Sell the Copyright


In 1829 Joseph Smith received a revelation to sell the copyrights of the Book of Mormon in Canada.  Ultimately the effort was unsuccessful.

Revelation given to Joseph Smith regarding the sell of the Book of Mormon copyright, Joseph Smith Papers – 1829: 

“A Revelation given to Oliver [Cowdery] Hyram [Hiram Page] Josiah [Stowell] & Joseph Knight given at Manchester Ontario C[ounty] New York Behold I the Lord am God I Created the Heavens & the Earth & all things that in them is wherefore they are mine & I sway my scepter over all the Earth & ye are in my hands to will & to do that I can deliver you o{ut} of evry difficulty & affliction according to your faith & dilligence & uprightness Before me & I have cov{◊enanted} with my Servent Joseph that earth nor Hell combined againsts him shall not take the Blessing out of his hands which I have prepared for him if he walketh uprightly before me neither the spiritual nor the temporal Blessing & Behold I also covenanted with those who have assisted him in my work that I will do unto them even the same Because they have done that which is pleasing in my sight (yea even all save it be one o{lnly}) Wherefore be dilligent in Securing the Copy right of my work upon all the face of the Earth of which is known by you unto my Servent Joseph & unto him whom he willeth accordinng as I shall command him that the faithful & the righteous may retain the temperal Blessing as well as the Spirit[u]al & also that my work be not destroyed by the workers of iniquity to the{rir} own distruction & damnation when they are fully ripe & now Behold I say unto you that I have covenanted & it Pleaseth me that Oliver Cowderey Joseph Knight Hyram Page & Josiah Stowel shall do my work in this thing yea even in securing the Copyright & they shall do it with an eye single to my Glory that it may be the means of bringing souls unto me Salvation through mine only Be{gotten} Behold I am God I have spoken it Wherefor I say unto you that ye shall go seeking me continually through mine only Be{tgotten} & if ye do this ye shall have my spirit to go with you & ye shall have an addition of all things which is expedient in me. amen & I grant unto my servent a privelige that he may sell a copyright through you speaking after the manner of men for the four Provinces if the People harden not their hearts against the enticeings of my spirit & my word for Behold it lieth in themselves to their condemnation {or} th{eir} salvation Behold my way is before you & the means I will prepare & the Blessing I hold in mine own hand & if ye are faithful I will pour out upon you even as much as ye are able to Bear & thus it shall be Behold I am the father & it is through mine o{nly} begotten which is Jesus Christ your Redeemer amen.”

Letter from from Hiram Page to William McLellin, 1848:[footnote]Letter, Hiram Page to William McLellin, Fishingriver, Feb. 2, 1848; Community of Christ Archives, spelling and punctuation standardized by Eldon Watson[/footnote]

Joseph heard that there was a chance to sell a copy right in Canada for any useful book that was used in the States. Joseph thought this would be a good opportunity to get a hand on a sum of money which was to be (after the expenses were taken out) for the exclusive benefit of the Smith family and was to be at the disposal of Joseph. Accordingly Oliver Cowdery, Joseph Knight, Hiram Page and Joseph Stoel were chosen (as I understand by revelation) to do the business; we were living from 30 to 100 miles apart. The necessary preparation was made (by them) in a sly manner so as to keep Martin Harris from drawing a share of the money. It was told me we were to go by revelation, but when we had assembled at Father Smiths, there was no revelation for us to go, but we were all anxious to get a revelation to go; and when it came we were to go to Kingston where we were to sell if they would not harden their hearts; but when we got there, there was no purchaser, neither were they authorized at Kingston to buy rights for the Provence; but little York was the place where such business had to be done. We were to get 8,000 dollars. We were treated with the best of respect by all we met with in Kingston – by the above we may learn how a revelation may be received and the person receiving it not be benefitted.” (Letter, Hiram Page to William McLellin, Fishingriver, Feb. 2, 1848; Community of Christ Archives, spelling and punctuation standardized by Eldon Watson)”

David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887[footnote]David Whitmer, An Address to All Believers in Christ, 1887, p. 30-31:[/footnote]

“Joseph looked into the hat in which he placed the stone, and received a revelation that some of the brethren should go to Toronto, Canada, and that they would sell the copyright of the Book of Mormon. Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery went to Toronto on this mission, but they failed entirely to sell the copyright, returning without any money. Joseph was at my father’s house when they returned. I was there also, and am an eye witness to these facts. Jacob Whitmer and John Whitmer were also present when Hiram Page and Oliver Cowdery returned from Canada.”
“Well, we were all in great trouble; and we asked Joseph how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto and sell the copyright, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking. Joseph did not know how it was, so he enquired of the Lord about it, and behold the following revelation came through the stone: “Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of men: and some revelations are of the devil.” So we see that the revelation to go to Toronto and sell the copyright was not of God, but was of the devil or of the heart of man.”

Crash Course:
Joseph Smith Papers, Revelation Book 1 
The attempt to sell the Book of Mormon copyright