43990395

Doctrine and Covenants, 1835

Even before JS learned in August 1833 that the Latter-day Saint printing office

JS revelations, dated 20 July and 1 Aug. 1831, directed establishment of LDS church’s first printing office in Independence, Missouri. Dedicated by Bishop Edward Partridge, 29 May 1832. Located on Lot 76, on Liberty Street just south of courthouse square....

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in 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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, Missouri, had been destroyed a few weeks earlier, plans were under way in 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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, Ohio, to obtain an additional press to print JS’s newly completed Bible revision manuscript and other works.1

Oliver Cowdery with JS postscript, Kirtland Mills, OH, to [William W. Phelps] et al., [Independence, MO], 10 Aug. 1833, CHL; Revelation, 2 Aug. 1833–B, in Doctrine and Covenants 83:3, 1835 ed. [D&C 94:10]; JS et al., Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 25 June 1833, JS Collection, CHL.  


After word of the destruction of the printing office reached Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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, members of the United Firm—an organization set up to oversee various businesses within the church—resolved to take temporary responsibility for printing materials for the church until the Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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press could resume operation.2

Minute Book 1, 11 Sept. 1833. For more information on the United Firm, see Parkin, “Joseph Smith and the United Firm.”  


In accordance with that decision, members of the United Firm established a press operated by F. G. Williams & Co., whose responsibilities included publishing The Evening and the Morning Star until it could be “transfered to its former Location” (Missouri) and launching a second newspaper to be titled Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate.3

Minute Book 1, 11 Sept. 1833. Despite early expectations, Mormon printing operations at Independence never resumed, and the Star finished its print run in Ohio. Publication of the Messenger and Advocate was postponed until October 1834, when the Star’s second volume was complete.  


Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, a member of the United Firm, also believed that the Book of Commandments would “probably be reprinted” in Ohio.4

Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to John Murdock, 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 62.  


In fall 1833, 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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purchased a printing press from White, Hagar & Co. of New York City

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

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for 190 dollars and type from Nathan Lyman of Albany

State capital and county seat, located in eastern-central part of state on west bank of Hudson River. Area settled by Dutch, 1612. Known as Fort Orange and Beaver Wyck, 1623; name changed to Williamstadt, 1647. Capitulated to English forces, 1664, and renamed...

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for 360 dollars and had the new equipment shipped to 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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.5

F. G. Williams and Company, Account Book, 1; JS, Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Clay Co., MO, 30 Mar. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 30–36. Nathan Lyman learned the practice of typefoundry from Elihu White of White, Hagar & Co., suggesting that either Lyman or White recommended the other to Cowdery. By the end of October 1833, Cowdery had arrived in Kirtland, but the press and type had not. The press and type were ready for service at least by 6 December 1833 but may have been ready as early as 12 November, when Cowdery was “making arrangements for printing.” (De Vinne, Practice of Typography, 104; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Ambrose Palmer, New Portage, OH, 30 Oct. 1833, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 4–5; JS Journal, 4–6 Dec. 1833; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Samuel Bent, [Michigan Territory], 12 Nov. 1833, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 9.)  


That December, JS and other leaders dedicated the press, which was initially housed on the second story of a brick building the church had recently acquired from Peter French.6

JS, Journal, 18 Dec. 1833; see also Parkin, “Joseph Smith and the United Firm,” 32. This brick building was located in the “flats,” or lowlands, on the north end of Kirtland. The printing establishment moved south to a second location, the second story of the newly completed schoolhouse immediately west of the House of the Lord, before work on the Doctrine and Covenants commenced—likely in late 1834. (Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to William W. Phelps and John Whitmer, Clay Co., MO, 21 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 22; Frederick G. Williams, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear brethren,” 10 Oct. 1833, in JS Letterbook 1, pp. 56–60; Revelation, 23 Apr. 1834, in Revelation Book 1, p. 194 [D&C 104:28]; Minute Book 1, 11 Aug. 1834; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 13, [10]–[11]; Notice, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:11.)  


