INTRODUCTION TO THE
Phase One of the Research Project
The Spalding Research Project (SRP) was initiated early in 1979, beginning with some preliminary research I conducted as an outgrowth of my Mormon ancestors genealogy studies. A summary review of my research on Kirtland era Mormonism and the then current claims for a Solomon Spalding authorship for part of the Book of Mormon formed the background justification for my submission of a Research Grant Proposal to Dr. Jeffery Holland, then Commissioner of the LDS Church Educational System. Although the LDS Church chose not to fund the proposed research project, I was able to carry out a good deal of my intended research and reporting though the generous assistance of a graduate studies scholarship provided to me in 1979 by the United Methodist Church.
The SRP became the core of my gradute studies project while I was a seminarian at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio between 1979 and 1981. The purpose of the SRP then was to locate and transcribe all known Solomon Spalding holographs; prepare vocabulary lists and limited concordances for those documents; and finally, to make comparisons of the vocabulary and phraseology used by Spalding with that appearing in early Mormon scriptural texts and other related materials.
Following my reading of a research paper before the Mormon History Association meeting at Ogden, Utah in 1982, I suspended work on the SRP and donated most of my research materials to The Marriott Library at the University of Utah. My intention at that time was not to resume work on the SRP until other students of Mormon History became more actively involved in studying and reporting on the old Spalding authorship claims. As it happened, this did not occur for nearly fifteen years, during which time I confined my SRP work to merely turning some of the key documents I had previously collected and compiled into computerized graphics and electronic texts.
Phase Two of the Research Project
In 1996-97 I sensed a renewed interest in Spalding Studies among a few scholars, when I became aware of Kent P. Jackson's Oberlin Spalding Manuscript publication project and of Howard A. Davis' plans to issue an expanded edition of his 1977 Spalding book. Following my medical retirement from academic labors in 1998, I began to slowly but steadily translate my computerized SRP documents into html format for web publishing. That process is ongoing, but due to my physical disability it will not be completed for several more months. Many minor SRP documents from the Marriott Library files have already been converted to web format and posted to the Spalding Studies Library or to the Mormon Classics E-Texts section at SidneyRigdon.com. Lengthier SRP documents in html format will begin appearing at this web-site in the near future.
Some preliminary versions of old SRP files and "rough draft" reports of my ongoing research may be found posted here. Their appearance on the The Spalding Research Project web pages will sometimes be ephemeral, with final draft documents replacing the temporary files when time and resources permit. When my major SRP papers (still under construction) have been finalized, their contents will likely be transferred to other URLs for final web publication. Once this electronic publication has been completed for each respective SRP file, its contents may be cited for notation and bibliographic purposes by any reader. Until such publication has been completed, I ask readers to please refrain from formally quoting, citing, or linking to the preliminary documents posted here.
Phase Three of the Research Project
As a personal note and addition to what I've said above, I should state that I am now planning the expansion of the Spalding Research Project into its third and final phase. My original goal was simply to make my document compilations and research papers available for viewing on the web and leave the in-depth anaylsis and interpretation of their contents to other interested scholars. However, my change of views regarding the viability of some of the old Spalding authorship claims leads me to consider producing a good deal of that anaylsis and interpretation myself. As an ex-Latter Day Saint I can only envision carrying out this phase of the Research Project in the context of dialog and peer review with other serious students of "Mormon" History. While I am prepared to present findings overtly supportive of the Spalding authorship claims for the Book of Mormon, I am still considering what the content, format, and intended audience for such reporting will be.
I invite readers to contact me regarding ongoing SRP work:
SPALDING RESEARCH PROJECT
Mordecai M. Noah & the Mormons
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