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Relationship to Pearl of Great Price. The relationship of Joseph Smith-History to the Pearl of Great Price as a whole is discussed at The Pearl of Great Price.
Story. Joseph Smith-History consists of excerpts from Joseph Smith's history in three general groups:
- JS-H 1:1-26: The First Vision.
- JS-H 1:27-54: Moroni's initial visit to Joseph Smith.
- JSH 1:55-75: Translation of the Book of Mormon and restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Joseph Smith-History include:
This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand Joseph Smith-History. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
For a brief overview of Joseph Smith-History D&C 69 in historical relation to the Doctrine & Covenants and other events of the Restoration, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapters 1-3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapters 3-5.
This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- JS-H 1:6: Opinions. The word "opinion/s" occurs also in 1 Kgs 18:21; Job 32:6, 10, 17; Alma 40:20; D&C 134:4, 7; JS-H 1:10. In each of these usages, the word seems to connote a sense of weakness relative to faithful decisions. This is perhaps best illustrated in 1 Kgs 18:21 where Elijah seems to rebuke the people for "halt[ing] . . . between two opinions." This might be related to the usage here, and in JS-H 1:10, where opinions are expressed in a way that lend themselves to being contestable and generating strife. The actual experience and subsequent testimony that Joseph Smith has and exhibits might be read as contrasting with "mere opinions" that other religious leaders are expressing. Although other usages of the word "opinion" seem to have a positive connotation as it relates to the restrictions of government power not infringing on the rights to opinions (e.g., D&C 134:4, 9]]), or as it is used to sign-post scriptural speculation (e.g., Alma 40:20), these usages can still be read as underscoring the limited nature of opinions.
- JS-H 1:19: Corrupt. According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, the word "corrupt" referred primarily to something that was spoiled or tainted; less common meanings included being depraved, wicked, in error or not genuine. Since then, the word has more commonly come to refer to dishonesty as influenced by money or power, although today's meaning does not appear to have been the most common understanding of the word at the time this was written.
Complete outline and page map
This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- JS-H 1:19: Professors. In verse 19, does "professors" refer to those who professed the Christian faith of the time, or to the instructors at the Christian colleges and/or seminaries of the time?
- JS-H 1:49: "All that he had related to me the previous night." Why did the fourth visit occur at an opposite time (day) as the previous three (night)?
- JS-H 1:60: "No sooner was it known that I had them." Did the community find out about the gold plates because Joseph needed a scribe?
Prompts for life application
This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
Prompts for further study
This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- JS-H 1:19: Corrupt. Why would the Lord call all Christian creeds an "abomination" (v. 19)?
- JS-H 1:19: How should this understanding of Christian creeds influence our views of other churches and our interactions with other Christians?
- JS-H 1:19: How do other churches have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof (v. 19)?
This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →
- The oldest surviving copy of Joseph Smith-History is __.
- Joseph Smith-History was first published in __.
- Joseph Smith-History was first canonized in the 1878 edition of the Pearl of Great Price.
- Changes to the text of Joseph Smith-History:
Related passages that interpret or shed light on Joseph Smith-History.
- See D&C 2-18
Doctrinal references cited on this page.
Historical references cited on this page.
- Andrus, Hyrum L. Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1972. (ISBN 0877470685).
- Clark, James R. The Story of the Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1973. (ISBN ____).
- Doxey, Roy W. Walk with the Lord: Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1973. (ISBN 0877475024).
- Draper, Richard D., S. Kent Brown, and Michael D. Rhodes. The Pearl of Great Price: A Verse by Verse Commentary. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2005. (ISBN 9781590381878) (ISBN 1590381878) BX8629.P53D73 2005. - A recent and excellent verse by verse resource.
- Elieson, Kurt S. Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants and Other Modern Scriptures, Vol. 1. 2011. (ISBN 9781460931882) BX8628.E45 2011. - touches only lightly on the text of Moses but places its receipt in historical and doctrinal context with sections of the Doctrine & Covenants that were received about the same time.
- Elieson, Marc S. Principles of the Pearl of Great Price: A Topical Commentary. Lubbock, Texas: Enterprise Books, 2001. (ISBN 0970516606).
- Johansen, Jerald R. A Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price: A Jewel Among the Scriptures, Bountiful, Utah: Horizon Publishers & Distributors, Inc., 1985. (ISBN 0882902695).
- Millet, Robert L. and Kent P. Jackson. Studies in Scripture, Vol. 2: The Pearl of Great Price. Salt Lake City, Utah: Randall Book Co., 1985. (ISBN 0934126747). - Long out of print and expensive on the used market, but has some good articles.
- Nibley, Hugh W. Teachings of the Pearl of Great Price. Provo, Utah: FARMS. - Transcripts of lectures to an Honors Pearl of Great Price class at BYU, winter semester 1986.
- Peterson, H. Donl. The Pearl of Great Price: A History and Commentary. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1987. (ISBN 0875790968) (ISBN 0875796656) BX8629.P53P48 1987.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.