Revelation, , OH, 30 Aug. 1831; copied [ca. 30 Aug. 1831]; handwriting of ; three pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking.
Bifolium (a single sheet folded once to form two leaves) measuring 12⅜ × 7¾ inches (31 × 20 cm). At one time, the document was folded in half three more times—possibly for an initial pocket folding. At another time, the document was folded in half and then trifolded in the conventional filing pattern, and a docket was added by in graphite: “31 Augt. 1831—revelation | to Church & & | to Visit Church”.
This and several other revelations, along with many other personal and institutional documents kept by , were inherited by his daughter Mary Jane Whitney, who married Isaac Groo. This collection was passed down in the Groo family and donated by members of the family to the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University during the period 1969–1974.
Andrus et al., “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” 5–6.
Andrus, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
Three days after JS arrived in , Ohio, from , Jackson County, Missouri, a 30 August revelation provided information about the gathering of the Saints to . As a later JS history explained, the identification of Independence as the “centre place” of made “‘the land of Zion’ . . . the most important temporal object” to church members. Despite Zion’s importance, much uncertainty still surrounded the process of gathering to Zion. Funds were required to purchase lands in and around Independence for the gathering. A 1 August 1831 revelation had intimated that not all of the Saints would migrate to Zion at once, and some members may have questioned how leaders would determine who would move. That same revelation also instructed that an epistle and subscription “be presented unto all the Churches to obtain money to be put into the hands of the ,” but who would take these documents to the different churches had not been determined. Compounding the problem of this uncertainty, JS, , and discovered upon their return to that “many [had] apostitized” in their absence. Coming on the heels of the antagonism that JS had apparently experienced from some of his company of on the return trip to Ohio, the knowledge that many others had fallen away was distressing: “We could not help beholding,” a later JS history recounts about this time period, “the exertions of Satan to blind the eyes of the people so as to hide the true light that lights every man that comes into the world.”
The 30 August revelation addressed many of the issues JS faced on his return to , providing instruction on how those who were to move to Zion would be selected, how quickly the Saints should gather to Zion, and how to prepare for Christ’s return to the earth. It condemned the wicked both in and out of the church, especially sign seekers and adulterers, and appointed and to raise money for Zion. As wrote the next day, the revelation gave instruction on how to “escape . . . the day of tribulation which is coming on the earth.” A passage in this revelation addressed the church members residing on “this farm,” indicating that JS dictated the revelation on the farm, where he had left his family in June and where many of the Saints traveling to in 1831 relocated.
served as scribe for this revelation. had a copy of the revelation in Cowdery’s handwriting, which may be the original inscription. However, the handwriting is so compact and neat that it is likely a fair copy made by Cowdery. He may have made it for Whitney and himself to take with them as they traveled together to the different churches. Whitney endorsed his copy with the date of 31 August 1831, likely an incorrect date. Other early copies of the revelation inscribed around this same time—including one that made in Revelation Book 1 and one that made in his book of revelations—bear the date of 30 August.
Similar fold markings are evident in Whitney’s copy of the revelation and a copy he owned of a letter Rigdon wrote to church congregations to encourage donations, which suggests that the two documents were carried together. (Sidney Rigdon, Kirtland, OH, “to the Churches,” 31 Aug. 1831, copy, Sidney Rigdon, Collection, 1832–1858, CHL.)
Rigdon, Sidney. Collection, 1831–1858. CHL. MS 713.
