Restoration and Church History
Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: William W. Phelps

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: William W. Phelps, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

William W. Phelps, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2021)

William W. Phelps

(1792–1872)

W.W Phelps

William Wines Phelps, ca. 1865, photograph by Charles R. Savage, Church History Library, PH 1700 4495.

William W. Phelps was born in Hanover, New Jersey, in 1792. He married Sally Waterman in 1815. In June 1831, Phelps was baptized into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and ordained an elder in Kirtland, Ohio. The following month, he was appointed as the Church printer (Doctrine and Covenants 57:11). In late 1831, he moved to Independence, Missouri, where he edited The Evening and the Morning Star and the Upper Missouri Advertiser. Phelps became a member of the Literary Firm in 1831 (Doctrine and Covenants 70) and a member of the United Firm in 1832 (Doctrine and Covenants 82). In November 1833, four months after a mob destroyed the Church’s printing office in Independence, Phelps and other Latter-day Saints relocated to Clay County, Missouri. He was appointed a counselor or assistant president to David Whitmer, the president of church in Missouri, in July 1834. Phelps returned to Kirtland in 1835, where he helped compile the Doctrine and Covenants and the Church’s first hymnal. He then moved back to Missouri in 1836. Between 1838 and 1840, he was twice excommunicated and twice readmitted into the Church. By November 1842, he had moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he helped edit the Times and Seasons and Nauvoo Neighbor and assisted Willard Richards in writing Joseph Smith’s history. He migrated to Utah Territory in 1848.

References in the Doctrine and Covenants

Doctrine and Covenants 55, 57, 58, 61, 67, 70, 8285