History of the Church Vol. 1 Chapter 10. [June 1830 - July 1830]

Further Molestation At Colesville By Mobs--

The Revelation Embodying the Vision of Moses.

[For an explanation of abbreviations see vol. 1, chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1997 BOAP. All rights reserved.]


AFTER a few days I returned to Colesville, in company with Oliver Cowdery, for the purpose of confirming those whom we had been forced to leave for a time. We had scarcely arrived at Mr. Knight's, when the mob was seen collecting together to oppose us, and we considered it wisdom to leave for home, which we did, without even waiting for any refreshments. Our enemies pursued us, and it was oftentimes as much as we could do to elude them. However, we managed to get home, after having traveled all night, except a short time, during which we were forced to rest ourselves under a large tree by the wayside, sleeping and watching alternately.

Thus were we persecuted on account of our religious faith--in a country the Constitution of which guarantees to every man the indefeasible right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience--and by men, too, who were professors of religion, and who were not backward to maintain the right of religious liberty for themselves, though they could thus wantonly deny it to us. For instance, Cyrus McMaster(1), a Presbyterian of high standing in his church, was one of the chief instigators of these persecutions; and he at one time told me personally that he considered me guilty without judge or jury. The celebrated Dr. Boyington(2), also a Presbyterian, was another instigator of these deeds of outrage; whilst a young man named Benton(3), of the same religious faith, swore out the first warrant against me.


I could mention many others also, but for brevity's sake, will make these suffice for the present.

I will say, however, that amid all the trials and tribulations we had to wade through, the Lord who well knew our infantile and delicate situation, vouchsafed for us a supply of strength, and granted us "line upon line of knowledge--here a little and there a little," of which the following was a precious morsel:(4)

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., given June, 1830. [PGP Book of Moses Chapter 1](5)

1. The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain.

2. And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him, and the glory of God was upon Moses: therefore Moses could endure his presence.

3. And God spake unto Moses, saying: Behold, I am the Lord God Almighty, and Endless is my name; for I am without beginning of days or end of years; and is not this endless?

4. And, behold, thou art my son; wherefore look, and I will show thee the workmanship of mine hands; but not all, for my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease.

5. Wherefore, no man can behold all my works, except he behold all my glory; and no man can behold all my glory, and afterwards remain in the flesh on the earth.

6. And I have a work for thee, Moses, my son; and thou art in the similitude of mine Only Begotten and mine Only Begotten is and shall be the Savior, for he is full of grace and truth; but there is no God beside me, and all things are present with me, for I know them all.

7. And now, behold, this one thing I show unto thee, Moses, my son; for thou art in the world, and now I show it unto thee.

8. And it came to pass that Moses looked, and beheld the world upon which he was created; and Moses beheld the world and the ends thereof, and all the children of men which are, and which were created; of the same he greatly marveled and wondered.

9. And the presence of God withdrew from Moses, that his glory was not upon Moses; and Moses was left unto himself. And as he was left unto himself, he fell unto the earth.

10. And it came to pass that it was for the space of many hours before Moses did again receive his natural strength like unto man; and he said unto himself: Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed.

11. But now mine own eyes have beheld God; but not my natural, but my spiritual eyes, for my natural eyes could not have beheld; for I should have withered and died in his presence; but his glory was upon me; and I beheld his face, for I was transfigured before him.

12. And it came to pass that when Moses had said these words, behold, Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.

13. And it came to pass that Moses looked upon Satan and said: Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of his Only Begotten; and where is thy glory, that I should worship thee?

14. For behold, I could not look upon God, except his glory should come upon me, and I were strengthened before him. But I can look upon thee in the natural man. Is it not so, surely?

15. Blessed be the name of my God, for his Spirit hath not altogether withdrawn from me, or else where is thy glory, for it is darkness unto me? And I can judge between thee and God; for God said unto me: Worship God, for him only shalt thou serve.

