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Larry H. Miller speaks at the LDS International Society’s 16th Annual Conference at BYU about his work with Ronald Esplin on the Joseph Smith Papers project.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
This article was first published in the ChurchBeat newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Wednesday night.
Eighteen years ago, I covered an event in Provo and wrote this opener for my story about it:
“One of Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller’s favorite LDS hymns is ‘Praise to the Man’ because of the line, ‘Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.’
“Miller likes it so much he is bankrolling a project to boost the worldwide exposure of Joseph Smith, who — 175 years ago tomorrow — founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“The Joseph Smith Papers Project is expected to produce 26 volumes stuffed with more than 5,000 documents related to Smith, including journals, diaries, correspondence, discourses, written history and legal cases.”
A few weeks ago, the 27th and final volume in the series — it grew by one — was published. Reports noted that before his death in 2009, Miller had come to believe the project meant that “billions will know Brother Joseph again.”
Businesswoman and philanthropist Gail Miller carried the project to the finish line after her late husband’s passing.
Here are two fun ways to view the end of this project:
News reports didn’t say how much money Larry and Gail Miller gave the project, but Larry said in his autobiography that they initially provided $10 million in bonds. When the bond interest didn’t fully cover the project’s costs, they made up the difference.
“We have felt strongly that Joseph needs to have all of his story told that can possibly be told,” Larry Miller once said.
This short video colorfully tells the story of the separate promptings Larry Miller and a church historian had that led to the formation and funding of the project.
Watch the video here:
An editor for the Church Historian’s Press published a quick-read list of 12 fascinating church history facts revealed by the work done to gather and publish the Joseph Smith Papers.
The 27 volumes were published in five series — documents, revelations and translations, journals, histories and administrative records. In all, the printed books contain accurate and unabridged transcripts of 1,598 records by and regarding Joseph Smith.
But there is much more.
Right now, you can find 10,250 records by and about Joseph Smith on the website, JosephSmithPapers.org. By the time the project is done, the site will have 15,793 records.
Some of those additional records will come from two series not included in the printed volumes — 1,953 legal records and 421 financial records.
“And who knows?” Church Historian’s Press editor Nicole Christensen Fernley wrote for LDS Living. “Perhaps more documents will turn up.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints donated $3 million to provide malaria vaccinations to nearly 40,000 children.
Church leaders will conduct groundbreaking ceremonies for the Modesto California Temple on Oct. 7 and the Fort Worth Texas Temple on Oct. 28.
The Cody Wyoming Temple remains under scrutiny from Cody residents who don’t want a 77-foot steeple tower. City leaders are grateful people are interested in the project. The mayor and the planning and zoning board chairman told Cowboy State Daily they haven’t seen any religious discrimination in public meetings and that most public conversation has been civil. “I feel like our meetings have been fantastic,” the chairman said. Another story shows there is tension around campaign signs against the temple.
You’ll want to see the backstory on the BYU photography team’s incredible sugar glass football photo.
My Deseret News colleague Sam Benson is studying in Oxford. I’ve covered the ties between Oxford’s colleges and the church, BYU and Utah Valley University before. He has a smart update.
Gail Miller talked about ancestry and honoring family pioneers ahead of Utah’s July 24th Pioneer Day holiday.
The original Studio C comedy team cast members are releasing their first movie. Sean Astin, known for his roles as “Rudy” and as Sam in “The Lord of the Rings,” is the movie’s narrator.
Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley Jr. of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints displays historical documents during a press conference announcing the release of the latest volume in the church’s ongoing Joseph Smith Papers Project in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. This document is the earliest letter completely handwritten by Joseph Smith. It is dated March 8, 1831, and was written to Joseph’s brother, Hyrum Smith.
Ravell Call, Deseret News
Copyright © 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company. All Rights Reserved
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