Revelation, 1 August 1831 [D&C 58]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

61 August 1st. 1831
A Revelation given to the who were assembeled in on the land of Directions what to do &c &c &c
Hearken oh ye Elders of my & give ear to my word & learn of me what I will concerning you & also concerning this land unto which I have sent you for verily I say unto you blessed is he that keepeth my commandments whether in life or in death & he that is faithfull in tribulation the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven ye cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present time the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter & the glory which shall follow after much tribulation for after much tribulation cometh the blessings Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory the hour is not yet but is nigh at hand remember this which I tell you before that you [p. 94] may lay it to heart & receive that which shall follow behold verily I say unto you for this cause I have sent you that you might be obedient & that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come & also that you might be honoured of laying the foundation & of bearing record of the land upon which the of God shall stand & also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor yea a feast of fat things of wine on the lees well refined that the earth may know that the mouths of the Prophets shall not fail yea a supper of the house of the Lord well prepared unto which all nations shall be invited firstly the rich & the learned the wise & the Noble & after that cometh the day of my Power then shall the poor the lame and the blind & the deaf come in unto the marriage of the lamb & partake of the supper of the Lord prepared for the great day to come Behold I the Lord have spoken it & that the testimony might go forth from Zion yea from the mouth of the City of the heritage of God yea for this cause I have Sent you hither & have Selected my Servent & appointed him his mission in this land but if he repent not of his sins which is unbelief & blindness of heart let him take heed lest he fall behold his mission is given unto him & it shall not be given again & whoso standeth in that mission is appointed to be a in Israel like as it was in ancient days to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children & to Judge his people by the testimony of the Just & by the assistance of his according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the Prophets of God for verily I say unto you my laws shall be kept on this land let no man think that he is ruler but let god rule him that Judgeth according to the council of his own will (or in other words) him that councileth or seteth upon the Judgement Seat let no man break the laws of the land for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land Wherefore be subject to the powers that be untill he reigns whose right it is to reign & subdues all enemies under his feet behold the laws which ye have received from my hand are the & in this light ye shall hold them forth behold here is wisdom & now as I spoke concerning my [p. 95] Servent this land is the land of his residence & those whom he has appointed for his & also the land of the residence of him whom I have appointed to keep my storehouse Wherefore let them bring their families to this land as they shall council between them & me for behold it is not meet that I should command in all things for he that is compelled in all things the same is a slothfull & not a wise Servent Wherefore he receiveth no reward verily I say men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will, & bring to pass much righteousness for the power is in them wherein they are agents unto themselves & in-as-much as men are good they shall in no wise loose their reward but he that doeth not any thing untill he is commanded & receiveth a commandment with a doubtfull heart & keepeth it with slothfullness the same is damned Who am I that made man saith the Lord that will hold him guilty that obey not my commandments who am I saith the Lord that have promised & have not fulfilled I command & a man obeys not I revoke & they receive not the blessing then they say in their hearts this is not the work of the Lord for his promises are not fulfilled but wo unto such for their reward lurketh beneath & not from above & now I give unto you further directions concerning this Land it is wisdom in me that my servent should be an example unto the in laying his money before the of the Church & also this is a law unto every man that cometh unto the Land to receive an and he shall do with his moneys according as the law directs & it is wisdom also that it there should be lands purchased in for the place of the storehouse & also for the & other directions concerning my servent shall be given him of the spirit that he may receive his inheritance as seemeth him good & let him repent of his sins for he seeketh the praise of the world & also let my servent stand in the office which I have appointed him & receive his inheritance in the Land & also he hath need to repent for I the lord am not pleased with him for he seeketh to excell & he is not sufficiently humble meek in his heart behold he that hath repented of his sins the [p. 96] same is forgiven & I the Lord remembereth them no more by this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins behold he will confess them & forsake them & now verily I say concerning the residue of the of my the time has not yet come for many years for them to receive their in this land except they desire it through prayer only as they it shall be appointed unto them for Behold they shall push the people together from the ends of the Earth wherefore assemble yourselves together & he that is not appointed to stay in this land let them preach the gospel in the regions round about & after that let them return to their homes let them preach by the way & bear testimony of the truth in all places & call upon the rich the high & the low & the poor to repent & let them build up churches in-as-much as the inhabitants of the Earth will repent & let there be an agent appointed by the voice of the Church & I give unto my servent a that he shall write a discription of the Land of & a statement of the will of God as it shall be made known by the spirit unto him and an Epistle & subscription to be presented unto all the Churches to obtain money to be put into the hands of the to purchase lands for an inheritance for the children of God of himself or the agent as seemeth him good or as he shall direct for behold verily I say unto you the Lord willeth that the deciples & the children of men should open their hearts even to purchase this whole region of country as soon as time will permit behold here is wisdom let them do this lest they reserve none inheritance save it be by the sheding of blood & again in as much as there is lands obtained let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land to labour for the saints of God let all these things be done in order & let the priveliges of the lands be made known from time to time by the or the of the Church & let the work of the be not in haste nor by flight but let it be done as it shall be councelied by the Elders of the Church at the according to the knoweledge which they receive from time to time & let my servent consecrate & dedicate this land & the spot of the unto the Lord & let a conference meeting be called & after that let my servent & Joseph return & also with them to [p. 97] accomplish the residue of the work which I have appointed unto them in their own land & the residue as shall be ruled by the & let no man return from this land except he bear record by the way of that which he knows & most assuredly believes let that which has been bestowed upon be taken from him & let him stand as a member in the Church & labour with his own hands with the brethren untill he is sufficiently chastened for all his sins for he confeseth them not & he thinketh to hide them let the residue of the of this which are coming to this land some of whom are exceedingly blessed even above measure also hold a conference which shall be held by them & let them also return preaching the gospel by the way bearing record of the things which are revealed unto them for verily the sound must go forth from this place into all the world & unto the uttermost parts of the Earth the gospel must be preached unto every creature with signs following them that believe & behold the son of man cometh Amen [p. 98]


