History of The Church, Vol. 1 Chapter 13. [Jan. 1831- Feb. 1831]
Prospects of the Church At the Opening of the Year 1831--Removal of the Prophet Joseph From New York To Ohio--Doctrinal Development.
[For an explanation of abbreviations used see vol. 1 chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1997 BOAP. All rights reserved.]
THE year 1831 opened with a prospect great and glorious for the welfare of the kingdom; for on the 2nd of January, 1831, a conference(1) was held in the town of Fayette, New York, at which the ordinary business of the Church was transacted(2); and in addition, the following revelation was received :
Revelation, given January 2nd, 1831. [D&C 38](3)
1. Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I AM, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven, before the world was made;
2. The same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes;
3. I am the same which spake, and the world was made, and all things came by me.
4. I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them.
5. But behold, the residue of the wicked have I kept in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day, which shall come at the end of the earth;
6. And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept, that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts, and wo, wo, wo, is their doom.
7. But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst, and ye cannot see me;
8. But the day soon cometh that ye shall see me, and know that I am; for the veil of darkness shall soon be rent, and he that is not purified shall not abide the day.
9. Wherefore, gird up your loins and be prepared. Behold, the kingdom is yours, and the enemy shall not overcome.
10. Verily I say unto you, ye are clean, but not all; and there is none else with whom I am well pleased;
11. For all flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men, in the presence of all the hosts of heaven--
12. Which causeth silence to reign, and all eternity is pained, and the angels are waiting the great command to reap down the earth, to gather the tares that they may be burned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.
13. And now I show unto you a mystery, a thing which is had in secret chambers, to bring to pass even your destruction in process of time, and ye knew it not;
14. But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness.
15. Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours.
16. And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.
17. And I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it.
18. And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh;
19. And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts.
20. And this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away.
21. But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you.
22. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your law-giver, and what can stay my hand?
23. But, verily I say unto you, teach one another according to the office wherewith I have appointed you;
24. And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me.
25. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself.
26. For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one; Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other; Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there, and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just?
27. Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine.
28. And again, I say unto you that the enemy in the secret chambers seeketh your lives.
29. Ye hear of wars in far countries, and you say that there will soon be great wars in far countries, but ye know not the hearts of men in your own land.
30. I tell you these things because of your prayers; wherefore, treasure up wisdom in your bosoms, let the wickedness of men reveal these things unto you by their wickedness, in a manner which shall speak in your ears with a voice louder than that which shall shake the earth; but if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
31. And that ye might escape the power of the enemy, and be gathered unto me a righteous people, without spot and blameless--
32. Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high(4);
33. And from thence, whosoever I will, shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.
34. And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church.
35. And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them;(5)
36. And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church.
37. And they have farms that cannot be sold, let them be left or rented as seemeth them good.
38. See that all things are preserved; and when men are endowed with power from on high and sent forth, all these things shall be gathered unto the bosom of the church.
39. And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.
40. And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.
41. And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.
42. And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen.
Not long after this conference of the 2nd of January closed, there was a man came to me by the name of James Covill(6), who had been a Baptist minister for about forty years, and covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any command that the Lord would give to him through me, as His servant, and I received the following:
Revelation to James Covill, given at Fayette, New York, January 5th, 1831. [D&C 39](7)
1. Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the Great I AM, even Jesus Christ--
2. The light and life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not:
3. The same which came in the meridian of time unto mine own, and mine own received me not;
4. But to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons; and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons.
5. And verily, verily, I say unto you, he that receiveth my gospel receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel receiveth not me.
6. And this is my gospel--repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom.
7. And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee.
8. And verily I say unto thee, thine heart is now right before me at this time and, behold, I have bestowed great blessings upon thy head,
9. Nevertheless, thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world.
10. But, behold, the days of thy deliverance are come, if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee; Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known.
11. And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work. Thou shalt preach the fulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days, the covenant which I have sent forth to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel.
12. And it shall come to pass that power shall rest upon thee; thou shalt have great faith, and I will be with thee and go before thy face.
13. Thou art called to labor in my vineyard, and to build up my church, and to bring forth Zion, that it may rejoice upon the hills and flourish.
14. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou art not called to go into the eastern countries, but thou art called to go to the Ohio.
15. And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves at the Ohio, I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men and it shall be poured forth upon their heads. And from thence men shall go forth into all nations.
16. Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that the people in Ohio call upon me in much faith, thinking I will stay my hand in judgment upon the nations, but I cannot deny my word.
17. Wherefore lay to with your might and call faithful laborers into my vineyard, that it may be pruned for the last time.
18. And inasmuch as they do repent and receive the fulness of my gospel, and become sanctified, I will stay mine hand in judgment.
19. Wherefore, go forth, crying with a loud voice, saying; The kingdom of heaven is at hand; crying: Hosanna! blessed be the name of the Most High God.
20. Go forth baptizing with water, preparing the way before my face for the time of my coming;
21. For the time is at hand; the day or the hour no man knoweth; but it surely shall come.
22. And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered unto me in time and in eternity.
23. And again, it shall come to pass, that on as many as ye shall baptize with water, ye shall lay your hands, and they shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and shall be looking forth for the signs of my coming, and shall know me.
24. Behold, I come quickly. Even so. Amen.
As James Covill rejected the word of the Lord, and returned to his former principles and people, the Lord gave unto me and Sidney Rigdon the following revelation explaining why he obeyed not the word:
Revelation given at Fayette, New York. January, 1831. [D&C 40](8)
1. Behold, verily I say unto you, that the heart of my servant James Covill was right before me, for he covenanted with me that he would obey my word,
2. And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him, and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word.
3. Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen.
The latter part of January, in company with Brothers Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, I started with my wife for Kirtland Ohio(9) where we arrived about the first of February, and were kindly received and welcomed into the house of Brother Newel K. Whitney(10). My wife and I lived in the family of Brother Whitney several weeks(11), and received every kindness and attention which could be expected, and especially from Sister Whitney.
The branch of the Church in this part of the Lord's vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them.(12) With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them.(13) The plan of "common stock," which had existed in what was called "the family,"(14) whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel(15), was readily abandoned for the more perfect law(16) of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.
The Lord gave unto the Church the following:
Revelation, given at Kirtland, Ohio, February 4th, 1831. [D&C 41](17)
1. Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name with the heaviest of all cursings.
2. Hearken, O ye elders of my church whom I have called, behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall assemble yourselves together to agree upon my word;
3. And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me.
4. And I will be your ruler when I come; and behold, I come quickly, and ye shall see that my law is kept.
5. He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple; and he that saith he receiveth it and doeth it not, the same is not my disciple, and shall be cast out from among you,
6. For it is not meet that the things which belong to the children of the kingdom, shall be given to them that are not worthy, or to dogs, or the pearls to be cast before swine.
7. And again, it is meet that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built, in which to live and translate.
8. And again, it is meet that my servant Sidney Rigdon should live as seemeth him good, inasmuch as he keepeth my commandments.
9. And again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge, and I give a commandment, that he should he appointed by the voice of the church, and ordained a bishop(18) unto the church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the church,
10. To see to all things as it shall be appointed unto him in my laws in the day that I shall give them.
11. And this because his heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathaniel of old, in whom there is no guile.
12. These words are given unto you, and they are pure before me, wherefore, beware how you hold them, for they are to be answered upon your souls in the day of judgment. Even so. Amen.
On the 9th of February, 1831, at Kirtland, in the presence of twelve Elders, and according to the promise heretofore made,(19) the Lord gave the following revelation, embracing the law of the Church:
Revelation, given February, 1831. [D&C 42](20)
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together in my name, even Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, the Savior of the world; inasmuch as ye believe on my name and keep my commandments.
2. Again I say unto you, hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you.
3. For verily I say, as ye have assembled yourselves together according to the commandment wherewith I commanded you, and are agreed as touching this one thing, and have asked the Father in my name, even so ye shall receive.
4. Behold, verily I say unto you, I give unto you this first commandment, that ye shall go forth in my name, every one of you, excepting my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon.
5. And I give unto them a commandment that they shall go forth for a little season, and it shall be given by the power of the Spirit when they shall return.
6. And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God.
7. And ye shall go forth baptizing with water, saying: Repent ye, repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
8. And from this place ye shall go forth into the regions westward; and inasmuch as ye shall find them that will receive you ye shall build up my church in every region--
9. Until the time shall come when it shall be revealed unto you from on high, when the city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared, that ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will by your God.
