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TitleGuest Editor’s Prologue
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1979
AuthorsMadsen, Truman G.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsCooperative Historical Project; Institute of Mormon Studies; Primary Source; Recollection; Restoration

Imagine yourself sifting through some documents on western New York and finding this typescript interview with a Presbyterian lady who grew upon a farm close to Joseph Smith’s: "[she] ...said her father loved young Joseph Smith and often hired him to work with his boys. She was about six years old, she said, when he first came to their home."There is a need for gathering these documents. There is error in supposing that “It’s all been done.” Anybody on any day can walk into almost any library and find source materials that have important, even crucial, bearing on Mormon origins. Moreover, treasures lie under our very noses. This one came out of Sevier County, Utah. Our own attics may contain notes and scraps, or even diaries, that are,we suppose, of interest only, if at all, to the family genealogist.But the hypothesis is now an axiom: there are vital tasks of gathering, researching, and interpreting which are too vast for any one mind, or any one hundred minds. They must involve us all. The Institute of Mormon Studies, finding and funding such researchers, is a kind of cooperative network. Appropriately, we are involved in this cooperative historical project, which begins, logically and chronologically, with New York.