43990403

Revelation Book 1

Progress in their way to eternal life & there shall be no pride nor envying nor strifes nor malice nor Idolitry nor whitchcraft nor whoredoms nor fornications nor lying nor deceits nor no iniquity & if any one is guilty of any or the least of these & doth not repent & shew fruits meet for repentance they shall not be numbered among my People that they may not destroy my People & now I speak unto the Church repent all ye ends of the Earth & come unto me & be baptized in my name which is Jesus Christ & endure to the end & ye shall be saved Behold Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the father & there is none other name given whereby man can be saved wherefore all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father for in that name shall they be called at the last day wherefore if they know not the name by which they are called they cannot have place in the Kingdom of my Father Behold ye must walk uprightly before me & Sin not & if ye do walk uprightly before me & Sin not my grace is Sufficient for you that ye shall be lifted up at the last day Behold I am Jesus Christt the Son of the living God I am the same which came unto my own & my own Received me not I am the light which shineth in darkness & the darkness comprehendeth it not these words are not of man nor of men but of me now remember the words of him who is the first & the last the light & the life of the world & I Jesus Christ your Lord & your God & your redeemer by the power of my spirit hath spoken it amen & now if I have not authority to write these things Judge ye Behold ye shall know that I have authority when you & I shall be brought to stand before the Judgement seat of Christ now may the grace of God the Father & our Lord Jesus Christ be & abide with you all & finally save you eternally in his Kingdom thorough the infinite atonement which is in Jesus Christ amen Behold I am 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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I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God the Father & the Lord Jesus Christ Behold I have written [pages 25–26 missing] [p. 24]
Progress in their way to eternal life & there shall be no  pride nor envying nor strifes nor malice nor Idolitry nor  whitchcraft nor whoredoms nor fornications nor lying nor  deceits nor no iniquity & if any one is guilty of any or the  least of these & doth not repent & shew fruits meet for  repentance they shall not be numbered among my People  that they may not destroy my People & now I speak unto  the Church repent all ye ends of the Earth & come unto me  & be baptized in my name which is Jesus Christ & endure  to the end & ye shall be saved Behold Jesus Christ is the  name which is given of the father & there is none other  name given whereby man can be saved wherefore all  men must take upon them the name which is given  of the Father for in that name shall they be called at  the last day wherefore if they know not the name by  which they are called they cannot have place in the King dom of my Father Behold ye must walk uprightly  before me & Sin not & if ye do walk uprightly before  me & Sin not my grace is Sufficient for you that ye  shall be lifted up at the last day Behold I am Jesus Christt  the Son of the living God I am the same which came  unto my own & my own Received me not I am the light  which shineth in darkness & the darkness comprehendeth it not  these words are not of man nor of men but of me now  remember the words of him who is the first & the last the  light & the life of the world & I Jesus Christ your Lord &  your God & your redeemer by the power of my spirit hath spoken  it amen & now I if I have not authority to write these things  Judge ye Behold ye shall know that I have authority when  you & I shall be brought to stand before the Judgement seat  of Christ now may the grace of God the Father & our Lord  Jesus Christ be & abide with you all & finally save you  eternally in his Kingdom thorough the infinite atonement  which is in Jesus Christ amen Behold I am 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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 I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God  the Father & the Lord Jesus Christ Behold I have written [pages 25–26 missing] [p. 24]
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“A Book of Commandments & Revelations of the Lord given to Joseph the Seer & others by the Inspiration of God & gift & power of the Holy Ghost which Beareth Re[c]ord of the Father & Son & Holy Ghost which is one God Infinite & eternal World without end Amen,” Revelation Book 1, [ca. Mar. 1831–July 1835]; handwriting of 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 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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in both original inscription and later redactions; handwriting of 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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, 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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, JS, and an unknown number of unidentified scribes in later redactions only; 208 pages (18 pages missing) and four inserted leaves; volume at CHL and four loose leaves in Restoration Scriptures Collection at CCLA. Includes redactions and archival marking.
