A group of church leaders gathered at the unfinished in , Ohio, on 18 October 1835, where JS prophesied that the distress and sickness that had plagued the Saints in would dissipate. During the previous two years, church members in Missouri experienced great trauma and turmoil. After their expulsion from during fall 1833, the Missouri Saints initially struggled to survive in , where most of the refugees settled. Their continued attempts to regain their lands in Jackson County or receive compensation for confiscated property proved unsuccessful.
This revelation came at a time when church leaders renewed their plans to redeem . In June 1834, JS dictated a revelation stating that Zion would be redeemed after men who held the priesthood obtained an endowment of power in the . In a letter written in August, JS announced that 11 September 1836 was “the appointed time for the redemption of Zion.” In August 1835, JS and other church leaders wrote to church members in about the redemption of Zion. They encouraged church members to “cause as little excitement as posible and endure their afflictions patiently until the time appointed.” On 24 September 1835, less than a month before JS dictated this revelation, the high council met at JS’s house in and drew up an “Article of inrollment” to obtain volunteers to go to Missouri in spring 1836.
, who served as church historian at the time, recorded the revelation. He likely copied it into his history in early 1838.
The entry in John Whitmer’s history for 18 October 1835 also notes that several church leaders received blessings from JS that day and that those blessings were recorded in the “Patriarchal blessing Book.” Many church leaders received blessings from JS in late September and early October 1835, but none received blessings on 18 October. It is likely that Whitmer, who did not have access to the Patriarchal Blessing Book when he made the 18 October 1835 entry in his history, mistakenly associated those September and October 1835 blessings with the date of the revelation featured here. (See JS, Journal, 22 Sept. 1835; and Patriarchal Blessings, 1:13–16; for further information about John Whitmer’s history, see Historical Introduction to Whitmer, History.)
Patriarchal Blessings, 1833–. CHL. CR 500 2.
Lord decended upon J. Smith Jr—the and he propheced: saying the L[or]d has showd to me this day by the Spirit of Revelation that the distress, and sickness that has heretofore prevailed among the children of Zion will be mitigated from this time forth. [p. 82]
Cholera broke out in June 1834 among members of the Camp of Israel, killing thirteen camp members and two other Saints in Clay County, but there is no other evidence of unusual or serious illness among church members in Clay County. JS’s journal notes that he had recently attended to his father, Joseph Smith Sr., whose recovery from illness “caused us to marvel at the might power and condesension of our Heavenly Father in answering our prayers in his behalf.” (“Joseph Smith Documents from April 1834 through September 1835;” JS, Journal, 6–11, 13, and 18 Oct. 1835; see also “Mormon War,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 25 July 1834, ; Amasa Lyman, Journal, 1834; Smith, “History of George Albert Smith,” 29–31; Bradley, Zion’s Camp 1834, 207; and Burgess, Autobiography, 3.)
“History of George Albert Smith,” ca. 1857–1858. George Albert Smith, Papers, 1834–1877. CHL. MS 1322, box 1, fd. 1.
Bradley, James L. Zion’s Camp 1834: Prelude to the Civil War. Logan, UT: By the author, 1990.
Burgess, Harrison. Autobiography, ca. 1883. Photocopy. CHL. MS 893. Also available as “Sketch of a Well-Spent Life,” in Labors in the Vineyard, Faith-Promoting Series 12 (Salt Lake City: Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884), 65–74.