16. Get thee hence, Satan; deceive me not; for God said unto me: Thou art after the similitude of mine Only Begotten.

17. And he also gave me commandments when he called unto me out of the burning bush, saying: Call upon God in the name of mine Only Begotten, and worship me.

18. And again Moses said: I will not cease to call upon God. I have other things to inquire of him, for his glory has been upon me, wherefore I can judge between him and thee. Depart hence, Satan.

19. And now, when Moses had said these words Satan cried with a loud voice, and rent upon the earth, and commanded, saying: I am the Only Begotten, worship me.

20. And it came to pass that Moses began to fear exceedingly; and as he began to fear, he saw the bitterness of hell. Nevertheless, calling upon God, he received strength, and he commanded, saying: Depart from me, Satan, for this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory.

21. And now Satan began to tremble, and the earth shook; and Moses received strength, and called upon God, saying: In the name of the Only Begotten, depart hence, Satan.

22. And it came to pass that Satan cried with a loud voice, with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth; and he departed hence, even from the presence of Moses, that he beheld him not.

23. And now of this thing Moses bore record; but because of wickedness it is not had among the children of men.

24. And it came to pass that when Satan had departed from the presence of Moses, that Moses lifted up his eyes unto heaven, being filled with the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and the Son;

25. And calling upon the name of God, he beheld his glory again, for it was upon him; and he heard a voice, saying: Blessed art thou, Moses, for I, the Almighty, have chosen thee, and thou shalt be made stronger than many waters; for they shall obey thy command as if thou wert God.

26. And lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days; for thou shalt deliver my people from bondage, even Israel my chosen.

27. And it came to pass, as the voice was still speaking, Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea, even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God.

28. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God, and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.

29. And he beheld many lands; and each land was called earth, and there were inhabitants on the face thereof.

30. And it came to pass that Moses called upon God, saying: Tell me, I pray thee, why these things are so, and by what thou madest them?

31. And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me.

32. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth.

33. And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten.

34. And the first man of all men have I called Adam, which is many.

35. But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.

36. And it came to pass that Moses spake unto the Lord, saying: Be merciful unto thy servant, O God, and tell me concerning this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, and also the heavens, and then thy servant will be content.

37. And the Lord God spake unto Moses, saying; The heavens, they are many, and they cannot be numbered unto man, but they are numbered unto me, for they are mine.

38. And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof, even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works, neither to my words.

39. For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

40. And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak.

41. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men--among as many as shall believe.

42. These words were spoken unto Moses in the mount, the name of which shall not be known among the children of men. And now they are spoken unto you. Show them not unto any except them that believe. Even so. Amen.

Meantime, and notwithstanding all the rage of our enemies, we had much consolation, and many things occurred to strengthen our faith and cheer our hearts.

After our departure from Colesville, after the trial, the Church there were very anxious, as might be expected, concerning our again visiting them, during which time Sister Knight, wife of Newel Knight, had a dream, which enabled her to say that we would visit them that day, which really came to pass, for a few hours afterwards we arrived; and thus was our faith much strengthened concerning dreams and visions in the last days, foretold by the ancient Prophet Joel; and although we this time were forced to seek safety from our enemies by flight, yet did we feel confident that eventually we should come off victorious, if we only continued faithful to Him who had called us forth from darkness into the marvelous light of the everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Shortly after our return home, we received the following commandments:

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Oliver Cowdery, given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830. [D&C 24](6)

1. Behold thou wast called and chosen to write the Book of Mormon, and to my ministry; and I have lifted thee up out of thine afflictions, and have counseled thee, that thou hast been delivered from all thine enemies, and thou hast been delivered from the powers of Satan and from darkness!

2. Nevertheless, thou art not excusable in thy transgressions; nevertheless, go thy way and sin no more.

3. Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally;

4. But if they receive thee not, I will send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing.

5. And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church,

6. And it shall be given thee in the very moment what thou shall speak and write, and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing.

