43990394

Book of Commandments, 1833

ing. Trifle not with these things. Do not ask for  that which you ought not. Ask that you may know  the mysteries of God, and that you may translate  all those ancient records, which have been hid up,  which are sacred, and according to your faith shall  it be done unto you.
5 Behold it is I that have spoken it, and I am the  same which spake unto you from the beginning:—  Amen.
 

Revelation, April 1829–D [D&C 9]

CHAPTER VIII.
 
1 A Revelation given to Oliver [Cowdery], in Harmony,  Pennsylvania, April, 1829.
BEHOLD I say unto you, my son, that, because  you did not translate according to that which  you desired of me, and did commence again to write  for my servant Joseph, even so I would that you  should continue until you have finished this record,  which I have intrusted unto you: and then behold,  other records have I, that I will give unto you pow er that you may assist to translate.
2 Be patient my son, for it is wisdom in me, and  it is not expedient that you should translate at this  present time. Behold the work which you are cal led to do, is to write for my servant Joseph; and  behold it is because that you did not continue as  you commenced, when you begun to translate, that  I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not  murmur my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have  dealt with you in this manner.
3 Behold you have not understood, you have sup posed that I would give it unto you, when you took [p. 20]
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Church leaders took the first formal step toward printing the Book of Commandments at a conference of elders at Hiram, Ohio, on 1 November 1831. The minutes for this conference open with a request from Oliver Cowdery that the conference determine “the mind of the Lord” on the subject of how many copies to print. The conference decided to publish ten thousand copies.1

Minute Book 2, 1 Nov. 1831.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

This resolution was likely the product of prior discussion, but no record of any such discussion exists.
A July 1831 revelation had already appointed William W. Phelps to be church printer and Cowdery to assist him.2

Revelation, 20 July 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 27:5, 1835 ed. [D&C 57:11–13]. An earlier revelation appointed Phelps to assist Cowdery in printing the revelations. (Revelation, 14 June 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 68:2, 1835 ed. [D&C 55:4].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., 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 acquired a printing press and type in Cincinnati, Ohio, en route to Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, where he and his family settled in early 1832.3

JS History, vol. A-1, 154. After the Independence printing office was destroyed in summer 1833, Phelps claimed that five thousand pounds of type had been lost, which would have been about five times the amount normally on hand in a printing office at this time. (Declaration, in Missouri Circuit Court [5th Circuit], Feb. 1834 term, Phelps and Cowdery v. Olmstead et al., Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO; Stower, Printer’s Grammar, 57, as excerpted in Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices, 1:232.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

Missouri Circuit Court (5th Circuit). Feb. 1834 term. William W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery v. Nathaniel K. Olmstead et al. Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.

Stower, Caleb. The Printer’s Grammar; or, Introduction to the Art of Printing: Containing a Concise History of the Art, with the Improvements in the Practice of Printing, for the Last Fifty Years. London: Caleb Stower, 1808. As excerpted in Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, 2 vols. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2004).

The previous summer, Edward Partridge purchased a lot near the center of town upon which the building that likely became the printing office already stood.4

Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, bk. A, pp. 111–113, microfilm 1,017,978, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; see also Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:51–52.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

Cowdery, who arrived in Missouri shortly before Phelps, wrote to JS on 28 January 1832 that they were nearly ready to begin printing and hoped that Martin Harris could supply the paper.5

Oliver Cowdery, Independence, MO, to JS, Kirtland Mills, OH, 28 Jan. 1832, JS Collection, CHL. In a postscript and a now-missing notation to be used as a bill or receipt, Cowdery apparently informed JS how much paper should be purchased in order to provide enough stock for ten thousand copies of the Book of Commandments.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL.

The following month, Phelps issued a printed prospectus for an official church newspaper to be titled The Evening and the Morning Star,6

The prospectus for The Evening and the Morning Star, dated 23 February 1832 and no longer extant, was included as the first item in the first issue of the later, Ohio-based Evening and Morning Star. (William W. Phelps, The Evening and the Morning Star Prospectus, Evening and Morning Star, June 1832 [Jan. 1835], 1–2; see also Phelps, “Short History,” [2]–[3]; and “To Man,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [6].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Evening and Morning Star. Edited reprint of The Evening and the Morning Star. Kirtland, OH. Jan. 1835–Oct. 1836.

