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Articles and Covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20]

The articles and covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

View Glossary
of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
agreeable to the will and commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
of God. The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being 1830 years since the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the 4th month, and on the 6th day of the same, which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, jun. who was called of God and ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
an apostle

A title indicating one sent forth to preach; later designated as a specific ecclesiastical and priesthood office. By 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery were designated as apostles. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained that an “apostle is an elder...

View Glossary
of Jesus Christ, an elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
of the church, and also to Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, who was also called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church, and ordained under his hand, and this according to the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and ever— amen.
For after that it truly was manifested unto the first elder that he had received remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world, but after truly repenting, God visited him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all whiteness, and gave unto him commandments which inspired him from on high, and gave unto him power, by the means of which was before prepared that he should translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
a book; which book contains a record of a fallen people, and also the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

View Glossary
and also to the Jews, proving unto them that the holy scriptures

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

View Glossary
be true, and also that God doth inspire men and call them to his holy work in these last days, as well as in days of old, that he may be the same God forever— amen.
Which book, given by inspiration, is called the Book of Mormon, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and declared unto the world by them. Wherefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter receive this work, either to faith and righteousness, or to the hardness of heart in unbelief to their own condemnation. For the Lord God hath spoken it, for we elders of the church have heard and bear record to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory forever and ever— Amen. Wherefore, by these things, we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God. the Maker of heaven and earth, and all things that in them is, and that he is all power, and all wisdom, and all understanding, and that he created man male and female after his own image and in his own likeness created he them, and that he gave unto the children of men a commandment that they should love and serve him the only being whom they should worship; but by the transgression of these holy laws, men became sensual and devlish, and became fallen man— wherefore the Almighty God gave his only begotten Son, as is written in those scriptures which hath been given of him, that he suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them, that he was crucified and died and rose again the third day, and that he ascended into heaven to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father, that as many as would believe and were baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
into his holy name and endured in faith to the end should be saved; yea, even as many as were before he came in the flesh, from the beginning, which believed in the words of the holy prophets, which were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost

A right or privilege bestowed through the confirmation ordinance. Individuals were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. The Book of Mormon explained that remission of sins requires not only...

View Glossary
, which truly testified of him in all things, as well they which should come after, which should believe in the gifts and calling of God by the Holy Ghost which beareth record of the Father and of the Son, which Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one God, infinite and eternal, without end.— Amen.
And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is just and true. And we also know that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is just and true to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength. But there is a possibility that men may fall from grace, and depart from the living God, therefore let the church take heed, and pray always, lest they enter into temptations; yea, and he that is sanctified also. And we know that these things are true and agreeable to the revelations of Jesus Christ which was signified by his angel unto John, neither adding nor diminishing to the prophecy of his book; neither to the holy scriptures; neither to the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, neither by the voice of God, neither by the ministering of angels. And the Lord God hath spoken it— and honor, power, and glory be rendered to his holy name both now and ever.— Amen.
And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism, behold whosoever humbleth himself before God and desireth to be baptized, and comes forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto the church that they truly repent of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him unto the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remission of their sins, then shall they be received unto baptism into the church of Christ.
The duty of Elders, Priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
, Teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
, and Deacons

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

View Glossary
, and members of the church of Christ:— An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize and to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons, and to administer the flesh and blood of Christ

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

View Glossary
according to the scriptures, and to teach, expound, and exhort, and to baptize and to watch over the church, and to confirm

After baptism, new converts were confirmed members of the church “by the laying on of the hands, & the giving of the Holy Ghost.” According to JS’s history, the first confirmations were administered at the organization of the church on 6 April 1830. By March...