  1. 1

    John Whitmer assigned this number to the revelation when recording it in Revelation Book 1.  

  2. 2

    Several elders were in Jackson County at this time and may have been in attendance when this revelation was dictated. Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Frederick G. Williams had been in Independence for several months; JS, in company with Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, and Joseph Coe arrived on 14 July; and Saints originally from Colesville, New York, arrived sometime during the week after JS’s arrival, as did Sidney Rigdon and Sidney Gilbert. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix [Canandaigua, NY], 7 Sept. 1831, [2]; JS History, vol. A-1, 126–127, 129.)  

    Whitmer, Peter, Jr. Journal, Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 5873.

    Ontario Phoenix. Canandaigua, NY. 1828–1832.

  3. 3

    This heading likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.  

  4. 4

    The Howe copy omits the phrase “& also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.”  

  5. 5

    The Howe copy omits “of heaven.”  

  6. 6

    The Howe copy omits “come hereafter & the glory which shall” from this sentence, likely a scribal error.  

  7. 7

    See Isaiah 25:6.  

  8. 8

    The Howe copy omits “& partake of the supper of the Lord.”  

  9. 9

    See Luke 14:16–24.  

  10. 10

    The Howe copy adds “and chosen” after “Selected.”  

  11. 11

    See 1 Corinthians 10:12. On 5 August 1831, a few days after this revelation was dictated, Partridge wrote a letter to his wife, Lydia, wondering if he would be able to fulfill his station as bishop “to the acceptance of my hevenly father” and asking her to “pray for me that I may not fall.” (Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)  

    Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.

