History of the Church, Vol.1, Chapter 7 [June 1829 - Apr. 1830]
The Day Appointed For Organizing the Church--Revelation On Church Government.
[For an explanation of abbreviations see volume 1, chapter 1.]
[Copyright © 1997 BOAP. All rights reserved.]
We now became anxious to have that promise realized to us, which the angel that conferred upon us the Aaronic Priesthood had given us, viz., that provided we continued faithful, we should also have the Melchizedek Priesthood, which holds the authority of the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost. We had for some time made this matter a subject of humble prayer, and at length we got together in the chamber of Mr. Whitmer's house, in order more particularly to seek of the Lord what we now so earnestly desired; and here, to our unspeakable satisfaction, did we realize the truth of the Savior's promise--"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you"--for we had not long been engaged in solemn and fervent prayer, when the word of the Lord came unto us in the chamber, commanding us that I should ordain Oliver Cowdery to be an Elder in the Church of Jesus Christ; and that he also should ordain me to the same office; and then to ordain others, as it should be made known unto us from time to time.(1) We were, however, commanded to defer this our ordination until such times as it should be practicable to have our brethren, who had been and who should be baptized, assembled together, when we must have their sanction to our thus proceeding to ordain each other, and have them decide by vote whether they were willing to accept us as spiritual teachers or not(2); when also we were commanded to bless bread and break it with them, and to take wine, bless it, and drink it with them; afterward proceed to ordain each other according to commandment; then call out such men as the Spirit should dictate, and ordain them; and then attend to the laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, upon all those whom we had previously baptized, doing all things in the name of the Lord. The following commandment will further illustrate the nature of our calling to this Priesthood, as well as that of others who were yet to be sought after(3):
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, making known the calling of Twelve Apostles in these last days: and also instructions relative to building up the Church of Christ according to the fulness of the Gospel, Given in Fayette, New York, June, 1829. [D&C 18](4)
1. Now, behold, because of the thing which you, my servant Oliver Cowdery, have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words;
2. Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true; wherefore you know that they are true.
3. And if you know that they are true, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;
4. For in them are all things written concerning the foundation of my church, my gospel and my rock.(5)
5. Wherefore, if you shall build up my church, upon the foundation of my gospel and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
6. Behold, the world is ripening in iniquity; and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles and also the house of Israel.
7. Wherefore, as thou hast been baptized by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith Jun., according to that which I have commanded him, he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him.
8. And now, marvel not that I have called him unto mine own purpose, which purpose is known in me wherefore, if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments he shall be blessed unto eternal life; and his name is Joseph.
9. And now, Oliver Cowdery, I speak unto you, and also unto David Whitmer, by the way of commandment; for behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called.(6)
10. Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God;
11. For, behold the Lord your Redeemer suffered death in the flesh; wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
12. And he hath risen again from the dead, that he might bring all men unto him, on conditions of repentance,
13. And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth!
14. Wherefore, you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
15. And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
16. And now, if your joy will be great with one soul that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy if you should bring many souls unto me!
17. Behold, you have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation.
18. Ask the Father in my name, in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost, which manifesteth all things which are expedient unto the children of men.
19. And if you have not faith, hope, and charity, you can do nothing.
20. Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil.
21. Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness.
22. And as many as repent and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
23. Behold, Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved;
24. Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day,
25. Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.
26. And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew;
27. Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.
28. And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
29. And they are they who are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written;
30. And you have that which is written before you; wherefore, you must perform it according to the words which are written.
31. And now I speak unto you, the Twelve--Behold, my grace is sufficient for you; you must walk uprightly before me and sin not.
32. And, behold, you are they who are ordained of me to ordain priests and teachers, to declare my gospel, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men,
33. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
34. These words are not of men, nor of man, but of me; wherefore you shall testify they are of me and not of man;
35. For it is my voice which speaketh them unto you; for they are given by my Spirit unto you, and by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power you could not have them;
36. Wherefore, you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.
37. And now, behold I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve,(7) who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;
38. And by their desires and their works you shall know them.
39. And when you have found them, you shall show these things unto them.
40. And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name,
41. And you must preach unto the world, saying: You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ;
42. For all men must repent and be baptized, and not only men, but women, and children who have arrived at the years of accountability.
43. And now, after that you have received this you must keep my commandments in all things;
44. And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men unto the convincing of men of their sins, that they may come unto repentance, and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father.
