Joseph Smith Documents Dating from July 1831 through January 1833

A revelation dictated by Joseph Smith on 20 July 1831 in , Jackson County, Missouri, declared that “the land of ” was “the land of promise & the place for the .” That revelation set the stage for some of the most important work undertaken over the succeeding years by Joseph Smith and his followers. Dictated less than a week after from , the 20 July revelation unveiled the site of the promised city of Zion, a “” that the Saints would establish in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ. This revelation further designated the frontier town of Independence as the “centre place” of the city of Zion, and in response, the Saints began a concerted effort to build up in Independence and in northwestern . A site was designated for a temple, and church members began to migrate to Missouri. This city-building effort created a nine-hundred-mile divide between the main bodies of church members because some were called to settle in Missouri while others chose or were required to stay in Ohio. The division tested Joseph Smith’s leadership and strained the limited resources of the fledgling church, which was just over a year old at the time the first document in this volume was created.
This second volume in the Documents series of The Joseph Smith Papers covers the period from July 1831 through January 1833. It includes revelations, correspondence, minutes from meetings in which Joseph Smith participated, an early attempt to record Smith’s personal history, and various other Joseph Smith documents. Though few of these documents are in Joseph Smith’s own handwriting, they help reconstruct his world during this early period. They illuminate his vision of Zion—a righteous, poverty-free community where the elect would be gathered in preparation for Christ’s return. They chronicle his efforts both to keep records and to begin a program of publishing his revelations. They document the solidification and expansion of a leadership structure and highlight Smith’s struggles with his fellow workers and with non-Mormon residents of areas where the Saints settled. The documents in this volume reveal the strain between Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling, which gave him authority over other members of the church, and the prevailing fear of concentrated power among some early Mormons and their neighbors.
The idea that God would establish the New Jerusalem, or the , somewhere in the Americas stemmed from the Book of Mormon, and several of Joseph Smith’s revelations elaborated on the theme. In this New Jerusalem, the Saints would help the “remnant of Jacob”—whom early church members believed to be the American Indians—to build a temple of God. It would be “a land of peace a City of refuge a place of safety for the saints” from the calamities that would precede Christ’s second coming. There, “the righteous . . . from among all Nations” would gather with the “remnant of Jacob.” A September 1830 revelation explaining that the city of Zion would be built “among the ” directed to preach to the Indian tribes living beyond the western border of . Additional revelations called , , and to accompany Cowdery to visit these tribes, which were placed there under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. This act authorized the government to oversee the migration of native groups from eastern lands to lands west of the organized states. When Indians resisted, the federal government forcibly removed them. Believing this to be a process by which God was gathering the “remnant of Jacob,” some church members observed Indian relocation with great interest and approval. As an editorial in the church periodical The Evening and the Morning Star declared in December 1832, “It is not only gratifying, but almost marvelous, to witness the gathering of the Indians. . . . There is reason to rejoice that the great purposes of the Lord are fulfilling before our eyes.”
When and the other missionaries arrived in Indian Territory in January 1831, they lacked the necessary permits to interact with the Indians living there. After being ejected from the land by a federal Indian agent, the missionaries concentrated their efforts in and its environs, while went to to try to secure permits. Failing in that attempt, Pratt returned to and reported his efforts to Joseph Smith. Dictated when in the summer, the 20 July 1831 revelation proclaimed that the would be built at Independence—just east of ’s western border.
Building the was a daunting task for Joseph Smith and his associates. Although was the eastern terminus for the Trail, the hamlet had existed for only a few years and lacked the amenities and civility of more established areas. , one of the missionaries who came to in July 1831, described it as “a new Town, containing a courthouse, built of brick, two or three merchant stores, and fifteen or twenty dwelling houses, built mostly of logs hewed on both sides.” wrote to his wife, Lydia, in August 1831, “We have to suffer & shall for some time many privations here.”
Once the site for the was selected, church leaders wasted no time in beginning to build up a community there. Less than two weeks after the 20 July revelation identified the site of the city, Joseph Smith dictated a revelation empowering of church to supervise “the work of the gethering” and to determine which of the Saints should migrate to . A revelation later in August 1831 further stated that Joseph Smith would “be enabled to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of & those of my that shall tarry.” In practice, Smith and conferences of elders appear to have shared this duty. In order to facilitate the establishment of a successful and prosperous community, church leaders asked farmers and skilled craftsmen to migrate to Missouri. Church agents raised funds necessary for purchasing lands, and members were asked to consecrate property and money for the establishment of Zion.
