Revelation, 20 March 1832
Revelation, , OH, 20 Mar. 1832; Featured version copied [ca. 20 Mar. 1832]; handwriting of ; one page; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes dockets and archival marking.One leaf, measuring 6½ × 7¾ inches (17 × 20 cm). The top and the right side of the recto have the square cut of manufactured paper, whereas the left side and the bottom are unevenly cut. inscribed a docket on the verso that corresponds with a folding pattern in which the document was folded several times to a pocket-size shape: “Revelation as to paper | for 1832”. The document was folded at least two other times, one folding corresponding to some slight soiling and another corresponding with a graphite docket made by : “Command as to | Paper for | Apl. 1832”. The recto of the document also bears a graphite docket by Whitney: “20 March 1832 at ”.This document and several other revelations, along with many other personal and institutional documents kept by , were inherited by his daughter Mary Jane Whitney, who married Isaac Groo. This collection was passed down in the Groo family and donated by members of the family to the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University during the period 1969–1974.
Andrus, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
In November 1831, and traveled to with manuscript copies of JS’s revelations so that , the church printer, could publish them. In a January 1832 letter, Cowdery informed JS that publication of the revelations could proceed in Missouri as soon as a sufficient supply of paper was obtained. On 20 March 1832, the revelation featured here instructed JS to suspend work on his revision of the Bible and take paper to Missouri for the printing of the Book of Commandments. The instruction to travel immediately to Missouri allowed JS to comply with other revelations as well. On 1 March 1832, a revelation informed those who were to the that “the time ha[d] come” for the church to organize its “Literary and Merchantile establishments” in both and Missouri. The 1 March revelation also instructed JS, , and to “sit in councel with the saints who are in ” to prevent from “turn[ing] there hearts away from the truth that they become blinded.” Under these circumstances, questions arose of how to provide paper for the revelations and whether going to Missouri superseded completing the revision of the New Testament. The 20 March revelation answered these questions.Both of the questions asked in this revelation begin with the words “shall we,” indicating that the questions were posed by more than one person and suggesting that more than one person was answered. ’s index for Revelation Book 2 characterized this set of questions and answers as a “ to Joseph & to purchase paper and omit for the present time.” Whitney was not involved with the Bible revision, and it is not known if he was present when the revelation was dictated. However, Whitney, JS, and Rigdon were all commanded to travel to three weeks earlier. Regardless of whether Whitney was present, the answer to the first question directed Whitney to purchase the paper. The second question, “shall we finish the translation of the New testament before we go to ,” further indicates that the questions were asked by—and the answers directed to—those working on the Bible revision at this time. Between 16 February and 1 April 1832, Rigdon assisted JS with the revision, but toward the end of this period apparently also provided assistance and therefore may also have been present when the revelation was dictated.It is likely that , JS’s principal scribe, wrote the revelation as JS dictated it. He may then have made a copy for , but the lack of punctuation and the interlinear corrections and clarifications in the copy in Whitney’s possession suggest that it could be the original inscription. Whitney endorsed the revelation at the bottom of the page, dating it 20 March 1832 and giving the location as , Ohio. He added two endorsements—probably at a later time—on the back of the document: “Revelation as to paper for 1832” and “Command as to Paper for Apl. 1832.” The April date in the second endorsement is unlikely because JS departed for on 1 April and Whitney’s apparently earlier endorsement of 20 March has corroboration. When copied the revelation into Revelation Book 2, probably sometime before JS left for Missouri, he gave its place and date as “ Portage County Ohio March 20th. 1832.”
Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.
Jennings, Erin B. “The Consequential Counselor: Restoring the Root(s) of Jesse Gause.” Journal of Mormon History 34 (Spring 2008): 182–227.