45. Wherefore, the blessings which I give unto you are above all things.
46. And after that you have received this, if you keep not my commandments you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father.
47. Behold, I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit have spoken it. Amen.
In this manner did the Lord continue to give us instructions from time to time, concerning the duties which now devolved upon us; and among many other things of the kind, we obtained of Him the following, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to His will and commandment, we should proceed to organize His Church once more here upon the earth:
A Revelation on Church Government. [D&C 20](8)
1. The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April--
2. Which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jun., who was called of God, and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this Church;
3. And to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this church, and ordained under his hand;
4. And this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory, both now and for ever. Amen.
5. After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world;
6. But after repenting and humbling himself sincerely through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness;
7. And gave unto him commandments which inspired him;
8. And gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon;
9. Which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and to the Jews also.
10. Which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them--
11. Proving to the world that the Holy Scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old,
12. Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and for ever. Amen.
13. Therefore having so great witnesses by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter come to a knowledge of this work.
14. And those who receive it in faith, and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life;
15. But those who harden their hearts in unbelief and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation--
16. For the Lord God hath spoken it; and we, the elders of the church have heard and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
17. By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable
God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them;
18. And that he created man, male, and female, after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them;
19. And gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only being whom they should worship.
20. But by the transgression of these holy laws man became sensual and devilish, and became fallen man.
21. Wherefore, the Almighty God gave his Only Begotten Son, as it is written in those scriptures which have been given of him.
22. He suffered temptations but gave no heed unto them.
23. He was crucified, died, and rose again the third day:
24. And ascended into heaven, to sit down on the right hand of the Father, to reign with almighty power according to the will of the Father;
25. That as many as would believe and be baptized in his holy name, and endure in faith to the end, should be saved--
26. Not only those who believe after he came in the meridian of time, in the flesh, but all those from the beginning, even as many as were before he came, who believed in the words of the holy prophets, who spake as they were inspired by the gift of the Holy Ghost, who truly testified of him in all things, should have eternal life,
27. As well as those who should come after, who should believe in the gifts and callings of God by the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son;
28. Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.
29. And we know that all men must repent and believe on the name of Jesus Christ, and worship the Father in his name, and endure in faith on his name to the end, or they cannot be saved in the kingdom of God.
30. And we know that justification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true;
31. And we know also, that sanctification(8a) through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who love and serve God with all their mights, minds, and strength.
32. But there is a possibility that man may fall from grace and depart from the living God;
33. Therefore let the church take heed and pray always, lest they fall into temptation;
34. Yea, and even let those who are sanctified take heed also.
35. And we know that these things are true and according to the revelations of John, neither adding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the holy scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the voice of God, or the ministering of angels.
36. And the Lord God has spoken it; and honor, power and glory be rendered to his holy name, both now and ever. Amen.
37. And again, by way of commandment to the church concerning the manner of baptism--All those who humble themselves before God, and desire to be baptized, and come forth with broken hearts and contrite spirits, and witness before the church that they have truly repented of all their sins, and are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins, shall be received by baptism into his church.
38. The duty of the elders, priests, teachers, deacons, and members of the church of Christ--An apostle is an elder, and it is his calling to baptize; (8b)
39. And to ordain other elders, priests, teachers, and deacons;
40. And to administer bread and wine--the emblems of the flesh and blood of Christ--
41. And to confirm those who are baptized into the church, by the laying on of hands for the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, according to the scriptures;
42. And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church;
43. And to confirm the church by the laying on of the hands, and the giving of the Holy Ghost;
44. And to take the lead of all meetings.
45. The elders are to conduct the meetings as they are led by the Holy Ghost, according to the commandments and revelations of God.
46. The priest's duty is to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize, and administer the sacrament,
47. And visit the house of each member, and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.
48. And he may also ordain other priests, teachers, and deacons.
49. And he is to take the lead of meetings when there is no elder present;
50. But when there is an elder present, he is only to preach, teach, expound, exhort, and baptize,
51. And visit the house of each member, exhorting them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties.
52. In all these duties the priest is to assist the elder if occasion requires.
53. The teacher's duty is to watch over the church always, and be with and strengthen them;
54. And see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying, back biting, nor evil speaking;
55. And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty.
56. And he is to take the lead of meetings in the absence of the elder or priest--
57. And is to be assisted always, in all his duties in the church, by the deacons, if occasion requires.
58. But neither teachers nor deacons have authority to baptize, administer the sacrament or lay on hands;
59. They are, however, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ.
60. Every elder, priest, teacher, or deacon is to be ordained according to the gifts and callings of God unto him; and he is to be ordained by the power of the Holy Ghost, which is in the one who ordains him.
