History of the Church Vol. 1 Chapter 14. [Mar. 1831 - May 1831] Effort To Overwhelm the Church By Falsehood--Sundry Revelations Leading To Doctrinal Development.
[For an explanation of abbreviations used see vol. 1 chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1998 BOAP. All rights reserved.]
AT this age of the Church many false reports, lies, and foolish stories, were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith.(1) A great earthquake in China, which destroyed from one to two thousand inhabitants, was burlesqued in some papers, as " `Mormonism' in China."(2) But to the joy of the Saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following:
Revelation at Kirtland, given March 7th, 1831. [D&C 45](3)
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; hearken ye and give ear to him who laid the foundation of the earth, who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which live, and move, and have a being.
2. And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you, in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.
3. Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him--
4. Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
6. Hearken, O ye people of my church, and ye elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts,
7. For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world--a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
8. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life.
9. And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.
10. Wherefore, come ye unto it, and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning,
11. Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom--the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren,
12. Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself--a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come--a day which was sought for by holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;
13. And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;
14. But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.
15. Wherefore, hearken and I will reason with you, and I will speak unto you and prophesy, as unto men in days of old.
16. And I will show it plainly, as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying: As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers,
17. For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.
18. And now ye behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which ye call the house of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall.
19. But, verily I say unto you, that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations.
20. And this temple which ye now see shall be thrown down that there shall not be left one stone upon another.
21. And it shall come to pass, that this generation of Jews shall not pass away until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass.
22. Ye say that ye know that the end of the world cometh; ye say also that ye know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away;
23. And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled,
24. And this I have told you concerning Jerusalem, and when that day shall come, shall a remnant be scattered among all nations;
25. But they shall be gathered again; but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
26. And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
27. And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.
28. And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
29. But they receive it not, for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
30. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
32. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
33. And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
34. And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35. And I said unto them, Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
36. And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you--
37. Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38. Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39. And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
40. And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
41. And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
42. And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
43. And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
44. And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory, with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off,
45. But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.
46. Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace, blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth.
47. Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.
48. And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.
49. And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly,
50. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
51. And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
52. Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
53. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.
54. And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them.
55. And Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.
56. And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
57. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived--verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
58. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
59. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.
60. And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;
61. Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
62. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;
63. Ye hear of wars in foreign lands; but, behold, I say unto you, they are nigh, even at your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.
64. Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, Gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me.
65. And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you,
66. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67. And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven, and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
71. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.
72. And now I say unto you keep these things from going abroad unto the world until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you,
73. That when they shall know it, that they may consider these things.
74. For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.
75. And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen.
The next day after the above was received, I also received the following revelation, relative to the gifts of the Holy Ghost:
Revelation given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831(4). [D&C 46](5)
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you, that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning.
2. But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.
3. Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.
4. Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he make reconciliation.
5. And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom--I speak this concerning those who are not of the church.
6. And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out.
7. But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
8. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
9. For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lust.
10. And again verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church,
11. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
13. To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
14. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
15. And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
16. And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
17. And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.
18. To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.
19. And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed,
20. And to others it is given to have faith to heal.
21. And again, to some is given the working of miracles;
22. And to others it is given to prophesy;
23. And to others the discerning of spirits.
24. And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;
25. And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
26. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
27. And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church, and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God.
28. And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit;
29. That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.
30. He that asketh in the Spirit, asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.
31. And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;
32. And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessings ye are blessed with.
33. And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.
The same day that I received the foregoing revelation, I also received the following, setting apart John Whitmer as a historian(6), inasmuch as he is faithful:
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and John Whitmer, given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831. [D&C 47](7)
1. Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant John should write and keep a regular history, and assist you, my servant Joseph, in transcribing all things which shall be given you, until he is called to further duties.
2. Again, verily I say unto you that he can also lift up his voice in meetings, whenever it shall be expedient.
3. And again, I say unto you that it shall be appointed unto him to keep the church record and history continually, for Oliver Cowdery I have appointed to another office.
4. Wherefore, it shall be given him, inasmuch as he is faithful, by the Comforter, to write these things. Even so. Amen.
Upon inquiry how the brethren should act in regard to purchasing lands to settle upon, and where they should finally make a permanent location I received the following:
Revelation, given at Kirtland, March, 1831. [D&C 48](8)
1. It is necessary that ye should remain for the present time in your places of abode, as it shall be suitable to your circumstances.
2. And inasmuch as ye have land, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren;
3. And inasmuch as ye have not land, let them buy for the present time in those regions round about, as seemeth them good, for it must needs be necessary that they have places to live for the present time.
4. It must needs be necessary, that ye save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness, that in time ye may be enabled to purchase land for an inheritance, even the city.
5. The place is not yet to be revealed; but after your brethren come from the east there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed.
6. And they shall be appointed to purchase the lands, and to make a commencement to lay the foundation of the city; and then shall ye begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the presidency and the bishop of the church, according to the laws and commandments which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive. Even so. Amen.
At about this time came Leman Copley(9), one of the sect called Shaking Quakers,(10) and embraced the fulness of the everlasting Gospel, apparently honest-hearted, but still retaining the idea that the Shakers(11) were right in some particulars of their faith(12). In order to have more perfect understanding on the subject, I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:
Revelation to Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley, given March, 1831. [D&C 49](13) [March 8, 1831]
1. Hearken unto my word, my servants Sidney, and Parley, and Leman; for behold, verily I say unto you, that I give unto you a commandment that you shall go and preach my gospel which ye have received, even as ye have received it, unto the Shakers.
2. Behold, I say unto you, that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent.
3. Wherefore, I send you, my servants Sidney and Parley to preach the gospel unto them;
4. And my servant Leman shall be ordained unto this work, that he may reason with them, not according to that which he has received of them, but according to that which shall be taught him by you my servants; and by so doing I will bless him, otherwise he shall not prosper.
5. Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved, and he that receiveth him not shall be damned--
6. And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand--
7. I, the Lord God have spoken it, but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes.
8. Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of.
9. Wherefore, I say unto you, that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.
10. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power.
11. Wherefore, I give unto you a commandment that ye go among this people, and say unto them, like unto mine apostle of old, whose name was Peter:
12. Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, who was on the earth, and is to come, the beginning and the end;
13. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, according to the holy commandment, for the remission of sins;
14. And whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of the hands of the elders of the church.
15. And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
16. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
17. And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
18. And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats,(13a) that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
19. For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.
20. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.
21. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.
22. And again, verily I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman neither of a man traveling on the earth.
23. Wherefore, be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken, and the earth to tremble and to reel to and fro as a drunken man, and for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low, and for the rough places to become smooth--and all this when the angel shall sound his trumpet,
24. But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.
25. Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.
26. Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
27. Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.
28. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen.(14)
During the month of April, I continued to translate the Scriptures as time would allow. In May(15), a number of Elders being present, and not understanding the different spirits(16) abroad in the earth(17), I inquired and received from the Lord the following:
Revelation, given May, 1831. [D&C 50](18) [May 9, 1831]
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God; and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.
2. Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world.
3. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.
4. Behold, I the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name.
5. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.
6. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment.
7. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed;
8. But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my Church, for the same are overcome of the world.
9. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.
10. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand;
11. Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face.
12. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I the Lord, reason with you, that you may understand.
13. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question--Unto what were ye ordained?
