Picturing history: Cornerstone of the Nauvoo House

Published: Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

The Prophet Joseph Smith placed the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon in this cornerstone at the southeast corner of the Nauvoo House.

Kenneth Mays

In section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to build a “boarding house,” which was to be built unto the Lord's name and for the boarding of strangers.

This structure was to be called the Nauvoo House. Cornerstones for the building were laid on a site at the southern end of Main Street on Oct. 2, 1841. Designed in the shape of an “L,” this hotel had a cornerstone at the southeast corner in which Joseph Smith placed the original manuscript of the Book of Mormon.

Following the Prophet's death, Emma Smith married Lewis C. Bidamon. After Emma Smith's death in 1879, Bidamon opened the cornerstone and discovered that the manuscript had been severely damaged by moisture and mildew.

Many of the usable pages were acquired by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About 27 percent of the manuscript is in the church's possession.

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