The Pearl of Great Price was originally published in 1851, in London, England, by Apostle Franklin D. Richards. It wasn't until 1878 that it was printed in the United States, and subsequently canonized by the church in 1880. In connection with the republication of the book in 1878, Elder George Reynolds wrote a book offering "a few chapters written to prove its genuineness and divine origin." This was believed to be beneficial as "very little has ever been said by the Elders of the Church in advocacy of its claim as an inspired record..." Additionally, Elder Reynolds stated that "while the people of God have said or written little in its defense, there have been those opposed to the revelations of God in these days, who have vigorously attacked it, who have styled its language "gibberish," and classed it among the "pious frauds" that have so often disgraced the history of religion, Christian and heathen."1 Elder Reynolds' response to these accusations forms the first apologetic and scholarly approach to discussing the Book of Abraham and Joseph Smith's translation thereof.
His response was published piecemeal in London, England, in the Latter-Day Saints' Millennial Star. During that same year, it was published as a booklet in Salt Lake City, Utah; all this amongst his legal difficulties relating to the practice of plural marriage. In 1878, Reynolds noted in his journal that he was studying outside "authorities" in relation to Abraham and other subjects.2 On January 6, 1879, Elder Reynolds was convicted in the famous Reynolds v. the United States case;3 the same day the first issue of Reynolds treatment on the Book of Abraham appeared in the Millennial Star. The publication of his book in the Millennial Star is below.
1 "The Book of Abraham--It's Genuieness Established," by Elder George Reynolds, Millennial Star 41/1 (January 6, 1879): 1. Reynolds comment regarding criticisms of the Book of Abraham stem from Julius Remy's publication of A Journey to Great Salt Lake, and Thomas B.H. Stenhouse's publication of The Rocky Mountain States.
2 Prisoner for Conscience' Sake: The Life of George Reynolds, by Bruce A. Van Orden (Shadow Mountain Publishing (Deseret Book), Salt Lake City, UT, 1992), 85
3 Prisoner for Conscience' Sake, 86