4 takeaways from Gail Miller’s interview with Church News
Gail Miller gives insights about her family’s involvement and leadership in compiling and creating the Joseph Smith Papers collection completed in June
In a recent interview with Church News podcast host Sarah Jane Weaver, Gail Miller gives insights about her family’s involvement and leadership in compiling and creating the Joseph Smith Papers collection, which was completed in late June after 20 years of work.
Miller is the owner and board member of Larry H. Miller Company and funded the $10 million project with her late husband, Larry Miller. Both gave major support throughout the process.
Here are four insights Miller shared during the podcast:
1. How it all started
After seeing original church documents with a close friend, Miller’s husband Larry felt a strong impression that there was a project related to the documents that he needed to be working on.
After more experiences related to Joseph Smith, he sought out Dean Jessee, who laid the foundation with several writings on the topic. And so the project was born.
2. A project to strengthen testimonies all over the world
Miller said that since the first president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is often misunderstood, by reading the papers and getting to know the intricacies of his life, people can get to know and understand him.
“That was the aim of the Joseph Smith Papers project: to have millions who know Brother Joseph again,” Miller told Weaver. “I think the project itself will strengthen testimonies all over the world.”
“That was the aim of the Joseph Smith Papers project: to have millions who know Brother Joseph again. I think the project itself will strengthen testimonies all over the world.” — Gail Miller
She said that it also has strengthened her testimony of the prophet.
“I know my testimony has been strengthened to know that Joseph Smith is exactly who he said he was, that he testified of Christ, which is the real message that we want to get from the Joseph Smith Papers: that Christ is at the head of this church, that Joseph is the one who brought his gospel back to the earth,” she said.
3. Understanding one’s heritage gives strength to move forward
“I think understanding our heritage gives us strength to move forward, especially if we have a heritage where people had to do hard things to live and to grow and to develop,” Miller said.
By learning about those before us, Miller told Weaver, we are able to reflect on their efforts, triumphs and mistakes to learn from them and become better people.
4. The dedication of many made the papers possible
Many of the best and brightest were brought to work on the papers, Miller explained. The original estimation for the project was doubled to hire top professionals.
“Sometimes there are footnotes on footnotes,” Miller said, which can take a lot of hands to complete.
“The dedication of so many people who’ve worked on this project strengthens my testimony by seeing their testimonies and the dedication that they have been able to provide to bring this project to life.”
Correction: A previous version of this article referred to the “Larry H. Miller Company” by its previous name, “Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.” The company underwent a name change last year.