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Revelation Book 1

Ans.We are to understand that it contains the revealed will. mysteries and works of God. the hidden things of his economy concerning this Earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance or its temporal existence.
QWhat are we to understand by the Seven Seals with which it was sealed?
AWe are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years and the second also of the second thousand years and so on until the seventh.
QWhat are we to understand by the four Angels spoken of by John 7 Chap & first verse of Rev.
AWe are to understand that they are four angels sent forth from God to whom is given power over the four parts of the Earth to save life and to destroy. these are they who have the everlasting Gospel to commit to every Nation kindred tongue and people having power to shut up the heavens to seal

To confirm or solemnize. In the early 1830s, revelations often adopted biblical usage of the term seal; for example, “sealed up the testimony” referred to proselytizing and testifying of the gospel as a warning of the approaching end time. JS explained in...

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up unto life, or to cast down to the regions of darkness.
QWhat are we to understand by the angel ascending from the east Rev 7. Chap. & 2 verse?
AWe are to understand that the angel ascended from the east is he to whom is given the seal of the living God over the tweleve tribes of Israel wherefore he crieth unto the four angels having the everlasting Gospel saying hurt not the earth neither the Sea nor the trees till we have sealed the Servants of our God in their foreheads and if you will receive it this is Elias which was to come to gether

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

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to gether the tribes of Israel and restore all things.
Q What time are things spoken of in this chapter to be accomplished?
[p. 142]
Ans.We are to understand that it contains the revealed  will. mystery mysteries and works of God. the hidden things  of his economy concerning this Earth during the  seven thousand years of its continuance or its  temporal existence.
QWhat are we to understand by the Seven Seals with  which it was sealed?
AWe are to understand that the first seal contains  the things of the first thousand years and the second  also of the second thousand years and so on until  the seventh.
QWhat are we to understand by the four Angels  spoken of by John 7 Chap & first verse of Rev.
AWe are to understand that they are four angels sent  forth from God to whom is given power over  the four parts of the Earth to save life and to  destroy[.] these are they who have the everlasting  Gospel to commit to every Nation kindred tongue  and people having power to shut up the heavens  to seal

To confirm or solemnize. In the early 1830s, revelations often adopted biblical usage of the term seal; for example, “sealed up the testimony” referred to proselytizing and testifying of the gospel as a warning of the approaching end time. JS explained in...

View Glossary
up unto life, or to cast down to the  regions of darkness.
QWhat are we to understand by the angels ascending  from the east Rev 7. Chap. & 2 verse?
AWe are to understand that the angel ascended from  the east is he to whom is given the seal of the  living God over the tweleve tribes of Israel  wherefore he crieth unto the four angels having  the everlasting Gospel to preach saying hurt not  the earth neither the Sea nor the trees till we have  sealed the Servants of our God in their foreheads  and if you will receive it this is the Elias which  was to come to gether

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
to gether the tribes of Israel  and restore all things.
Q What time are things spoken of in this chapter  to be accomplished?
[p. 142]
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Revelation Book 1, also known as “Book of Commandments and Revelations,” is a manuscript book of revelations and other items that was begun less than a year after JS organized the Church of Christ in April 1830. 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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was the principal scribe, although 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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also wrote a few pages. 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 began to “arrange and copy the revelations” previously received.1

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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, circa March 1831, following his appointment to keep church records and history.2 Textual evidence indicates that Whitmer and Cowdery copied revelations and other items 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 contains the earliest known copies of many revelations and, in some cases, the only surviving early manuscript copy. It also contains items not found anywhere else, including a revelation on securing a copyright in Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

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for the Book of Mormon.3
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 later known as the Book of Commandments and appointed 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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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 publication. Cowdery 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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, who was appointed by revelation to accompany him, departed from Hiram, Ohio, 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 revelation4 and had already purchased a printing press. They published the first issue of the church newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star five months later, and twenty-four revelatory items eventually appeared in that publication. All but one of those items also appear in Revelation Book 1, which was likely their source for publication.5

Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:78–93] does not appear in Revelation Book 1.  


The first eighty items in Revelation Book 1 appear on manuscript pages 1–127. Of these items, only four dated items are known to have been copied into the book out of chronological order. This portion of the manuscript book was likely inscribed in 1831 and includes items dated October–November 1831 that were copied shortly before 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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left 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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for 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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(manuscript pages 108–127). Whitmer’s access to the revelations dictated in Ohio after his departure to Missouri was, of course, limited to those delivered by mail or in person.
In the remainder of the manuscript book, about half of the revelations and other items are out of chronological order. Manuscript pages 128–148 contain fourteen items dated December 1831–April 1832 that were copied into the manuscript 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

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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in April 1832. While these fourteen items are out of order chronologically, 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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copied more of them into Revelation Book 1 than other scribes copied into Revelation Book 2, which was begun in late February or early March 1832 and kept by JS and his scribes at church headquarters 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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.6 This suggests that Revelation Book 1 was a more complete record of revelations than Revelation Book 2, even though Revelation Book 1 was being updated outside of church headquarters.
Manuscript pages 148–170 contain seven entries that appear in chronological order. 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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likely copied the next three revelations, on manuscript pages 171–177, from a letter 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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leaders dated 6 August 1833. This letter contains all three revelations, and all three bear an August 1833 date.7 They appear in Revelation Book 1 in the order in which they appear in the letter. Manuscript pages 177–201 contain nine revelations that were all copied chronologically; however, the first four revelations in this group are dated before the August revelations found in the aforementioned letter. Manuscript pages 202–203 contain the final two items in Revelation Book 1: a heading for minutes of the February 1834 meeting to organize a standing “high counsel” 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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(likely indicating an intention to copy the minutes from this meeting) and the second copy of a revelation that was copied into the book twice.8