View Glossary
the church by the laying on of hands and the giving of the Holy Ghost, and to take the lead of all meetings, &c.
The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost.
The priests’ duty is to preach, teach, expound, and exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament, and visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret, and also to attend to all family duties, to ordain priests, teachers, and deacons, and to take the lead in meetings; but none of these offices is he to do when there is an elder present, but in all cases is to assist the elder, &c. The teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with them and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, nor no hardness with each other, nor no lying nor backbiting, nor no evil speaking; and see that the church meets together oft, and also see that every member does his duty, and he is to take the lead of the meetings in the absence of the elder or priest, and is to be assisted always and all his duties in the church by the deacons. But neither the teacher nor the deacon has authority to baptize nor administer the sacrament; but are to warn, exhort, expound and teach and invite all to come to Christ. Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon, is to be ordained according to the gifts and calling of God unto them by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains them. The several elders composing the church of Christ are to meet at each of its meetings to do church business, whatsoever is necessary, &c. and each priest or teacher who is ordained by any priest is to take a certificate from him at the time, which, when shown to an elder, he is to give him a license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

View Glossary
, which shall authorize him to perform the duty of his calling. The duty of the church members after they are received by baptism:— The elders or priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning this church of Christ to their understanding previous to their partaking of the sacrament, and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the elders, so that all things shall be done in order; and the members shall manifest before the church and before the elders a godly walk and conversation that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the holy scriptures, walking in holiness before the Lord. Every member of this church of Christ having children, are to bring them unto the elders before the church who are to lay hands on them in the name of the Lord, and bless them in the name of Christ. There cannot any one be received into this church of Christ who have not arrived to the years of accountability before God, and are not capable of repentance. And the manner of baptism & the manner of administering the sacrament are to be done as is written in the Book of Morman. Any member of this church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with according as the scriptures direct, &c It shall be the duty of the several churches composing this church of Christ to send one of their priests or teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of the church with a list of the names the several persons uniting themselves to the church since the last conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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, or send by the hand of some elder, so that there can be kept a regular list of all the names of the members of the whole church in a book kept by one of the elders whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time, end [and] also if any have been expelled from the church so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names; any member removing from the church where he belongs, if going to a church where he is not known, may take letter certifying that he is a member and in good standing, which certificate may be signed by any elder or priest—if the person receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the elder or priest; or may be signed by the teachers or deacons of his church. [p. [4]]
The articles and covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

View Glossary
of the  Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
agreeable to the will  and commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
of God.1

This first sentence does not appear in any other early version of Articles and Covenants. It is possible that this was the title written on Harris’s copy of the document and that the Painesville Telegraph incorporated it as part of the body text.  


The rise of  the Church of Christ in these last days,  being 18302

Revelation Book 1 presents the year in prose rather than a numeral: “one Thousand eight Hundred & thirty years.” It is likely that the use of the numeric year was an editorial convention of the Painesville Telegraph either to provide clarity or save space. (Revelation Book 1, p. 53 [D&C 20:1].)  


years since the coming of our  Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the  flesh, it being regularly organized and es tablished agreeable to the laws of our  country,3

See An Act to Provide for the Incorporation of Religious Societies [5 Apr. 1813], Laws of the State of New-York (1813), vol. 2, pp. 212–219. Actions taken at the time of organization may have been in response to this act’s requirements.  


by the will and commandments  of God, in the 4th month, and on the 6th  day of the same, which commandments  were given to Joseph Smith, jun.4

Other early versions of Articles and Covenants have “Joseph the seer.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 53; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 20:2].)  


who  was called of God and ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
an apos tle

A title indicating one sent forth to preach; later designated as a specific ecclesiastical and priesthood office. By 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery were designated as apostles. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained that an “apostle is an elder...

View Glossary
of Jesus Christ, an elder

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
of the church,  and also to Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

View Full Bio
, who was al so called of God an apostle of Jesus  Christ, an elder of the church, and ordain ed under his hand, and this according to  the grace of God the Father, and our  Lord Jesus Christ,5

Instead of “the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ,” Revelation Book 1 has “the grace of our Lord & saveiour Jesus Christ.” All early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 53 [D&C 20:4].)  


to whom be all glory  both now and ever— amen.
For after that it truly was manifested  unto the first elder that he had received  remission of his sins,6

In his circa summer 1832 history, JS described an experience he had as a young man in which “the Lord opened the heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying Joseph my son thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy way walk in my statutes and keep my commandments.” (JS History, ca. Summer 1832, 3.)  


he was entangled a gain in the vanities of the world, but after  truly repenting, God visited him7

Instead of “visited him,” Revelation Book 1 has “ministered unto him.” Symonds Rider’s copy and Orson Hyde’s copy match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 53; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [3] [D&C 20:6].)  


by an  holy angel, whose countenance was as  lightning, and whose garments were pure  and white above all whiteness, and gave  unto him commandments which inspired  him from on high, and gave unto him  power,8