10. And again, I say unto you, that my servant Edward Partridge shall stand in the office whereunto I have appointed him. And it shall come to pass, that if he transgress, another shall be appointed in his stead. Even so. Amen.
11. Again, I say unto you, that it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church.
12. And again, the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel;
13. And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings, as they shall be directed by the Spirit.
14. And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit, ye shall not teach,
15. And all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fulness of my scriptures is given.
16. And as ye shall lift up your voices by the Comforter, ye shall speak and prophesy as seemeth me good;
17. For, behold, the Comforter knoweth all things, and beareth record of the Father and of the Son.
18. And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.
19. And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.
20. Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out.
21. Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent, shall be cast out.
22. Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto her and none else.
23. And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.
24. Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out.
25. But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive;
26. But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.
27. Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.
28. Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.
29. If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.
30. And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.
31. And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me; and they shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counselors, two of the elders, or high priests(21) such as he shall appoint or has appointed and set apart for the purpose.
32. And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church, agreeable to my commandments every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.
33. And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the Church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.
34. Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my storehouse, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council;
35. And for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed--
36. That my covenant people may be gathered in one in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.
37. And it shall come to pass, that he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out of the church, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto the poor and the needy of my Church, or in other words, unto me--
38. For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.
39. For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets, shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel among the Gentiles unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel.
40. And again, thou shalt not be proud in thy heart; let all thy garments be plain, and their beauty the beauty of the work of thine own hands;
41. And let all things be done in cleanliness before me.
42. Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.
43. And whosoever among you are sick, and have not faith to be healed, but believe, shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food, and that not by the hand of an enemy.
44. And the elders of the church, two or more, shall be called, and shall pray for and lay their hands upon them in my name; and if they die they shall die unto me, and if they live they shall live unto me.
45. Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.
46. And it shall come to pass that those that die in me, shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them;
47. And they that die not in me, wo unto them, for their death is bitter.
48. And again, it shall come to pass that he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed.
49. He who hath faith to see shall see.
50. He who hath faith to hear shall hear.
51. The lame who hath faith to leap shall leap.
52. And they who have not faith to do these things, but believe in me, have power to become my sons; and inasmuch as they break not my laws thou shalt bear their infirmities.
53. Thou shalt stand in the place of thy stewardship.
54. Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.
55. And if thou obtainest more than that which would be for thy support; thou shalt give it into my storehouse, that all things may be done according to that which I have said.
56. Thou shalt ask, and my Scriptures shall be given as I have appointed, and they shall be preserved in safety;
57. And it is expedient that thou shouldst hold thy peace concerning them, and not teach them until ye have received them in full.
58. And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
59. Thou shalt take the things which thou hast received, which have been given unto thee in my Scriptures for a law, to be my law to govern my church;
60. And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned, if he so continue.
61. If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things--that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal.
62. Thou shalt ask, and it shall be revealed unto you in mine own due time where the New Jerusalem shall be built.
63. And behold, it shall come to pass that my servants shall be sent forth to the east and to the west, to the north and to the south.
64. And even now, let him that goeth to the east teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth, and of secret combinations.
65. Behold, thou shalt observe all these things, and great shall be thy reward; for unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom, but unto the world it is not given to know them.
66. Ye shall observe the laws which ye have received and be faithful.
67. And ye shall hereafter receive church covenants, such as shall be sufficient to establish you, both here and in the New Jerusalem.
68. Therefore, he that lacketh wisdom, let him ask of me, and I will give him liberally and upbraid him not.
69. Lift up your hearts and rejoice, for unto you the kingdom, or in other words, the keys of the church have been given. Even so. Amen.
70. The priests and teachers shall have their stewardships, even as the members.
71. And the elders, or high priests(22), who are appointed to assist the bishop as counselors in all things, are to have their families supported out of the property which is consecrated to the bishop, for the good of the poor, and for other purposes, as before mentioned;
72. Or they are to receive a just remuneration for all their services, either a stewardship or otherwise, as may be thought best or decided by the counselors and bishop.
73. And the bishop, also, shall receive his support, or a just renumeration for all his services in the church.
74. (23)Behold, verily I say unto you, that whatever persons among you, having put away their companions for the cause of fornication, or in other words, if they shall testify before you in all lowliness of heart that this is the case, ye shall not cast them out from among you;
75. But if ye shall find that any persons have left their companions for the sake of adultery, and they themselves are the offenders, and their companions are living, they shall be cast out from among you.
76. And again, I say unto you, that ye shall be watchful and careful, with all inquiry, that ye receive none such among you if they are married;
77. And if they are not married, they shall repent of all their sins or ye shall not receive them.
78. And again, every person who belongeth to this church of Christ, shall observe to keep all the commandments and covenants of the church.
79. And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shall kill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land; for remember that he hath no forgiveness; and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land.
80. And if any man or woman shall commit adultery, he or she shall be tried before two elders of the church, or more, and every word shall be established against him or her by two witnesses of the church, and not of the enemy; but if there are more than two witnesses it is better.
81. But he or she shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses; and the elders shall lay the case before the church, and the church shall lift up their hands against him or her, that they may be dealt with according to the law of God.
82. And if it can be, it is necessary that the bishop be present also.
83. And thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you.
84. And if a man or woman shall rob, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.
85. And if he or she shall steal, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.
86. And if he or she shall lie, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of the land.
87. And if he or she do any manner of iniquity, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law, even that of God.
88. And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.
89. And if he or she confess not, thou shalt deliver him or her up unto the church, not to the members, but to the elders. And it shall be done in a meeting, and that not before the world.23a
90. And if thy brother or sister offend many, he or she shall be chastened before many.
91. And if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly, that he or she may be ashamed. And if he or she confess not, he or she shall be delivered up unto the law of God,
92. If any shall offend in secret, he or she shall be rebuked in secret, that he or she may have opportunity to confess in secret to him or her whom he or she has offended, and to God, that the church may not speak reproachfully of him or her.
93. And thus shall ye conduct in all things.
Soon after the foregoing revelation was received, a woman(24) came making great pretensions of revealing commandments, laws and other curious matters; and as almost every person has advocates for both theory and practice, in the various notions and projects of the age, it became necessary to inquire of the Lord, when I received the following:
Revelation given at Kirtland, February, 1831. [D&C 43](25)
1. O hearken, ye elders of my church, and give ear to the words which I shall speak unto you.
2. For behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, that ye have received a commandment for a law unto my church, through him whom I have appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations from my hand.
3. And this ye shall know assuredly--that there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until he be taken, if he abide in me.
4. But verily, verily, I say unto you, that none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him; for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead.(26)
5. And this shall be a law unto you, that ye receive not the teachings of any that shall come before you as revelations or commandments;
6. And this I give unto you that you may not be deceived, that you may know they are not of me.
7. For verily I say unto you, that he that is ordained of me shall come in at the gate and be ordained as I have told you before, to teach those revelations which you have received and shall receive through him whom I have appointed.
8. And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.
9. And thus ye shall become instructed in the law of my church, and be sanctified by that which ye have received, and ye shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me--
10. That inasmuch as ye do this, glory shall be added to the kingdom which ye have received. Inasmuch as ye do it not, it shall be taken, even that which ye have received.
11. Purge ye out the iniquity which is among you; sanctify yourselves before me;
12. And if ye desire the glories of the kingdom, appoint ye my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and uphold him before me by the prayer of faith.
13. And again, I say unto you, that if ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom, provide for him food and raiment, and whatsoever thing he needeth to accomplish the work wherewith I have commanded him;
14. And if ye do it not, he shall remain unto them that have received him, that I may reserve unto myself a pure people before me.
15. Again I say, hearken ye elders of my church, whom I have appointed. Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men the things which I have put into your hands by the power of my Spirit;
16. And ye are to be taught from on high. Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power, that ye may give even as I have spoken.
17. Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand.
18. For the day cometh that the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble, and the trump of God shall sound both long and loud, and shall say to the sleeping nations; Ye saints, arise and live; ye sinners, stay and sleep until I shall call again.
19. Wherefore gird up your loins lest ye be found among the wicked.
20. Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent, both old and young, both bond and free, saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord;
21. For if I, who am a man, do lift up my voice and call upon you to repent, and ye hate me, what will ye say when the day cometh when the thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying--Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord?
