JSPP, Documents, Volume 6: Initial Thoughts

I got a copy of D6 this weekend, and burned through it. Basically a solid reading of all the intros, careful readings of all the minutes, and documents not in the JS Letterbooks, and skimming everything else.  Special emphasis on the sermons.  And honestly superlatives fail.
The cool narration and detailed annotation of the Missouri Mormon War is remarkably accessible and enlightening.  The editors are truly pros—honestly the best.  You get frank and concise accounts of everything involved, from Mormon disenfranchisement to Danites.
This volume takes us to Illinois and the sermons that reveal the beginnings of JS’s Nauvoo projects.  What is there, years before the temple liturgy is available, is a rough hew of the cosmology on which that liturgy rested.  Uncreated spirits, cosmological priesthood, hearts of the children and fathers, and holy spirit of promise and election.  Yeah, the second comforter stuff (which I generally think is deprecated in the later Nauvoo years) is Snufferite nip, still this stuff is gold and wildly important.  The footnotes become a little less robust in the sermons, but the JSPP are not without their surprises.
Per D6, in one of the First Presidency’s transfers of documents from the “vault” over to the JSPP/CHL was a small little book kept by Wilford Woodruff.  Turns out that this document is the source text for several JS sermons that have previously been available through Richards’ “pocket companion.”  This was news to me, and a quick perusal of the CHL catalog turns up some remarkable surprises from this document that will surely hit with D7 next year.  Woodruff’s sermon audits (nod to Bill Smith whose forthcoming chapters, papers, and books on JS sermons will transform our approach) capture content summaries, not exact speech, and knowing the auditor for at least some of the summer 1839 sermons allows for a better critical analysis of them.  I think I like this more than the C50 minutes.
I’ll go through and do a closer reading later, and perhaps a more formal review.  I think that with the consistent publication of JSPP volumes it is easy to get overwhelmed, or complacent.  D6 is a reminder of just how important and worthy of our attention these volumes are.  Congratulations and thank you to the editors.


  1. Sounds like another one to put on the reading list. Looking forward to it. Thanks for the review.

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    Very much appreciate the heads up.

  3. I don’t know what any of these acronyms mean. Can someone explain?

  4. JS – Joseph Smith
    JSPP – Joseph Smith Papers Project
    CHL – Church History Library
    D6 – JSPP Documents, Volume 6
    D7 – JSPP Documents, Volume 7
    C50 – Possibly Q50, or the Qurorum of 50

  5. Greg, that is a good reminder. I’ve added a link to the volume in the post. Briefly:

    JS – Joseph Smith
    JSPP – Joseph Smith Papers Project
    D1 – Documents, Volume 6
    CHL – Church History Library
    C50 – Council of Fifty

  6. Frank beat me to it. Thanks, Frank.

  7. Really excited for this.

  8. Just getting into the volume, but the research in it is as thorough as you could possibly expect. The editorial team and their assistants have done some really great work.

  9. stephenchardy says:

    Love to read these. Thanks

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