JS’s history provided this detailed description of the angel’s appearance: “I discovered a light appearing in the room which continued to increase untill the room was lighter than at noonday when immediately a personage appeared at my bedside standing in the air for his feet did not touch the floor. He had on a loose robe of most exquisite whiteness. . . . Not only was his robe exceedingly white but his whole person was glorious beyond description, and his countenance truly like lightning. The room was exceedingly light, but not so very bright as immediately around his person.” The account also reported the message delivered by the angel. (JS History, vol. A-1, 5.)  


by the means of which was before  prepared that he should translate

To produce a new text through a revelatory, rather than scholarly, process, by the “gift and power of God.” In the Book of Mormon, the ancient prophet Mosiah translated records into his own language using “interpreters,” or “two stones which was fastened ...

View Glossary
a book;  which book contains a record of a fallen  people, and also the fullness of the gospel  of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles

Those who were not members of the House of Israel. More specifically, members of the church identified gentiles as those whose lineage was not of the Jews or Lamanites (understood to be the American Indians in JS’s day). Certain prophecies indicated that ...

View Glossary
and also  to the Jews, proving unto them that the  holy scriptures

The sacred, written word of God containing the “mind & will of the Lord” and “matters of divine revelation.” Members of the church considered the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and JS’s revelations to be scripture. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 directed JS to ...

View Glossary
be true, and also that God  doth inspire men and call them to his ho ly work in these last days, as well as in  days of old, that he may be the same God  forever— amen.
Which book, given by inspiration, is  called the Book of Mormon, and is con firmed to others by the ministering of an gels, and declared unto the world by them.9

Three of JS’s supporters said they were shown the plates by an angel in June 1829. Their public witness to that effect was published with the Book of Mormon. (Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, June 1829–E [D&C 17].)  


 Wherefore, having so great witnesses, by  them shall the world be judged, even as  many as shall hereafter receive this work,  either to faith and righteousness, or to the  hardness of heart in unbelief to their own  condemnation. For the Lord God hath  spoken it, for we elders of the church have  heard and bear record10

Instead of “bear record,” Revelation Book 1 has “bear witness.” All early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 53 [D&C 20:16].)  


to the words of the  glorious Majesty on high, to whom be  glory forever and ever— Amen. Where fore, by these things, we know that there  is a God in heaven, who is infinite and  eternal, from everlasting to everlasting  the same unchangeable God. the Maker  of heaven and earth, and all things that  in them is, and that he is all power, and  all wisdom, and all understanding,11

The phrase “and that he is all power, and all wisdom, and all understanding” is not found in any of the other early copies of Articles and Covenants. However, the manuscript version in Sidney Gilbert’s revelation collection has a variant: “& that he has all power & all wisdom & all understanding.” (Gilbert, Notebook, [3] [D&C 20:17], italics added.)  


and  that he created man male and female af ter his own image and in his own likeness  created he them, and that he gave unto  the children of men a commandment that  they should love and serve him the only  being whom they should worship; but by  the transgression of these holy laws, men  became sensual and devlish, and became  fallen man— wherefore the Almighty God  gave his only begotten Son, as is written  in those scriptures which hath been given  of him, that he suffered temptations but  gave no heed unto them, that he was cru cified and died and rose again the third  day, and that he ascended into heaven to  sit down on the right hand of the Father,  to reign with almighty power according  to the will of the Father, that as many as  would believe and were baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
into his  holy name and endured in faith to the end  should be saved; yea, even as many as  were before he came in the flesh, from the  beginning, which believed in the words of  the holy prophets, which were inspired  by the gift of the Holy Ghost

A right or privilege bestowed through the confirmation ordinance. Individuals were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. The Book of Mormon explained that remission of sins requires not only...

View Glossary
, which truly  testified of him in all things, as well they  which should come after, which should  believe in the gifts and calling of God by  the Holy Ghost which beareth record of  the Father and of the Son, which Father  and the Son, and the Holy Ghost is one  God, infinite and eternal, without end.—  Amen.12

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 186 [Mosiah 15:2–4].  


