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Book of Commandments

by Robert J. Woodford

The Prophet Joseph Smith and a council of high priests collected the Prophet's early revelations in November 1831, into the Book of Commandments. They originally decided to print 10,000 copies of the book at Independence, Missouri, but later reduced this number to 3,000. As editor of the Church's newspaper called The Evening and The Morning Star and of the Book of Commandments, William W. Phelps also printed some of the major revelations in that paper during 1832-1833.

Publication plans were frustrated when a mob destroyed the printing establishment on July 20, 1833, when Phelps had printed only five 32-page signatures. These 160 pages contained sixty-five revelations, the last of which was not completely typeset. Although fire destroyed most of these uncut pages, Church members salvaged enough to put together about a hundred copies, only a few of which survive today. The revelations in the Book of Commandments became part of a larger collection titled the Doctrine and Covenants, first printed in 1835.

(See Basic Beliefs home page; Doctrines of the Gospel home page; Scriptual Writings home page; Doctrine and Covenants home page)


Petersen, Melvin J. "A Study of the Nature of and the Significance of the Changes in the Revelations as Found in a Comparison of the Book of Commandments and Subsequent Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants." Master's thesis, Brigham Young University, 1955.

Woodford, Robert J. "The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants, Volume 1." Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1974.

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 1, Book of Commandments

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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