Calendar of Documents

When complete, this calendar will list in chronological order all known JS documents. Because many original JS documents were later copied or published (often multiple times), the calendar also identifies later versions that contribute to understanding an original nonextant text or that were authorized by JS. Some known versions are not listed because they do not meet these criteria. For example, the many reprints of the preface to the Book of Mormon that appeared in contemporary newspapers are excluded, as are the versions of revelations printed in the Latter Day Saints’ Millennial Star, a church newspaper published in England by the British mission without involvement from JS. Each revelation published in the Millennial Star was derivative of an earlier version that is extant. In an effort to prevent misunderstanding, this calendar identifies known forgeries of JS documents as well as other purported JS documents of questioned authenticity.

Each entry provides the creation date and a brief description of the original document. The description identifies, as appropriate, author, genre, place of creation, and other essential bibliographical elements. Beneath the date and description is a list of relevant versions of that document, arranged chronologically by the dates on which those versions were produced. An asterisk (*) identifies versions of documents featured in the letterpress edition of The Joseph Smith Papers. For some printed works, it is possible to determine when the work, or the portion of it that included a particular JS document, was typeset. In such cases, the typesetting date (rather than the publication date for the work) is used for the creation date, followed by a dagger (†). Documents such as multiple-entry journals and minute books that were produced over a period of time are arranged among the other documents by the known or most likely beginning date. Conversely, documents created at some unknown time within a larger range of time are arranged at the end of the most likely period of production. When used in a creation date, an inclusive dash indicates that the text in question was created in multiple installments over a period of time. For example, the creation date of the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon is given as “ca. Apr.–June 1829,” meaning that work got under way on the manuscript circa April 1829 and continued through June 1829. In contrast, when a date range is introduced with the word between, such as “between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1832,” the text in question was created at some specific but unknown point within that range.

If a version is known to have existed but has not been located, it is labeled as “Not extant.” In the case of JS’s earliest revelations, it is sometimes not known with certainty whether a text was taken down at the time JS dictated it or was not written until later. Additionally, few if any original versions of the revelations are now extant. Nonetheless, this calendar assumes that an original version of each revelation existed at one time and lists it first among versions. Similarly, this calendar assumes that original minutes were taken down in meetings before being copied into a minute book.1 Some items may be “Partially extant,” meaning some portion of that version was destroyed or lost. “Extract” indicates that the version being described exists only in part, as extracted from another source. These extracts are nearly complete versions of the texts. Briefer excerpts from the revelations appearing in letters and other documents are not calendared.

Full entries for the sources given in the text of the calendar may be found in the Comprehensive Works Cited.