The press soon published two broadsheets and a broadside containing the texts of four revelations, foreshadowing its important role in making the revelations widely available.7

Verily, I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 101]; Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, who have assembled yourselves together, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at BYU [D&C 88–89]; Behold, blessed saith the Lord, are they who have come up unto this land, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 59].  


Though church leaders considered the publication of the revelations to be a priority, other matters delayed the work. In the late winter and early spring of 1834, most Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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church leaders were occupied preparing for the Camp of Israel

The name of the spring 1834 military expedition from Kirtland, Ohio, to Clay County, Missouri. It later came to be known as “Zion’s Camp.” This relief expedition, appointed by revelation and led by JS, consisted of about two hundred armed but largely untrained...

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expedition to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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(later known as Zion’s Camp). Traveling together in mid-April, not long before the expedition departed, JS, 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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, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and early church member Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

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paused to give one another blessings for their individual responsibilities. JS was blessed to lead the upcoming expedition, while Rigdon and Cowdery were blessed with divine assistance “in arranging the church covenants which are to be soon published.”8

JS, Journal, 18–19 Apr. 1834.  


A revelation dictated by JS shortly thereafter reemphasized the plan to print the newly revealed word of God: “for this purpose have I commanded you to organize yourselves, even to print my word, the fullness of my Scriptures, the revelations which I have given unto you, and which I shall hereafter, from time to time, give unto you.”9

Revelation, 23 Apr. 1834, in Revelation Book 2, p. 105 [D&C 104:58].  


Though Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon remained in 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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while JS and others marched to Missouri, they had to manage church operations in addition to printing The Evening and the Morning Star, leaving little time to advance work on the revelations.
When JS returned from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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to Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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in August 1834, focus again turned to publishing the revelations. In September the 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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high council appointed a committee consisting of JS, 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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, Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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to publish a work “arrange[d from] the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ.” This committee was assigned to draw “from the bible, book of mormon, and the revelations which have been given to the church up to this date.”10

Minute Book 1, 24 Sept. 1834.  


While a single volume containing excerpts from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and revelation texts was the original intention, the concept was later modified. As the bipartite title “Doctrine and Covenants” suggests, the new book was made up of two parts. The first part, on “the doctrine of the church,”11

Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., [5].  


comprised a series of seven doctrinal lectures on the subject of faith, first prepared as a course of instruction for the School of the Elders held in the second Kirtland printing office

Following destruction of church printing office in Independence, Missouri, July 1833, JS and other church leaders determined to set up new printing office in Kirtland under firm name F. G. Williams & Co. Oliver Cowdery purchased new printing press in New ...

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in the winter of 1834–1835.12

Editorial, LDS Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 1:122; see also JS History, vol. B-1, 557–558, 562– 563; and Dahl, “Authorship and History of the Lectures on Faith,” 12–13.  


Lecture one was contemporaneously published as a broadside and lectures five and six were published in the May 1835 issue of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate,13

Theology. Lecture First, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Feb. 1835], copy at CHL; “Lecture Fifth” and “Lecture Sixth,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 1:122–126. Both versions of the first lecture appear to use the same typesetting, as indicated by identical placement of a few pieces of broken type and by the fact that the width of each of the three columns of text on the broadsheet matches the width of the text in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Corrections and additions to the Doctrine and Covenants version indicate that the broadsheet version was set in type first. Lectures five and six were retypeset for publication in the Messenger and Advocate after they had already been typeset for the Doctrine and Covenants.  


but there is no known manuscript copy of any of the lectures. Although no JS-era published version states who authored the lectures, they were traditionally attributed to JS. Modern scholars, however, largely agree that Rigdon authored most or all of the lectures.14

See, for example, Reynolds, “The Case for Sidney Rigdon as Author of the Lectures on Faith.”; Reynolds, “Authorship Debate Concerning Lectures on Faith,”; Partridge, Notes on the Authorship of the Lectures on Faith,; and Phipps, “Lectures on Faith: An Authorship Study.”  