The revelation copied twice is Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87]. [copy 1] [copy 2]  


Following this last revelation, there are three blank pages before a two-page index that Whitmer created for the first ninety-eight pages of the manuscript book.
Editorial redactions in Revelation Book 1 demonstrate that it was used as a source for publishing the Book of Commandments in 1833. Thirty-one revelations in Revelation Book 1 contain added verse numbers and punctuation that usually match verse numbers and punctuation in the Book of Commandments.9 Items found in the later portion of the manuscript book were not printed in the Book of Commandments and contain few redactions.
After the 1833 destruction of the Saints’ printing office 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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, efforts to publish the revelations shifted 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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, beginning in late 1834. Those preparing the revelations for publication in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants did not initially have access to Revelation Book 1 because it was in Missouri. After 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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returned 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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in the middle of May 1835, evidently bringing the manuscript book with him, it became a supplemental source for the publication effort. Revelation Book 1 includes twenty-one items that contain redactions made for the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.10

See Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 ed., secs. 17–18, 20–29, 73–77, 84, 86–87, and 98.  


These redactions show an effort to clarify wording in the revelations and other items on the part of those selecting, arranging, and preparing them for publication.
A comparison of Revelation Book 1 with the Book of Commandments and with the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants indicates that Revelation Book 1 is a relatively comprehensive collection of revelations. It contains 64 of the 65 items published in the 1833 Book of Commandments,11

The single revelation published in the Book of Commandments but not found in Revelation Book 1 is Revelation, May 1829–B, in Book of Commandments 11 [D&C 12].  


as well as 95 of the 103 sections published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.12

The eight items published in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants but not found in Revelation Book 1 are Revelation, May 1829–B, in Doctrine and Covenants 38, 1835 ed. [D&C 12]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–A, in Doctrine and Covenants 54, 1835 ed. [D&C 32]; Revelation, 9 Mar. 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 92, 1835 ed. [D&C 91]; Revelation, 15 Mar. 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 93, 1835 ed. [D&C 92]; Revelation, 12 Oct. 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 94, 1835 ed. [D&C 100]; Revelation, 25 Nov. 1834, in Doctrine and Covenants 99, 1835 ed. [D&C 106]; “Marriage,” ca. Aug. 1835, in Doctrine and Covenants 101, 1835 ed.; and “Of Governments and Laws in General,” ca. Aug. 1835, in Doctrine and Covenants 102, 1835 ed. [D&C 134].  


Of the many revelations and other items copied into the manuscript book, only 11 do not appear in either the Book of Commandments or the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.13
In November 1831, JS and his associates were appointed by church conferences to prepare the revelations and other items in Revelation Book 1 for publication by correcting and modifying the text. JS was to “correct those errors or mistakes which he m[a]y discover by the holy Spirit.”14

Minute Book 2, 8 Nov. 1831.  


Many redactions were made before selected items were published 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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, while others were made 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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before the 1835 publication of the Doctrine and Covenants. Changes made in 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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’s hand are among the earliest, and evidence indicates that he made them in Ohio before the book went to Missouri in November 1831. Rigdon frequently altered the language in the revelations from the biblical “thee,” “thy,” and “thine” to the more modern “you,” “your,” and “yours.” He also corrected grammar and changed some of the language to clarify and modify words and meaning.
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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
could have made redactions in either 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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or 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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as early as 1831 or as late as 1835, though the majority of redactions they made first appear in print in 1833 or earlier. Whitmer’s marks often reversed changes made by 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 his later editing also modified some of the wording in the revelations. Though not as frequent, changes in Cowdery’s hand were often more substantive in nature, clarifying and expanding the meaning of several items in preparation for the publication of the Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.
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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had neither reason nor opportunity to edit the items in Revelation Book 1 until he and his associates began preparing the texts for publication 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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. As printer of The Evening and the Morning Star and the Book of Commandments, Phelps provided much of the punctuation and versification and many of the other copyediting changes. Only rarely did he alter the original language.
JS likely reviewed some of his associates’ editorial changes and made slight alterations in his own hand before the book was taken 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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in late 1831 for publication of the Book of Commandments in 1833, although he may have reviewed the selection, editing, and publication process as late as April 1832 when he visited Missouri. He made additional changes, including adding the surnames of some individuals named in the revelations, just before the Doctrine and Covenants was published in 1835.15

JS et al., Kirtland, OH, to Edward Partridge et al., Independence, MO, 25 June 1833, JS Collection, CHL.  


The extent to which JS influenced the redactions made by other individuals is unknown.
In addition to marking corrections, those preparing the items in Revelation Book 1 for publication used pins or adhesive wafers to attach slips of paper to pages of the manuscript book. The slips, one of which is extant in Revelation Book 1, contained additions to or clarifications of the original text. The extant slip is transcribed as a separate leaf where it appears in the manuscript book. Visible pinholes or wafer residue likely mark where additional slips were fastened to the page as texts were copied or prepared for publication.16

See here for an example of a slip of paper that was pasted to the page. A series of pinholes is also visible on manuscript page 85.  


This physical evidence, which suggest how the manuscript book was used by those preparing the texts for publication, are noted in the textual annotation.
A loose copy of a 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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was inserted into Revelation Book 1 at an unknown time, thereby becoming associated with the manuscript book, though not physically part of it.
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.

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