Preface to Doctrine and Covenants, 17 February 1835

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

To the members of the
Dear Brethren:
We deem it to be unnecessary te entertain you with a lengthy preface to the following volume, but merely to say, that it contains in short, the leading items of the religion which we have professed to believe.
The first part of the book will be found to contain a series of Lectures as delivered before a in this place, and in consequence of their embracing the important doctrine of salvation, we have arranged them into the following work.
The second part contains items or principles for the regulation of the church, as taken from the revelations which have been given since its organization, as well as from former ones.
There may be an aversion in the minds of some against receiving any thing purporting to be articles of religious faith, in consequence of there being so many now extant; but if men believe a system, and profess that it was given by inspiration, certainly, the more intelligibly they can present it, the better. It does not make a principle untrue to print it, neither does it make it true not to print it.
The church viewing this subject to be of importance, appointed, through their servants and delegates the , your servants to select and compile this work. Several reasons might be adduced in favor of this move of the Council, but we only add a few words. They knew that the church was evil spoken of in many places—its faith and belief misrepresented, and the [p. [iii]] way of truth thus subverted. By some it was represented as disbelieving the bible, by others as being an enemy to all good order and uprightness, and by others as being injurious to the peace of all governments civil and political.
We have, therefore, endeavored to present, though in few words, our belief, and when we say this, humbly trust, the faith and principles of this society as a body.
We do not present this little volume 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.
With sentiments of esteem
and sincere respect, we subscribe
ourselves your brethren in the bonds of
the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
, Ohio, February 17, 1835. [p. iv]


  1. 1

    This is a reference to the Elders School held in Kirtland, Ohio. (See JS History, vol. B-1, 557–558, 562.)  

    JS History / Smith, Joseph, et al. History, 1838–1856. Vols. A-1–F-1 (original), A-2–E-2 (fair copy). Historian’s Office, History of the Church, 1839–ca. 1882. CHL. CR 100 102, boxes 1–7. The history for the period after 5 Aug. 1838 was composed after the death of Joseph Smith.

  2. 2

    See Minutes, 24 Sept. 1834.  

  3. 3

    See Declaration on Government and Law, ca. Aug. 1835 [D&C 134].  

  4. 4

    In the October 1834 inaugural issue of the Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Oliver Cowdery presented the principles and beliefs of the church, perhaps as part of the committee’s endeavors to compile the Doctrine and Covenants. (Oliver Cowdery, “Address,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:1–2.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.