Revelation, 7 August 1831 [D&C 59]
Revelation, “land of Zion” [Missouri], 7 Aug. 1831; copied [ca. 30 Aug. 1831]; handwriting of
Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...More InfoOne loose leaf, possibly cut from a bound book, measuring 12½ × 7½ inches (32 x 19 cm). The document was kept folded for filing byNewel K. Whitneywith a conventional filing folding. Dockets on verso in graphite in Whitney’s handwriting: “How to Spend the day | Calld Sunday &c &c” and “Sunday”.
3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...View Full BioThis and several other revelations, along with many other personal and institutional documents kept by Whitney, 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 1969–1974.1
Andrus, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
- 1 Andrus et al., “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” 5–6.
On 7 August 1831, JS dictated a revelation inMissouri“instructing the sa[i]nts how to keep the sabath & how to fast and pray.”commandment to gather there and build up the city of Zion.
Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...More InfoIndependence, Jackson County, Missouri, among whom these Saints were living. Many of those already in
Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...More InfoJackson Countyhad migrated there from southern states, whereas most church members entering the area were from the Northeast. As
Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...More InfoWilliam W. Phelps, who traveled with JS to Missouri, explained in a July 1831 letter, Jackson County residents were “emigrants from Tennessee, Kentucky,3One custom that was especially different was Sabbath day observance. A later JS history characterizes many of the residents as “the basest of men” who “had fled from the face of civilized society, to the frontier country to escape the hand of justice, in their midnight revels, their sabbath breaking, horseracing, and gambling.”
Ontario Phoenix. Canandaigua, NY. 1828–1832.4A traveler to western Missouri in 1833 made a similar observation, stating that “the only indications of its being Sunday” in the area was “the unusual Gambling & noise, & assemblies around taverns.”
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The History of Jackson County, Missouri, Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, Etc. Kansas City, MO: Union Historical Co., 1881.5Sabbath day observance, however, was an important component of worship to many members of the
Irving, John Treat. Indian Sketches, Taken During an Expedition to the Pawnee Tribes , ed. John Francis McDermott. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955.Church of Christ.
The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...View Glossary6Perhaps because of the general nonobservance of the Sabbath among the inhabitants of Jackson County, the 7 August revelation emphasized the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, outlining what church members should do on that day. These guidelines filled a void that neither the “Articles and Covenants” of the church nor the February 1831 revelation giving the “Laws of the Church of Christ” had addressed, thereby providing direction to those who would be building up the
Hartley, William G. My Fellow Servants: Essays on the History of the Priesthood. Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 2010.city of Zionwithout the benefit of JS’s in-person leadership.
Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...More InfoThe revelation may have also been a response to the concerns of those who had gone to8The writer Washington Irving, who traveled through
Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.Independencein 1832 on an expedition with federal Indian commissioners, also commented on the “rougher and rougher life” he encountered as he got closer to the town, while his traveling companion Charles Latrobe described Independence as “full of promise” but containing “nothing but a ragged congeries of five or six rough log huts, two or three clapboard houses, two or three so-called hotels, alias grogshops; [and] a few stores.”
Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...More Info9Perhaps to encourage the Saints in such conditions, the revelation promised the bounties of the earth to church members and reminded them to express gratitude to God.
Irving, Pierre M. The Life and Letters of Washington Irving. Vol. 3. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.
Latrobe, Charles Joseph. The Rambler in North America, MDCCCXXXII—MDCCCXXXIII. Vol. 1. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835.The revelation assured heavenly rewards for the obedient who would die in Zion—prompted, perhaps, by the death on the morning of 7 August ofPolly Peck Knight, the fifty-seven–year-old wife of
16 Apr. 1774–7 Aug. 1831. Born in Guilford, Cumberland Co., New York (later in Windham Co., Vermont). Daughter of Joseph Peck and Elizabeth Read. Married Joseph Knight Sr., 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, ...View Full BioJoseph Knight Sr., and a friend of JS and his family. Polly Knight had traveled to
3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...View Full BioColesvilleSaints, but after falling ill she became “the first death in the church in this land.” It is unclear whether this revelation was dictated before or after JS was informed of her death.
Area settled, beginning 1785. Formed from Windsor Township, Apr. 1821. Population in 1830 about 2,400. Villages within township included Harpursville, Nineveh, and Colesville. Susquehanna River ran through eastern portion of township. JS worked for Joseph...More InfoOliver Cowderyserved as the scribe for the original inscription of this revelation. The copy featured here belonged to
3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...View Full BioNewel K. Whitneyand is also in Cowdery’s handwriting. Whitney’s copy may be the original but is more likely a fair copy. It was likely made for him sometime after Cowdery returned to
3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...View Full BioOhioat the end of August.
French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...More InfoJohn Whitmercopied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.
27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...View Full Bio
- 1 Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 98 [D&C 59].
- 2 Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58]. This revelation may have resulted in part from a desire to know what rewards such individuals would obtain. The statement “trouble me no more concerning this matter”—which appears in the closing portion of the revelation—suggests that the revelation came as a response to inquiry on the part of JS or others with him.
- 3 William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix (Canandaigua, NY), 7 Sept. 1831, .
- 4 JS, “Church History,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:708. According to one history of Independence, the first clerk of the circuit court even left the town because of “the rough exterior and uncultivated manners of the people.” (History of Jackson County, Missouri, 104.)
- 5 Edward Ellsworth to Chauncey Goodrich Jr., 8 Aug. 1833, Fort Leavenworth, quoted in Irving, Indian Sketches, xxii.
- 6 Hartley, My Fellow Servants, 343–344.
- 7 A 1 August revelation had instructed JS to return to Ohio. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:58]; see also Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; and Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93].)
- 8 Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No VI,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 17 Nov. 1831, .
- 9 Washington Irving, Independence, MO, to “Mrs. Paris,” New York, 26 Sept. 1832, in Irving, Life and Letters of Washington Irving, 33, 38; Latrobe, Rambler in North America, 104.
- 10 JS History, vol. A-1, 139; see also Knight, Reminiscences, 9; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.
- 11 Cowdery reached Kirtland, Ohio, on 27 August 1831. A 30 August 1831 revelation directed that Whitney be appointed an agent in Ohio and that he accompany Cowdery to different churches in the area to raise money for land purchases in Zion. Cowdery may have copied the 7 August revelation for Whitney in preparation for this trip, or he may have made a copy for Whitney as they traveled together. (JS History, vol. A-1, 146; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:45–46].)
- 12 Revelation Book 1, pp. 98–100.
- 13 A copy of the revelation exists in the “Book of Commandments Law and Covenant,” book A, in Samuel Smith’s handwriting. Although Smith was likely present when the revelation was dictated (he arrived in Missouri on 4 August), he probably did not make his copy until after the spring of 1832, since it follows revelations in book A that are dated in early 1832. Smith’s copy, too, is similar to the other early manuscript copies; it is possible, though not likely, that Smith’s copy is earlier than the Whitney copy featured herein. (Hyde and Smith, Notebook, –; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)