14. To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.
15. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified:
16. Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.
17. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18. And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20. If it be some other way it is not of God.
21. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth, receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22. Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
23. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
24. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
25. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;
26. He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
27. Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father, through Jesus Christ, his Son.
28. But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.
29. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.
30. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.
31. Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God.
32. And it shall be given unto you power over that spirit; and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God--
33. Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith,
34. He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.
35. And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive--and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him--
36. And behold, verily I say unto you, blessed are you who are now hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant, for your sins are forgiven you.
37. Let my servant Joseph Wakefield(19), in whom I am well pleased, and my servant Parley P. Pratt go forth among the churches and strengthen them by the word of exhortation;
38. And also my servant John Corrill(20), or as many of my servants as are ordained unto this office, and let them labor in the vineyard; and let no man hinder them doing that which I have appointed unto them--
39. Wherefore in this thing my servant Edward Partridge is not justified; nevertheless let him repent and he shall be forgiven.
40. Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; we must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
41. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
42. And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
43. And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you.
44. Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.
45. And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am.
46. Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready. Even so. Amen.(21)
Not long after the foregoing was received, the Saints from the State of New York began to come on, and it seemed necessary to settle them(22); therefore at the solicitation of Bishop Partridge, I inquired, and received the following:
Revelation, given May 1831. [D&C 51](23) [May 20, 1831]
1. Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, and I will speak unto my servant Edward Partridge, and give unto him directions; for it must needs be that he receive directions how to organize this people.
2. For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; otherwise, they will be cut off.
3. Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.
4. And let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the church, until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice of the church according to the laws and covenants of the church, to belong to the church.
5. And if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong to the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the bishop for the poor and needy of my church; therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him.
6. And thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land.
7. And let that which belongs to this people be appointed unto this people.
8. And the money which is left unto this people--let there be an agent appointed unto this people, to take the money to provide food and raiment, according to the wants of this people.
9. And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you.
10. And let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church.
11. Wherefore, if another church would receive money of this church, let them pay unto this church again according as they shall agree;
12. And this shall be done through the bishop or the agent, which shall be appointed by the voice of the church.
13. And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop.
14. And let him also reserve unto himself for his own wants, and for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business.
15. And thus grant unto this people a privilege of organizing themselves according to my laws.
16. And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;
17. And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.
18. Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches.
19. And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
20. Verily, I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who cometh quickly, in an hour you think not. Even so. Amen.
Return to BOAP History page.
Notes Chapter 14
1. After the Lamanite missionaries arrived in Kirtland, slanderous stories began to be circulated about the Mormons. George A. Smith said, "a literary war commenced." In the early spring of 1831, the Painesville Telegraph reprinted the Dogberry papers of NY. Alexander Campbell published his anti-Mormon pamphlet "Delusions, An Analysis of the Book of Mormon" (Boston: Benjamin H. Greene, 1831). The Campbellites seemed particularly resentful because of Rigdon's defection and took every opportunity to rally against the Mormon missionaries. George A. Smith wrote of his missionary efforts in Franklin and Suffield, "There was great opposition in this part of the country by a number of Campbellite priests, who followed us, interrupted our meetings and opposed us everywhere we went." The Campbellites wrote, "[the Latter-day Saints are a] band of the most unprincipled deceivers that ever disgraced any age or nation." Sidney Rigdon remarked that many of the Campbellites sent their children as hecklers to the houses of Mormons and that "they told some of the basest lies, that could be invested by human beings." The Campbellites evidently issued more anti-Mormon books and pamphlets in the 19th century than any other denomination.
Oliver Cowdery, remarking on the strange rumors being spread about the Mormons, said "It would be a Herculean task to point out the innumerable falsehoods and misrepresentations, sent out detrimental to this society [the Mormons]."
Often stories in the press about the Mormons included facts and strange perversions of facts. One New York paper quoted a correspondent, " Hundreds [of Mormons] in this vicinity, have become fanatics, complete, .. . . call themselves apostles, prophets, and etc. Perform miracles -call down fire from heaven-impart the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and say that they shall be renovated and live a thousand years. The old women say that they shall again become young, and become fruitful and replenish the earth. They have all things in common. They assume the general name Mormonite. The have a new bible which they call the Book of Mormon." v
The press let loose at the Mormons for virtually anything. As noted, in some cases they had real experiences of members on the fringe to publicize [see notes at chapter 13] and in other cases they conveyed fantastic rumors without basis in fact. The New York Evening Star wrote of the Mormon Temple in Kirtland, "[it is a] Heathen Temple on Lake Erie" which would turn the waters "crimson with shame." Bizarre happenings everywhere were ascribed to the Mormons. For example, the Burlington Sentinel claimed one oddball group in Vermont [Dylkes' disciples] were actually Mormons and that they reportedly "meet together every Sabbath and . . . roll naked on the floor, both men and women, and commit other sins too revolting to be mentioned. . ." The Chardon Spectator claimed, "Strange as it may seem, those senseless wretches, the Mormons, have . . . formed junction with another precious denomination of fanatics, [whose religious activities consist of] jumpings, dances, and so forth." Several papers circulated the following "report" on "Jo Smith," " . . . while the Mormon Prophet, Jo Smith, was in Ohio, engaged in proselyting the people to the faith of the 'Golden Bible,' he sought to give additional solemnity to the baptismal rite, by affirming that on each occasion an angel would appear on the opposite side of the stream and there remain till the conclusion of the ceremony. . . in agreement with the prediction by the Prophet, on each occasion a figure in white was seen on the opposite bank, and the faith of the faithful was thereby greatly increased. [this] at length induced a company of young men (unbelievers of course) to examine the quality of the ghost . . . rushing from their lair they succeeded in forcing it into the stream, and although its efforts at escape were powerful, they succeeded in bearing it in triumph to the opposite side of the stream, when who should this supposed inhabitant of the upper world be, but the Mormon Prophet himself."
Another widely circulated story involved a "Mormon elder" who walked on water. Of course the "elder" had a little help. He supposedly had constructed a network of planks just under the surface of the water, which some local wags discovered and sabotaged whereupon the "elder" drowned. In many versions the [dying] elder was Smith himself. One account has Smith falling into the stream and climbing out explaining to the startled converts (and the mischievous boys who had sabotaged the underwater plank) that the watcher's faith had failed them. [see for example the (seventy years tardy) account of Harvey Baker in the Oneonta Herald (NY) in January 1900]
A traveler sailing from Canton, China, appeared in Ohio in 1831, with some copies of the Canton Register containing prophecies of a Chinese astronomer, Chang-Teen-Sze, predicting a disastrous pestilence to appear in the fall that would destroy the wicked and leave the ground covered with the bodies of the dead. "Mormonism in China" was the characterization of the press. [Parkin, Conflict, chapter 10.]
