Revelation, , Seneca Co., NY, to , [4 Nov.] 1830. Featured version, titled “37th Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 45–46; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
was by his older brother on 19 September 1830, Orson’s nineteenth birthday, in Canaan, New York. In October he traveled over two hundred miles to , New York, to meet JS. He arrived just after Parley and several others had been called by revelation “to go forth unto the , to proclaim glad tidings of great joy unto them, by presenting unto them the fulness of the Gospel.” Orson Pratt later explained that he too wanted to know his duty and requested that JS “inquire of the Lord” for him. The result, according to Pratt’s account, was the following 4 November 1830 revelation, dictated by JS in his presence and written down by .
James Van Cleave preserved a lengthier secondhand account of the reception of this revelation by reporting in a letter a later interview he had with . According to Van Cleave, Pratt recounted that “after he was an in the , he was anxious to know what his mission was and would be, and at ’s residence he asked Joseph whether he could not ascertain what his mission was, and Joseph answered him that he would see, & asked Pratt and to go upstairs with him, and on arriving there Joseph produced a small stone called a seer stone, and putting it into a Hat soon commenced speaking and asked Elder P[ratt] to write as he would speak, but being too young and timid and feeling his unworthiness he asked whether Bro. John W[hitmer] could not write it, and the Prophet said that he could: Then came the revelation.”
Though the revelation itself does not specify the area where was to preach, he later explained that his “mission was to , Broome County, N.Y.” The revelation left a deep impression on Pratt: “I thought that was a very great and important calling. . . . I felt, therefore, the importance of those sayings; and truly, when I looked at the magnitude and importance of the given to me to prophesy by the power of the Holy Ghost, I felt oftentimes to tremble and shrink, for fear I never should be able to fulfill and accomplish so great a work.” Despite such trepidations, Pratt had by 2 December 1830 been ordained an elder and was on his way to Colesville to begin his mission.
James R. B. Van Cleave, Richmond, MO, to Joseph Smith III, Plano, IL, 29 Sept. 1878, CCLA. Van Cleave appears to be in error in stating that the revelation occurred after Pratt had already been ordained an elder. Pratt dated both his confirmation and ordination as an elder to 1 December 1830, almost a month after this revelation. (“History of Orson Pratt,” 10, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL.)
Van Cleave, James R. B. Letter, Richmond, MO, to Joseph Smith III, Plano, IL, 29 Sept. 1878. CCLA.
Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.
A Commandment to his call to the ministery &c given at Seneca county State of New York
My Son hearken ye & Behold what I the Lord God say unto you even Jesus Christ your Redeemer the light & the life of the world & a light which shineth in darkness & the darkness Comprehendeth it not who so loved the world that he gave his own life that as many as would believe might become the Sons & daughter[s] of God Wherefore ye are my Son & blessed are ye because ye have believed & more blessed are ye because ye are called of me to Preach my Gospel to lift up your voice as with a the sound of a Trump both long & loud & cry repentance to a crooked & perverse generation prepareing the way of the Lord for his second Coming for Behold Verily Verily I say unto you the time is soon at hand that I will come in a cloud with power & great glory & it shall be a great day at the [p. 45]