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Are you searching for reliable sources to enrich your study of the Prophet Joseph Smith?

Do you feel a desire to become better acquainted with the greatest prophet ever to live excepting the Son of God? What did he teach?

How did Joseph Smith interact with his friends and his enemies?

What would it have been like to walk with “Brother Joseph” during the early days of the Church?

Many are unaware that there is a war going on.  The danger of being unaware is the danger of becoming a casualty.  Joseph Smith is being maligned, slandered and vilified more than ever before.

[Moroni] called me by name, and said . . . that God had a work for me to do; and that my name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds, and tongues, or that it should be both good and evil spoken of among all people. 1

In his history, the Prophet Joseph recorded that “[i]f I were to relate a thousandth part” of the lies being circulated regarding him and his family, “it would fill up volumes.” 2 What if, instead of looking to the Pharisees, Sadducees and Juduses of the 19th century, we spoke with those who were loyal, those who kept the faith and endured to the end?

LDS Answers has gathered the following list of 10 recommended books to enrich your study and appreciation for the life and teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

#1 – They Knew the Prophet

"They Knew the Prophet." Recommended books by LDS AnswersCompiled by Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus

“Personal Accounts from over 100 People Who Knew Joseph Smith!

“Get to know Joseph Smith from those who can tell the story best — those who personally knew the prophet. Dozens of fascinating stories reveal not only a man of exceptional spiritual power, but also a man full of kindness, charm, and warmth. Throughout these edifying accounts, Joseph Smith’s humanity shines as brightly as does the mantle of prophet, seer, and revelator.

“This intriguing volume contains many of the more interesting statements made by those who were associated with the founder of the LDS Church. These insights illustrate the personality of a man who was as at home “rasslin” as he was proclaiming the word of God. Through personal recollections you’ll discover how children saw Joseph, how those who joined the Church loved him, and how those who worked with him felt about this complex spiritual leader.

“Perfect for individual or family study, They Knew the Prophet will continue to build faith as it is read again and again. More than any other book, it will make you feel that you, too, know the Prophet.” (Deseret Book)

Paperback | Audiobook | Ebook

#2 – Remembering Joseph

"Remembering Joseph." Recommended books by LDS AnswersCompiled by Mark L. McConkie

“Anyone interested in Joseph Smith will be fascinated by Remembering Joseph, the most complete collection ever of stories from the Prophet’s family, friends, acquaintances — even his enemies. Organized topically, the stories treat a wide variety of subjects: the character of Joseph Smith, the doctrines he taught, the gifts of the Spirit he enjoyed, important events in his life, and many others. A great number of these stories have not previously been published. A great resource on the Prophet’s life, from the perspective of those who saw him live it.” (Deseret Book)

Hardcover | Ebook

#3 – Words of Joseph Smith

"Words of Joseph Smith." Recommended books by LDS AnswersCompiled & Edited by Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook

“This book contains a full collection of Joseph Smith’s Nauvoo discourses in the mature and climatic years of his life.

  • All are cross-referenced to earlier sayings and discourses of Joseph Smith.
  • Also, these discourses are indexed to all the biblical and other scriptural verses discussed or alluded to and
  • provided is the contextual settings for each discourse in proper chronological sequence.
  • Footnotes to the discourses in terms of their historical and doctrinal kinships.
  • All of these discourses, recorded by some 60 different persons are interlaced with other fundamental teachings of this rich and formative period of Church History.

“[The sermons] are reproduced in this book in exact fidelity to their original written sources in diaries and journals, including spelling and grammatical deviations.” (Amazon)

“Here for the first time in church literature, presented with almost photographic fidelity, are the original sources of all the discourses of Joseph Smith delivered during his climactic five years in Nauvoo. These discourses not only shed light on the standard works; they also provide teachings beyond the scope of those heretofore published.” (Joseph Smith Research Institute)


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#4 – The History of the Prophet By His Mother

"History of Joseph Smith by His Mother." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by Lucy Mack Smith

“In this incomparable classic, Lucy Mack Smith, the mother of the prophet Joseph Smith, Takes a tender look back at the extraordinary life of her son. She relates with stirring personal detail the events that shaped his character, as well as the visions and miracles of the gospel restoration that reshaped the world.

“Through the eyes of a devoted mother, we see the remarkable family in which Joseph Smith was born, the hardships and privations that plagued them at every turn, and the heavy calling that would eventually lead to Joseph’s martyrdom. From the heartbreaking description of young Joseph’s leg surgery, mother Smith follows the trail of miracles to which she was witness, and offers her own powerful testimony of Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling.

“Of this history, President Joseph F. Smith said that it “contains much interesting and valuable information, found in no other publication, relating to the life of the prophet Joseph Smith. . . Both old and young will be pleased as well as benefited by the perusal of its pages.”

“To read this book is to know Joseph Smith more intimately and to be inspired by the insights and stories surrounding the events of this beloved prophet’s life.” (Deseret Book)

Paperback | Hardcover | Ebook | Audiobook

#5 – Life of Joseph Smith

"Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by George Q. Cannon

“Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet by George Q. Cannon comes with all the vividness of eyewitness account. Elder Cannon met the Prophet when George was a lad and came as a convert to Nauvoo, Illinois. From that moment forward he bore testimony to the divine call which had come to the Prophet and the truthfulness of the gospel message which he had been appointed by God, the Eternal Father, to restore to the earth.