The second part of the Doctrine and Covenants contained the “covenants and commandments of the Lord,”15

Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., [75].  


or revelations. Inasmuch as the revelations made up the majority of the volume and the volume’s title indicated that the texts therein were “carefully selected from the revelations of God,” it is curious that the revelations were placed in the second part of the book. The sequence of the book’s two parts may have resulted from the order in which materials were ready to be typeset. Regardless, the revelations were considered to be of paramount importance, and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants was the most important collection of revelations published to that point. It presented more revelations than the incomplete Book of Commandments and presented some previously published revelations in expanded form.
The major work of printing the revelations in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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actually began in January 1835 with the publication of the newspaper Evening and Morning Star, a reprint of The Evening and the Morning Star. The earlier newspaper had published twenty-six full or partial revelation texts in its first thirteen issues. Of those, thirteen appeared in the reprinted Star before they were available to the public in the Doctrine and Covenants. Though the prospectus for the reprinted Star announced the new paper would merely correct “errors” in the revelations that had resulted from “transcribing manuscript,”16

“Prospectus,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Sept. 1834, 192; see also Notice, Evening and Morning Star, June 1832 (Jan. 1835), 16.  


in fact the editors of the reprint made significant changes to the revelation texts—changes that were generally maintained when those texts were republished in the Doctrine and Covenants.
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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and William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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arrived in 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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in May 1835.17

Phelps, Diary and Notebook, 16 May 1835; Whitmer, Daybook, 16 May 1835.  


Their arrival significantly alleviated the heavy workload at the Kirtland printing office

Following destruction of church printing office in Independence, Missouri, July 1833, JS and other church leaders determined to set up new printing office in Kirtland under firm name F. G. Williams & Co. Oliver Cowdery purchased new printing press in New ...

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, which was printing the Messenger and Advocate and other miscellaneous publications in addition to Evening and Morning Star. Whitmer was appointed editor of the Messenger and Advocate and Phelps, who had been the printer for the Book of Commandments, lent his hand to work on the Doctrine and Covenants.18

Oliver Cowdery, “Address,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 1:120–122; Whitmer, Daybook, 18 May 1835.  


By this time, some half-dozen individuals, in addition to Phelps and Whitmer, worked in the printing office: foreman James Carrell was assisted by Don Carlos Smith

25 Mar. 1816–7 Aug. 1841. Farmer, printer, editor. Born at Norwich, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Palmyra, Ontario Co., New York, 1816–Jan. 1817. Moved to Manchester, Ontario Co., 1825. Baptized into LDS church by David...

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, Ebenezer Robinson

25 May 1816–11 Mar. 1891. Printer, editor, publisher. Born at Floyd (near Rome), Oneida Co., New York. Son of Nathan Robinson and Mary Brown. Moved to Utica, Oneida Co., ca. 1831, and learned printing trade at Utica Observer. Moved to Ravenna, Portage Co....

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, Solomon Wilbur Denton, and Samuel Brannan

2 Mar. 1819–5 May 1889. Printer, editor, publisher, miner, businessman, land developer. Born at Saco, York Co., Maine. Son of Thomas Brannan and Sarah Emery. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, 1833. Baptized into LDS church, 1833, in Kirtland. Printer’s...

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.19

Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” The Return, Apr. 1889, 58; July 1889, 104. On 14 November 1835, after the Doctrine and Covenants was published, Phelps wrote to his wife: “We have, when all are in the office, three apprentices and four journeymen, and we shall have to employ some more men, as our work is so far behind.” (William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Phelps, Liberty, MO, 14 Nov. 1835, in Historical Department, Journal History of the Church, 14 Nov. 1835, CHL.)  


Robinson’s reminiscences indicate 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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managed the business of the printing establishment.20

Ebenezer Robinson, “Items of Personal History of the Editor,” The Return, May 1889, 75.  


Apart from Cowdery, Phelps, and Whitmer, these individuals were printing hands who likely had little to do with the composition, structure, or intellectual work of the Doctrine and Covenants. In addition to serving on the publication committee for the volume, JS solicited financial help for printing, helped secure the copyright, and signed the preface. He is listed on the title page, but his role in the day-to-day work of preparing the revelations for publication is not fully known.21

JS, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear brethren,” [Missouri], 15 June 1835, JS Collection, CHL; Copyright for first edition of Doctrine and Covenants, 14 Jan. 1835, Copyright Records, Ohio, 1831–1848 (Department of State), unnumbered vol., Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC; title page and “Preface,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., [i], [iii]–iv.  