This volume likely contained nine gatherings of twelve leaves each, measuring 12⅝ × 7¾ inches (32 × 20 cm), plus two pastedowns and an unknown number of flyleaves (one flyleaf is extant in the back of the volume). The existing sheets are ledger paper with thirty-six blue horizontal lines, most faint or completely faded, and four red vertical lines. The binding was disassembled, possibly for ease in printing the revelations, and the original cover was discarded or lost. Evidence suggests that the book was originally sewn all along over recessed cords, likely with a tight-back case with quarter-leather binding. A brown paperboard cover was placed around the pages, perhaps as soon as the early 1830s but certainly before the mid-1850s. With the current paperboard cover, the volume measures 13⅛ × 8½ × ¾ inches (33 × 22 × 2 cm). The front cover is labeled “S” in black ink that later turned light brown, and “can” or “cam” is written at the bottom in blue-green ink. The inside back cover has “2 | 1 | 1 | 1 | 75 | 55 | ◊◊ | wisdo” written vertically along the right margin in various shades of brown (formerly black) ink. A slip of blue paper pasted on the spine reads “Book of Commandments and Revelations”. This notation was written by Leo Hawkins, a clerk for the Church Historian’s Office, 1853–1856.
The current state of the volume makes it difficult to determine its original condition. Nine gatherings of the volume are currently accounted for, but additional gatherings may have existed. The volume bears remnants of the original glue and leather used for binding on the inside edges of the gatherings, and some of the gatherings are still attached to this original binding. In addition, some gatherings are completely uncut, meaning the original six sheets folded to make the twelve-leaf gatherings are attached and complete. Others are completely or partially cut and separated. The first gathering contains only four of its original leaves, and one leaf is missing from the second gathering. The leaves from the third and fourth gatherings are still mostly attached to the original binding. The fifth and sixth gatherings are mostly disconnected from the original binding. In the sixth gathering, the scribe mistakenly repeated the numbers “134” and “135” when numbering pages, leaving two pages numbered 134 and and two numbered 135. As a result, the remaining page numbers are off by two and the gathering’s last manuscript page is incorrectly numbered 142 (rather than 144). While the seventh gathering remains mostly attached to remnants of the original binding and the eighth gathering is completely intact, the ninth gathering is disconnected from the original binding altogether. If the ninth gathering originally contained twelve leaves, three are missing. There is also one flyleaf at the end of the volume.
Needle holes along the spine of the paperboard cover match up with needle holes on the edge of the fifth gathering, and one piece of thread remains at the center of that gathering. Because this rough sewing was evidently done when the fifth gathering was still an intact unit, it likely attached the makeshift cover to the text block until the cover was separated and the fifth gathering was disassembled.
The first 127 pages of the manuscript book contain seventy-six revelations and four other items. These eighty items were likely entered in the order in which they originated, the exceptions being Articles and covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20]; Explanation of scripture, 1830 [D&C 74]; and the revelations dated circa 8 March 1831–B [D&C 47] and 1 November 1831–B [D&C 1]. There are over thirty items in the remainder of the volume, about half of which appear out of chronological order.
The leaves for the following manuscript pages are missing from the volume and their whereabouts are not known: 3–10, 15–22, and 25–26. These pages were likely numbered, and it is not known when they were separated from the manuscript book. The leaves for manuscript pages 111–112, 117–120, and 139–140 are currently held at the Community of Christ Library-Archives. Markings on these loose pages indicate that they were likely separated from the manuscript book during work on the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants or sometime thereafter.
In 1902, the First Presidency of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints approved purchase of the loose pages from George Schweich, 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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’s grandson.1

