The Joseph Smith Papers (TV series)

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The Joseph Smith Papers
The Joseph Smith Papers TV Series title card
Series title card
Genre History
Mormon studies
Written by Glenn Rawson
Narrated by Glenn Rawson
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 94 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Ronald O. Barney
Larry H. Miller
Producer(s) Glenn Rawson
Editor(s) Rick Prather
Cinematography Dennis Lyman
Running time 30 minutes
55 minutes (Pilot)
Production company(s) Larry H. Miller Communications Corporation
Original network KJZZ-TV
Original release 2008 (2008) – 2009 (2009)
Followed by History of the Saints
External links
Production website

The Joseph Smith Papers: Television Documentary Series is a documentary television series produced by Ronald O. Barney and the Larry H. Miller Communications Corporation. The series documented the creation of, and work involved in, the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It also discussed the history of Joseph Smith, the founder and first prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), as well as the early history of the Latter Day Saint movement.[1]


The history of the Joseph Smith Papers Project began with the work of Dean C. Jessee. Jessee, along with LDS Historian Leonard J. Arrington, wanted to collect and publish all the known works of Joseph Smith, so they could be more easily accessed by scholars and the public. His first attempts at the project were The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, in 1984, and the two volume Papers of Joseph Smith, the first in 1989 and the second in 1992.[2] In 2001, Jessee's project became a joint venture between Brigham Young University and the LDS Church Archives, and was named the Joseph Smith Papers Project. A large amount of funding for the project was donated by Larry H. and Gail Miller the owners of KJZZ-TV, the station which would later air the television series. The project was then moved from BYU to the LDS Church Archives in Salt Lake City, Utah.[2]

As the project progressed, and the time neared for the publication of the first volume, the Larry H. Miller Communications Corporation decided to produce an hour-long introduction to the project, to air on KJZZ-TV. This introduction aired 5 November 2007, and became the pilot for the series.[1] Eventually it was decided to create a weekly series, to document the project, and to discuss the history of Joseph Smith using original documents. The pilot would differ from the remaining episodes of the series because of changes to the production team and broadcast format. All the episodes were produced in cooperation with the LDS Church Historical Department.

The first season of the series premiered early in 2008 and concluded on 22 February 2009.[3] The second season began airing in 2009 and ended later that year. Following the completion of each season, the episodes were rebroadcast on BYU-TV (to receive exposure outside the Salt Lake City market).[3] Both seasons were later released on region-all DVD.

Plot synopsis and episode list[edit]

The first season documented the creation of, and work involved in, the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It also discussed the history of Joseph Smith, the founder and first prophet of the LDS Church (using original documents); beginning with his ancestral roots and ending with the condition of the Church following his death.[1] The second season covered many of the same topics, but went into more detail, using a topical approach versus the chronological approach of the first season.[4] The second season also covered the potentially troubling issues in Joseph Smith's history more thoroughly.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Elaine Jarvik (4 November 2007). "TV show to preview Smith Papers Project". Deseret News. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  2. ^ a b (Jessee, Esplin & Bushman 2008, p. xl)
  3. ^ a b R. Scott Lloyd (25 February 2009). "Scholars field questions about Joseph Smith Papers project". Church News. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  4. ^ "The second season of The Joseph Smith Papers on DVD". Daily Herald. 12 August 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Trevor Holyoak (22 June 2010). "Review: The Joseph Smith Papers Television Documentary Series, Season 1 (DVD Set)". Foundation for Apologetic Information & Research. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 


External links[edit]