Dr. Ronald Kent Esplin was the managing editor of the Joseph Smith Papers project when this was written and the former director of the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at Brigham Young University. Esplin served as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Central American Mission, when that mission not only included all the countries from Guatemala to Panama, but also had Colombia within its borders.
Esplin holds degrees from Brigham Young University, the University of Utah, and the University of Virginia. As managing editor of the Joseph Smith Papers project, Esplin has been working to make it so that once the papers come out they are available in many libraries around the world. Esplin also served as the president of the Mormon History Association from 2006 to 2007.