61. The several elders composing this church of Christ are to meet in conference once in three months, or from time to time as said conferences shall direct or appoint;
62. And said conferences are to do whatever church business is necessary to be done at the time.
63. The elders are to receive their licenses from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong, or from the conferences.
64. Each priest, teacher, or deacon, who is ordained by a priest, may take a certificate from him at the time, which certificate, when presented to an elder, shall entitle him to a license, which shall authorize him to perform the duties of his calling; or he may receive it from a conference.
65. No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church;
66. But the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.
67. Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.
68. The duty of the members after they are received by baptism.--
The elders or priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning the church of Christ to their understanding, previous to their partaking of the sacrament and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the elders, so that all things may be done in order.
69. And the members shall manifest before the church, and also before the elders, by a godly walk and conversation, that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the Holy Scriptures--walking in holiness before the Lord.
70. Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name.
71. No one can be received into the church of Christ, unless he has arrived unto the years of accountability before God, and is capable of repentance.
72. Baptism is to be administered in the following manner unto all those who repent--
73. The person who is called of God and has authority from Jesus Christ to baptize, shall go down into the water with the person who has presented himself or herself for baptism, and shall say, calling him or her by name; Having been commissioned of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
74. Then shall he immerse him or her in the water, and come forth again out of the water.
75. It is expedient that the church meet together often to partake of bread and wine in the remembrance of the Lord Jesus;
76. And the elder or priest shall administer it, and after this manner shall he administer it--he shall kneel with the church and call upon the Father in solemn prayer, saying;
77. O God, the Eternal Father we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his commandments which he has given them; that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
78. The manner of administering the wine--he shall take the cup also and say:
79. O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen.
80. Any member of the church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct.
81. It shall be the duty of the several churches, composing the church of Christ, to send one or more of their teachers to attend the several conferences held by the elders of the church,
82. With a list of the names of the several members uniting themselves with the church, since the last conference; or send by the hand of some priest; so that a regular list of all the names of the whole church may be kept in a book by one of the elders whomsoever the other elders shall appoint from time to time;
83. And also, if any have been expelled from the church, so that their names may be blotted out of the general church record of names.
84. All members removing from the church where they reside, if going to a church where they are not known may take a letter, certifying that they are regular members and in good standing, which certificate may be signed by any elder or priest if the member receiving the letter is personally acquainted with the elder or priest, or it may be signed by the teachers or deacons of the church.(9)
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Notes Chapter 7
1. The language here is sufficiently ambiguous to indicate two possibilities.
1) Joseph and Oliver are anxious because there has been no word on further priesthood as promised by John the Baptist.
2) They are anxious because while Peter, James and John have visited them [Chapter 5 notes], permission was withheld to perform the desired ordinance (laying of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost) establish a formal structure and Church offices (Elder, Priest, etc.)
It is quite apparent that Joseph did not tell everything he knew or had experienced in these early years. What we do know is that he was quite adamant that another priesthood (he quotes John the Baptist), the Priesthood of Melchizedek, was necessary, and that Peter, James and John did visit him, Peter conferring authority, the "keys of the kingdom" on he and Oliver (and according to a revelation given in Sept. 1830, ordained them apostles of Jesus Christ). Possibility 1 suggests that the Lord merely gave verbal confirmation at first and then literal restoration later.
Statements from Oliver suggest possibility 2:The priesthood is here. I was present with Joseph when an holy angle from god came down from heaven and confered or restored the Aronic priesthood. And said at the same time that it should remain upon the earth while the earth stands. I was also present with Joseph when the Melchesideck priesthood was confered by the holy angles of god-- this was the more necessary in order that which we then confirmed on each other by the will and commandment of god. This priesthood is also to remain upon the earth until the Last remnant of time. [Reuben Miller Journal October 21, 1848, p. 14. Spelling and capitalization as in original.]