Some corrections in his hand that are reflected in the Doctrine and Covenants are found on revelations in Revelation Books 1 and 2,22

See, for example, Revelation Book 1, pp. 194–198, and Revelation Book 2, pp. 20–25, 28–31.  


and three notations in Revelation Book 2 indicate that he did at least some of the work of selecting items for publication.23

Revelation Book 2, pp. 20, 31, 111.  


JS apparently relied on others to do the actual typesetting and printing and possibly the bulk of the editing, arranging, and other intellectual work needed to prepare the revelations for print.24

For example, it appears that Oliver Cowdery did much of the work of identifying which items would appear at the beginning of the second part of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.  


The committee who selected items for publication drew on both manuscript and printed sources. When an item had already been printed, such as the sixty-four revelations or other items printed in full in the Book of Commandments, corrections or changes were sometimes made on a copy of the printed version. A copy of the Book of Commandments once owned by 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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contains editing marks made in preparation for the publication of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.25

Similar editing work was probably done on some of the revelations published in early issues of The Evening and the Morning Star, though no such marked-up copies have been located.  


When a revelation had not been printed before, the editors turned to manuscript sources, the most authoritative and commonly used of which were Revelation Books 1 and 2.26

The later pages of Revelation Book 2 possibly reflect an attempt to collect and copy previously unpublished revelations into a single source. (See JSP, MRB:409–410.)  


As with the 1832–1833 printing effort in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, the printers may have recopied some texts in order to provide clean copies for typesetting.
As had been the case with editorial work on the Book of Commandments, the editors of the Doctrine and Covenants made numerous copyediting changes to many of the revelations as well as a smaller number of substantive changes. In contrast with the earlier work, however, the editors of the Doctrine and Covenants also made a focused effort to update the revelations to reflect changes in church government, structure, and doctrine that had occurred since the revelations were first dictated. For example, the earliest extant version of a 9 February 1831 revelation describes certain duties of elders, priests, teachers, and bishops.27

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67 [D&C 42:1–72].  


Naturally, early versions of the revelation made no mention of the office of high priest, which did not exist until June 1831,28

See Minute Book 2, 3 June 1831.  


or of the high council, a body that was not organized until February 1834.29

Minute Book 1, 17 Feb. 1834; see also Minutes, 17 Feb. 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 5, 1835 ed. [D&C 102].  


For publication in 1835, the revelation was revised to reflect the role of high priests and the high council.30

These updates were first made when the revelation was published in Evening and Morning Star, July 1832 (Feb. 1835), 30–31. The same updates were then introduced into Doctrine and Covenants 13:8, 10, 19, 1835 ed. [D&C 42:31, 34, 71].  


Extant sources permit the reconstruction of a rough chronology of the production of the volume. In mid-January 1835, JS, 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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, Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, and Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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registered the volume for copyright in the United States

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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District Court in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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.31

Copyright for first edition of Doctrine and Covenants, 14 Jan. 1835, Copyright Records, Ohio, 1831–1848 (Department of State), unnumbered vol., Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.  


The dated preface to the Doctrine and Covenants suggests that typesetting began shortly thereafter.32

The preface is dated 17 February 1835. (“Preface,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., [iii]–iv.)  


By late May, the first six gatherings (one-third of the volume’s total gatherings) were printed,33

William W. Phelps, Kirtland, OH, to Sally Phelps, Liberty, MO, 26 May 1835, William W. Phelps, Papers, BYU. A notice in the fifth issue of Evening and Morning Star, printed sometime in June 1835, apologized for publication delays caused by work on “a book of much importance.” As the fourth issue of Evening and Morning Star was dated April 1835, significant work on the Doctrine and Covenants evidently occurred between issues. (Notice, Evening and Morning Star, Oct. 1832 [June 1835], 80; Notice, Evening and Morning Star, Sept. 1832 [Apr. 1835], 64.)  


taking the work through page 96, which included the entire first part of the book and the first four sections of the second part. The editors of the Messenger and Advocate optimistically promised readers of the May 1835 issue that the Doctrine and Covenants would be completed soon.34

Editorial, LDS Messenger and Advocate, May 1835, 1:122.  


