" The Father being a personage of spirit,
. . . The Son, . . . a personage of tabernacle, made, or
fashioned like unto man . . . called the Son because of the flesh-
" p.53


DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS OF THE CHURCH OF THE LATTER DAY SAINTS: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God, and Compiled by Joseph Smith Junior[,] Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, {Presiding Elders of said Church.} Proprietors. Kirtland, Ohio.: Printed by F. G. Williams & Co. for the Proprietors., 1835.




THE FIRST EDITION. Flake 2860; Crawley, Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church 22; A Mormon Fifty 5; The Scallawagiana Hundred 8; Howes S624; Graff 711; Sabin 83152. SCARCE, and much more difficult to obtain than a first-edition Book of Mormon. The number of copies printed is not known. There were early hopes to publish 5,000, but it is speculated that perhaps 3,000 may actually have been produced.











THIS EXAMPLE of the famous Mormon rarity has all of its original pages and flyleaves, in the original leather binding. Extensive professional restoration work has been done on the entire book. Summaries and details of condition - and work performed - follow . . .


PAGES:  15 cm. (binding, 15½ cm. = just over 6 inches tall; a half-centimeter shorter than average).  iv, [5]-257, [i]-xxv pages. COLLATED COMPLETE: All pages and flyleaves are present, textually complete* and original to this copy. There are two blank flyleaves at the front and four at the end (maximum number possible). The final flyleaf was pasted down to the inside back cover years ago (i.e., the final free endpaper is affixed to the back pastedown and is quite worn), and has been left in place rather than to damage it further by trying to lift it.

*ADDITIONAL CONDITION NOTES: Portions of two or three single letters of words are grazed (from marginal tears, etc.) with negligible loss. Words in small lower portions of a few pages were printed lightly or across small original paper creases, with minor affect to

portions of some letters. Taken in perspective, I do not feel that these very slight printing losses are significant.


This book suffered water damage long ago, resulting in warped boards and pages, mildew, and shrinkage of the leather with loss of a small portion of the spine. Extensive restoration work was therefore performed by my trusted friend and colleague, FRED JORDAN, BOOKBINDER/CONSERVATOR, at his 1817 home and bindery in Ontario County, New York (the same county in which the Joseph Smith home and the Hill Cumorah are located). Mr. Jordan disassembled the book and washed and deacidified the entire text block. He then reassembled the gatherings as needed, mended various tears with archival tissue, and sewed the book back together.

I subsequently filled in a half-dozen small blank marginal areas of preliminary leaves (including one to the edge of the title page - see enlarged detail at left - tweezers, magnifying lamp, 1000-grain sandpaper and nerves of steel, anyone?) using contemporary, matching paper fragments dating from ca. 1800 to 1830s. The restoration work to the pages left them much cleaner, smooth and flat. However, mildew stains remain, since the only chemicals which could remove those would also destroy the pages over time. The book is now stable, and should survive quite nicely for centuries to come.


         example of some of the most badly stained pages


example of some of the cleanest pages                  



BINDING: Original dark brown sheep (leather), expertly recased preserving the original boards (both leather and original binding board) and preserving more than three-quarters of the original spine. Four broad single gilt fillets remain across the spine (i.e., the original 1830s gold lines). Two additional matched fillets have since been supplied (at top and bottom of the spine, where they would have occurred in areas now appearing in new matched sheep). In other words, this is the original binding, with areas at edges professionally replaced.


ADDITIONAL RESTORATION NOTES: The leather shrank many years ago when this book suffered water damage. During restoration, Mr. Jordan re-covered the resulting exposed portions of the original binding board with matching sheep, then laid the original leather portions back into place. What therefore looks like loss of original leather to margins of the boards and spine is, as often as not, evidence of how much the original leather (most of it still here) has shrunk. The restored binding is now very strong, and can be opened widely and held easily for reading without concern. As evidence of Mr. Jordan's professional work, the book now lies open by itself on the table when the pages are opened to the center (note illustration near the top of this page), with no great stiffness or resistance which is seen so frequently in other, less-correctly "repaired" books!

SPINE LABEL: Mr. Jordan is convinced that this particular volume was never lettered on the spine, or never had a leather label. This is possible inasmuch as a wide variety of original bindings are seen on the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Therefore, a modern gilt-stamped leather label is supplied with the book, loose, which the future owner may elect to keep separate or have mounted on the spine as preferred. Spine color note: Scanning or photographing dark brown leather bindings presents particular challenges, even when adjusted afterwards with Adobe Photoshop software. In actual viewing, the original and new spine leathers match more perfectly than suggested above. If anything, the original leather appears a hint lighter in real life than the new leather portions, and the overall appearance is quite satisfying!