Cowdery seems always to be adamant that the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was conferred by Peter, and that the voice in Fayette gave authorization for the final procedure of the two ordaining each other. Furthermore he seems very clear on the point that they did not ordain each other until after the Peter, James and John incident. Furthermore, both Cowdery and Smith would have been acutely aware from their concerned reading of the Book of Mormon text which led to the John the Baptist appearance, that one could not confer the Holy Spirit without an additional ordination (see 3Ne18:36; Moroni 2). In a letter to Samuel Richards in 1849, Cowdery is quite definite that the Melchizedek Priesthood came by way of Peter, James and John, not by revelatory authorization (a provision given after the angelic visit according to Cowdery.) [January 13, 1849 letter, quoted in Deseret Evening News for March 22, 1884; see Brian Q. Cannon, BYUS 35 no.4, 163ff; see also the statement by Cowdery given in the note on D&C 20.]
When Joseph Smith dictated his first attempt at a personal history in 1832 he made this remark: "A History of the life of Joseph Smith Jr an account of his marvilous experience and of all the mighty acts which he doeth in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God of whom he beareth record and also an account of the rise of the church of Christ in the eve of time according as the Lord brought forth and established by his hand firstly he receiving
the testamony from on high [The first vision]
secondly the ministering of Angels [Moroni -Book of Mormon plates]
thirdly the reception of the holy Priesthood by the ministring of Angels to adminster the letter of the Gospel - the Law and commandments as they were given unto him - and the ordinencs [John the Baptist (are Peter, James and John included here?)],
forthly a confirmation and reception of the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom of God confered upon him [visit of Peter, James and John, or is this a reference to the restoration of the office of high priest?]
and the continuation of the blessings of God to him &c"
The events listed appear in this statement as preliminaries to the establishment of the Church. There is a problem with this text at the last quoted segment. This is an apparent discontinuity at the words "demonstration of the spirit the Kees of the Kingdom." The thought appears to change at the middle of this excerpt. In fact this seam at "the spirit / the Kees" corresponds to a change in handwriting in the ms from Frederick G. Williams to Joseph Smith. Perhaps this corresponds to a correction in emphasis by Smith. Instead of emphasizing the restoration of the high priesthood, Smith wanted to emphasize the restoration of Melchizedek Priesthood. In any case, the text was never published and is certainly only a rough draft.
2. This is the beginning of the Church practice of sustaining of officers formalized later in D&C 26:2.
3. This statement appears to support the idea that these men (in the context of the revelation) were already apostles.
4. The way Joseph refers to this revelation suggests it may have been given earlier, but whenever a date has been attached, it has always been June 1829. Cowdery quotes from the revelation [without actually referring to the fact that it is the text of the revelation - a practice we have already noted] in a letter to Hyrum Smith dated June 14, 1829.[Joseph Smith letterbook (22 Nov.1835 to 4 Aug.1835) 5-6, LDS Church Archives.] The revelation was published first in the BC, chapter 15, (1833.) The earliest ms is the one from which this history was published, in the hand of James Mulholland (written between June 11 and Nov. 3, 1839.) The text of this revelation has not changed in any significant way since it first appeared.
5. It appears from this statement that one of the purposes of the Book of Mormon was to give the two founders sufficient information about Church administration that they could get a running start. This information also points specifically to Oliver. It appears he was to take some responsibility for writing a foundation document. An 1829 document, based essentially on Book of Mormon passages, fulfills an evident commandment from the Lord to write the articles of government for the soon-to-be organized Church. [Collier, 54-56] Perhaps it is to this commandment or at least Oliver's anxiety about it that the present revelation refers. See notes at D&C 20 below.
6. Compare Brigham Young, JD 6:320.
7. In fact, Martin Harris joined them in this responsibility in February 1835.
8. D&C 19 follows D&C 20 in the ms history. D&C 19 appears in vol. 1 chapter 8 of the HC. The date of D&C 20 appears as June 1830 in the Book of Commandments. Thereafter in the D&C it has the date April 1830. No date is assigned in the ms history, but the intent of the text seems to be that the document was written prior to April 6, 1830. The text has a somewhat different character than other revelations of the period and appears as a statement of history, doctrine and regulation. Perhaps Oliver Cowdery was partly responsible for the text (see below). D&C 20 was sustained by the Church members June 9, 1830 in the first conference of the Church. Many of Joseph Smith's revelations were given "titles" in the early years. This revelation was known as the "Articles and Covenants" of the Church. It is possible that portions of the revelation were given prior to April 1830 and portions were written later for the June conference. The recent discovery of the Book of Commandments and Revelations in the First Presidency vault gives section 20 a date of April 10, 1830. This entry in Revelation Book 1 (Joseph Smith Papers title for BCR) is of course an edited version of the original. The April 10 date is important and probably represents the earliest edition following April 6. [See the Painesville Telegraph April 19, 1831 and ES, June 1832, p. 1 for the earliest extant copies.]
