Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

Given in Missorie Jackson Co July 20th. 1831 giving directions <​to the & ​> how to preceed concerning purchuseing Lands &c. &c.
Hearken Oh ye of my , saith the Lord your God, Who have assembelled yourselves together, according to my commandment in this land which is the land of which is the Land which I, have appointed & consecrated for the . Wherefore, this is the land of promise & the place for the . yea thus saith the Lord your God, If ye will receive wisdom here is wisdom. Behold the place which is now called is the centre place, & the spot for the is lying westward upon a lot which is not far from the . Wherefore it is wisdom that the land should be purchased by the saints & also every tract lying westward even unto the line runing directly betwen Jew & And also every tract bordering by the Prairies in as much as my Deciples are enabled to buy lands. Behold this is wisdom that they may obtain it for an everlasting & let my Servent stand in the office which I have appointed to receive moneys to be an agent unto the church to buy lands in all the regions round about in as much as can be in righteousness, & as wisdom shall direct. And let my servent stand in the office which I have appointed him to [divide] unto the saints their inheritance even as I have commanded & also them whom he has appointed to assist him And again verily I say unto you let my servent plant himself in this place, & establish a that his he may sell goods without frauds that he may obtain money to buy lands for the goods of the Saints & that he may [p. 93] Obtain provisions & whatsoever things the Deciples may need to plant them in their & also let my servents obtain license (behold here is wisdom & whoso readeth let him understand) that he may send goods also unto the even by whom he will as clerks employed in his service & thus the gospel may be preached unto them And again verily I say unto you let my servent also be planted in this place & be established as a Printer unto the Church & lo. if the world receiveth his writings (behold this is wisdom) let him obtain whatsoever he can <​obtain​> in righteousness for the good of the saints. And let my servents assist him even as I have commanded in Whatsoever place I shall appoint unto him to copy & to correct & select &c that all things may be right before me as it shall be proved by the Spirit through him & thus let those of whom I have spoken be planted in the Land of Zion as speedily as can be with their families to do these things even as I have spoken And concerning the let the & the make preperations for thse families which have been commanded to come to this land as soon as posible & plant them in their inheritance & unto the residue of both & members further directions shall be given hereafter even So Amen—— [p. 94]


  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. It is not included in other manuscript copies of the revelation. At some point, Whitmer added “Not to be printed at present” to the copy in Revelation Book 1, and the revelation was not printed until the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. (Revelation Book 1, p. 93; Gilbert, Notebook, [34]; Revelation Book 2, p. 89 [D&C 57]; Doctrine and Covenants 27, 1835 ed.)  

    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.

  3. 3

    A September 1830 revelation announced that Jesus Christ would “gether his People even as a hen gethereth her Chickens under her wings.” It also appointed the elders “to bring to pass the gethering of mine Elect.” (Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:1–2, 7].)  

  4. 4

    See Hebrews 11:9; see also Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 9 [1 Nephi 2:20]. A January 1831 revelation stated that God would lead church members to “a land of promise.” Later that month, Sidney Rigdon was reported to have proclaimed that the “land of promise” extended from Ohio to the Pacific Ocean. (Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:18]; Waterloo, NY, 26 Jan. [1831], Letter to the Editor, Reflector [Palmyra, NY], 1 Feb. 1831, 95; see also Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 110–111.)  

    Reflector. Palmyra, NY. 1821–1831.

    Howe, Eber D. Mormonism Unvailed: Or, A Faithful Account of That Singular Imposition and Delusion, from Its Rise to the Present Time. With Sketches of the Characters of Its Propagators, and a Full Detail of the Manner in Which the Famous Golden Bible Was Brought before the World. To Which Are Added, Inquiries into the Probability That the Historical Part of the Said Bible Was Written by One Solomon Spalding, More Than Twenty Years Ago, and by Him Intended to Have Been Published as a Romance. Painesville, OH: By the author, 1834.

  5. 5

    This courthouse was an almost-completed brick structure built in the center of Independence’s public square. The public square, on which the town of Independence was centered, was situated on the highest point of the gentle-sloped bluffs on the southern side of the Missouri River between the Blue and Little Blue rivers. (Parkin, “Courthouse Mentioned in the Revelation on Zion,” 451–456; U.S. Department of the Interior, Geological Survey Topographic Map: Missouri, Independence, Quadrangle, 7.5 Minute Series, 1996.)  

    Parkin, Max H. “The Courthouse Mentioned in the Revelation on Zion.” BYU Studies 14 (Summer 1974): 451–457.

    U.S. Department of the Interior. Geological Survey Topographic Maps. 7.5 Minute Series. 1996.

  6. 6

    The spot for the temple was on a western promontory of the same bluff as the courthouse but outside the town’s boundaries. Ezra Booth, who arrived in Missouri shortly after JS, wrote that the temple spot was “one half of a mile out of the Town” on “a rise of ground, a short distance south of the road.” The spot was marked at this time during JS’s stay in Missouri, and by the end of the year Bishop Edward Partridge purchased a parcel of land including the spot. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VI,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 17 Nov. 1831, [3]; see also Richard P. Howard, “The Spot for the Temple,” Saints’ Herald, June 1987, 9–10; and Romig, Early Independence, Missouri, 15–18.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

    Saints’ Herald. Independence, MO. 1860–.

