Revelation, , Seneca Co., NY, to , [Sept.] 1830. Featured version, titled “34th Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 43–44; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
According to his history, JS dictated this revelation for during the 26 September 1830 . Marsh, a resident of Charlestown, Massachusetts, who had earlier been affiliated with the Methodist church, first learned of JS and his activities when he visited , New York, in 1829. He later recounted that in the summer of that year, “I thought the Spirit required me to make a journey West. I started in co[mpan]y. with on[e] Benj. Hall, who was also led by the Spirit. We went to Lima Livingston Co N. Y. where we stayed some 3 mos. and then left for home.” Before returning home, however, he stopped in Lyons, just fifteen miles east of Palmyra, where he learned of the printing of the Book of Mormon. He then traveled on to Palmyra, where he met , saw proof sheets of the first pages of the Book of Mormon, and spoke with , who, according to Marsh, “gave me all the information concer[n]ing the Book I wanted.” Marsh returned to his home interested in what he had learned and carrying the first sixteen printed pages of the book. On 25 October, Marsh wrote to Cowdery to express his interest in the little band of believers and to inquire about their welfare. Cowdery reported to JS that although Marsh had found some unwilling to listen, he had talked “to Some respecting our work.” The correspondence continued, but the letters are no longer extant. After learning by letter of the April organization of the , Marsh and his family moved to Palmyra in September 1830. Shortly before the second conference of the church in late September, Marsh and Oliver Cowdery him an , most likely shortly before JS dictated this revelation.
Echoing revelations from April and June of 1829 that called for the formation of a church and the gathering of believers, this text emphasized the urgency of the work and admonished to “thrust in thy Sickle with all thy Soul.” Like , , and others before him, as well as and soon after, Marsh was reminded that the “harvest” was near; in vivid apocalyptic language, the revelation warned that the field was “already to be burned.”
The revelation also addressed ’s understandable concerns about his family’s welfare as he traveled and preached, promising him that his family would be blessed during his absence. Though the revelation does not indicate where he was to preach, he remained in until the spring of 1831 and corresponded with relatives in , urging them to join the believers. In June 1831 he was called to travel to and preach along the way.
A Revelation to his call to the ministiry &c gaven at Seneca County State of New York
my Son Blessed art thou Be[c]ause of thy faith in my words Behold thou hast had many afflictions because of thy family Nevertheless I will bless thee & thy family yea thy little ones & the day cometh that they will believe & know the truth & be one with thee in my lift up your heart & rejoice for the hour of your Mishion mission is come & thy tongue shall be loosed & thou shalt declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation thou shalt declare the things which have been revealed unto my Servent Joseph thou shalt begin to preach from this time forth yea to Reap in the field which is white already to be burned Therefore thrust in thy Sickle with all thy Soul & thy sins are forgiven thee & thou shalt be laden with sheaves upon thy Back for the labourer is worthy of his hire Wherefore thy family shall live Behold Verily I say unto you go from them only for a little time & declare my word & I will prepare a place for them yea I will open the hearts of the People & they will Receive thee & I will establish a church by thy hand & thou shalt strengthen them & prepare them against the time when the shall be[.] be patient in afflictions & sufferings revile not against [p. 43]
By her own account, Marsh’s wife, Elizabeth, did not become a believer until 1831, when her son Nephi was born. At the time of this revelation, Marsh had three “little ones”: Edward B., age nine (born 13 August 1821); James G., age seven (31 May 1823); and Thomas E., age three (26 March 1827). James joined the church, but no information is known about the other Marsh children. (Thomas B. Marsh and Elizabeth Godkin Marsh to Lewis Abbott and Ann Marsh Abbott, [ca. 11 Apr. 1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL; “T B Marsh,” , Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; Obituary for James G. Marsh, Elders’ Journal, July 1838, 48.)
Abbott Family Collection, 1831–2000. CHL. MS 23457.
Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.
Elders’ Journal of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Kirtland, OH, Oct.–Nov. 1837; Far West, MO, July–Aug. 1838.