And we know that all men must repent  and believe on the name of Jesus Christ,  and worship the Father in his name, and  endure in faith on his name to the end, or  they cannot be saved in the kingdom of  God. And we know that justification  through the grace of our Lord and Saviour  Jesus Christ is just and true. And we  also know that sanctification through the  grace of13

The phrase “the grace of” is not found in Symonds Rider’s copy of Articles and Covenants. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 20:30].)  


our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ  is just and true to all those who  love and serve God with all their mights,  minds, and strength. But there is a pos sibility that men may fall from grace, and  depart from the living God, therefore let  the church take heed, and pray always,  lest they enter14

Instead of “they enter,” Revelation Book 1 has “ye fall.” Symonds Rider’s copy also has “ye fall”; the only other early copy with “enter” is Orson Hyde’s copy. (Revelation Book 1, p. 55; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [5] [D&C 20:33].)  


into temptations; yea, and  he that is sanctified also. And we know  that these things are true15

Symonds Rider’s copy has “these things are just and true.” (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 20:35].)  


and agreeable to  the revelations of Jesus Christ which was  signified by his angel unto John, neither  adding nor diminishing to the prophecy of  his book;16

Instead of “agreeable to the revelations of Jesus Christ which was signified by his angel unto John, neither adding nor diminishing to the prophecy of his book,” Revelation Book 1 reads, “agreeable to the Revelations of John neither ading nor diminishing to the Holy Scriptures Prophecy of his Book.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 55 [D&C 20:35].)  


neither to the holy scriptures;  neither to the revelations of God which  shall come hereafter by the gift and pow er of the Holy Ghost, neither by the  voice of God, neither by the ministering  of angels. And the Lord God hath spo ken it— and honor, power, and glory be  rendered to his holy name both now and  ever.— Amen.
And again, by way of commandment  to the church concerning the manner of  baptism, behold whosoever humbleth him self before God and desireth to be bapti zed, and comes forth with a broken heart  and a contrite spirit, and witnesseth unto  the church that they truly repent17

Instead of “they truly repent,” Revelation Book 1 has “they have truly Repented.” Most other versions match Revelation Book 1; the only early manuscript copy with “they truly repent” is Orson Hyde’s copy. (Revelation Book 1, p. 55; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [6] [D&C 20:37].)  


of all  their sins, and are willing to take upon  them the name of Christ, having a deter mination to serve him unto the end, and  truly manifest by their works that they  have received the gift18

Revelation Book 1 has “spirit.” The other early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1, except Symonds Rider’s copy, which has “received the Spirit unto the remission of their sins.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 55; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL [D&C 20:37].)  


of Christ unto the  remission of their sins, then shall they be  received unto baptism into the church of  Christ.19

In this paragraph, Articles and Covenants added an additional requirement to the qualifications for baptism mentioned in the Book of Mormon: “and truly manifest by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remission of their sins.” This led to the disagreement between JS and Oliver Cowdery discussed in the historical introduction to this document. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 576 [Moroni 6:1–3]; JS History, vol. A-1, 50–51; see also Historical Introduction to Minutes, 26 Sept. 1830.)  


The duty of Elders, Priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
, Teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
,  and Deacons

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

View Glossary
, and members of the church  of Christ:— An apostle is an elder,20

The way church members understood the relationship between the terms apostle and elder at this time is unclear. In the earliest years, the term apostle was often applied to elders involved in missionary activities. Jared Carter, for instance, wrote in his journal after being ordained an elder, “I now commence to give some short sketches of a mision that I performed from ohio to vermont after I had been to Kirkland where I received the authority of an apostle [and] commenced a mision to the east the 22nd day of Sept 1831 with Brother Ebenezer Page.” (Carter, Journal, 35; see also Historical Introduction to License for John Whitmer, 9 June 1830.)  


and it  is his calling to baptize and to ordain oth er elders, priests, teachers, and deacons,  and to administer the flesh and blood of  Christ

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

View Glossary
according to the scriptures, and to  teach, expound, and exhort, and to baptize  and to watch over the church, and to  confirm

After baptism, new converts were confirmed members of the church “by the laying on of the hands, & the giving of the Holy Ghost.” According to JS’s history, the first confirmations were administered at the organization of the church on 6 April 1830. By March...

