Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

51st. May 7th. 1831
A Revelation given to & & Received at Geauga Ohio th[e]ir mission to the Shakers & thus saith the Lord unto them as follows
Hearken unto my word my Servent & & for Behold verily I say unto you that I give unto you a commandment that you shall go & preach my Gospel which ye have received even as ye have received it unto the Shakers. Behold I say unto you that they desire to know the truth in Part but not all for they are not right before me & must needs repent wherefore I send you my Servents & to preach the Gospel unto them & my servent shall be unto this work that he may reason with them not according to that which he hath received of them but according to that which shall be taught them him by you my Servents & by so doing I will bless him otherwise he shall not prosper thus saith the Lord for I am God & have sent mine only begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world & have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved & he that receiveth him not shall be damned & they have done unto the Son of man even as they listed & he hath taken his power on the right hand of his glory & now reigneth in the Heavens <​& will​> till he decends on the Earth to put all enemies under his feet which time is nigh at hand I the Lord hath spoken it but the hour & the day no man knoweth neither the angels in Heaven nor shall they know untill he come wherefore I will that all men <​shall​> repent for all are under sin except them which I have reserved unto myself Holy men that ye know not of wherefore I say unto you that I have sent unto you even that which was [p. 80] from the begining & that which I have promised I have so fulfilled & the Nations of the earth shall bow to it & if not of them selves they shall come down for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power. wherefore I give unto you a that ye go among this People & say unto them like unto mine Apostle of old whose name was Peter believe on the name of the Lord Jesus who was on the Earth & is to come the begining & the end. Repent & be in the name of Jesus christ according to the holy commandment for the remission of sins & whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands of the of this . & again I say unto you that whoso forbideth to marry is not ordained of God for it is ordained of God unto man wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife & they twain shall be one flesh & all this that the Earth might answer the end of its Creation & that it might be filled with the measure of man according to his creation before the world was made & whoso forbideth to abstain from meats that man should not eat the same is not ordained of God for behold the beasts of the field & the fowls of the air & that which cometh of the Earth is ordained for the use of man for food & for raiment & that he might have in abundance but it is not given that one man should possess that which is above an other wherefore the world lieth in sin & wo be unto man that shedeth blood or that wasteth flesh & hath no need & again verily I say unto you that the son of man cometh not in the form of a woman neither of <​a​> man traveling on the Earth wherefore be not deceived but continue in steadfastness looking forth for the Heavens to <​be​> shaken & the Earth to tremble & to reel to & fro as a drunken man & for the vallies to be exhalted & for the Mountains to be made low & for the rough places to become smooth & all this when the Angel shall sound his trumpet but before this great day of the Lord shall come Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness & the shall blossom as the rose & shall flourish upon the Hills & rejoice upon the Mountains & shall be assembled together [p. 81] Unto the place which I have appointed behold I say unto you go forth as I have commanded you repent of all your sins ask & ye shall receive knock & it shall be opened unto you behold I will go before you & be your rearward & I will be in your midst & you shall not be confounded behold I am Jesus Christ & I come quickly even so Amen—— [p. 82]

Footnotes

  1. 1

    John Whitmer likely created this heading when he copied the text into Revelation Book 1. The heading is not found in the version from Ashbel Kitchell’s account.  

  2. 2

    Instead of “not right before me,” the copy of this revelation that originated with Ashbel Kitchell has only “not right.” (“Mormon Interview,” 7 [D&C 49:2].)  

    “A Mormon Interview. Copied from Brother Ashbel Kitchell’s Pocket Journel,” 1856. Elisha D. Blakeman copy of Ashbel Kitchell, Reminiscences. Photocopy in editors’ possession. Original at Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY. Also available as Lawrence R. Flake, “A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission,” BYU Studies 20, no. 1 (Fall 1979): 94–99.

  3. 3

    Rigdon and Pratt were, aside from Copley, probably the two elders most familiar with the Shakers. Rigdon had long been a proponent of communalism, and the communal “family” set up by some of his followers in Kirtland may have traded with the Shaker “families” in North Union, Ohio. Pratt grew up near the Mount Lebanon Shaker Society in New Lebanon, New York, the largest and most important Shaker community; in addition, Shaker records list several of Pratt’s extended family members among the Harvard, Massachusetts, community. (De Pillis, “Development of Mormon Communitarianism,” 56–62, 65–66.)  

    De Pillis, Mario S. “The Development of Mormon Communitarianism, 1826–1846.” PhD diss., Yale University, 1960.

  4. 4

    Early Shakers tended to reject Christ’s vicarious atonement and saw “the role of Christ as an example for Believers.” (Stein, Shaker Experience, 75.)  

    Stein, Stephen J. The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

  5. 5

    See Mark 9:13.  

  6. 6

    See 1 Corinthians 15:25.  

  7. 7

    See Mark 13:32; and Matthew 24:36.  

  8. 8

    See Acts 2:38.  