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

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

indicating that by this time the press was functional despite a shortage of paper.7

The next known publication of the press was a political circular (no longer extant) dated 21 May 1832. (Lilburn W. Boggs, “To the People of Missouri,” Missouri Intelligencer, 2 June 1832, [2]; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:33.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Missouri Intelligencer and Boon’s Lick Advertiser. Fayette. 1827–1835.

Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 2 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997, 2005.

A revelation dictated by JS in Ohio on 20 March 1832, in response to the above letter from Cowdery, directed Bishop Newel K. Whitney to purchase printing paper—by credit if necessary—and JS and his associates to transport it to Missouri. They did so, purchasing paper in Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia), around the first of April 1832 and arriving in Missouri later that month.8

Revelation, 20 Mar. 1832, in Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU; Newel K. Whitney, Statement, ca. 1842, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, CHL; Minute Book 2, 30 Apr. 1832. It is unknown exactly how much paper JS and his associates brought to Missouri, but Phelps and Cowdery listed the total amount of paper lost in the July 1833 destruction of the printing office at one hundred reams. If Phelps and Cowdery’s accounting is accurate, it is unclear whether the listed one hundred reams of paper was only the amount that was lost or was the total amount of paper brought to Missouri. (Declaration, in Missouri Circuit Court [5th Circuit], Feb. 1834 term, Phelps and Cowdery v. Olmstead et al., Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitney, Newel K. Papers, 1825–1906. BYU.

Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, ca. 1839–1856. CHL.

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

Missouri Circuit Court (5th Circuit). Feb. 1834 term. William W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery v. Nathaniel K. Olmstead et al. Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.

In May, after JS had departed on the return journey to Ohio, Phelps, Cowdery, John Whitmer, and several others met at the printing office, which was located south of the courthouse and public square, to formally dedicate the building and the materials.9

Minute Book 2, 29 May 1832; Berrett, Sacred Places, 4:51–52.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

Berrett, LaMar C., ed. Sacred Places: A Comprehensive Guide to Early LDS Historical Sites. 6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1999–2007.

Active publishing began the following month, when issues of the Star first began to appear. Around this same time, the Mormon printing office also began to publish issues of the Upper Missouri Advertiser, a community newspaper.10

Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography, 1:34–35.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Crawley, Peter. A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church. 2 vols. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1997, 2005.

While JS and other leaders were in Missouri in April 1832, the Literary Firm met. Acting in their capacity as overseers of church publications, the firm decided to reduce the original print run of ten thousand copies to three thousand, a decision probably based on the amount of paper that had been purchased and brought to Missouri.11

Minute Book 2, 30 Apr. 1832. Assuming that the Book of Commandments was to comprise six gatherings (with two identical gatherings printed on each sheet), and assuming five hundred sheets per ream, a print run of ten thousand copies of the Book of Commandments would require sixty reams, whereas a print run of three thousand copies would require eighteen reams. Paper was expensive and in short supply and would need to be divided among several printing projects. Besides the Book of Commandments and the two newspapers, an almanac and a hymnal were also planned (but ultimately neither was published in Missouri). It is possible JS and his companions purchased the paper on credit, which could suggest they did not have sufficient funds to purchase the amount of paper originally contemplated. (See Revelation, 20 Mar. 1832, in Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

Whitney, Newel K. Papers, 1825–1906. BYU.

The firm appointed a committee of three individuals—William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer—“to review the Book of Commandmants [that is, the “Book of Commandments & Revelations,” or Revelation Book 1] & select for printing such as shall be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the Spirit & make all necessary verbal corrections.”12

Minute Book 2, 30 Apr. 1832.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

The committee acted upon that instruction by both selecting and revising manuscripts, using Revelation Book 1 as their primary source text. The committee did not include all items found in Revelation Book 1; some items therein were explicitly marked for exclusion from the Book of Commandments, and some others bear no such mark but were nonetheless excluded.13

See, for example, Explanation of scripture, ca. Dec. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 60–61 [D&C 74], which bears the notation “Not to be printed.” Revelation, ca. early 1830, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 30–31, which bears no such notation, was also omitted from the Book of Commandments. That there was a systematic review of Revelation Book 1 is suggested by a notation on page 76 of Revelation Book 1: “Compared thus far by J[ohn Whitmer] & O[liver Cowdery].”
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Revelation Book 1 / “A Book of Commandments and Revelations of the Lord Given to Joseph the Seer and Others by the Inspiration of God and Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost Which Beareth Re[c]ord of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen,” 1831–1835. CHL. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds., Manuscript Revelation Books, facsimile edition, first volume 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, 2009).