View Glossary
the church by the laying on of  hands and the giving of the Holy Ghost,  and to take the lead of all meetings, &c.
The elders are to conduct the meetings  as they are led by the Holy Ghost.
The priests’ duty is to preach, teach,  expound, and exhort, and baptize, and  administer the sacrament, and visit the  house of each member, and exhort them  to pray vocally and in secret, and also to  attend to all family duties, to ordain  priests,21

Instead of “to ordain priests,” Revelation Book 1 has “& ordain other Priests.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 55 [D&C 20:48].)  


teachers, and deacons, and to take  the lead in meetings; but none of these  offices is he to do when there is an elder  present, but in all cases is to assist the  elder, &c. The teacher’s duty is to  watch over the church always, and be with  them and strengthen them, and see that  there is no iniquity in the church, nor no  hardness with each other, nor no lying nor  backbiting, nor no evil speaking; and see  that the church meets together oft, and  also see that every member does his duty,  and he is to take the lead of the meetings  in the absence of the elder or priest, and  is to be assisted always and all his duties  in the church by the deacons. But nei ther the teacher nor the deacon has au thority to baptize nor administer the sa crament; but are to warn, exhort, expound  and teach and invite all to come to Christ.  Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon,  is to be ordained according to the gifts  and calling of God unto them by the pow er of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one  who ordains them.22

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:4]. By 9 June 1830, at the conference during which Articles and Covenants was presented and approved by the congregation, elders, priests, and teachers had apparently already been ordained, meaning that the offices outlined above were in operation prior to the formal acceptance of the document. Deacons, however, are not mentioned in any church records until the 25 October 1831 conference minutes; unlike the other offices mentioned, there are no extant 1830 ordination certificates or licenses for deacons. Nonetheless, every manuscript version of Articles and Covenants includes the explanation of the office of deacon and its duties. (Minutes, 9 June 1830; Minute Book 2, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


The several elders  composing the church of Christ are to  meet at each of its meetings to do church  business, whatsoever is necessary, &c.23

Revelation Book 1 indicates specifically how often these meetings were to be held: “The several elders composing this Church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three Month to [do] Church business whatsoever is nessessary &c.” Symonds Rider’s copy and Orson Hyde’s copy match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 56; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelations Collection, CHL; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [8] [D&C 20:61–62].)  


 and each priest or teacher who is ordain ed by any priest is to take a certificate  from him at the time, which, when shown  to an elder, he is to give him a license

A document certifying an individual’s office in the church and authorizing him “to perform the duty of his calling.” The “Articles and Covenants” of the church implied that only elders could issue licenses; individuals ordained by a priest to an office in...

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,24

For the earliest extant examples of ministerial licenses, see the following: License for John Whitmer, License for Joseph Smith Sr., and License for Christian Whitmer, 9 June 1830.  


 which shall authorize him to perform the  duty of his calling. The duty of the  church members25

Instead of “church members,” Revelation Book 1 has only “members.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 56 [D&C 20:68].)  


after they are received  by baptism:— The elders or priests are to  have a sufficient time to expound all things  concerning this church of Christ to their  understanding previous to their partaking  of the sacrament, and being confirmed by  the laying on of the hands of the elders,26

The link between participation in the Lord’s Supper and confirmation in the Church of Christ is suggested by the experiences of Emma Smith and Sarah Coburn Knight. JS’s history recorded that during a visit JS and Emma received from Newel and Sarah Knight in Harmony, Pennsylvania, in the summer of 1830, “as neither his wife nor mine had been as yet confirmed, it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the sacrament, before he and his wife should leave us.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 51.)  


 so that all things shall be done in order;  and the members shall manifest before the  church and before the elders a godly walk  and conversation that they are worthy of  it, that there may be works and faith a greeable to the holy scriptures, walking  in holiness before the Lord. Every mem ber of this church of Christ having chil dren, are to bring them unto the elders  before the church who are to lay hands on  them in the name of the Lord, and bless  them in the name of Christ. There can not any one be received into this church  of Christ who have not arrived to the years  of accountability before God, and are not  capable of repentance. And the manner  of baptism & the manner of administering  the sacrament are to be done as is written  in the Book of Morman.27

Revelation Book 1 is more expansive at this point, including excerpts from the Book of Mormon to provide the language to be used in the ordinances: “And the way of Baptism is to be ministered in the following manner unto all those who Repent whosoever being called of God & having authority given them of Jesus Christ shall go down into the water with them & shall say calling them by name having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize thee in the name of Jesus Christ the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Ghost amen then Shall he immerse them in the water & come forth again out of the water And it is expedient that the Church meet together oft to partake bread & wine in Rememberance of the Lord Jesus & the Elder or Priest shall minister it & after this manner shall he do he shall kneel with the Church & call upon the Father in mighty prayer saying O God the Eternal Father we ask thee in the name of thy son Jesus Christ to Bless & sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it that they may eat in Rememberance of the body of thy son & witness unto thee O God the Eternal Father that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy son & always Remember him & keep his commandments which he hath given them that they may always have his spirit to be with them amen[.]

