43990394

Book of Commandments, 1833

2 It being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April:
3 Which commandments were given to Joseph, who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church;
4 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 called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church, and ordained under his hand:
5 And this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen.
6 For, after that it truly was manifested unto this first elder, that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
7 But after truly repenting, God ministered unto 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 which were before prepared, that he should translate a book;
8 Which book contained a record of a fallen people, and also the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles;
9 And also to the Jews, proving unto them, that the holy scriptures are true;
10 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 might be the same God forever. Amen.
11 Which book was given by inspiration, and is called the book of Mormon, and is confirmed to [p. 48]
2 It being regularly organized and established  agreeable to the laws of our country

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

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, by the will and  commandments of God in the fourth month and on  the sixth day of the month, which is called April:
3 Which commandments were given to Joseph,  who was called of God and ordained an apostle of  Jesus Christ, an elder of this church;
4 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 called of God  an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of this church,  and ordained under his hand:
5 And this according to the grace of our Lord and  Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now  and forever. Amen.
6 For, after that it truly was manifested unto this  first elder, that he had received a remission of his  sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the  world;
7 But after truly repenting, God ministered unto  him by an holy angel, whose countenance was as  lightning, and whose garments were pure and white  above all whiteness, and gave unto him command ments which inspired him from on high, and gave  unto him power, by the means which were before  prepared, that he should translate a book;
8 Which book contained a record of a fallen peo ple, and also the fulness of the gospel of Jesus  Christ to the Gentiles;
9 And also to the Jews, proving unto them, that  the holy scriptures are true;
10 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 might be the same God for ever. Amen.
11 Which book was given by inspiration, and is  called the book of Mormon, and is confirmed to [p. 48]
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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

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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], 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;” 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.  


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.  


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

1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into LDS church by Zera Pulsipher, 31 Dec. 1833, near Richland. Ordained...

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, 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.  


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

1 Mar. 1807–2 Sept. 1898. Farmer, miller. Born at Farmington, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of Aphek Woodruff and Beulah Thompson. Moved to Richland, Oswego Co., New York, 1832. Baptized into LDS church by Zera Pulsipher, 31 Dec. 1833, near Richland. Ordained...

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

Whitmer, Daybook, 12 Aug. 1834.  


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.)  


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