2. This earthquake in China is a matter of some interest in connection with the history of the church since it was the means of bringing Simonds Ryder, a somewhat noted preacher of the Campbellite faith, into the Church. According to Hayden's History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve (a Campbellite book), Mr. Ryder was much perplexed over "Mormonism," and for a time was undecided whether to join the Church or not. "In the month of June," (1831) writes Mr Hayden, "he read in a newspaper an account of the destruction of Pekin in China and he remembered that six weeks before, a young 'Mormon' girl had predicted the destruction of that city." J. H. Kennedy, in his Early Days of Mormonism (Scribner's & Sons, 1888), refers to the same thing and adds: "This appeal to the superstitious part of his nature was the final weight in the balance and he threw the whole power of his influence upon the side of 'Mormonism,' His surrender caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the fall of Rigdon." (pp. 103-4). It was doubtless this prophecy and the conversion connected with it that led the papers mentioned in the text to refer to it as "Mormonism" in China. The discrepancy in days, Hayden and Kennedy referring to the published accounts of the events as appearing in June, and the Prophet making reference to it previous to the 7th of March, need cause no confusion. It will be seen that the Prophet alludes to it in connection with a number of other things as taking place "at this age of the Church"--a very indefinite reference as to the time in which a thing may have occurred.(BHR) [In fact, the reports of this great earthquake appear to be exaggerated. No authentic reports of major earthquakes in China (in the 19th century) are known. PJS 1:350, n2.]
3. The earliest publication of this revelation is found in ES (June 1832). Verses 72-75 were not published with the rest of this revelation until 1844. These verses warn that the revelation should not be publicized at that time (Spring 1831). Evidently the Lord lifted this provision the following year when it was published, hence the removal of the verses at that time. Evidence that the verses 72-75 existed before 1844 comes from Parley Pratt who published the revelation in MS (December 1840), verses 1-71 but refers to it as an "extract." Verses 72-75 may refer to the command to buy lands in Missouri (just called "Zion" at this point) hence another reason for not publishing them -to avoid land speculation. The earliest copy is probably a ms copy by William E. McLellin, copied probably abt. October 30, 1831. This ms dates the revelation one day earlier than the ms history version (March 6, 1831) as does a ms in the hand of Edward Partridge. The McLellin ms contains verses 72-75. Some minor differences exist between early copies and later editions of the D&C. For example, in verse 72, the phrases "until it is expedient in me" and "in the eyes of the people, and" are not in the McLellin ms. Another subject of the revelation is the translation of the Bible. It was confined to Genesis up to this point, but now was to move to the NT. Specific reference is made to Matt. 24, with background for the chapter appearing in the revelation. The revelation gives important information for interpreting Matt. 25 (ten virgins) and begins to clarify the LDS ideas surrounding personal immortality with comments about the anxiety of the ancient apostles on the length of time between death and resurrection. Eschatological matters, including the first hints of the human condition after the "judgement" are discussed. This revelation also adds to ideas of a Mormon Christology, with vss 4 and 5.[Woodford; "The Journals of William E. McLellin," (BYUS, 1994), 240.]
4. Doctrine and Covenants, sec xlvi. With reference to the matters mentioned in verses 1-7 in this revelation, John Whitmer writes; "In the beginning of the Church, while yet in her infancy, the disciples used to exclude unbelievers, which caused some to marvel and converse of this matter because of the things written in the Book of Mormon [III Nephi xviii: 22-34.] Therefore the Lord deigned to speak on this subject, that His people might come to understanding, and said that He had always given to His Elders to conduct all meetings as they were lead by the Spirit."--John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. iv.(BHR)
5. The earliest copy of D&C 46 is found in ES (August 1832). No variations among extant copies are important. The revelation opens the subject of spiritual gifts as well as deception by false spirits. This subject of deception is expanded upon in D&C 50, D&C 128 and D&C 129 as well as various sermons of Joseph Smith.
6. Previous to this Oliver Cowdery had acted as historian and recorder. John Whitmer, according to his own representations, said he would rather not keep the Church history, but observed--"The will of the Lord be done, and if He desires it, I wish that He would manifest it through Joseph the seer."--John Whitmer's History of the Church, ch. vi.--Accordingly the revelation was given.(BHR)
7. Between September 1830 and January 1831, David Whitmer was to keep the Church records, (Cowdery left on the Lamanite mission) however no minutes were taken of the conference in January 1831[Far West Record, p. 5]. As noted by B. H. Roberts, John Whitmer was reluctant to keep the history of the Church. Whitmer's records were brief and he missed the chance of being a tremendous benefit for preserving the record of a period with too few primary sources. One month after this revelation was given, "a special meeting of the Elders of the Church of Christ, held at Kirtland, Geauga County, Ohio, April 9, 1831, to do Church business and etc. Agreeable to a commandment received March 8, 1831, John Whitmer was appointed to keep the Church record and history by the voice of ten elders."[FWR, p. 3]
Copies of the revelation show some variations in the text. The earliest copy is probably the one found in the Kirtland Revelation Book (prior to 1834 and probably earlier than the BC -chapter 50.) The KRB text in verse 1 has "translating" instead of transcribing, and "shall be given him" instead of "shall be given you." In verse 1, the words "until he is called to further duties" do not appear in KRB. In verse 4, the words "inasmuch as he is faithful" do not occur in KRB.
8. This revelation gives further clarification to the procedure for handling the migration of Saints from NY and elsewhere. The earliest known copy is from the BC. The only variation of significance is found in verse 6, where the early copies have "elders" of my Church instead of "presidency." This reflects the growth in the leadership system of the Church the following year with the establishment of the Presidency of the High Priesthood (later called "the First Presidency" with the advent of other general "presidencies") by revelation in Nov. 1831.
9. Leman Copley, b. 1781 in Connecticut. By 1800 Copleys moved to Pitsford, Vermont and joined the Shakers. Leman moved to Cleveland area (site of Shaker community) abt. 1820. Married Salley (born 1779 Mass.) One known child: Reuben. By 1830 held title to large tracts of land in Thompson, Ohio. Baptized and ordained elder by March 1831. Agreed to have members of Church from New York to settle on his property; he owned 759 acres near Thompson. Broke promise by June 1831 and Colesville branch moved as a body to Missouri. Church withdrew fellowship that summer; back in Church by October 1832. Testified against Joseph Smith in Philastus Hurlburt trial 1834; disfellowshipped. Reinstated April 1, 1836 but stayed in Ohio when Saints moved on to Missouri and Illinois. D. 1862 at Thompson, Ohio. [PJS 1:480]
10. This sect of Christians arose in England, and Ann Lee has the credit of being its founder. They derive their name from their manner of worship--which is formed by singing and dancing and clapping their hands in regular time to a novel but rather pleasant kind of music. This sect was persecuted in England and came to America in 1774. They first settled in Watervliet, near Albany, New York. They have, or think they have, revelations from heaven or gifts from the Holy Spirit, which direct them in the choice of their leaders and in other important concerns. Their dress and manners are similar to those of the society of Friends (Quakers), hence they are often called Shaking Quakers. (Hayward's Book of All Religions, pp. 81-85) "They assert, with the Quakers, that all ordinances, especially baptism and the Lord's supper, ceased in the apostolic age; and that God had sent no one to preach since that time till they were raised up, to call in the elect in a new dispensation. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and a vicarious atonement, as also the resurrection of the body." (Burder's History of All Religions p. 502.)(BHR)
11. The shakers originated with Ann Lee from doctrines of radical Quakers in England. A celibate millenarian sect (Ann Lee was reincarnated Jesus) with ritual shaking, dancing, shouts, whirling and singing in tongues. Lee was a textile worker in Manchester, England before emigrating. Joseph Meacham and Lucy Wright refined the social system. There were eighteen Shaker villages (the one near Cleveland being Copley's.) Shakers have died out (perhaps a natural consequence of forbidding sexual relations under any circumstances) but their industry produced well known inventions like the clothespin and threshing machine.
