30697

Appendix 3: “Articles of the Church of Christ,” June 1829

A 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 God unto 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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how he should build up his Church

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
& the manner thereof——
Saying Oliver

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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listen to the voice of Christ your Lord & your God & your Redeemer & write the words which I shall command you concerning my Church my Gospel my Rock & my Salvation.1

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:4–5, 17].  


Behold the world is ripening in iniquity & it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance both the Gentiles & also the House of Israel2

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:6]; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 114 [2 Nephi 28:19].  


for behold I command all men everywhere to repent & I speak unto you even as unto Paul mine apostle for ye are called even with that same calling with which he was called3

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:9].  


Now therefore whosoever repenteth & humbleth himself before me & desireth to be 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
in my name shall ye baptize them4

For a similar call to baptism, see Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:41–44].  


And after this manner did he command me that I should baptize them Behold ye shall go down & stand in the water & in my name shall ye baptize them And now behold these are the words which ye shall say calling them by name saying Having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize you in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Ghost Amen And then shall ye immerse them in the water & come forth again out of the water & after this manner shall ye baptize in my name For behold verily I say unto you That the Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost are one & I am in the Father & the Father in me & the Father & I are one5

See Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 381; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 478 [3 Nephi 11:23–27].  


And ye are also called to ordain

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
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
6

Cowdery copied a Book of Mormon passage here but omitted its description that elders were intended to ordain priests and teachers: “The manner which the disipels which were called the elders of the church ordained priests & teachers.” (Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 454; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:1].)  


according to the gifts & callings of God unto men & after this manner shall ye ordain them Ye shall pray unto the Father in my name & then shall ye lay your hands upon them

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
& say In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a Priest or if he be a Teacher I ordain you to be a Teacher to preach repentance & remission of sins through Jesus Christ by the endurance of faith on his name to the end Amen7

See Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 454; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:3]. Portions of this Book of Mormon passage were also incorporated into Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:32]; and Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:60].  


And this shall be the duty of the Priest He shall kneel down & the members of the Church shall kneel also which Church shall be called The Church of Christ8

This is the first instance in which the precise name of the church was specified in writing. David Whitmer later wrote, “In June, 1829, the Lord gave us the name by which we must call the church, being the same as He gave the Nephites. We obeyed His commandment, and called it The Church of Christ until 1834.” (Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 73.)  


& he shall pray to the Father in my name for the church & if it so be that it be built upon my Rock I will bless it And after that ye have prayed to the Father in my name ye shall preach the truth in soberness casting out none from among you but rather invite them to come And the Church shall oft partake of bread & wine

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
& after this manner shall ye partake of it The 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
or Priest shall minister it & after this manner shall he do he shall kneel with the Church & pray to the Father in the name of Christ9

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 4:1–2].  


& then shall ye say O God the Eternal Father [p. [1]]
A 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...

View Glossary
from God unto 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
how he should build up  his Church

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
& the manner thereof——
Saying Oliver

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
listen to the voice of Christ your Lord & your God & your  Redeemer & write the words which I shall command you concerning my Church  my Gospel my Rock & my Salvation.1

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:4–5, 17].  


Behold the world is ripening in in iquity & it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance  both the Gentiles & also the House of Israel2

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:6]; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 114 [2 Nephi 28:19].  


for behold I command all men every where to repent & I speak unto you even as unto Paul mine apostle for ye are  called even with that same calling with which he was called3

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:9].  


Now therefore whoso ever repenteth & humbleth himself before me & desireth to be 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
in my  name shall ye baptize them4

For a similar call to baptism, see Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:41–44].  


And after this manner did he command me that  I should baptize them Behold ye shall go down & stand in the water & in my  name shall ye baptize them And now behold these are the words which ye  shall say calling them by name saying Having authority given me of Jesus Christ  I baptize you in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Ghost Amen  And then shall ye immerse them in the water & come forth again out of the water  & after this manner shall ye baptize in my name For behold verily I say unto you  That the Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost are one & I am in the Father & the Father  in me & the Father & I are one5

See Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 381; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 478 [3 Nephi 11:23–27].  


