Revelation, [, OH], to , 14 June 1831. Featured version, titled “58 Comandment June 14th. 1831,” copied [ca. June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, p. 91; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
This revelation was directed to . In 1830, Phelps was the publisher of an anti-Masonic newspaper, the Ontario Phoenix, in , New York, about fourteen miles from . On 9 April, two weeks after the Book of Mormon was offered for sale, Phelps purchased a copy. He later wrote, “Notwithstanding my body was not into this church till . . . June, 1831, yet my heart was there from the time I became acquainted with the book of Mormon.” In December 1830 he traveled to , New York, to meet JS and came away from the experience further committed to the new movement and convinced that he needed to “quit the folly of my way, and the fancy and fame of this world, and seek the Lord and his righteousness.” In late April 1831, shortly after the majority of church members left for , Phelps was arrested and imprisoned for thirty days in Lyons, New York, apparently over a delinquent debt he owed in Canandaigua. While incarcerated, Phelps relinquished the editorship of the Phoenix, and immediately after his release he journeyed with his family to Ohio to join the Mormons. He reached , New York, on 12 June 1831 and was in , Ohio, by 14 June. His arrival prompted this revelation, which directed that he be an and that he assist in doing “the work of Printing.” Phelps was soon ordained an elder and later served as a printer for The Evening and the Morning Star.
Phelps described his arrest, though he redacted the names of those responsible, in a letter written from prison which was afterward published in a competing newspaper: “While I was in Palmyra, comparing the ‘Book of Mormon’ with the Bible, to find out the truth, and investigate the matter for public good, ————————, members of the [Presbyterian] church and pretended anti-masons, sent their foolish clerk from Canandaigua, and took me with a warrant, and obtained a judgment against me, on a balance of their account. This was done after I had engaged a passage home, having learned that my family were sick. An execution was sworn out on the spot, and I was hurried to jail in the course of the night, where I shall stay thirty days . . . for a double purpose.” Phelps later explained that he had been imprisoned as the result of actions taken by “a couple of Presbytetian traders, for a small debt, for the purpose, as I was informed, of ‘keeping me from joining the Mormons.’” (“Retribution,” Wayne Sentinel [Palmyra, NY], 13 May 1831, , italics in original; William W. Phelps, “Letter No. 6,” LDS Messenger and Advocate, Apr. 1835, 1:97.)
Wayne Sentinel. Palmyra, NY. 1823–1852, 1860–1861.
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
Behold thus saith the lord unto you my servent yea even the lord of the whole Earth thou art called & chosen & hast after thou hast been by water which if you do with an eye single to my glory you shall have a remission of your sins & a reception of the Holy spirit by the laying on of hands & then thou shalt be by the hand of my servent Joseph to be an unto this to Preach repentance & remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God & on whomsoever you shall lay your hands & if they are contrite before me you shall have power t◊ give the holy spirit & again thou shalt be ordained to assist my servent to do the work of Printing & of Selecting & writing Books for Schools in this Church that little Children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me & again verily I say unto you for this cause thou shalt take thy Journey with my servents Joseph & that thou mayest be planted in the land of thine inheritance to do this work & again let my servent also take his Journey with them the residue shall be made known hereafter even as I will Amen [p. 91]
The date of Phelps’s ordination has been disputed because of an apparent contradiction in the sources. The text of this revelation indicates that he had been neither baptized nor ordained an elder by 14 June 1831, but an entry in Minute Book 2 under a 6 June 1831 date lists his name among those ordained elders. By Phelps’s own account, he was still in New York on 6 June. This and other evidence indicates that the entry in Minute Book 2 is a record of ordinations beginning on 6 June and occurring over at least the next ten days. (Note on Ordinations, ca. 16 June 1831; [William W. Phelps], “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix (Canandaigua, NY), 7 Sept. 1831, .)
In the first publication of The Evening and the Morning Star in Missouri, Phelps apparently referenced this portion of the revelation when he explained to the readers that “those appointed to select and prepare books for the use of schools, will attend to that subject, as soon as more weighty matters are finished.” No known copies of such books are extant and it is unknown if any were actually produced. (“Common School,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, .)
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.