“Literary Notice.”

We invite the attention of our readers to Elder S.W. Richards’ advertisement in this number of the News, headed as above. For a further understanding of the purport of the “Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet,” we publish the following Preface to the work:–

The following pages, embracing biographical sketches and the genealogy of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, and his progenitors, were mostly written previous to the death of the Prophet, and under his personal inspection.

Much of the historical items and occurrences related have never before been published. They will therefore be exceedingly interesting to all saints, and sincere inquirers after the truth, affording them the privilege of becoming more extensively acquainted with the private life and character of one of the greatest prophets that ever lived upon the earth. Independent of this, the events which have occurred in connection with the history of this remarkable family, are, in themselves, of the most marvellous kind, and of infinite importance in their bearings upon the present and future generations.

No events that have happened since the first advent of our Savior, are of more thrilling interest than those connected with the history of the Prophet, Joseph Smith. Every incident relating to his life, or the lives of his progenitors, will be eagerly sought after by all future generations. The geographical, mechanical, and other scientific discoveries of modern ages, sink into insignificance, compared with the importance of those discoveries made by this great man. They are designed by the Almighty to produce the greatest moral and physical revolutions which the inhabitants of this globe ever witnessed—revolutions which, through the judgments of God will utterly overthrow and destroy all governments and kingdoms that will not become subject to Christ.

Under these infinitely important considerations, the following pages are recommended to the careful and candid perusal of all nations.

Orson Pratt.

From a brief inspection of the “Sketches,” we cordially recommend the purchase and perusal of the book.

[Deseret News, Nov. 16, 1854]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Dec. 2006]


A Brief Sketch
Of the History of Joseph Smith the Prophet, and of his progenitors,
written by his Mother, Lucy Smith.

This work was first published in England, in 1853. I procured the manuscripts while on my last mission to the United States, and was informed, at the time, that most of the work was written under the inspection of the Prophet; but from evidences since received, it is believed that the greater part of the manuscripts did not pass under his review, as there are items which are ascertained to be incorrect.

These imperfections have undoubtedly arisen either from the impaired memory of the highly respected and aged authoress, or from the lack of correct information; or, which is the most probably, from the carelessness of the scribe in writing from time to time isolated statements from her mouth without a sufficient understanding of their connection.

In future editions the work will be carefully revised and corrected so far as we have knowledge. In the meantime, it is believed that the history will be interesting to the Saints, and to the public generally, as from it they can make themselves acquainted with some of the greatest and most remarkable events of modern times.

If the schools of our Territory would introduce this work as a “Reader,” it would give the young and rising generation some knowledge of the facts and incidents connected with the opening of the grand dispensation of the last days.

Orson Pratt, Sen.

[Deseret News, Mar. 21, 1855]

[transcribed and proofread by David Grow, Dec. 2006]

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