BOX: The book is now preserved in a folding archival box with attractive round leather spine, made specially by Mr. Jordan for this particular volume . . .


PROVENANCE: This rare treasure comes fresh "from the field," owned for two generations by a non-Mormon family here in the East. Mr. Jordan took great pains to preserve the original paste-downs and worn flyleaves, backing some of them with archival tissue on the sides which did not contain writing . . .

Several flyleaves bear early, quaint pencil practice ownership inscriptions by one Moses [Marsh?]. The young man has also added a note in his awkward hand, "Mor Mon Book." The style of writing, with a long "s," suggests that he was coached by a grandparent or other person schooled in the late 1700s.



THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS is the prime published foundation of Mormon doctrine. The Book of Mormon may be more famous to the world at large, but offers things quite apart from the crucial book now at hand. Joseph Smith's revelations (some surprisingly altered from the aborted publishing attempt in the Book of Commandments two years earlier) appeared here, to be canonized and accepted by the Church at large . . .

A general assembly of the Church of Latter-day Saints was held at Kirtland on the 17th of August, 1835, to take into consideration the labors of a committee appointed by a general assembly of the Church on the 24th of September, 1834, for the purpose of arranging the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ for the government of the Church.
. . . . .
Afternoon: A hymn was sung, when President Rigdon arose and rebuked some of the authorities for not being in their seats at the time appointed.

President Cowdery arose and introduced the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter-day Saints," in behalf of the committee. He was followed by President Rigdon, who explained the manner by which they intended to obtain the voice of the assembly for or against said book.

According to said arrangement, W. W. Phelps bore record that the book presented to the assembly was true. President John Whitmer, also, rose and testified that it was true.

Elder John Smith, taking the lead of the High Council in Kirtland, bore record that the revelations in said book were true, and that the lectures [of Faith] were judiciously arranged and compiled, and were profitable for doctrine. Whereupon, the High Council of Kirtland accepted and acknowledged them as the doctrine and covenants of their faith by a unanimous vote.

Elder Levi Jackman, taking the lead for the High Council of the church in Missouri, bore testimony that the revelations in said book were true, and the said High Council of Missouri accepted and acknowledged them as the doctrine and covenants of their faith, by a unanimous vote.

President W. W. Phelps then read the written testimony of the Twelve . . .
. . . . .
The venerable assistant president, Thomas Gates, then bore record of the truth of the book, and with his five silver-haired assistants, and the whole congregation, accepted and acknowledged it as the doctrine and covenants of their faith, by a unanimous vote."
[History of the Church II:243-6]


Revised and occasionally augmented, this book is still pondered in depth - and frequently obeyed - by Latter-day Saints to the present day. It stands as one of the most powerful milestones of the Restoration, and is understandably revered in its original edition by knowledgeable collectors.


"We do not present this little volume," stated Joseph, Oliver and the others on page iv, "with any other expectation than that we are to be called to answer to every principle advanced, in that day when the secrets of all hearts will be revealed, and the reward of every man's labor be given him."


ONE OF THE MOST fascinating principles "advanced," canonized, and taught from this standard work in many editions for nearly a century occurs in the theological "Lecture Fifth. Of Faith," page 53 . . .


A Mormon doctrine of Deity where the Father is only a spirit, and the Holy Ghost is the combined mind of the Father and Son (from the fifth Lecture on Faith, page 53.) This was essentially canonized by the Church (at Kirtland, above) and not removed from the Doctrine and Covenants until well into the twentieth century.




The Doctrine and Covenants is nearly always found in worn condition, and the discovery of any first edition example is always an event. I have sold several examples over the years, in various conditions, ranging in price (during most recent times) from $30,000 to $95,000 (the latter example a stunning copy with original 1830s LDS hymns written on the flyleaves). The price for this copy reflects my best understanding of this particular example's value in relation to others which I have handled personally.


AUTHENTICITY GUARANTEED. Insured shipping by U.S. Registered Mail only, with my supplemental insurance covering the full value, at my expense. If you are a resident of the State of New York, I must add 8¼ % sales tax to the final price. Otherwise, there is no sales tax.

BUY WITH COMPLETE CONFIDENCE. Like any reputable antiquarian bookseller, I care very much that you be pleased with your purchase. As soon as your payment has cleared here, I will send the parcel fully insured as stipulated above (Registered Mail can take up to ten days, but is very secure). Only after you receive and approve of the book will I release your funds to the previous owner of the book. I have never had a major item like this returned to me by a dissatisfied customer, but if there is any problem or misunderstanding, all will be made right!