Book of Commandments

David claimed the Book of Commandments was printed in full, but the LDS and Community of Christ churches say it was not. This implies David lied, or, they have something to hide.

According to David Whitmer, "Joseph and company" purposely made significant changes to the revelations which completely altered their meaning. The Book of Commandments is the evidence of how they were prior to those changes.

Thus there was motive on the part of the LDS and RLDS churches to disparage the Book of Commandments, lest anyone should consult it and discover for themselves the truth of what David said.*

The Book of Commandments absolutely was printed in full. The evidence of that is stated in D&C 67:

MODERN LDS READING

D&C 67

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Hiram, Ohio, November 1831. HC 1: 224–225. The occasion was that of a special conference, and the publication of the revelations ALREADY RECEIVED from the Lord through the Prophet was considered and acted upon. See heading to Section 1. It was decided that Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer should take the manuscripts of the revelations to Independence, where W. W. Phelps would PUBLISH THEM AS THE "BOOK OF COMMANDEMENTS." Many of the brethren bore solemn testimony that the revelations THEN COMPILED for publication were verily true, as was witnessed by the Holy Ghost shed forth upon them. The Prophet records that after the revelation known as Section 1 had been received, some negative conversation was had concerning the language used in the revelations. The present revelation followed.

4 And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments WHICH ARE LYING BEFORE YOU.
5 Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know.
6 Now, SEEK YE OUT OF THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you; (D&C 67)

D&C 1

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, during a special conference of elders of the Church, held at Hiram, Ohio, November 1, 1831. HC 1: 221–224. MANY REVELATIONS HAD BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE LORD PRIOR TO THIS TIME, AND THE COMPILATION OF THESE FOR PUBLICATION IN BOOK FORM was one of the principal subjects passed upon at the conference. This section constitutes the Lord’s Preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation.

6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth. (D&C 1)


ORIGINAL READING

B&C 1

A PREFACE OR INSTRUCTION UNTO THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, which were given of the Lord unto his church, through him whom he appointed to this work, by the voice of his saints, through the prayer of faith: This church being organized according to the will of him, who rules all things, on the sixth day of April, in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and thirty.

2 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my PREFACE UNTO THE BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth (Book of Commandments 1)

SECTION 1 COMPARISON

Book of Commandments Doctrine & Covenants
A preface or instruction unto the Book of Commandments (removed) Lord's Preface to the doctrines, covenants, and commandments given in this dispensation. (added)
2) my preface unto the Book of Commandments 6) my preface unto the book of my commandments (added)

Reference to the "Book of Commandments" has been removed from the heading and its meaning ALTERED by a SINGLE word in verse 6.

This hi-jacking of the Preface (Section 1) of the Book of Commandments for use with the Doctrine and Covenants is a serious affront to the foundation of the church for those members who believed the Book of Commandments was from God.

Indeed, the very next section that came after those that were approved to be included in the Book of Commandments was Section 68 which has some of the most heinous doctrines of Mormonism (all contrary to the Book of Mormon) like High Priests, a mandated age for baptism, lineal priesthood, etc.

The following facts were made known to the LDS and RLDS churches back in 1950, yet both ignored them:

1. There were two different Title Pages.[1]

2. Joseph reviewed the first printing and discovered only four errors.[2]

3. It was for the foundation of the Church.[3]

4. The salvation of the world.[4]

5. The keys of the mysteries.[5]

6. The riches of eternity.[6]

7. The riches of the whole earth.[7]

8. Were compiled in a manuscript “book.”[8]

9. The Preface was God’s endorsement of a finished book.[9]

10. David’s impeccable reputation[10]

11. David’s copy was “complete.”[11]

12. Was purposely bound in “paper.”[12]

13. Copyright was secured.[13]

14. Copies were for sale.[14]

15. Was referenced by the D&C and others as a “book.”[15]

16. Was made up of five completed signatures, and that determined what went into the edition.[16]

17. D&C 133 (Nov. 3, 1831) was called and considered an "Appendix" (HC 1:229, E&M Star vol. 1, no. 12, p. 1) because it came after the Preface (Nov. 1, 1831) which was God's endorsement of a finished book. It could not contain revelations after that approval date (Nov. 1) nor have its Preface (Section 1) used for revelations that came after it (like LDS do with the D&C).[17]

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* This was demonstrated in 1963 when Wilford Wood of Bountiful, UT reprinted the Book of Commandments, 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, and the 1830 Book of Mormon in a two volume set. When readers discovered there were changes it created no small stir. The volumes were promptly pulled from all Deseret Book stores.

[1] Clarence L. and Angela Wheaton, The Book of Commandments Controversy Reviewed, Independence, Mo., Church of Christ, 1950, pp 5, 24; Peter Crawley, Joseph Smith and A Book of Commandments, The Princeton University Library Chronicle, 42, Autumn 1980, p. 26. See a scanned image here.

