"Entered At Stationers' Hall": The British Copyright Registrations for the Book of Mormon in 1841 and the Doctrine and Covenants in 1845
On April 16, 1840, eight members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints met in Preston, England. One of the topics they discussed was the need to secure copyright protection for the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants in England. The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles recognized the key to gaining copyright protection for Latter-day Saint scriptures in Great Britain would be registration at Stationers' Hall in London in accordance with the requirements of the Statute of Anne, Britain's copyright law since 1710. This article explains the legal process and shows how the Apostles achieved British copyright registration of the Book of Mormon on February 8, 1841, and Wilford Woodruff registered the Doctrine and Covenants under the Statute of Anne on June 7, 1845. The five-year process was full of twists and turns as the Apostles faced competition from apostates who planned to obtain the copyright so they could prevent the Church from publishing the Doctrine and Covenants in England.