‘Mormon Land’: What a cartoonist learned about Joseph Smith and his own childhood faith

In his new graphic novel, “Joseph Smith and the Mormons,” Noah Van Sciver set out to tell the church founder’s “complete” story and explore his own religious roots.

(Courtesy; Copyright © 2022 Noah Van Sciver) This panel from Noah Van Sciver's "Joseph Smith and the Mormons" covers Joseph Smith explaining plural marriage to his wife Emma Smith.

Joseph Smith once famously said, “No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it.” But Noah Van Sciver did, and the result is his new graphic novel, “Joseph Smith and the Mormons.”

In it, the acclaimed cartoonist aims to tell “a more complete story” of the enigmatic religious leader — from his early days as a so-called treasure seeker to his reports of angelic visitations, the unearthing of gold plates, the founding a restorationist faith and his ultimate assassination at the hands of a mob.

And while completing the project took more years — and pages — than he originally intended, Van Sciver, who grew up as a Latter-day Saint, said conducting the research for his latest opus helped him come to terms with his religious roots.

(John Lowry) Noah Van Sciver has a new graphic novel, titled "Joseph Smith and the Mormons."

On this week’s “Mormon Land,” he discusses his work, what he learned, how he feels about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now, and what he hopes members and others take away from his book.

Listen here:

[Get more content like this in The Salt Lake Tribune’s Mormon Land newsletter, our weekly highlight reel of developments in and about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To receive the free newsletter in your inbox, subscribe here. You also can support us with a donation at Patreon.com/mormonland, where you can access additional content and transcripts of our “Mormon Land” podcasts.]