And ye are also called to ordain

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
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
6

Cowdery copied a Book of Mormon passage here but omitted its description that elders were intended to ordain priests and teachers: “The manner which the disipels which were called the elders of the church ordained priests & teachers.” (Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 454; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:1].)  


according to the gifts & callings of God  unto men & after this manner shall ye ordain them Ye shall pray unto the Father  in my name & then shall ye lay your hands upon them

A practice in which individuals place their hands upon a person to bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost, ordain to an office or calling, or confer other power, authority, or blessings, often as part of an ordinance. The Book of Mormon explained that ecclesiastical...

View Glossary
& say In the name of Jesus  Christ I ordain you to be a Priest or if he be a Teacher I ordain you to be a Teacher  to preach repentance & remission of sins through Jesus Christ by the endurance of faith on his  name to the end Amen7

See Book of Mormon, Printer’s Manuscript, 454; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 3:3]. Portions of this Book of Mormon passage were also incorporated into Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:32]; and Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:60].  


And this shall be the duty of the Priest He shall kneel down  & the members of the Church shall kneel also which Church shall be called  The Church of Christ8

This is the first instance in which the precise name of the church was specified in writing. David Whitmer later wrote, “In June, 1829, the Lord gave us the name by which we must call the church, being the same as He gave the Nephites. We obeyed His commandment, and called it The Church of Christ until 1834.” (Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 73.)  


& he shall pray to the Father in my name for the church & if it  so be that it be built upon my Rock I will bless it And after that ye have prayed  to the Father in my name ye shall preach the truth in soberness casting out none from  among you but rather invite them to come And the Church shall oft partake  of bread & wine

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
& after this manner shall ye partake of it The 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
or Priest  shall minister it & after this manner shall he do he shall kneel with the Church  & pray to the Father in the name of Christ9

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 575 [Moroni 4:1–2].  


& then shall ye say O God the Eternal Father [p. [1]]
Next
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
wrote “Articles of the Church of Christ” in June 1829 in response to a JS revelation that commanded him to “rely upon the things which are written” in order to “build up my church.”1

Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:3–5].  


The content and tone are similar to JS’s April 1830 “Articles and Covenants,” a text that was presented at the church’s 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...

View Glossary
and adopted by vote as a governing document.2 Both texts relied on the same Book of Mormon passages and both were written to govern believers, but Articles of the Church of Christ was superseded once the church was established and was never ratified by the membership.3

Cowdery’s Articles is related textually not only to Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20], but also to Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18], both of which are in Revelation Book 1. Articles of the Church of Christ is the only non-JS text copied into that manuscript volume. The editors of the Book of Commandments marked it up as if they intended to include it in the Book of Commandments, but they did not. (See Revelation Book 1, pp. 23–24.)  


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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seemed to recognize the two as independent documents by including both in Revelation Book 1, as if they were discrete revelatory texts.4

If Whitmer considered Articles of the Church of Christ to be an early version of Articles and Covenants, it is unlikely that he would have included both in Revelation Book 1. Even when a revelation was expanded after its first version, Whitmer only included one version of each revelation.  


JS, however, did not write or dictate Articles of the Church of Christ, and it was not included in either the Book of Commandments or the Doctrine and Covenants. Cowdery’s Articles document is presented as an appendix to this volume because it was included in Revelation Book 1, written by commandment, and compiled from JS documents. It is also included for comparison with Articles and Covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20].
Both documents present instructions to guide believers, but the shorter 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
document was apparently designed for JS’s followers in 1829, while the later document fits the circumstances of the newly organized 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
in April 1830. The heading Cowdery attached to his Articles suggests its purpose: “A commandment from God unto Oliver how he should build up his Church & the manner thereof.” According to both JS’s history and Cowdery’s 1834 historical letters, John the Baptist gave JS and Cowdery the authority to baptize

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
one another, as well as other believers, in May 1829.5

JS History, vol. A-1, 17–18; Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:15–16.  


In June 1829, the revelation commanding Cowdery to build up the church by relying on “the things which are written” indicated that “in them are all things written, concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock.”6

Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:3–4].  


It was in the context of these events that Cowdery then wrote Articles by copying passages about baptism, the Lord’s Supper, ecclesiastical positions, and church regulations from both the Book of Mormon manuscript and the June revelation to Cowdery and David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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.7

Some of the same Book of Mormon passages were also used in JS’s later Articles and Covenants.  