22. Yea, and again, when the lightnings shall streak forth from the east unto the west, and shall utter forth their voices unto all that live, and make the ears of all tingle that hear, saying these words--Repent ye, for the great day of the Lord is come?
23. And again, the Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you.
24. O, ye nations of the earth, how often would I have gathered you together as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings but you would not!
25. How oft have I called upon you by the mouth of my servants, and by the ministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of thunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of famines and pestilences of every kind and by the great sound of a trump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of mercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the riches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an everlasting salvation, but ye would not!
26. Behold the day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full.
27. Behold, verily I say unto you, that these are the words of the Lord your God.
28. Wherefore, labor ye, labor ye in my vineyard for the last time--for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth.
29. For in mine own due time will I come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth.
30. For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come.
31. For Satan shall be bound, and when he is loosed again he shall only reign for a little season, and then cometh the end of the earth.
32. And he that liveth in righteousness shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and the earth shall pass away so as by fire.
33. And the wicked shall go away into unquenchable fire, and their end no man knoweth on earth, nor ever shall know, until they come before me in judgment.
34. Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds.
35. Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.
The latter part of February I received the following revelation, which caused the Church to appoint a conference to be held early in the month of June ensuing:
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, given at Kirtland, February, 1831. [D&C 44](27)
1. Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants, it is expedient in me that the elders of my church should be called together, from the east and from the west, and from the north and from the south, by letter or some other way.
2. And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.
3. And it shall come to pass that they shall go forth into the regions round about, and preach repentance unto the people.
4. And many shall be converted, insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man;(28)
5. That your enemies may not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you may be enabled to keep my laws; that every bond may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my people.
6. Behold I say unto you, that ye must visit the poor and the needy and administer to their relief, that they may be kept until all things may be done according to my law which ye have received. Amen.
Return to History page.
Notes Chapter 13
1. John Whitmer gives the following account of the conference:The time had now come for the general conference to be held. Which was the first of January 1831, and according to this appointment the Saints assembled themselves together. After transacting the necessary business, Joseph the Seer addressed the congregation and exhorted them to stand fast, looking forward considering the end of their salvation. The solemnities of eternity rested on the congregation and having previously received a revelation to go to Ohio, they desired to know somewhat more concerning this matter. Therefore, the Seer enquired of the Lord in the presence of the whole congregation, and thus came the word of the Lord saying: [D&C 38]
After the Lord had manifested the above words, through Joseph the Seer, there were some divisions among the congregations, some would not receive the above as the word of the Lord: but that Joseph had invented it himself to deceive the people that in the end he might get gain. Now this was because, their hearts were not right in the sight of the Lord, for they wanted to serve God and man; but our Savior has declared that it was impossible to do so.[ Book of John Whitmer, p.3]
2. John Whitmer was dispatched to Ohio with copies of revelations and to oversee the Church there. Sidney Rigdon wrote a letter of introduction for Whitmer:
"I send you this letter by John Whitmer. Receive him, for he is a brother greatly beloved, and an Apostle of this Church. With him we send all the revelations which we have received; for the Lord has declared unto us that you pray unto him that Joseph Smith and myself go speedily unto you; but at present it is not expedient for him to send us. He has required of us, therefore, to send unto you our beloved brother John, and with him the revelations which he has given unto us, by which you will see the reason why we cannot come at this time."[E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, (Painesville: Published by the Author, 1834), pp. 110-11.]
The Painsville Telegraph noted Whitmer's arrival at Kirtland:A young gentleman by the name of Whitmer, arrived here last week from Manchester, N.Y. the seat of wonders, with a new batch of revelations from God, as he pretended, which have just been communicated to Joseph Smith. As far as we have been able to learn their contents, they are a more particular description of the creation of the world, and a history of Adam and his family, and othey [sic] sketches of the anti-deluvian world, which Moses neglected to record. But the more important part of the mission was to inform the brethren that the boundaries of the promised land, or the New Jerusalem, had just been made known to Smith from God--the township of Kirtland, a few miles west of this, place, is the eastern line and the Pacific Ocean the western line; if the north and south lines have been described, we have not learned them. Orders were also brought to the brethren to sell no more land, but rather, buy more. Joseph Smith and all his forces are to be on here soon to take possession of the promised land. [Jan. 18, 1831]
3. This revelation was evidently widely circulated among early members and this explains the considerable minor variations among texts. For a complete analysis see Woodford 495ff. The earliest publication was January 1833 in ES. The ES publication is missing the words "when I come" in verse 22. The revelation makes it clear that the Church in NY is the subject of clandestine plots and the Lord will save them if they will move to "the Ohio."
4. A possible reference to the future temple in Kirtland, but may refer in general to a number events in addition, for example the introduction of the office of high priest, the school of the prophets and its associated spiritual events, the coming of the book of Abraham, various important doctrinal revelations such as D&C 76, etc.
5. First reference to what would become the office of "bishop" in the Church.
6. James Covell (Covel, Covill), b. March 1, 1756 to James Covell and Sarah Grover at Dover, New York. Married Lydia Black. Methodist minister. Living in Queensbury, Washington County, NY, by 1790. Moved to Cazenovia, Madison County, NY, by 1800 until 1806. Moved to Marcellus, Onondaga County, New York, 1806. Living in Chautauqua County, New York, by 1830. Learned of restoration of gospel by January 1831. Rejected Joseph Smith's counsel to be baptized and move to Ohio. Died December 1, 1844 in Mayville, Chautaugua County, New York. Steven C. Harper shows Covell was a Methodist, (not a baptist) minister. [Harper, Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 2008), 534-544.
7. This revelation was published first in BC as chapter 41. This is the earliest known copy. In verse 10 of section 39 of the D&C, the phrase "if thou wilt hearken to my voice, which saith unto thee:" does not appear in the BC version. Other differences between copies of this revelation are minor typographical variations (variation in capitalization, spelling, etc.)[Woodford]
8. First published as BC chapter 42; this is the earliest known copy. No variations beyond minor typographical changes exist in extant copies. This is the last published revelation received in New York before Joseph Smith came to live in Ohio. The move to Ohio would signal a fundamental change in the little Church. In New York, Joseph Smith was one among several "founders." Two families, the Smith's and Whitmer's and their immediate connections constituted the core of the new religion. The equality among these led to significant difficulties with establishing a hierarchy of leadership. Many of the New York converts came from Christian Primitivist circles, reacting to the evangelical revivalism in Western New York. Their beliefs entailed a simplified, back to the NT practice devoid of creeds and interdenominational conflicts. A Quaker- like nonauthoritarianism was inherent in their religious stance. With the move to Ohio, many new converts would enter the fold, looking to Joseph Smith as the final word on religion. The Church would move to a more rigid top-down system of government both by natural forces involved in its growth and by the revelations that came through Smith. Many of the New York converts would begin to feel left behind by this rapid evolution and the tension created would eventually result in many of these original believers leaving the Church. Of course in the lives of each of these individuals like David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery and others, it was the accumulation of individual conflicts that led to their final disillutionment with Joseph Smith. But behind those difficulties was the background of change in Church operation and the introduction of more and more formal structure. While others may have seen these changes with some trepidation, Joseph Smith's retrospective is a positive one as we can see from the opening paragraph of this chapter. [For more discussion and references see Peter Crawley, "The passage of Mormon primitivism," Dialogue, A Journal of Mormon Thought 13 (Winter 1980): 26-37.]
