Revelation, 12 August 1831 [D&C 61]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

given Aug 12th. 1831 on the Bank of the unfolding some mysteries &c &c——
Behold & hearken unto him the voice of him who hath all power who is from everlasting to everlasting even alpha & omega the begining & the end Behold verily thuss saith the lord unto you O ye of my who are assembled upon this spot whose sins are now forgiven you for I the Lord forgiveth sins & am mercyfull unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts but verily I say unto you that it is not needfull for this whole company of mine Elders to be moveing swiftly upon the waters whilst the Inhabitants on either sides are perishing in unbelief nevertheless I suffered it that ye might bear record Behold there are many dangers upon the waters & more especially hereafter for I the Lord have decreed in mine anger many distructions upon the waters yea & especially upon these waters nevertheless all flesh is in mine hand he that is faithfull among you shall not perish by the waters wherefore it is expedient that my servent & <​my servent​> be in haste upon their errand & mission nevertheless I would not suffer that ye should part untill ye you are chastened for all your sins that you might be one that you might not perish in wickedness but now verily I say it [p. 101] Behooveth me that ye should part wherefore let them my servent & take their former company & let them take their Journey in haste that they may fill their mission & through faith they shall overcome & in as much as they are faithfull they shall be preserved & I the Lord will be with them & let the residue take that which is needfull for clothing let my servent take that which is not needfull with them him as you shall agree & now behold for your good I give unto you a concerning these things & I the Lord will reason with you as with men in days of old Behold I the Lord in the begining belessed the waters but in the last days by the mouth of my servent John I cursed the waters wherefore the days will come that no flesh shall be safe upon the waters & it shall be said in days to come that none is able to go up to the upon the waters but he that is upright in heart & as I the Lord in the begining cursed the land even so in the last days have I blessed it in its time for the use of my saints that they may partake the fatness thereof & now I give unto you a commandment & what I say unto one I say unto all that you shall forewarn your brethren concerning these waters that they come not in Journeying on upon them lest their faith fail & they are caught in her snares I the Lord hath decreed & the destroyer rideth upon the face thereof & I revoke not the decree I the Lord was angery with you yesterday but to day mine anger is turned away wherefore let those whom I have spoken that should take their Journey in haste again I say unto you let them take their Journey in haste & it mattereth not unto me after a little if it so be that they fill their mission whether they go by water or by land let this be as it is made known unto them according to their Judgement & now concerning my servents Joseph & let them come not again upon the waters save it be upon the canal while Journeying unto their homes or in other words they shall not come upon upon the waters <​to Journey​> save upon the canal Behold I the Lord have appointed a way for the Journeying of my saints [p. 102] & behold this is the way that after they leave the canal they shall Journey by land in as much as they are commanded to Journey by & go up unto the & they shall do like unto the children of Israel pitching their tents by the way & behold this you shall give unto all your brethren nevertheless unto whom it is given power to command the waters unto him it is given by the spirit to know all his ways wherefore let him do as the spirit of the living God commandeth him whether upon the land or upon the waters as it remaineth with me to do hereafter & unto you it is given the course of the saints or the way for the saints of the camp of the Lord to Journey & again verily I say unto you my Servents Joseph & shall not open their mouths in the congregations of the wicked untill they arrive at & in that place they shall lift up their voices unto god against that People yea unto him whose anger is kindelled against their wickedness a people which is well ripened for distruction & from thence let them Journy for the congregations of their brethren for their labours even now are wanted more abundantly among them then among the congregations of the wicked & now concerning the residue let them Journey & declare the word among the congregations of the wicked inasmuch as it is given & in as much as they do this they shall rid their garments & they shall be spotless before me & let them Journey together or two by two as seemeth them good only let my servent & my Servent with whom I am well pleased be not seperated untill they return to their homes & this for a wise purpose in me & now verily I say unto you & what I say unto one I say unto all be of good cheer little children for I am in your midst & I have not forsaken you & in as much as ye have humbelled yourselves before me the blessings of the kingdom is yours gird up your loins & be watchfull & be sober looking forth for the coming of the Son of man in an hour you think not pray always that you enter not into temptation that you may abide the day of his coming whether in life or in death even So Amen [p. 103]


  1. 1

    John Whitmer assigned this number to the revelation when recording it in Revelation Book 1.  

  2. 2

    This heading likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.  

  3. 3

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 528 [Mormon 5:23].  

  4. 4

    See Psalm 90:2.  

  5. 5

    See Revelation 1:8; 21:6; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 473–474 [3 Nephi 9:18]; Revelation, 7 Dec. 1830 [D&C 35:1]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:1].  

  6. 6

    A later JS history states that ten elders left Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, with JS. These were likely Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Gilbert, William W. Phelps, Reynolds Cahoon, and Samuel Smith (all mentioned in the revelation); Ezra Booth, Frederick G. Williams, and Peter Whitmer Jr. (mentioned in Booth’s account of the journey); and Joseph Coe (Coe reported arriving in Kirtland, Ohio, on 1 September, the same day that Booth arrived). (JS History, vol. A-1, 142; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1]; Joseph Coe, Report, 7 Mar. 1832, Missionary Reports, 1831–1900, CHL.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

  7. 7

    See Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:42].  

  8. 8

    See Old Testament Revision 1, p. 21 [Moses 6:32].  

  9. 9

    A July 1831 revelation instructed Gilbert to establish a store in Independence and appointed Phelps a “Printer unto the Church.” According to a 5–7 August letter from Edward Partridge, Gilbert and Phelps were returning to Ohio “to procure the necessaries for their establishments.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8–11]; Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, [1], Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)  

    Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL. MS 23154.