Lyndon Cook notes:Section 20 was considered by the early missionaries a very important document. Many of them recorded the revelation in its entirety in their diaries to be quoted in their preaching. Additionally, priesthood certificates stated that the bearer had been ordained "according to the Articles and Covenants of the Church." When Lincoln Haskin desired to preach the gospel in 1832, a revelation stipulated that he should "be ordained and receive the articles and covenants which I have given unto you and some of the commandments that he may go forth and proclaim my gospel" ("Kirtland Revelation Book," p. 10).[RJS, 31 n2.]
This revelation exists in numerous mss, mainly because it was copied and carried by missionaries and read at conferences of Church branches wherever they were established. [See Orson Pratt journal, March 1834; Journal of Wilford Woodruff, Jan. 26, 1836; Evan Green journal (1833-35) pages 4, 15.] Consequently, there are a very large number of textual variations among the available copies of this revelation. The large number of variations makes it impossible to list them all here in any systematic way. Instead we refer the interested reader to Woodford. Additionally, the early publication committees felt an obligation to update the revelation with new information on the government of the Church as this new information was revealed. Hence Church officers which did not exist in 1830 would appear in later publications of the revelation, e.g., high priest, high council, deacon, etc. [D&C 20:66-67, FWR, record of June 9, 1830 conference, the first known ordination to the office of deacon was in October 1831, FWR under 25 October date.] One of the most significant changes came with its publication in the 1835 reprint of the Evening and Morning Star. There the baptismal prayer was altered from the Book of Mormon text version (3Ne.11:25) to its present form. Additionally, D&C 22 originally appeared as part of D&C 20. After its publication in the 1835 edition of the D&C the text was no longer modified with changes in Church government. With the possible hint in D&C 18:1-5 that Oliver had a commission to elucidate how the Church was to be built up, we quote the following 1829 revelation given through Oliver on Church Government. It appears to be a kind of prototype of D&C 20.A commandment from God unto Oliver, how he should build up His Church & the manner thereof- Saying: Oliver, listen to the voice of Christ your Lord & your God & your Redeemer & write the words which I shall command you concerning my Church, my Gospel, my Rock & my Salvation - Behold the world is ripening in iniquity & it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles & also the House of Israel. For behold I command all men everywhere to repent & I speak unto you even as unto Paul mine Apostle for ye are called even with that same calling with which he was called. Now therefore whosoever repenteth & humbleth himself before me & desireth to be baptized in my name shall ye baptize them. And after this manner did he command me that I should baptize them. Behold ye shall go down & stand in the water & in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold these are the words which ye shall say calling them by name saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ I baptize you in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water & come forth again out of the water & after this manner shall ye baptize in my name. For behold verily I say unto you that the Father & the Son & the Holy Ghost are one & I am in the Father & the Father in me & 'the Father & I are one.
