BYU students solve Mormon mysteries

The questions usually start simply enough.

As the full-time editors of each volume of the Joseph Smith Papers program comb through the journals, histories and other documents of Joseph Smith, questions will pop up from the history of a reference to a meeting's minutes, mail or weather at a particular time. Their questions could involve a book from special collections or scriptural allusions in newspaper editorials. They may need to explore the different laws of the Prophet's time period or chronicle Joseph's role at meetings in a time period, said Kay Darowski, supervisor of the research team and a volume editor.

"It's anything in a document to help understand in the context that's been given," she said.

The questions are then logged electronically and sent to Darowski.

She clarifies and prioritizes as needed and puts each in the stack for one of the student researchers to tackle.

The BYU students here pick up their work -- one of the little mysteries -- from a stack just inside the door of their office, which is filled with LDS Church history reference materials, books and a handful of computers.

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