  10. 10

    See Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:27].  

  11. 11

    Gilbert and Phelps traveled from Kirtland, Ohio, to Missouri in the same group. (JS History, vol. A-1, 126.)  

  12. 12

    For Gilbert and Phelps, this was a reversal of instructions in an 8 August 1831 revelation. That revelation directed the company returning to Ohio to go “speedily” to St. Louis, Missouri, after which JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery were to travel to Cincinnati and the “residue” of the company were to preach, “not in haste.” (Revelation, 8 Aug. 1831 [D&C 60:5–8].)  

  13. 13

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 345 [Alma 44:4].  

  14. 14

    A May 1831 revelation stated that “when a man reasoneth he under[stand]eth of man because he reasoneth as a man even so will I the Lord reason with you that you may understand.” (Revelation, 9 May 1831 [D&C 50:12].)  

  15. 15

    According to the creation account in Genesis, when God separated the land from the water, he called both good. The Bible does not contain an explicit reference to John (presumably John the Revelator) cursing the waters, but John’s vision of the last days included a burning mountain and a great star falling into the waters, causing death and destruction and making the waters “bitter.” (Genesis 1:9–10; Revelation 8:8–11.)  

  16. 16

    According to Genesis 3:17, God cursed the land for Adam’s sake. A revelation dated five days before this 12 August revelation explained that the obedient in Zion would receive the good things of the earth. (Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831 [D&C 59:16–20]; see also Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56:18]; and Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:7–8].)  

  17. 17

    Shortly before leaving to Missouri, JS added “and what I say unto one I say unto all men” to Matthew 24:42 during his revision of the Bible. (New Testament Revision 1, p. 57 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 24:42]; see also Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 66.)  

    New Testament Revision 1 / “A Translation of the New Testament Translated by the Power of God,” 1831. CCLA. Also available in Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 153–228.

    Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

  18. 18

    In the context of this revelation, “destroyer” apparently refers to death. This usage, which appears in the biblical account of the Passover, was present in discourse of Protestant America in the 1830s, in which the “destroyer” was often equated with death or the “Angel of Death.” (See Exodus 12:23; Robinson, Calmet’s Dictionary of the Holy Bible, 61; and “Cleavland Tuesday June 5th,” Scioto Gazette [Chillicothe, OH], 20 June 1832, [1].)  

    Robinson, Edward. Calmet’s Dictionary of the Holy Bible, as Published by the Late Mr. Charles Taylor. . . . Boston: Crocker and Brewster, 1832.

    Scioto Gazette. Chillicothe, OH. 1827–1854.

  19. 19

    See Isaiah 12:1; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 99 [2 Nephi 22:1].  

  20. 20

    A 1 August revelation instructed the elders to “do many things of their own free will.” (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:27].)  

  21. 21

    When JS traveled to Missouri, he took the Ohio and Erie Canal as far as Newark, Ohio, and then traveled west to Dayton, where he took the Miami Canal south to Cincinnati. Although the Ohio and Erie Canal, which was intended to connect Lake Erie with the Ohio River, extended as far south as Chillicothe, Ohio. But the stretch from Chillicothe to the Ohio River at Portsmouth was still under construction, making it necessary to cross by land to Dayton to reach the Miami Canal. On their return journey to Kirtland, JS, Rigdon, and Cowdery did not use the canal system. (William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix [Canandaigua, NY], 7 Sept. 1831, [2]; 1833 Ohio Gazetteer, xxviii–xxix; Woods, Ohio’s Grand Canal, 18–19; see also JS History, vol. A-1, 146.)  

    Ontario Phoenix. Canandaigua, NY. 1828–1832.

    The 1833 Ohio Gazetteer, or, Topographical Dictionary: Being a Continuation of the Work Originally Compiled by the Late John Kilbourn. Revised by a citizen of Columbus. 11th ed. Columbus, OH: Scott and Wright, 1833. Reprint, Knightstown, IN: Bookmark, 1978.

  22. 22

    See Numbers 1:52.  

  23. 23

    Possibly an allusion to those recently ordained to the high priesthood. An addition JS made to Genesis 14 sometime between February and March 1831 as part of his revision of the Bible stated, in reference to the high priesthood, that “every one being ordained after this order and calling should have power by faith to break Mountains to divide the seas to dry up watters to turn them out of their course.” (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 64; Old Testament Revision 1, p. 34 [Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:24].)  

    Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

  24. 24

    That is, the other members of the group returning to Kirtland besides JS, Rigdon, Cowdery, Phelps, and Gilbert.  

  25. 25

    The Three Witnesses to the Book of Mormon affirmed: “we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgement seat of Christ.” The idea that elders bear responsibility for the sins of those they do not warn appears in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. (Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829; see also Ezekiel 3:17–21; 33:7–16; Acts 20:26–27; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 124, 158 [Jacob 1:19; Mosiah 2:27–28].)  

  26. 26

    See Matthew 14:27; John 16:33; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 453 [3 Nephi 1:13].  

  27. 27

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 497 [3 Nephi 20:22]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:5]; and Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49:27].  

  28. 28

    See 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 1 Peter 1:13; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 330 [Alma 37:47]; and Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:19].  

  29. 29

    See Matthew 24:44; Luke 12:40; and Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:20].  

  30. 30

    See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 491 [3 Nephi 18:18]; Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:33]; and Revelation, Sept. 1830–F [D&C 31:12].  

  31. 31

    See Malachi 3:2; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 503 [3 Nephi 24:2]; and Revelation, 7 Dec. 1830 [D&C 35:21].