12. Specifics of the Shaker "creed" are mentioned in the revelation as incorrect (e.g., not eating meat, celibacy, nature of second coming) and Copley evidently preached some of these ideas among the Latter-day Saints in Ohio. The Shakers had been contacted by the Lamanite missionaries previous to the visit commanded in the revelation here. Ashbel Kitchell, supervisor of the community with which Copley was formerly connected, wrote about the visits of the Mormon elders among them:Some time in the year 1829 the new religion, (if so it may be called,) of the Mormons began to make a stir in a town not far from North Union. [The date is undoubtedly 1830, the "stir" caused by the Lamanite missionaries.] It created a good deal of excitement among the people. They stated they had received a New Revelation, had seen an angel, & had been instructed into many things in relation to the history of America, that was not known before.
Late in the fall a number of them came to visit the Believers [i.e., shakers]. One by the name of Oliver Lowdree [Cowdery], who stated that he had been one who had been an assistant in the translation of the golden Bible, and had also seen the Angel, and had been commissioned by him to go out & bear testimony, that God would destroy this generation.
We gave him liberty to bear his testimony in our meeting; but finding he had nothing for us, we treated them kindly, and labored to find out what manner of spirit they were of.--They appeared meek and mild; but as for light, or knowledge of the way of God, I considered them very ignorant of Christ or his work; therefore I treated them with the tenderness of children.
They tarried with us two nights & one day, and when they were ready to start they proposed to leave some of their Books among us, to which we consented, and they left seven, which we distributed among the people; but they were soon returned as not interesting enough to keep them awake while reading. After some months they called for them & took them away, except one which was given me a present.--They appeared to have full faith in the virtue of their Books, that whoever would read them, would feel so thoroughly convinced of the truth of what they contained, that they would be unable to resist, and finally would be obliged to unite with them. They thot[sic] it prudent to wait on us a while for the leaven to work, so that things moved on smoothly for sometime, and we had time for reflection. I believed that I should one day have to meet them and decide the matter; and least I should do any thing that should injure the cause of God, or bring weakness on myself I wrote home for council [sic]; but could obtain none, for the case was new and none were acquainted with it in the Church, therefore they could give no council, and they left me to exercise my judgment.--For some time I felt some straitened, not knowing what course to take. At length I concluded that I was dedicated and entirely devoted to God, & desired to do what was right; that if God had any hand in that work, he would inform me by some means, that I might know what to do, either by letting me have an interview with the angel, or by some other means give me knowledge of my duty.
In this situation, I remained for a long time, occasionally hearing that they expected to come after a while and lead us into the water. We continued on friendly terms in the way of trade and other Acts of good neighborship untill [sic] the spring of 1831 when we were visited on Saturday evening by Sidney Rigdon and Leman Copley, the latter of whom had been among us; but not likeing [sic] the cross [i.e., celibacy] any to [sic] well, had taken up with Mormonism as the easier plan and had been appointed by them as one of the missionaries to convert us.
They tarried all night, and in the course of the evening, the doctrines of the cross and the Mormon faith were both investigated; and we found that the life of self-denial corresponded better with the life of Christ, than Mormonism, the said Rigdon frankly acknowledged, but said he did not bear that cross, and did not expect to.--At this assertion I set him without the paling of the Church, and told him I could not look on him as a Christian.--Thus the matter stood and we retired to rest, not knowing that they had then in possession what they called a revelation or message from Jesus Christ to us, which they intended to deliver to day (sabbath.) and which they supposed would bring us to terms.
Sabbath morning, matters moved on pleasantly in sociable chat with the Brethren, until I felt to give them all some council, which was for neither to force their doctrine on the other at this time; but let the time be spent in feeling of the spirit, as it was Rigdon's first visit, for it might be possible that he would yet see that the foundation he was now on, was sandy, as well as those he had been on, while professing the various doctrines of the day; and if he should, he might desire to find a resting place--something substantial to place his feet on, where he would be safe; therefore I wished him to know what we had, and by what spirit we were moved, &c.
He said he would subject himself to the order of the place, and I left them. A little before meeting, another one came from the Mormon camp as an assistant, by the name of Parley Pratt. He called them out, and enquired [sic] how they had got along? and was informed by Rigdon and Leman, that I had bound them to silence, and nothing could be done. Parley told them to pay no attention to me, for they had come with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the people must hear it, &c.
They came into meeting and sat quietly untill the meeting was through, and the people dismissed; when Sidney Rigdon arose and stated that he had a message from the Lord Jesus Christ to this people; could he have the privilege of delivering it? He was answered, he could. He then said it was in writing; could he read it? He was told he might. He then read the following Message. [The text of D & C, section 49, is here quoted (with only a few minor wording changes from the way it) appears in the Book of Commandments, chapter 52.]
At the close of the reading, he asked if they could be permitted to go forth in the exercise of their gift and office. --I told him that the piece he had read, bore on its face, the image of its author; that the Christ that dictated that, I was well acquainted with, and had been, from a boy; that I had been much troubled to get rid of his influence, and I wished to have nothing more to do with him; and as for any gift he had authorized them to exercise among us, I would release them & their Christ from any further burden about us, and take all the responsibility on myself.
Sidney made answer--This you cannot do; I wish to hear the people speak. I told him if he desired it, they could speak for themselves, and steped [sic] back and told them to let the man know how they felt; which they did in something like these words; that they were fully satisfied with what they had, and wished to have nothing to do with either them or their Christ. On hearing this Rigdon professed to be satisfied, and put his paper by; but Parley Pratt arose and commenced shakeing [sic] his coattail; he said he shook the dust from his garments as a testimony against us, that we had rejected the word of the Lord Jesus.
Before the words were out of his mouth, I was to him, and said;--You filthy Beast, dare you presume to come in here, and try to imitate a man of God by shaking your filthy tail; confess your sins and purge your soul from your lusts, and your other abominations before you ever presume to do the like again, &c. While I was ministering this reproof, he settled trembling into his seat, and covered his face; and I then turned to Leman who had been crying while the message was reading, and said to him, you hypocrite, you knew better;--you knew where the living work of God was; but for the sake of indulgence, you could consent to deceive yourself and them, but you shell reap the fruit of your own doings, &c.-- This struck him dead also, and dryed up his tears;--I then turned to the Believers and said, now we will go home and started.--Sidney had been looking on all this time without saying a word; as he had done all he did only by liberty nothing was said to him, and he looked on with a smile to see the fix the others were in, but they all followed us to the house.--Parleys horse had not been put away, as he came too late; he mounted and started for home without waiting for any one.--Sidney stayed for supper, and acknowledged that we were the purest people he had ever been acquainted with but he was not prepared to live such a life.
He was treated kindly and let go after supper.--But Leman tarried all night and started for home in the morning. [Journal of Ashbel Kitchell as copied in the diary of Elisha D. Blakerman a one time shaker, BYUS, 20 (Fall 1979) no.1, 95f]
The origin of early Mormons in terms of former religious affiliation seems somewhat different than other sects from the so-called "Burned-Over-District." Mormon converts were more predominantly male while other churches were more than 2 to 1 female. For more details on early Mormon demography see James B. Allen and Leonard J. Arrington, "Mormon Origins in New York: An Introductory Analysis," BYUS 9 (Spring 1969); Marvin S. Hill, "The Rise of Mormonism in the Burned-over District: Another View," New York History, 61 (October 1980), 411-430.