The title page of the Book of Commandments indicates that the book was printed by W. W. Phelps & Co., and while Phelps is traditionally recognized as the publisher and printer, all three individuals appointed to review the revelations contributed to the work of printing the Book of Commandments.14

Late in his life Phelps stated, “I was ordained and appointed to take the lead in printing, as printer to the church . . . with Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer as my assistants.” (Phelps, “Short History,” [2]–[3]; see also Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps, [Clay Co., MO], [30 Mar. 1834], in Cowdery, Letterbook, 36–38; and Declaration, in Missouri Circuit Court [5th Circuit], Feb. 1834 term, Phelps and Cowdery v. Olmstead et al., Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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

Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

Missouri Circuit Court (5th Circuit). Feb. 1834 term. William W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery v. Nathaniel K. Olmstead et al. Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.

Many of the revelations in the Book of Commandments appear in Revelation Book 1 with editing marks that were made in preparation for the publication. Revelation Book 1 was not, however, the sole source for the Book of Commandments. One revelation and part of another that appear in the Book of Commandments do not appear in Revelation Book 1; the manuscript sources for these revelations are unknown.15

Revelation, May 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 11 [D&C 12]; Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 47 [D&C 42:78–93].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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, 1833. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., 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).

Furthermore, some revelations that appeared in the Book of Commandments had been printed earlier in The Evening and the Morning Star. When revelations had already been printed in the Star, the editors appear to have used the newspaper, rather than Revelation Book 1, to set type for the Book of Commandments.16

See “Table 1: Relationship between Items in Revelation Book 1 and The Evening and the Morning Star,” in JSP, MRB:695–697. In most cases, the revelations as published in the Star were typeset from Revelation Book 1.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JSP, MRB / Jensen, Robin Scott, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds. Manuscript Revelation Books. Facsimile edition. First volume 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, 2009.

The incomplete Book of Commandments contains most of the revelations known to have been dictated by JS through September 1831, organized largely chronologically. Seven items that were dictated before September 1831 and copied into Revelation Book 1 were not published in the Book of Commandments.17

Within Revelation Book 1, see the following: Revelation, ca. June 1829, pp. 23–24; Revelation, ca. early 1830, pp. 30–31; Explanation of scripture, ca. Dec. 1830, pp. 60–61 [D&C 74]; Revelation, 15 May 1831, p. 85; Revelation, 20 May 1831, pp. 86–87 [D&C 51]; and Revelation, 20 July 1831, pp. 93–94 [D&C 57]. The seventh revelation in this category is Revelation, June 1829–E [D&C 17]. A partial index to Revelation Book 1 indicates that this revelation was copied on page 25 of the manuscript book, but the page on which it was inscribed is among those now missing. (See Revelation Book 1, p. [207].) There is no apparent pattern among these seven items to explain why they were not published.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Revelation Book 1 / “A Book of Commandments and Revelations of the Lord Given to Joseph the Seer and Others by the Inspiration of God and Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost Which Beareth Re[c]ord of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen,” 1831–1835. CHL. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds., Manuscript Revelation Books, facsimile edition, first volume 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, 2009).

The apparent intent of editorial work on the revelations—and in any case, the result of that work—was primarily to polish the revelations for publication. Most of the editorial revisions were in the nature of copyediting changes: inserting versification; standardizing language; correcting punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and spelling. A smaller subset of revisions was significant, usually involving the addition of a phrase or the substitution of a word or two.18

For a list of revelations published in the Book of Commandments identifying the types of editing marks made in Revelation Book 1 to prepare each revelation for publication, see “Table 2: Relationship between Items in Revelation Book 1 and the Book of Commandments,” in JSP, MRB:697–700.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JSP, MRB / Jensen, Robin Scott, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds. Manuscript Revelation Books. Facsimile edition. First volume 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, 2009.