7. For thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength.

8. Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.

9. And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy calling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all Scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and confirming the churches.

10. And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.

11. In me he shall have glory, and not of himself, whether in weakness or in strength, whether in bonds or free;

12. And at all times, and in all places, he shall open his mouth and declare my gospel as with the voice of a trump, both day and night. And I will give unto him strength such as is not known among men.

13. Require not miracles, except I shall command you, except casting out devils, healing the sick, and against poisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons;

14. And these things ye shall not do, except it be required of you by them who desire it, that the scriptures might be fulfilled; for ye shall do according to that which is written.

15. And in whatsoever place ye shall enter, and they receive you not in my name, ye shall leave a cursing instead of a blessing, by casting off the dust of your feet against them as a testimony, and cleansing your feet by the wayside.

16. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall lay their hands upon you by violence, ye shall command to be smitten in my name; and, behold, I will smite them according to your words, in mine own due time.

17. And whosoever shall go to law with thee shall be cursed by the law.

18. And thou shalt take no purse nor scrip, neither staves, neither two coats, for the church shall give unto thee in the very hour what thou needest for food and for raiment, and for shoes and for money, and for scrip.

19. For thou art called to prune my vineyard with a mighty pruning, yea, even for the last time; yea, and also all those whom thou hast ordained, and they shall do even according to this pattern. Amen.

Revelation given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830. [D&C 25] (7)

1. Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.

2. A revelation I give unto you concerning my will and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.

3. Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.

4. Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen, for they are withheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come.

5. And the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy husband, in his afflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of meekness.

6. And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will.

7. And thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my Spirit.

8. For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.

9. And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.

10. And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

11. And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.

12. For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

13. Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.

14. Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him.

15. Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.

16. And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.

Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, and John Whitmer, given at Harmony, Pennsylvania, July, 1830.[D&C 26](8)

1. Behold, I say unto you that you shall let your time be devoted to the studying of the scriptures, and to preaching, and to confirming the church at Colesville, and to performing your labors on the land, such as is required, until after you shall go to the west to hold the next conference; and then it shall be made known what you shall do.

2. And all things shall be done by common consent in the church, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen.

p. 104

Shortly after we had received the above revelations, Oliver Cowdery returned to Mr. Peter Whitmer's, Sen., and I began to arrange and copy the revelations, which we had received from time to time; in which I was assisted by John Whitmer, who now resided with me.(9)

Whilst thus employed in the work appointed me by my Heavenly Father, I received a letter from Oliver Cowdery, the contents of which gave me both sorrow and uneasiness. Not having that letter now in my possession, I cannot of course give it here in full, but merely an extract of the most prominent parts, which I can yet, and expect long to, remember.


He wrote to inform me that he had discovered an error in one of the commandments--Book of Doctrine and Covenants: "And truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto a remission of their sins."

The above quotation, he said, was erroneous, and added: "I command you in the name of God to erase those words, that no priestcraft be amongst us!"

I immediately wrote to him in reply, in which I asked him by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter or erase, to add to or diminish from, a revelation or commandment from Almighty God.(10)

A few days afterwards I visited him and Mr. Whitmer's family, when I found the family in general of his opinion concerning the words above quoted, and it was not without both labor and perseverance that I could prevail with any of them to reason calmly on the subject. However, Christian Whitmer at length became convinced that the sentence was reasonable, and according to Scripture; and finally, with his assistance, I succeeded in bringing, not only the Whitmer family, but also Oliver Cowdery to acknowledge that they had been in error, and that the sentence in dispute was in accordance with the rest of the commandment. And thus was this error rooted out, which having its rise in presumption and rash judgment, was the more particularly calculated (when once fairly understood) to teach each and all of us the necessity of humility and meekness before the Lord, that He might teach us of His ways, that we might walk in His paths, and live by every word that proceedeth forth from His mouth.

Return to History page.

