Preface to the Doctrine and Covenants, 17 February 1835

To the members of the church of the Latter Day  Saints

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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Dear Brethren:
We deem it to be unnecessary  te entertain you with a lengthy preface to the follow ing volume, but merely to say, that it contains in short,  the leading items of the religion which we have pro fessed to believe.
The first part of the book will be found to contain a  series of Lectures as delivered before a Theological  class

A term occasionally used to refer to a Protestant seminary; specifically used by JS to refer to a school to prepare elders of the church for their ministry. A December 1832 revelation directed JS and the elders of the church in Kirtland, Ohio, to establish...

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in this place, and in consequence of their embra cing the important doctrine of salvation, we have ar ranged them into the following work.
The second part contains items or principles for the  regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations  which have been given since its organization, as well  as from former ones.
There may be an aversion in the minds of some  against receiving any thing purporting to be articles  of religious faith, in consequence of there being so  many now extant; but if men believe a system, and  profess that it was given by inspiration, certainly, the  more intelligibly they can present it, the better. It  does not make a principle untrue to print it, neither  does it make it true not to print it.
The church viewing this subject to be of importance,  appointed, through their servants

The presiding body of the church. From the day of the church’s organization on 6 April 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery led the church in their capacity as elders. An 11 November 1831 revelation directed that “the duty of the president of the office of the high...

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and delegates the  High Council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the Church, or the bishop...

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, your servants to select and compile this  work. Several reasons might be adduced in favor of  this move of the Council, but we only add a few words.  They knew that the church was evil spoken of in ma ny places—its faith and belief misrepresented, and the [p. [iii]]
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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, Preface, 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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, OH, 17 Feb. 1835; in Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., pp. iii–iv.