“Throughout this book the author has shown with vigor the ordeals that the Prophet endured in order to work out the plans for the restoration. From the book emanates the spirit of complete dedication from the Prophet to the divine calling which he had received.

“Fascinating firsthand accounts, letters, and other original matter—all become part of this dramatic and truthful account of the early life of the Church as bound to the life and death of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

“Jesus himself said, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ (John 15:13) Fittingly the book ends with this sacrifice of the Prophet and with the sure knowledge that the true Church has been reestablished, never to be taken from the earth again until Jesus Christ himself will come to reign.” (Deseret Book)

Paperback | Hardcover | Ebook

#6 – Essentials in Church History

"Essentials in Church History." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by Joseph Fielding Smith

“In this book, President Joseph Fielding Smith, who also acted as Church Historian for several decades of the 20th century, has given a clear-cut guide that is useful to the newest Church member and serves as a reference book to the student of Church history.” (Amazon)

Hardcover | Ebook

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#7 – His Name Shall Be Joseph: Ancient Prophecies of the Latter-day Seer

"His Name Shall be Joseph." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by Joseph Fielding McConkie

“Scores of books have been written about the Prophet Joseph Smith, yet never before has an entire volume been devoted to the latter-day Seer as he was known to the ancient prophets. This first in the literature of the church is the work of Joseph Fielding McConkie, professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University.

“The result of years of research, His Name Shall Be Joseph, Ancient Prophecies of the Latter-day Seer combines fresh insights into ancient scriptural texts with fascinating material from apocrypha and pseudepigraphic sources. To these is added a little known tradition of the Jews about a latter-day Joseph, a descendant of Joseph of Egypt through Ephraim, who was destined to do a great work of restoration and then die a violent death.

“The author writes, ‘My basic thesis is that the ancients saw our day and knew of our prophets just as we can see their day and know of their prophets. As we know of Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses, so they knew of Joseph Smith. As we have been blessed by a knowledge of the past, so they were blessed by a knowledge of the future. It is by revelation that they could understand the future and it is by revelation we can understand the past. This work seeks to reconstruct the knowledge they had of our day that we might see our prophet as they saw him.’ (Inside Flap of His Name Shall Be Joseph)


#8 – Joseph Smith The Prophet

"Joseph Smith the Prophet." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by Truman G. Madsen

“Joseph Smith — Who was he? What was he like? How did he accomplish so much in so little time? In this enlightening eight-lecture series, Dr. Truman G. Madsen presents a fascinating history of the first prophet of the Restoration. He offers deep insights into the life of this great man, adding his own witness of Joseph Smith’s calling.” (Deseret Book)

Hardcover | Paperback | Ebook | Audiobook

Want to learn more about Joseph Smith's involvement with freemasonry? Watch "Statesmen & Symbols: Prelude to the Restoration" today!

#9 – Joseph Smith: The Choice Seer

"Joseph Smith: A Choice Seer." Recommended books by LDS AnswersWritten by Joseph Fielding McConkie

“Joseph Smith was called of God in this final dispensation to stand as a prophet, a seer, a revelator of sacred matters, a covenant spokesman among modern Israel. He was called to stand as a dispensation head, as the preeminent prophetic witness of Jehovah-to proclaim the divine Sonship of Christ and reaffirm the eternal verity that salvation comes to men and women only in and through the atoning blood of the sinless Son of Man. He was called to set forth and put into effect the principles, doctrines, sanctifying truths, and divine powers that comprise what we know as the gospel, the plan of salvation, the plan of redemption, the great plan of happiness. For readers who want to truly grasp the essence of Joseph Smith, this might be just the book for you.” (Deseret Book)

Hardcover | Ebook

#10 – Joseph Smith’s Commentary On The Bible

"Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible." Recommended books by LDS AnswersCompiled & Edited by Kent P. Jackson

“The Prophet Joseph Smith was the greatest doctrinal teacher since Jesus Christ. “It is my duty to teach the doctrine,” he said, and he preached, wrote, and explained in informal and formal settings what the Lord had revealed to him. Much of his teaching focused on passages from the Bible. In a typical doctrinal sermon or letter he would deal with as many as a dozen passages, citing some merely to demonstrate a point, but discussing others in enlightening detail. This unique book compiles excerpts from newspapers, journals, diaries, and transcripts of sermons, offering the illumination of the Prophet’s perspective to increase our understanding of the Bible.” (Amazon)

Paperback | Hardcover | Ebook

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► Discover your own heritage in a way you may have never imagined!




  1. Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith – History 1:33
  2. Joseph Smith—History 1:61
LDS Answers is dedicated to providing real answers to the tough questions regarding LDS history and doctrine. Many struggle to resolve concerns dealing with Joseph Smith's polygamy, evolution, education, parenting, latter-day prophecy, historical issues and many other "Mormon stumpers". LDS Answers will provide accurate, faith-filled answers that tell the real story with the real facts and the real history.


  1. Pretty good list! I think you should replace Essentials in Church History with the Joseph Smith Papers Project. It’s not a single book, true, but it would replace a now out-of-date book with the highest quality history/primary sources the Church provides on the life of the Prophet.