Book of Mormon Original Manuscript

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Shulem
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Book of Mormon Original Manuscript

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President Joseph Smith, personally laid the original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon along with other items in a cornerstone of the Nauvoo House during conference in October 1841.

In the link below, Church historian Robin Jensen, takes one minute to describe how the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon was placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House for permanent safe keeping. There are not many items in the past that are as important as the Book of Mormon Manuscript. Please note how Jensen states that it probably wasn’t the best idea to place the manuscript in a cornerstone of a building at the edge of a river in order to preserve records.

Church History Department VIDEO LINK

Image
CHURCH HISTORY WEBSITE wrote:In October 1841, Joseph placed the original manuscript in the southeast cornerstone of the Nauvoo House, a place appointed by revelation for lodging visitors. More than 40 years later, the manuscript was uncovered, but only 28 percent had not decayed as water had seeped into the building’s stonework.
Joseph Smith Journal wrote: link to original document

The corner stone of the Nauvoo House was laid by President Joseph Smith on the 2nd of October 1841. (At the commencement of the Last General conference of the church in Nauvoo. previous to the finishing of the Temple,) And the following articles were deposited therein by the president.
To Wit.—
A. Book of Mormon
A. Revelation given January 19 1841 (Doctrine and Covenants Section 124)
The “Times & Seasons” containing the charter of the Nauvoo House.
Journal of Heber C. Kimball.
The Memorial of Lyman Wight. To the United States’. Senate.
A Book of Doctrine & Covenants.— 1st. Edition.
No. 35. of the Times and Seasons.
The original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon.
The persecution of the Church in the State of Missouri, published in the “Times & Seasons”
The Holy Bible

(cash & coins)
Jospeh Smith Papers wrote:Ebenezer Robinson reported that the objects placed in the cornerstone were “encased in sheet lead to protect the contents from moisture.”

QUESTION: Who told Joseph Smith to place The original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and other sacred items in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House and why?
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Re: Book of Mormon Original Manuscript

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Smith placed the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and Section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants, also known as Revelation given January 19th, 1841, within the the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House that was under construction. The revelation of D&C 124 provided specific instruction for the building of the Nauvoo House in which Smith hid up the original manuscript and other choice documents within the cornerstone for permanent safekeeping.

One need only look at D&C 124 and consider the revelation given to Joseph Smith regarding the Nauvoo House and the implications that follow his reasoning for placing the Manuscript in the cornerstone:

SECTION 124:1 wrote:Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Joseph Smith

Okay, we have a revelation at hand. Let’s follow it and see where it goes.

SECTION 124:5 wrote:For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will

President Smith claimed to know God’s will by the Holy Ghost. That is supreme knowledge from on High.

SECTION 124:22 wrote:Let my servant George, and my servant Lyman, and my servant John Snider, and others, build a house unto my name, such a one as my servant Joseph shall show unto them, upon the place which he shall show unto them also.

President Smith is divinely commissioned to show George, Lyman, and John, exactly what is needed to build the Nauvoo House unto the Lord.

SECTION 124:23 wrote:And it shall be for a house for boarding, a house that strangers may come from afar to lodge therein; therefore let it be a good house, worthy of all acceptation, that the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord; and the cornerstone I have appointed for Zion.

BINGO! God now reveals through his prophet what the house is being built for and that the cornerstone thereof is appointed for ZION! This is an amazing revelation in showing that God is revealing to Joseph that the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House is appointed for Zion. Thus, the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House is “appointed” for Zion!

SECTION 124:56 wrote:And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have place therein, from generation to generation.

The revelation now turns into a prophecy! The Nauvoo House built upon the cornerstone of Zion will become a house to board strangers from “GENERATION TO GENERATION”! This has now become a prophecy marking time through generations insomuch as the Nauvoo House will serve this purpose for generations to come.

But, we know this prophecy failed. It never happened. In fact, the house was never completed while under construction of Latter-day Saints.

But wait! There is more to come. Let us examine the rest of the prophecy at hand. We will catch Joseph Smith in the very act of deceiving his people.
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Come to Zion

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Let’s continue in the revelation and prophecy concerning the Nauvoo House:

SECTION 124:58 wrote:And as I said unto Abraham concerning the kindreds of the earth, even so I say unto my servant Joseph: In thee and in thy seed shall the kindred of the earth be blessed.

How might Abraham be a blessing for the Nauvoo House?