Joseph Smith intended for the gathering to to be orderly, and individuals were discouraged from migrating to haphazardly. Instead, those moving to Missouri were asked to obtain a recommend from church leaders—either three elders or, after December 1831, from —that they could present to . The elders and Whitney were not to provide any recommends until they received information from Partridge concerning the number of Saints who could be accommodated in Missouri. “Let not your flight be in h[a]ste,” one November 1831 revelation declared, “but let all things be prepared before you.”
Because church members believed that the gathering was a precursor to Jesus Christ’s return to the earth, the designation of the site for the and the beginning of the gathering heightened the millenarian feeling in the church. As an 1832 editorial in The Evening and the Morning Star explained, the gospel would be preached to all nations, the “elect” (including the American Indians) would be gathered to “the lands of their fathers’ inheritance” in either Zion or Jerusalem, and after all other “necessary preparation” was made, the Saints would “meet the Savior at his second coming” and he would “dwell with them in the millennium reign.” Because the elect needed to be gathered before Christ’s return, Joseph Smith appointed many individuals to proclaim the gospel and invite people to gather with the Saints. Some were called to preach near their homes, others in the eastern or southern . Most of these missionaries went out in pairs, following an injunction in a February 1831 revelation that those preaching should travel “two by two.”
Revelations emphasized the millenarian impetus for proclaiming the gospel. Some, dictated in 1830 and 1831, had depicted apocalyptic events; a series of revelations dictated from September 1832 to January 1833 contained specific details about the devastation that God would soon wreak on the world, the need for its inhabitants to repent of their wickedness, and the obligation that elders in the church had to warn the world of its impending doom. Because events like the 1832 cholera outbreak seemed to indicate to Joseph Smith and other religious believers that God was already unleashing his judgments, Smith took seriously the directive to warn the world. In January 1833, he wrote a letter to , editor of the American Revivalist, and Rochester Observer, for publication in that paper. Smith’s letter included a warning “that not many years shall pass away before the shall present such a scene of bloodshed as has not a parallel in the hystory of our nation.” The letter also contained a call to repentance: “Repent ye Repent, ye and imbrace the and flee to Zion before the overflowing scourge overtake you.” Later that month, at which several and elders received instruction on both spiritual and secular topics, preparing them to “go forth among the gentiles, for the last time” in preparation for Christ’s return.
In a further effort to make God’s word available to the church and the world, Joseph Smith and other elders decided in fall 1831 to publish some of the revelations Smith had dictated to that point as a compilation titled the Book of Commandments. Prior to this time, the revelations had not been widely disseminated, and some even contained language expressly forbidding their own distribution until further notice. The decision to publish the revelations therefore represented a shift for the church; as one revelation declared, “in the day that they were given,” the were “to be kept from the world,” but now they were “to go forth unto all flesh.” Some participants in the conference later remembered hours of discussion and even some contention before “it was finally decided to have them printed.” The revelations would be published by the church’s printing works, which was setting up in . Although the Book of Commandments was not printed during the period of this volume, Phelps began publishing a number of the revelations in The Evening and the Morning Star in June 1832, while they were being edited for the forthcoming book. This volume of The Joseph Smith Papers, which produces the earliest extant versions of the revelations, considers the editorial changes made during the publication process as redactions and omits them from the featured transcripts.
As the church grew, a November 1831 revelation directed church historian “to continue in writing & makeing a history of all the important things which he shall observe & know.” By so doing, the church would be able to inform “the rising generations which shall grow up on the Land of Zion” of its doings. Joseph Smith also instructed Whitmer to keep a Book of the Law of God, in which Whitmer was to record the names of those who had consecrated their property and received an inheritance in Zion. Other leaders kept records as well. After Whitmer and took a manuscript book of revelations to in November 1831, Joseph Smith and began recording revelations in a new book in . Likewise, Williams started a book of minutes of meetings in Ohio in fall 1832. Joseph Smith himself began a personal history around summer 1832, started a journal in November 1832, and began keeping a letterbook of his correspondence about that same time.