“The manner of administering the wine Behold they shall take the cup & say O God the Eternal Father we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ to bless & sanctify this wine to the souls of all <those> who drink of it that they do it in Rememberance of the blood of thy Son which was shed for them that they may witness unto thee O God the Eternal Father that they do always Remember him that they may have his spirit to be with them amen[.]”a

The other earliest manuscript versions match Revelation Book 1, but a version of Articles and Covenants copied by John Whitmer into Zebedee Coltrin’s journal similarly pointed to the Book of Mormon rather than including the text from it.a

 


Any member  of this church of Christ transgressing, or  being overtaken in a fault,28

See Galatians 6:1.  


shall be dealt  with according as the scriptures direct, &c29

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 210–211 [Mosiah 26:21–32]; and Matthew 18:15–17.  


 It shall be the duty of the several church es composing this church of Christ to send  one of their priests or teachers30

Instead of “one of their priests or teachers,” Revelation Book 1 has “one or more of their Teachers.” The other early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 58 [D&C 20:81].)  


to attend  the several conferences held by the  elders of the church with a list of the  names the several persons31

Revelation Book 1 has “members.” The other early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 58 [D&C 20:82].)  


uniting  themselves to the church since the last  conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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, or send by the hand of some  elder,32

Revelation Book 1 has “Priest.” The other early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 58 [D&C 20:82].)  


so that there can be kept a regular  list of all the names of the members of the  whole church in a book kept by one of  the elders whomsoever the other elders  shall appoint from time to time, end [and] also  if any have been expelled from the church  so that their names may be blotted out of  the general church record of names;33

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 576 [Moroni 6:7–8].  


any  member removing from the church where  he belongs, if going to a church where he  is not known, may take letter certifying  that he is a member and in good standing,  which certificate may be signed by any  elder or priest—if the person34

Revelation Book 1 has “member.” The other early manuscript copies match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 58 [D&C 20:84].)  


receiving  the letter is personally acquainted with the  elder or priest; or may be signed by the  teachers or deacons of his church.35

At this point the text of Articles and Covenants ends, but the article in the Painesville Telegraph continues uninterrupted with versions of Revelation, 16 April 1830 [D&C 22], and Revelation, circa August 1830 [D&C 27], as though they were all part of the same document.  


[p. [4]]
The “articles and covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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” set forth the offices, ordinances, and procedures that were to be part of the newly formed church. On 9 June 1830, at the first conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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of the church following its organization, this document was presented to the membership for approval. The minutes of that meeting recorded, “Articles and Covenants read by Joseph Smith jr. and recieved by unanimous voice of the whole congregation, which consisted of most of the male members of the Church.”1 The importance of Articles and Covenants to the church is suggested by the fact that it was the first revelatory document selected for printing in the church’s earliest periodical, The Evening and the Morning Star, and the only one published there twice.2

“The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [1]–[2]; “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1833, 97–98.  


In the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the compilers placed Articles and Covenants as the second section, preceded only by the revelatory “preface.”3

A 1 November 1831 revelation was designated “a Preface” to the Book of Commandments, thus determining its placement in the compilation of revelations. (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B, in Book of Commandments 1 [D&C 1].)  


