When the Lord approved the scriptures in April 2019, these were His words:
You have asked to know if the scriptures are acceptable and approved, or if there is more to be done:
The work that has been done is acceptable and sufficient for the labor now underway. You were permitted to update language, select a current vocabulary, and you were warned not to change any meaning. I reminded you that you do not understand the glory to be revealed unto my covenant people. You were instructed to complete the agreed upon labors, and you have done as was required.
These scriptures are sent forth to be my warning to the world, my comfort to the faithful, my counsel to the meek, my reproof to the proud, my rebuke to the contentious, and my condemnation of the wicked. They are my invitation to all mankind to flee from corruption, repent and be baptized in my name, and prepare for the coming judgment. (T&C 177:1-3, emphasis added)
To those engaged in the effort of printing and publishing, that revelation served as a publishing milestone, and work began immediately to print, distribute, and make “these scriptures” available to the world in a variety of sizes and binding types, some of which were available rather quickly, while others (like the leather edition) would take longer. The agreed-upon labor, although imperfect, was completed and released worldwide as the First Edition of the RE Scriptures by the Restoration Scriptures Foundation on July 18, 2019.
The Lord’s approval in April, and the subsequent worldwide release of the RE Scriptures marked the completion of the labor to restore and recover the scriptures as revealed through Joseph Smith. Now, moving forward, we anticipate the receipt of new revelation(s) as promised by the Lord. The anticipated new revelations may ultimately be adopted by the body of believers as canon and added to the RE Scriptures in the future, either as new editions containing additional sections of the T&C, as new or revised chapters of the Old Covenants or New Covenants, or as altogether new books when enough material has been aggregated to warrant a new volume.
At this time, it is not possible to add additional content to the First Edition of the T&C. The publication of the First Edition has already taken place, and those books have already been printed and distributed to booksellers worldwide. Those books cannot be recalled or “pulled off the shelf.” ISBN rules (as well as the even stricter ePub and eBook rules) do not allow the addition of new content to any current or previous edition. The only allowed changes are to correct any punctuation, spelling, and minor grammar issues.
If the body desires to add new section(s) to the published T&C, this must necessarily result in the creation of the Second Edition (or in the future, the Third Edition and so forth), with a new publication date and new ISBNs for all iterations. This will require at least 10 new ISBNs (which includes all thee paperback sizes, all three hardcover sizes, the journaling edition, the leather edition, the Kindle KDP edition, and the ePub edition), in addition to the free PDF edition and the online version. This will also require changes to the eBooks, which have even stricter rules and guidelines regarding the addition of content than printed publications do; this will require a global update of the “omnibus” eBook, in addition to the creation of the new edition.
To create the Second Edition of the T&C (or to change the content of any of the RE scriptures), here is what the Restoration Scriptures Foundation (RSF) volunteers will need to do (this is not an exhaustive list):
- Discontinue printing of all existing versions of the print-on-demand and ship-on-demand book(s) to be updated. Bookstores will continue to sell through their current inventory, which may take a while. Please note that there is no way to prevent retailers from continuing to sell the old version until they (finally) run out of stock. Anyone could order a First Edition in the future, and if the book still exists somewhere in the world, it could be shipped to the customer as “new.”
- Create the new manuscript with all approved changes:Add approved material to the content.
- Update the table of contents.
- Update all affected page numbers.
- Update printing information to include a version number (e.g. v2.0.0).
- Update the front matter to include details of any approved changes, canonization vote, acceptance from the Lord, etc.
- Update the publication date.
- Manually update running headers to reflect all changes.
- Create final print-ready files of all books, all sizes, and cover types.
- Prepare the new edition for publication:
- Retire all previous ISBNs that will be replaced by the new edition.
- Purchase and assign at least 10 new ISBNs, one for every size and cover type.
- Because the ISBN appears on each cover (and because there is a potential increase in page count), new cover artwork must be created specific to each size and cover type (probably 10 versions).
- Review and update title, short description, long description, back-end search terms, back-end settings, and edition metadata.
- Submit all versions of the new edition to the publisher for review and approval.
- Upload each manuscript to the system (x10).
- Upload all new metadata, titles, descriptions, and back-end information.
- Upload each new cover to display the new ISBN.
- Troubleshoot and correct all upload errors, coding errors, system-required changes, and warnings (this happens with every submission individually).
- Obtain final approval for each version before proceeding with publication.
- Publish and Activate all updated books.
- For each version:
- Select pricing model (zero royalty—or as close to zero as the system will allow).
- Release for publication.
- Purchase proofing copies.
- Verify all changes are correct.
