The Book of the People was the most sacred text of the people of Yonada. According to their leader, Natira, it was "to be opened and read" when they arrived at their "new world of the promise." Before then, it was housed in a stele in the chamber of the Oracle of the People.
At some point in each Yonadan's life (possibly part of a coming-of-age ceremony) the high official of the People implanted the Instrument of Obedience. In 2268, Leonard McCoy became one of the People in this way. Following this, the high official showed the inductee how to access the Book. The stele contained a representation of the Fabrini sun and its eight planets. Pressing the three lower planets simultaneously operated a mechanism that caused the top portion of the stele to slide up. To open the stele and behold the contents of the Book was considered sacrilege and warranted death. The Oracle nearly killed McCoy for revealing this information; only the timely intervention of Spock saved the doctor's life.
Natira also told Doctor McCoy that the book was given by the Creators. It was subsequently learned that the "Creators" were the ancient Fabrini and that the Book was merely a technical manual and guidebook. Yonada was, in fact, a multi-generational colony ship and the "Oracle" its computer. By consulting the Book of the People, Captain Kirk and Commander Spock were able to gain access to the computer and correct the flaw in its propulsion system, thus averting a collision with Daran V. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")
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