    Romig, Ronald E. Early Independence, Missouri: “Mormon” History Tour Guide. Independence, MO: Missouri Mormon Frontier Foundation, 1994.

  7. 7

    This apparently refers to the border between Missouri and land to the west occupied by American Indians. An earlier revelation referred to this boundary as “the borders of the Lamanites.”a Both the Book of Mormon and JS’s revelations sometimes identified the “Lamanites” (the name by which JS and his followers referred to American Indians) as Jews.b The Book of Mormon also refers to those Europeans who would colonize the Americas as “gentiles,” as do some of JS’s revelations.c Prophecies in the Book of Mormon stated that, in the last days, those Gentiles who accepted the “fulness of the gospel” would be “numbered” with the “remnant of Jacob”—believed by the Saints at that time to be the American Indians—and would help them build the New Jerusalem. The Book of Mormon also taught that the New Jerusalem “should be built up upon this land, unto the remnant of the seed of Joseph.”d  

    (aRevelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54:8].bSee, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 117 [2 Nephi 30:4]; and Revelation, ca. Summer 1829 [D&C 19:27].cSee, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 29 [1 Nephi 13:13–19]; and Revelation, June 1829–A [D&C 14:10].dBook of Mormon, 1830 ed., 36, 501, 566 [1 Nephi 15:13; 3 Nephi 21:22–24; Ether 13:6].)
  8. 8

    Likely a reference to the land west of Missouri. Early church member Elizabeth Godkin Marsh reported that those who went with JS to Missouri said that “a little beyond Jackson Co[unty] . . . there is one continued prairies to the rocky and shining Mountain.” Likewise, gazetteers portrayed the Indian lands—especially those bordering Missouri—as “fertile prairie land.” The commandment to purchase additional tracts “bordering by the Prairies” apparently meant to purchase not only a strip of land between the temple lot and the border between Jackson County and the Indian lands but additional land along the border. (Elizabeth Godkin Marsh, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Lewis Abbott and Ann Abbott, East Sudbury, MA, Sept. [1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL; Baldwin and Thomas, New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States, 522; Goodrich, World as It Is, 125.)  

    Abbott Family Collection, 1831–2000. CHL. MS 23457.

    Baldwin, Thomas, and J. Thomas. A New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States; Giving a Full and Comprehensive Review of the Present Condition, Industry, and Resources of the American Confederacy. . . . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co., 1854.

    Goodrich, S. G. The World as It Is, and as It Has Been; or, A Comprehensive Geography and History, Ancient and Modern. New York: J. H. Colton, 1855.

  9. 9

    A June 1831 revelation appointed Gilbert as an agent to the church. (Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4].)  

  10. 10

    Missing text supplied from versions of this revelation in Gilbert, Notebook, [35]; and Revelation Book 2, p. 90. Whitmer also later added “divide” to the manuscript in Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 93.)  

    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.

  11. 11

    See Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:3]; see also Numbers 33:54. Those previously “appointed to assist” Partridge were Isaac Morley and John Corrill, who were “ordained assistants to the Bishop” in a June 1831 conference. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

  12. 12

    A May 1831 revelation directed that an agent be appointed to take money consecrated to the church and “provide food & raiment according to the wants of this people.” (Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51:8].)  

  13. 13

    See Exodus 15:17.  

  14. 14

    Oliver Cowdery and the others appointed to preach the gospel to the American Indians had been ordered off Indian lands; this revelation therefore provided another means for proselytizing. Ezra Booth, who arrived in Missouri just a few days after JS, later explained this provision as follows: “‘the Lord’s store-house,’ is to be furnished with goods suited to the Indian trade, and persons are to obtain license from the government to dispose of them to the Indians in their own territory; at the same time, they are to disseminate the principles of Mormonism among them.” Booth further claimed, “In addition to this, and to co-operate with it, it has been made known by revelation, that it will be pleasing to the Lord, should they form a matrimonial alliance with the Natives; and by this means the Elders, who comply with the thing so pleasing to the Lord, and for which the Lord has promised to bless those who do it abundantly, gain a residence in the Indian territory, independent of the agent.” Three decades later, William W. Phelps also recounted that JS dictated a revelation to this effect. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—Nos. VIII–IX,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 8 Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps to Brigham Young, 12 Aug. 1861, Revelations Collection, CHL.)  

    Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

    Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL. MS 4583.

  15. 15

    A June 1831 revelation instructed Phelps, who had previously worked as a newspaper editor, to “assist my servent Oliver to do the work of Printing & of Selecting & writing Books for Schools in this Church.” (Van Orden, “‘By That Book,’” 208; Revelation, 14 June 1831 [D&C 55:4].)  

    Van Orden, Bruce A. “‘By That Book I Learned the Right Way of God:’ The Conversion of William W. Phelps.” In Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Ohio, edited by Larry C. Porter, Milton V. Backman Jr., and Susan Easton Black, 203–213. Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine, Brigham Young University, 1992.

  16. 16

    Aside from the Partridge, Gilbert, and Phelps families, the only families who had been commanded to migrate to this point were church members originally from Colesville, New York, who had relocated to Ohio. A June 1831 revelation instructed these members to continue to the western Missouri border. (Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54:8].)