Part 5: Kirtland, Ohio, Fall 1832 and Winter 1832–1833

On 12 September 1832, JS relocated his family from and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson’s home in , Ohio, where they had been living for a year, to ’s in , Ohio. JS used two upstairs rooms, soon known as the “translating room” and the “council room,” for his work and for holding and . JS dictated several revelations in these rooms in the closing months of 1832 and the first month of 1833, proclaiming the destruction that would precede the second advent of Jesus Christ. These revelations instructed JS and other church leaders to warn the world of the impending devastation and to prepare themselves through sanctification and preaching the gospel. JS spent much of his time during these months trying to heed such instructions.
In September 1832, a revelation directed to travel to , Massachusetts, and and , New York, to warn the inhabitants of those cities. JS accompanied Whitney on this trip, leaving behind his wife , who was in the advanced stages of pregnancy. JS and Whitney apparently departed sometime in early October. Although few records of their preaching in the East survive, JS and Whitney met with Bishop Benjamin T. Onderdonk of the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of New York and purchased goods for Whitney’s store. JS returned to Kirtland on 6 November, arriving just after his son was born.
Upon his return, JS continued to work on the Bible revision. He was also intrigued by newspaper reports of the continuing cholera epidemic (which had progressed south and west from the East Coast), of a plague afflicting India, and of South Carolina’s efforts to nullify federal tariffs passed by Congress in 1828 and 1832. A later JS history suggests that JS viewed these events as an escalation of “troubles among the nations” and as a confirmation of the millenarian message in the revelations dictated in this period.
The revelations also addressed problems with church leaders in , whose correspondence continued to criticize JS. These revelations instructed JS and others to chastise those in Missouri for misconduct and to warn them that their actions would bring disaster upon unless repentance was forthcoming. In January 1833, convened a council of those who had been present when a September 1832 revelation instructed “all those to whom the kingdom has been given” to call their “brethren in Zion” to repent for their “rebellion” against JS. Acting on these directions, the council, consisting of twelve , issued a written reprimand to the Missouri , and JS wrote additional letters instructing Missouri leaders to repent. Leadership problems existed in as well; , one of JS’s counselors, was excommunicated from the church in December 1832. To replace Gause, JS appointed , who thereafter served as both scribe and counselor along with .
In December 1832, a revelation instructed JS and a conference of high priests to begin a “” and to build a “” in . If the Saints obeyed these directives, JS wrote in a letter to , God would visit them “from the heavens to honor us with his own presence.” Although construction on the house of God would not begin until later in 1833, the School of the Prophets was inaugurated in January 1833 as a place for “the first labourers, in this last kingdom” to prepare and sanctify themselves and to learn about the gospel and secular subjects. According to the minutes of the first meeting of the school, which constitute the final document in this volume, JS washed the feet of the participants and pronounced them “clean from the blood of this generation.”
Part 5 of this volume contains nineteen documents, consisting of revelations, meeting minutes, and correspondence. Except for a letter JS wrote to from , the original documents were produced in and were inscribed by or .
  1. 1

    [Emma Smith], List, ca. 1845, in Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, Miscellany; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 251.  

    Smith, Lucy Mack. History, 1844–1845. 18 books. CHL. MS 2049. Also available at josephsmithpapers.org.

    Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.

  2. 2

    Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 251.  

    Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.

  3. 3

    Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:114–115].  

  4. 4

    Newel K. Whitney, Statement, ca. 1842, Historian’s Office, JS History Documents, ca. 1839–1856, CHL; Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling, 188; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832.  

    Historian’s Office. Joseph Smith History Documents, 1839–1860. CHL. CR 100 396.

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

  5. 5

    JS History, vol. A-1, 240.  

  6. 6

    JS History, vol. A-1, 244; “Cholera Record,” American Revivalist, and Rochester (NY) Observer, 29 Nov. 1832, [1]; “The Plague in India,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 21 Dec. 1832, [2]; “South Carolina Convention,” Painesville Telegraph, 21 Dec. 1832, [2]; “Nullification,” Painesville Telegraph, 21 Dec. 1832, [2]–[3].  

    American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer. Rochester, NY. 1827–1833.

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

  7. 7

    Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:76].  

  8. 8

    Minutes, 13–14 Jan. 1833; see Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; and Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.  

  9. 9

    JS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832; Jennings, “Consequential Counselor,” 214–215.  

    Jennings, Erin B. “The Consequential Counselor: Restoring the Root(s) of Jesse Gause.” Journal of Mormon History 34 (Spring 2008): 182–227.

  10. 10

    See Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833.  

  11. 11

    Letter to William W. Phelps, 11 Jan. 1833; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:77–78, 118–119].  

  12. 12

    Revelation, 1 June 1833, in Doctrine and Covenants 95:1–3, 1835 ed. [D&C 95:3, 8, 13–17]; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 14, [1]–[2].  

  13. 13

    Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:74, 78–80, 118].  

  14. 14

    Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833.