Revelation, , OH, 30 Aug. 1831; copied [ca. 30 Aug. 1831]; handwriting of ; three pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking.
Bifolium (a single sheet folded once to form two leaves) measuring 12⅜ × 7¾ inches (31 × 20 cm). At one time, the document was folded in half three more times—possibly for an initial pocket folding. At another time, the document was folded in half and then trifolded in the conventional filing pattern, and a docket was added by in graphite: “31 Augt. 1831—revelation | to Church & & | to Visit Church”.
This 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 et al., “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” 5–6.
Andrus, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
Three days after JS arrived in , Ohio, from , Jackson County, Missouri, a 30 August revelation provided information about the gathering of the Saints to . As a later JS history explained, the identification of Independence as the “centre place” of made “‘the land of Zion’ . . . the most important temporal object” to church members. Despite Zion’s importance, much uncertainty still surrounded the process of gathering to Zion. Funds were required to purchase lands in and around Independence for the gathering. A 1 August 1831 revelation had intimated that not all of the Saints would migrate to Zion at once, and some members may have questioned how leaders would determine who would move. That same revelation also instructed that an epistle and subscription “be presented unto all the Churches to obtain money to be put into the hands of the ,” but who would take these documents to the different churches had not been determined. Compounding the problem of this uncertainty, JS, , and discovered upon their return to that “many [had] apostitized” in their absence. Coming on the heels of the antagonism that JS had apparently experienced from some of his company of on the return trip to Ohio, the knowledge that many others had fallen away was distressing: “We could not help beholding,” a later JS history recounts about this time period, “the exertions of Satan to blind the eyes of the people so as to hide the true light that lights every man that comes into the world.”
The 30 August revelation addressed many of the issues JS faced on his return to , providing instruction on how those who were to move to Zion would be selected, how quickly the Saints should gather to Zion, and how to prepare for Christ’s return to the earth. It condemned the wicked both in and out of the church, especially sign seekers and adulterers, and appointed and to raise money for Zion. As wrote the next day, the revelation gave instruction on how to “escape . . . the day of tribulation which is coming on the earth.” A passage in this revelation addressed the church members residing on “this farm,” indicating that JS dictated the revelation on the farm, where he had left his family in June and where many of the Saints traveling to in 1831 relocated.
served as scribe for this revelation. had a copy of the revelation in Cowdery’s handwriting, which may be the original inscription. However, the handwriting is so compact and neat that it is likely a fair copy made by Cowdery. He may have made it for Whitney and himself to take with them as they traveled together to the different churches. Whitney endorsed his copy with the date of 31 August 1831, likely an incorrect date. Other early copies of the revelation inscribed around this same time—including one that made in Revelation Book 1 and one that made in his book of revelations—bear the date of 30 August.
Similar fold markings are evident in Whitney’s copy of the revelation and a copy he owned of a letter Rigdon wrote to church congregations to encourage donations, which suggests that the two documents were carried together. (Sidney Rigdon, Kirtland, OH, “to the Churches,” 31 Aug. 1831, copy, Sidney Rigdon, Collection, 1832–1858, CHL.)
Rigdon, Sidney. Collection, 1831–1858. CHL. MS 713.
Hearken O ye people and open your hearts and give ear from afar and listen you that call yourselves the people of the Lord & hear the word of the Lord & his will concerning you yea verily I say hear the word of him whose anger is kindled against you <the> wicked & rebellious who willeth to take even them whom he will take & preserveth in life them whom he will preserve who buildeth up at his own will & pleasure & destroyeth when he please & is able to cast the soul down to hell. Behold I the Lord uttereth my voice & <&> it shall be obeyed wherefore verily I say let the wicked take heed & let the rebellious fear & tremble & let the unbelieving hold their lips for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind & all flesh shall know that I am God. And he that seeketh signs shall see signs but not unto salvation Verily I say unto you There are those among you who seeketh signs & there has been such even from the beginning But behold faith cometh not by signs but signs follow those that believe yea signs cometh by faith not by the will of men nor as they please but by the will of God yea signs cometh by faith unto mighty works for without faith no man pleaseth God & with whom God is angry he is not well pleased wherefore unto such he sheweth no signs only in wrath unto their condemnation Wherefore I the Lord am not well pleased with those among you who have sought after signs & wonders for faith & not for the good of men unto my glory Nevertheless I gave & many have turned away from my commandments & have not kept them There were among you adulterers & adulteresses some of whom have turned away from you & others remain with you that hereafter shall be revealed let such be aware & repent speedily lest judgements shall come upon them as a snare & their folly shall be made manifest & their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people & verily I say unto you as I have said before he that looketh on a woman to lust after her or if any shall commit adultry in his heart they shall not have the spirit but shall deny the faith & shall fear Wherefore I the Lord have said that the fearful & the unbelieving & all liars & whoso<ever> loveth & maketh a lie & the whoarmunger <& the> sorcerer should have their part in that lake which burneth with fire & brimstone which is the second death Verily I say <that> they shall not have part in the first resurrection And now behold I the Lord saith unto you that ye are not justified because of these things are among you nevertheless he that endureth in faith & doeth my will the same shall overcome & shall receive an inheritance upon the Earth when the day of transfiguration shall come when the earth shall be transfigured even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount of which account the fulness ye have not yet received. And now verily I say unto you that as I said that I would make known my will unto you behold I will make it known unto you not by the way of commandment for their are many who observe not to keep my commandments but unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my Kingdom & the same shall be in him a well of <living> water springing up unto everlasting life And now behold this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of not in haste lest there should be confusion which bringeth pestilence Behold the land of Zion I the Lord holdeth it in mine own hands nevertheless I the Lord rendereth unto Cezar the things which are Cezars Wherefore I the Lord willeth that you should purchase the lands that you may have advantage of the world that you may have claim on the world that they may not be stired up unto anger for satan putteth it into their hearts to anger & to the shedding of blood Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood otherwise there is none inheritance for you & if by purchased behold ye you are blessed & if by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you & ye shall be scourged from city to city & from Synagogue to synagogue & but few shall stand to receive an inheritance I the Lord am angry with the wicked I am holding my spirit from the inhabitants of the earth I have sworn in my wrath & decreed wars upon the face of the earth & the wicked shall slay the wicked & fear shall come upon every man & the Saints also shall hardly escape [p. ]
A March 1831 revelation similarly warned against an individual asking “for a sign” in order to “consume it upon his lusts.” (Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:9]; see also Matthew 12:38–39; Mark 8:11–12; and Luke 11:16, 29.)
This passage seems to promise further information on transfiguration. The only extant record of such comes from JS’s Bible revision. When JS revised Matthew 17:1–13, sometime between 7 April and 19 June 1831, he added clarifying information about the identity and mission of Elias, who appeared on the mount at the time that Christ was transfigured. (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 66; New Testament Revision 1, pp. 41–42 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 17:8–14].)
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.
New Testament Revision 1 / “A Translation of the New Testament Translated by the Power of God,” 1831. CCLA. Also available in Scott H. Faulring, 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), 153–228.
According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, “pestilence” denotes not only infectious disease but also “corruption or moral disease destructive to happiness.” (“Pestilence,” in American Dictionary .)
An American Dictionary of the English Language: Intended to Exhibit, I. the Origin, Affinities and Primary Signification of English Words, as far as They Have Been Ascertained. . . . Edited by Noah Webster. New York: S. Converse, 1828.
A March 1831 revelation explained that Zion would be a “City of refuge,” protecting those living therein, who would “be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.” (Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66, 69].)