Revelation, 8 July 1838–C [D&C 119]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

July 8th 1838
A revelation
Question O Lord show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing?
Answer. Verily thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property, to be put into the hands of the of my church of for the building of mine and for the laying the foundation of and for the and for the debts of the presidency of my church and this shall be the beginning of the of my people and after that those who have been thus been tithed shall pay one tenth of all their interest annually and this shall be a standing law unto them forever for my holy priesthood saith the Lord. Verily I say unto you it shall come to pass that all those who gather unto the land of shall be tithed of their surplus properties and shall observe this law or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you and behold I say unto you if my people observe not this law to keep it holy and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me that my statutes and <​my​> judgements may be kept thereon that it may be most holy, behold verily I say unto you it shall not be a land of Zion unto you[.] And this shall be an ensample unto all the of Zion even so amen [p. [1]]
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  1. 1

    Instead of “show unto thy servants,” Whitney’s version has “shew unto us thy servants.” (Revelation, 8 July 1838–C, copy, Revelations Collection, CHL.)  

    Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583.

  2. 2

    Property was apparently considered “surplus” if it could not be put to good use by the owner. In a council meeting held 26 July 1838, it was agreed that the First Presidency would “keep all their properties, that they can dispose of to their advantage and support, and the remainder be put into the hands of the Bishop or Bishops, agreeably to the commandments, and revelations.” Brigham Young later shared his understanding that church members were asked to donate property, such as land and cattle, that they could not “make use of to advantage.” (JS, Journal, 26 July 1838; Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 3 June 1855, 2:306–307.)  

    Journal of Discourses. 26 vols. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855–1886.

  3. 3

    Partridge was appointed in 1831 to receive donations and administer church property in Missouri. (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9–10]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:31–34]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:14–17]; see also Minutes, 7 Nov. 1837.)  

  4. 4

    A revelation JS dictated in April 1838 directed that the Saints should construct a temple in Far West and that the First Presidency should not go into debt to fund the construction. JS and other church officers had ceremonially laid cornerstones for the temple four days prior to this revelation. (Revelation, 26 Apr. 1838 [D&C 115:13]; “Celebration of the 4th of July,” Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 60.)  

  5. 5

    See Isaiah 28:16.  

  6. 6

    Hebrews 7:4 states that the Old Testament patriarch Abraham “gave the tenth of the spoils,” alluding to his donation of “tithes” to Melchizedek following the victory over Chedorlaomer. The Book of Mormon similarly states that Abraham “paid tithes of one-tenth part of all he possessed.” Similar to the covenant that Abraham’s grandson Jacob made with the Lord—“of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee”—JS and Oliver Cowdery signed a covenant in 1834 promising that if they were able to relieve themselves of their debts, they would “give a tenth, to be bestowed upon the poor in his church, or as he shall command.” (Genesis 14:17–20; 28:22; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 260 [Alma 13:15]; JS, Journal, 29 Nov. 1834; see also Numbers 18:21–28.)  

  7. 7

    Edward Partridge, the bishop of Zion, was present on 8 July 1838 in the leadership meeting that was apparently the setting in which JS dictated this revelation. Two weeks later, Partridge wrote a letter to Newel K. Whitney, the bishop in Kirtland, in which Partridge explained that “the saints are required to give all their surplus property into the hands of the bishop of Zion, and after this first tithing they are to pay annually one tenth of all their interest. that is if a man is worth a $1000, the interest on that would be $60, and one/10. of the interest will be of course $6.— thus you see the plan.”a Six percent was a common interest rate at the time.b Both Ohio and Missouri statutes fixed interest rates at six percent if no other rate was agreed upon.c  

    Cahoon, Reynolds, and Edward Partridge. Letter, Far West, MO, to Newel K. Whitney, Kirtland Mills, OH, 23 and 24 July 1838. CHL.

    Burritt, Elijah Hinsdale. Burritt’s Universal Multipliers for Computing Interest, Simple and Compound; Adapted to the Various Rates in the United States, on a New Plan; to Which Are Added, Tables of Annuities and Exchange. Hartford, CT: D. F. Robinson, 1830.

    The Public Statutes at Large, of the State of Ohio: From the Close of Chase's Statutes, February, 1833, to the Present Time. Arranged in Chronological Order. With References to the Judicial Decisions Construing Those Statutes. And a Supplement, Containing All Laws Passed Prior to February, 1833, Which Are Now in Force. 4 vols. Edited by Maskell E. Curwen. Cincinnati: By the author, 1853–1861.

    The Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri, Revised and Digested by the Eighth General Assembly during the Years One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Four, and One Thousand Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five. . . . St. Louis: Argus Office, 1835.

    (aEdward Partridge, Far West, MO, to Newel K. Whitney, Kirtland, OH, 24 July 1838, in Reynolds Cahoon, Far West, MO, to Newel K. Whitney, Kirtland, OH, 23 July 1838, CHL.bSee, for example, Burritt, Burritt’s Universal Multipliers for Computing Interest, 4.cAn Act Fixing the Rate of Interest [12 Jan. 1824], Statutes of Ohio, vol. 2, chap. 586, p. 1297, sec. 1; An Act Regulating Interest of Money [11 Dec. 1834], Revised Statutes of the State of Missouri [1835], p. 333, sec. 1.)
  8. 8

    In the early 1830s, JS also dictated revelations regarding church members’ observance of God’s laws in the land of Zion. Three weeks prior to this 8 July 1838 revelation, prominent dissenters had been warned to leave the county. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:19]; Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:34–36]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:55–59]; Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832 [D&C 85:9–11]; Letter to Oliver Cowdery et al., ca. 17 June 1838.)  

  9. 9

    JS previously dictated revelations stating that the Saints would be sanctified by living the laws of God. (Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43:9]; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:21, 34–35].)  

  10. 10

    This passage echoes the phrasing in Deuteronomy that refers to the law of Moses, which the Israelites were commanded to live by in their promised land. (Deuteronomy 12:1; see also Deuteronomy 16:12.)