The purpose of the Joseph Smith Research Institute is to research, chronicle, interpret, and promote the life and teachings of the first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Institute aspires to understand and articulate Joseph Smith’s perspective of truth and his calling as a prophet to the Church and the world. While the Institute is not affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its efforts will not be inconsistent with either its teachings or practices.
Much has been written about Joseph Smith. To many he was “all that a Prophet could be.” To others “he was the most evil man ever to live.” Because honest, faithful people inside and outside the LDS Church have been challenged by his teachings and practices, the JSRI will seek to serve responsible individuals who inquire regarding topics beyond the foundational questions of Joseph Smith. The Institute will be poised to provide forthright yet faithful answers.
The above mission statement of the Joseph Smith Research Institute will be accomplished by focusing on the following objectives:
Discover through pathbreaking research and then publish the doctrines and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith through books, ebooks, essays, videos, website databases, social media, and presentations.
Through these venues, we will seek to increase the faith, testimony, and understanding of the divine calling of Joseph Smith and his role in the restoration of “all things” in establishing the latter-day Church.
Make available for free the “Every Word of Joseph” database so people can have access across the internet to the sources for and context of Joseph Smith’s teachings and sayings not necessarily contained in the official Joseph Smith Papers. Other like databases will be featured, including a complete concordance of Joseph Smith’s teachings and sayings.
Under the research direction of Andrew F. Ehat, a well-respected research historian, lecturer, and author of works and presentations on Joseph Smith’s doctrine, teachings, and history, the JSRI will continue not only to be supplementary to but seminal in research reports that many organizations will find useful in fulfilling their missions. For example, 35 years ago, the unprecedented publication, The Words of Joseph Smith: The Contemporary Accounts of the Nauvoo Sermons of the Prophet Joseph, collected from more than 70 of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries their diary and notes to create what is to date the single-most thoroughly annotated book on Joseph’s sermons. Because most of the authors of these records are not part of the formal papers of Joseph Smith, Andrew Ehat has been asked to assist with the volume of the Joseph Smith Papers Project what he has titled “The Sermons and Speeches of Joseph Smith.” It will not be a part of the regular series of the Joseph Smith Papers Project for the reason that the sources are beyond the body of papers Joseph Smith either wrote himself or were under his administrative control. (In fact, Joseph Smith never prepared a text for a sermon in his life.) Consequently, the works that are listed below this executive summary distinguish themselves for the scope of coverage and previously unpublished research that will be the result of 47 years of research and teaching aside Mr. Ehat’s career in the software and electronic publishing industry.