As missionary efforts brought in more converts and the settling of the Saints in established a large community of church members outside , it became necessary to expand and formalize the leadership structure of the church. At the in April 1830, the only established, formal leadership positions were first and second elders, positions held by Joseph Smith and , respectively. The office of was instituted by a February 1831 revelation directing that receive this appointment. After a September 1831 revelation affirmed that some Saints would remain in , a December 1831 revelation appointed a bishop for Ohio. The responsibility of a bishop was to serve as a “Judge in Israel” while also supervising the church’s temporal concerns. A revelation giving “the Laws of the Church” declared that church members were to “conscrate all [their] properties” to God. The bishop then apportioned each family a “”—usually land—to provide for its needs. Whatever property or money remained would be placed in a “” in order “to administer to him that hath not.” Partridge supervised the by members; oversaw the purchase of lands in ; and distributed , or parcels of land, to heads of household. Whitney’s responsibilities, meanwhile, consisted mainly of overseeing the storehouse in Kirtland (operated from his dry goods store) and ensuring that the elders and the poor in that area were not in want. He also provided recommends for those departing Ohio for Missouri, certifying to Partridge that the individuals were worthy to receive inheritances.
According to a September 1832 revelation, the offices of bishop and elder were appendages to the greater priesthood, or . Men had first been to the high priesthood at a June 1831 conference. Some equated this ordination with an “” of power that provided them with the same power and authority of the “ancient apostles.” Thereafter, the term high priesthood referred either to the authority or power of the greater priesthood or to the office of high priest within that priesthood. By the end of 1831, many elders in the church had been ordained high priests, though the term elders was still sometimes used to refer to church leaders generally, even those holding the offices of high priest or bishop. The September 1832 revelation also explained that the offices of and were appendages to the . The lesser priesthood could refer either to the specific authority of that priesthood or to the office of priest. According to this revelation, high priests, elders, and priests were to travel and preach, bishops were to provide for the needs of the poor, and teachers and deacons were “to watch over the church.”
A November 1831 revelation directed that presidents be appointed over those holding the various priesthood offices in the church. Most male members held offices—deacon, teacher, priest, elder, or high priest—and now these officers would come under the direction of one of these presidents. At the summit of this structure, the would oversee “the administring of ordinances & blessings upon the Church by the Laying on of the hands” while also presiding “over all the Concerns of the church.” Designated as one “like unto Moses,” the president would act as “a a revelator a translator & a prophet having all the gifts of God which he bestoweth upon the head of the chu[r]ch.” In January 1832, Joseph Smith was ordained president of the high priesthood at a conference held in , and he was acknowledged in this position in a conference held in April 1832 in . , who steadily assumed a more prominent position in church leadership after his conversion in November 1830, received an appointment as counselor to Smith in March 1832, along with . Smith’s counselors assisted him with clerical work, and they were sometimes referred to as scribes as well as counselors.
Alongside this solidifying structure of ecclesiastical authority, conferences of elders and high priests continued to provide much of the church’s governing direction. According to the church’s founding “Articles and Covenants,” the elders were to meet every three months to transact the church’s business in gatherings known as general conferences. In addition to these quarterly general conferences, elders and high priests convened frequently in “special,” or ad hoc, conferences to deal with various questions. These included disciplining church members, assigning elders to travel and preach, ordaining men to offices in the church, and establishing administrative structures. Using conferences as a governing body was similar to the practice of several Protestant denominations at the time. Methodists, for example, held quarterly conferences to conduct financial and administrative business, as well as to receive spiritual instruction and to commune with each other. Conferences served comparable purposes during 1831 and 1832 among followers of Joseph Smith.
As the church’s ecclesiastical structure began to be fleshed out, revelations also provided for the organization of the church’s financial affairs. To this end, a revelation in spring 1832 commanded that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. Joseph Smith, , , , , and —a group later known as the —had been assigned in November 1831 to supervise and manage the publication of Joseph Smith’s revelations (including the Book of Commandments), while and continued to be responsible for the operation of the church’s storehouses. According to an April 1832 revelation, these various duties, or “stewardships,” were to be managed by a new entity called the —a group of nine high priests (the six members of the Literary Firm and Gilbert, Whitney, and ) instructed to “be bound together by a bond & Covennant.” This coordination of stewardships was apparently instituted not only to achieve greater efficiency in management but also so that the mercantile and publishing endeavors could provide financial support to the men managing them. As an April 1832 revelation declared, every man in the United Firm would have “equal claims on the properties” of the enterprises, “according to his wants & his needs.” Whatever surplus remained would be provided to “the Lords Storehouse to become the common property of the whole Churc[h].”
