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Joseph Smith
A Life Lived in Crescendo
Edited by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Joseph Smith

A Life Lived in Crescendo

Edited by Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Published by The Interpreter Foundation and Eborn Books

Available Fall, 2024

“[Joseph Smith] lived his life in crescendo, it grew in intensity and volume as he approached its close. Higher and still higher the inspiration of God directed his thoughts; bolder were his conceptions, and clearer his expositions of them. So far was he from being a “fallen prophet” in the closing months of his career, as apostates charged, that he grew stronger with each passing day; more impressive in weight of personal character, and charm of manner; for he preserved amid all the conflicts and trials through which he passed—until the shadows of impending death began to fall upon him in Carthage prison—the natural sweetness of his nature, and the intellectual playfulness characteristic of him from boyhood—so do not fallen prophets” (Elder B. H. Roberts, “Introduction to Joseph Smith”, Jr. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints, 6:xli-xlii).

This volume seeks to enrich study of the life and teachings of Joseph Smith through essays by knowledgeable and faithful scholars on selected punctuation marks of Joseph Smith’s final years in Nauvoo. While some of Joseph Smith’s contemporaries saw these events and doctrinal developments as evidence that he was a fallen prophet, modern Latter-day Saints, looking back, see them as a glorious culmination to a faithful life.

Table of Contents

Doctrinal Developments in Nauvoo

  • “Line upon Line”: Joseph Smith’s Growing Understanding of the Eternal Family. R. Devan Jensen, Michael A. Goodman, and Barbara Morgan Gardner
  • Life Before Birth. Terryl L. Givens
  • “For Their Salvation is Necessary and Essential to Our Salvation”: Joseph Smith and the Practice of Baptism and Confirmation for the Dead. Alexander L. Baugh
  • A Closer Look at Joseph Smith’s 21 May 1843 Discourse on the “More Sure Word of Prophecy.” Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
  • The King Follett Discourse. James E. Faulconer with Susannah Morrison

Temple, Priesthood, and the Relief Society

  • Restoring Melchizedek Priesthood. John S. Thompson
  • Freemasonry and the Temple. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
  • Doctrine and Covenants 132: Questions and Discussions. Brian C. Hales
  • Thoughts on Reclaiming the History of Relief Society. Rachel Cope
  • What Is Women’s Relationship to Priesthood? Lisa Olsen Tait
  • The Red-Brick Store: Where It All Came Together. Matthew McBride

The Martyrdom

  • Road to Martyrdom: Joseph Smith’s Last Legal Cases. Joseph I. Bentley
  • Joseph Smith’s Iowa Quest for Legal Assistance His Letters to Edward Johnstone and Others 
on Sunday, June 23, 1844. John W. Welch
  • True to the End: The Culmination of the Earthly Ministry of the Prophet Joseph Smith in His Martyrdom at Carthage. R. Jean Addams

Succession in Church Leadership

  • “All the Measures of Joseph”: The Succession of 1844. Ronald K. Esplin
  • Dennison Lott Harris’ firsthand accounts of the conspiracy of Nauvoo and the transmission of apostolic keys. Jeffrey M. Bradshaw
  • Aftermath of the Martyrdom: Aspirants to the Mantle of the Prophet Joseph Smith. R. Jean Addams.

About the Editor

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw

Jeffrey M. Bradshaw (PhD, Cognitive Science, University of Washington) is a Senior Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) in Pensacola, Florida ( His professional writings have explored a wide range of topics in human and machine intelligence ( Jeff has been the recipient of several awards and patents and has been an adviser for initiatives in science, defense, space, industry, and academia worldwide. Jeff has written detailed commentaries on the Book of Moses, Genesis, and on temple themes in the scriptures. For Church-related publications, see

Jeff was a missionary in France and Belgium from 1975 to 1977, and his family has returned twice to live in France. He and his wife, Kathleen, are the parents of four children and sixteen grandchildren. From July 2016-September 2019, Jeff and Kathleen served missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo Kinshasa Mission office and the DR Congo Kinshasa Temple. They currently live in Nampa, Idaho. As a church service missionary for the Church History Department, Jeff is writing histories of temples in Africa, and for Interpreter is the documenting selected episodes in the history of the Church in Africa on film (

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