13. Among extant copies of this revelation, there are no significant textual variations. The earliest copy available is in ES (August 1832.) Appears as chapter 52 in BC. Dated March 8, 1831 in the Journal History of the Church [compiled after 1906.] ES dates the revelation as given in May 1831. [Woodford]
13a. The double negative, "forbiddeth to abstain," is unintentional. The preceding verse and the following phrase make it clear that the thought Joseph Smith wished to express here is that the Shakers (or anyone else) were wrong in claiming a divine mandate for a meatless diet. For more on 19th century dietary fads see notes at D&C 89 (chapter 23, this volume).
14. Elders Rigdon and Pratt fulfilled the mission appointed to them by this revelation. In company with Leman Copley, who at his own earnest request had been ordained to the Priesthood, (John Whitmer's History of the Church, p. 20) they visited the settlement of the Shakers, near Cleveland, Ohio, and preached the Gospel to them "but," writes Elder Pratt, "they utterly refused to hear or obey the Gospel."--Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 65 (first ed.) John Whitmer also remarks upon this incident: "The above-named brethren went and proclaimed the Gospel according to the revelation given them, but the shakers hearkened not to their words and received not the Gospel at that time, for they are bound in tradition and priestcraft, and thus they are led away with foolish and vain imaginations.--John Whitmer's History of the Church. Ms. p. 20. (BHR)
15. While Frederick G. Williams was with the Lamanite missionaries, he placed his farm at the disposal of the Church. In May 1831 a revelation was given "concerning the farm owned by Frederick [G. Williams] and also concerning Joseph [Smith, Sr.] and Ezra [Thayer.]" The uncanonized revelation gives direction for the farm and the housing arrangements for the Joseph Smith, Sr. family [Thayer was directed to board with the Smith family.] Smith, Sr. was to help provide for the Williams family on the farm.". . . let my servant Joseph [Smith, Sr.] govern the things of the farm and provide for the families . . . " In addition the revelation predicts that Williams will eventually want to move his family "west." Ezra Thayer was to "humble himself and at the conference [to be held in June as appointed in D&C 44] he shall be ordained unto power from on high and he shall go from thence if he be obedient unto my commandments and proclaim my gospel . . . ."
An additional question was asked apparently at the same time, "What shall the brethren do with the moneys?" Answer: "Ye shall go forth and seek diligently among the brethren and obtain lands and save the money that it may be consecrated to purchase lands in the west for an everlasting inheritance even so, Amen." Here we see a hint at the eventual importance of Missouri in LDS doctrine and thought.[KRB, 91f; see notes at D&C 56:8 on Thayer.]
16. This is a very brief allusion to very important and strange phenomena. Elder Parley P. Pratt, in his Autobiography, has a much more extended account of the spirit manifestations which called forth the revelation upon the subject, "As I went forth among the different branches," he says alluding to the branches in the vicinity of Kirtland, " some very strange spiritual operations were manifested, which were disgusting rather than edifying, some persons would seem to swoon away and make unseemly gestures, and be drawn or disfigured in their countenances. Others would fall into ecstasies and be drawn into contortions cramp, fits etc. Others would seem to have visions and revelations which were not edifying and which were not congenial to the doctrine and spirit of the Gospel. In short, a false and lying spirit seemed to be creeping into the Church All these things were new and strange to me and had originated in the Church during our absence, and previous to the arrival of President Joseph Smith from New York. Feeling our weakness and inexperience, and lest we should err in judgment concerning these spiritual phenomena, myself, John Murdock and several other Elders, went to Joseph smith and asked him to inquire of the Lord concerning these spirits or manifestations. After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation." This is the revelation given in the text above on spiritual manifestations. (BHR)
17. One of Rigdon's congregation who resisted the missionaries from NY was Josiah Jones. His account of the effect of the missionaries and the establishment of Mormonism in Kirtland features both the uplifting and the outlandish (Jones, committed to the idea of no further "gifts of the Spirit" after the primitive apostles, would not distinguish between them) in spiritual phenomena [see also note 12 chapter 13 this volume]:
About five or six weeks ago some of them began to have visions and revelations, and to prophesy, as they say. They said a man by the name of [Lyman] Wight, who was ordained their elder with authority to lay on hands, one night in meeting, had what they call "the Power of God," and that his face and hands shone so that it was plain to be seen by all in the room, and that he sung a song which no one ever heard before, and which they said was the most melodious that they ever listened to. It was sung in another tongue. While in these visions they say they are carried away in the spirit to the Lamanites, the natives of this country, which are our Western Indians, which are the lost Jews, and which are now to be brought in with the fullness of the Gentiles. While in these visions they say that they can see the Indians on the banks of the streams at the West waiting to be baptized; and they can hear them sing and see them perform many of the Indian manoeuvres, which they try to imitate in various ways; those that have these visions are mostly young men and girls from twelve to twenty years old. They say that they know they have the spirit of prophecy, and this is some of that which was spoken by Joel the prophet, that in the last days it shall come to pass that, "I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and they shall prophesy" &--. These young men and women will lay sometimes for hours almost lifeless to appearance, and when they begin to recover, they begin to pray in a low voice or whisper, and after a little time, to act, they say, as the Indians did where they were carried by the spirit.
One girl about thirteen years old, while under the influence of the spirit of prophecy, as they term it, would select passages of prophecy from the Bible both old and new Testament, and also from the Mormon book, and put them all together and make a complete chain or connection of prophecy, which they say "they defy [Walter] Scott or [Alexander] Campbell to connect with equal perfection." While in these visions, they say they have writing come onto their hands which no one can read but one in the same situation; if any one of their brethren or sisters talk to them in Indian it will so please them that they will laugh and set out many Indian capers and motions.
But of late their prophesying seems to have ceased, and they have taken to running; the young men after falling down and recovering will start and run half a mile, and then get upon a stump and begin to preach and pray as loud as they can bawl. They have been seen to run to the river or brook and make as though they were baptizing some person. Sometimes they call out in these scenes--"There I have baptized one, then two, then three," and so on. They also have a way of receiving a commission from the Lord to go and preach. They are first warned and called while in a vision that they must go into the world and preach; at another time they receive a commission on a roll of paper handed to them from above in the presence of all in the room; but what is contained on the paper I have not yet learned; three of the young men that have received their commission in this way have gone to preach; one by the name of Heman Bassett, one Edson Fuller, and Burr Riggs; they have been gone about ten days and I have not yet heard from them. They also see a great many lights in the night; one of their foremost men in this place, while baptizing in the evening, (for they perform this ceremony mostly in the night,) said he saw across the river a light as large as the palm of his hand, which stood there while [he] was baptizing, which he knows was a supernatural light; they have now become quite common and they all see the lights; but others standing by do not see them. I. [Isaac] Morley said while in meeting at Mayfield, he saw a ball of fire about the size of a dollar, come into the room and light upon a woman's clothes near her feet, and from her come to him, and then to another person, and so disappeared, to the astonishment of some others that saw it--E. Fullers while lying on the floor has been seen to jump up and cling to a beam for a while and then drop like a log on the floor;--at other times they will reach up until they touch a certain beam and then fall flat on the floor; these accounts I have received from information a few hours after they transpired, not have been an eye witness of many of them myself. And many other signs and wonders and fanatical exhibitions, truly were done by this people, which are not written, but these are written that you might believe, and that believing you might remain firm in the doctrines of the New Testament and not turn aside to Mormonism.--Observer. [Josiah Jones, "History of the Mormonites, Kirtland, 1831," The Evangelist 9 (June 1, 1831):134-136.]
