Corresponding Section Numbers in Editions of the Doctrine and Covenants
The most important Joseph Smith–era sources for studying the texts and the textual history of Joseph Smith’s revelations are Revelation Book 1, a manuscript compilation of revelations created circa March 1831 to July 1835; Revelation Book 2, a manuscript compilation created circa February 1832 to circa November 1834; The Evening and the Morning Star (1832–1833), a church newspaper that published a number of Joseph Smith’s revelations; the Book of Commandments (1833), the first compilation of Joseph Smith’s revelations; Evening and Morning Star (1835–1836), an edited reprint of the earlier newspaper; the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1835), an expanded compilation; and the second edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (1844). For more information about these sources and the textual history of Joseph Smith’s revelations, consult the first two volumes of the Revelations and Translations series.
In annotation in The Joseph Smith Papers, source citations identify revelations by their original date and by a citation of the version most relevant to the particular instance of annotation, which is generally one of the versions identified in the preceding paragraph. (Occasionally, a citation may reference a Joseph Smith–era version of a revelation other than the versions identified above, such as a loose manuscript copy or a version published in a non-Mormon newspaper.) The following table is provided to help readers refer from the cited version of a revelation to other versions of the same revelation.
The table includes revelations announced by Joseph Smith—plus letters, records of visions, articles, minutes, and other items, some of which were authored by other individuals—that were copied into Revelation Book 1 or Revelation Book 2, or that were published in the Book of Commandments or Doctrine and Covenants in or before 1844, the year of Smith’s death. The table also includes material originating with Joseph Smith published in the Doctrine and Covenants after 1844. Such later-canonized material includes, for example, extracts of Joseph Smith’s 20 March 1839 letter written from the jail in Liberty, Missouri. These extracts, first canonized in 1876, are currently found in sections 121 through 123 of the Latter-day Saint edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
The 1835 and 1844 editions of the Doctrine and Covenants included a series of lectures on the subject of faith, which constituted part 1 of the volume. Only part 2, the compilation of revelations and other items, is represented in the table.
Some material was significantly revised after its initial publication in the canon. For instance, the revelation in chapter 28 of the Book of Commandments included twice as much material when it was republished in the Doctrine and Covenants in 1835. As another example, chapter 65 of the Book of Commandments stops abruptly before the end of the revelation because publication of the volume was disrupted; the revelation was not published in its entirety until 1835. These and other changes of greater or lesser significance are not accounted for in the table.
The far left column of the table gives the standard date of each item, based on careful study of original sources. The “standard date” is the date a revelation was originally dictated or recorded. If that date is ambiguous or unknown, the standard date is the best approximation of the date, based on existing evidence. The standard date provides a way to identify each item and situate it chronologically with other documents, but it cannot be assumed that every date corresponds to the day an item was first dictated or recorded. In some cases, an item may have been recorded without a date notation. It is also possible that a few items were first dictated on a date other than the date surviving manuscripts bear. The dates found in this table were assigned based on all available evidence, including later attempts by Joseph Smith and his contemporaries to recover date, place, and circumstances.
Where surviving sources provide conflicting information about dating, editorial judgment has been exercised to select the most likely date (occasionally only an approximate month), based on the most reliable sources. In cases in which two or more items bear the same date, they have been listed in the order in which they most likely originated, and a letter of the alphabet has been appended, providing each item a unique editorial title (for example, Oct. 1830–A or Oct. 1830–B). Information on dating issues will accompany publication of these items in the Documents series.
The second and third columns indicate the manuscript page numbers for each item that appears in Revelation Book 1 or Revelation Book 2. Because Revelation Book 1 is missing several leaves, it is impossible to give inclusive page ranges for some items. In such cases, the beginning page number can be determined from an index written in the original manuscript book, and this number is marked with an asterisk (*).
The fourth column shows the date an item was published in The Evening and the Morning Star. The date given is the date of the issue in which the item was published as a separate document (either completely or in extracted form); issues in which the item was only quoted in editorial matter are not included. Similarly, the sixth column provides the date an item was published in Evening and Morning Star, the edited Ohio reprint of the earlier Missouri periodical.
The fifth column and the seventh through tenth columns provide the number of the chapter (in the case of the Book of Commandments) or section (in the case of editions of the Doctrine and Covenants) in which the item was published in one or more of five different canonical editions, the first three of which were initiated by Joseph Smith.
Key to column titles
RB1: Revelation Book 1
RB2: Revelation Book 2
Star: The Evening and the Morning Star
1833: Book of Commandments
EMS: Evening and Morning Star
1835: Doctrine and Covenants, 1835 edition, part 2
1844: Doctrine and Covenants, 1844 edition, part 21
1981/2013: Doctrine and Covenants, 1981 and 2013 editions, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints2
2004: Doctrine and Covenants, 2004 edition, Community of Christ3