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Notes on the JSP

In this issue of the newsletter, we highlight the most recent update to our website, which included the digital version of Documents, Volume 6, hundreds of priesthood licenses from the church’s Kirtland, Ohio, period, and documents for thirteen legal cases. We also feature an article by one of our historians that helps contextualize Joseph Smith’s interactions with the law, including the ways in which he used the law as a protection from harassment.

This issue also highlights the Church Historian’s Press’s online publication of the first six volumes of the diaries of Latter-day Saint leader Emmeline B. Wells.

Matthew C. Godfrey, R. Eric Smith, Matthew J. Grow, and Ronald K. Esplin
General Editors
In This Issue
  • Latest Release on the Joseph Smith Papers Website
  • "That the Law of the Land May Be Magnified": Joseph Smith's Legal Papers and the 1834 Hurlbut Case
  • Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells Published Online
Latest Release on the Joseph Smith Papers Website
We are pleased to announce our latest web content release, which includes the entirety of Documents, Volume 6, as well as many Kirtland priesthood licenses and a number of legal case documents.

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"That the Law of the Land May Be Magnified": Joseph Smith's Legal Papers and the 1834 Hurlbut Case
By David W. Grua
For most of Joseph Smith’s life, the law frequently demanded his attention. It was often a source of annoyance, as his enemies used legal proceedings to harass him, but he also increasingly used the law as a source of protection. For more than a century, most of the legal documents produced for Joseph Smith’s cases were buried in courthouses and archives, but beginning in the 1960s, dedicated attorneys and historians began scouring repositories seeking to reconstruct Smith’s interactions with the law. Their efforts resulted in the identification of more than 200 cases in which he was a plaintiff, defendant, witness, or judge. These cases were tried in courts located in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa Territory. While this number does not approach the total number of cases of a practicing attorney such as Abraham Lincoln, it is nevertheless substantial for someone whose livelihood was not made in the courtroom.

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Diaries of Emmeline B. Wells Published Online

The Church Historian’s Press is pleased to announce the online publication of the first six volumes of the diaries of Latter-day Saint leader and women’s rights activist Emmeline B. Wells, covering 1844 to 1879. For the first time, an annotated transcript of these volumes is available for free to the public at

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