Jared Carter relates an experience with the literal fulfillment of this revelation (D&C 50) and how he employed it to eradicate some of the dark spirits that troubled a number of Church members in the summer of 1831.[Jared Carter Journal, pp. 20-29, quoted in Woodford, 645-647] Carter's account follows:
. . . while the elders was gone to the missurie [Joseph Smith first Missouri trip] and while I was here [at Amherst, Ohio] it seamed as though I was placed as in the frontears of the armies of the pit for I had not been there long before I began to be tried with exersez and transactions that took place in the church one principle thing that became a trial to my mind was sertain exercises that they called visions, that individuals had the first of them that I saw was at Mr. Barnas house in Amherst on seeing them I was doubtful concerning them & did not know what to do for I did not know as I could depend on my own veaws as wel as I could on some others that were preasant that I supposed had more knowledge in the work than I and I saw that they fellowshiped the exercises I then endeavered to lay hold of the thrown of grace for to know more concerning the same but could not obtain a union with that falling spirit that was in the meeting I at length come to the conclusion that I would neel down and pray solmlly and it seamed to me that I could pray in faith that evry false spirit should depart from the meeting & I thought whether I or these visionary persons as they called them had any spirit that if I prayed in faith it would depart acordingly I nealed down and prayed & I thought I prayed in faith now when I had earnestly prayed to the Lord and had seased to pray vocally I found there was some considerable difference in the meeting for when I began to pray there was two of them that lay prostrate in what some of them called a vision but after I had prayed a few minutes they come sudenly out of them and was clothed in their right mind I on seeing this felt considerable well convinsed in my own mind that these exercises were not good but after meeting I conversed with some of the elders & I found that they were full in the belief that these kind of visions were from a good spirit I then after seeing them and even all the church so confirmed that the exercises were of the Lord that I began to conclude that I had been mistaken & began to think that the reason their visions were broken of as above mentioned while I was at prayer was because I was so far inferier to my glorious privilege under this influence I was led to conclude that those exercises were of the Spirit of the Lord tho at times I was led to greeve vary much concerning them till at length I proved by a revelation that had been given to the Elders concerning Spiritts that these Spiritt visionary exercises as they were called were not of the Lord I prooved them in the following maner it was at a time when I with Silvester Smith was attending to a meeting on what is called the middleridge in Amherst in Ohio here at a meeting as we was about to atend to the administration of the communion there was a young women taken with an exercise that brought her on to the floor & because I doubted of such maner of influences in a public congregation I requested Brother Silvester that we should try that spirit acording to the revelation that God had given he immediately complied with my request we then neeled down and asked our heavenly father in the name of Christ that if that Spirit that that sister possesed was of him that he would give it to us & we prayed in faith but we did not receive that Spirit we then arose & got upon my seat Silent for some minutes but Brother Sylvester arose and laid hands apon the Sister but this was not as the commandment dyrects for the command reads thus wherefore it shall come to pass that if you behold a spirit menifest that ye cannot understand & ye receive not that Spirit ye shall ask the Father in the name of Jesus & if he give you not that Spirit then ye may know that it is not of God & it shall be given unto you power over that Spirit & ye shall proclaim against that Spirit with aloud voice that it is not of God not with railing accousation that ye be not overcome neither with bosting nor rejoising lest you be Seized there with now after Silvester had made some communication which was not proclaimeing against the Spirit as I beleeved it had ought to thave been that is against he Spirit that we had prayed concerning I then arose & proclaimed against that Spirit with a loud voise but this was vary trying to all the Brethren preasant for they about all of them believed that it was of God & now I had some sore conflicts with Satan for he told me that I had lost all my influance in the Church & to be shure it aparently was very much so but I after contemplated for a I had realized that if I had the approbation of my heavenly father it was better than to have the good will of many decived Brethren having these views I felt that grase wus sufuecent to bear me above my trials but I after making this sacrafise was immediately possesed with a greater gift of the word than I ever was before so that my influanc instead of decresing began to increase the next Sabboth after the sabboth that I proclaimed against the above mentioned spirit we met on the Northridge for meeting here at this days meeting I experienced a marvelous display of the Spirit yet in the fore part of that part of the exercise that I experienced it it seem to me as though I was allmost overwhelmed with an auful influence form the powers of darkness for I felt as a thick could of darkness apon my soul and mind while in this state of mind I cryed to God mightily for help & while in my earnestness in calling apon the Lord the clouds of thick darkness bursted from my Soul and I was quickly filled with the blessed influence of the spirit and was endowed with power from on high in a marvilous manner as I never was before I then was enclined by the spirit to ask the Lord for what purpose I was thus marvilously exercised and immediately as I felt to make this enquirey there was as at once a voice spake unto me this is the fulfilment of my word to you & this power that is given you is power over the Spirt you proclaimed against I then felt endowned with full power over that Spirit that I had proclaimed against the Sabbath before and from that time forward that Spirit never came in to the meeting when I was presant in this display of that power of God I had one of the most infalable proofs of the divine origen of the above mentioned revelation this together with many other testamonies and the testamony of the spirit of the living god has confirmed me beyond all doubt in the truth of this most glorious work
Joseph Smith had his own encounters with this problem. Just after arriving in Ohio, Joseph Smith wrote to his brother Hyrum that on March 4, 1831 he wasColled [called] out of my bed in the night to go a small distance I went and had an awful strugle with satan but being armed with the power of god he was cast out and the woman is Clothed in hir right mind the Lord worketh wonders in this land [Joseph Smith holograph Joseph Smith to Hyrum Smith, March 4, 1831. See PWJS, 231; see note 11 preceding chapter for the rest of this letter which notes the general nature of the problem of Satanic influences attempting to overthrow the Church.]
18. We have already noted in several places the circumstances which caused Joseph Smith to ask God for this revelation. The earliest known copy is in ES (Aug. 1832) where the date of reception is given as May 9, 1831. The "Star" printing contains some errors in names ("Joseph Smith" was mistakenly substituted for the name "Joseph Wakefield" and "John Corrill" became "John Whitmer") errors possibly resulting from mss containing only first names. Several ms copies exist, including BLC, bk. A, bk. B, ms history, Journal History. The revelation appeared as BC chapter 53.
