Revelation, , OH, 11 Sept. 1831. Featured version, titled “67 Revelation Kirtland Sept 11th. 1831,” copied [ca. Sept. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 108–111; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
JS dictated a revelation in , Ohio, on 11 September 1831, just a few days after arriving back from , Jackson County, Missouri. Although the trip involved the identification of the site for the and the dedication of land for the construction of a , it generated disappointment and disillusionment for some. Despite high expectations, and his companions had been unsuccessful in their attempts to preach to the American Indians, or “,” west of the Missouri border. Their subsequent efforts among the white population of , Missouri, yielded little success. Disappointment also stemmed from the designation of Independence, a rough frontier village, as the “centre place” for the city of Zion. , one of the called to travel to Missouri in the summer of 1831, also expressed disillusionment with JS himself. Booth complained that he and his companion, , had to walk to Missouri while JS, , and other church leaders traveled by way of stagecoach and canal. Apparently, Booth witnessed a confrontation between and JS over the quality of Missouri land selected for purchase. Booth believed that JS’s conduct in these disagreements was unbecoming a Christian. Rigdon, likely referring to the same incident, placed the blame on Partridge, stating he had “insulted the Lord’s prophet in particular & assumed authority over him in open violation of the Laws of God.” Partridge was later penitent: the same minutes that contain Rigdon’s accusation record Partridge saying that “if Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will, as he is & has always been sorry.” Booth, on the other hand, apparently became more resentful, and a barred him from preaching as an elder in the church on 6 September 1831.
A week later, this 11 September revelation expounded on the necessity of forgiveness and specifically referred to problems involving , , and , indicating that the latter two were forgiven for their sins. It also discussed preparations for the gathering to . The revelation clarified the relationship between and Missouri: a previous revelation had established as the “centre place” at which to build the , and this revelation declared that Kirtland, where the Saints had previously gathered, would remain “a strong hold” for five years. It also indentified what property should be retained in Kirtland. Portraying a bright future for the land of Zion, the revelation offered encouragement to those who remained committed to the mission and leadership of JS.
The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1 probably soon after its dictation, calling it “Directions to the Elders &c &c.” also made a copy, dating the revelation 12 September 1831. Although JS held a conference of elders on 12 September—an appropriate setting for dictating a revelation—all other manuscript copies bear the same 11 September date as the version of the text featured here.
Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 8 Apr. 1831; 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; Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, ; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. V,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 10 Nov. 1831, .
U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Central Superintendency. Records, 1807–1855. Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Also available at kansasmemory.org.
Whitmer, Peter, Jr. Journal, Dec. 1831. CHL. MS 5873.
Of the evil & they shall be forgiven & now verily I say that it is expedient in me that my servent after a few weeks should return upon his business & to his agency in the Land of & that which he hath seen & heard may be made known unto my Deciples that they perish not & for this cause have I spoken these things & again I say unto you that my servent may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear & council wrongfully to your hurt I gave that this farm should be sold I willeth not that my servent should sell his farm for I the Lord willeth to retain a strong hold in the Land of for the space of five years in the which I will not overthrow the wicked that thereby I may save some & after that day I the Lord will not hold any guilty that shall go with open hearts up to the Land of for I the Lord requireth the hearts of the Children of men Behold now it is called to day & verily it is a day of Sacrifice & a day for the of my People for he that is tithed shall not be burned for after to day cometh the burning this is speaking after the manner of the Lord for verily I say tomorrow all the proud & they that do wickedly shall be as stuble & I will burn them up saith the Lord for I am the Lord of hosts & I will not spare any that remaineth in Babylon wherefore if ye believe me ye will labour while it is called to day & it is not meet that my servent & should sell their & their Possessions here for this is not wisdom untill the residue of the which remaineth in this place shall go up unto the Land of behold it is said in my Laws or forbidden to get in debt to thine enemies but Behold it is not said at any time that the Lord should not take when he please & pay as seemeth him good wherefore as ye are agents & ye are on the Lords errand & whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lords business & it is the Lords business to provide for his saints in these last days that they may obtain an in the Land of & Behold I the Lord declare unto you & my words are shure & shall not fail that they shall obtain it but all things must come [p. 110]
Gilbert, who had been appointed an agent to the church in June 1831, was told in a July revelation to “establish a store” in Independence so that he could “obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints & that he may Obtain provisions.” He had returned to Kirtland, Ohio, with William W. Phelps, the designated printer for the church, “to procure the necessaries for their establishments” in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8]; Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4]; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL; see also JS History, vol. A-1, 146.)
Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.
JS and Emma Smith had been living on Morley’s farm since April 1831. A 30 August revelation told Titus Billings, Morley’s brother-in-law (to whom Morley had given power of attorney in June), to “dispose of the land” and send the resulting money “unto the land of Zion unto them whom I have appointed to receive.” Approximately eighty acres of Morley’s land was sold in October 1831 to Richie and Hercules Carrel. (Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 309; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:38–40]; Geauga Co., OH, Deed Records, 1795–1921, vol. 14, pp. 583–584 and vol. 15, pp. 492–494, microfilms 20,235 and 20,236, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Staker, Mark L. Hearken, O Ye People: The Historical Setting of Joseph Smith’s Ohio Revelations. Salt Lake City: Greg Kofford Books, 2009.
The February 1831 revelation known as the “Laws of the Church of Christ” specifically directed the elders to “contract no debts” with “the world.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67 [D&C 42:1–73].)