Some church leaders, including , , and church printer , relocated to during this period. and Independence were nearly nine hundred travel miles apart, which precluded frequent visits, and communication by post took three to four weeks. Coordinating between the two centers was therefore complex, and misunderstandings developed. Some of these difficulties grew out of concerns about the new leadership structures that Smith had established, including his appointment as president of the high priesthood. Seeing such developments as an attempt by Smith to centralize power in himself, some elders in objected, claiming that Joseph Smith was “seeking after Monarchal power and authority.” He flatly denied such accusations, stating in one letter that the charges “were absolutely false & could not come from any other sourse than the fath[e]r of all lies.” He further believed that some of the Missouri leaders lacked the necessary motivation and initiative to establish the . Several revelations cautioned those in against being indolent, for, as a letter to Missouri church leaders declared, the Saints “ha[d] not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness.”
Joseph Smith wrote several letters during this period to those in , chastising them for their conduct, expressing love when they showed remorse, then reprimanding them again when they appeared renewedly idle or rebellious. He was especially concerned after traveling to in spring 1832. He had resolved some outstanding differences between and during the trip—leaving “the hearts of all run[ning] together in love”—but when he arrived back in and read letters from some of the Missouri elders, it was clear that concerns persisted. By late 1832, revelations were proclaiming that Zion was in danger of losing its favored status with God. Even a December 1832 commandment to build a temple in could be seen as an indication that the special status of Zion was waning— perhaps eclipsed in part by Kirtland.
The concerns of the leaders were not, however, the only criticisms Joseph Smith had to contend with during this period. One of his most visible critics was former church member , who published a series of nine disparaging letters in fall 1831 in the Ohio Star, a newspaper in Ravenna, Ohio. Charging that “never was there a despot more jealous of his prerogatives than Smith,” Booth called for those who had fallen under the “Mormonite” delusion to awake to their senses and break free. According to a later Joseph Smith history, Booth’s charges “excited feelings” in the region. A revelation in December 1831 directed Smith and to preach “in the regions round about” to counteract the influence of the church’s “enemies.”
Additional barbs followed. An article that attacked the Book of Mormon and was originally written in February 1831 by of the reformed Baptist movement was republished in booklet form in 1832. “Every age of the world has produced impostors and delusions,” Campbell declared, and the Book of Mormon was only “the most recent and the most impudent delusion which has appeared in our time.” , editor of the Painesville Telegraph, also attacked Joseph Smith in his newspaper, calling Mormonism a “strange delusion and imposition” and ridiculing those who were migrating to the “land of promise” in . In the face of such harassment, Joseph Smith lamented in a letter to that “there is no confidence to be placed in . . . man” and that “the spirit of man is as cold as the northern blast.”
The verbal ridicule escalated to physical violence in March 1832. On the night of 24–25 March, a group of men—including former church members such as —broke into the and Alice (Elsa) Jacobs Johnson home in , Ohio, where Joseph Smith and his family were staying, and seized Smith. The mob carried him to a nearby meadow where they tore off his clothes and scratched his body “like a mad cat.” They then attempted to force aqua fortis (a highly corrosive solution of nitric acid in water) into his mouth and finally tarred and feathered him. At the same time, another group yanked from his bed and dragged him across the frozen ground, seriously injuring his head, before tarring and feathering him. The attackers left the door to the Johnson home open after breaking in, which exposed Smith’s adopted infant son, , to the cold night air. The baby was sick with the measles at the time, and Smith believed that the exposure contributed to his son’s death just a few days later.
The attack on his person and the death of his child caused Joseph Smith to feel considerable anxiety for his family’s safety and well-being. Frequent absences from his family exacerbated such concerns. His duties as head of the church required two separate trips to between June 1831 and July 1832, as well as travel to other locations to preach and provide direction to the Saints. Such journeys meant that Smith was separated from his family for at least six of the nineteen months covered by this volume. While Joseph Smith was on these journeys, his letters to his wife expressed his concern for her and for their children. Delayed in returning to after a trip to Missouri that closely followed the assault in , Smith wrote to Emma of his longing to be with her and with their adopted daughter, (twin sister of , the infant boy who had died), and of his sadness at not receiving any letters from home. Complaints from Missouri elders about his alleged thirst for power frustrated Smith, in part because his trip to Missouri—taken, in his view, to bolster the Saints there—required leaving his family in the care of others, a situation that left Emma “very disconsolate.” Later in 1832, he left Ohio again—this time when Emma was in the advanced stages of pregnancy—and accompanied on a mission to and other eastern cities. A lone surviving letter from this trip again reveals Joseph Smith’s deep concern for his wife and family.