9. Joseph Knight, Jr. "In the fall of 1830 we had a revelation to go to the State of Ohio, the persecution was so great that my Father [Joseph Knight, Sr.] and Joseph [Joseph Smith, Jr.] started in the Winter with my sleigh, which cost me fifty dollars; the rest of us said [stayed] till Spring and sold what property we could."[Joseph Knight's Incidents of History from 1827-1844.] Joseph Knight, Sr., confirmed that he and two family members left Colesville, New York, and followed behind Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, who had come up from Harmony, Pennsylvania, through Chenango Point [Binghamton], and on to the lakes. Knight related:I Loaded up what I Could Cary and went away that nite [in January 1831] for the Lakes [Finger Lakes]. I also took my wife and Daughter [the daughter was undoubtedly Elizabeth] for war[e] calculating to go soon for we a litle Before had a revelation to go to ohio....Now Joseph and I went rite on to Kirtland ohio."[Jessee, Recollections, 38;Porter, Ohio, 4]
Edward Partridge's wife, Lydia Clisbee Partridge, states that Partridge took a detour and went to Mass. to preach to his relatives there:My husband partly believed but he had to take a journey to New York State and see the Prophet when he was baptized, and went on to Massachusets to visit his relatives, feeling confident that he could convert them all. But they turned a deaf ear and treated him very coldly, especially those who were professors of religion. On his return, his friends thinking him somewhat deranged in his mind, thought best for one of his brothers to accompany him home. Accordingly his brother James Harvey went with him, and stayed a while with us and joined the Church, but never gathered with the Saints.[Edward Partridge, Jr., "Biography and Family Genealogy," #1124 as quoted in Porter, Ohio.]
The Painesville Telegraph, February 15, 1831, shows that Sidney Rigdon had arrived in the Kirtland area by 30 January 1831, and possibly earlier. Since as Knight indicates above, Joseph was traveling with Sidney, this may give us a more accurate date for Joseph's arrival in Kirtland.
About this time Oliver Cowdery wrote to Joseph Smith to report the condition of the Lamanite mission in western Missouri. Joseph Smith copied the letter into one of his own written from Kirtland in March 1831. Cowdery [spelling and punctuation are from the Joseph Smith letter]:January 29th 1831
Independence Jackson County Missouri
My dearly beloved bretheren after a considerable lengthy journy I avail myself of the first opertunity of communicating to you a knowledge of our situation that you may be priviledged of writing to us for we have not heard any thing from you since we left you last fall we arived at this place a few days since which is about 25 miles from the Shawney indians on the south side of the Kansas River at its mouth & delewares on the north I have had two interviews with the Chief of the delewares who is a very old & venerable looking man after laying before him & eighteen or twenty of the Council of that nation the truth he waid that he and they were very glad for what I their Brother had told them and they had recived it in their hearts &c- But how the matter will go with this tribe to me is unceirtain nether Can I a present Conclude mutch about it the wether is quite severe and the snow is Considerable deep which makes it at present quite dificcult traveling about I have but a short time to write to you my bloved Bretheren as the mail leves this place in the morning but I wish some of you to write to me immediately a full letter of all your affairs and then I will write to you the situation of all the western tribes &c . . . the God of my father Jacob be with you all amen I remain in Christ your Brother forever
[PWJS, 230. Dean Jessee notes that the chief of the Delawars was the half-breed Kik-Tha-We-Nund (William Anderson). See Warren A. Jennings, "The First Mormon Mission to the Indians," The Kansas Historical Quarterly 37 (Autumn 1971), 288-299.]
10. Newel Kimball Whitney was descended from the Whitneys of Watertown, Mass., who emigrated from England in 1635. His mother was a native of the "Bay state", and his father of the state of Vermont. There also Newel was born in Marlborough, Windham county, February 5, 1795. A natural business man he made his own way in the world and after figuring as a soldier during the war of 1812, and taking part in the battle of Plattsburgh, near Lake Champlain, he established himself as an Indian trader at Green Bay, Lake Michigan. He next settled in Ohio, where he made the acquaintance of Algernon Sidney Gilbert, a merchant of Painesville, whose partner he became in the successful firm of Gilbert and Whitney at Kirtland. In October, 1822, he married Elizabeth Ann Smith, a young lady from Connecticut, who is known in Church history as "Mother Whitney." When Oliver Cowdery and his fellow missionaries came to Kirtland, en route to Missouri, the Whitneys were Campbellites, members of Sidney Rigdon's flock, but upon hearing the fulness of the Gospel as preached by those Elders, they embraced it. In the Whitney family folk lore the incident of the Prophet's arrival at Kirtland is thus related: "About the first of February, 1831, a sleigh containing four persons drove through the streets of Kirtland and drew up in front of the store of Gilbert and Whitney. One of the men, a young and stalwart personage alighted, and springing up the steps walked into the store and to where the junior partner was standing. 'Newel K. Whitney! Thou art the man!' he exclaimed, extending his hand cordially, as if to an old and familiar acquaintance. 'You have the advantage of me,' replied the merchant, as he mechanically took the profferd hand, 'I could not call you by name as you have me.' 'I am Joseph the Prophet,' said the stranger smiling. 'You've prayed me here, now what do you want of me?'" The Prophet, it is said, while in the East and seen the Whitneys, in vision, praying for his coming to Kirtland. "Mother Whitney" also tells how on a certain night prior to the advent of Elder Cowdery and his companions, while she and her husband were praying to the Lord to know how they might obtain the gift of the Holy Ghost, which of all things they desired, they saw a vision as of a cloud of glory resting upon their house, and heard a voice from heaven saying, "Prepare to receive the word of the Lord, for it is coming." Shortly afterwards Oliver Cowdery and his associates came with the Book of Mormon, and with the message of the restored Gospel. Moreover, in further fulfilment of this vision, under the rooftree of the Whitneys the Prophet received a number of the revelations contained in this volume.(BHR)
11. James Rollins notes events at the arrival of the Smiths:As early as February, 1831, I first met Joseph Smith in my Uncle Sidney Gilbert's house. This was the first day he arrived in Kirtland, and while he was in the house conversing with my uncle and aunt, I being at the front gate, saw a wagon turn over as it was coming down the slippery hill, and heard a woman and 2 or 3 children screaming. This was Joseph's family. I ran in and told Joseph and Uncle about it, and Joseph ran to assist them without his hat [note the formality of wearing a hat was a strict bit of etiquette]. My first impression was, that if any of the occupants were hurt seriously that Joseph could heal them, but none of them were hurt. Joseph and my uncle returned to the house. He asked my uncle if I was his son. He said, "No, I was his wife's nephew," "Well," he said, "the Lord has shown him great things." I truly had seen Joseph and Hyrum in my vision in December 1830. After the turning over of the wagon Joseph and his wife, Emma, came to my uncle's house for the purpose of finding a house to suit her. Soon after this, more or all of the Smith family arrived in Kirtland. From this time on I became personally acquainted with the Smith family. Joseph Sen., his wife, Lucy Smith, Hyrum, Samuel, William, Don Carlos, and Lucy Smith, the youngest daughter, also Jenkins Salsberry and wife. All these I saw almost daily while I remained in Kirtland. I first saw Father Joseph Smith's wife, Lucy, and Don Carlos, on Sunday, the next day after they arrived at a meeting held at Isaac Morley's house. They were so very much fatigued from their journey, and during the meeting Don Carlos fell asleep in his chair, and after several had spoken he awoke and arose and bore as strong a testimony as I ever heard, of the truth of the work. Samuel H. Smith was a man of few words and was very industrious and hard working. [James Rollins Autobiography, pp.3 - 4, BYU special collections.]
A cabin was built a month or so after the Smith's arrived and they lived there, but they evidently spent part of the time in the home of Frederick G. Williams.[Journal of Frederick G. Williams, Jr., p. 245.]
Joseph Smith reported his arrival to his brother Hyrum who was presiding Elder of the Colesville branch.
Kirtland Geauga County Ohio
March 3th 1831
we arived here safe and are all well I have been engageed in regulating the Churches here as the deciples are numerous and the devil has made many attempts to over throw them it has been a serious Job but the Lord is with us and we have overcome and have all things regular the work is brakeing forth on the right hand and on the left and there is great Call for Elders in this place . . .
My Dearly Beloved Brother Hyrum
I have had much Concirn about you but I always remember you in my prayers Calling upon god to keep you Safe in spite of men or devils I think you had better Come into this Country immediately for the Lord has Commanded us that we should Call the Elders of this Chursh to gether unto this plase as soon as possable . . .
PS if you want to write to Oliver direct your letter to independence Jackson County misouri
Harrison [Samuel H. Smith] and Orson prat arrived here on Feb 27th they left our folks well David Jackways has threatened to take father with a supreme writ in the spring you had beter Come to fayette and take father along with you Come in a one horse wagon if you Can do not Come threw Bufalo for they will lie in wait for you God protect you I am Joseph
Mr. Hyram Smith
Harpers Vill Broom Co.
N.Y. [Joseph Smith holograph, PWJS, 230; also end of note 17 chapter 14.]
