Sunday, August 27, 1843
This evening Brother Joseph took his supper at my home, along with Brother Pratt, Brother Richards and several others. The gathering was for the purpose of fellowship, and we had felt inclined to converse on the problem with the roof at Brother Pendleton's school house south of the temple lot. Winter's approach called to mind the prior season when the roof let in the cold and wet. Brother Joseph said the little ones should have a warm dry place to study reading and writing, and learning of the holy books.
It was concluded that the brethren of the southeast quarter of the city should be assigned to gather and split shingles for the roof, and to replace the roof before winter. Ample supplies of birch are available south of the city, but Brother Pratt counseled that cedar is a better wood for the purpose, as it splits easier and stands the seasons better. The brothers will be required to cross over the river to the west to obtain the necessary wood for the job.
Concluding the meeting, my wife served the gathered brethren some of her finest peach pie. My daughter Mariah brought a plate to Brother Joseph, who remarked "this little one will see hardships and travel to the west. She will settle in the mountains on the east edge of that great basin, and teach school there... she will have a great effect on the lives of many who will labor in Zion." What a great blessing it was to hear the words of our prophet brother and teacher...
--From the journal of...?
The events you've just read may have happened. Or, they may not have. But, what if it did? We shall never know in this lifetime, as the early saints possessed neither the technology nor the mandate to treasure up the writings and the inspired day-to-day statements of Joseph Smith and others, made in the context of simple daily life. While many writings remain regarding notable conferences and meetings, many have either been altered or lost, and we do not have as clear a picture as we might like of what "Brother Joseph" was trying to accomplish, and what those around him learned from him. How marvelous would it be to have the records of simple decisions, of what the early church struggled with... how decisions were made, and how little victories were achieved?
Now that the Lord has set his hand a second time to restore the fulness of his gospel to us, it behooves us to keep as accurate and complete a record as possible. For our own learning, as well as for the future generations that will follow, a careful record of both mistakes and achievements, of consensus and disagreement, must be kept.
To that end, a small group of five families, scattered across states and nations, has banded together to create this archive. Of primary focus, at least initially, is the writings and teachings of Joseph Smith and Denver Snuffer. As the project progresses, it will evolve into an archive, accessible by all, of all the writings, recordings, photos, and any other document that you, the participant in this restoration movement, deem important enough to include in this archive. We will be "crowd-sourcing" history.
Our aim is not to supplant any project that is currently or will become underway. We do not intend to speak for the movement, to provide the movement with any binding scripture or writing, or to issue any sort of declarations, statements or original writings. On the contrary, we hope that all who participate in the restoration movement, who possess documents, writings, recordings or photographs that are pertinent to this movement's evolution and history, will share them with all who access and use this archive. We feel that this collection will support and justify all that the restoration movement is trying to accomplish, and that this archive will someday come to be stored in the Lord's temple as has been prophesied. We invite all to participate.
We hope you will enjoy and learn from this project, and we hope to be able to preserve a very accurate and detailed record of the proceedings of this restoration movement. Above all, we hope that our labors are acceptable to both you, and to our Lord and God. May he watch over and guide this little project in ways beneficial to all.
The word archives (usually written with a lower case “a” and sometimes referred to in the singular, as “archive”) refers to the permanently valuable records of an organization or group, kept because they have continuing value to the creating agency and to other potential users. They are the documentary evidence of past events. They are the facts we use to interpret and understand history. An Archives (often written with a capital “A” and usually, but not always, in the plural) is an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group.
The mission of the Restoration Archives is to gather and preserve the documentary history of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as commenced by Joseph Smith and continued in this day by a few faithful followers of Jesus Christ.
The importance of the record of this people cannot be overstated. The great prophet Alma, addressing his son Helaman, stated: "God has entrusted you with these things which are sacred, which he has kept sacred, and also which he will keep and preserve for a wise purpose in him, that he may show forth his power unto future generations" (Alma 17:9 RE). A modern-day teacher, Denver Snuffer, has commented on the importance of keeping a good record: "The importance of what we are doing is going to be much more widely understood in the future than it is by the present generation. So whatever we can do to accurately gather and faithfully preserve the material is important. ...many of these documents are likely to be put into the treasury. Therefore it will be important to get this project into the hands of those who will respect the importance of the records and do what is needed to gather them in a form that avoids past failures."
Thus, the Restoration Archives Project was founded and operates on the understanding that a proper and adequate record—one that is public, visible, and transparent and not subject to secrecy and surreptitious modification—is essential to this and future generations of Restorationists. The Archives, therefore, exists to create a record that cannot be altered and includes metal plate records of seminal documents in the history of the Movement. The Archives strives to maintain a faithful, true record of writings, talks, events, and conferences that reflect the Restoration's origins and development, as they happen. The Archives provides means for individuals and conference planners to submit documents for inclusion in the Archives. The Archives does not edit or condense records, except as necessary to correct simple mistakes or to cause a document to reflect what actually transpired. Further, the Archives does not create original content but does provide resources and assistance to content creation that cannot be found elsewhere.
The Archives is also dedicated to educating and assisting participants in the Restoration movement, as well as raising public awareness thereof, by making these records available to followers of Christ, researchers, and the public, for the purpose of learning, informing, and teaching.
Finally, the Archives has, as its overarching goal, the creation of a record of the evolution of the Restoration that might one day be preserved in a temple site and presented to the Lord, as is expected of His faithful followers at the time of His coming. We strive to act according to the will and direction of the Lord, and as such, our Mission may be revised from time to time.