In many ways, Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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is unique. No other early revelatory text produced by JS was presented to a conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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of the church for the approbation of the membership. The format and style of Articles and Covenants also differed from other revelations. Rather than the first-person voice of God declaring his will to a specific recipient, as in most of JS’s early revelations, Articles and Covenants instead begins with a third-person historical account of the founding of the church and a brief history of JS. In subsequent paragraphs, the document makes several declarations of belief using the first-person plural statement “we know.” As with some of JS’s other revelatory texts, Articles and Covenants was amended from time to time;4

The closing notation of an early manuscript version of the document may convey the intent to continue updating the document: “Thus far the Church Articles & Covenants.” (Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [11].)  


the most substantive revisions appear to have been made in preparation for its publication in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.5

To identify the revisions made to the document for the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, see JSP, R2:291–299, which has in parallel columns the versions printed in The Evening and the Morning Star (which used the 1833 Book of Commandments as source text) and its reprint (which used the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants).  


The dating of the first completed draft of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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is uncertain. JS may have begun working on the document as early as the summer of 1829 (the same time that Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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prepared his “Articles of the Church of Christ”6), but the copy of Articles and Covenants that John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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copied into Revelation Book 1, likely in the spring or summer of 1831, bears the date of 10 April 1830, suggesting that the document may not have been finalized until sometime after the formal organization of the church on 6 April 1830. Whitmer, however, positioned it between two early January 1831 revelations, months out of the chronological order he had faithfully kept up to that point.7 When Articles and Covenants was published in The Evening and the Morning Star in 1832, it was left undated. In the Book of Commandments in 1833, it was dated June 1830, likely reflecting the date of the conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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at which it was accepted by the church. And when it was published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the date previously published in the Book of Commandments was dropped and it was again left undated.8

“The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [1]–[2]; Book of Commandments 24; Doctrine and Covenants 2.  


No other revelations in the Book of Commandments had dates similarly discarded by the editors of the Doctrine and Covenants without a different date being inserted.
Further complicating the dating question, JS’s history places the reception of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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in an 1829 context, immediately following the discussion of the heavenly communications in the home of Peter Whitmer Sr.

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

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in June 1829. Referring to these experiences, JS’s history recounts: “In this manner did the Lord continue to give us instructions from time to time, concerning the duties which now devolved upon us, and among many other things of the kind, we obtained of him the folowing [that is, Articles and Covenants], by the Spirit of Prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to his will and commandment, we should proceed to organize his Church once again, here upon the earth.”9

JS History, vol. A-1, 29.  


In this account, the date on which the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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was to be organized was received by revelation in June 1829. However, if Articles and Covenants was in fact first drafted in 1829, then there were revisions to the text following the organization of the church, because the earliest extant versions all speak of the formation of the church on 6 April 1830 as an accomplished fact, not a pending event. Without an extant 1829 version of the text, it is impossible to determine how much of the document may have been written before April 1830. While it is possible that the text was only revised following the organization to reflect the establishment of the church as a past event, it is also possible that much of the content reflecting the history and the duties of church officers was added after the formation of the church.
Notwithstanding the unusual aspects of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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, early church members seemed to view it as they did other JS revelations. In Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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’s heading described it as “given to Joseph the seer by the gift & power of God”; Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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later inserted “& Oliver an Apostle” after “seer.”10

Revelation Book 1, p. 52.  


According to JS’s history, in summer 1830 JS responded to an angry letter from Cowdery, disputing a passage about baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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from Articles and Covenants, by asking Cowdery “by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter, or erase, to add or diminish to or from a revelation or commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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from Almighty God.” This report in his history indicates that JS considered Articles and Covenants to be a revelation at least as early as July 1830.11

JS History, vol. A-1, 51. The disagreement between JS and Oliver Cowdery was resolved shortly thereafter at the church’s fall conference. (See Historical Introduction to Minutes, 26 Sept. 1830.)  


The version presented here is from the Painesville Telegraph. While this text and the copy in Revelation Book 1 (the two earliest extant copies) are very similar, certain clarifications and the greater specificity found in Revelation Book 1 indicate that it represents a later iteration of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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. For instance, the text in Revelation Book 1 specifically states how often the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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were to meet in conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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: “The several elders composing this Church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three Month to [do] Church business whatsoever is nessessary &c.”12

Revelation Book 1, p. 56 [D&C 20:61–62].  


This precision is lacking in the Telegraph version, which simply reads, “The several elders composing the church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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are to meet at each of its meetings to do church business, whatsoever is necessary, &c.,” suggesting that this copy is related to an earlier version of the text that had not yet delineated the frequency of conferences. Other significant differences between the Telegraph version and other early versions of the revelation are identified in annotation to the text.13

The earliest manuscript copies of Articles and Covenants are the copy in Revelation Book 1, pp. 52–58; a copy in the handwriting of Symonds Rider, currently part of Revelations Collection, CHL; a copy in Sidney Gilbert’s handwriting, in Gilbert, Notebook, [1]–[11]; and a copy in Orson Hyde’s handwriting, in Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [3]–[11].  


