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How did we get the Doctrine and Covenants? (part 2)

Last week we launched an exhibit of documents and publications that trace the history of the Doctrine and Covenants in the library’s Reading Room from now until April graduation.  Prior to the D&C we know today, these revelations were first written down in some form.  Examples of manuscript versions of these revelations collected by Newel K. Whitney are on exhibit, along with the earliest published forms of these revelations.

Evening and Morning Star, 1832The first concerted effort to publish the revelations that Joseph Smith had received over the first years of the Church occurred in 1832 in Independence, Missouri.  Selected revelations had been transcribed and compiled by the Literary Firm into the manuscript “Book of Commandments and Revelations,” and this book was taken by John Whitmer and Oliver Cowdery to Independence, as directed by revelation in November 1831.  William W. Phelps had established a print shop there, and they planned to publish these revelations in the newspaper The Evening and Morning Star.  The first issue of the Church’s first official publication was printed in June 1832. The first article in this issue was titled “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ” and it began with the revelation later known as Doctrine and Covenants Section 20, followed by the one that became Section 22.  During its fourteen months of publication in Missouri, The Evening and Morning Star printed twenty-six revelations, and for most members this was their first opportunity to see and read the revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

A copy of The Evening and Morning Star (1832) showing “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ”, a rare copy of the Book of Commandments (1833), and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants are all on display in the Special Collections Reading Room, along with manuscript revelations from the Newel Kimball Whitney papers, documenting the history of one of the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come to Special Collections (1st floor of the HBLL) and take advantage of this special opportunity to view some important documents from early Church history!

Note: Since the exhibit is in the Special Collections Reading Room, you will be required to put all belongings in a locker provided in the lobby before you can enter to see the exhibit.

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