|Joseph Smith, the founder and prophet of the Mormon Church had received numerous revelations on gospel principles and instruction from the Lord on how to run The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and although the revelations were often announced in conferences, and Joseph often gave copies to missionaries and other Church leaders, most people didn’t know what was contained in the revelations.The printing press that was set up in Missouri by W.W. Phelps helped the Church solve this problem. In November of 1831, numerous meetings and conferences were held to discuss the printing of the revelations given to Joseph Smith. By this point, Joseph Smith had recorded 60 revelations. It was decided that ten thousand copies of the revelations would be printed in the form of a book. This large number was later reduced to only three thousand printings of the book.The book was entitled the Book of Commandments, and the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants, section 1 was to be included as the preface to the book.An appendix was made for the book, and Joseph went through and corrected any errors that could be found in the written manuscripts of the revelations. John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery were given the responsibility of taking the manuscripts to Missouri. They left on November 20, 1831, and finally arrived in Independence on January 5, 1832. In June, W.W. Phelps began setting the type for the book. The revelations were published in 1833 in Independence, Missouri, under the title: A Book of Commandments for the Government of the Church of Christ.Nearly a third of all the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants were received between Aug. 1831 and April 1834. Joseph Smith stated that the revelations in the Book of Commandments (the name was later changed to the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835, when an expanded version of the book was printed in Kirtland, Ohio) were “the foundation of the Church in these last days.” The expanded version published in 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio, included a written testimony from the Twelve Apostles of the divinity of the revelations contained in the book.See the next article in the timeline series.
Joseph Smith Jr