Revelation, 8 March 1833 [D&C 90]
Revelation, , Geauga Co., OH, 8 Mar. 1833; copied [ca. Mar. 1833]; handwriting of ; three pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking.Bifolium measuring 12⅜ × 7¾ inches (31 × 20 cm). The document was trifolded both lengthwise and width-wise. A docket was added by in ink, with a later addition in graphite: “Revelation relative to | the Bishops Search. for | an agent | 8 March 1833. <also | to have our families Small>”.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, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
Marking a significant development in the church’s chief governing body, this revelation announced that the counselors in the were equal with JS “in holding the of this Last Kingdom.” The presidency of the high priesthood had its beginnings sixteen months earlier, on 11 November 1831, when a revelation established the office of the president of the high priesthood. That revelation called the office of the high priesthood “the greatest of all” and said that “it must needs be that one be appointed of the to preside over the Priest hood & he shall be called President of the high Priest hood of the Church” and have the duty to “preside over the whole church.” At a church in , Ohio, held on 25 January 1832, JS was as president of the high priesthood by .The 11 November 1831 revelation also gave the president authority to appoint twelve counselors to form a disciplinary court, introducing the idea that a body of counselors was to support the president. Precedent for forming a leadership body of three people came earlier in 1831 when was designated as the church’s first with “two of the ” appointed to assist him in attending to the temporal and spiritual concerns of the church. On 8 March 1832, JS chose and ordained and to assist him as “councillers of the ministry of the presidency of th[e] high Pristhood.” A revelation dictated around the same time affirmed that the president of the high priesthood had “authority to preside with the assistence of his councellers over all the Concerns of the church.” On 15 March 1832, JS dictated another revelation that elevated the counselors to positions of authority, second only to JS, in managing the affairs of the church. It formally called Gause “to be a high Priest in my church and councellor unto my servant Joseph,” explained the duties of the counselors, and affirmed that “the keys of the Kingdom” belong “always to the prisidency of the high Priesthood.” Gause was excommunicated from the on 3 December 1832, and a month later, on 5 January 1833, was called to replace Gause in serving as “Councillor & scribe unto my servant Joseph.” Williams probably assumed his new role immediately; he was identified as a counselor in the presidency of the high priesthood in the minutes of a conference held on 22 January 1833, though he was not ordained to this position until 18 March 1833. The structure of the presidency remained unchanged until December 1834.Before the revelation featured here was dictated, JS was assisted by his counselors as he had been previously by , who had been called in 1830 to support JS as “second elder.” The minutes of a conference of high priests that assembled on 22 January 1833 likewise indicated a hierarchy in the presidency, with JS as “President,” as “cheif scribe and high counceler,” and as “assistant scribe and counceler.” The following revelation, however, directed that JS’s counselors, Rigdon and Williams, be made “equal” with the president in holding the of the kingdom. It likewise authorized the three men to labor together to “set in order all the affairs of this Church and kingdom.” Though JS retained presiding authority, the governing body of the church now had three presidents. Following this revelation, the members of the presidency of the high priesthood signed some letters and official documents with their names in the order of JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams and with the associated title of “Presidents of the High Priesthood.” By 1835 this presidency was also known as the “first presidency” of the church.In addition to giving instructions regarding the presidency of the high priesthood, this revelation expressed displeasure with some church members in . JS’s interactions with Missouri leaders in spring 1832, his series of letters with and from June 1832 to January 1833, and a revelation dated 22 and 23 September 1832 emphasized that Missouri church leaders needed to repent of ongoing disputes and perceived backbiting against JS. These interactions and documents likewise reveal a continuing discord between the leaders of the church in , Ohio, and those in , Missouri. Some Missouri leaders believed that if JS would move to Independence, his presence would help alleviate many of the misunderstandings and hard feelings that had existed for months between church officials in the two locations. On 14 January 1833, and penned a letter on behalf of a conference of high priests and elders held in Kirtland to inform the Missouri Saints in a united voice “that Br J. will not settle in until she repent and purify herself & abide by the new covenant, and remember the which have been given her, to do them as well as say them.” The revelation featured here reiterated displeasure with specific Missouri leaders for unrepentant behavior. It also clarified that JS would be called to preside over the church in Independence in the Lord’s “own due time.”This revelation also directed members of the presidency of the high priesthood to set their houses in order, gave instructions concerning the residences of and , and emphasized the need to continue the ongoing translation of the Old Testament. It also directed the relocation of —a church member who had recently a significant amount of money to the church—from to , Missouri. How or when church members in Kirtland or learned of this revelation is unknown, as no extant contemporary sources mention it.