  12. 12

    These “councillors” were Isaac Morley and John Corrill, who were “ordained assistants to the Bishop” at a June 1831 conference. In referring to Bishop Partridge as a judge and his assistants as counselors, the revelation parallels Isaiah 1:26: “I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning.” (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

  13. 13

    In the February 1831 revelation of the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” the elders were told that “these Laws which ye have received are sufficient for both here & in the New Jerusalem.” If the elders “observe[d] all these things,” their reward would be great. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:65–66].)  

  14. 14

    TEXT: Or “siteth”. The Howe copy omits “councileth or” from this sentence and renders “seteth” as “sitteth.”  

  15. 15

    The Howe copy omits “for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land.”  

  16. 16

    See Romans 13:1; and 1 Corinthians 15:25. A January 1831 revelation declared that “in time ye shall have no King nor Ruler for I will be your King & watch over you.” It also affirmed that “ye shall have no laws but my laws for I am your Law giver.” (Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:21–22].)  

  17. 17

    When he began his journey to Missouri, Partridge apparently did not anticipate that he would be asked to stay there. In a letter to his wife, Partridge wrote, “When I left Painesville I told people I was coming back & bid none a farewell but for a short time.” (Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)  

    Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.

  18. 18

    A February 1831 revelation commanded church members to donate their surplus goods “unto my store house.” The 20 July 1831 revelation instructed Sidney Gilbert to “establish a store” in Independence, from which he would provision church members who gathered there. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:34, 55]; see also Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:13]; and Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8].)  

  19. 19

    The Howe copy omits “the same.”  

  20. 20

    Matthew 24:45 uses the phrase “wise servant,” and Matthew 25:26 uses “slothful servant.” Both passages were within the section that JS completed in his Bible revision before leaving Ohio for Missouri. On 5 August, Partridge wrote to his wife, Lydia, that he and the other men who were to settle in Missouri were “left to our own agreement how we will manage about getting our families here.” (Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 65; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)  

    Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

    Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.

  21. 21

    JS’s revision of the book of Genesis, completed in early 1831, included God’s instruction to Adam that men are “agents unto themselves.” (Old Testament Revision 1, p. 14 [Moses 6:56]; Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 63–64.)  

    Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

  22. 22

    See Matthew 10:42.  

  23. 23

    The Howe copy has “ordained” instead of “promised.”  

  24. 24

    Harris’s son claimed in 1875 that Harris gave $1,200 to Partridge for land purchases in Missouri, but no extant contemporary sources corroborate that claim. Indeed, it is unclear what resources Harris had available in August 1831. He had earlier mortgaged his farm to help pay for the publication of the Book of Mormon, which apparently left him with no property to consecrate. However, according to a January 1830 agreement, Harris would have “equal privilege” to sell copies of the Book of Mormon until he was reimbursed for the $3,000 value of his farm. What money he gained from that is unclear, but Harris later recollected that he eventually received from JS “all that I advanced, and more too.” (Obituary for Martin Harris, Ogden Junction [Utah Territory], 16 July 1875, [2]; Martin Harris to Egbert B. Grandin, Indenture, Wayne Co., NY, 25 Aug. 1829, Wayne Co., NY, Mortgage Records, vol. 3, pp. 325–326, microfilm 479,556, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; Agreement with Martin Harris, 16 Jan. 1830; David B. Dille, “Additional Testimony of Martin Harris,” LDS Millennial Star, 20 Aug. 1859, 21:545–546.)  

    Ogden Junction. Ogden, Utah Territory. 1870–1881.Ohio Atlas and Lorain County Gazette. Elyria, OH. 1832–1833.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star. Manchester, England, 1840–1842; Liverpool, 1842–1932; London, 1932–1970.

  25. 25

    According to the 9 February 1831 revelation of the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” any consecrated “properties” remaining after one received back a stewardship for his or her needs would be used “for the purpose of purchaseing Land & building up of the New Jerusalem.” The revelation referred only to “properties” and did not specify a separate instruction for “moneys.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:32–35].)  