In a few cases, revisions served to update the revelations to reflect changes that had occurred in church government or policy since the time the revelations were first dictated, but such updating was not done systematically. In the majority of cases, revelations that could have been updated were not. For example, although the first ordinations to the office of high priest had occurred in June 1831,19

Minute Book 2, 3 June 1831.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Minute Book 2 / “The Conference Minutes and Record Book of Christ’s Church of Latter Day Saints,” 1838, 1842, 1844. CHL. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

the editors preparing the Book of Commandments for publication did not introduce the term “high priest” into revelations predating June 1831 where it would have been logical to do so. A 9 February 1831 revelation, for instance, states that the bishop is to be assisted in certain duties by the elders. In 1835, as part of an effort to update the revelations to reflect changes in church government and policy, this language was expanded to clarify that the high priests are also to assist in these duties.20

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Book of Commandments 44:26, 54 [D&C 42:31, 71]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 13:8, 19, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:31, 71].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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, 1833. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., 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).

Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Richard E. Turley Jr., 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).

The update presumably could have been made earlier, for inclusion in the Book of Commandments, but was not. In fact, the office of high priest is not mentioned anywhere in the Book of Commandments. More systematic updating of the revelations to reflect changes in church government and policy occurred two years later in connection with the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Printing standards of the day called for printers to recopy heavily edited manuscripts to provide a clean copy for typesetting.21

De Vinne, The Printers’ Price List, 402, as excerpted in Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices, 2:822–823.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

De Vinne, Theodore Low. The Printers’ Price List: A Manual for the Use of Clerks and Book-Keepers in Job Printing Offices. New York: Francis Hart, 1871. As excerpted in Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, 2 vols. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2004).

Some of the text of Revelation Book 1 was almost certainly recopied before the Book of Commandments was typeset, as evidenced by differences between the text in the marked-up Revelation Book 1 and the final printed Book of Commandments.22

The mark-up of Revelation Book 1, including versification, does not always match the final version of the text printed in the Book of Commandments. While it is technically possible that the discrepancies between the texts as edited in Revelation Book 1 and as printed in the Book of Commandments could have resulted from corrections introduced in the galley proof stage (the stage at which the typeset page was proofed for the last time), the amount of labor that would be involved in changing versification and paragraphing in galleys strongly suggests that these discrepancies were introduced on an interim copy rather than in galleys.  

 
The Independence print shop was small enough that it likely carried only one size of paper. Considering this, the Book of Commandments was likely printed on royal-size paper, which measures approximately 25 × 20 inches (64 × 51 cm), because The Evening and the Morning Star was printed on royal quarto (a royal-size sheet folded twice, yielding four leaves approximately 12½ × 10 inches [32 × 25 cm] each).23

MacKellar, American Printer, 271, as excerpted in Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices, 1:459. The paper size for The Evening and the Morning Star was noted in its prospectus, and measurements of extant copies confirm that the paper was indeed printed on royal quarto–size paper. (William W. Phelps, The Evening and the Morning Star Prospectus, Evening and Morning Star, June 1832 [Jan. 1835], 1–2.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Mackellar, Thomas. The American Printer: A Manual of Typography, Containing Complete Instructions for Beginners, as Well as Practical Directions for Managing All Departments of a Printing Office. Philadelphia: L. Johnson, 1866. As excerpted in Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, 2 vols. (New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2004).

Evening and Morning Star. Edited reprint of The Evening and the Morning Star. Kirtland, OH. Jan. 1835–Oct. 1836.

Had the Book of Commandments, which was printed in sextodecimo format, been printed on royal-size paper with a sheetwise technique (one gathering per sheet), the process would have yielded sixteen leaves measuring approximately 6¼ × 5 inches (16 × 13 cm) each, a page size significantly larger than was needed for the Book of Commandments, which measures approximately 4½ × 3⅛ inches (11 × 8 cm) (allowing for small variations in page size for different copies). This is not an impossibility, because the excess paper around the margins could have been trimmed. However, some untrimmed or partially untrimmed extant copies of the Book of Commandments have roughly half an inch (1 cm) of excess paper (beyond the point where the edge should be trimmed) on the bottom of the leaves, suggesting a far more likely scenario: If a work-and-turn technique (printing two copies of the same gathering per sheet) had been used, each sheet would have yielded thirty-two leaves measuring 5 × 3⅛ inches (13 × 8 cm) each, leaving only half an inch to be trimmed from each leaf.
Textual and other sources suggest time frames in which the individual gatherings of the Book of Commandments were likely typeset and printed. In this regard, analyzing the filial relationship between common texts in Revelation Book 1, the Book of Commandments, and The Evening and the Morning Star is especially useful.24

Because the Book of Commandments and The Evening and the Morning Star share a common source (Revelation Book 1) for many texts, and because different layers of editing within Revelation Book 1 clearly pertain to one published version or the other, it is often possible to determine whether a particular text was first printed in the Book of Commandments or in the Star.  