This document thus enabled believers to “rely upon the things which are written,” even though the Book of Mormon was not published until March 1830.8

Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:3]. Once the Book of Mormon was published, the prayers on the Lord’s Supper printed therein became readily available for reference and guidance. Before then, Articles provided the only accessible copy of the prayers found in the Book of Mormon. After the publication of the Book of Mormon, some of the extant versions of JS’s Articles and Covenants referenced the published prayers found in the Book of Mormon instead of reproducing the text. (See Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:72–79]; and Coltrin, Diary, [9].)  


The specific content of Articles of the Church of Christ strengthens the likelihood that it was intended to guide believers before the organization of the church. Notably, it excluded two important ordinances described in the Book of Mormon manuscript. 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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’s excerpts from the Book of Mormon copied all the ordinations

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
and prayers found in the book of Moroni except those for bestowing 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
to those who were baptized and for ordaining believers to the office of 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
.9

After Jesus Christ ascended to heaven following his ministry on the American continent, the twelve disciples were given “power that on him whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 574 [Moroni 2:2].)  


According to JS’s history, in June 1829 he and Cowdery were commanded by the voice of God to wait until they gathered with believers to ordain elders and bestow the gift of the Holy Ghost.10

JS History, vol. A-1, 26–27.  


The history further reports that only after 6 April 1830, when the Church of Christ was established, did they begin ordaining elders and bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost.11

JS History, vol. A-1, 37–38.  


JS’s Articles and Covenants included and elaborated upon the passages in the Book of Mormon manuscript that described the proper procedures for performing these ordinances

A religious rite. JS taught that ordinances were covenants between man and God, in which believers could affirm faith, gain spiritual knowledge, and seek blessings. Some ordinances were considered requisite for salvation. The manner in which ordinances were...

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. In contrast, Cowdery’s text omits these passages.
The text presented here is from a copy of Articles of the Church of Christ apparently owned by early member Symonds Rider

20 Nov. 1792–1 Aug. 1870. Farmer, teacher, minister. Born in Hartford, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joshua Ryder and Marilla Loomis. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, 6 Jan. 1814. Married Mahitable Loomis, 12 Nov. 1818, in Portage Co. Served as captain in...

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and handed down in his family. This version, which is in 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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’s handwriting, was selected over the copy in Revelation Book 1 because the latter is missing the leaf containing the first two paragraphs and the leaf containing the last few lines of text.12

Differences between the featured version of this document and the copy found in Revelation Book 1 are noted in footnotes to the text.  


Analysis of the text of Articles found in Revelation Book 1 strongly suggests that the Book of Mormon passages were copied from the original manuscript and that the document was therefore written before Cowdery finished creating the printer’s manuscript around February 1830.13

Cowdery recorded the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon from April to June 1829, after which he created a copy to be used by the printer to typeset the Book of Mormon. Cowdery repeatedly made the same kinds of changes throughout the printer’s manuscript, such as capitalizing words and changing “&” to “and.” Based on comparison of the passages of Cowdery’s Articles that were copied from the Book of Mormon with the Book of Mormon manuscripts themselves, it appears that the earliest known copy of Articles (found in Revelation Book 1) was copied from the original manuscript and that the copy of Articles featured here (the second extant copy) was copied from the printer’s manuscript. All of the changes made to the copy featured here match the common changes that Oliver Cowdery made to the printer’s manuscript: there were fifty-one capitalization changes, one instance of “has” being changed to “hath,” six instances of an ampersand being changed to “and,” one instance of “shew” being changed to “show,” one instance of “wherefore” being changed to “therefore,” three instances of “ye shall” being changed to “shall ye,” and one instance of “man nor of men” being changed to “of men nor of man.” (See Skousen, “Translating the Book of Mormon,” 110–111.)  


The Book of Mormon passages in the Rider copy, however, match the text of the printer’s manuscript. Since punctuation in these passages does not match punctuation found in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, this document was likely written sometime after the circa February 1830 completion of the printer’s manuscript but before April 1830, when Cowdery could have easily copied from the printed edition.

Facts