However, a 15 June letter from JS asking for donations or loans to help underwrite the printing of the revelations suggests that financial difficulty may have delayed the completion of the book.35

JS, Kirtland, OH, to “Dear brethren,” [Missouri], 15 June 1835, JS Collection, CHL.  


It appears that early, unfinished portions of the book circulated before the book was bound and made widely available. In an epistle to the Twelve Apostles dated 4 August 1835, JS referred to a revelation by its section and verse numbers in the new publication, indicating that JS and evidently the Twelve had access to partial advance copies of the Doctrine and Covenants.36

In counseling the Twelve regarding fundraising in branches of the church, JS stated: “We remind you of these things, in the name of the Lord, and refer you to the book of covenants, 2nd. Section, 2nd. part, and 12, paragraph and ask, did we not instruct you to remember first the house, secondly the cause of Zion, and then the publishing the word to the Nations?” Though the extant version of the letter refers to the “2nd” section of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, the third section was probably the intended reference. (JS, Kirtland, OH, to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, 4 Aug. 1835, in JS Letterbook 1, p. 91.)  


On 17 August 1835, a general assembly of the church met “for the purpose of Examining a book of commandments and covenants” that had been “compiled and written by” the publication committee. “This Committee having finished said Book according to the instructions given them,” the minutes read, “it was deemed necessary to call the general assembly of the Church to see whether the book be approved or not by the authoroties of the church, that it may, if approved, become a law unto the church, and a rule of faith and practice unto the same.”37

Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835. The minutes were published in a condensed and somewhat modified format as “General Assembly,” in LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1835, 1:161–164, and “General Assembly,” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., 255–257.  


Though the assembly was convened “by the presidency of the Church,”38

Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835.  


JS and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, a member of the presidency, were in Michigan

Organized as territory, 1805, with Detroit as capital. De facto state government organized within territory, 1836, although not formally recognized as state by federal government until 1837. Lansing became new state capital, 1847. Population in 1810 about...

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at the time of the assembly.39

JS History, vol. B-1, 600.  


The responsibility of presenting the book to the conference therefore fell 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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, a member of both the presidency and the four-man publication committee.40

Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835.  


Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, the other presidency member and committee member present, stood and “explained the manner by which they intended to obtain the voice of the assembly for or against said book.”41

General Assembly,” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., 256.  


Voting on the book proceeded by quorums and groups, with the leader of each group bearing witness of the truth of the volume before his group voted to accept it. After the voting by quorums, the entire church membership present, both male and female, voted to accept the book as “the doctrine and covenants of their faith.”42

General Assembly,” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., 257; see also Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835.  


After the general assembly accepted the new publication, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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read an article on marriage that the assembly approved and added to the volume.43

Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835; “Marriage,” ca. Aug. 1835, in Doctrine and Covenants 101, 1835 ed.  


The congregation then voted to accept and add to the volume an article on government introduced by Oliver Cowdery.44

Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835; “Of Governments and Laws in General,” ca. Aug. 1835, in Doctrine and Covenants 102, 1835 ed. [D&C 134].  


Besides the revelations and these additions, the finished volume also contained a condensed and somewhat modified set of the minutes of this 17 August 1835 meeting, an “Index” (actually a table of contents in modern terms), a list of “Contents” (actually an index), and a single page titled “Notes to the Reader” that contained errata.45

General Assembly,” in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., 256–257; “Index,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., i–iii; “Contents,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., v–xxiii; “Notes to the Reader,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., xxv.  


