Revelation, 11 November 1831–B [D&C 107 (partial)]
Revelation, , OH, 11 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “75 A Revalation given at Hiram Portage Co Nov 11th. 1831,” copied [between 11 and 20 Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 122–123; handwriting of and ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
In , Ohio, on 11 November 1831, JS dictated this revelation—addressed to the church “in the Land of ”—dealing with church administration and the responsibilities of members holding different church offices. The immediate circumstances surrounding the dictation of the revelation are unclear. A of was held in Hiram on that day to discuss ’s question of whether he should migrate to in the spring. During that meeting, read “ concerning the duties of the Elders.” It is possible the revelation was dictated at that time, but the minutes do not specifically refer to it.
Addressing the Saints in , the revelation called for additional administrative positions to be established within the church, including presiding officers for , , , and elders. More generally, it discussed the necessity of appointing additional for the church and designating someone to preside over the entire as . was appointed bishop in less than a month later, JS was designated as president of the high priesthood in January 1832, and at least two presidents were called over the elders in 1832— in Ohio and in Missouri.
This revelation was also part of a continuing unfolding of information about the . The first individuals were to the high priesthood in June 1831, and at a conference held on 25–26 October 1831 in , Cuyahoga County, Ohio, JS and spoke on the responsibilities of those holding (or desiring to hold) that office. JS, for example, explained that the high priesthood had the “power . . . to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” He indicated that “it was the privilege of every Elder present to be ordained to the Highpriesthood.” Both JS and Rigdon emphasized the significance of the high priesthood, and Rigdon chastised some who were ordained at that meeting “because of their indifference to be ordained to that office.” This 11 November revelation also laid out a hierarchical gradation of offices in the church that began with deacon and proceeded upward to the high priesthood—“the greatest of all.”
The revelation discussed disciplinary bodies in the church as well. Prior to this time, the “Laws of the ” directed that those accused of adultery or other transgressions be brought before “two Elders of the Church or more,” with the bishop attending if possible. Conferences of elders sometimes served as disciplinary bodies, though not always with the bishop in attendance. The bishop, however, was designated as “a Judge in Israel” who would “Judge his people by the testimony of the Just.” The 11 November revelation added another level to the disciplinary structure of the church: the president of the high priesthood and his court, or council. Referring to the president of the high priesthood as “like unto Moses,” the revelation declared that he was to officiate in the most important matters of the church. Just as Moses appointed judges to deal with “small matter[s]” and addressed the “great matter[s]” himself, bishops were to act as common judges while the president of the high priesthood and his court would deal with “the most difficult cases of the church.” In addition, the revelation designated the president of the high priesthood as the head of the church and specifically noted that the office of bishop was subordinate to him.
The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. and copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, likely before their departure to on 20 November 1831. A Missouri council discussed this revelation in July 1832, indicating a copy had made it to Missouri and had come to the attention of church leaders at least by that time.
<75> A Revalation given at Portage Co Nov 11th. 1831
To the in the Land of in addition to the respecting Church business verily I say unto you saith the Lord of hosts there must needs be presiding presiding to preside over them who are of the office of an Elder & also over them who are of the office of a Priest & also over them who are of the office of a Teacher in like manner And also the wherefore from Deacon to Teacher & from Teacher to Priest & from Priest to Elder severally as they are appointed, according to the Church Articles & Covenants then cometh the which is the greatest of all wherefore it must needs be that one be appointed of the high Priest hood to preside over the & he shall be called or in o other high words the Presiding high Priest hood over the high Priesthood of the Church from the same cometh the administring of & blessings upon the Church by the wherefore the office of a is not equal unto it for the office of a Bishop is in administering all things temporal things nevertheless a Bishop must be chosen from the high Priesthood that he may be set apart unto the ministering of temporal things having a knowledge of them by the Spirit of truth & also to be a Judge in Israel to do the business of the Church to sit down in Judgement [p. 122]