Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), is considered the most influential religious leader of 19th-century America. An extraordinarily large literature has been devoted to explaining him. To many he was “all that a Prophet could be.” To others “he was a most evil man.” Generally speaking, there is little middle-ground.
The purpose of the Joseph Smith Research Institute is to research, chronicle, and interpret the life and teachings of the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Its goal is to reflect, as accurately as possible, not only his perspective of truth as he perceived it in the revelations he believed he received from God, but also how he harmonized his life to those teachings. At the end of his life, he continued to affirm his faith that he had, indeed, been called of God—and was still a true prophet—to the Church as well as to the entire world.
Because honest, faithful people inside and outside the LDS Church have been challenged by his teachings and practices, the Joseph Smith Research Institute will seek to provide to such persons forthright answers to their important questions which are “faithful” to Joseph Smith’s teachings.