“Money Well Spent”?

“Money Well Spent”?

    A $10M investment in Joseph Smith

“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.

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.

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 earliest extant letter completely handwritten by Joseph Smith is dated March 8, 1831. It was to his brother, Hyrum. | Ravell Call, Deseret News


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