Joseph Smith's Revelations

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Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers is a compilation and historical study of most of the earliest extant versions of Joseph Smith’s revelations now found in the Doctrine and Covenants. Compiled from previous publications of the Joseph Smith Papers, this e-book is designed for those looking to better understand the original text and historical background of these revelations. This book will be particularly useful for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaching or studying the Doctrine and Covenants in Gospel Doctrine, seminary, or Institute courses. Because of the book’s rigorous scholarship, it will also be helpful to historians, religious studies specialists, and other scholars looking for information on this unique volume of Latter-day Saint scripture.

This study companion provides information primarily on the historical context of Joseph Smith’s revelations. Included in the volume are transcripts of the revelations and annotation that provide historical context of the revelations. Introductions to each revelation give such details as when and where a revelation was given, the question or other circumstances that led to the revelation, how it was originally recorded and disseminated, and how early church members responded to the revelation. Readers will also learn about the relationship between a revelation and other events and documents from the period, or about other cultural and religious movements of the time. Where applicable, footnotes also provide textual analysis of a revelation, sometimes noting the differences between the featured version and another early version, allowing readers to see how and to what degree these texts changed in the early years of the church. Though the annotation may often help readers better understand the meaning of a revelation, this book is not intended to be a doctrinal commentary.

This volume also includes two appendixes that explain how Joseph Smith’s revelations were first recorded, circulated, and published. The first appendix (previously published in volume 1 of the Revelations and Translations series of The Joseph Smith Papers) provides information on Revelation Book 1 and Revelation Book 2, the manuscript books in which the earliest known versions of many of the revelations were recorded. The second appendix (previously published in volume 2 of the Revelations and Translations series) explains the publication history of the revelations, including the role church newspapers played in circulating the revelations, the canonization of the revelations, and the compiling and printing of the first editions of the Doctrine and Covenants.

This e-book also includes new features to help readers using the volume as a study aid, including added versification that corresponds to the modern (2013) Latter-day Saint edition of the Doctrine and Covenants and a chart that lists in chronological order all of the revelations and other texts that make up the Doctrine and Covenants. The contents of this book are organized by section number as found in the 2013 edition.

With this e-book, much of the information on the revelations previously published by the Joseph Smith Papers is made conveniently accessible in one location. Helpful to both scholar and Latter-day Saint alike, this study companion provides valuable insight into Joseph Smith’s role as a revelator and into many of the texts that form the bedrock of Latter-day Saint history.

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