguerreotype could be Joseph Smith.
Truman Madsen is perhaps best known for his Joseph Smith lectures. The BYU professor thought of the Prophet as a window through which he could see Jesus Christ. But his contributions extend far beyond lectures given at Brigham Young University. Those who knew him best, like his wife, Ann Madsen, say there was much more to Truman G. Madsen than meets the eye.
The plural wives of Joseph Smith are the focus of Todd Compton’s book, In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents. As a sequel to his 1997 volume, The Documents provides the primary sources Compton used in his book about Joseph Smith’s polygamous marriages. In this interview, Todd Compton discusses his new publication, shares thoughts about reactions to his research, and provides highlights from his book.
After attending a Relief Society meeting in 1857, Wilford Woodruff recorded in his journal that “the house was full of females.” As someone who practiced plural marriage instituted by the Prophet Joseph Smith, the comment could have applied to Woodruff’s home life. In this interview, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich discusses how early Latter-day Saint sources shed light on female authority and plural marriage.
Brigham Young was known by many different names. To some, he was the Lion of the Lord or an American Moses. To others, he was simply “Brother Brigham.” In this interview, Chad Orton discusses the many ways he finds inspiration in the prophet’s life—and reveals what he’d include in a second edition of his biography of the second president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Zion’s Camp—also known as the Camp of Israel—was a formative experience in the life of 28-year-old Joseph Smith. However, like the Law of Consecration, it’s a pioneer experience rife with misunderstanding. In this interview, historian Matt Godfrey separates fact from fiction and discusses the purpose of Zion’s Camp.