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Journal of Discourses
The Journal of Discourses is a 26-volume collection of public sermons by early leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The first editions of the Journal were published in England by George D. Watt, the stenographer of Brigham Young. Publication began in 1854, with the approval and endorsement of the church’s First Presidency, and ended in 1886. The Journal is one of the richest sources of early Latter-day Saint theology and thinking. It includes 1,438 sermons given by 55 church leaders, including most numerously Brigham Young, John Taylor, Orson Pratt, Heber C. Kimball, and George Q. Cannon.

The Journal was the proposal of George D. Watt. Watt had recorded several early sermons in Pitman shorthand, and proposed to the Church that this and other material be published, with printing to be done in England where printing costs were cheaper. The First Presidency immediately approved the idea, and officially granted Watt the privilege of preparing and publishing them. Watt recorded the material in the first four volumes of sermons himself, and he continued to contribute through volume twelve, but at least eleven other stenographers were involved.

After recording the sermons, Watt transcribed them and sent them to the speaker for careful review. By far, Young has the most sermons recorded in the Journal, with 390. For at least the first volume, Young personally edited his own sermons. For future volumes, Young helped to select which sermons should be included in the publication, and he assigned his personal secretary to carefully copy-edit the manuscript pages before publication.

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