These two letters to are remarkable not only for illuminating Smith’s character but also because they are the only extant holograph Joseph Smith letters from July 1831 to January 1833, the period covered in this volume. In fact, few of the documents featured in this volume are in Smith’s own handwriting. More than once, he described his “inability in convaying my ideas in writing.” He was more comfortable relying on scribes and clerks to record revelations, minutes, and correspondence. Although Joseph Smith did pen some of his own letters, he seems never to have committed a revelation to paper himself. Instead, Smith dictated revelations to scribes, though he later copied some of the inscriptions into record books. These scribes were generally close associates of Joseph Smith, and some became trusted advisers. and , his two most prolific scribes in this period, both eventually became counselors to Smith in the presidency of the high priesthood. Their scribal work included helping with Joseph Smith’s “new translation” of the Bible—a project on which Smith had been working since 1830 and which he perceived as an inspired process of revising, clarifying, and augmenting the text of the Bible. For much of the time between July 1831 and January 1833, Smith focused on this project, which eventually resulted in changes to the wording of approximately three thousand verses of the King James Version and added hundreds of details not found in the Bible. Smith’s revision of the Bible also raised doctrinal questions that were answered with additional revelations.
Indeed, from July 1831 through January 1833, Joseph Smith dictated over forty revelations with content that ranged from eschatological and millenarian to doctrinal and didactic to corrective and procedural. Spoken in the voice of Deity, these written pronouncements were accepted by Smith’s followers as the word of God, and church members responded to God’s commands and directives, even at great personal sacrifice. According to one revelation, God gave revelations to his servants “in their weakness after the manner of their Language.” Philip Barlow has written that Joseph Smith lived in “a society deeply immersed in the images and language of scripture,” especially that of the King James Version of the Bible. As such, Smith dictated revelations saturated with biblical syntax and language. “When recording the impressions of his revelations,” Barlow notes, “he naturally fell into the language accessible to him.” The doctrines in the revelations also reflected important biblical themes, such as the gathering of Israel, apocalyptic events preceding Jesus Christ’s second advent, the peaceful millennium that would follow, and the priesthood held by Moses and Aaron—all topics discussed in books such as Exodus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Revelation.
Revelations were prompted by a variety of circumstances; some resulted from specific questions posed by Joseph Smith, his close associates, or his followers. As with other documents, most of the revelation texts presented here are transcribed from copies, not from the original manuscripts. The revelations presented in this volume come primarily from three sources: a manuscript book of revelations that began keeping in and then took to in late 1831 (the Book of Commandments and Revelations, or Revelation Book 1); a manuscript book of revelations and Joseph Smith began keeping in Ohio in 1832 (the Revelation Book, or Revelation Book 2); and copies provided to , who was appointed bishop to the church in Ohio in December 1831. A few transcripts also come from copies of revelations made by individual church members.
Over a quarter of the documents in this volume are minutes of meetings at which Joseph Smith presided or participated. These minutes are drawn largely from two volumes: Minute Book 1, which was begun by late in 1832 as a record of meetings occurring in , and Minute Book 2, a compilation of minutes of meetings held in Ohio, , and other locations. These minutes cover conferences and councils held by elders and high priests. Although they do not contain a comprehensive record of all that occurred at these meetings, the minutes provide a glimpse into church governance and policy making in this early period.
Most of the revelations, minutes, and other texts in this volume were created in three locations: , Jackson County, Missouri, the “centre place” of Zion; , Ohio, where Smith and his family lived from September 1831 to September 1832; and , Ohio, where the body of the church had moved in the winter and early spring of 1831 and where Joseph Smith and his family resided from September 1832 to January 1838. In Hiram, they stayed in the home of and Alice Johnson. While there, he worked in an upstairs room in the southeastern corner of the house, and many, if not most, of the Hiram texts originated in that room. Many of the Kirtland documents featured herein originated in two upstairs rooms—the “translating room” and the “council room”—in ’s . Additional texts were created in other locations to which Joseph Smith traveled, such as the in ; “Porter’s public house” in , Indiana; and the home of and Margaret Kelsey Lewis in , Missouri.
The revelations, letters, minutes, and other documents that chronicle Joseph Smith’s life from July 1831 through January 1833 show a man presiding over an organization in flux. The young church was evolving rapidly, largely in response to the commandment to build up a new Zion community in and to gather the elect there. This attempt to establish Zion led to increased efforts to preach and publish the word of God and to changes in leadership structure while also generating interpersonal strife and external persecutions. This volume depicts Joseph Smith’s struggle to lead his people amid the opposition and the challenges inherent in guiding a growing and geographically expansive organization—an organization that, by 1833, contained over a thousand members in Missouri and hundreds more in , , Indiana, , , , , New Hampshire, , , and . “I will procede to unfold to you some of the feelings of my heart,” Smith wrote to one of his colleagues in November 1832. The documents that follow capture some of those feelings and provide insights into Joseph Smith and into the religious movement flourishing around him.
  1. 1

    Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1–2].  

  2. 2

    A June 1831 revelation had directed Joseph Smith and over two dozen other elders to go to Missouri, in part to learn by revelation the location of “the land of [their] inheritance.” (Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:5].)  

  3. 3

    Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:1–3].  

  4. 4

    Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:3, 11, 15]; Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:21].  

  5. 5

    Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 497, 501, 566 [3 Nephi 20:22; 21:22–25; Ether 13:3–6].  

  6. 6

    Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22–23]; Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:35–36].  

  7. 7

    Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:66–71]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 501 [3 Nephi 21:22–24].  

  8. 8

    Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:9].  

  9. 9

    Revelation, Sept. 1830–D [D&C 30:5–8]; Revelation, Oct. 1830–A [D&C 32:1–3]; Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.  

  10. 10

    Prucha, Great Father, 68–75, 90–92, 243–248.  

    Prucha, Francis Paul. The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians. 2 vols. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1984.

  11. 11

    “The Indians,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Dec. 1832, [6].  

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

  12. 12

    Richard W. Cummins, Delaware and Shawnee Agency, to William Clark, [St. Louis, MO], 15 Feb. 1831, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency, Records, vol. 6, pp. 113–114; Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831.  

    U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency. Records, 1807–1855. Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Also available at kansasmemory.org.

  13. 13

    Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57]. The wording of the September 1830 revelation that declared Zion would be “among the Lamanites” was later changed—probably in late 1831—to “it shall be on the borders by the Lamanites.” Ezra Booth, a former member of the church who was highly critical of Joseph Smith, declared in a December 1831 letter, “As a City and a Temple must be built, as every avenue leading to the Indians was closed against the Mormonites, it was thought that they should be built among the Gentiles, which is in direct opposition to the original plan.” The 20 July 1831 revelation, however, contained instructions for connecting the Saints in western Missouri with the Indians across the border. (Revelation, Sept. 1830–B, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 40–41 [D&C 28:9]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 8 Dec. 1831, [1].)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  14. 14

    Wetmore, Gazetteer of the State of Missouri, 97.  

    Wetmore, Alphonso, comp. Gazetteer of the State of Missouri. With a Map of the State, from the Office of the Surveyor-General, Including the Latest Additions and Surveys . . . . St. Louis: C. Keemle, 1837.

  15. 15

    Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VI,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 17 Nov. 1831, [3].  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  16. 16

    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.

  17. 17

    Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:56].  

  18. 18

    Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:41].  

  19. 19

    The day after a revelation gave Joseph Smith authority to determine who should migrate to Missouri, another revelation directed that John Burk, David Elliott, and Erastus Babbitt should “Journey this fall to the land of Zion.” A few months later, Reynolds Cahoon appeared before a conference of elders to receive direction on whether to go or stay. (Revelation, 31 Aug. 1831; Minutes, 11 Nov. 1831.)  

  20. 20

    Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832; see also Revelation, 31 Aug. 1831.  

  21. 21

    Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:6, 8–10]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:35–36]; Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832.  

  22. 22

    Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:55–56]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–C [D&C 72:24–26]; “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.

  23. 23

    Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:15].  