[2] Wheaton, p. 24, 50; Ut. Church History, Vol. 1, page 364; existing copies retain those errors, thus they were not from the final printing when the press was destroyed, but from an earlier printing. In a letter to W. W. Phelps dated June 25, 1833 (a month prior to the destruction of the press on July 20, 1833) he said: "We have found the following four errors in the Commandments as printed..."

[3] Wheaton, p. 25; Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far West Record: Minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1844, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983, p. 32

[4] Ibid

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Also called “The Book of Commandments” or “The Book of the Law of the Lord.” Wheaton, p. 27, 28. See also Ensign, July 2009, p. 46-51: “By at least March of 1831, John Whitmer began copying this early collection of revelation manuscripts into what he titled the ‘Book of Commandments and Revelations.’ This manuscript book, which Papers editors have designated as Revelation Book 1, contains items that were copied from around March 1831 to the middle of 1835.” “By early 1832, with the first book of revelation manuscripts in Missouri, Joseph and his scribes procured another book in which to copy revelations. Known as the ‘Kirtland Revelation Book,’ this second book has been labeled as Revelation Book 2 by the Papers editors. It was created from late February or early March 1832 to the end of 1834.” “Through careful study, Joseph Smith Papers Project scholars have determined that the ‘Book of Commandments and Revelations’ served as the principal source for the 1833 publication of A Book of Commandments and that both the ‘Book of Commandments and Revelations’ and the ‘Kirtland Revelation Book’ became the basis for the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835.”

[9] Wheaton, p. 40; BC 1:2: “Behold this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants and my Preface to the Book of My Commandments, WHICH I HAVE GIVEN THEM TO PUBLISH…” perfect present tense, received November 1, 1831—the cut-off for including revelations in that edition.

[10] Wheaton, p. 46; RLDS Church History, Vol. 4, p. 449: “He (David) talked quite freely in regard to his experience in the Church, and we were favorably impressed with his manner, and his evident love of truth. His frank open countenance not only shows him to be one of nature’s noblemen, but impresses one that HE IS NOT OF THE TYPE OF MEN WHO COULD BE COAXED, OR BRIBED INTO A SYSTEM OF INTRIGUE OR DECEPTION.”

[11] Wheaton, p. 49, 51; David Whitmer, Address to all Believers in the Book of Mormon, p. 5.

[12] Ibid. The binding in paper was purposeful: “First, as respects getting the Book of Commandments bound, WE THINK THAT IT IS NOT NECESSARY.” (RLDS Church History, Vol. 1, p. 298) Copies in the Library of Congress, New York Public Library, Yale University, LDS & RLDS churches are all paper bound. (Wheaton, p. 54)

[13] The Wheaton’s obtained a copy of the original copyright dated February 13, 1833 (Wheaton pp. 52-53); David said it was copyrighted, Address to all Believers in the Book of Mormon, p. 5.

[14] Elder Leonard Rich was criticized for “selling the revelations at an extortionate price.” (Wheaton p. 56; LDS Church History, Vol. 2, p. 27)

[15] Wheaton, pp. 57-63; Lectures on Faith (D&C 1835, p. 38: "10. Book of Commandments, chapt. 2nd,, commencing in the third line..."; 42: "A. In the bible and book of commandments..."); D&C 1:6 (Nov. 1, 1831): "Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments"; D&C 67:6 (Nov. 1, 1831): "Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments..." (See also LDS HC 1:224-226); in an appeal for redress (RLDS Church History, Vol. 1, pp. 505, 509, 510, 513); Lyman Wight said "That the D&C was a telestial law, and the BC was a celestial law" (Millennial Star, Vol. 15, p. 851).

[16] See a scanned image of the final page. There is no blank space and there were no plans to add a sixth signature or another 32 pages.

[17] If there was a second or third edition of the Book of Commandments this would have been included as an "Appendix,' meaning "in addition to" the original set of revelations agreed upon two days prior. It should be noted, that in the Joseph Smith Papers Project, "Revelations and Translations" Vol. 1, there mysteriously is no mention of the name "Appendix" given to it, as stated in HC 1: 229, E&M Star vol. 1, no. 12, p. 1, and the current section heading for D&C 133. There is however a presumptuous notation in the side notes of the following sections in the order they occur:

  • 133 (Nov. 3, 1831)
  • 69 (Nov. 11, 1831)
  • 107 (D&C 107)
  • 70 (Nov. 12, 1831)
  • 75 (Jan. 25, 1832),
  • 71 (Dec. 1, 1831)

Which says:

This revelation was not printed in the Book of Commandments because the printing office was destroyed in 1833.

Pure conjecture as nowhere is noted which were to be included and which were not.


For further information see the full color reproductions of the revelation book containing the revelations of the BC and DC in the Joseph Smith Papers Project, “Revelations and Translations” Vol 1. Note: These are not the original hand written revelations. (Deseret News, “Miller Funding Joseph Smith Project,” April 4, 2005; Deseret News, “Details About Joseph Smith Project,” April 5, 2005.)