43990403

Revelation Book 1

God that shed their blood her who seteth upon many waters & upon the islands of the sea behold she is the tares of the earth she is bound in bundles her bands are made Strong no man can loose them therefore she is ready to be burned & he shall sound his trump both long & loud & all nations shall hear it & there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour And immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up And the face of the Lord shall be unveiled & the Saints that are upon the earth who are alive shall be quickened & be caught up to meet him & they who have slept in their graves shall come forth for their graves shall be opened & they also shall be caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillars of heaven they are Crist’s the first fruits they who shall decend with him first & they who are on the earth & in their graves who are first caught up to meet him & all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the Angel of God & after this another trump shall sound which is the second trump & then cometh the redemption of those who are Christs at his coming who have received their part in that prison which is prepared for them that they might receive the gospel and be Judged according to men in the flesh & again another trump shall sound which is the third trump & then cometh the spirits of men who are to be Judged & are found under condemnation & these are the rest of the dead & they lived not again untill the thousand years are ended Neither again until the end of the earth And another trump shall sound which is the fourth trump saying these are found among those who are to remain until that great & last day even the end who shall remain filthy still And another trump shall sound which is the fifth trump which is the fifth angel who commiteth the everlasting gospel flying through the midst of heaven unto all nations kindreds tongues & people & this shall be the sound of this trump saying to all people both in heaven & in earth & that are under the earth for every ear shall hear it & every knee shall bow & every tongue shall confess while they hear the sound of the trump: saying fear God & give glory to him that siteth upon the throne for ever & ever for the hour of his Judgment is [p. 164]
God the saints of God that shed their blood her who  seteth upon many waters & upon the islands of the sea behold  she is the tares of the earth she is bound in bundles her bands  are made Strong no man can loose them therefore she is ready  to be burned & he shall sound his trump both long & loud  & all nations shall hear it & there shall be silence in heaven  for the space of half an hour And immediately after shall the  curtain of heaven be unfolded as a scroll is unfolded after it  is rolled up And the face of the Lord shall be unveiled & the Saints  that are upon the earth who are alive shall be quickened & be  caught up to meet him & they who have slept in their graves  shall come forth for their graves shall be opened & they also shall be  caught up to meet him in the midst of the pillars of heaven  they are Crist’s the first fruits they who shall decend with him  first & they who are on the earth & in their graves who are first  caught up to meet him & all this by the voice of the sounding of  the trump of the Angel of God & after this another trump shall  sound which is the second trump & then cometh the redemption of those  who are Christs at his coming who have received their part in that  prison which is prepared for them that they might receive the  gospel and be Judged according to men in the flesh & again another  trump shall sound which is the third trump & then cometh the  spirits of men who are to be Judged & are found under condem nation & these are the rest of the dead & they lived not again untill  the thousand years are ended Neither again until the end of the earth  And another trump shall sound which is the fourth trump  saying these are found among those who are to remain until  that great & last day even the end who shall remain filthy  still And another trump shall sound which is the fifth trump  which is the fifth angel who commiteth the everlasting gospel  flying through the midst of heaven unto all nations kindreds  tongues & people & this shall be the sound of this trump  saying to all people both in heaven & in earth & that are under  the earth for every ear shall hear it & every knee shall bow &  every tongue shall confess while they hear the sound of the  trump: saying fear God & give glory to him that siteth upon  the throne for ever & ever for the hour of his Judgment a is [p. 164]
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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.)  


Revelation Book 1 is a manuscript book of revelations and other items begun less than a year after JS organized the Church of Christ in April 1830. The book may have originated in New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

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in summer 1830 when JS and 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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began to “arrange and copy the revelations” previously received.7

JS History, vol. A-1, 50.  


More likely, however, Whitmer began inscribing material in Revelation Book 1 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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in about March 1831, following his appointment to keep church records and history.8

See Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–B [D&C 47].  


Textual evidence indicates that Whitmer 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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copied revelations and other texts into Revelation Book 1 from even earlier manuscripts that are no longer extant. All items in the manuscript book date from 1828 to 1834. Textual analysis suggests that the first half was copied mostly between spring 1831 and the end of that year and the final item was copied in July 1835. Revelation Book 1 includes the earliest known copies of many revelations as well as items not found anywhere else. Whitmer likely added most of the headings and titles to the individual revelations.
In November 1831, church leaders meeting in a conference in Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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, Ohio, authorized publication of a volume of revelations to be called the Book of Commandments and appointed 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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to take the revelations 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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for printing. Cowdery and 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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, who was appointed by revelation to accompany him, departed from Hiram that same month, taking Revelation Book 1 and possibly other manuscript revelations with them. They arrived 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, in January 1832 to work with 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 had been appointed church printer by revelation9

Revelation, 20 July 1831, in Doctrine and Covenants 27:5, 1835 ed. [D&C 57:11].  


and had already purchased a printing press. Pages 128–148 of the volume contain fourteen items dated December 1831–April 1832 that were copied into the book after April 1832. The manuscript source of these revelations and other items is unknown, but JS and other church leaders possibly brought them to Missouri in April 1832. Whitmer, Cowdery, and Phelps used Revelation Book 1 as a printer’s manuscript, marking up corrections, changes, and verse numbers therein, and published revelations in both the first church newspaper, The Evening and the Morning Star, and the Book of Commandments.10

The manuscript revelation book was subsequently taken to Ohio where it served yet again as a printer’s manuscript, this time for the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.  


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 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.

Facts