Doctrine and Covenants 18 to 19 – “The Worth of Souls Is Great”

February 22, 2021 to February 28, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 18 and 19 document events in 1829 regarding the growth of the Church and the printing of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith received divine instruction for men whose help he needed in these efforts. 

Doctrine and Covenants 18, from Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

D&C 18 is directed first to Oliver Cowdery, then to Cowdery and David Whitmer, and then to the future twelve disciples. It tells what the duties of these leaders would be. When the Twelve Apostles were called in 1835, Cowdery told how he, Smith, and Whitmer had constantly been searching for them. 

Doctrine and Covenants 19, from Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

This revelation, directed to Martin Harris, clarified doctrines regarding the nature of God, Christ’s atonement, repentance, and the afterlife, and it counseled Harris on a variety of matters. Its immediate purpose was to assure payment to printer E. B. Grandin by commanding Harris to “not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon.”

“Joseph Smith’s Negotiations to Publish the Book of Mormon,” Gerrit J. Dirkmaat and Michael Hubbard MacKay, The Coming Forth of the Book of Mormon: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder

This article tells of Joseph Smith and Martin Harris’s efforts to find a printer and interviews of several printers in Rochester, New York. The project was received with unmitigated negativity by some businessmen, and Harris became recalcitrant.   They reached an agreement with Elihu Marshall of Rochester but later contracted with E. B. Grandin of Palmyra. Joseph was presented with a solution to the dilemma in the revelation of D&C 19.  

“Agreement with Martin Harris, 16 January 1830,” Joseph Smith Papers 

This document is an agreement between Joseph Smith and Martin Harris, giving Harris the right to sell copies of the Book of Mormon until he collected enough money to cover the cost of printing. The Historical Introduction tells of Harris’s effort to sell copies. 

“Securing the Book of Mormon Copyright in 1829,” Nathaniel Hinckley Wadsworth, Sustaining the Law: Joseph Smith’s Legal Encounters, also published in BYU Studies 45, no. 3.

Abner Cole abused Joseph Smith’s right to the text of the Book of Mormon by publishing excerpts in his newspaper in January 1830. This article tells of the events and laws surrounding the original copyright of the Book of Mormon and explains the background of the Abner Cole situation. 

“Timing the Translation of the Book of Mormon: “Days [and Hours] Never to Be Forgotten,” John W. Welch, BYU Studies Quarterly 57, no. 4

This article suggests a day by day schedule of events in June 1829, as Joseph Smith finished the translation, called the three and eight witnesses, and secured the copyright of the Book of Mormon.