Smith said earlier in the revelation (verse 3) that “This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world, to the four corners thereof” and (verse 5) “For it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come.” Smith was anxious to extend an invitation to kings and dignitaries around the world to come to his Nauvoo House and witness the new temple that would soon be built. The revelation continues with the extended call to all the kings of the earth:

“Awake, O kings of the earth! Come ye, O, come ye, with your gold and your silver, to the help of my people, to the house of the daughters of Zion” (verse 11)

“Again, let my servant John C. Bennett help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings and people of the earth” (verse 16)

But what does Joseph Smith know about kings of the earth? Here we have the leader of a relatively new religion calling upon kings to come visit him in his new house which is about to be constructed. Did kings ever come to visit? No, they did not. It never happened! The grand invitation given in the revelation went totally unanswered. In fact, a year later, Smith made another reference to a King but this time an ancient King that was associated with the so-called Abrahamic blessings. Smith claimed that a King’s name was contained in the hieroglyphic writing of Facsimile No. 3, of the Book of Abraham, wherein “King Pharaoh, is given in the characters above his head”, but we know there is no King’s name in that writing -- thus we see that Smith tends to make things up to suit his own purposes. Could this also be the case with the Nauvoo House?

Yes, it was the case with the Nauvoo House because the house was never finished and no kings ever came to Zion to witness Smith’s work and the Book of Mormon Manuscript was sealed up in the cornerstone to begin the rotting process. Is that what the Lord had in mind for the Book of Mormon Manuscript and other precious documents sealed up as a testament to the Nauvoo House and “for the cornerstone of Zion”?

Let’s examine this revelation and prophecy a little more . . . .
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For Rent

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SECTION 124:59 wrote:Therefore, let my servant Joseph and his seed after him have place in that house, from generation to generation, forever and ever, saith the Lord.

This prophecy doesn’t seem to have been fulfilled in the manner Smith envisioned and literally ran its course after he died. The Nauvoo boarding house was never completed and ownership was assumed by Smith’s widow, Emma. The house was later converted into a residential home for Emma and her second husband. Emma recovered the deteriorated Original Manuscript from the cornerstone and surviving pieces were handed out as keepsakes to people who lived in Nauvoo. After Emma died, the mansion was purchased by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and is owned by the Community of Christ to this day.

So, the bit about Joseph and his posterity having place in that house from generation to generation never fully materialized and at best was short lived seeing the house was never completed during the remaining years Smith was alive. As far as it being a house for Joseph’s seed from generation to generation, that’s a matter for the Community of Christ to determine -- not the Church in Utah which ultimately fled the scene.

SECTION 124:60 wrote:And let the name of that house be called Nauvoo House; and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this, the cornerstone thereof;

This prophecy does find some measure of fulfillment due to the efforts of the Community of Christ who preserve the home as a historic site and offer Nauvoo House Rental accommodations. Perhaps the Community of Christ is anxiously determined to find some measure of fulfillment in Smith’s earlier prophecy that it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveler, but the cornerstone of Zion didn’t work out and ever remains unfulfilled. Sadly, unbeknown to Joseph the Seer, the original Book of Mormon manuscript was abandoned by Zion and left to rot.

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Re: Book of Mormon Original Manuscript

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Shulem wrote:
Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:08 pm
QUESTION: Who told Joseph Smith to place The original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon and other sacred items in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House and why?

I think it safe to say that anyone in Nauvoo who asked the prophet Joseph Smith what influenced him to place the Manuscript into the cornerstone for permanent safekeeping, he would have declared that the Lord told him to do it. Who other than the Lord would tell Joseph Smith what to do with the Manuscript? The Manuscript of the Book of Mormon being placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House was to symbolize the testimony of Zion and Smith made it clear that “no man pay stock to the quorum of the Nauvoo House unless he shall be a believer in the Book of Mormon, and the revelations” (verse 119). With regard to the cornerstone and Manuscript, Smith declared who was in charge:

SECTION 124:118 wrote:And hearken unto the counsel of my servants Joseph, and Hyrum, and William Law, and unto the authorities which I have called to lay the foundation of Zion; and it shall be well with him forever and ever. Even so. Amen.

Then, practically in his next breath, Joseph Smith asserts his divine ability to exercise his right in knowing what is best for the Manuscript:

SECTION 124:125 wrote:I give unto you my servant Joseph to be a presiding elder over all my church, to be a translator, a revelator, a seer, and prophet.

So there you have it. The “SEER” (one who sees the future) thought it best to take the Manuscript and place it in the cornerstone where it would be left to rot!
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A Failed Prophecy

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Unfortunately, for the Latter-day Saints, the Nauvoo House was never completed beyond the windows of the second story and all construction was halted so the saints could complete the Nauvoo Temple.

