Revelation, “Zion” [, MO], 1 Aug. 1831. Featured version, titled “61 Commandment August 1st. 1831,” copied [ca. Sept. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 94–98; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
On 1 August 1831, JS dictated this revelation to the elders of the church who had joined him in western . Just a few days earlier, a revelation had designated , Missouri, as the location at which to build the “.” Upon arriving in Jackson County, however, some of the expressed disappointment with what they found. , , , and had been preaching to white settlers in and the vicinity since they were ejected from Indian Territory west of Missouri by February 1831. Despite their efforts, those arriving in Missouri in July found fewer than ten converts, whereas some had expected a burgeoning community of believers and perhaps a settlement that would soon be able to accommodate the migration of church members. Meanwhile, tension arose between and JS. The revelation of 20 July called Partridge to manage the properties of the church and “see to all things as it shall be appointed” by God’s “Laws,” with the assistance of , who had been appointed “an agent unto the church to buy lands.” According to one observer, Partridge argued with JS about the quality of the land selected for purchase. The disagreement apparently generated hard feelings on both sides. Partridge considered JS abusive, while accused Partridge of “having insulted the Lord’s prophet.”
In the wake of this incident and faced with the daunting prospect of actually building the , JS dictated this 1 August revelation, probably at . After addressing the “unbelief & blindness of heart” of and others, the revelation gave “further directions” for the establishment of , as had been promised in the 20 July revelation. The revelation instructed JS to return to , directed those appointed to build up Zion to take the initiative in moving their families to , and encouraged the elders to look beyond the land’s undeveloped condition and focus on its prophesied glory. The revelation also anticipated a major migration to and provided information about the key roles that the and the would play in regulating that migration by making known “from time to time” the “priveliges of the lands,” or the number of individuals that the church community could accommodate. Conferences of elders were to help control the migration as well, providing counsel on who should move.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant. later copied the version featured here into Revelation Book 1, the revelation book he was keeping in . Several copies were made in addition to Whitmer’s; , for example, indicated in a 5 August letter to his wife that copies of this and other Missouri revelations were to be carried to Ohio by “our brethren” returning from , and Elizabeth Van Benthusen Gilbert later showed a copy to after Hancock arrived in . also had a copy of the revelation, and it is likely that others made personal copies.
, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, denounced JS and the church in his 1834 book Mormonism Unvailed, which published a version of the revelation “as a specimen of the manner in which the Prophet governs and rebukes his dupes.” Howe’s copy differs somewhat from ’s copy in Revelation Book 1: several phrases included in Whitmer’s copy do not appear in Howe’s, suggesting that Howe’s copy may be derived from an earlier text. Howe also dated the revelation 3 August 1831, which differs from Whitmer’s date of 1 August. Whitmer’s copy, however, was inscribed much earlier than Howe’s copy was published, and it is not known when or from whom Howe obtained a copy of the revelation, nor is it known what textual changes may have been made to Howe’s copy, whether intentional or unintentional. Because Howe’s version may have been copied from an earlier text than the Whitmer version, significant differences between the versions are noted in the annotation that follows.
According to Ezra Booth, the arriving elders “expected to find a large Church, which Smith said, was revealed to him in a vision, Oliver had raised up there.” Instead, they found a congregation consisting of only “three or four females.” For Booth, who left the church in fall 1831, this disappointment was difficult to overcome. Apparently, seven people had actually been baptized in Jackson County by this time, including Joshua Lewis and other members of his family. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. V,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 10 Nov. 1831, ; Knight, Reminiscences, 9; Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, .)
Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.
Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 3470.
Whitmer, Peter, Jr. Journal, Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 5873.
Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1832; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 24 Nov. 1831, . In March 1832, Partridge admitted in a conference in Missouri that he had a disagreement with JS sometime prior to “a Conference held on this land at which our brs. Edward & Sidney were present face to face”—most likely the 4 August 1831 conference. “If Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will,” the minutes of this meeting state, “as he is & has always been sorry.” (Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1832.)
Booth, who had become disaffected from the church, quoted a portion of the revelation pertaining to Partridge word for word in a 20 September 1831 letter to Partridge, which indicates that Booth possessed a copy. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, .)
Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.
may lay it to heart & receive that which shall follow behold verily I say unto you for this cause I have sent you that you might be obedient & that your hearts might be prepared to bear testimony of the things which are to come & also that you might be honoured of laying the foundation & of bearing record of the land upon which the of God shall stand & also that a feast of fat things might be prepared for the poor yea a feast of fat things of wine on the lees well refined that the earth may know that the mouths of the Prophets shall not fail yea a supper of the house of the Lord well prepared unto which all nations shall be invited firstly the rich & the learned the wise & the Noble & after that cometh the day of my Power then shall the poor the lame and the blind & the deaf come in unto the marriage of the lamb & partake of the supper of the Lord prepared for the great day to come Behold I the Lord have spoken it & that the testimony might go forth from Zion yea from the mouth of the City of the heritage of God yea for this cause I have Sent you hither & have Selected my Servent & appointed him his mission in this land but if he repent not of his sins which is unbelief & blindness of heart let him take heed lest he fall behold his mission is given unto him & it shall not be given again & whoso standeth in that mission is appointed to be a in Israel like as it was in ancient days to divide the lands of the heritage of God unto his children & to Judge his people by the testimony of the Just & by the assistance of his according to the laws of the kingdom which are given by the Prophets of God for verily I say unto you my laws shall be kept on this land let no man think that he is ruler but let god rule him that Judgeth according to the council of his own will (or in other words) him that councileth or seteth upon the Judgement Seat let no man break the laws of the land for he that keepeth the laws of God hath no need to break the laws of the land Wherefore be subject to the powers that be untill he reigns whose right it is to reign & subdues all enemies under his feet behold the laws which ye have received from my hand are the & in this light ye shall hold them forth behold here is wisdom & now as I spoke concerning my [p. 95]
See 1 Corinthians 10:12. On 5 August 1831, a few days after this revelation was dictated, Partridge wrote a letter to his wife, Lydia, wondering if he would be able to fulfill his station as bishop “to the acceptance of my hevenly father” and asking her to “pray for me that I may not fall.” (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.
In the February 1831 revelation of the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” the elders were told that “these Laws which ye have received are sufficient for both here & in the New Jerusalem.” If the elders “observe[d] all these things,” their reward would be great. (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:65–66].)
See Romans 13:1; and 1 Corinthians 15:25. A January 1831 revelation declared that “in time ye shall have no King nor Ruler for I will be your King & watch over you.” It also affirmed that “ye shall have no laws but my laws for I am your Law giver.” (Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:21–22].)