  26. 26

    On 8 August 1831, Partridge paid $50 to purchase lot 76 in Independence from James Gray for the printing office. Lot 59 and the old courthouse were purchased for $371 on 20 February 1832 for the storehouse. (Jackson Co., MO, Deed Records, 1827–1909, vol. A, pp. 114–115, 8 Aug. 1831; vol. B, pp. 32–33, 20 Feb. 1832, microfilm 1,017,978, U. S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  27. 27

    The Howe copy omits “shall be given him.”  

  28. 28

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 109 [2 Nephi 26:29].  

  29. 29

    The 20 July 1831 revelation instructed Phelps to “be planted in this place & be established as a Printer unto the Church.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:11].)  

  30. 30

    See Jeremiah 31:34; and Hebrews 8:12.  

  31. 31

    Apparently, not all elders were appointed to move to Missouri at this time. Later in this revelation, the elders were told to supervise the gathering, while a later revelation clarified that JS would have “power that he shall be enabled to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion & those of my Desiples that shall tarry.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:41].)  

  32. 32

    See Deuteronomy 33:17.  

  33. 33

    The 6 June 1831 revelation similarly instructed elders journeying to Missouri to “preach the word by the way.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:25–27].)  

  34. 34

    A 9 February 1831 revelation giving the “Laws of the Church of Christ” instructed the elders to build up churches in the “regions westward.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:8]; see also Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:64].)  

  35. 35

    This directive, which immediately followed the instruction to build up churches betweenMissouri and Ohio, apparently called for the appointment of a new financial agent, because Sidney Gilbert, the previously appointed agent, was now permanently stationed in Missouri. When this revelation was published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the phrase “unto the church in Ohio, to receive moneys to purchase lands in Zion” was added at this point in the text. Shortly after returning to Ohio, Newel K. Whitney was appointed as a church agent. (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10, 1835 ed.; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:42–45].)  

  36. 36

    A later JS history recounts that after this revelation’s dictation, “we sought for all the information necessary” to compose “a description of the land of Zion.” However, the description that Rigdon composed was not acceptable because he had “received not counsel but grieved the spirit.” A 30 August 1831 revelation instructed him to try again, warning that “if the Lord receive it not behold he standeth no longer in the office which he hath appointed him.” His second attempt was apparently accepted. (JS History, vol. A-1, 137; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:55–56]; Sidney Rigdon, Kirtland, OH, to “the Saints,” 31 Aug. 1831, copy, Sidney Rigdon Collection, CHL.)  

    Rigdon, Sidney. Collection, 1831–1858. CHL. MS 713.

  37. 37

    The Howe copy omits “to be presented.”  

  38. 38

    The Howe copy omits “verily I say unto you.”  

  39. 39

    The 20 July 1831 revelation instructed the Saints to purchase the lot for the temple, the land between the temple and the state border, land along the border, and additional land “in all the regions round about.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:4–6].)  

  40. 40

    The Howe copy omits “let them do this.”  

  41. 41

    A revelation dictated later in August explained that the Saints were to purchase the lands so that they could have legal claim to them. Without such legal claim, the revelation stated, people would be “stired up unto anger” against the church, even unto “the shedding of blood.” (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:27–29].)  

  42. 42

    Phelps later explained that this meant determining and making known “how many can be accommodated” in Missouri. (“The Elders in the Land of Zion to the Church of Christ Scattered Abroad,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [5].)  

    The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

  43. 43

    See Isaiah 52:12.  

  44. 44

    The Howe copy reads “which they shall receive.”  

  45. 45

    On 2 August in Kaw Township, Missouri, Rigdon “consecrated and dedicated” the land “for the gathering of the Saints.” On 3 August, JS laid a cornerstone for the temple and Rigdon pronounced the ground “dedicated unto the Lord forever.” (JS History, vol. A-1, 137, 139; Whitmer, History, 32.)  

  46. 46

    This conference was held on 4 August. (Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831.)  

  47. 47

    The Howe copy inserts “my servant” before “Oliver.”  