  24. 24

    For more information on the millenarian beliefs of early church members, see Underwood, Millenarian World of Early Mormonism, chaps. 1–2.  

    Underwood, Grant. The Millenarian World of Early Mormonism. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993.

  25. 25

    “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.

  26. 26

    Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:6].  

  27. 27

    See, for example, Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29]; Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45]; Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84]; Revelation, 6 Dec. 1832 [D&C 86]; Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87]; and Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126].  

  28. 28

    For example, as cholera made its way to New York City, “the faithful gathered in scores of churches, praying and fasting that the Lord might temper his judgment.” (Rosenberg, Cholera Years, 25.)  

    Rosenberg, Charles E. The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

  29. 29

    Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.  

  30. 30

    Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:84].  

  31. 31

    See, for example, Revelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:21]; Revelation, ca. 7 Mar. 1831 [D&C 45:72]; and Visions of Moses, June 1830 [Moses 1:42].  

  32. 32

    Revelation, 3 Nov. 1831 [D&C 133:60].  

  33. 33

    William E. McLellin, “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878,” John L. Traughber Papers, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; see also Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 54–55.  

    McLellin, Wiliam E. “From a Letter Dated Dec. 14th, 1878.” John L. Traughber Papers. J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

    Whitmer, David. An Address to All Believers in Christ. Richmond, MO: By the author, 1887.

  34. 34

    Minutes, 1–2 Nov. 1831; JS History, vol. A-1, 166.  

  35. 35

    Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 69:3, 8].  

  36. 36

    Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832; see also Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, [Liberty, MO], 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 14–15.  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

  37. 37

    Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 2; Minute Book 1; JS History, ca. Summer 1832; JS, Journal, 1832–1834; JS Letterbook 1.  

  38. 38

    Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:1–3]; Revelation, 6 Apr. 1830 [D&C 21:10–11].  

  39. 39

    Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; see also Organizational Charts. Before Sidney Rigdon’s conversion to Mormonism in late 1830, he served as a bishop in Alexander Campbell’s reformed Baptist movement. Campbell and his followers sometimes called the office “overseer” because the person holding the office had responsibility to look after “a flock.” (“Extracts of Letters,” Christian Baptist, 2 June 1828, 452; Campbell, “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things,” 585–586.)  

    Christian Baptist. Bethany, VA. 1823–1830.

    Campbell, Alexander. “A Restoration of the Ancient Order of Things, No. XXXII, Official Names and Titles.” Christian Observer 7, no. 2 (7 Sept. 1829): 585–586.

  40. 40

    Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831 [D&C 64:21–22]; Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 72:2, 8].  

  41. 41

    Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:68–72, 74].  

  42. 42

    Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–34]. For an overview of how consecration operated in the church from 1831 to 1833, see Cook, Law of Consecration, 5–28.  

    Cook, Lyndon W. Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration. Provo, UT: Grandin Book, 1985.

  43. 43

    Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–33]; Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:3]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:7]; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, in Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.  

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

  44. 44

    Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:10–11, 16–17]. Before his appointment as bishop, Whitney was an agent to the church in Ohio, a counterpart to Sidney Gilbert in Missouri, who was appointed an agent in June 1831 and directed to settle in Missouri in July. As agent, Gilbert was to help Partridge with land purchases and, along with Whitney in Kirtland, to raise money for such purchases. (Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:42–46]; Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:6, 8–10].)  

  45. 45

    Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:29].  

  46. 46

    Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Corrill, Brief History, 18; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. II,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 20 Oct. 1831, [3].  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  47. 47

    Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Minutes, 8 Nov. 1831.  

  48. 48

    Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84:30, 107, 111–112]. The “Articles and Covenants” also defined the duties of elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:38–59].)  

  49. 49

    Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:59–67]; Revelation, between ca. 8 and ca. 24 Mar. 1832.  

  50. 50

    Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:91–92].  

  51. 51

    “History of Orson Pratt,” 11, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832.  

    Historian’s Office. Histories of the Twelve, 1856–1858, 1861. CHL. CR 100 93.

  52. 52

    Note, 8 Mar. 1832. Gause was excommunicated on 3 December 1832, and he was replaced as counselor by Frederick G. Williams in January 1833. (JS, Journal, 3 Dec. 1832; Revelation, 5 Jan. 1833.)  

  53. 53

    See, for example, Minutes, 22–23 Jan. 1833.  