Nauvoo House Oil on canvas, David Hyrum Smith, circa 1865 wrote: Image

Despite the revelation and prophecy of Doctrine and Covenants 124 in commanding that the Nauvoo House be built up as an important part of the cornerstone of Zion, failure was the ultimate outcome. Joseph Smith was frustrated with the inability of the saints to accomplish the work and fulfil the commandment of God. President Smith must have been reminded of the words of Nephi who said, “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

But now it appeared that the Nauvoo House was in jeopardy and would fall by the wayside as did the Missouri temple that the saints failed to build by way of commandment. It was evident that Smith was becoming increasingly frustrated that his prophecies were failing and he warned the saints that failure to accomplish the Lord’s design is due to the laziness of the saints who are to blame:

Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons, 15 July 1842 wrote:The Lord has told us to build the temple, and the Nauvoo House, and that command is as binding upon us as any other; and that man who engages not in these things is as much a transgressor as though he broke any other command—he is not a doer of God’s will, nor a fulfiller of his laws.

The circumstances involving construction worsened and Smith was forced to accept the fact that the Nauvoo House was not going to be built by the commandment of God and construction of the house was hindered and ultimately ceased. Smith met his fateful end at Carthage Jail where he and his brother were murdered by an angry mob. Ironically, the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum were secretly buried in the cellar of the unfinished Nauvoo House in an effort to keep their bodies from being desecrated or stolen. The bodies were later removed and buried nearby. It’s extremely ironic that the unfinished Nauvoo House was converted into a graveyard rather than a grand hotel to accommodate the kings and dignitaries of the earth in which Smith implored them, “O, come ye, with your gold and your silver, to the help of my people, to the house of the daughters of Zion.”

Brigham Young was left with the task of what to do with the Nauvoo House. The prophecy was now in his hands:

Council of Fifty, Minutes, p. 106 wrote:The chairman (Brigham Young) then asked, “Shall we sell this Temple”? To which was responded an universal no. He then asked shall we sell the Nauvoo House which was responded to in the same manner. He then took a vote of the council on the question. “Shall we finish the Temple and the Nauvoo House and hold them sacred to the Lord”. It was unanimous in the affirmative.
Council of Fifty, Minutes, p. 162 wrote:It is a commandment from God through the prophet Joseph to build that and shall we say we can't build it? no. If we say we can build it, we can do it. There are sacred records deposited in the foundation of that and it is our duty to build the house and cover up those records.

Brigham Young was determined to fulfill the command of God to build the Nauvoo House and to “cover up” the sacred records that had been hidden away in the cornerstone, including the Manuscript of the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, for Brigham Young, the prophecy was bound to fail, yet again! The Nauvoo House was never completed beyond the windows of the second story and all construction was halted so that the saints could complete the Nauvoo Temple.
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Brigham Young Failed

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Shulem wrote:
Thu Apr 15, 2021 3:57 pm
Brigham Young was determined to fulfill the command of God to build the Nauvoo House and to “cover up” the sacred records that had been hidden away in the cornerstone, including the Manuscript of the Book of Mormon.

Did Brigham Young have a real-time pipeline direct to God in knowing that he could fulfill the command of God and complete the Nauvoo House?

Council of Fifty, Minutes, Nauvoo February 27— 1845 wrote:We are nothing terrified by our adversaries & know that the time has not fully come for to evacuate our privileges in Illinois, but have much reason to believe we shall fully accomplish all the commands of God concerning the building of the Temple & Nauvoo House.

Notice that Brigham Young says he has much reason to “believe” that the command of God in building the Nauvoo House would be accomplished. Now, I ask, did Brigham Young base this belief on a spiritual whim or on mighty faith exercised by a prophet being filled with the Holy Ghost?

The bottom line is, no matter how much belief or faith Brigham had that he would complete the construction of the Nauvoo House, he was doomed to fail and unlike Nephi would not accomplish the thing which God commanded him. This must have frustrated Brigham Young. It certainly proves that he never at any time KNEW that the prophecy would be fulfilled. He simply had a belief and misguided faith in hoping they could get the job done. But a sure word of prophecy was never part of the formula! The prophecy failed.
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“Our salvation depends on it”

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Joseph Smith wrote: President Joseph Smith’s Journal

The building of Nauvoo House is just as sacred in my view as the Temple. I want the Nauvoo House built it must be built, our salvation depends upon it. When men have done what they can or will for the temple, let them do what they can for the Nauvoo House. We never can accomplish our work at the expense of another.

Apparently, the saints failure to build the Nauvoo House cost them their salvation because they accomplished the construction of the temple at the expense of the Nauvoo House which is exactly what Smith told them not to do. The revelation in D&C 124:56 was very explicit in stating that the Nauvoo House must be built and that it was a divine commandment given to the entire Church:

“And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding house which I have commanded you to build”.