 
Though editors of the Book of Commandments could have started printing that volume in late April 1832 (after the paper arrived from Virginia) or June 1832 (when the first issue of the Star was printed), analysis of typefaces used at the Missouri printing office suggests that typesetting for the first gathering (pages 1–32) began no earlier than November 1832.25

The first six issues of The Evening and the Morning Star (June through November 1832) were printed in two sizes of type: long primer (about 10 point) and brevier (about 8 point). Beginning with the December 1832 issue and continuing for the remainder of the Missouri publication, the newspaper was printed in only long primer. Because the Book of Commandments was printed in brevier size, it is likely that the printers stopped using brevier for the newspaper in November 1832 so they could use it instead for the Book of Commandments. While it is not known how much type the Missouri printers began the operation with, they apparently started running out of brevier while typesetting two different gatherings of the Book of Commandments, suggesting a supply limited enough that it could not support two printing projects at once.  

 
At the latest, typesetting and printing began in December 1832, the month a notice in the Star stated that the Book of Commandments was “now Printing” and would “be published as soon as the Lord will.”26

Notice, The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1832, [8]. JS noted in his journal on 1 December 1832 that he “wrote and corrected revelations.” If typesetting for the Book of Commandments did not begin until at least November 1832, a proof of the first gathering probably could not have been printed and delivered to Ohio in time for JS to be reviewing it on 1 December. (JS, Journal, 1 Dec. 1832.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Evening and Morning Star. Edited reprint of The Evening and the Morning Star. Kirtland, OH. Jan. 1835–Oct. 1836.

The second gathering (pages 33–64) was of course printed after the first, meaning after December 1832. Moreover, independent textual evidence definitively places the typesetting date of the second gathering after September 1832.27

A comparison of the different layers of editing marks in Revelation Book 1 clearly indicates that Revelation, September 1830–A [D&C 29], was typeset for the September 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star before it was typeset for chapter 29 of the Book of Commandments, which begins on page 61, in the second gathering, and continues into the third.  

 
The third gathering (pages 65–96) was printed sometime after January 1833 and before circa May 1833.28

A comparison of the respective versions of Revelation, 2 January 1831 [D&C 38], in Revelation Book 1, the January 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star, and chapter 40 of the Book of Commandments indicates that the newspaper version was typeset before the Book of Commandments version. JS and others wrote a letter dated 25 June 1833 in which they made corrections to a proof sheet of the third gathering, likely sent to them sometime in late May. A letter from JS and others dated a week later, 2 July, responded to a 7 June letter from Independence, suggesting that the galley sheet was put in the mail to Ohio no later than circa 31 May. (JS et al., Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 25 June 1833, JS Collection, CHL; Sidney Rigdon et al., Kirtland, OH, to “Brethren,” [Independence, MO], 2 July 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 51–54.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL.

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

The fourth (pages 97–128) and fifth (pages 129–160) gatherings were printed after the third gathering (circa May 1833) and before the destruction of the printing office (July 1833). Additionally, independent textual evidence places the typesetting date of the fifth gathering after February 1833.29

Editing marks in Revelation Book 1 indicate that Revelation, 30 August 1831 [D&C 63], was typeset for the February 1833 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star before it was typeset for chapter 64 of the Book of Commandments, which is in the fifth gathering.  

 
By mid-1833, a reported seven individuals were working in the Independence printing office30

“To His Excellency, Daniel Dunklin,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1833, 114–115.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

and were likely close to completing their work on the Book of Commandments. On 13 February 1833, W. W. Phelps & Co. filed for a copyright on the book, depositing a copy of the title page with the federal district court in Missouri, as required by law.31

The original copyright registration has not been located. A certified copy was made in 1921 by H. C. Geisberg. (Woodford, “Development of the Doctrine and Covenants,” 1:31; Wheaton and Wheaton, Book of Commandments Controversy Reviewed, 52–53.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Woodford, Robert J. “The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants.” 3 vols. PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1974.