  9. 9

    Shaker doctrine opposed marriage in favor of a life of total celibacy. For Mother Ann Lee, celibacy was “the key to sinless perfection and salvation.” A late eighteenth-century convert to Shakerism named Reuben Rathbun wrote, “The natural seed of copulation was looked upon as the most unclean and hateful of any thing in the natural creation,” and celibacy was required as the necessary “cross against the flesh.” The Shaker doctrine of celibacy led to an explicit segregation of the sexes and, as one historian has explained, became the “basis of its theology and its communal structuring.” (Garrett, Origins of the Shakers, 152–153, 223, 233–234.)  

    Garrett, Clarke. Origins of the Shakers: From the Old World to the New World. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998.

  10. 10

    See Mark 10:7–9.  

  11. 11

    JS’s revision of the Bible earlier declared that God created all things, including human beings, “spiritually before they were naturally upon the face of the Earth.” (Old Testament Revision 1, p. 5 [Moses 3:5].)  

  12. 12

    Unlike the proscription against marriage and sexual relations, the principle of vegetarianism was not in general practice among the Shakers. Still, as early as 1820 there was an attempt on the part of the Ministry, located in New Lebanon, New York, to persuade Shaker communities to adopt vegetarianism, and leaders spoke against the use of meat, particularly pork. This revelation’s statement that it was “not ordained of God” to teach that believers should “abstain from meats that man should not eat the same” is evidence of the principle of vegetarianism being a belief held among the North Union Shakers in 1831. Teachings against the consumption of pork, apparently connected to the biblical prohibition observed by the Israelites, were reportedly not uncommon among Mormons living in the Kirtland area. Levi Hancock recorded that around May 1831, “the Preaching in Kirtland once was against the use of Pork— Once Joseph asked me to help him feed his hogs. I did so I osserved [observed] that the Jews never ate Pork He answered If I eat pork I will know what my hogs eat! And I left to this conclusion there are sometimes extremes in Preaching.” Hancock went on to explain that JS described the Israelite law against pork as a proscription God established for a specific time and place but that “Israel was so bound up with law that they still kept up the old established practice of not eating hog meat Finaly they got so much law they could not keep it themselves.” (Stein, Shaker Experience, 156–158; Puskar-Pasewicz, “Debates over Meatless Diets in Nineteenth-Century Shaker Communities,” 109–120; Hancock, Autobiography, ca. 1896, 22.)  

    Stein, Stephen J. The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

    Puskar-Pasewicz, Margaret. “Kitchen Sisters and Disagreeable Boys: Debates over Meatless Diets in Nineteeth-Century Shaker Communities.” In Eating in Eden: Food and American Utopias, edited by Etta M. Madden and Martha L. Finch, 109–124. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2006.

    Hancock, Levi. Autobiography, ca. 1854. Photocopy. CHL. MS 8174.

  13. 13

    Earlier, in his revision of the Bible, JS modified part of Genesis 9:5 to read “surely blood shall not be shed only for meat to save your lives and the blood of every beast will I require at your hands.” (Old Testament Revision 1, p. 24 [Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:11].)  

  14. 14

    In 1806, more than twenty years after Ann Lee’s death, Ohio Shakers wrote to the Lead Ministry in New Lebanon, New York, to “request the privilege of opening to the world the first Foundation & Pillar” of their faith—that “Christ’s Second Appearance” had been in the person of Ann Lee. Permission was granted, and the 1808 publication of The Testimony of Christ’s Second Appearing became “the first General Statement of the present faith & principles” of the Believers. No contemporary evidence exists that Lee herself ever unambiguously taught such a doctrine. As their Christology developed, Shakers proclaimed that the “Christ spirit,” the divine anointing, filled Ann Lee in this last dispensation just as it filled Jesus in an earlier dispensation. This was necessary because a dual creation—man and woman—demanded a dual redemption in the form of Jesus and Ann Lee. The second appearing of the Christ spirit in Mother Ann restored “that which was lost by the transgression of the first woman” and “finish[ed] the work of man’s final redemption.” This belief was also rooted in the Shaker view of an androgynous God, with “Christ & Mother as representatives of the Dual principle in Deity.” (Stein, Shaker Experience, 68–72, 260, 326.)  

    Stein, Stephen J. The Shaker Experience in America: A History of the United Society of Believers. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992.

  15. 15

    The copy of this revelation that originated with Ashbel Kitchell has “to rise & be exalted.” (“Mormon Interview,” 11 [D&C 49:23].)  

    “A Mormon Interview. Copied from Brother Ashbel Kitchell’s Pocket Journel,” 1856. Elisha D. Blakeman copy of Ashbel Kitchell, Reminiscences. Photocopy in editors’ possession. Original at Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY. Also available as Lawrence R. Flake, “A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission,” BYU Studies 20, no. 1 (Fall 1979): 94–99.

  16. 16

    Shakers rejected the premillennialist idea that great cataclysms would accompany a second advent of Christ and that “the world is to be destroyed by fire.” Instead, Shakers argued that a spiritual fire would purge the wicked, and that they felt “its operation upon our own souls, and have found it to be, in very deed, a consuming fire to lust and pride, and every other corruption of man’s fallen nature.” (Summary View of the Millennial Church, or United Society of Believers, 148–149.)  

    A Summary View of the Millennial Church, or United Society of Believers, (Commonly Called Shakers.) Comprising the Rise, Progress and Practical Order of the Society; together with the General Principles of Their Faith and Testimony. Albany: Packard and Van Benthuysen, 1823.