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Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93]

——Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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May 6— 1833——
Verely thus saith the Lord, it shall come to pass, that evry soul who forsaketh their sins and cometh unto me1

See John 6:45.  


and calleth on my name and obeyeth my voice and keepeth all my commandments shall see my face2

A similar promise had been made in a revelation JS dictated four months earlier in conjunction with the establishment of the School of the Prophets: “Therefore sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, The days come, that you shall see him, for he will, unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according, to his own will.” The idea that the faithful would see Jesus Christ was reiterated in a meeting of the School of the Prophets held on 18 March 1833. The minutes of that meeting record JS declaring that “the pure in heart that were present should see a heavenly vision.” Frederick G. Williams recorded that during that meeting “after remaining for a short time in secret prayer the promise was verified to many present having the eyes of their understandings opened so as to behold many things afte[r] which the bread and wine was distributed by Bro Joseph after which many of the brethren saw a heavenly vision of the saviour and concourses of angels and many othe[r] thing[s] of which each one has a reccord of what they saw &c.” (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:68]; Minutes, 18 Mar. 1833.)  


and know that I am3

See John 8:28; 14:20.  


and that I am the true light that lighteth evry man who4

Instead of “who,” the Bible has “that.” “That” was changed to “who” in JS’s Bible revision. (New Testament Revision 2, p. 105 [second numbering] [Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:9].)  


cometh into the world;5

See John 1:9.  


and that I am in the father and the father in me and the father6

The copies in both revelation books have the word “father.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 178; Revelation Book 2, p. 56 [D&C 93:3].)  


and I are one7

See John 14:10–11.  


the father because he gave me of his fulness8

See Colossians 1:19.  


and the son becaus I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle and dwelt among the sons of men9

A passage in the Book of Mormon similarly deals with the nature of Christ in relation to the Father: “Because he dwelleth in flesh, he shall be called the Son of God: and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son; the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son: and they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 186 [Mosiah 15:2–4].)  


I was in the world and received of my father, and the works of him were plainly manifest and John saw and bear record of the fulness of my glory and the fulness of Johns reccord is hereafter to be reveiled and he bear reccord saying I saw his glory that he was in the begining before the world was10

See John 17:5, 24.  


therefore in the beginning the word was for he was the word even the messenger of salvation the light and the redeemer of the world11

See John 9:5. The phrase “redeemer of the world,” though not found in the Bible, is found in the Book of Mormon and in a summer 1829 revelation. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 22, 25 [1 Nephi 10:5; 11:27]; Revelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:1].)  


the spirit of truth12

See John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13.  


who came into the world13

See John 16:28; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 508, 581 [3 Nephi 27:13; Moroni 8:8]; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:41].  


becaus the world was made by him and in him was the Life of men and the light of men the worlds were made by him [p. [1]]
——Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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May 6— 1833——
Verely thus saith the Lord, it shall come to  pass, that evry soul who forsaketh their sins  and cometh unto me1

See John 6:45.  


and calleth on my  name and obeyeth my voice and keepeth  all my commandments shall see my  face2

A similar promise had been made in a revelation JS dictated four months earlier in conjunction with the establishment of the School of the Prophets: “Therefore sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, The days come, that you shall see him, for he will, unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according, to his own will.” The idea that the faithful would see Jesus Christ was reiterated in a meeting of the School of the Prophets held on 18 March 1833. The minutes of that meeting record JS declaring that “the pure in heart that were present should see a heavenly vision.” Frederick G. Williams recorded that during that meeting “after remaining for a short time in secret prayer the promise was verified to many present having the eyes of their understandings opened so as to behold many things afte[r] which the bread and wine was distributed by Bro Joseph after which many of the brethren saw a heavenly vision of the saviour and concourses of angels and many othe[r] thing[s] of which each one has a reccord of what they saw &c.” (Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:68]; Minutes, 18 Mar. 1833.)  


and know that I am3

See John 8:28; 14:20.  


and that I  am the true light that lighteth evry  man who4

Instead of “who,” the Bible has “that.” “That” was changed to “who” in JS’s Bible revision. (New Testament Revision 2, p. 105 [second numbering] [Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:9].)  


cometh into the world;5

See John 1:9.  


and  that I am in the fathe[r] and the father in me  and the fathe[r]6

The copies in both revelation books have the word “father.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 178; Revelation Book 2, p. 56 [D&C 93:3].)  


and I are one7

See John 14:10–11.  


the father because  he gave me of his fulness8

See Colossians 1:19.  


and the son  becaus I was in the world and made flesh  my tabernacle and dwelt among the sons  of men9

A passage in the Book of Mormon similarly deals with the nature of Christ in relation to the Father: “Because he dwelleth in flesh, he shall be called the Son of God: and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son; the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son: and they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of Heaven and of Earth.” (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 186 [Mosiah 15:2–4].)  


