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Revelation, 6 May 1833 [D&C 93]

that you may come unto the father in my name and in due time receive of his fulness for if you keep my commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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you shall receive of his fulness and be glorified in me as I am glorified in the father,21

See John 14:13; 17:5, 10.  


therefore I say unto you you shall receive grace for grace22

See John 1:16.  


and now verely I say unto you I was in the begining with the father and am the first born23

While found in several places in the New Testament, the term firstborn is not in any book attributed to John.  


and all those who are begotten through me are partakers of the glory of the same and are the church of the first born,24

See Hebrews 12:23.  


ye were also in the begining with the father that which is Spirit even the spirit of truth and truth is knowledge of things as they are and as they were and as they are to come25

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 130 [Jacob 4:13].  


and whatsoever is more or less than these is the spirit of that wicked one who was a liar from the begining26

See John 8:44.  


the spirit of truth is of God, I am the spirit of truth, and John bear27

Instead of “bear,” the Revelation Book 1 copy has “bore.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 179 [D&C 93:26].)  


reccord of me saying he received a fullness of truth yea even all truth and no man receiveth a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments he that keepeth his commandments receiveth truth and light untill he is glorified in truth and knoweth all things, man was also in the begining with God, inteligence or the Light of truth was not created or made neither indeed can be all truth is independent in that sphere29

The term sphere also appears in several earlier JS documents. (See Old Testament Revision 1, p. 5 [Moses 3:9]; and Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832 [D&C 77:3].)  


in which God has placed it— to act for itself as all inteligence also otherwise there is no existance behold here is the agency of man and here is the condemnation of man [p. [3]]
that you may come unto the fathe[r] in my  name and in due time receive of his fulness  for if you keep my commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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you shall  receive of his fulness and be glor[i]fied in me  as I am glor[i]fied in the father,21

See John 14:13; 17:5, 10.  


therefore I say  <unto> you you shall receive grace for grace22

See John 1:16.  


 and now verely I say unto you I was in the  begining with the fathe[r] and am the first  born23

While found in several places in the New Testament, the term firstborn is not in any book attributed to John.  


and all those who are begotten through  me are partakers of the glory of the same  and are the church of the first born,24

See Hebrews 12:23.  


ye  were also in the begining with the fathe[r] that  which is Spirit even the spirit of truth and  truth is knowledge of things as they are and  as they were and as they are to come25

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 130 [Jacob 4:13].  


and  whatsoever is more or less than these is the spirit  of that wicked one who was a liar from the  begining26

See John 8:44.  


the spirit of truth is of God, I am  the spirit of truth, and John bear27

Instead of “bear,” the Revelation Book 1 copy has “bore.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 179 [D&C 93:26].)  


reccord  of me say<ing> he received a fullness of truth  yea even all truth and no man receiveth  a fulness unless he keepeth his commandments  he that keepeth his commandments receiveth  truth and light untill he is glor[i]fied in  truth and knoweth all things, man  was also in the begining with God, inteligence28

TEXT: Possibly “inteligences,” or “inteligence,”.  


 or the Light of truth was not created or  made neith[er] indeed can be all truth is  independent in that sphere29

The term sphere also appears in several earlier JS documents. (See Old Testament Revision 1, p. 5 [Moses 3:9]; and Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832 [D&C 77:3].)  


<in which God has placed it—> to act for itself  as all inteligenc[e] also otherwise there is no  existance behold here is the agency of man  and here is the condemnation of man [p. [3]]
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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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