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Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–B [Abraham 3:18–26]

Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–B [Abraham 3:18–26]

Abaham, the inteligences that were  organized bfore the world was; and among all  these were many of the noble & great onees,  and God saw these souls that they were good,  & he stood in the midst of them, and he said,  these, I will make my rulers; for he stood  among these <those> that were spirits, & he saw  that they were good; & he said untto me,  Abraham, thou art one of them, thou art  Chosen before thou wast born. & there stood  one among htem <them> that was like unto God,  & he said unto those, who were with him,  we will go down, there for there is space there,  & we will take of these materials, & we will  make an earth whereon these may dwell;  & we will prove them herewith, to see if they  will do all things whatsoever the Lord their  God shall comm[an]d them; & they, who keep  their first estate, shall be added upon; [p. 8]
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As discussed in the general introduction to the Book of Abraham manuscripts on this website, JS and his scribes Oliver Cowdery, William W. Phelps, Frederick G. Williams, and Warren Parrish spent considerable time in 1835 engaged in two separate yet related endeavors: a language-study effort that produced a number of Egyptian alphabet and grammar manuscripts; and the translation of the Book of Abraham, which yielded several Abraham manuscripts. However, none of their work related to the Book of Abraham appeared in print until 1842. At that time a portion, if not all, of the Abraham material available was published at Nauvoo, Illinois, in three installments of the Times and Seasons, two in March and one in May of that year as the Book of Abraham.
The present Willard Richards document, one of three Abraham texts in Richards’s handwriting, was likely produced sometime between late 1841 and early 1842, and consists of passages currently designated Abraham 3:18−26. It probably constituted the printer’s manuscript for the second installment of the Book of Abraham published under date of 15 March but actually printed on 19 March (Woodruff, Journal, 19 Mar. 1842), which included verses 14–32 (currently Abraham 2:19–5:21), plus facsimile 2.
This manuscript consists of a single sheet, utilizing the same paper as does one of Richards’s earlier manuscripts (Willard Richards Copy of Abraham Manuscript, Early 1842–A [Abraham 1:1−2:18]). The recto side is numbered as page seven and the verso is numbered as page eight. Inasmuch as both the numbering and text are outside the numbering and textual scheme of the former document that covered passages currently designated Abraham 1:1−2:18, this manuscript is regarded as a separate record. It includes no Egyptian characters and was not paragraphed. Though no earlier iteration has survived, several contemporaneous corrections made to the text suggest it may have been copied from a prior draft. (Hauglid, Textual History of the Book of Abraham, 5–6, 22, 150–151.)
Richards’s transcript likely was included in the Egyptian papers that were listed on a manifest compiled by Richards and Thomas Bullock as they prepared to transport church documents westward in 1846 (“Schedule of Church Records. Nauvoo 1846,” [1]; “Historian’s Office Catalogue 1858,” 1, Historian’s Office, Catalogs and Inventories, 1846–1904, CHL).
Note: The transcript of the Book of Abraham manuscript presented here is used with permission of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship. It was published earlier, with some differences in style, in Brian M. Hauglid, A Textual History of the Book of Abraham: Manuscripts and Editions (Provo, UT: Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, Brigham Young University, 2010), 196–199.

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