Revelation, [, OH], 23 Feb. 1831. Featured version, titled “February 23d 1831 the rules and regulations of the Law,” copied May 1831; handwriting of ; three pages; Revelations Collection, CHL.
Each of the two leaves, measuring 7½ × 6½–6¾ inches (19 × 17 cm), has a similar jagged cut on the left edge of the recto. Also running along the left edge of each recto are eight small holes, likely used for sewing the booklet together. Based on comparison of the cuts and tears of the pages, these pages, along with copies of Articles and Covenants, circa April 1830 [D&C 20], and Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72], were part of a notebook of at least sixteen leaves, likely created by . It is unknown when these pages were removed from the notebook.
This revelation was copied on the same manuscript as Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]. The copy may have been made 23 May 1831 or anytime in May 1831. According to a letter filed with the manuscript, this document, with several other manuscript revelations, was donated to the Church Historian’s Office in the early 1960s by a descendant of . The rolled-up papers were discovered by the Rider family in 1958, having presumably been held by the family since Rider obtained them circa 1831.
On 22 February 1831, JS wrote to referencing the “Laws of the ” that JS had dictated 9 February: “We have received the laws of the Kingdom since we came here and the in these parts have received them gladly.” The next day, 23 February, JS and seven elders met to determine “how the of the church of Christ are to act upon the points of the Law,” and the following revelation was recorded. In providing detailed guidance on how to discipline serious transgressors of the moral law, the revelation significantly elaborated on the few lines offered on the subject in the church’s earlier “Articles and Covenants.”
Early members evidently saw the 23 February revelation as building upon the 9 February revelation, also known as “the Law,” by expanding on the guidelines it provided. After this revelation was dictated, “the Law” comprised eight sections in all, five received on 9 February and three on 23 February. Of the earliest extant copies of the Law, only the copy, the version featured here, includes all eight sections; it separates the 9 February revelation from the 23 February revelation by including the date and an introductory heading between the fifth and sixth sections. The version found in Revelation Book 1 includes the first five sections, dictated 9 February, as well as a loose leaf containing only the eighth section, or final paragraph, of the 23 February dictation. Some later published versions also exclude the first two paragraphs of the 23 February revelation, possibly because those sections seem to summarize content found in the first five sections. Textually, only the eighth and final paragraph in this document employs the divine first-person, which is possibly the reason it was the only portion of the 23 February revelation to be copied into Revelation Book 1.
Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67. A manuscript in Sidney Gilbert’s handwriting and one in Zebedee Coltrin’s both include only the first five parts. An early newspaper version includes only the first two parts. A manuscript in Orson Hyde’s hand includes parts two through four as well as parts seven and eight. (Gilbert, Notebook, –; Coltrin, Diary, –; “Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Western Courier [Ravenna, OH], 1 Sept. 1831, ; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, –; see also Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72].)
Gilbert, Algernon Sidney. Notebook of Revelations, 1831–ca. 1833. Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583, box 1, fd. 2.
Coltrin, Zebedee. Diaries, 1832–1834. CHL. MS 1443.
Western Courier. Ravenna, OH. 1826–1833.
Hyde, Orson, and Samuel Smith. Notebook of Revelations and Missionary Memoranda, ca. Oct. 1831–ca. Jan. 1832. Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583, box 1, fd. 2.
and of the and it shall come to pass that if any person among you shall kill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the Laws of the land for remember that he hath no forgiveness and it shall be proven according to the Laws of the land but if any man shall commit Adultery he Shall be tried before two of the Church or more and every word shall be established against him by two witnesses of the Church and not of the world but if there are more than two witnesses it is better but he shall be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses and the Elders shall lay the case before the Church and the Church shall lift up their hands against them that they may be dealt dealt with according to <the> Law and if it can be it is necessary that the is present also and thus ye shall do in all cases which shall come before you and if an man shall rob he shall be delivered up unto the Law and if he shall steal he shall be delivered up unto the Law and if he lie he shall be delivered up unto the Law if he do any manner of iniquity he shall be delivered up unto the Law even that of God and if thy Brother offend thee, thou shalt take him between him and thee alone and if he confess thou shalt be reconciled and if he confess not thou shalt take another with thee and then if he confess not thou Shalt deliver him up unto the Church not to the members but to the Elders and it shall be done in a meeting and that not before the world and if thy Brother offend many he shall be chastened before many and if any one offend openly he shall be rebuked openly that he may be ashamed and if he confess not he Shall be delivered up unto the law, if any shall offend in secret he shall be rebuked in Secret the <that he> may have oportunity to confess in Secret to him whome he [p. ]