Revelation, September 1830–B [D&C 28]
- Source Note
This revelation was a response to actions by and that raised the question of whether JS was the only one authorized to deliver revelation to the church. The question first arose in summer 1830 when Oliver Cowdery “commanded” JS to change a passage in “Articles and Covenants,” a document outlining the basic beliefs and practices of the . When the church was organized on 6 April 1830, Cowdery was ordained second while JS was ordained first elder, and the two worked closely together to oversee the newly formed organization. Presumably Cowdery worked with JS in preparing Articles and Covenants and was part of the “unanimous voice of the whole congregation” that approved Articles and Covenants at the first conference of the church on 9 June, yet weeks later he sent a letter ordering JS to make a correction to the document. According to JS’s history, Cowdery objected to the requirement that candidates for “truly manifest by their works that they have received the gift of Christ unto the remission of their sins,” and he wrote to JS, “I command you in the name of God to erase those words, that no priestcraft be amongst us.” In response, JS traveled from , Pennsylvania, to , New York, to persuade Cowdery and the Whitmers that they were mistaken. According to JS’s later account, it was “not without both labor and perseverance” that he “could prevail with any of them to reason calmly on the subject.” Finally, with support from , JS convinced Cowdery and the Whitmer family “that they had been in error, and that the sentence in dispute was in accordance of the rest of the commandment.”The second challenge to JS’s authority came in early September, when JS and moved from to and found to their “great grief” that “Brother had got in his possession, a certain stone, by which he had obtained to certain revelations . . . all of which were entirely at variance with the order of Gods house, as laid down in the new Testament, as well as in our late revelations.” With another of the church approaching, JS initially “thought it wisdom not to do much more than to converse with the brethren on the subject, untill the conference should meet.” But upon finding that many, including and the Whitmer family, supported Page, JS (apparently with Cowdery’s encouragement) decided it would be “best to enquire of the Lord concerning so important a matter.” Before the conference convened, JS dictated the revelation featured here, which addressed the issues surrounding both Cowdery’s role and “the things set forth by this [’s] stone.”While affirming that was called to teach and would receive revelation, the text stated that he was not to write revelation to the church by and added, “Thou shalt not command him which is at thy head & at the head of the Church for I have given him the keys of the mysteries of the Revelations which are sealed until I shall appoint unto him another in his stead.” The revelation also directed Cowdery to explain to privately that the latter’s revelations were from Satan. The role for JS described herein was ratified at the subsequent conference, convened 26 September, at which JS was appointed “by the voice of the Conference to receive and write Revelations & Commandments for this Church.” Cowdery then read aloud Articles and Covenants, which he had previously criticized, and JS delivered comments on that document.This revelation also called to preach to the “,” or American Indians, giving specificity to a July revelation for Cowdery that commanded him in general terms to preach the gospel. In addition, the text featured here commanded JS to establish a church among the Lamanites, where “the City [the ] shall be built.” Although the revelation declared that “no man” yet knew the location for the New Jerusalem, Cowdery signed a statement on 17 October declaring that he would preach and “rear up a pillar as a witness where the Temple of God shall be built, in the glorious New-Jerusalem.” A revelation earlier that month had affirmed that church elders would establish the New Jerusalem in America as an apocalyptic fulfillment of both biblical and Book of Mormon prophecy. After other men were called to accompany Cowdery, the group of missionaries left in late October 1830.
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