Book of Commandments, Caroline Rollins, Hyrum Smith, Ida Taylor Whitaker, John M. Whitaker, John Taylor, John Whitmer, Joseph Smith, library, Martin Harris, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, mob, Morman Commandments, Oliver Cowdery, press, revelations, Sidney Rigdon, type, W. W. Phelps, William Wines Phelps, Zion
BOOK OF COMMANDMENTS, FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF…
Zion: W. W. Phelps, 1833
BX8628 A2 1833
Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William Wines Phelps were responsible for the first publication of this work. Phelps, Cowdery, and Whitmer were also on a committee to review the revelations within. The original publishing plan called for an edition of ten thousand copies. In the end, this number was only three thousand.
Printing began in December 1832 and ended on 20 July 1833 when a mob destroyed the type, the press, and the building in which the work was being done. Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins managed to rescue the sheets gathered here.
In her diary, Mary Rollins, writes of this event. “The mob renewed their work again by tearing down the printing office and driving the family of Brother Phelps out of the lower part of the building, throwing their things into the street. My sister, Caroline, and I were in the corner of the fence, tremblingly watching them and when they brought out a pile of large sheets of paper saying, “Here are the damned Mormon Commandments’ I was determined to have some of them. Sister said she would go too, but she added, ‘They will kill us.’ While their backs were turned prying out the gable end of the building, we ran and got our arms full and were turning away when some of the mob saw us and called for us to stop, but we ran as fast as we could, with two of them after us…we ran toward a gap in the fence, through into a large cornfield, laid the papers on the ground, and laid flat over them. The corn was five or six feet tall and very thick…”
This copy belonged to Hyrum Smith, was then given to President John Taylor, and was preserved by his daughter, Ida Taylor Whitaker. The book then rested in John M. Whitaker’ library and contains his bookplate. Appoximately two dozen copies of the unfinished work are known to exist today.