12. John Murdock notes that spiritual manifestations accompanied the Elders from New York and that this was one of the things that convinced him they were authentic ministers of Christ. He gives the following account in his journal [John Murdock journal, typescript pp. 7-8]Matthew, 28th chapter and Mark 16th chapter, say the Apostles were to preach the gospel to every creature in all the world. Luke 24th chapter, 49th verse and Acts 1st chapter, 8th verse say they were to receive power to do so, after the Holy Ghost was come upon them, and the power of the Holy Ghost, on the servant of God, is the power of godliness, for there is no man but a godly man that can profess that power with God. The history says they tarried in Jerusalem, and were engaged in prayer, till the day of Pentecost was fully come, at which time the Holy Ghost came on them, and it qualified them to preach the gospel and hear testimony to every creature which they could not do, till they received power of God to speak in other tongues. Paul said the churches which he had built up among the gentiles were not behind in any of these gifts of God.
And in 2nd Timothy, 3rd chapter, 5th verse, that in the last days men should arise, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof and he says from such turn away. Now in denying the power of godliness they will deny the gift of tongues and other gifts by the power of the Holy Ghost, and as for myself, I mean to turn away from them. He was confused, and could not answer.
I read till it was late and went into Father Morley's chamber to bed and had not been long in bed, before they returned, and some half dozen or more came into the same house, and as soon as they came into the house, although I was in bed up [in the] chamber, the spirit of the Lord rested on me, witnessing to me of the truth of the work. I could no longer rest in bed but got up and went down and found Elder Rigdon among the number, and he said to me I might go back to bed, for he would not talk to me that night, but I sat in a chair and conversed with them, and I found they appeared very tender in their feelings and I retired to bed again. I could not help secretly rejoicing on the occasion. The next morning I conversed with about half a dozen men separately who had been confirmed in the meetinghouse the night before. I found their testimony agreed on the subject that there was a manifestation of the spirit attended the ministration of the ordinance of laying on hands, and I found the items placed before me, that I before noticed, all testified that it was of God.
About ten o'clock that morning, being November 5th, 1830, I told the servants of the Lord that I was ready to walk with them into the water of baptism. Accordingly, Elder P. [Parley] P. Pratt baptized me in the Chagrin River and the spirit of the Lord sensibly attended the ministration, and I came out of the water rejoicing and singing praises to God, and the Lamb. An impression sensibly rested on my mind that cannot, by me, be forgotten. It appeared to me that notwithstanding all the profession of religion that I had previously made and all that I had done, that by my act of now being baptized I had just escaped a horrible pit of destruction. This was the third time I had been immersed, but I never before felt the authority of the ordinance, but I felt it this time and felt as though my sins were forgiven. I continued with the brethren till Sunday at which time they preached in Mayfield and baptized a number, and on Sunday evening they confirmed about thirty. I was one of the number. Elder Oliver Cowdery was administrator. I was also ordained an elder; and it was truly a time of the outpouring of the spirit. I know the spirit rested on me as it never did before and others said they saw the Lord and had visions.
Just as there were genuine spiritual outpourings, the influence of Satan was active in a way that was confusing to the new converts [see Joseph Smith's letter quoted in the preceding note]. John Corrill, an early Mormon convert said of these experiences:
"Many improprieties and visionary notions crept into the church, which tried the feelings of the more sound minded. Many young persons became very visionary, and had divers operations, of the spirit, as they supposed. They saw wonderful lights in the air and on the ground, and would relate many great and marvelous things which they saw in their visions. They conducted themselves in a strange manner, sometimes imitating Indians in their manoeuvres, sometimes running out into the fields, getting on stumps of trees and there preaching as though surrounded by a congregation,--all the while so completely absorbed in visions as to be apparently insensible to all that was passing around them. I would here remark, however, that it was but a very few of the Church who were exercised in that way. The more substantial minded looked upon it with astonishment, and were suspicious that it was from an evil source."[John Corrill, "A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons, Including an Account of their Doctrine and Discipline, with the Reasons of the Author for Leaving the Church)," (St. Louis, n.p., 1839), 16]
Levi Hancock noted that some manifestations were odd and unbecoming. He related that three young men, Burr Riggs, Edson Fuller and Heman Basset engaged in strange behavior which he felt was not from God. Their gruesome behavior is characterized by Riggs who once jumped from the floor, hit a ceiling joist, fell to the floor and appeared to be dead. After an hour in this state he would regain his "life" and relate what he had experienced during his unconscious state. Others behaved like baboons, received parchments floating down from the sky which would then disappear, etc. Such manifestations were not general, but they became alarming to many and finally Joseph Smith received D&C 50 in response.[Levi Hancock Autobiography, typescript, p. 27; Max H. Parkin, "Conflict at Kirtland," unpublished MA thesis, Brigham Young University, 1967, chapter 4; see also note 17 chapter 14, this volume.]
13. John Whitmer notes some of the specific difficulties related to the "family":
About these days Joseph and Sidney arrived at Kirtland to the joy and satisfaction of the Saints. The disciples had all things common, and were going to destruction very fast as to temporal things; for they considered from reading the scripture that what belonged to a brother, belonged to any of the brethren. Therefore they would take each other's clothes and other property and use it without leave which brought on confusion and disappointments, for they did not understand the scripture. After Joseph lived there a few days the word of the Lord came saying: [D&C 41] [Whitmer, history, typescript, p. 4.]
Levi Hancock visited the Morley farm and related this experience:While I was in the room at "Father Morley's" as we all called him, this same Hermon Bassett came to me and took my watch out of my pocket and walked off as though it was his. I thought he would bring it back soon but was disappointed as he sold it. I asked him what he meant by selling my watch."Oh, said he, I though it was all in the family." I told him I did not like such family doing and I would not bear it.[Levi Hancock Autobiography, typescript, p.28]
14. This organization, called "the family," came into existence before the Gospel was preached in Kirtland, through an effort of the people of this neighborhood to live as the early Christians are said to have lived, viz., "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had all things common."--(Acts iv:32.)(BHR)[See notes in chapter 12]
15. By the time the Lamanite missionaries had left Ohio, 130 members had been added. This success when compared to the growth in New York was significant. In October 1830, six months after the Church was organized, 62 members were reported, an increase of 35 from June conference. The rapid growth continued after the Lamanite missionaries left.
The religious conditions in Kirtland and vicinity in 1830 provide one key to understanding the increase in Ohio. Before the Mormon missionaries arrived, four Christian groups existed in Kirtland--Congregationalists, Methodists, Regular Baptists, and a group sometimes called "reformers" who sought a return to New Testament Christianity.
The Congregational Church of Kirtland was established September 1819 with ten members who united and proposed a creed modeled on Calvinism [known as TULIP]
1) Total depravity of man,
2) Unconditional election or predestination,
3) Limited atonement,
4) Irresistibility of grace (man cannot reject the call), and
5) Perseverance of the saints (man cannot fall).
After meeting in the homes of the early settlers, members of this society constructed a log meetinghouse in 1822 on the site of the present Old South Congregational Church.
After Joseph Smith came to Kirtland, some members of this society sold their property to the new immigrants and moved to Indiana. Evidence, suggests that their congregation was not numerically effected by the Mormon preachers.
About the time of the organization of the Congregationalists, Methodists began services and about 1820 erected a small church building on the corner of the cemetery lot, across the street from where the Kirtland Temple was constructed. Every four weeks, a Methodist circuit rider preacher traveled about two hundred miles to visit the classes and congregations included in Kirtland's "circuit." The Methodist group's population apparently was little effected by the arrival of the Mormons.
A Baptist group was organized by 1830. Calvinist Baptists of Kirtland had rejected a view popularized by reforming preachers concerning the need to restore the everlasting gospel. Consequently the Baptists in Kirtland were not receptive to the message of the Restoration. Minutes of the Grand River Baptist Association indicate that the Baptists in Kirtland regarded Mormonism as a heresy which impeded their growth. Their numbers were essentially static after the Mormons came, varying between 21 and 25.
Alexander Campbell's group (the reformers noted above) became known in 1830 as "disciples of Christ" to distinguish themselves from other reformers who had differing beliefs (ironically, Campbell explicitly rejected the classical creeds of major denominations, claiming that they had "paganized" Christianity, but he clearly believed in a variant of 4th century Trinity doctrine even if he rejected the name.)
