The following is a guest post from friend-of-the-JI Mark Ashurst-McGee, the Senior Research and Review Historian at the Joseph Smith Papers and co-editor of several volumes in the series. He holds degrees in American History from Arizona State University, Utah State University, and Brigham Young University. Ashurst-McGee has authored award-winning graduate theses on Joseph Smith’s Zion project and the Mormon prophet’s use of seer stones and he is the author of several articles. He is the co-editor, along with Robin Scott Jensen and Sharalyn D. Howcroft, of Foundational Texts of Mormonism: Examining Major Early Sources, forthcoming in February 2018 from Oxford University Press.
Early next year, Oxford University Press will publish a major new book on Joseph Smith and early Mormonism. If you are a scholar or an avid reader of early Mormon history, you will want to own and read this compilation.
Do you want to know what Richard Bushman thinks about the golden plates? or how Laurel Thatcher Ulrich reads the early diaries of Wilford Woodruff? Do you want to get Grant Hardy’s take on the work of Royal Skousen? Or do you want to know what Jennifer Reeder knows about the leaders of the original Relief Society and their polygamist relationships and how those relationships played out in the minutes they produced?
Among the thousands of documents produced by Joseph Smith (most with the help of scribes and clerks), there are several highly significant sources that scholars have used over and over again in their attempts to reconstruct the founding era of Mormonism, usually by focusing solely on content and without a deep appreciation for how or even why a document was created in the first place. This book offers case studies of the sources most often used by historians of the early Mormon experience. Each chapter takes a particular document as its primary subject, considering the production of a document as an historical event in and of itself—with its own background and purpose, circumstances of creation and ongoing production, transmission and reception, and consequences. This book will help historians working in the founding era of Mormonism gain a more solid grounding in the period’s documentary record by supplying important information on major primary sources.
Oxford University Press is having a holiday sale offering 50% off many books, including Foundational Texts of Mormonism. Enter the code HOLIDAY17 to preorder this book for half price (
$74.00 $37.00). This offer ends January 12. If you want this book in your library–and let me assure you, you do–don’t wait. Pre-order the book now before the sale ends. If you haven’t yet, Like us on facebook to receive updates and teasers from the book leading up to the official release.
Harry S. Stout
Mark Ashurst-McGee, Robin Scott Jensen, and Sharalyn D. Howcroft
The Gold Plates as Foundational Text
Richard Lyman Bushman
Textual Criticism and the Book of Mormon
Intertextuality and the Purpose of Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible
Thomas A. Wayment
The Dictation, Compilation, and Canonization of Joseph Smith’s Revelations
Joseph Smith’s Missouri Prison Letters and the Mormon Textual Community
David W. Grua
The Textual Culture of the Nauvoo Female Relief Society Leadership and Minute Book
Joseph Smith’s Sermons and the Early Mormon Documentary Record
William V. Smith
Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo Journals
Alex D. Smith and Andrew H. Hedges
The Early Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, 1835-1839
Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
A Textual and Archival Reexamination of Lucy Mack Smith’s History
Sharalyn D. Howcroft
The Image as Text and Context in Early Mormon History
Jeffrey G. Cannon
Joseph Smith and the Conspicuous Scarcity of Early Mormon Documentation
Ronald O. Barney