And ye are also called to ordain Priests & Teachers according to the gifts & callings of God unto men & after this manner shall ye ordain them. Ye shall pray unto the Father in my name & then shall ye lay your hand upon them & say: In the name of Jesus Christ I ordain you to be a priest or if he be a teacher I ordain you to be a teacher to preach repentance & remission of sins through Jesus Christ by the endurance of faith on his name to the end. Amen. And this shall be the duty of the Priest; He shall kneel down & the members of the Church shall kneel also, which Church shall be called: The Church of Christ & he shall pray to the Father in my name for the Church. And if it so be that it be built upon my Rock I will bless it. And after that ye have prayed to the Father in my name ye shall preach the truth in soberness casting out none from among you but rather invite them to come. And the Church shall oft partake of bread & wine & after this manner shall ye partake of it; The Elder or Priest shall minister it & after this manner shall he do, he shall kneel with the Church & pray to the Father in the name of Christ & then shall ye say: O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to bless & sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son & witness unto thee, O God the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son & always remember him & keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his spirit to be with them Amen. And then shall ye take the cup & say: O God the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son Jesus Christ, to bless & sanctify this wine to the souls of all those who drink of it, that they may do in remembrance of the blood of thy Son, which was shed for them, that they may witness unto thee O God the Eternal Father that they do always remember him, that they may have his spirit to be with them. Amen. And now behold I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall not suffer any one knowingly to partake of my flesh & blood unworthily when ye shall minister it; for whoso eateth & drinketh my flesh & blood unworthily eateth & drinketh damnation to his soul. Therefore if ye know that a man is unworthy to eat & drink of my flesh & blood ye shall forbid him. Nevertheless ye shall not cast him out from among you but ye shall minister unto him & shall pray for him unto the Father in my name. And if it so be that he repenteth & is baptized in my name then shall ye receive him & shall minister unto him of my flesh & blood. But if he repenteth not he shall not be numbered among my people, that he may not destroy my people. For behold I know my sheep & they are numbered. Nevertheless ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues or your places of worship for unto such shall ye continue to minister for ye know not but what they will return & repent & come unto me with full purpose of heart & I shall heal them & ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them. Therefore keep these sayings which I have commanded you, that ye come not under condemnation for woe unto him whom the Father condemneth -
And the Church shall meet together oft for prayer & supplication, casting out none from your places of worship but rather invite them to come & each member shall speak & tell the Church of their progress in the way of eternal life. And there shall be no pride nor envying nor strifes, nor malice nor idolatry nor witchcrafts nor whoredoms nor fornications nor covetousness nor lying nor deceite nor no manner of iniquity. And if anyone is guilty of any or the least of these & doth not repent & show fruits meet for repentance they shall not be numbered among my people that they may not destroy my people.
And now I speak unto the Church. Repent all ye ends of the Earth & come unto me & be baptized in my name which is Jesus Christ & endure to the end & ye shall be saved. Behold Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father & there is none other name given whereby men can be saved. Therefore all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father for in that name shall they be called at the last day. Therefore if they know not the name by which they are called they cannot have place in the Kingdom of my Father. Be hold ye must walk uprightly before me & sin not & if ye do walk uprightly before me & sin not my grace is sufficient for you that ye shall be lifted up at the last day. Behold I am Jesus Christ the Son of the living God. I am the same which came unto my own & my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness & the darkness comprehendeth it not. These words are not of men nor of man but of me. Now remember the words of him who is the first & the last the light & the life of the world. And I Jesus Christ your Lord & your God & your Redeemer by the power of my Spirit have spoken it Amen-- And if I have not authority to write these things judge ye behold ye shall know that I have authority when you & I shall be brought to stand before the judgment seat of God. Now may --------[missing] of God the Father & our Lord Jesus Christ be & abide with you all & ---------[missing] tly save you Eternally in his Kingdom through the Infinite atonement which is in Jesus Christ Amen-- Behold I am Oliver. I am an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God the Father & the Lord Jesus Christ. Behold I have written the things which he hath commanded me for behold his word was unto me as a burning fire shut up in my bones & I was weary with forbearing & I could forbear no longer Amen--
Written in the year of our Lord & Saviour 1829-- A true Copy of the articles of the Church of Christ O.C.
In accordance with the instruction of D&C 18:1-5, a large part of this revelation consists of material from the Book of Mormon and the revelations through Joseph Smith.
8a. A somewhat radical doctrine among rank and file protestants, it meant that the Saints believed in improving their conduct and purifying their lives after their conversion. Joseph Smith contemporary and by then a famous evangelist and Oberlin College founder Charles Finney called it "Christian Perfection." It was viewed by many as over-stepping the bounds of what has come to be called "historic Christianity."
8b. This interesting statement is clearly drawn from the Book of Mormon, Moroni 3. Here, there is no mention of two "priesthood" divisions, Aaronic and Melchizedek. The clearer distinctions of 1835 were yet to come. The statement "an apostle is an elder" is clearly taken from Moro. 3:1 - here the new world apostles are called the elders of the church of the (new world) new testament era. This suggests a clue with regard to the ordination of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by the ancient apostles Peter, James and John. The text implies that they were ordained previously to April 1830. With (see chapter 5, p. 39) the instruction of John the Baptist that the Aaronic priest could not confer the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and this was to be given later, and the happenings of 3Ne 18:36f the office of elder in this early day was not an Aaronic office (see Parley P. Pratt statement on elders in the early Church, in note 4 at chapter 15, this volume).
9. While assisted by modern data-processing, essentially the same system is still in effect. Every Church member has a membership record which follows them when they move to a new area. It certifies that they are members and gives some limited information such as the date of baptism.