In contrast with the chapters in the Book of Commandments, many of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants were presented out of chronological order. Analysis of the Doctrine and Covenants and its source texts yields some insights about how texts were selected and why the sections may have been arranged in the order they were. Sections 1 through 7, which date from April 1830 to February 1834 but which are not arranged in chronological order, appear to have been placed first in the volume because of their importance: section 1, which was also the first chapter in the Book of Commandments, was understood to be a divinely given “preface” to the compilation;46

Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B, in Revelation Book 1, p. 125; “Index,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., i.  


section 2 contains the founding articles and covenants of the church; sections 3, 4, and 6 are identified in large headings as being “ON PRIESTHOOD” and constitute something of a handbook on priesthood and church government; section 5 presents the minutes from the organizational meeting of the first high council of the church; and section 7, the “olive leaf” revelation,47

Index,” Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., i.  


presents instructions on preparing for a solemn assembly in the temple

JS revelation of Jan. 1831 directed Latter-day Saints to migrate to Ohio, where they would “be endowed with power from on high.” JS Revelation of Dec. 1832 directed Saints to “establish . . . an house of God.” JS Revelation of 1 June 1833 chastened Saints...

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in 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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. Of these seven texts, the first two were marked 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 copy of the Book of Commandments with the word “Covenants” and the fourth through sixth were marked “To go into the covenants” in Revelation Book 2.48

Revelation Book 2, pp. 20, 111, 31. In addition, the text of section 7 was marked in Revelation Book 2 with slashes apparently in the same ink flow as the notations that read “To go into the covenants.” These slashes served an unknown purpose but indicate this revelation was being surveyed at the same time as the three sections with that notation. (See JSP, MRB:487n56.)  


For some of the texts, there are additional editing marks in Revelation Book 2 that likely relate to publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.49
Sections 8 through 21 of the volume, which date from April 1829 to September 1831, are arranged in chronological order. In his copy of the Book of Commandments, 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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marked these texts, except for the text of section 8, with the word “Covenants,” indicating that he may have made a special pass through the Book of Commandments to identify texts to be included early in the Doctrine and Covenants. For a handful of these texts, there are also editing marks in Revelation Book 1 that likely relate to publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.50 Most of these texts had also been previously published in The Evening and the Morning Star, suggesting that texts that may have been perceived as especially important were published in that newspaper.
The texts in sections 22 through 29, dating from May 1831 to January 1832, are not arranged in chronological order, nor were they published in the Book of Commandments. 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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marked seven of these eight texts sequentially in Revelation Book 1 with “No 1” through “No 8,” omitting “No 2”;51

See JSP, MRB:159n196.  


only section 23 is not so marked, but it evidently should have been marked as “No 2.” Again, these markings in a source text show that the arrangement of sections was deliberate. For all eight of these texts, there are editing marks in Revelation Book 1, beyond the aforementioned numbering, that likely relate to publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.52
Sections 30 through 72 are arranged chronologically, though they do not pick up where any former grouping left off. These sections, which date from July 1828 to August 1831, present in order the remaining texts published in the Book of Commandments and not already included in the earlier sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.53

Two revelations not published in the Book of Commandments were also included in this grouping: sections 42 and 54.  


For this group of texts, only one revelation, section 42, has editing marks in Revelation Book 1 or Revelation Book 2 that likely relate to publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.54 However, many of the sections in this group reflect editing marks made 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 copy of the Book of Commandments, and the wording of most of the sections closely mirrors the wording in the Book of Commandments. It is probable, therefore, that the Cowdery volume was the source text for nearly all of the sections in this grouping. The heading “ON PRIESTHOOD AND CALLING,” which immediately precedes section 30, may indicate that subsequent sections were seen as having a common theme, or the heading may have been intended to apply to section 30 only. Regardless of what was meant by the heading, the revelations in sections 30 to 72 do seem to cohere roughly as a unit. Most of these revelations are shorter texts addressed to specific individuals, usually directing a person to undertake a particular assignment, or calling, in the church or giving specific counsel related to an assignment already given. The revelations preceding section 30, in contrast, are typically lengthier texts on church government or doctrine addressed to audiences of church members or leaders generally.
A final group of texts, sections 73 through 100, have creation dates ranging from December 1830 to November 1834.55

The final two sections in the volume, sections 101 and 102, present articles on marriage and government, respectively, that were created circa August 1835 as work on the volume was concluding. (See Minute Book 1, 17 Aug. 1835.)  


