New Data for Revising the Missouri 'Documentary History'
"The informed student of Joseph Smith would not trade his seven volume "Documentary History of the Church" for all other books, since it attempts to furnish the main chronological sources on the rise of the Latter-day Saints. It is a tribute to its indispensability to insist now that it needs careful annotation and moderate expansion, a project not yet in any serious planning stage. That particular part under consideration here contains a narrative of Joseph Smith's arrival in Missouri in 1831 and what appears to be the first Mormon reaction to their chosen hand. Yet a close look at this short account illustrates the need of adding later-discovered documents, as well as properly understanding those already printed in the volumes. Each source is a building block with its own genealogy, and one fails to understand the record without knowing the processes that formed it. The History of the Church basically records Joseph Smith's revelations and directions to the Church, as well as an administrative history of his presidency. Out of voluminous possibilities, then, new material selected should follow the standard of illuminating these revelations or the Prophet's life, particularly his role as church leader." [Publisher's abstract]