Early revelations provide a glimpse into the past

The aim of Joseph Smith Papers editors for the first volume of the Revelations and Translations series is really no different than that of the Prophet, who anticipated the need for the Saints to have recorded versions of the revelations he received.

"Having copies of the revelations given to Joseph are so important to us (as Latter-day Saints) because they are representative of our belief in modern-day revelation," said Robin S. Jensen, a volume co-editor for the Joseph Smith Papers. "Just as they were important to the Saints in the early days of the church."

The Revelations and Translations "facsimile edition," released Tuesday, is the second of 30 planned volumes.

Jensen said most of the revelations included in the new volume are from handwritten copies discovered. There are very few of the originally dictated manuscripts left. In many cases, the originals were discarded or even destroyed after they had been recopied.

"Even the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon was put into the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House," Jensen said. "Unfortunately 75 percent was destroyed as a result."

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