As the Church prepares to celebrate the Bicentennial of the First Vision of Joseph, President Russell M. Nelson encouraged members to study more about the life of Joseph Smith and the Restoration of the gospel.
While the scriptures and personal revelation are the first sources we should turn to when learning about the Prophet Joseph, other resources can be valuable. Here are five of our favorite resources that can help you understand Joseph Smith’s life, death, mission, and continued impact on the Church.
The Church’s official Gospel Topic page about Joseph Smith is a treasure trove of information and a great starting point for those who aren’t sure where to start. The essay gives a basic overview of who Joseph Smith and why he is important. It links to other important essays as well as scriptures, talks, manual lessons, and media resources about Joseph Smith. It’s a comprehensive source focused on the most central and inspirational sources about Joseph’s life. It is an especially great resource for families, teachers, and those studying in groups.
According to their official website, The Joseph Smith Papers Project “is an effort to gather together all extant Joseph Smith documents and to publish complete and accurate transcripts of those documents with both textual and contextual annotation.” Examples of documents you can review include letters, revelations, meeting notes, and more from Joseph’s life, as well as early manuscripts of the scriptures, legal and business papers, and journal entries.
This four-volume narrative history contains the inspiring true story of people who dedicated their lives to establishing the Church. Meticulously researched and written under the direction of the First Presidency, Saints breathes new life into the history of the Church with an engaging style and fast-paced narrative that will captivate readers and increase faith in homes and families the world over. The first volume is currently published online and printed copies are available to order online here.
The second volume is already being released chapter by chapter online with a printed copy available in early 2020.
FairMormon is “a non-profit organization dedicated to providing well-documented answers to criticisms of LDS doctrine, belief, and practice.” It specifically addresses some of the harshest and most difficult questions about the life of Joseph Smith, including polygamy, treasure seeking, and translation methods. It is a good source for a historical analysis of these often difficult topics.
Created by those in the Church History Department, this specific portion of the Church’s website focuses on three main sections, the mission of Joseph Smith, his life, and witnesses of the prophet. It provides engaging information in easy-to-understand groupings.