When the Lamanite missionaries introduced the restored gospel in Kirtland and vicinity, about fifty Reformed Baptists lived on Isaac Morley's farm. All became believers. Other restorationists were living in the area and some believed the message of Cowdery, et al. When the first branches of the Church were constituted in Ohio during the winter of 1830-1831, they were located in Kirtland, Mentor, Warrensville, and Mayfield, communities where a distinct form of a restorationist movement prevailed.
Parley P. Pratt unfolded to these seekers many truths which they were seeking. Before his conversion to the restored gospel, Pratt had been a reformer and had learned the message of a hoped for "restoration" which Sidney Rigdon was proclaiming, and therefore explained efficaciously the glad tidings of the everlasting gospel to the inhabitants of northeastern Ohio. In this announcement, he declared that, while the inhabitants of the Western Reserve had not been "legally baptized" God's authority had been restored.
But not all aspects of Parley P. Pratt's testimony harmonized with views previously held by reformers in Kirtland, Mentor, and nearby communities. Sidney Rigdon and other restorationist theologians, for example, had emphasized that the Bible was the sole norm of faith. Therefore, after the elders circulated copies of the Book of Mormon to the settlers of Ohio, many cautiously but thoughtfully and prayerfully examined the contents of this new witness for Christ. Many immediately recognized that this record was a priceless account of God's dealings with some of his other sheep; and after receiving a witness of its truthfulness and embracing the basic teachings of the restored gospel, many "came forward,. . . were baptized by us, and received the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hand, and prayer in the name of Jesus Christ."
The local members of some of the churches, while not great in number, were influential and sometimes used that influence against the Mormons. George A. Smith wrote:In the spring of 1835 a majority of the inhabitants of Kirtland combined together and warned all the Saints to leave town. This was done to prevent any of our people becoming a town charge in case of poverty. They then bought up all the grain that was for sale in the country around, and refused to sell a particle of it to our people. Mr. Lyman, a Presbyterian owning the Kirtland Mills, was at the head of the movement. He accumulated several thousand bushels of grain in his mill and refused to sell the least portion of it to any of the Saints. This arrangement was brought about [p.369] by a combination of all religious sects in the vicinity. Mr. Chase, a Presbyterian neighbor of ours, who had a quantity of grain on hand and had refused to sell a particle at any price, came to my father one morning and asked him if he could board the school mistress his portion, assigning as a reason that he had not got provisions to feed her on. My father, although he had eaten the last morsel of bread stuff we had, for breakfast, told him he could board her as well as not. This was done to ascertain our straitened circumstances.
But Joseph on learning the plan of our enemies, got the brethren to put their mites together and sent to Portage County and purchased a supply of wheat at a reasonable price and carried it to a mill owned by one of the brethren several miles from town; so that our Christian friends not only had the mortification of not starving out the Saints, but had when harvest came around a large quantity of grain on hand and no market for it, as our people had raised a supply for themselves. [George A. Smith, The Instructor 81:368-369]
Many leaders emerged from the men living in Kirtland and vicinity who were seeking a restoration in 1830. Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams became members of the First Presidency. Parley P. Pratt, Lyman Wight, and Orson Hyde were ordained members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Edward Partridge and Newell K. Whitney served as "general" Bishops, and Isaac Morley was first counselor and Titus Billings second counselor to Bishop Partridge. [Milton V. Backman, BYUS, 12 (1972) no. 4, 346-364] One man who was converted by the Lamanite missionaries left this account of the experience which is rather typical of the initial converts in Ohio:My wife having some property in Ohio, we sold our possessions in Connecticut and removed to that part. While crossing Lake Erie from Buffalo to Fairport we encountered a terrible storm, and our destruction seemed imminent, but through an overruling Providence we were saved and landed safely. We passed through Chardon, Ohio, and located three miles west of that city, at a place called King Street, which was within five miles of Kirtland. I there purchased a farm and entered into the business of buying and selling wild lands.
One morning I was standing at my gate when two men drove up in a two-horse wagon, and asked me to get in and go home with them, about quarter of a mile distant. On the way, one asked me if I had heard the news, and informed me that four men had come to Kirtland with a golden Bible and one of them had seen an angel. They laughed and ridiculed the idea, but I did not feel inclined to make light of such a subject. I made no reply, but thought that if angels had administered to the children of men again I was glad of it; I was afraid, however, it was not true. On my return home I told my wife what I had heard.
The next day I was intending to go fifty miles south to the town of Suffield, Ohio, to pay some taxes, but my wife thinking that one or two days would not make much difference about that, proposed that we should hunt up those strange men in Kirtland.
The next morning I took my wife, another man and his wife, and started for Kirtland. When we arrived there, the men we were seeking had gone to the town of Mayfield, but were to return to Kirtland the next day. The following morning I hitched up my carriage and again drove to Kirtland, one of my neighbors accompanying us with his team and family. On arriving there, we were introduced to Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Parley P. Pratt. I remained with them all day, and became convinced that they were sincere in their professions. I asked Oliver what repentance consisted of, and he replied, "Forsaking sin and yielding obedience to the gospel!"
That evening he preached at Brother Isaac Morley's, and bore his testimony to the administration of an angel at noonday. He then dwelt upon the subjects of repentance and baptism and the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, and promised that all who embraced these principles with honesty of heart should receive a testimony. He also requested all who wished to be baptized to make it manifest by arising. Five persons, among whom were William Cahoon and myself, arose. I then made preparations for baptism by borrowing a suit of clothes. My wife thought I was too hasty, and said if I would wait awhile perhaps she would go along with me. She was a Baptist by persuasion. I paid no heed to her, but went forthwith and was baptized by Parley P. Pratt. This was on the 16th of October [probably November], 1830. When I came out of the water, I knew that I had been born of water and of the spirit, for my mind was illuminated with the Holy Ghost.
I spent that evening at Dr. F. [Frederick] G. Williams'. While in bed that night I felt what appeared to be a hand upon my left shoulder and a sensation like fibers of fire immediately enveloped my body. It passed from my right shoulder across my breast to my left shoulder, it then struck me on my collar bone and went to the pit of my stomach, after which it left me. I was enveloped in a heavenly influence, and could not sleep for joy.
The next morning I started home a happy man. All my neighbors were anxious to know the result of my visit to Kirtland, and I was visited by two Campbellite preachers, named respectively Scott and Williams, one of whom remarked, "Mr. Dibble, I understand you have joined the `Mormons.' What reason have you to believe they have the truth?"
I told them, "The scriptures point to such a work, which should come forth."
He then asked me where I found it. I took the Bible and opened it where it speaks of truth springing out of the earth and righteousness looking down from above. He read it and handed it to the other preacher. They made no comments.
I bore my testimony to them of what I had received, and Mr. Scott said, "I don't doubt, Mr. Dibble, that you have received all you say, because you are honest, but they are impostors."
I then asked Mr. Scott if he believed the Lord would bless the labors of a false prophet, to which they did not stop to reply but left, and told the people it was no use talking to me.
One of my neighbors came to me and said, "We have sent a man down to [New] York State to find out the truth of this work, and he is a man who will not lie. If he returns and says it is false, will you believe him?"
I told him I would believe the truth, and asked him if that man (whose name was Edward Partridge) should come back and say it was false if he would believe him.
He replied, "Yes; for he is a man who would not lie for his right arm!"
I then added, "If he says it is true, will you then believe him?" to which he reluctantly replied that he would.
Shortly after this, however, when Brother [Edward] Partridge wrote back and said that he had been baptized, and was then preaching the gospel, this man shunned me, and for a long time afterwards gave me no chance to talk with him. But when we met, I asked him what he thought of Brother Partridge, and he replied that he was honest, but had been deceived. [Journal of Philo Dibble]
16. The reference here is to the "law of consecration" revealed to Joseph Smith [reference is made to this law in D & C 38:32, 44:6, 51:2, and 58:19. RJS, 59, n2.]