I was in the world and received of  my father, and the works of him were  plainly manifest and John saw and bear  record of the fulness of his <my> glory and the  fulness of Johns reccord is hereafter to  be reveiled and he bear reccord saying  I saw his glory that he was in the begin ing before the world was10

See John 17:5, 24.  


therefore in the beg[inn]ing  the word was for he was the word even the  messenger of salvation the light and the  redeemer of the world11

See John 9:5. The phrase “redeemer of the world,” though not found in the Bible, is found in the Book of Mormon and in a summer 1829 revelation. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 22, 25 [1 Nephi 10:5; 11:27]; Revelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:1].)  


the spirit of truth12

See John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13.  


 who came into the world13

See John 16:28; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 508, 581 [3 Nephi 27:13; Moroni 8:8]; and Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:41].  


becaus the  world was made by him and in him  was the <fife> light <Life> of men and the light  of men the worlds were made by him [p. [1]]
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Few contemporary sources shed light on the background of this 6 May 1833 revelation.1

This revelation is not mentioned in any contemporary journal or in John Whitmer’s or John Corrill’s extensive histories.  


JS’s history simply states, “On the 6th. [of May 1833] I received the following.”2

JS History, vol. A-1, 291.  


Newel K. Whitney

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...

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, one of the individuals mentioned in the text, made the only other known early comment on the back of perhaps the earliest extant manuscript version of the revelation. Whitney summarized the revelation by writing, “Revelation to Joseph, Sidny

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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Frederick

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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& Newell

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...

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by chastisement & also relative to the Father & Son 6 May 1833.” While Whitney’s summary focused first on the reprimand the men received from the Lord in relation to their families, the majority of the revelation was “relative to the Father & Son.”
The text of the revelation appears to be closely related to the first chapter of the Gospel according to John but was likely not the direct result of JS’s work revising the New Testament, since the revision had been completed three months earlier, on 2 February 1833.3

Minute Book 1, 2 Feb. 1833.  


Further, the revisions to John’s record made in this revelation generally vary from the changes JS made to the same text in his larger project of revising the Bible. The revelation was not the first JS document to involve passages from John’s gospel. One of the earliest recorded JS revelations, dictated April 1829, was a result of a disagreement between JS and Oliver Cowdery

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...

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over the final chapter of John and whether Jesus Christ’s statement about John tarrying meant that he would not die.4

Account of John, Apr. 1829–C [D&C 7]; John 21:21–23.  


Through the means of a seer stone or stones in his possession, JS dictated the 1829 revelation, which he explained had been “translated from parchment” and included a fuller account from John, which John had “written and hid up.”5 The Book of Mormon also references John by name several times, while no other apostle of Jesus is specifically mentioned in the book. In addition, in March 1832 JS created a document that explained the content of many verses in the book of Revelation, which the Book of Mormon explicitly asserts was authored by John the Apostle.6

Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832 [D&C 77]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 35 [1 Nephi 14:27]. While the Bible makes no express connection between the John that authored the gospel and the John that authored the book of Revelation, the two Johns were widely held during JS’s time to be the same person.  


The revelation featured here directly challenged several prevailing Christian beliefs of the time, including doctrines regarding the nature of Jesus Christ, especially his humanity and divinity, that most Christians believed had been settled by the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. That council held that Jesus Christ was both fully human and fully divine, “that in Christ two distinct natures were united in one person, without any change, mixture, or confusion.”7

“Chalcedon,” in Encyclopaedia Americana, 49–50; “Eutychians,” in Ecclesiastical Cyclopaedia, 260.  