At times sections within this group are presented in chronological order (sections 90 through 94, for example); usually, however, they are out of chronological order. The principle by which the sections in this group were arranged is not evident, except that section 100 is labeled in large type as an “APPENDIX” to the work.56

Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 100, 1835 ed. [D&C 133], was referred to as an “appendix” as early as May 1833. (“Revelations,” The Evening and the Morning Star, May 1833, [1]–[2]; see also Appendix 1: Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831, p. [6], in JSP, MRB:405 [D&C 133].)  


Most of these texts were marked up in Revelation Book 1, Revelation Book 2, or both for publication in the Doctrine and Covenants.57
William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, who saw the first efforts to print the revelations hindered in Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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, eagerly anticipated the publication of the Doctrine and Covenants. In the same issue of the Messenger and Advocate that printed the minutes of the 17 August 1835 assembly meeting, he announced that the Doctrine and Covenants was “nearly ready for sale” and “may be expected in the course of a month, as one thousand copies have already been delivered to the binder.”58

[William W. Phelps], “Doctrine and Covenants,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Aug. 1835, 1:170.  


By September 1835, some copies of the book had been bound in Cleveland

Cuyahoga Co. seat of justice, 1833. Situated on south shore of Lake Erie, just east of mouth of Cuyahoga River. First settled, 1797. Incorporated as village, 1815; incorporated as city, 1836. Became center of business and trade at opening of Ohio and Erie...

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and were available for sale.59

Phelps wrote to his wife on 18 September 1835: “We got some of the commandments from Cleveland last week.” (William W. Phelps, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Sally Phelps, Liberty, MO, 16–18 Sept. 1835, private possession, copy at CHL.)  


It appears that advance payments for the book were taken as early as 26 June 1835.60

F. G. Williams and Company, Account Book, 2 (second numbering).  


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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and Samuel Smith

13 Mar. 1808–30 July 1844. Farmer, logger, scribe, builder, tavern operator. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, by Mar. 1810; to Lebanon, Grafton Co., New Hampshire, 1811...

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were appointed by the presidency of the church as official agents to sell copies of the volume, which were priced at one dollar.61

Minute Book 1, 16 Sept. 1835; William W. Phelps, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Sally Phelps, Liberty, MO, 16–18 Sept. 1835, private possession, copy at CHL.  


From the first, the Doctrine and Covenants was more accessible to church members than the scarce and incomplete Book of Commandments had been, but it appears the volume was not as widely disseminated as church leaders had hoped. No definite information about the total size of the 1835 printing is extant, but in the first two months after the volume was available, just over eighty copies were sold by F. G. Williams & Co.62

F. G. Williams and Company, Account Book, 2 (second numbering). While other individuals and perhaps other committees or groups within the church would have sold copies of the book, that the printer sold only about eighty copies within the first two months of its availability suggests that sales were disappointing.  


The F. G. Williams & Co. account book ends in early November 1835, and no other records have been located that provide a clearer picture of total sales. In April 1836, at least five hundred unbound copies remained unsold.63

Minute Book 1, 2 Apr. 1836.  


Any volumes not sold by 1838 and stored in 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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were likely destroyed when the Kirtland printing office

Following destruction of church printing office in Independence, Missouri, July 1833, JS and other church leaders determined to set up new printing office in Kirtland under firm name F. G. Williams & Co. Oliver Cowdery purchased new printing press in New ...

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burned in the early part of 1838.64

John Smith, Kirtland, OH, to George A. Smith, Shinnston, VA, 15–17 Jan. 1838, George Albert Smith, Papers, CHL; Johnson, “A Life Review,” 24. A published notice of a sheriff’s sale lists “a quantity of Covenants” as part of the inventory of the printing office just before it was destroyed. (“Sheriff Sale,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 5 Jan. 1838, [3].)  


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