Notes Chapter 10

1. Cyrus McMaster, b. 1801, Sydney, NY. Living at Bainbridge, 1850 (census record). D. 1879, Afton, NY. [PJS 1:500.]

2. Nathan Boynton, b. 1788, Mass. M. Lepha Stowell of Bainbridge abt. 1818. Prominent physician and lumber dealer. Moved 1833 to Elmira, NY. D. 1860.

3. Abram Willard Benton, b. 1802, physician, studied with Boynton above. Lived in Afton. 1830 member of Chenango County Med. Soc. 1837 moved Whiteside County, Illinois. Became director of Miss. & Rockriver Jct. RR, 1852. Wrote article on Joseph Smith "Mormonites" in Evangelical Magazine and Gospel Advocate (Utica, NY), April 9, 1831 (his remembrance of 1830 trial).

4. Neither the preceding sentence nor the following revelation appear in the mss of the history, but do appear in the Times and Seasons publication of the history, vol.4 no. 5, Jan. 16, 1843. (Hence we infer the material appeared under Smith's direction). After the words "suffice for the present" in the text, the following appears in the ms history in the hand of W. W. Phelps: "there insert the sheet marked A.1." No sheet marked A.1 is known. The ms history has the following text rather than the Moses text that follows in the published history.

Mean time, notwithstanding all the rage of our enemies, still we had much consolation, and many things occurred to strengthen our faith, and cheer our hearts. After our return (the words "from Colesville" are crossed out here), the Church (the words "there, were" are crossed out), at Colesville as might be expected, were very anxious concerning our again visiting them, during which time, Sister Knight, had a dream, which enabled her to say that we would visit them that day, which really came to pass, for a few hours afterwards we arrived, and thus was (the word "our" crossed out) the faith (word "much" crossed out) of the Saints strengthened, concerning dreams and visions in the last days, foretold by the ancient Prophet Joel: And although we, this time, were forced to seek safety from our enemies by flight, yet did we feel confidence that enventualy we should come off victorious, if we only continued faithful to Him who had called us forth from darkness, into the marvellous light of the Everlasting Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. [alterations in this paragraph were made by Thomas Bullock and Willard Richards]
The following revelation was probably received in Harmony.

5. Appears now as Moses Chapter 1 in PGP. Marks the beginning of Smith's work with the Bible and his "translation." The proper name for what Smith did with the Bible and the resulting production has been debated. But the words of this particular revelation make it clear that some material from the ancients has been withheld and Smith is chosen to restore it. The work would continue through the end of the year with the help first of Oliver Cowdery who divided the early work into chapters and then John Whitmer and finally Sydney Rigdon. It continued into the New Testament and was closed in 1833. Smith intended publication but the press of other business never allowed. The work was left in Emma's hands with the departure west and was finally published in 1867 by the RLDS Church.[Bushman, Beginnings, 245 n18 and references there. See also James R. Harris, "Changes in the Book of Moses and Their Implications upon a Concept of Revelation," BYUS 8(1968) no. 4, 361-382; Robert J. Matthews, "A Study of the Text of Joseph Smith's Inspired Version of the Bible," BYUS 9(1968) no. 1, 3-16.]

Reminiscent accounts suggest the idea that Smith used the Urim and Thummim to read Genesis. The result was he was able to "see it happen." [Charles Walker, ms, LDS Archives.]

6. Earliest copy found in the ms history (1839 in hand of James Mulholland). Textual variations among published versions are of no importance.

