JS, Blessing, to , [, Geauga Co., OH], 22 Sept. 1835. Featured version copied 2 Oct. 1835 in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, pp. 13–14; handwriting of ; CHL. For more complete source information on Patriarchal Blessing Book 1, see the source note for Blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., 9 Dec. 1834.
JS’s journal states that on 22 September 1835, he and labored “in obtaining and writing blessings” for their “most beloved Brotheren.” JS dictated these blessings for church leaders who were then residing in , Ohio: , , and —the presidency of the Missouri —and , a counselor to . However, it is unknown whether the recipients were present for any of these blessings. The blessings were written in the third person, in contrast with blessings given in the second person by and JS to individuals who were present, suggesting that some or all of these four recipients were absent, though all were in Kirtland at this time.
Blessings were the subject of considerable discussion in the days leading up to the recording of these blessings. In the previous weeks, a church council had decided to compensate for his service as a patriarch and to call as his scribe. In addition, the council appointed to record the blessings Smith gave as patriarch, presumably in a leather-bound volume recently purchased for that purpose. Cowdery’s task of recording largely entailed collecting and transcribing the blessings Joseph Smith Sr. had given to his family and other members of the church since his ordination as patriarch in December 1834, but Cowdery also recorded blessings JS had given to him, Williams, and in November and December 1833. The first blessings recorded in the book were those given to JS’s immediate family and those given to Cowdery, Williams, and Rigdon. They are followed by the blessings for church leaders and , , and . This order may reveal a desire to have the blessings of trusted leaders featured at the beginning of the patriarchal blessing book, which may explain why these blessings were given soon after the volume was purchased. No other pressing deadline required the visiting Missouri leaders to obtain blessings immediately, since they all remained in until after March 1836.
’s blessing was the first of the leaders’ blessings recorded in Patriarchal Blessing Book 1. Whitmer was “President of the Church in ,” which may be why his blessing was recorded first, but there is no other indication that JS followed a hierarchical order in giving the blessings or that the order in which the blessings were recorded matches the order in which they were given. Whitmer was in because he had been instructed in June 1834 to travel there to receive “an from on high.” At the time of this blessing, he had been in Kirtland since at least October 1834, and he remained there until after the dedication of the in late March 1836. Whitmer’s blessing highlighted his role as an early and steadfast supporter of JS, reinforced his high standing among church leaders, and promised that he would witness the redemption of and enjoy great blessings thereafter.
recorded the initial dictation of this blessing on 22 September 1835 and entered it into Patriarchal Blessing Book 1 on 2 October 1835.
Blessed of the Lord is , for he truly is a faithful friend to mankind, and he should be beloved by all, because of the integrity of his heart. All his words are as steadfast as the pillars of heaven, because truth is his only meditation, and he delighteth in it, and shall rejoice in it forever. The Lord God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, shall be on his right hand and on his left, and shall go before his face, and shall be his rear ward, and his enemies shall become an easy pray unto him; for behold, he it is, whom the Lord hath appointed to be captain of his host, under the guidance and direction of him who is appointed to say unto the strength of the Lord’s house, Go forth and build up the waste places of Zion. A mighty shaft shall he be in the quiver of the Almighty in bringing about the redemption of , and in avenging the wrongs of the innocent. He shall yet stand upon the land of , from whence he has been driven, and shall find there; and shall be a ruler in Zion until he is old and well stricken [p. 13]
According to John Whitmer, on 24 September 1835, church leaders at Kirtland met to organize the return to Zion. John Whitmer said that meeting participants, “according to a previous commandment given, appointed David Whitm[er] Capt of the Lords host.” JS’s journal for the same date records, “This day drew up an Article of inrollment for the redemton of Zion that we may obtain volenteers to go next Spring to Mo [Missouri].” (Whitmer, History, 81; JS, Journal, 24 Sept. 1835.)