Revelation, , OH, 6 June 1831. Featured version, titled “55th. Commandment given at Kirtland June 6th. 1831,” copied [ca. June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 87–89; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
In June 1831 a was held in , Ohio, which all of the of the church had been directed to attend by a February revelation. As part of the conference, according to , many church members gathered on 5 June “on the hill in a field whare there was a larg concours of people collected.” JS addressed the congregation and told them that “from that time the Elders would have large congregations to speak to and they must soon take there departure into the Reagions west.” The next day, 6 June, the conference continued, and that night JS dictated the text featured here, later writing that he received it “by an heavenly vision.”
The revelation declared that the next conference would be held in and directed the elders to travel to Missouri two by two, by different routes, preaching along the way. Nearly all the men who had been to the “” a few days earlier were now called to preach, as were several others. The revelation further instructed JS and to leave for Missouri as soon as possible, promising that if they were faithful, the Lord would make known the location in Missouri of “the land of your inheritance.”
& also take their Journey let my Servent & william (Carter) also take their Journey let my Servent & both be & also take their Journey yea verily I say unto you let all these take their Journey unto one Place in their Several courses & one man shall not build upon anothers foundation neither Journey in an others tracks he that is faithfull the same shall be kept & blest with much fruit & again I say unto you let my servent & take their Journey into the easteren lands & let them labour with their families declaring none other things than the Prophets & that which they have seen & heard & most shuredly believe that the Prophecies may be fulfilled[.] in consequence of transgression let that which was bestowed upon be taken from him & placed upon the head of Simonds & again verily I say unto you let be ordained a & also be ordained a Priest let the residue of the watch over the & declare the word in the regiones among them & let them labour with their own hands that there be no Idolitry nor wickedness practiced & remember in all things the poor & the Needy the Sick & the afflicted for he that doeth not these things is not my deciple these things the same is not my Deciple & again let my Servent Joseph & & take with them a recomend from the Church & let there be one obtained for my Servent also & thus even as I have said if ye are faithfull ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of your inheritance which is now the land of your enemies but behold I the lord will hasten the City in its time & will crown the faithfull with Joy & rejoicing Behold I am Jesus Christ the Son of God & I will lift them up at the last day even so amen [p. 89]
According to Levi Hancock, Heman Bassett had been one of the elders manifesting unusual spiritual gifts prior to Joseph Smith’s arrival in Ohio, including “receving Revilations seeing Angels falling down [and] frothing at the mouth.” Bassett claimed he “had a revelation that he had received in Kirtland from the hand of an Angel he would read it [and] show the Picture of a crown the Angel declared to be gods then would bare testmony of the truth of the work.” His testimony was apparently convincing, as Hancock added that he “beleived it all like a fool” even though Bassett behaved “like a Babbon [baboon].” Perhaps in consequence of the attempt to regulate such perceived excesses following JS’s arrival in Ohio, Bassett apparently became disaffected prior to the conference. On 24 May the Painesville Telegraph carried this notice: “One of the Mormon apostles, named Basset, a copy of whose commission we published some weeks since, which he pretended he obtained from the clouds, with the seal of God, has recently abandoned the Bible speculation, and declares it to be all a miserable hoax.” Notwithstanding this article, Bassett was apparently present at the 3 June conference, and JS rebuked him directly, saying, “Heamon Basset you sit still the Devil wants to sift you.” (Hancock, Autobiography, 79, 91; “Backing Out,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 24 May 1831, .)
Hancock, Levi. Autobiography, ca. 1854. Photocopy. CHL. MS 8174.
Jared Carter wrote, “While in Kirkland there was some conversation among some of the Elders as though I had ought to be ordained but I informed them not with standing I felt as though it was my indispensabl duty to preach the gospel that I was unwilling to be ordained unless it was by the consent of all the Elders or it should be made known by Revalation for I had heard that newel knights had said that it was not expediant that I should be ordained but it did appear by revelation that god required that I should be ordained.” (Carter, Journal, 19.)
The purpose for this recommend is uncertain. It is not likely that the usage here refers simply to a license to preach, since several of the elders called to preach by this revelation would also have needed such licenses but were not named for the recommend. Three of those named for the recommend—JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery—were arguably the most prominent leaders in the church at the time. The fourth, Edward Partridge, was the first bishop called in the church. It is possible the recommend mentioned here was designed to satisfy the demands of the federal Indian agent in the territory west of Missouri. In an 8 April 1831 letter, Oliver Cowdery, then in Missouri, explained that “the agent for The Lamanites is very strict with us and we think somewhat strenuous respecting our having liberty to visit our brethren the Lamanites but we trust that when our brother Parly [Parley P. Pratt] returns we shall have a permit from General [William] Clark who is the Superintendent of Indian affairs west of the Missi[ssi]ppi who must have a reccommend or security before he can give a permit for any stranger or foreigner to go among them to teach or preach.” (Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831; see also License for Edward Partridge, [ca. 4 Aug. 1831–ca. 5 Jan. 1832].)