Visions, 21 January 1836 [D&C 137]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction

Document Transcript

The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the of God, and the glory thereof, whether in the body or out I cannot tell,— I saw the transcendant beauty of the gate that enters, through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire, also the blasing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son,— I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold— I saw father Adam, and Abraham and Michael and my and , my brother that has long since slept, and marvled how it was that he had obtained this an inheritance <​in​> this <​that​> kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life, before the Lord <​had​> set his hand to gather Israel <​the second time​> and had not been baptized for the remission of sins— Thus said came the voice <​of the Lord un​>to me saying all who have [p. 136] died with[out] a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it, if they had been permited to tarry, shall be heirs of the of God— also all that shall die henseforth, with<​out​> a knowledge of it, who would have received it, with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom, for I the Lord <​will​> judge all men according to their works according to the desires of their hearts— and again I also beheld the Terrestial kingdom I also beheld that all children who die before they arive to the years of accountability, are saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven— I saw the of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth who hold the of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle much fatiegued, with their clothes tattered and feet swolen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus <​standing​> in their midst, and they did not behold him, he the Saviour looked upon them and wept— I also beheld in the south, standing upon a hill surrounded with a vast multitude, preaching to them, and a lame man standing before him, supported by his crutches, he threw them down at his word, and leaped as an heart [hart] by the mighty power of God
Also standing in a strange land, in the far southwest, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of colour, who, appeared hostile [p. 137] He was preaching to them in their own toung, and the angel of God standing above his head with a drawn sword in his hand protecting him, but he did not see it,— and I finally saw the in the of God,— I also beheld the redemption of , and many things which the toung of man, cannot discribe in full, [p. 138]


  1. 1

    In 1832, JS and Sidney Rigdon recorded a vision describing the celestial realm in terms of “the glory of the sun” and outlining requirements to attain that kingdom. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832 [D&C 76:50–70, 92–96].)  

  2. 2

    See 2 Corinthians 12:1–4.  

  3. 3

    Although Adam and Michael, the archangel, are designated here as separate persons, the previous year JS approved publication of the Doctrine and Covenants, which described them as the same person: “Michael, or Adam, the father of all, the prince of all, the ancient of days.” Likewise, in a 1 January 1834 letter to John Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery wrote that he had “been informed from a proper source that the Angel Michael is no less than our father Adam.” (Doctrine and Covenants 50:2, 1835 ed. [D&C 27:11]; Oliver Cowdery, Kirtland, OH, to John Whitmer, Missouri, 1 Jan. 1834, in Cowdery, Letterbook, 15; see also Richards, “Pocket Companion,” 74–75; and Robert B. Thompson, Sermon Notes, 5 Oct. 1840, JS Collection, CHL.)  

    Cowdery, Oliver. Letterbook, 1833–1838. Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, CA.

    Richards, Willard. “Willard Richards Pocket Companion Written in England,” ca. 1838–1840. Willard Richards, Papers, 1821–1854. CHL. MS 1490, box 2, fd. 6.

    Smith, Joseph. Collection, 1827–1846. CHL. MS 155.

  4. 4

    Born 11 February 1798, JS’s oldest brother, Alvin, died near Palmyra, New York, on 19 November 1823, probably from a deadly dose of calomel administered by a physician, possibly for a ruptured appendix. In August 1842, JS stated concerning Alvin: “He was the oldest, and the noblest of my fathers family. He was one of the noblest of the sons of men. . . . In him there was no guile. He lived without spot from the time he was a child.” Lucy Mack Smith wrote that Alvin “was a youth of singular goodness of disposition Kind and amiable” so that when he died, “lamentation and Mourning filled the whole neighborhood where we lived.” (JS Family Bible; Tunbridge, VT, Town and Vital Records, 1785–1878, vol. A, p. 130, microfilm 28,990, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL; JS History, 1834–1836, 10; Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches, 87–89; JS, Journal, 23 Aug. 1842; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 4, [5].)  

    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.

    U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

    Smith, Lucy Mack. Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations. Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1853.

  5. 5

    See Visions, 3 Apr. 1836 [D&C 110:11].  

  6. 6

    See John 3:3–5; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 508 [3 Nephi 27:19–21].  

  7. 7

    See Romans 1:28–32; 2:10–13.  

  8. 8

    See Revelation, ca. June 1835 [D&C 68:25–28]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 581–582 [Moroni 8:10–14, 22].  

  9. 9

    JS called the Twelve Apostles nearly one year earlier. (Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 14–15 Feb. 1835.)  

  10. 10

    Following biblical precedent, JS designated the Twelve as a “traveling high council,” responsible for “presid[ing] over all the churches of the Saints among the Gentiles, where there is no presidency established.” The Twelve were also to hold “the keys of this ministry—to unlock the door of the kingdom of heaven unto all nations and preach the Gospel unto every creation.” (Minutes and Discourses, 27 Feb. 1835; see also Mark 16:15; and Luke 9:1–2, 6.)  

  11. 11

    In April 1836 McLellin journeyed south and eventually reached Kentucky on a proselytizing mission. (McLellin, Journal, 9 Apr. 1836–7 June 1836; Shipps and Welch, Journals of William E. McLellin, 320–321.)  

    McLellin, William E. Journal, Apr.–June 1836. William E. McLellin, Papers, 1831–1836, 1877–1878. CHL. MS 13538, box 1, fd. 6. Also available as Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, eds., The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836 (Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994).

    Shipps, Jan, and John W. Welch, eds. The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831–1836. Provo, UT: BYU Studies; Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994.