Revelation, 16–17 December 1833 [D&C 101]
Revelation, , Geauga Co., OH, 16–17 Dec. 1833. Featured version copied [between ca. Dec. 1833 and Jan. 1834] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 73–83; handwriting of ; Revelations Collection, CHL. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2.
On 16–17 December 1833, JS dictated a revelation that addressed the November 1833 expulsion of church members from , Missouri, and explained the steps they should take to regain their lands. After members of the settled in Jackson County, conflicts between them and their non-Mormon neighbors quickly developed. After incidents of violence occurred in July 1833, including the destruction of the church’s and the tarring and feathering of , church leaders, hoping to quell the attacks on their people, promised to move church members from Jackson County in two phases: half would leave by January 1834, and the other half would leave by April 1834. However, in August 1833, JS counseled church members to not sell “one foot of land” in Jackson County, stating that God would “spedily deliver .” Thereafter, church leaders in petitioned Governor for protection while they pursued litigation against their assailants. After hearing of the Mormons’ efforts to seek protection and prosecute their attackers, other residents believed that the church members were not planning to leave as expected. Non-Mormon settlers organized themselves and attacked the homes of members of the Church of Christ in late October and early November 1833. A group of Mormons confronted their assailants on 4 November, killing two of them, but a militia (consisting of many who were antagonistic to the members of the Church of Christ) confiscated the Mormons’ weapons, and within a few days, most church members were driven from Jackson County.On 25 November 1833, JS heard a verbal account about the “riot in ” from and , who witnessed the violence. On 10 December, JS received letters from , , and , all giving more details about the events in and asking for counsel about what church members in Missouri should do. “We are in hopes that we shall be able to return to our houses & lands before a grea[t] while,” Partridge wrote, “but how this is to be accomplished is all in the dark to us as yet.” Partridge had little faith in receiving help from the executive or the judicial system, as they had proved ineffective in preventing the expulsion. He therefore believed that church members would probably return to only through “the interposition of God.” He feared, too, that the expulsion was the beginning of church members being “driven from city to city & from sinagouge to sinagouge.” Understanding that JS had counseled church leaders to retain their lands in Jackson County, Partridge declared that he did not want to sell, but “if we are to be driven about for years I can see no use in keeping our possessions here.” Facing these circumstances, Partridge requested “wisdom & light” from JS “on many subjects.”As details of the violent events in reached , Ohio, in late fall, JS pleaded to God for answers as to why church members were expelled from , what it meant for the gathering to , and what church members should do to regain their lands. On 5 December 1833, he wrote to , telling him that if initial reports that church members had surrendered and were evacuating were incorrect, they were to “maintain the ground as Long as there is a man Left,” since it was “the place appointed of the Lord for your .” Partridge could purchase land in for a temporary place of refuge but was not to sell land in Jackson County. JS also urged Partridge “to use every lawful means in your power to seek redress for your grievances of your enemies and prosecute them to the extent of the Law.” Such means included petitioning judges, the governor, and the president of the for aid. Five days later, JS informed Missouri church leaders that the Lord was keeping “hid” from him the larger issues of how Zion would be redeemed, when such redemption would occur, and “why God hath suffered so great calamity to come upon Zion.” The voice of the Lord would only say to him, “Be still, and know that I am God!”The 16–17 December 1833 revelation featured here provided the direction that JS and other church leaders sought. The revelation gave clear reasons for the ejection of church members from , stating that they were expelled because of their transgressions. Yet the revelation also provided hope that the Lord would be merciful to the Missouri church members and that Zion would not be moved out of her place. It reiterated that church members were not to sell their lands in Jackson County and that they were to seek redress through the judicial system, the governor of Missouri, and the president of the . Through a parable of a nobleman and his vineyard, the revelation indicated how members of the church were to reclaim their lands: by gathering up the “strength of mine house which are my wariors my young men and they that are of middle age” and sending them to to redeem it. In addition, branches of the church outside of Missouri were to continue to raise money for land purchases and to gather to the area, thereby strengthening the church’s membership in Zion.Details behind the immediate circumstances of the revelation are scant. According to a later account from , a church member living in at the time, the revelation came to JS and over the course of one night. Ames explained that he and went to JS’s house in Kirtland early one December morning and “found Joseph and Oliver Cowdry at breakfast.” Cowdery greeted the two by saying, “Good morning Brethren, we have just received news from heaven.” That news was the revelation featured here, the manuscript copy of which was lying on the table. Ames did not give the specific date of this encounter, and the earliest known copy of the revelation—made by in Revelation Book 2 soon after the revelation’s dictation—also provided no date. Sometime before 24 January 1834, the church’s in Kirtland published a broadsheet of the revelation, again without a date. A copy that made sometime in 1834 in Revelation Book 1, however, dated the revelation to 16–17 December 1833; a copy of the revelation in the journal of , probably made in 1835, bears that same date.Although it is possible that and took a copy of the revelation with them to when they left on 19 December 1833, carrying “dispatches” for the Missouri church leaders, it appears that JS first sent the revelation to Missouri in a letter dated 22 January 1834. According to a 24 January 1834 article in the Painesville Telegraph, the printed broadsheet of the revelation had also been “privately circulated” among church members. According to , editor of the Telegraph and one of JS’s detractors, “The publication of this proclamation . . . was taken up by all their priests and carried to all their congregations, some of which were actually sold for one dollar per copy.” Church leaders also included the revelation in a petition they sent to Missouri governor , and they planned to send it with a petition to President Andrew Jackson, although it is unclear whether the revelation was ever sent to the president. In February 1834, JS began implementing the revelation’s instructions to gather up the strength of the Lord’s house, declaring that he “was going to to assist in redeeming it” and requesting “volunteers to go with him.” For the next several weeks, JS and others recruited participants for what was called the , and in May 1834 the expedition started for Missouri.