This revelation instead describes Jesus as having “received not of the fulness at the first but received grace for grace and he received not of the fulness but continued from grace to grace until he received a fulness.”
Aside from addressing the nature of Jesus, the revelation also addressed humankind’s relationship with God, asserting that “man was also in the begining with God.” The premortal existence of humankind was also discussed in an earlier document dictated by JS; in his early translation

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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of the Bible, he recorded a conversation between God and Moses in which Moses was told, “For I the Lord God created all things of which I have spoken spiritually before they were naturally upon the face of the Earth . . . & I the Lord God had created all the children of men & not yet a man to till the ground for in Heaven created I them & there was not yet flesh upon the Earth.”8

Old Testament Revision 1, p. 5 [Moses 3:5]. The belief that God created beings spiritually before he created them physically was espoused by others, including Origen, an early proto-orthodox Christian father. Asserting belief in a premortal existence, Origen wrote, “God did not begin to work for the first time when he made this visible world, but that just as after the dissolution of this world there will be another one, so also we believe that there were others before this one existed. . . . Rational creatures . . . have undoubtedly existed right from their beginning in those worlds ‘that are not seen and are eternal.’” (Origen, Origen De Principiis, bk. 3, chap. 5, secs. 3–4, in Butterworth, Origen on First Principles, 239–240; see also Scott, Journey Back to God, 53–55.)  


The 6 May revelation also challenged the general Christian concept of creation ex nihilo by stating that “inteligence or the Light of truth was not created or made.” In an even greater contrast to the prevailing belief in the omnipotence of God, this revelation expressly stated not only that intelligence was “not created or made” by God, but also that it could not, in fact, be created by him.
It is not known whether any discussions about early Christian creeds and doctrines preceded this revelation or how familiar JS was with them prior to dictating it. Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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, one of the revelation’s recipients, had been a follower of Alexander Campbell

12 Sept. 1788–4 Mar. 1866. Teacher, minister, magazine publisher, college president. Born near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Son of Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigle. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, 1808. Immigrated to Buffalo ...

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’s religious movement that denied that belief in any of the traditional Christian creeds was essential. Campbell had also published a discourse in 1827, centered on the first chapter of John, rejecting the traditional Calvinist interpretation.9

Alexander Campbell, “The Creed Question,” Christian Baptist, 2 Apr. 1827, 200–202; “The Trinitarian System,” Christian Baptist, 7 May 1827, 230–234.  


In addition, the Mormon settlement in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, was not far from a large Shaker community in North Union, Ohio. The Shakers’ belief in the nature of Christ, widely viewed as heretical by orthodox Christians of the time, had in part been the subject of an 1831 revelation that commanded missionaries to preach to the Shakers.10

Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49]. For an example of how Shakers explained their beliefs about the nature of Christ, see Testimony of Christ’s Second Appearing, part 8, chap. 1, pp. 537–546.  


These influences, as well as many others, may have led church members to discuss topics such as the nature of God and Jesus before this revelation was dictated.
This revelation was first published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. By 1839, JS appears to have expanded upon some of the teachings it contained. In a sermon that year, he reportedly said, “The spirit of man is not a created being: it existed from Eternity and will exist to Eternity. Any thing created cannot be eternal and Earth, water, &c all these had their existence in an elementary state from Eternity. Our Savior speaks of children and says their Angels always stand before my Father. The Father called all spirits before him at the creation of man and organized them.”11

JS History, vol. C-1, addenda, 11.  


A few years later he further explained, “God was a self exhisting being, man exhist upon the same principle. God made a tabernacle & por spirit in it and it became a Human soul, man exhisted in spirit & mind coequal with God himself. . . . God has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences that they may be exhalted with himself.”12

Woodruff, Journal, 7 Apr. 1844.  


Although three early manuscript versions of this revelation are extant, the one featured here, from the Newel K. Whitney

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...

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collection, is most likely the earliest version. As the revelation was directed in part to Whitney, he likely received this copy immediately after it was dictated by JS. It is even possible that Whitney’s version is the original copy, recorded while JS dictated the revelation. In any case, the Whitney version is very closely related to the copy in Revelation Book 2, even including similar scribal errors and omissions. Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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recorded the copy in Revelation Book 2 as early as 1 June, though he most likely recorded the revelation after his appointment as scribe on 6 June 1833. Hyde apparently used Whitney’s copy of the revelation to create the Revelation Book 2 version. The copy found in Revelation Book 1 was almost certainly copied later than these two versions because that revelation book was still in Missouri

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...

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with John Whitmer

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...

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at this time. In a few places the version in Revelation Book 1 includes words and phrases not found in the other two versions, possibly reflecting some editorial changes made by Whitmer when he copied it into the book. In the following transcript, significant differences between versions in the revelation books and the version featured here are noted.

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