“Minutes of First Presidency,” 24 Apr. 1902, CCLA. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints purchased from Schweich additional material that was passed down from David Whitmer, including the Book of Mormon printer’s manuscript and parts of the manuscript from JS’s Bible revision. (Walter W. Smith, Independence, MO, to S. A. Burgess, Independence, MO, 15 Apr. 1926, J. F. Curtis Papers, CCLA.)  


The pages were likely separated by 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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or 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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before Whitmer and Cowdery were excommunicated in 1838. A secondhand source states that 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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received these pages from Oliver Cowdery in 1850.2

Former RLDS church historian Walter W. Smith, who was present when these papers were turned over to the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, heard from both George Schweich and David Whitmer’s family that the leaves were “received by David Whitmer from Oliver Cowdery at his death in 1850.” (Walter W. Smith, Independence, MO, to the RLDS First Presidency, Independence, MO, 14 Sept. 1925, Whitmer Papers, CCLA; see also Walter W. Smith, Independence, MO, to R. L. Fulk, Ogden, UT, 13 Dec. 1919, Subject Folder Collection, Book of Commandments, CCLA.)  


However, at the time these leaves were acquired by the RLDS church, they were grouped with the John Whitmer copy of the JS Bible revision and the Book of John Whitmer, suggesting that the leaves were in John Whitmer’s possession until his death in 1878.3

Walter W. Smith noted on two different occasions that “these pages [of revelations] . . . were in the Whitmer manuscript book [Book of John Whitmer] and were the same that [George] Schweich turned over to the [RLDS] church.” (W. W. Smith to S. A. Burgess, 15 Apr. 1926; see also W. W. Smith to the RLDS First Presidency, 14 Sept. 1925.)  


Neither John Whitmer nor David Whitmer left known accounts of either man having possession of the leaves. The provenance of the leaves between 1835 and 1902, therefore, is uncertain.
The custodial history of the manuscript book itself is uncertain between the publication of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants and the 1846 Latter-day Saint exodus from Nauvoo

Principal gathering place for Saints following expulsion from Missouri. Beginning in 1839, LDS church purchased lands in earlier settlement of Commerce and planned settlement of Commerce City, as well as surrounding areas. Served as church headquarters, 1839...

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, Illinois, though the book likely remained in the possession of JS, his office staff, and subsequent leadership of the LDS church. The Church Historian’s Office inventory from 1846 lists “Rough Book—Revelation History &c.,” possibly referring to Revelation Book 1.4

“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.  


By the 1850s, the spine of Revelation Book 1 had been labeled “Book of Commandments and Revelations” by the Church Historian’s Office staff, and it appeared with that title on subsequent Church Historian’s Office inventories through 1878.5

“Contents of the Historian and Recorder’s Office.” [5]; “Index Records and Journals in the Historian’s Office 1878,” [5], Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL.  


Evidence indicates that the manuscript book was part of the papers of church historian and recorder Joseph Fielding Smith, who held that office from 1921 to 1970. The manuscript book became part of the First Presidency’s papers when he became president in 1970.6

In a 1909 article in which he discussed the history surrounding the securing of the Book of Mormon copyright in Canada, B. H. Roberts, an LDS assistant church historian, did not appear to know about the revelation found in Revelation Book 1 that deals with that topic. In a 1907 letter, Joseph Fielding Smith made an indirect reference to Revelation Book 1, indicating that he knew of its existence. Because Roberts apparently did not know about the manuscript volume and Smith did, it may be inferred that the volume was in Smith’s possession as early as 1907. A 1970 inventory establishes the document was in the possession of Joseph Fielding Smith later in his life. (Revelation, ca. Early 1830; Roberts, “History of the Mormon Church”; Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City, UT, to John R. Haldeman, Independence, MO, 24 May 1907, Joseph Fielding Smith Papers, CHL; “Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970, CHL.)  


Note: At present, the transcript of Revelation Book 1 on this website includes only the original inscriptions, not the later redactions made to the manuscript book to prepare the revelations for publication. A transcript showing the later redactions will eventually be added to this site. Until that time, readers will notice many discrepancies between the images and the transcript. For a transcript that includes the redactions, consult Revelations and Translations: Manuscript Revelation Books, facsimile ed. (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2009) or Revelations and Translations, Volume 1: Manuscript Revelation Books (Salt Lake City: Church Historian’s Press, 2011).
Nor does this website reproduce the loose copy of the revelation in the handwriting of 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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that was inserted later into Revelation Book 1. For images and transcripts of those pages, consult the aforementioned volumes.
Except as described in this note, Revelation Book 1 is presented here electronically as a complete record. In contrast, the Documents series (multiple volumes forthcoming in print; selections also available on this site) presents each revelation separately, placed in chronological order with other documents of various genres. That series includes the earliest and best extant version of each revelation, providing contextual annotation and a historical introduction for each. Readers should consult the Documents series for information about the setting and significance of individual revelations.
Note: The images of pages 111–112, 117–120, and 139–140 of Revelation Book 1 published on this website are © Community of Christ and are licensed to the Joseph Smith Papers Project. Community of Christ–copyrighted images are marked with an identifying watermark. To inquire about high-resolution images of Community of Christ–copyrighted images for scholarly use, please contact the Community of Christ Library-Archives, 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.

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