nevertheless I the Lord am with them & will come down in Heaven from the presence of God & consume the wicked with unquenchable fire & behold this is not yet but by & by Wherefore seeing that I the Lord have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth I willeth that my saints should be assembled upon the land of & that every man should take righteousness in his hands & faithfulness upon his loins & lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth & declare both by word & by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked Wherefore let my Desiples in arrange their temporal concerns which dwell upon this farm let my servant who has the care thereof dispose of the land that he may be prepared in the coming spring to take his journey up unto the land of Zion with those that dwell upon the face thereof excepting those whom I shall reserve unto myself that shall not go until I shall command them & let all the moneys which can be spared (it mattereth not unto me whether it be little or much) sent up unto the land of Zion unto them whom I have appointed to receive. Behold I the Lord will give unto my servant Joseph power that he shall be enabled to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of & those of my Desiples that shall tarry Let my servant retain the his or in other words the yet for a little season nevertheless let him impart all the money which he can impart to be sent up unto the land of behold these things are in his own hands let him do according to wisdom verily I say let him be as an agent unto the Desiples that shall tarry & let him be ordained unto this power & now speedily go with <visit> the churches expounding these things unto them with my servant behold this is my <will> with obtaining moneys even as I have directed he that is faithful & endureth shall overcome the world he that sendeth up treasures unto the land of shall receive an in this world & his works shall follow him & also a reward in the world to come yea & blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth when the Lord shall come & old things shall pass away & all things become new they shall rise from the dead & shall not die & shall receive an inheritance before the Lord in the Holy City & he that liveth when the Lord shall come & have kept the faith blessed is he nevertheless it is appointed unto him to die at the age of man Wherefore children shall grow up until they become old. Old men shall die but they shall not sleep in the dust but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye Wherefore for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead these things are the things that ye must look for & speeking after the manner of the Lord they are now nigh at hand & in a time to come even in the day of the coming of the Son of man & until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise & & at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous & the wicked & in that day will I send mine angels & pluck out the wicked & cast into unquenchable fire And now <behold> verily I say unto you I the Lord am not pleased with my servant he exaulted himself in his heart & received not counsel but grieved the spirit Wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord & he shall make another & if the Lord receive it not behold he standeth no longer in the office which he hath appointed him And again verily I say unto you let those who desire in their hearts in meekness to warn sinners to repentance let them be ordained unto this power for this is a day of warning & not a day of many worlds words for I the Lord am not to be mocked in the last days Behold I am from above & my power lieth beneath I am over all & in all & through all & searcheth all things & the days cometh that all things shall be subject unto me. Behold I am Alpha & Omega even Jesus Christ Wherefore let all men be ware how they take my name in their lips for behold verily I say that many there be who are under this condemnation who useth the name of the Lord & useth it in vain having not authority Wherefore let the repent of their sins & I the Lord with <will> own them otherwise they shall be cut off. Remember that that cometh which cometh from above is sacred & must be spoken with care & by constraint of the spirit & in this there is no condemnation [p. ]
Before leaving for Missouri in June 1831, Isaac Morley gave his brother-in-law Titus Billings power of attorney over his farm. Billings finalized the sale of portions of Morley’s farm in October 1831 while Morley remained in Missouri. (Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 14, pp. 583–584; vol. 15, pp. 492–494, microfilms 20,235 and 20,236, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; see also Minute Book 2, 25–26 Oct. 1831; and Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.
An earlier revelation in August indicated that not all elders were to migrate to Missouri at once, stating that some were not to receive their inheritance in Zion for many years. This same revelation also indicated that conferences of elders would help regulate who moved to Missouri. Here, JS receives instruction that he should decide who will go and who will stay in Kirtland, Ohio. Therefore, at least two parties—JS and conferences of elders—had authority to make such decisions. The day after this revelation was dictated, JS dictated another “by the voice of the Spirit,” indicating that John Burk, David Elliott, and Erastus Babbitt should “Journey this fall to the land of Zion.” A few months later, Reynolds Cahoon appeared before a conference of elders to receive direction on whether to go or stay. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:44]; Revelation, 31 Aug. 1831; Minutes, 11 Nov. 1831.)
In company with Oliver Cowdery in September 1831, Whitney raised money from other church members to send to Missouri. He also partnered with Sidney Gilbert to establish a store in Missouri in 1832 under the name Gilbert & Whitney. (Whitmer, History, 37; Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, 1827–1909, vol. B, pp. 32–33, 20 Feb. 1832, microfilm 1,017,978, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Eakin and Eakin, Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 144, 196.)
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Eakin, Joanne C., and O. B. Eakin, comp. Jackson County Missouri Court Minutes Book 1, 1827–1833, with Index; and Jackson County Missouri Death Register, 1883–1891. Independence, MO: By the author, 1988.
According to Sidney Rigdon, Cowdery and Whitney would read to the Saints the revelations touching on the “way and means of possessing” the land of Zion as they visited the churches. John Whitmer later recorded that “the disciples truly opened their hearts” to Cowdery and Whitney, enabling them to obtain money “for the purpose of buying lands for the Saints according to commandments.” (Whitmer, History, 36–37.)
Ezra Booth, who had become disaffected from the church by this time, implied that Rigdon had exaggerated the character of the land in his first draft of the description of Zion, which a 1 August 1831 revelation had commanded him to write. According to Booth, Rigdon’s description differed markedly from one that Edward Partridge had composed. In 1844, Jedediah M. Grant, who was not acquainted with Rigdon in 1831, declared that “men of the strictest veracity” had told him that Rigdon’s original draft was “extravagant in [its] description of the upper country.” According to Grant, Rigdon “expatiated on the beauties of Jackson county in such a profuse manner, that fears were entertained by the brethren that it would cause the saints from the east to apostatize, as soon as they should arrive, not finding things as set forth by Elder R.” (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, ; Grant, Collection of Facts, , 7.)