The First Presidency of the Church has commissioned former Assistant Church Historian and Recorder Richard E. Turley Jr. to write a new biography of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The book will be called Joseph the Prophet.

This announcement was made by President Dallin H. Oaks at the Joseph Smith Papers conference on Friday, September 15, 2023.

“With the completion of the Joseph Smith Papers [in June 2023], a firm foundation has been laid on which additional works can be solidly built,” President Oaks said.

The new biography will take years to complete. Teams aiding on the project include Church History Department scholars, including many who worked on the Joseph Smith Papers volumes and who collectively have already devoted decades of study to the Prophet. Staff and volunteers of the Family History Department are also contributing their skills in local research and building databases to help answer important questions. Professors from BYU have joined seasoned legal scholars and interns from the J. Reuben Clark Law School to study the legal papers of Joseph Smith and his family.

The biography will rely on the research of these and other scholars, who are expected to generate a number of publications with detailed findings on which the biography can then rely. The biography itself will be written as a narrative for a general audience and is expected to garner a wide readership.

Learn more in the article “First Presidency Commissions New Biography of the Prophet Joseph Smith.”


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