19. Joseph H. Wakefield, b. 1792, Dublin, NH. M. Eunice Sawyer, 1812. Lived Watertown, NY prior to and still owned property there joining Church. Baptized and ordained elder, May 1831. While proselyting in St. Lawrence County, NY, baptized future LDS apostle, George A. Smith. Moved to Kirtland 1833. Left Church when he observed Joseph Smith coming out of "his translating room" and immediately getting down on the floor and playing with some children. Wakefield felt such an act was so undignified that Smith could not be a prophet. [JD 11:3.] [In some ways, customs then were more formal than today's; for example, for a civilized man even in early Ohio to go out without a hat was a major breach of manners. An odd example of this as told by George A. Smith: Hawley "was attacked by the spirit of revelation somewhere in the State of New York, while he was ploughing; and it took him in such a hurry that he had not time to put on his boots, but traveled barefoot to Kirtland, some six hundred miles distant, to warn Joseph that he was a fallen Prophet; that God had cut Joseph off, and placed in his stead a man by the name of [John] Noah; and the reason Joseph was cut off was, he had suffered the men to wear cushions on their coat sleeves, and the women to wear caps. He went through the streets of Kirtland with a dismal howl, crying, 'Woe, woe to the people.' JD 2:362; 7:114; 11:6; Ms History of Brigham Young, 1801-1844, E. Watson.] Wakefield in 1834 became one of a group of apostates who advocated the Spaulding theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon. He was excommunicated by January 1834. D. 1835, Willoughby, Ohio. [Painesville Telegraph 5:3 (January 31, 1834); RJS, 69; PJS 1:519.]
20. John Corrill, b. 1794, Barre, Mass. M. Margaret. Five known children: Betsy, Nancy, Whitney, Foster, and Mary. Baptized Jan. 10, 1831. Ordained elder "a few days later." Ordained high priest and set apart as assistant to Bishop Edward Partridge June 3, 1831. Served mission to New London, Ohio, early 1831. Appointed to travel with Lyman Wight to Jackson County, Missouri, June 1831. Moved family to Missouri 1831. Presided over Branch Number Four in Independence. Prominent Church leader 1831-38. Imprisoned for short time in Independence 1833. Settled in Clay County, Missouri, after expulsion from Jackson County. Owned property in Clay County. Appointed to receive "endowment" in Kirtland June 23, 1834. Participated in dedication of Kirtland Temple 1836 and directed latter stages of construction. Returned to Clay County, Missouri, by November 1836. Assisted in settling Far West, Missouri. Owned property in Caldwell County. Appointed "Keeper of the Lord's Storehouse" November 7, 1837. Appointed to assist as Church historian April 8, 1838. Elected state representative for Caldwell County, Missouri, 1838. Voiced opposition to Joseph Smith August 1838. Filed affidavit for loss of property in Missouri 1840. Excommunicated March 17, 1839. Published work against Church: A Brief History of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints (Commonly Called Mormons), (St. Louis, 1839). D. 1843 Quincy, Illinois. [RJS, 68; PJS 1:480.]
Corrill mentions such a mission briefly in his own history of the Church: "They [elders assigned] soon started, myself among others. Solomon Hancock was my companion in travel, and a pleasing one he was to me. We went to New London, about one hundred miles from Kirtland, where we built up a church of thirty-six members in about three weeks time, though we were bitterly opposed by other preachers. After which we returned to Kirtland." [John Whitmer mentions missions following the reception of D&C 42; this mission may be what Corrill writes about instead.]
21. Elder Parley P. Pratt; in his Autobiography, referring to this revelation for he was present when it was given--indeed it was obtained chiefly at his own and Elder John Murdock's solicitation--takes occasion to relate how this and other revelations were given through the Prophet. "Each sentence," says he, "was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each sufficiently long for it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand. This was the manner in which all his written revelations were dictated and written. There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back in order to keep the run of the subject neither did any of these communications undergo revisions, interlinings or corrections. As he dictated them so they stood, so far as I have witnessed: and I was present to witness the dictation of several communications of several pages each."--Aut. Parley P. Pratt, pp. 63-66. This statement of Elder Pratt's is true in a general way, and valuable as a description of the manner in which revelations were dictated by the Prophet: and needs modifying only to the extent of saying that some of the early revelations first published in the Book of Commandments in 1833, were revised by the Prophet himself in the way of correcting errors made by the scribes and publishers: and some additional clauses were inserted to throw increased light upon the subjects treated in the revelations and paragraphs added, to make the principles or instructions 'apply to officers not in the Church at the time some of the earlier revelations were given. The addition of verses, 65, 66 and 67 in sec. xx of the Doctrine and Covenants is an example.(BHR)
22. See notes at D&C 42 and the above noted revelation to Ezra Thayer (note 15) among others. The Colesville Saints traveled to Ohio in a body and early residents of the area recalled some of the disturbances caused by their leaving, broken engagements, elopements, etc. [See Affidavit of Harriet E. Shay (27 March 1903) as quoted in Larry C. Porter and Jan Shipps, The Colesville, New York, "Exodus" Seen from Two Documentary Perspectives, New York History 62 (April 1981), 201-211] The problem of settling the arriving members was a difficult one since the Kirtland region was not really open acreage but already secured land; however Leman Copley offered his extensive holdings in consecration, according to "the Law." Bishop Partridge arranged for the Colesville Saints and others, including Ezra Thayer, to have stewardships there. The part of the Knight family who came earlier in the year were settled there. Jared Carter who arrived slightly ahead of the main body from Colesville (nearly 100) said: "we went to Kir[t]land where we found Joseph, the se[e]r. Here we found that preparations was made for the Church from which we were to settle in Thompson. We went from here to Thompson and there continued until the boddy[sic] of the Church arrived to Fairport and then we moved our things and families to Thompson. Here we had some severe trials." While after the main group arrived in mid-May, Joseph Knight, Jr. wrote: "commenced preparing houses on a brother's land who had a thousand acres. We planted and sowed a great deal." But after the failure (and according to the shaker's version [see above] of the story- evident discomfiture) of the missionary expedition, the Saints made Copley feel as though he had failed the Lord. Indeed it appears that the missionaries were not careful in fulfilling the explicit conditions of the revelation (D&C 49) with the possible exception of Parley Pratt.
Copley finally concluded that he wanted no part of the Mormons in late May or early June and broke the bargain which was not legally secured, whereupon the Saints (after making considerable improvements to Copley's land) were fined and had to leave. Copley's mentor, Ashbel Kitchell reported the shaker version of what happened:He [Copley] had a large farm, and about 100 Mormons were living with him, on it. When he got home, he found the Mormons had rejected him, & could not own him for one of them, because he had deceived them with the idea of converting us. He felt very bad;--was not able to rest;--came back to us and begged for union.
After some consultation we concluded to give him union, and help him through; and to accomplish this, I went home with him, and held a meeting in the dooryard, among the Mormons; but few of them attended. They appeared to be struck with terror and fear lest some of them might get converted; but they could not get out of hearing, without leaving the place, so that I found that they understood the subject.--I stayed over night, and in the morning I had conversation with the Elder, whose name was Knight [Newel Knight].
In the course of the conversation, I stirred the feelings of an old man, that proved to be the Elder's Father [Joseph Knight, Sr.], which so raised the indignation of the Elder that he let on me his heaviest mettels [sic]; he poured it on at the top of his voice, and wound up by informing me that unless I repented I should go to Hell! I waited with patience until he was thro', and then asked him if he would hear me;--to which he consented.
I told him if the words he had spoken had come from a man of God they would have caused my knees to have smote together like Belshazers, but coming as they did from a man that lived in his lusts--who gratified a beastly propensity, and often in a manner that was far bellow the beasts, and at the same time professing to be a follower of Christ, his words had no weight, but passed by me without makeing [sic] any impression.
I then gave him a lecture on the subject of the cross, and a life of self denyal[sic] which was fully satisfying to all present, who had the right end of the story.--I stayed all day, and assisted them to settle their affairs.--I wrote for them two or three hours; and after I was thro' I took hold of the Elder and walked the floor, amuseing [sic] him with a number of pleasant things; and lastly I repeated part of a verse of an old hymn, which reads thus,
'But now as I close
One thing I'll propose
To the man that salvation would find
No longer put your trust,
In a man that lives in lust,
For how can the blind lead the blind.'
