Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3]
- Source Note
This is the first JS revelation for which a text has survived. According to JS’s history, it was obtained using the after lost the earliest Book of Mormon manuscript. Working in , Pennsylvania, from mid-April to mid-June 1828, JS dictated and Harris wrote what JS later called “the Book of Lehi,” from the gold plates. Facing ongoing opposition from his , Harris pressed JS to “enquire of the Lord through the Urim and Thummin” whether Harris could take the translation to his home in , New York, to “read to his friends that peradventur he might convince them of the truth.” JS’s history said that he “inquired of the Lord and the Lord said unto me that he [Harris] must not take” the manuscript. Dissatisfied with the answer, Harris made a second request, resulting in a similar inquiry and answer. Finally, “after much solicitation” from Harris, JS “again enquired of the Lord, and permission was granted him [Harris] to have the writings on certain conditions,” which included showing them only to specified family members.With the manuscript in hand, left for , apparently on 14 June. On 15 June, gave birth to a who was either stillborn or died shortly after birth. For nearly three weeks JS cared for Emma, who in ’s words felt “to tremble upon the verge of the silent home of her infant.” As Emma began to recover in early July, she encouraged JS to “repair to , for the purpose of learning the cause of Mr. Harris absence, as well as silence.” Shortly after JS arrived at his parents’ home near Palmyra, he learned that Harris had lost the manuscript. Lucy Mack Smith wrote that “sobs and groans . . . filled the house,” with JS “weeping and grieving like a tender infant.” He and his family soon “parted with heavy hearts,” and JS returned to .JS’s history described the historical setting for the revelation: “Immediately after my return home [to ] I was walking out a little distance, when Behold the former heavenly messenger appeared and handed to me the Urim and Thummin again (for it had been taken from me in consequence of my having wearied the Lord in asking for the privilege of letting take the writings which he lost by transgression) and I enquired of the Lord through them and obtained the folowing revelation.” It is not known when or how the text was committed to paper. Although JS may have written it himself, he dictated later revelations to scribes and may have dictated this one to either or her brother Reuben Hale, both of whom served as scribes to JS during this time. The earliest extant version of the revelation, featured here, was copied into Revelation Book 1 by , likely in early 1831.The revelation rebuked JS for allowing to take the manuscript and commanded him to repent before he could resume the translation. According to , the angel told JS that because he “had sinned in that he had delivered the manuscript into the hands of a wicked man . . . he would of necessity suffer the consquence’s of his indiscretion.” However, after losing the plates and the spectacles, JS continued his “suplications to God without cessation” until he “had the joy and satisfaction of again receiving the urim and Thummim.”
U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.
Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian. Montrose, PA. 1831–1836.
JS Family Bible / Joseph Smith Family Bible, ca. 1831–1866. Private possession. Copy of genealogical information in Joseph Smith Sr. Family Reunions Files, 1972–2003. CHL.
Anderson, George Edward. Glass Plate Negative Collection, 1897–1927. CHL. PH 725. A selection of photographs from this collection are available in Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, T. Jeffery Cottle, and Ted D. Stoddard, ed., Church History in Black and White: George Edward Anderson’s Photographic Mission to Latter-day Saint Historical Sites; 1907 Diary, 1907–8 Photographs (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1995).
Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.
Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL. MS 3470.
Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.
Blackman, Emily C. History of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania. From a Period Preceding Its Settlement to Recent Times. . . . Philadelphia: Claxton, Remsen and Haffelfinger, 1873.