7. Emma Smith evidently wished for the privilege of viewing the plates. Although she had actually picked them up when covered by cloth, she never saw them uncovered. Her assignment to make a hymnal was taken up in earnest five years later after an aborted attempt in 1832. Lyndon Cook writes:

On 30 April 1832, members of the Literary Firm (the organization responsible for Church publications) met in Independence, Missouri, and directed William W. Phelps "to correct and print the hymns which had been selected by Emma Smith in fulfilment of the revelation."[FWR] But the destruction of the Church printing press in Independence delayed the printing of the hymns, and Church leaders in Kirtland renewed efforts to print the work in September 1835. On 14 September 1835 it was "decided that Sister Emma proceed to make a [more complete] selection of sacred hymns according to revelation, and that President W. W. Phelps be appointed to revise and arrange them for printing." The Church hymnal, which appeared about February 1836, contained a preface, apparently written by Phelps, and ninety hymns. Only the words were printed; no music was included. Forty-two of the hymns had appeared earlier in Church periodicals. Thirty-four were authored by Mormons: twenty-six by W. W. Phelps, three by Parley P. Pratt, one by Thomas B. Marsh and Parley P. Pratt, and one each by Eliza R. Snow, Edward Partridge, Philo Dibble, and William C. Gregg. On 7 October 1839 a conference of the Church voted to reject a small collection of hymns published by David W. Rogers in New York in 1838. Twenty days later the same conference authorized Emma Smith to prepare a second edition of the 1835 hymnal. Although Brigham Young, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor published a hymn book for the Saints in England in 1840, the second official Church hymnal, selected by Emma Smith, was published in Nauvoo in 1841 [p.37] under the direction of Ebenezer Robinson. Plans were under way for a third edition of Emma's hymn book in early 1843. She advertised in the Times and Seasons that "persons having Hymns adapted to the worship of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, [were] requested to hand them, or send them to Emma Smith, immediately." There is no evidence, however, that this third edition was ever printed. [RJS, 36; Peter Crawley, A Descriptive Bibliography of the Mormon Church, Volume 1 , (BYU Religous Studies: Provo, 1997), 58ff. The first hymnal contained an index of the "first line" of each hymn. In addition to the hymns authored by Mormons, seventeen were written by Isaac Watts, probably borrowed from a Baptist hymn book then in use by the Campbellites. A number of the hymns were modified by Phelps from earlier hymns making the question of authorship difficult. See Mary Dennis Poulter, "The First Ten Years of Latter Day Saint Hymnody: A Study of Emma Smith's 1835 and Little and Gardner's 1844 Hymnals" (Master's thesis, University of Mass., Lowell 1995); Helen Hanks Macare, "The Singing Saints: A Study of the Mormon Hymnal, 1835-1950" (Ph.D. dissertation, UCLA, 1961).]

The earliest copy of this revelation is found in the Book of Commandments (chapter 26. 1833). It contains three significant variations from the version found in this history. In the Book of Commandments verses one, two and eight of the revelation read:

1. Emma, my daughter in Zion, a revelation I give unto you, concerning my will:
8. And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee from the church:

D&C 25:1-2 are nearly all new. Verse 8 in BC is verse 9 of D&C 25. The BC version suggests that the Church would provide material support for Emma since Joseph must devote all his time to its work.

8. The earliest copy of this revelation is found in the Book of Commandments (chapter 27). No textual differences are found. Earliest ms is in the ms history (1839). The phrase "go to the west" seems ambiguous. But the next conference was held in Fayette which is certainly about 50 miles west of Harmony where this revelation was given.

9. An unfortunate practice among early editors, printers and copyists may have prevailed in this process. After editing was done, or printing completed, mss were often destroyed. In addition, Church dissidents sometimes robbed Smith of foundation documents for one reason or another. The Whitmers did so and others. The Book of Mormon ms was one such example. On other occasions mss were destroyed by mob activity.

10. Cowdery may have been sensitive to this apparent addition to what he understood as the text because he seems to have received a commission to codify the basic procedures of the infant Church [see notes at D&C 20, D&C 18. The commission was certainly revoked by D&C 28.] and may have felt Smith had stepped on divinely allocated turf. Smith often had to deal with close confidants trying to "push ahead" of him for his entire life. He complained of Parley Pratt and others in Nauvoo twelve years later. Later revelations solidify Smith's position as the one who is commissioned to write the Divine word for the Church [D&C 28].