Wheaton, Clarence L., and Angela Wheaton. The Book of Commandments Controversy Reviewed. Independence, MO: Church of Christ (Temple Lot), 1950.

In May, The Evening and the Morning Star published a revelation intended as the last revelation, or “appendix,” for the new book.32

Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 116–121, in JSP, MRB:205–215 [D&C 133]; “Revelations,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1833, [1]–[2].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Revelation Book 1 / “A Book of Commandments and Revelations of the Lord Given to Joseph the Seer and Others by the Inspiration of God and Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost Which Beareth Re[c]ord of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen,” 1831–1835. CHL. Also available in Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, and Steven C. Harper, eds., Manuscript Revelation Books, facsimile edition, first volume 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, 2009).

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

In the same issue, editors of the paper announced that the finished volume would “be published in the course of the present year” and cost “from 25, to 50 cents a copy.”33

“Revelations,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1833, [1].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

In a letter dated 25 June, JS and his associates in Ohio responded to questions from the Missouri printers about binding the books and authorized them to release books without binding in order to get them into circulation sooner.34

JS et al., Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 25 June 1833, JS Collection, CHL.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL.

The same letter gave minor corrections to chapters 40 and 44 of the Book of Commandments.35

JS et al., Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 25 June 1833, JS Collection, CHL. The corrections were as follows: “The following errors we have found in the commandments as printed 40th Chap 10th verse third line, instead of corruptable put corrupted 14 verse of the same chapter 5th line instead of respecter to persons, put respecter of persons, 21st verse 2nd line of the same chapter, instead of respecter to, put respecter of 44 Chapter 12 verse last line, instead of hands, put heads.” In the Woodruff copy of the Book of Commandments (featured herein), these corrections are marked in an unidentified hand.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL.

Inasmuch as chapter 44 ends on page 96 and the book was being printed on gatherings comprising thirty-two pages each, these corrections suggest that JS and his associates in Ohio had probably received copies of the first three gatherings of the volume, either to proofread or as a courtesy.36

William E. McLellin, who lived in Independence in 1833 and therefore may have had firsthand knowledge of some details of the printing operation, later stated that the Missouri editors sent a gathering of the Book of Commandments to Kirtland for correction. (William E. McLellin, Independence, MO, to Joseph Smith III, [Plano, IL], July 1872, typescript, Letters and Documents Copied from Originals in the Office of the Church Historian, Reorganized Church, CHL.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

McLellin, William E. Letter, Independence, MO, to Joseph Smith III, [Plano, IL], July 1872. Letters and Documents Copied from Originals in the Office of the Church Historian, Reorganized Church, no date. Typescript. CHL. Original at CCLA.

The corrections, however, arrived in Missouri too late to be incorporated into the printed volume.37

The 25 June 1833 letter with the corrections arrived in Independence 29 July 1833, by which time the first five gatherings had been printed and the printing office had been destroyed by vigilantes. (John Whitmer with William W. Phelps postscript, Independence, MO, to JS and Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, 29 July 1833, in JS Letterbook 2, pp. 52–56; see also Hartley, “Postal History,” 185.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

JS Letterbook 2 / Smith, Joseph. “Copies of Letters, &c. &c.,” 1839–1843. Joseph Smith Collection. CHL.

Hartley, William G. “Letters and Mail between Kirtland and Independence: A Mormon Postal History, 1831–33.” Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 163–189.

Letters could take anywhere from about ten days to a month to make the journey between northeastern Ohio and Independence, Missouri, depending on the mode of delivery and other factors.38

Hartley, “Postal History,” 176.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Hartley, William G. “Letters and Mail between Kirtland and Independence: A Mormon Postal History, 1831–33.” Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 163–189.

The delay in communication between JS and those printing the revelations prevented JS from maintaining a close supervisory role over the press. That JS saw advance sheets of the Book of Commandments, however, indicates Phelps, Cowdery, and Whitmer made efforts to keep him informed.
What proved to be the final known communication from church headquarters in Ohio to the printers in Missouri regarding the printing of the Book of Commandments was given 2 July 1833. On that date, in response to a letter of 7 June that is no longer extant, JS and counselors Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams sent instructions for shipping copies of the Book of Commandments to Kirtland.39

Sidney Rigdon et al., Kirtland, OH, to “Brethren,” [Independence, MO], 2 July 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 51–54.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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

