A decade in the making, this new eight-volume revision of the original History of the Church provides an unprecedented view of the narrative begun in 1838 under Joseph Smith’s supervision. At Smith’s death in mid-1844, church scribes Willard Richards and George A. Smith completed the project under the review of Brigham Young.
Published serially in Illinois from 1842 to 1846 in the church’s Times and Seasons, then in Utah in the Deseret News from 1851 to 1857, the history was subsequently revised and published as six volumes by assistant church historian B. H. Roberts from 1902 to 1912. While he improved the text, researchers have long recognized the need for an edition based on professional historical and editing standards.
Vogel’s aim was two-fold: to identify the sources upon which the history was based and to trace textual development from the original sources to their final form. He has painstakingly identified the scribes’ handwriting, the chronology of composition, the publication schedule, and later changes.
Vogel has also prepared transcripts of the scribes’ rough drafts, revisions, memoranda, and interviews, as well as of previously unpublished sources. Taken together, this material will allow historians to authoritatively answer persistent questions that have vexed this officially recognized history.
Dan Vogel is editor of the award-winning, five-volume documentary series, Early Mormon Documents. He is also the editor of two anthologies, American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon (coeditor) and The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scripture, as well as the author of Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon: Religious Solutions from Columbus to Joseph Smith, Religious Seekers and the Advent of Mormonism, and Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet. The latter won Best Book Awards from both the John Whitmer Historical Association and Mormon History Association, as did his five-volume series in the category for documentary editing.