As the Joseph Smith Papers Project releases the first volume of what will be a multi-volume series of documents, the editors have reaffirmed that the series will be as comprehensive and as open as possible. At an event to celebrate the publication of Documents, Volume 1, Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley Jr. said:
“We have not withheld any documents for this series. There may be an odd document or two of which we are not aware. But all of the thousands of documents that we have found relating to the life and work of Joseph Smith will eventually be included.”
For many researchers, there has always been a hope that this would be the case, but always a shadow of uncertainty with respect to one set of documents in particular—the much whispered-about Council of Fifty minutes. Now those uncertainties have been fully addressed. The announcement came from Elder Steven E. Snow, the Church Historian and Recorder, as quoted in a just-released article by the Church News.
Elder Snow said a few days prior to this recent announcement that the First Presidency “has approved the Church History Department staff to use the Council of Fifty minutes as reference and footnote material in upcoming Joseph Smith Papers books and to eventually publish the minutes in full as a separate volume.”
We applaud this wonderful announcement and the openness and trust that it represents on the part of the First Presidency.