Differences in punctuation have not been noted. Much of the punctuation in the version below was probably introduced by Telegraph editor Eber D. Howe

9 June 1798–10 Nov. 1885. Newspaper editor and publisher, farmer, wool manufacturer. Born at Clifton Park, Saratoga Co., New York. Son of Samuel William Howe and Mabel Dudley. Moved with family to Ovid, Seneca Co., New York, 1804. Located at Niagara District...

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rather than being copied from a prior manuscript version.
The Telegraph claimed it had obtained its copy of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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“from the hand of Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, one of the original proprietors of the ‘Gold Bible’ speculation.”14

“The Mormon Creed,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 19 Apr. 1831, [4].  


While this story cannot be corroborated, many years later a Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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resident claimed in a letter reflecting on the events of early 1831 that “Martin Harris one of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon in the course of the winter came to this place with a revelation from Joseph to the saints & they were commanded not to let the Gentiles see it or know anything of its purport. One evening he was in a large social circle in deep conversation when I discovered the revelation in his hat[,] pocketed it & with a young man by the name of Taneur withdrew unobserved from the company copied it & returned it to his hat before the company broke up & in a few days copies of it were circulating among the Gentiles verry much to their consternation & mystification.”15

J. J. Moss, Dallas, OR, to James T. Cobb, 17 Dec. 1878, in Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers.  


The Telegraph included two other revelations at the end of the text of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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as though they were part of the same document. The texts of Revelation, 16 April 1830 [D&C 22], concerning the requirement of rebaptism for those baptized previously, and Revelation, circa August 1830 [D&C 27], concerning the sacrament

Primarily referred to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, as opposed to other religious sacraments. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed “that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in remembrance of the Lord...

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, sequentially follow the text of Articles and Covenants without any clear break or heading to designate the beginning of a new document. The editor of the Telegraph probably presented these three revelations as a single document because the text he copied also ran the three texts together. This connection was not unique to the version published in the Telegraph—two other early versions of Articles and Covenants, including the first version published in a church-owned newspaper, also appended the 16 April 1830 revelation.16

“The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [1]–[2]; Gilbert, Notebook, [1]–[12].  


Since three of the earliest four versions of Articles and Covenants include the 16 April 1830 revelation, it is possible that the text presented to the 9 June 1830 conference also included it. Early church members may have seen the 16 April 1830 revelation as clarifying the topic of baptism in Articles and Covenants and thus may have appended this revelation to their copies for convenience. Here, the Telegraph version of Articles and Covenants is presented without the text of the other two revelations because the official register of the revelations, Revelation Book 1, separated them.
Eber Howe

9 June 1798–10 Nov. 1885. Newspaper editor and publisher, farmer, wool manufacturer. Born at Clifton Park, Saratoga Co., New York. Son of Samuel William Howe and Mabel Dudley. Moved with family to Ovid, Seneca Co., New York, 1804. Located at Niagara District...

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’s introduction of Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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in the Telegraph provides some insight into how the document was viewed in early 1831. Howe called Articles and Covenants a “confessional,” apparently recognizing similarities between its format and the published creedal documents of other religions that also outlined the governing beliefs, principles, and offices of their churches.17

Ratio Disciplinae, or the Constitution of the Congregationalist Churches and The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America, for example, both covered many of the topics represented in Articles and Covenants, such as the mode and method of baptism, administration of the Lord’s Supper, and an explanation of the offices in the church and the duties connected with them. Like these creedal statements, Articles and Covenants also began with a statement of the history of the movement followed by an explication of the various beliefs deemed central to the religion. (Ratio Disciplinae, chaps. 2, 4–5, 20, 22; Doctrines and Discipline, chap. 1.)  


Dubbing Articles and Covenants the “Mormon Creed” and bracketing it with sarcastic commentary, Howe also referenced it as one of the “commandments and revelations of Heaven.”18

“The Mormon Creed,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 19 Apr. 1831, [4].  


Facts