17. This revelation represents the call of the first bishop in the Church [foreshadowed in D&C 38:36], Edward Partridge. Partridge was the only man (barring error!) in this dispensation to be ordained a bishop without first being ordained a high priest [Partridge was ordained a high priest on June 3, 1831, when the office was introduced.] Partridge was ordained a bishop by Sidney Rigdon. A certificate of ordination as bishop exists, signed by many early notables in the Church:
The church of Jesus Christ To all to whom these presents may come hereby testifyeth That our beloved brother Edward Partridge has been appointed Bishop of this church on the fourth of February one thousand eight hundred and thirty one with and by the consent of the whole church agreeable to the appointment of God and ordained to this office under the hand of Sidney Rigdon an Elder of this church of christ regularly organized on the sixth of April one thousand eight hundred and thirty in witness whereof we have here unto set our hands
Names of Elders
Wm E. McLelin
David W. Patton
Joseph Smith, Jr.
William W. Phelps
Peter Whitmer, Jr.
[This certificate was probably made in the fall of 1831 -located in LDS Archives.]
No significant variations exist in the copies of this revelation. It was first published in BC (1833) as chapter 43. Three mss exist, all later than the BC; the earliest ms is in the hand of Frederick G. Williams, prior to August 16, 1834. [Woodford] The duties of the bishop begin to unfold in D&C 42.
18. While Partridge was the first person to hold the office of "bishop" in the restored Church, he never presided over other bishops as in the later office of "Presiding Bishop." Instead he functioned as a kind of "general" bishop, eventually being called the bishop in Zion. When Missouri expelled the Saints, Partridge finally became a bishop among others in Nauvoo.
When Partridge went to Missouri, another bishop was called to serve in the Kirtland area, Newell K. Whitney. The specific duties of these early bishops were unfolded gradually by the revelations starting with D&C 42. Eventually this office was more clearly outlined by the revelations.
1) Financial duties. Bishops were to handle receipt and distribution of contributions.
2) Storehouse. Bishops were to seek out the poor of the Church and disperse supplies to them.
3) Judgement. Bishops were to play a role in the discipline of members and in the decision of what part of a members assets were "surplus" in the law of consecration.
4) Quorum. Bishops were assigned a quorum, the office was designated as an office in the Aaronic Priesthood, the president of the priest's quorum was to be a bishop.
5) Unless a man was a "literal descendant" of Aaron, it would be necessary to be ordained to the office of high priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood. A high priest, it was revealed, could officiate in the other offices including bishop.
Years later as the Mormons settled in Illinois with increasing density, more bishops were called and given geographic restrictions to their jurisdiction. The office of presiding bishop was a final development. [D&C 124:141] Political boundaries in the city of Nauvoo (wards) became convenient jurisdictions for bishops. At first, bishops did not function as directors of congregations, nor did they form a part of the ecclesiastical "line of authority." Instead they functioned as temporal ministers to the needs of the poor. In Nauvoo, some bishops began to hold Sunday meetings for members of their wards, distributing the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and holding "fast meetings." When the Church moved west to Winter Quarters, the pattern of Nauvoo was repeated, with Brigham Young placing more responsibility on the bishops to function as ecclesiastical leaders.
Prior to the death of Joseph Smith, priesthood "quorum" leaders had disciplinary responsibilities for their quorum members and functioned to some degree without respect to bishops and even the "high councils" although their decisions were subject to a judicial review. The only Church boundaries of authority were the stakes. Quorum leaders functioned without respect to these boundaries since their members retained membership even if they relocated. After Joseph Smith's martyrdom, the apostles gradually began to limit or ignore the priesthood quorums, and as Utah was built up, began to function through the stake presidents (until 1877 these were often apostles) and/or bishops. Initially, Brigham Young and the apostles wanted both a Melchizedek Priesthood and an Aaronic Priesthood ecclesiastical presence on the lowest level, below stake presidents. Thus a ward or branch was organized with a "president" and a bishop. The dual leadership created turf arguments and factions in some locations and while President Young and his counselors warned that blessings would be lost by not moving ahead with this organization, it was eventually discarded in favor of the Aaronic Priesthood bishop being the local administrator, working to some degree under the direction of the stake president [in the twentieth century, bishops began to be called the "presiding high priest" in their wards, this position becoming more solidified in the 1960s, hence the two local heads envisioned by Young were eventually combined in one man in some respects.] Gradually the quorums of elders and high priests were stripped of authority in addition to being basically ignored in administration, official communications going to stake presidents and bishops. President Young solidified this pattern in 1877 as he instituted uniformity through the Church. With his successors, ecclesiastical authority was completely removed from the quorums, the quorums were "localized" to stakes, and eventually to wards. Consequently the odd situation of ward bishops' de facto presidency over elders quorum presidents developed, becoming the norm with the introduction of "correlation." While some Church leaders [for example President Joseph F. Smith in 1906 April general conference] predicted that the "local" quorums would eventually assume local Church leadership, the quorums gradually became the equivalents of the more highly regarded (in the early 20th century) "auxiliary" organizations rather than subsuming their functions.
Today, bishops are the final rung in the LDS ecclesiastical hierarchy working directly under stake presidents. The only quorums with ecclesiastical authority are the general quorums: the quorum of the First Presidency, the quorum of the Twelve Apostles and the quorums of the Seventy along with the Presiding Bishopric, referred to in the revelations as "general authorities."[Mark O. Bowman and W. V. Smith, "Local Priesthood Leadership," unpublished paper, COB; Dale Beecher,. "The Office of Bishop." Dialogue 15 (Winter 1982):103-115. Edward J. Brandt,"The Office of Bishop in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--A Sesquicentennial Review." In A Sesquicentennial Look at Church History, pp. 57-70. Provo, Utah, 1980; William G. Hartley, "The Priesthood Reform Movement, 1908-1922," BYUS 13 (Winter 1973),137-56; Donald G. Pace, "Community Leadership on the Mormon Frontier: Mormon Bishops and the Political, Economic, and Social Development of Utah Before Statehood." Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1983; Dale Beecher, "The Office of Bishop," Task Papers in LDS Church History, no. 21, 1978. William G. Hartley, History of the office of bishop, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 1; William G. Hartley, "The Priesthood Reorganization of 1877: Brigham Young's Last Achievement." BYUS 20 (Fall 1979), pp.3-36.]
19. This refers to the promise which the Lord gave in the revelation of January 1831, see p.142, verse 32.(BHR)
20. One of the most important administrative revelations, it was often read at local church meetings and conferences along with D&C 20 in these early days. D&C 42 was received and published in segments. Verses 12-77 of section 42 were published in the Painesville Telegraph, 13 September 1831, and entitled "The Laws of the Church of Christ. Kirtland, Geauga Co. May 23d, A.D. 1831. A Commandment to the Elders."Verses 12-77, or variations thereof, were published in the Evening and Morning Star (July 1832).16 Verses 78-93, or variations thereof, were first published in the Evening and Morning Star (October 1832). Verses 1-77, or variations thereof, were included as chapter 44 in the Book of Commandments. Verses 78-93, or variations thereof, were included as chapter 47 of the Book of Commandments." [RJS, 59]
As noted, the revelation was received in installments. The Book of John Whitmer records that verses 1-73 were received February 9, 1831. The KRB records that verses 74-77 were received February 23, 1831. Verses 78-93 were received February 23, 1831, as per the Evening and Morning Star [October 1832]. [RJS, 59]
One of the inducements for coming to "the Ohio" for the NY Saints was the promise of the "law" being revealed. Section 42 includes not only the law of consecration, but also a formal commission of behavior and Church discipline. The brethren having satisfied the conditions of D&C 41:2-3, this revelation was given in answer to the questions the Church members put to the Lord.
A considerable number of variations exist among early copies of this revelation due both to its wide distribution by various means without textual control and some purposeful changes in structure by Joseph Smith. Additionally, the 1833 and 1835 committees on publication made changes for a number of evident reasons including making the revelation applicable to an expanding Church organization.
When the revelations were printed in the 1833 BC, a council meeting of the "Literary Firm" was held in Zion, Jackson County, Mo. Present: Joseph Smith Jun, Sidney Rigdon, John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, Wm. W. Phelps and Jesse Gause. "The Council ordered that 3000 copies of the Book of Commandments should be printed as the first edition. . . . Brother Wm. W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer were appointed to review the Book of Commandments and select for printing such as should be deemed by them proper, as dictated by the spirit, and make all necessary verbal corrections." [Journal History of the Church April 30, 1832]
The committee for publication of the 1835 D&C was similarly organized by the high council in Kirtland, Sept. 24, 1834:After some preliminary business, the council then proceeded to appoint a committee to arrange the items of the doctrine of Jesus Christ, for the government of the Church of Latter-day Saints. These items are to be taken from the Bible, Book of Mormon, and the revelations which have been given to the Church up to this date, or that shall be given until such arrangements are made.