By the time that letter could reach Independence, the printing project had come to an abrupt end. On 20 July 1833, a group of four to five hundred Missouri vigilantes stormed the printing office, destroyed or confiscated much of the contents, and halted the printing of not only the Book of Commandments but of all Mormon publications in Independence. According to claims Phelps and Cowdery made in a lawsuit filed against several dozen of the vigilantes early the following year, the mob “forced open the door [to the print shop], tore down the same, forced and tore off the roof from the said printing office[,] forced . . . and tore down the walls of the same and then and there totally and wholly demolished tore down and destroyed the said printing office.” Furthermore, the Missourians “seised [seized,] tore down and forcibly took and carried aw[ay] and converted to their[—]the said defendants[—]own use a certain printing press of the plaintiffs then and there set up and in use in the said printing office.” Phelps and Cowdery valued the printing office at three thousand dollars and the press at five hundred dollars.40

Declaration, in Missouri Circuit Court [5th Circuit], Feb. 1834 term, Phelps and Cowdery v. Olmstead et al., Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Missouri Circuit Court (5th Circuit). Feb. 1834 term. William W. Phelps and Oliver Cowdery v. Nathaniel K. Olmstead et al. Jackson County Records Center, Independence, MO.

The assailants gave the press, which had apparently been pushed out of the second-story window and damaged in the fall, to Robert Kelly and William Davis, who used it beginning in early January 1834 to publish a newspaper in Liberty, Missouri, titled the Upper Missouri Enquirer.41

Missouri Writers’ Project, Missouri, 108; JS History, vol. A-1, 412. One author has tracked the press to mid- and late-nineteenth-century newspapers published in Colorado and New Mexico. (Gladden, “An Early Printing Press Used in Colorado.”)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Missouri Writers’ Project, Works Progress Administration, comp. Missouri: A Guide to the “Show Me” State. American Guide Series. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pearce, 1941.

JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). CHL. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

Gladden, Sanford C. “An Early Printing Press Used in Colorado.” Unpublished paper. Boulder, CO, 1977. Copy at CHL.

Several Latter-day Saints were able to save sheets of the unbound Book of Commandments, and copies were later individually bound for private use. It is unclear how many copies were saved and bound, but fewer than three dozen are currently known to exist. Also unclear is how those who saved the sheets from the attackers were able to salvage sheets from all five gatherings. Inside the print shop, each sheet would have been placed in an uncollated stack, with one stack for each gathering, meaning that the salvagers would have had to hurriedly gather a sample from each of the stacks after the stacks were thrown from the print shop.42

For an overview of folding and collating practices of the time, see Gaskell, New Introduction to Bibliography, 6, 143–145.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Gaskell, Philip. A New Introduction to Bibliography. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2009.

If the process of folding and collating the sheets had already begun, however, it would have been easier to collect all five sheets.43

Another possible explanation for why so many volumes contain all five sheets is that a small number of advance copies may have been nearly completed, in which case it is possible that the majority of the surviving copies come from this advance collation. A David Whitmer reminiscence suggests as much, though he evidently misunderstood or misremembered what state the volume was in when he received it: “I received my Book of Commandments, complete before the press was destroyed by the mob, as did many other brethren.” It is also possible that those gathering sheets collected many redundant sheets that were later discarded after complete volumes were assembled. (Whitmer, Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon, 5.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitmer, David. An Address to Believers in the Book of Mormon. Richmond, MO: No publisher, 1887.

John Whitmer’s daybook documents that he sold six copies of the Book of Commandments to various individuals for twenty-five cents each.44

Whitmer, Daybook, 6 and 13 July 1834; 3 and 12 Aug. 1834; 16 Sept. 1834.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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

Whether official agents were appointed to sell copies is unknown, but it appears that church leaders gathered known copies and distributed them.45

For example, Mary Elizabeth Lightner recalled later that Oliver Cowdery took the several sheets saved by Lightner and her sister Caroline and bound them, giving one assembled copy to Lightner. (Mary Elizabeth Rollins Lightner, “Ran from the Mob,” Deseret Evening News, 20 Feb. 1904, 24.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Deseret News. Salt Lake City. 1850–.

The scarcity of the volume likely contributed to church leaders’ prompt renewal of interest in printing a compilation of revelations—an objective that would not be realized until the 1835 publication of the Doctrine and Covenants in Kirtland, Ohio.

Facts