At the recital of these words, he loosened his hold and made for the door, and here ended my labors for the Mormons for that time.
Newel Knight observed, "We had not labored long before the above named Copley broke the engagement which he made with us. At this time I went to Kirtland to see Brother Joseph and to attend a conference which had been appointed to commence on the sixth of June 1831 [actually, June 3-5, 1831]." Joseph Knight, Jr., said that for breaking his covenant Copley " was turned out of the church for bad conduct; he then began to persecute us and we had to leave his farm and pay sixety[sic] dollars damage for putting up his houses and planting his ground"[Robert F. W. Meader, "The Shakers and the Mormons," The Shaker Quarterly 2 (1962): 86-91; Lawrence R. Flake, "A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission," BYUS 20 (1979): 94-99; William G. Hartley, "They Are My Friends": A History of the Joseph Knight Family, 1825-1850 (Provo: Grandin Book, 1986); Dean C. Jessee, "Joseph Knight's Recollection of Early Mormon History," BYU Studies 17 (1976): 38-39; Journal of Jared Carter, LDS Archives, 3. Newel Knight Autobiography, 30; Joseph Knight's [Jr.'s] Incidents of History from 1827 to 1844, LDS Archives, 2; Lucy Smith, Biographical Sketches, 171.]
23. The earliest copy of this revelation is one from June 1833 in the hand of Algernon Sidney Gilbert the revelation is there given the date of May 20, 1831 with the notation that it was given at Thompson [BLC bk B]. Two important variations exist in the copies of this revelation (this revelation does not appear in BC.) The first is some text omitted from published copies. The second is that verse 5 was added to later copies when it was published [for the first time in the 1835 D&C] and appears to be a condition motivated by the strange circumstances at Thompson (i.e., Copley's reneging on his gift.) The added text reflects a letter to Partridge from Joseph Smith (Joseph Smith collection, LDS archives) dated May 2, 1833 in which he wrote: "give a deed, securing to him who receives his inheritance to be his individual property, his private stewardship."[Woodford]
The text currently omitted reads as follows in the KRB (text essentially the same as BLC bk B):
"wherefore let my servant Edward [Partridge] receive the properties of this people which have covenanted with me to obey the laws which I have given and let my servant Edward receive the money as it shall be laid before him according to the covenant and go and obtain a deed or article of this land unto himself of him who holdeth it if he harden not his heart for I have appointed him to receive these things and thus through him the properties of the church shall be consecrated unto me."
A comparison of the text in the KRB and the current D&C 51 follows:
D&C 51 KRB pp. 87-89 (Thompson Ohio) 1. Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, and I will speak unto my servant Edward Partridge, and give unto him directions; for it must needs be that he receive directions how to organize this people. Hearken unto me saith the Lord your God and I will speak unto my servant Edward and give unto him directions for it must needs be that he receive direction how to organise this people 2. For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; otherwise, they will be cut off. for it must needs be that they are organized according to my laws if otherwise they will be cut off wherefore let my servant Edward receive the properties of this people which have covenanted with me to obey the laws which I have given and let my servant Edward receive the money as it shall be laid before him according to the covenant and go and obtain a deed or article of this land unto himself of him who holdeth it if he harden not his heart for I have appointed him to receive these things and thus through him the properties of the church shall be consecrated unto me. 3. Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs. Wherefore let my servant Edward and those whom he has chosen in whom I am well pleased appoint unto this people their portion every man alike according to their families according to their wants and their needs 4. And let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, and let my servant Edward when he shall appoint a man his portion give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion that he shall hold it even this right and this inheritance in the church, of the church until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice of the church according to the laws and covenants of the church, to belong to the church. until he transgresses and is not counted worthy by the voice of the church according to the laws to belong to the church 5. And if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong to the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the bishop for the poor and needy of my church; therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him. 6. And thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land. and then all things shall be made sure according to the laws of the land 7. And let that which belongs to this people be appointed unto this people. and let that which belongeth to this people be appointed unto this people 8. And the money which is left unto this people--let there be an agent appointed unto this people, to take the money to provide food and raiment, according to the wants of this people. and the money which is left unto this people let there be an agent appointed unto this people to provide food and raiment according to the wants of this people 9. And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you. and let every man deal honestly and be alike among this people and receive alike that ye may be one even as I have commanded you 10. And let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church. and let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church 11. Wherefore, if another church would receive money of this church, let them pay unto this church again according as they shall agree; wherefore if another church would receive money of this church let them pay unto this again according as they shall agree 12. And this shall be done through the bishop or the agent, which shall be appointed by the voice of the church. and this shall be done through the Bishop or the agent which shall be appointed by the voice of the church 13. And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop. and again let the Bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church and let all things both in money and in meat which is more than is needful for the wants of the people be kept in the hands of the bishop 14. And let him also reserve unto himself for his own wants, and for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business. and let him also reserve unto himself for his own wants and for the wants of his family as he shall be employed in doing this business 15. And thus grant unto this people a privilege of organizing themselves according to my laws. and thus grant unto this people a privelege of organizing themselves according to my laws 16. And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence; and I consecrate unto them this land for a little season until I the Lord shall provide for them otherwise and command them to go hence 17. And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good. and the hour and the day is not given unto them wherefore let them act upon this land as for years and this shall turn unto them for their good 18. Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches. behold this shall be an example unto my servant Edward in other places in all churches 19. And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life. and whoso is found a faithful and just and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord and shall inherit eternal life 20. Verily, I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who cometh quickly, in an hour you think not. Even so. Amen. verily I say unto you I am Jesus Christ who cometh quickly in an hour you think not. Amen
The extra provision given in the modified text of verse 5 and the deletion of the text at vs 2, provided security to the Church as well as the individuals involved, both consecrators and receiver. It gave the Church security since legally it placed the Church out of reach of disgruntled consecrators as they could not claim the institution had defrauded them for there was clear consideration provided in a contractual agreement. It protected members because they now would have legal title conveyed to them. However, Bishop Partridge felt that this weakened the Church's position, allowing apostates to retain property and sell it to enemies of the Church for example, as actually happened in Missouri. The problems in Missouri will be considered at the appropriate place in the text.
In fact, at least one disgruntled member apparently did sue the Church over its original practice as noted by the Painesville Telegraph of April 26, 1833:
We perceive by a letter from Independence, Missouri, to the Editor of the Cincinnati Journal, that difficulties have already began in the Mormon community, at Mount Zion, in that quarter; one of the members having sued the Bishop, in a court of justice, for fifty dollars, which had been sent by the plaintiff to the said Bishop, from Ohio, 'to purchase an inheritance for himself and the saints of God in Zion in these last days.' This was certainly a most impious act, but 'nevertheless and notwithstanding,' the jury found for the plaintiff; it appearing that though the good bishop had indeed appropriated the money 'to the purchase of an inheritance,' yet he had, unthoughtedly no doubt, procured the deed to be drawn in his own name, to his heirs, &c. [note that the text in KRB could be construed as instruction to do just this] and no one else in Zion nor out of it. The writer states that on this decision several other members are ready to make similar demands on the good bishop.