Councilor Samuel H. Smith nominated President Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams to compose said committee, which was seconded by Councilor Hyrum Smith. The Councilors then gave their vote in the affirmative, which was also agreed to by the whole conference. The council then decided that said committee, after arranging and publishing said Book of Covenants, have the avails of the same. [HC, 2:165]
The text of the revelation as found in BLC Bk B and an early ms seems to be in question/answer form:1. Verses 1-10 are in response to the question "Shall the Church come together into one place or remain as they are in separate bodies?"
2. Verses 11-70 are in response to the question "Question 2d [what is?] The Law regulating the Church in her present situation till the time of her gathering - Answer -[vss. 11-70]
3. Verses 70-73 appear to be a response to the question [seemingly mislabeled as question 4], "How [are the Elders] to dispose of their families while they are proclaiming repentance or are otherwise engaged in the service of the Church?"
Other verses which had a temporary local application were deleted from the 1835 edition:
4. From BC: "What preparation shall we make for our Brethren From the East & where & how?" The answer: "There shall be as many appointed as must needs be necessary to assist the bishop in obtaining places for the brethren from New York, that they may be together as much as can be, and as they are directed by the Holy Spirit."
5. From Cowdery ms [see below]: Question: "Shall the Church come together into one place or remain as they are in separate bodies?" Answer: "And every Church shall be organized in as close bodies as they can be [because of the enemy] and this for a wise purpose even so. Amen."
6. From Cowdery ms: Question: "How far is it the will of the Lord that we should have dealings with the world & how we should conduct our dealings with them?" Answer: "Thou shalt contract no debts with them & again the Elders & Bishop shall council together & they shall do by the direction of the Spirit as it must be necessary."
7. From BLC Bk. B: Question: "[What is the] law regulating the church in her present situation till the time of her gathering[?]" Answer: "The first commandment in the law teaches that all the Elders shall go into the regions westward and labour to build up Churches unto Christ wheresoever they shall find any to [teach] them [to] obey the gospel of Jesus Christ except Joseph & Sidney and Edward and such as the Bishop shall appoint to assist him in his duties according to the Law which we have received this commandment as far as it respects these Elders to be sent to the west is a special one for the time being incumbent on the present Elders who shall return when directed by the Holy Spirit."
8. The preface to verses 74-77 was "How to act in Cases of Adultery."
9. Verses 78-93 were entitled "Points of the Law."
Consecration verses 30-34 are considerably expanded from the BC to clarify the procedures the bishop was to use in Zion.
Verse 39 in BC reads "For it shall come to pass, that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate the riches of the Gentiles, unto my people which are of the house of Israel."
Verses 65b-67 in the ms and BC, BLC read essentially as
"thou shalt observe to keep the mysteries of the Kingdom unto thyself for it is not given unto the world to know the mysteries & these Laws which ye have received [BC: and shall hereafter receive] are sufficient for you both here & in the New Jerusalem"[ms version]
Various other minor changes in wording exist among copies of this revelation. For a complete listing see Woodford. For other items above see also RJS 59f.
John Whitmer gave his impression of the reception this revelation received:After the above law or revelation was received, the elders went forth to proclaim repentance according to commandment, and there were members added to the Church. The Bishop Edward Partridge visited the Church in its several branches, there were some that would not receive the law. The time has not yet come that the law can be fully established, for the disciples live scattered abroad and are not organized, our numbers are small and the disciples untaught, consequently they understand not the things of the kingdom. There were some of the disciples who were flattered into the Church because they thought that all things were to be common, therefore they thought to glut themselves upon the labors of others. [John Whitmer, Book of John Whitmer, typescript, p.4]
The Prophet moderated Whitmer's somewhat negative view in writing to Martin Harris, "We have received the laws of the Kingdom since we came here and the Disciples in these parts have received them gladly"[Joseph Smith to Martin Harris, February 23, 1831, Joseph Smith Collection, Church Archives.]
The earliest copy extant is a ms [LDS Archives] in the hand of Oliver Cowdery dated May 23, 1831 (three months after the revelation was given). `1831 mss by Simonds Ryder and Sydney Gilbert also exist.
21. The words, "or High Priests," were added by the Prophet some years after: and also the words, "High Council," in the 34th verse."--Orson Pratt.(BHR)
22. The words, "or High Priests," were added by the Prophet some years after.--Orson Pratt(BHR)
23. Verses 74 to 93 inclusive, were given some days after the first 73 verses.--Orson Pratt.(BHR)
23a. The question of whether non-members of the church should be admitted to various church meetings was one inherited from the church's Protestant origins. In particular, Methodist practice probably dictated much of early LDS terminology and rules. Gradually praxis would diverge as revelation dictated which meetings (like the present one) were public and which were not, etc. For some Methodist attendance rules in particular, see for example A. Gregory Schneider, "The Ritual of Happy Dying among Early American Methodists," Church History 56/3(1987): 348-363.
24. This woman's name, according to the history of the church kept by John Whitmer, was Hubble. "She professed to be a prophetess of the Lord and professed to have many revelations and knew the Book of Mormon was true, and that she should become a teacher in the church of Christ. She appeared to be very sanctimonious and deceived some who were not able to detect her in her hypocrisy; others, however had the spirit of discernment and her follies and abominations were manifest." John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. iii.(BHR)
Whitmer goes on to say "After this commandment [D&C 43]was received, the saints came to understanding on this subject, and unity and harmony prevailed throughout the Church of God: and the Saints began to learn wisdom, and treasure up knowledge which they learned from the word of God, and by experience as they advanced in the way of eternal life."
Robert J. Woodford comments: "Twice within a period of six months the question of who could receive revelation for the whole church had to be settled by the Prophet. In the first case, Hyrum Page received revelations through a seer stone, and it was only after much persuasion and the reception of Section 28 that order was once again restored. Now, in Kirtland, the problem arose again."[Woodford, 570]
Apostate Mormon Ezra Booth in the Painesville Telegraph (20 December 1831) added his impressions of Hubble:A female, professing to be a prophetess, made her appearance in Kirtland, and so ingratiated herself into the esteem and favor of some of the Elders that they received her as a person commissioned to act a conspicious part in Mormonizing the world. Rigdon, and some others, gave her the right hand of fellowship, and literally saluted her with what they called the "kiss" of charity. But Smith declared her an imposter, and she returned to the place from whence she came. Her visit, however, made a deep impression on the minds of many, and the barbed arrow which she left in the hearts of some, is not as yet eradicated.[quoted RJS, 61]
25. Copies of this revelation show several minor variations, none of these change the content of the text. Earliest publication was in ES 1(Oct. 1832) no. 5, p. 34, labeled as an extract (only verses 15-35 appeared.)
26. This phrase treats the problem of Joseph Smith's successor if Smith should be found unworthy of his office. The question as to how that would be formally determined [Smith's hypothetical unworthiness] was treated in a later revelation [D&C 107]. But by then, a more formal method of succession was beginning to be put in place. It is interesting that Cowdery is not mentioned as the default successor here. Why this obvious omission was made may relate to some difficulty Cowdery had as the Lamanite missionaries passed through Kirtland the previous year. During Cowdery's visit he seems to have become entangled in a relationship with a young woman. What this concerned is not clear, but there seems to have been a promise of marriage involved. Cowdery was already engaged to Elizabeth Whitmer, daughter of Peter Whitmer, Sr. [See FWR for May 26, 1832 where Cowdery was tried for this matter also E. D. Howe, Mormonism Unvailed (Painesville, 1834) pp. 208-218.]
27. The earliest known copy of this revelation is found in BC, chapter 46. Two ms copies exist, dated years after the BC [ Journal History, ms history]. Some variation exists between the version appearing in the D&C and that found in John Whitmer's history. For example, in D&C 44:2 we read, "inasmuch as they are faithful and exercise faith in me,". These words are missing in Whitmer's version. In verse 5 the D&C reads, "not have power over you; that you may be preserved in all things; that you . . . " and in Whitmer's version we have "be under your feet in all things that ye . . . ." [Woodford, 588, 589]
The revelation gives notice of the first general conference in Ohio.
28. A reference to the Law of Consecration. A more dense community with greater numbers was evidently necessary. Note the last verse.