  48. 48

    JS was previously appointed to work on a revision of the Bible, for which Rigdon was serving as scribe. Before beginning his mission to the Lamanites in 1830, Cowdery served as JS’s scribe. He had also been appointed second elder in the church. (Revelation, 7 Dec. 1830 [D&C 35:20]; Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:10–11]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832; Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:14–15; Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 69–76.)  

    Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate. Kirtland, OH. Oct. 1834–Sept. 1837.

    Bushman, Richard Lyman. Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling. With the assistance of Jed Woodworth. New York: Knopf, 2005.

  49. 49

    Minutes of the conference held on 4 August contain no specific instructions on JS, Rigdon, and Cowdery’s work. (Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831.)  

  50. 50

    The Howe copy has “given to” instead of “bestowed upon.”  

  51. 51

    Peterson had traveled to Missouri with Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer Jr., Parley P. Pratt, and Frederick G. Williams. Ezra Booth wrote that Whitmer and Williams had informed him that Peterson was guilty of conduct “on a parallel” with a man who “enters into a matrimonial contract with a young lady, and obtains the consent of her parents; but as soon as his back is turned upon her, he violates his engagements, and prostitutes his honor by becoming the gallant of another, and resolves in his heart, and expresses resolutions to marry her.” Peterson confessed his transgression at the 4 August conference, and a week later married Rebecca Hopper of Lafayette County, Missouri. (Revelation, Oct. 1830–A [D&C 32:3]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1]; “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star, 8 Dec. 1831, [1], italics in original; Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831; Lafayette Co., MO, Marriage Records, 1821–1873, vol. B, p. 21, microfilm, 959,414, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

  52. 52

    Most of those commanded in the June 1831 revelation to go to Missouri had not yet arrived in Independence at this time. Several men, including Samuel Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, John Corrill, John Murdock, Hyrum Smith, Lyman Wight, David Whitmer, and Harvey Whitlock, arrived later in August. Some, including Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin, did not arrive until October or November. (Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830; Pratt, Autobiography, chaps. 7–8; Murdock, Journal, Aug. 1831; Minutes, 4 Aug. 1831; “Autobiography of Levi Ward Hancock,” ca. 1896, 37, 40; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)  

    Pratt, Parley P. The Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, One of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Embracing His Life, Ministry and Travels, with Extracts, in Prose and Verse, from His Miscellaneous Writings. Edited by Parley P. Pratt Jr. New York: Russell Brothers, 1874.

    Murdock, John. Journal, ca. 1830–1859. John Murdock, Journal and Autobiography, ca. 1830–1867. CHL. MS 1194, fd. 2.

    Hancock, Mosiah Lyman. "Autobiography of Levi Ward Hancock," ca. 1896. CHL. MS 570.

    Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.

  53. 53

    The Howe copy omits “even above measure.”  

  54. 54

    In the copy of this revelation in Revelation Book 1, Rigdon inserted here the line “upon this land: and let my Servent Edw. direct the conference.” Rigdon’s insertion may have restored a line from the original revelation inadvertently omitted by copyist John Whitmer when his eye skipped from the end of the phrase “hold a conference” to the end of the phrase “direct the conference.” However, the Howe copy of the revelation does not include the line either. This conference was apparently held on 24 August 1831. (McLellin, Journal, 24 Aug. 1831.)  

    McLellin, William E. Journal, 18 July–20 Nov. 1831. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 1. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

  55. 55

    See Mark 16:15, 17; and Acts 1:8.  

  56. 56

    Regarding the closing words of this revelation, Ezra Booth wrote, “The Elders of the Church, by commandment given in Missouri, and of which I was both an eye and ear witness, are to go forth to preach Mormonism to every creature; and now, said Mr. Rigdon—‘The Lord has set us our stint; no matter how soon we perform it—for when this is done, he will make his second appearance.’” (Ezra Booth, Nelson, OH, to Ira Eddy, 12 Sept. 1831, in Ohio Star[Ravenna], 13 Oct. 1831, [3], italics in original.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.