Letter from John Whitmer, 29 July 1833; [Edward Partridge], “A History, of the Persecution,” Times and Seasons, Dec. 1839, 1:17–19.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
See Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, –.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
JS, Journal, 25 Nov. 1833.
Letter to Edward Partridge, 5 Dec. 1833; Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 10 Dec. 1833.
Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 10 Dec. 1833. After the violence in Jackson County in July 1833, JS stated that such tribulations were not a surprise to him and that he could “tell all the why’s & wherefores” of the “calamities,” but the actual expulsion of church members from Jackson County was a different issue, as the expulsion jeopardized the establishment of the city of Zion and the gathering of the Saints in Missouri. (Letter to Vienna Jaques, 4 Sept. 1833.)
Ames, Autobiography, .
Ames, Ira. Autobiography and Journal, 1858. CHL. MS 6055.
Verily, I Say unto You, concerning Your Brethren Who Have Been Afflicted, [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834], copy at CHL [D&C 101]. A March 1834 letter from JS to Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, and others indicated that church leaders published the revelation because it had gone “into the hands of the world by stealth, through the means of false brethren,” and they worried that it would “reach the ears of the President and Governor, with a false coloring, being misrepresented.” Therefore, they decided to publish it and send it themselves “in its own proper light.” (Letter to Edward Partridge et al., 30 Mar. 1834, underlining in original.)
Verily, I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted. [Kirtland, OH: ca. Jan. 1834]. Copy at CHL.
Revelation Book 1, pp. 183–189 [D&C 101]; Burket, Journal, –.
Burket, George. Journal, 1835–1836. George Burket Collection, 1835–1870. CHL. MS 22654, fd. 1.
JS, Journal, 19 Dec. 1833.
“A Scrap of Mormonism,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 24 Jan. 1834, .
Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.
Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 155.
Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.
Letter to the Church in Clay Co., MO, 22 Jan. 1834. Missouri leaders sent a petition to President Jackson in April 1834 and enclosed a handbill with it, but the handbill appears to have been a recitation of the attacks in Missouri that had been published as an extra of The Evening and the Morning Star in February 1834. Neither the petition from Kirtland to Governor Dunklin nor the possible petition from Kirtland to President Andrew Jackson is extant. (Edward Partridge et al., Petition to Andrew Jackson, 10 Apr. 1834, copy, William W. Phelps, Collection of Missouri Documents, CHL; Parley P. Pratt et al., “‘The Mormons’ So Called,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Extra, Feb. 1834, –.)
Phelps, William W. Collection of Missouri Documents, 1833–1837. CHL. MS 657.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Minutes, 17 Mar. 1834; Woodruff, Journal, 1 May 1834. The Camp of Israel was later known as Zion’s Camp. (See Account with the Church of Christ, ca. 11–29 Aug. 1834; and Backman, Profile, appendix E.)
Woodruff, Wilford. Journals, 1833–1898. Wilford Woodruff, Journals and Papers, 1828–1898. CHL. MS 1352.
Backman, Milton V., Jr., comp. A Profile of Latter-day Saints of Kirtland, Ohio, and Members of Zion’s Camp, 1830–1839: Vital Statistics and Sources. 2nd ed. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine and Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1983.