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Joseph Smith's original journal on public display

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is announcing a few changes at General Conference.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is announcing a few changes at General Conference.

Church Historian Marlin K. Jensen is stepping down and Steven E Snow is filling the roll.

As the church makes this change it recognizing its deep commitment to preserving the past and with that ABC 4 is taking a rare view at some of the Church's earliest documents and stories around those documents.

The public can see one of Joseph Smith's journals. It literally reveals his original handwriting ad he put ink to paper about 177 years ago.

On display in another area is a book special to members of the Latter-day Saint Church. It's called the Book of Commandments or what Latter-day Saints today call Doctrine and Covenants sections one through 64.

The book has a special story of bravery and determination. It began in July of 1833 in Independence, Missouri when Missourians angry the Mormons would not leave the state started to ransack and, according to one account, burn a printing press with manuscripts of the Book of Commandments inside.

"The mob rushed the building went up the stairs threw out the press threw out the pages," said Project Archivist for the Joseph Smith Papers Project, Robin Jensen.

Then two little girls, who were afraid the records sacred to their religion would be lost forever, decided to act.

"You had these two girls, the Rawlins sisters, ages 12 and 14 in their words-- it was fairly scary. You can imagine girls going up to this mob of men," said Jensen. "And they just grabbed as many sheets as they could."

They ran through a fence into a tall corn field. The mob followed, but it not find the hiding girls or their protected manuscripts.

"That's essentially how we have these rare copies of the Book of Commandments," said Jensen.

You can see many more historical records like the Church's earlier audio recordings of President Wilford Woodruff dating back to the 1800's. This display is open to the public in the Church History Library just east of the Conference Center through October 11.




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