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Revelation Book 1

Riches even a land of promise a land flowing with  milk & Honey upon which there shall be no curse  & I will give it unto you for the land of your  enheritance if you seek it with all your hearts  & this shall be my covenant with you ye shall have  it for the land of your inheritence & for the inheritance  of your Children forever while the Earth shall stand & ye shall  Possess it again in eternity no more to pass away But Verily  I say unto you that in time ye shall have no King nor Ruler  for I will be your King & watch over you Wherefore hear my  voice & follow me & ye shall be a free People & ye shall  have no laws but my laws for I am your Law giver & who  can stay my hand But Verily I say unto you teach  one another according to the Office wherewith I have appoi nted you & let evry man esteem his brother as himself  & practice Virtue & Holyness before me & again I say unto  you let evry man esteem his Brother as himself for  what man among you having twelve sons & is no respector  to them & they Serve him obediently & he saith unto the  one be thou clothed in Robes & sit thou here & to the other  be thou clothed in Raggs & sit thou there & looketh upon  his sons & saith I am Just Behold I have given unto you  a Parable & it is even as I am I say unto you be one & if  ye are not one ye are not mine & again I say unto you  that the Enemy in the Seecret Chambers seek<[e]th> your lives  ye hear of wars in far Countries & you say in your hearts  there will soon be great wars in far Countries but ye know  not the hearts of they in your own Land I tell you these  things because of your prayers Wherefore treasure up  Wisdom in your bosoms lest the wickedness of men reveal  reveal these things in your unto you by their wicke[d]ness  in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice  louder than that which shall shake the Earth but if ye are  prepared ye need not fear & that ye might escape the power  of the enemy & be gethered unto me a Righteous people without  spot & blameless Wherefore for this cause I gave unto you [p. 51]
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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 and Oliver Cowdery in both original inscription and later redactions; handwriting of William W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon, 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’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.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

“Minutes of First Presidency, March 1898 to September 1907, Record No. 1.” CCLA.

Curtis, J. F. Papers. CCLA.

The pages were likely separated by John Whitmer or Oliver Cowdery before Whitmer and Cowdery were excommunicated in 1838. A secondhand source states that David Whitmer 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.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitmer Papers. CCLA.

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.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Curtis, J. F. Papers. CCLA.

Whitmer Papers. CCLA.

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, 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.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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.)
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 Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen,” 1831–1835. CHL.

Roberts, Brigham H. “History of the Mormon Church.” Americana 1 (Dec. 1909): 1016–1025. Also available in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Century I (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1930), 1:157–166.

Smith, Joseph Fielding. Papers, 1893–1973. CHL.

“Inventory of President Joseph Fielding Smith’s Safe,” 23 May 1970. First Presidency, General Administration Files, 1921–1972. 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 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, Missouri.

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