- Follow up with all major vendors (BN, Amazon, etc.) to encourage them to sync up their catalogs with Ingram for all of the new ISBNs (this takes several weeks and dozens of emails and phone calls).
- For each version:
- Update Scriptures.info website with:
- Updated content
- Instructions on how to know what version of print edition a user has
- Version history and change list
- Update Scripture.shop with:
- History of the project
- Version tracking
- Product lookup
- New links to updated purchase options
- Product update announcements
- Simultaneously with the above, notify the email list along key points of the process:
- Warning that a change is imminent—order now if needed
- Alert that the books are no longer available
- Alert when the proofs are ordered; new books available soon
- Alert when new books are available again
This whole process will result in an interruption of availability of the paperback and hardcover books for an undetermined period of time (probably 2-6 weeks), as well as longer shipping times when the new edition becomes available and they are being printed and distributed around the world.
Here are some facts that must be considered as part of any attempt to alter or add to the RE Scriptures:
- International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN’s) were purchased and assigned; covers and manuscripts with that ISBN were created and submitted for registration.
- 48 different iterations of the books were created in various sizes, including small print, large print, hardcover paperback, journaling, and leather editions.
- These scriptures may contain some typographical errors or mistakes in grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Minor corrections of these types of errata can be made without the need to obtain new ISBNs and create new editions.
- ISBNs are granted and maintained according to established rules for their use. Adding or changing content results in the book becoming a “new product” and therefore requiring a new ISBN. Incidentally, the rules for eBooks are even more strict regarding what corrections are allowed, due to the existence of the “omnibus” eBook that controls and coordinates all of the various iterations and platforms upon which the electronic versions are distributed.
- The distribution network carefully chosen for the scriptures is the “gold standard” in the world of book distribution. It includes but is not limited to online retailers, brick and mortar stores, large chain retailers, libraries, universities, etc. We must follow their rules in order to have the privilege of offering our books through their networks and platforms.
- Since the scriptures are not priced to turn a profit, the Foundation was able to select publishing settings that make it very attractive for all retailers to carry these books in inventory. Some of the larger bookstores and distributors actually pre-print and stock books, which results in a “ship-on-demand” service level, rather than “print-on-demand” availability. Some quantity of RE Scripture books have been printed and currently reside in retailers inventory worldwide.
- Since July 2019, these books have been part of this distribution network and there’s no way to recall them or add a revision # to them.
- Distribution of a title can be disabled going forward, but we cannot prevent retailers from selling what stock they already have. Nor can we add revision identifiers to those stocks or to books in people’s homes. The book block for the first edition, therefore, is “closed.”
- If we are to create a Second Edition of the T&C, we can add whatever sections and content has been ratified by the body and accepted by the Lord. However, we cannot insert new content into the existing First Edition. It would have to become a Second Edition (since it would have new content) and would thus need to be distinguishable from the first. The creation of a Second Edition T&C would require a significant amount of work by volunteers, involving dozens of important actions and publishing steps.
- Since the canon of scripture is open, new additional works are hoped for and will be welcomed into the body of texts we hold sacred. It is anticipated that they will be printed as often as requisite to support the body of believers. But as described above, there are printing and publishing logistics which must be considered in the process. Given that we have no budget for employees, all of this work must be handled by dedicated volunteers who sacrifice their time and means in order to accomplish the publication and distribution of the scriptures in a way that is acceptable to God, to the body of believers, and to the world.
- The T&C (Referring to volume 3 of the Restoration Scriptures) is nearing a page count that we may want to consider as having reached a closing point, due to the physical limitations of the machines involved in publishing the paperback and hardcover versions. This could mean a new volume can begin, with a new title, and it can grow and expand as the Lord chooses to reveal more and as the body determines to adopt more. This could begin as a booklet, which the Foundation will make available as soon as there is something to publish. It could grow and expand and be printed every year (or at whatever interval is appropriate) until such time as a decision about a full-book printing is needed. The currently-proposed addition of the excerpt from Our Divine Parents (and/or the entire text of that talk) could potentially begin this new volume, if adopted by the body.
- It is important that we preserve, track, and document everything we do with the scriptures so that corrections and additions are easily traceable, findable, and understandable, particularly to those of future generations.
The Restoration Scriptures Foundation is a group of volunteers dedicated to publishing the Restoration Edition(s) of the scriptures to the world. The current list of volunteers and their primary area of focus includes:
Taylor Ward (publication)
Cameron Larsen (web store)
Sheri Linnarz (distribution)
Reed Larsen (leather edition)
Lori Larsen (proofing)
Kevin Merrell (layout)
Paul Durham (accounting)
…and others who produce artwork, manage online content, and more.