Revelation, [, OH], ca. 2 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “71 Revelation given Nov 2nd. 1831,” copied [ca. Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 114–115; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
At a 1–2 November 1831 that discussed the publication of the Book of Commandments, JS “received” a “testimony of the witnesses to the book of the Lord’s .” Several signed the statement and, by so doing, testified that the Holy Ghost had “born record” that the revelations “are given by inspiration of God & are profitable for all men & are verily true.” At this same conference, JS dictated this revelation, which addressed the fact that some of the elders had not received such a spiritual conviction. That manifestation had not come, the revelation explained, because of “fears” in the hearts of the elders. The revelation also disclosed that some of the elders questioned the “imperfections” in the language JS used in the revelations, even though another revelation that emerged from the conference declared that the commandments were given to God’s “Servents in their weakness after the manner of their Language.” To dispel the hesitation to testify about the source of the revelations, this November revelation challenged the elders to write a revelation “like unto” those dictated by JS, emphasizing that if the elders failed, they would be justified in testifying to the world of the divine origin of JS’s revelations and condemned if they did not so testify.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant, but dated it 2 November when he copied it into Revelation Book 1, likely sometime before his departure for on 20 November 1831. Unlike the minutes for proceedings of the conference on 1 November, the minutes for 2 November do not specifically mention dictation of a revelation, leaving open the possibility that this revelation could be the one referred to in the 1 November minutes as coming after JS “asked the conference what testimony they were willing to attach to these commandments.” According to the minutes, several elders “arose and said that they were willing to testify to the world that they knew that they were of the Lord.” Thereafter, a revelation was “received relative to the same”—perhaps this revelation, despite its being dated 2 November. A later JS history supports this possibility, stating that after the dictation of the preface to the Book of Commandments on 1 November, “some conversation was had concerning Revelations and language.” The history then presents this revelation as following that conversation. Although this is a plausible scenario for the production of the revelation, it does not explain why Whitmer then dated the document 2 November. Whatever the case, it is clear that the revelation—addressed to “ye Elders of my Church who have assembelled yourselves together”—was dictated sometime during the 1–2 November conference.
It is possible that Whitmer simply made an error in dating the document—either because he copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1 on 2 November or because he remembered the date of its dictation incorrectly. It is also possible that the JS history is referencing a different revelation.