Revelation, 3 November 1835
- Source Note
This revelation, dictated by JS on 3 November 1835, reproved the members of the Quorum of the for exhibiting “covetous desires,” making themselves unequal, and failing to be “sufficiently humble.” The revelation counseled them to “repent speedily” and “prepare their hearts for the solem assembly and for the great day which is to come.” In addition to receiving a collective chastisement, several members of the quorum—, , , and —were singled out for unspecified “sinful” behaviors. Several contentious episodes between members of the Twelve and the First Presidency during the previous four months provide important context for understanding this revelation.After the Twelve Apostles were appointed on 14 February 1835, JS provided them “much instruction” pertaining to their office in the months that followed. He advised the men that they were to serve as a “travelling high council to preside over all the churches of the saints . . . when there is no presidency established” and that they were to “travel and preach among the Gentiles.” In preparation for their initial mission, the Twelve met on 28 April 1835 and approved a motion to “forgive one another every wrong that has existed among us; and that from hence forth each one of the twelve love his brother as himself in temporal as well as in spiritual things; always enquiring into each others welfare.” Six days later, the twelve men departed for a four-month mission to , , and New England.As the Twelve preached and conducted conferences in various branches of the church, JS and the presidency in received troubling letters from the eastern ; the issues raised by these communications may be at least partially responsible for the 3 November censure. Though the Twelve had been expected to solicit money for construction of the , , a branch president in , New York, informed the presidency that “the twelve, the , nor any others, clothed with authority have ever mentioned this subject to us, except incidently.” JS and the presidency also became aware of a letter sent by to his wife, Emeline Miller McLellin, implying that McLellin and disapproved of the way was conducting his school back in Kirtland. In addition to these two letters, JS and the presidency indicated that they had received other troubling correspondence about the Twelve’s conduct.The First Presidency took action. On 4 August, they and the presidency wrote a letter to the Twelve in which they rebuked and temporarily disfellowshipped and ; the letter also chastised the quorum collectively for failing to support fund-raising efforts for the and for setting themselves up “as an independant counsel subject to no authority of the church.” When the Twelve returned to in late September, they met with JS and the presidency to address the accusations. After some deliberation, the council dismissed ’s complaints, concluding that they “originated in the minds of persons whose minds were darkened.” Hyde and McLellin were “found to be in the fault” for criticizing ’s school, and they acknowledged their errors and were forgiven. JS’s journal indicates that “all things were settled satisfactorily.” Nonetheless, bad feelings caused by the 4 August letter continued to fester through winter 1835–1836 as other problems related to the Twelve’s eastern mission surfaced. For example, this 3 November revelation appears to refer to the eastern mission when it charged that the quorum had “not dealt equally with each other in the division of moneys which came into their hands.”Though the Twelve’s mission to the East had bearing on the 3 November revelation, another event that transpired after the Twelve returned to contributed to the discord within the quorum. The rebuke directed at almost certainly related to his confrontation with JS five days earlier, when the two brothers engaged in a heated argument during a disciplinary hearing for and Mary Elliott. After the Kirtland high council proposed to censure William, he called on JS at his home. In the presence of and , another heated dispute erupted, after which William “declared that he wanted no more to do” with JS or the church. The next day, William sent JS his ecclesiastical and began, according to JS’s journal, to “spread the levavin [leaven] of iniquity among my brethren.” Another brother, , was especially persuaded by William’s denouncements. Besides generating significant tension within the Smith family, this episode also undermined the unity that was expected to prevail among the Quorum of the Twelve.It is unclear how knowledge of the revelation was disseminated, but and “came in and desired to hear the revelation concerning the Twelve” two days after its dictation. JS’s journal notes that read the revelation to the men, after which they “expressed some little dissatisfaction but after examining their own hearts, they acknowledged it to be the word of the Lord and they were satisfied.” also heard the revelation read and according to JS, “appeared perfectly satisfied.” Despite the observation recorded in JS’s journal that these three apostles were satisfied, some of the issues that precipitated the 3 November revelation lingered on. It was not until after a lengthy meeting between JS, the presidency, and the Twelve on 16 January 1836 that these issues were more fully resolved.
Deseret News. Salt Lake City. 1850–.
Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.
Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.
McLellin, William E. Journal, May–Sept. 1835. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 5. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).
Esplin, Ronald K. “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841.” PhD diss., Brigham Young University, 1981. Also available as The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841, Dissertations in Latter-day Saint History (Provo, UT: Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History; BYU Studies, 2006).