Articles of the Church of Christ, [possibly Fayette, NY], ca. June 1829; handwriting of Oliver Cowdery; three pages; CHL.
According the the Joseph Smith Papers website: “In composing this document, Cowdery drew on the earlier revelation and the Book of Mormon itself, especially material from 3 Nephi and Moroni. Although this document was included in Revelation Book 1, it was never published during JS’s lifetime. It may have been excluded because a subsequent text, the “Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ” [D&C 20], incorporates part of this revelation and was adopted as the early church’s constitution. The latter covers much of the same ground as Cowdery’s “articles” while providing additional instruction regarding ministerial orders, basic beliefs, and historical origin.
Cowdery drafted this text in 1829, perhaps as early as June. Because of nonextant, missing pages from Revelation Book 1, that source contains only a partial copy of the commandment.
Textual evidence indicates that Whitmer and Cowdery copied revelations and other items into Revelation Book 1 from even earlier manuscripts that are no longer extant. All items in the manuscript book date from 1828 to 1834. Textual analysis suggests that the first half was copied mostly between spring 1831 and the end of that year, and the final item was copied in July 1835.
Revelation Book 1 contains the earliest known copies of many revelations and, in some cases, the only surviving early manuscript copy. It also contains items not found anywhere else, including a revelation on securing a copyright in Canada for the Book of Mormon.3