40 years ago today - Mar 19, 1981
An exchange agreement was signed by LDS and RLDS officials, and a blessing by Joseph Smith naming his son as his successor is turned over to the RLDS Church in exchange for one of the few existing copies of an 1833 Book of Commandments, conservatively valued at $10,000. The exchange was to be conditional for ninety days, pending further authentication by the RLDS. Spokesmen of both churches agreed that the discovery of the blessing had done little to improve chances of reconciliation. The NEW YORK TIMES on this day runs an article headlined "Mormon Document Raises Doubts on Succession of Church's Leaders." On May 18th, 1981, the RLDS Church announces that the document is authentic and the trade is finalized. The document later it turns out to have been forged by Mark Hofmann.