Revelation, , Susquehanna Co., PA, to , May 1829. Featured version, titled “Chapter X,” typeset [between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1832] for Book of Commandments, 28–30. copied this revelation [ca. Mar. 1831] into Revelation Book 1, but the pages on which it was copied were removed at some point from that volume and are no longer extant. The version found in the Book of Commandments and featured below is the earliest extant version. For more complete source information, see the source note for the Book of Commandments.
In May 1829, JS’s older brother, , arrived in , Pennsylvania, to visit JS and , who were engaged in the Book of Mormon. At Hyrum’s “earnest request,” JS “enquired of the Lord through the , and received for him” the revelation featured here.
and other members of JS’s family had long supported JS’s efforts to obtain and translate the . After JS and his wife moved from , New York, to in 1827, the Smith family continued to stay in touch and provide assistance. Early in 1829, and traveled from Manchester to visit JS and Emma in Harmony. During that visit JS dictated a revelation for his father that declared the urgency of the work in which JS was engaged and encouraged others to participate. In mid-May, not long after JS and each other, Samuel made another visit to Harmony, during which he was convinced of the truthfulness of the work and was baptized by Cowdery. JS’s history states that Samuel then “returned to his father’s house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the . Not many days afterwards, my brother Hyrum Smith came to us to enquire concerning these things.” This revelation followed.
Although had been told, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work,” the revelation to qualified that message and cautioned him that “you need not suppose you are called to preach until you are called.” He was instructed to wait until his knowledge was deeper and the translation of the plates was completed. The revelation identified its source as Jesus Christ and told Hyrum to put his trust “in that Spirit which leadeth to do good.” The text is similar to the revelations addressing a month earlier, with the first three paragraphs reflecting the initial April 1829 revelation to Cowdery and subsequent paragraphs reiterating themes and phrases from the other instructions Cowdery received.
Although the exact date JS dictated this revelation is unknown, the heading given in the Book of Commandments placed it in May 1829. The time frame can be further narrowed because the revelation originated sometime between 15 May, when JS and baptized each other, and the end of May, when arrived in to help move JS and Cowdery to , New York. Further, JS’s history states that arrived “not many days” after ’s departure and that Samuel was baptized at least “a few days” after 15 May. Given this sequence of events, the revelation was likely dictated in late May but before JS, Cowdery, and Whitmer departed for around 29 May. Hyrum’s arrival late in the month, and JS and Cowdery’s prompt move thereafter, probably account for his not being baptized until after the relocation to Fayette.
In accounts written in 1834 and 1838–1839, Cowdery and JS respectively described receiving authority to baptize from a resurrected John the Baptist. (Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:15–16; JS History, vol. A-1, 17–18.)
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
See JS History, vol. A-1, 17–21. David Whitmer later said that the translation completed at his “father’s occupied about one month, that is from June 1 to July 1, 1829.” The nearly hundred-mile trip to Fayette would have taken roughly three days. (“Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881, .)
Kansas City Daily Journal. Kansas City, MO. 1878–1891.
JS History, vol. A-1, 18–19. JS’s history reported that Oliver Cowdery baptized Samuel Smith “on the [blank] day of that same month [May].” James Mulholland, JS’s scribe for the history, left this blank space, but it was later filled by the insertion “twenty fifth” in what appears to be the handwriting of Thomas Bullock, who began clerking in JS’s office on 16 June 1844 and was Willard Richards’s main scribe for JS’s history in 1845. Concerning Samuel’s baptism, Lucy Mack Smith wrote that he was baptized the same day as JS and Cowdery. She was not present for Samuel’s baptism, however, and because JS was, the latter’s first-person account takes precedence. If the insertion in the history is correct, this revelation was dictated sometime after 25 May. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, .)
1 A Revelation given to , in , Pennsylvania, May, 1829.
A GREAT and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men: behold I am God and give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore, give heed unto my word.
2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God; yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: therefore, if you will ask of me, you shall receive; if you will knock, it shall be opened unto you.
3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my , and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of . Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich; behold he that hath eternal life is rich.
4 Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be done unto you; and, if you desire you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.
5 Behold thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift, if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest [p. 28]
Because the pages in Revelation Book 1 that apparently contained this revelation are missing, it is unknown whether this heading was included in Revelation Book 1 or was added by the editors of the Book of Commandments.