And again, the Original Book of Mormon which was placed in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo House and left to rot is a reminder that not all was well in Zion.

Nephi wrote:I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

Regarding the Missouri Temple and the Nauvoo House, of course -- all bets are off.
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The saints repent

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To the credit of the Latter-day Saints who persevered and completed the Nauvoo Temple, the brief and rather to the point, Dedicatory Prayer offered by Orson Hyde seems to reflect the somber mood that the saints had for only accomplishing half the goal.

The temple was built and completed according to prophecy. The Nauvoo House was not.

Orson Hyde wrote:Holy and Everlasting Father, before Thee this morning we present ourselves and acknowledge Thy mercy that has been extended to us since we have been on Thy footstool, and for this opportunity of dedicating this house. We thank Thee that Thou hast given us strength to accomplish the charges delivered by Thee. Forgive us our sins and the sins of thy people. Thou hast seen our labors and exertions to accomplish this purpose.
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Robin Jensen

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I would like to refer back to Robin Jensen’s one minute video presentation where he explains what happened to the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon:

video link

Robin Jensen wrote: Joseph Smith when he was in Nauvoo decided to commemorate the beginning of a building, the Nauvoo House, and he placed the Original Manuscript in the cornerstone, now at the edge of the river, that probably wasn’t the best idea if you’re thinking preservation. Several decades later, Emma Smith’s second husband Lewis Bidamon, he unearthed the manuscript and by that point a lot of it was just a pile of mush essentially, but there was some that survived, 28% of the manuscript survived. Bidamon handed these out as keepsakes essentially for people that live in Nauvoo.

I would like to focus on the point Jensen made saying, “that probably wasn’t the best idea” to place the manuscript into the cornerstone of a building just 500 ft away from river’s edge if one is thinking about preserving the record wherewith we know that the items were encased in sheet lead to protect the contents from moisture.

But in all honesty, Robin hits the nail on the head! “THAT PROBABLY WASN’T THE BEST IDEA”!

But whose idea was it? It was God’s, right? We’ll get to that soon enough. Let’s examine that point, but first some more details would be helpful. It seems, President Smith was late for Conference because the First Presidency was busy setting the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon into the Nauvoo House cornerstone. Apparently, the weather was so bad on the day before that everything was cancelled. It must have been raining. Not a good day to bury manuscripts in a foundational cornerstone! At least wait a day or so until the rain stops. Don’t you agree, Robin? But was the weather fair enough to bury precious documents the next day? Was the prophet working in concert with God who controls the weather?

MINUTES OF A CONFERENCE OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS, HELD IN NAUVOO, ILL., COMMENCING OCT. 1ST, 1841 wrote: TIMES AND SEASONS

Friday, Oct. 1st. In consequence of the inclemency of the weather, the congregation were prevented from assembling, and conference, from business.

Saturday, 2nd, A. M. The conference assembled on the meeting ground; but as the Presidency were absent laying the corner stone of the Nauvoo House, business was delayed, and the conference organised themselves in their several quorums in order. Br. B Young opened divine service, and Br. O Pratt closed. The conference then made choice of Br. Joseph Smith to Preside in conference, and appointed Elias Smith and Gustavus Hills as Secretaries.

P. M. Pres. Joseph Smith opened by calling on the choir to sing a Hymn—sung 18th Hymn. The President then read a letter from Br. O Hyde giving an account of his journeys and success in his mission, which was listened to with intense interest; and the conference, by vote, expressed their approbation of the style and spirit of said letter. The President then made remarks on the inclemency of the weather and the uncomfortable situation of the saints with regard to a place of worship, and a place of public entertainment.

<snip>

Conference closed by the choir singing Hymn 284 and prayer by Bro. B. Young. Conference adjourned sine die.

Although conference commenced under discouraging circumstances owing to the inclemency of the weather, yet a vast number of brethren and visitors from abroad were present; and on Saturday and Sunday, the weather having become favorable, the congregation was immense. The greatest unanimity prevailed; business was conducted with the most perfect harmony and good feelings; and the assembly dispersed with new confidence in the great work of the Last Days.
JOSEPH SMITH, Pres’t.

So, there you have it. The First Presidency was late for conference because they were busy burying the Original Manuscript of the Book of Mormon in the cornerstone of the Nauvoo house. Brigham Young and Orson Pratt made the best of the situation while waiting on the First Presidency to hurry up and bury the records in what seemed less than ideal weather, especially the day prior.

And so . . . .
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