  54. 54

    Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, p. 56 [D&C 20:61–62]; Minutes, 1 Sept. 1831; Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Minutes, 5 Dec. 1832.  

  55. 55

    Wigger, Taking Heaven by Storm, 89–91; Richey, Early American Methodism, 77–78.  

    Wigger, John H. Taking Heaven by Storm: Methodism and the Rise of Popular Christianity in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

    Richey, Russell E. Early American Methodism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

  56. 56

    Revelation, 1 Mar. 1832 [D&C 78].  

  57. 57

    Revelation, 12 Nov. 1831 [D&C 70:1–3].  

  58. 58

    Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82]. For more information on the United Firm, see Parkin, “Joseph Smith and the United Firm,” 5–66.  

  59. 59

    Revelation, 26 Apr. 1832 [D&C 82:18].  

  60. 60

    Hartley, “Letters and Mail between Kirtland and Independence,” 176, 183–184.  

    Hartley, William G. “Letters and Mail between Kirtland and Independence: A Mormon Postal History, 1831–33.” Journal of Mormon History 35, no. 3 (Summer 2009): 163–189.

  61. 61

    Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.  

  62. 62

    Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.  

  63. 63

    Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.  

  64. 64

    Minutes, 26–27 Apr. 1832; Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832; Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.  

  65. 65

    Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832 [D&C 84]; Minutes, 13–14 Jan. 1833; Revelation, 27–28 Dec. 1832 [D&C 88:1–126]; Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.  

  66. 66

    Booth’s letters are in the following issues of the Ohio Star (Ravenna): 13 Oct. 1831, [3]; 20 Oct. 1831, [3]; 27 Oct. 1831, [3]; 3 Nov. 1831, [3]; 10 Nov. 1831, [3]; 17 Nov. 1831, [3]; 24 Nov. 1831, [1]; 8 Dec. 1831, [1].  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  67. 67

    Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 8 Dec. 1831, [1].  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  68. 68

    JS History, vol. A-1, 179.  

  69. 69

    Revelation, 1 Dec. 1831 [D&C 71:1–2, 7].  

  70. 70

    Alexander Campbell, “Delusions,” Millennial Harbinger, 7 Feb. 1831, 85–96; Campbell, Delusions, 5–6.  

    Millennial Harbinger. Bethany, VA. Jan. 1830–Dec. 1870.

    Campbell, Alexander. Delusions. An Analysis of the Book of Mormon; with an Examination of Its Internal and External Evidences, and a Refutation of Its Pretences to Divine Authority. Boston: Benjamin H. Greene, 1832.

  71. 71

    “Mormonism,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 13 Mar. 1832, [3].  

    Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.

  72. 72

    Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.  

  73. 73

    JS History, vol. A-1, 205–209; General Church Minutes, 6 Apr. 1844.  

    General Church Minutes, 1839–1877. CHL. CR 100 318.

  74. 74

    Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832.  

  75. 75

    JS History, vol. A-1, 209; see also Letter to William W. Phelps, 31 July 1832.  

  76. 76

    JS History, vol. A-1, 240; Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832.  

  77. 77

    Letter to Emma Smith, 6 June 1832; Letter to Noah C. Saxton, 4 Jan. 1833.  

  78. 78

    See Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 6, 46–47.  

    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.

  79. 79

    Jackson, “Joseph Smith and the Bible,” 29.  

    Jackson, Kent P. “Joseph Smith and the Bible.” Scottish Journal of Theology 63, no. 1 (2010): 24–40.

  80. 80

    See, for example, Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76].  

  81. 81

    Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 1:24].  

  82. 82

    Barlow, Mormons and the Bible, 6, 24.  

    Barlow, Philip L. Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

  83. 83

    For more information on the Bible’s influence on Smith’s revelatory language and theology, see Barlow, Mormons and the Bible, 21–26, 62–65; and Jackson, “Joseph Smith and the Bible,” 24–40.  

    Barlow, Philip L. Mormons and the Bible: The Place of the Latter-day Saints in American Religion. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

    Jackson, Kent P. “Joseph Smith and the Bible.” Scottish Journal of Theology 63, no. 1 (2010): 24–40.

  84. 84

    See, for example, Revelation, 29 Oct. 1831 [D&C 66].  

  85. 85

    “Prospects of the Church,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [4].  

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

  86. 86

    Letter to William W. Phelps, 27 Nov. 1832.