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Book of Commandments, 1833

Revelation, 16 April 1830 [D&C 22]

CHAPTER XXIII.
 
1 A Commandment unto the church of Christ,  which was established in these last days, in the  year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred  and thirty: Given in Fayette, New-York, April,  1830, in consequence of some desiring to unite  with the church without re-baptism, who had  previously been baptized.
BEHOLD I say unto you, that all old cove nants have I caused to be done away in this  thing, and this is a new and everlasting cove nant; even that which was from the beginning.
2 Wherefore although a man should be baptized  an hundred times, it availeth him nothing;
3 For you cannot enter in at the straight gate by  the law of Moses, neither by your dead works;
4 For it is because of your dead works, that I have  caused this last covenant, and this church to be built  up unto me; even as in days of old.
5 Wherefore enter ye in at the gate, as I have  commanded, and seek not to counsel your God.—  Amen.
 

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

CHAPTER XXIV.
 
1 The Articles and Covenants of the church of  Christ, given in Fayette, New-York, June,  1830:
THE rise of the church of Christ in these last  days, being one thousand eight hundred and  thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Sav ior Jesus Christ, in the flesh; [p. 47]
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A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ, Organized according to Law, on the 6th of April, 1830; Zion [Independence], MO: W. W. Phelps & Co., 1833; incomplete (printing interrupted); [1]–160 pp.; includes typeset signature marks and copyright notice. The copy presented herein is held at CHL; includes twenty-two pages of handwritten texts; also includes early and later marginalia as well as archival stamps and notations.
This book was printed in sextodecimo format on five sheets. The sheets were probably printed using a work-and-turn technique, yielding two copies of the same gathering for each sheet. The sheets were folded into five gatherings of sixteen leaves each, making a text block of 160 pages. In the copy of the book featured herein, three nonprinted gatherings were also bound with the printed gatherings: two folio gatherings of two leaves each, and an octavo gathering of eight leaves, which includes the back pastedown. The pages of the book featured herein measure 4½ × 3⅛ inches (11 × 8 cm), but these dimensions vary somewhat in other extant copies of the volume. The book’s final printed gathering ends on page 160, partway through the revelation labeled “CHAPTER LXV.” That at least one more gathering was intended is evident from several sources, including editing marks made in Revelation Book 1, which was the source text for much of the Book of Commandments.1

See “Proposed Sixth Gathering of the Book of Commandments,” in JSP, R2:173–193; see also Phelps, “Short History,” [3]; and Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to John Murdock, 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 61–62.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JSP, R2 / Jensen, Robin Scott, Richard E. Turley Jr, and Riley M. Lorimer, eds. Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Vol. 2 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2011.

Phelps, William W. “A Short History of W. W. Phelps’ Stay in Missouri,” 1864. CHL.

JS Letterbook 1 / Smith, Joseph. “Letter Book A,” 1832–1835. Joseph Smith Collection. CHL.

Changes made during printing resulted in variations among known copies of the Book of Commandments, the most obvious of which are the differences found on the title page.2

The title page of the Book of Commandments appears in two different formats, the first without a decorative border. Sometime during the printing, a border was inserted, forcing the compositor to compress the spaces between and within the lines of text. For photographs of the two iterations, see JSP, R2:13, 600. A systematic analysis of printing variants among extant copies of the Book of Commandments is beyond the scope of this edition.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JSP, R2 / Jensen, Robin Scott, Richard E. Turley Jr, and Riley M. Lorimer, eds. Revelations and Translations, Volume 2: Published Revelations. Vol. 2 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City: Church Historian's Press, 2011.

Because destruction of the print shop halted printing and destroyed most of the stock before any books were bound, the bindings of the surviving copies vary. The copy presented herein, which belonged to early church member and leader Wilford Woodruff, measures 4½ × 3¼ × ⅞ inches (11 × 8 × 2 cm). The cover is made from heavy paperboard material and bound in brown leather, which is now worn. In both the material and the manner of binding, the binding is similar to that of Woodruff’s first journal, which was begun sometime in late 1834, suggesting both books were bound at the same time.3

Wilford Woodruff , Journal, 1834–1838, Wilford Woodruff , Journals and Papers, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. Also available as Wilford Woodruff’s Journals, 1833–1898, edited by Scott G. Kenney, 9 vols. (Midvale, UT: Signature Books, 1983–1985).

The thread used in sewing the volume is visible along the spine of the book. A slip of blue-lined paper, measuring 1⅞ × 2⅛ inches (5 × 5 cm), is pasted to the outside front cover of this copy of the Book of Commandments. “No. 1” is written in red ink on this label, and an additional notation, reading “Book of Commandments”, is written in graphite. On the inside front cover, a notation written in black ink in Thomas Bullock’s handwriting reads “Presented to the | Historian’s Office | by Wilford Woodruff | July 19 [18]54”. In the center of the same page, a library notation that was written in ink but has since been erased reads “No 904”. The recto of the front flyleaf bears a notation in graphite, apparently in Woodruff’s handwriting: “Wilford | Woodruff | Woodruff”. On this same page, a stamp applied sideways in purple ink reads “HISTO[RI]AN’S OFFICE. | Chur[ch] of Jesus Christ | of Latter-day Saints.” The same stamp appears on the copyright page three pages later, at the bottom of page 60, and on the inside back cover. The flyleaf’s verso bears several inscriptions: Woodruff’s signature (with the first name spelled “Willford”) in black ink near the top of the page; “Tuskalusa | Allabama” in graphite in the middle of the page; and “6” followed by an illegible character, both written sideways in black ink roughly three-quarters down the page. On eleven of the twelve blank leaves he bound into the back of this book, Woodruff copied the remaining text of the partially printed chapter 65, another revelation, and several hymns.4

The twelfth leaf is the back pastedown, which Woodruff left blank. He completed Revelation, 11 September 1831 [D&C 64], and copied in full Revelation, 27 February 1833 [D&C 89], after which he copied eight hymns, four of which he gave headings. Each hymn was printed in The Evening and the Morning Star, and all four of Woodruff’s hymn headings match the headings given in the Star. The hymn that begins “Age after age has roll’d away” was printed in the May 1833 issue of the Star; “The great and glorious gospel light,” in July 1833; “Ere long the vail will rend in twain,” in May 1833; “Come ye children of the kingdom,” in April 1833; “My soul is full of peace and love,” in June 1833; “The happy day has rolled on,” in June 1833; “Beyond these earthly scenes in sight,” in July 1832; and “There is a land the Lord will bless,” in September 1834.  

 
Woodruff likely acquired this copy of the Book of Commandments on 12 August 1834.5

Whitmer, Daybook, 12 Aug. 1834.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitmer, John. Daybook, 1832–1878. CHL.

He appears to have retained this volume until he donated it to the Church Historian’s Office on 19 July 1854. Library markings indicate the volume has remained in continuous church custody.6

“1303” is written in black ink on the bottom of page [3]. This number corresponds to an entry made sometime after 1930 in an early Church Historian’s Office catalog book. In addition, the Church Historian’s Office stamp used to mark several pages of the volume appears to have been in use in the late nineteenth century and possibly in the early twentieth century. (“Library Record,” book no. 1303.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

“Library Record for the Listing or Cataloguing of Books.” In Historian’s Office, Library Accession Records, ca. 1890–ca. 1930. CHL.

Facts