Revelation, , OH, to JS and , Feb. 1831. Featured version, titled “46th Commandment Febu. 1831,” copied [between ca. Mar. and June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 70–71; handwriting of ; CHL. Includes redactions. For more complete source information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1.
Shortly after JS and relocated to , Ohio, in early February 1831, a revelation established laws to govern the church. The “first ” declared on that occasion was for the to go two by two “in to the regions westward” to preach the gospel and build up the church. A short time later JS dictated the revelation featured here, which commanded the elders to assemble together so that the Lord could “pour out” his Spirit in preparation for more missionary work. When copied this text into Revelation Book 1, likely during summer 1831, he dated it simply February 1831. JS’s history dates the revelation to the “latter part of February” but likewise provides no specific date. However, JS implied a date prior to 22 February when he apparently alluded to this revelation in a letter to , whom he instructed to “inform the Elders which are there that all of them who can be spared will come here without delay if possable this by Commandment of the Lord.” Similarly, John Whitmer explained in the heading to this document that the revelation was “a call to the Eldrs of this Church &c.,” and he later recorded that “the elders were sent for according to the . . . Revelation.” JS wrote to his brother shortly after the revelation was written and told him that “the work is brakeing forth on the right hand and on the left and there is a great Call for Elders in this place.”
There is some uncertainty as to when the proposed meeting of the elders, the “day that they assemble themselves together,” occurred. Minute Book 2 records a “special meeting of the Elders of the held at Geauga Co. Ohio, April 9. 1831. to do Church business &c.,” but little else is said about the content of that meeting. However, JS’s history explains that this revelation “caused the church to appoint a to be held on the 6th of June ensuing.” The records relating to the June 1831 conference include an extensive list of elders as well as accounts of to the “.” The June conference, rather than the 9 April meeting, is therefore more likely the meeting to which the elders were called to gather.
A Revelation to Joseph & Receivd at Geauga Ohio a call to the of this Church&c &c
Blehold thus saith the Lord unto you my Servents it is expedient in me that the Elders of my Church should be called to gether from the East & from the West & from the North & from the South by letter or some other way & it shall come to pass that I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together & it shall come to pass that they shall go forth unto the regions round about & preach repentance unto this People & many shall be converted insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man that your enemies may be under your feet in all things that ye may be enabled to keep my laws that evry band may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my People Behold I say unto [p. 70]
Ohio’s 1819 Act for the Incorporation of Religious Societies required that “not less than twenty members” meet to elect officers and that they have their new organization legally recorded by the county clerk. Once a religious society became “a body corporate in law,” it could hold “in fee-simple . . . any tract or tracts of land on which to erect such buildings as may be necessary for their religious worship.” No evidence has been found that the church complied with this law. (An Act for the Incorporation of Religious Societies [5 Feb. 1819], Statutes of Ohio, vol. 2, chap. 452, p. 1066, secs. 1–3.)
The Statutes of Ohio and of the Northwestern Territory, Adopted or Enacted from 1788 to 1833 Inclusive: Together with the Ordinance of 1787; the Constitutions of Ohio and of the United States, and Various Public Instruments and Acts of Congress: Illustrated by a Preliminary Sketch of the History of Ohio; Numerous References and Notes, and Copious Indexes. 3 vols. Edited by Salmon P. Chase. Cincinnati: Corey and Fairbank, 1833–1835.