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Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith's Legal Encounters

TitleSustaining the Law: Joseph Smith's Legal Encounters
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2014
Series EditorMadsen, Gordon A., Jeffrey N. Walker, and John W. Welch
Number of Pages563
PublisherBYU Studies
CityProvo, UT
ISBN Number978-1938896705
KeywordsEarly Church History; Laws; Legal; Smith, Joseph, Jr.
Joseph Smith believed in sustaining the law. This book presents his main legal encounters in the context of his day. Party to more than two hundred suits in the courts of New York, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and elsewhere, he faced criminal charges as well as civil claims and collection matters. In the end, he was never convicted of any crime, and he paid his debts. These incidents were significant institutionally as well as personally.
Eleven legal scholars analyze these legal encounters. Topics cover constitutional law, copyright, disorderly conduct, association, assault, marriage, banking, land preemptive rights, treason, municipal charters, bankruptcy, guardianship, habeas corpus, adultery, and freedom of the press.
A 53-page legal chronology presents key information about Joseph’s life in the law. An appendix provides biographies of sixty lawyers and judges with whom he was involved, some being the best legal minds of his day. This book is for anyone interested in the life of Joseph Smith, whether general readers, historians, lawyers, or law students. Each chapter tells a fascinating story based on controlling legal documents—many just recently discovered—that allow detailed legal analysis and accurate understanding.

Table of Contents

23 Chapters

Jeffrey N. Walker | pp. v-vii
| pp. ix-xix
John W. Welch | pp. 1-38
Jeffrey N. Walker | pp. 51-70
Nathaniel Hinckley Wadsworth | pp. 93-112
David W. Grua | pp. 141-154
Scott Bradshaw | pp. 155-177
Jeffrey N. Walker | pp. 179-226
James L. Kimball | pp. 297-307
Jeffrey N. Walker | pp. 357-399
Book cover of Sustaining the Law