Revelation, , OH, 1 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “77 Revelation Given in Hiram Novm. 1st. 1831,” copied [between 12 and 20 Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 125–127; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
At a of in , Ohio, on 1 November 1831, JS dictated a revelation designated as a preface for the Book of Commandments, a proposed compilation of JS’s revelations. According to the minutes of the 1 November conference, this revelatory preface was “received by inspiration” during a recess between the morning and afternoon sessions. , one of the conference participants, gave a more detailed account of the production of the preface fifty years later to William Kelley, an elder in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. According to Kelley’s account of the conversation, McLellin said that he, , and had been given the assignment to write the preface to the Book of Commandments, but when they presented their draft to the conference, the “Conference picked it all to pieces” and requested that JS petition the Lord for a preface. After JS and the elders bowed in prayer, JS, who was “sitting by a window,” dictated the preface “by the Spirit,” while Rigdon served as scribe. “Joseph would deliver a few sentences and Sydney would write them down,” McLellin told Kelley, “then read them aloud, and if correct, then Joseph would proceed and deliver more.” In this way, “the preface was given.”
As with prefaces to other published works, this revelation informed readers of the subject and purpose of the volume. Speaking in the voice of Deity, it told both the and the world why God revealed these to JS and painted an apocalyptic picture of the wrath that God would unleash against the wicked unless they responded to the new revelations by repenting. The revelations were thus a “voice of warning” to the world to prepare them for Jesus Christ’s second coming.
The original manuscript of the preface is no longer extant. copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1 likely between 12 November 1831, the date of the revelation that precedes it in the revelation book, and 20 November, the date that he and left for with the revelation book. The revelation was printed as the preface to the Book of Commandments about a year later.
A Preface or instructions upon the Book of Commandments which were given of the Lord unto his through him whom he appointed to this work by the voice of his Saints through the prayer of faith this church being organized according to the will of him who rules all things on the Sixth day of April in the year of our Lord 1830
Hearken O ye People of my Church saith the voice of him who dwells on high & whose eyes are upon all men yea verily I say hearken ye People from afar & ye that are upon the Islands of the sea listen to gether for verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men & there is none to escape & there is no eye that shall not see neither ear that shall not hear neither heart that shall not be penetrated & the rebelious shall be pierced with much sorrow for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the house tops & their seceret acts shall be revealed & the voice of warning shall be unto all people by the mouth of my Deciples whom I have chosen in these last days they shall go forth & none shall stay them for I the Lord have commanded them Behold this is mine authority & the authority of my servents & my preface unto the Book of my Commandments which I have given them to Publish unto you O Inhabitants of the Earth wherefore fear & tremble O ye People for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled & verily I say unto you that they who go forth bearing these tidings unto the Inhabitants of the Earth to them is power given to seal both on Earth & in Heaven the unbelieveing & rebelious yea verily to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompence unto every man according to his works & measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto his fellow man unto the end of the Earth that all that will [p. 125]
At the conference held in Orange, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, on 25–26 October 1831, JS stated that “the order of the High priesthood is that they have power given them to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” This revelation appears to extend that power to sealing the unrighteous to their fate as well. (Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)