Volume 1 Chapter 17
The Apostasy of Ezra Booth—Preparations for Publishing the Book of Commandments.
The Prophet Moves to Hiram.
On the 12th of September, I removed with my family to the township of Hiram, and commenced living with John Johnson. Hiram was in Portage county, and about thirty miles southeasterly from Kirtland. From this time until the forepart of October, I did little more than prepare to re-commence the translation of the Bible. 1
Ezra Booth's Apostasy.
About this time Ezra Booth came out as an apostate. He came into the Church upon seeing a person healed of an infirmity of many years standing. 2 He had been a Methodist priest for some time previous to his embracing the fulness of the Gospel, as developed in the Book of Mormon; and upon his admission into the Church he was ordained an Elder. As will be seen by the foregoing revelations, 3 he went up to Missouri as a companion of Elder Morley; but when he actually learned that faith, humility, patience, and tribulation go before blessing, and that God brings low before He exalts; that instead of the "Savior's granting him power to smite men and make them believe," (as he said he wanted God to do in his own case)—when he found he must become all things to all men, that he might peradventure save some; and that, too, by all diligence, by perils by sea and land, as was the case in the days of Jesus—then he was disappointed. In the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel, 26th verse, it is written: "Verily, verily I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled." So it was with Booth; and when he was disappointed by his own evil heart, be turned away, and, as said before, became an apostate, and wrote a series of letters, 4 which, by their coloring, falsity, and vain calculations to overthrow the work of the Lord, exposed his weakness, wickedness and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame, for the world to wonder at. 5
The Purchase of a Press.
A conference was held in which Brother W. W. Phelps was instructed to stop at Cincinnati on his way to Missouri and purchase a press and type, for the purpose of establishing and publishing a monthly paper at Independence, Jackson county, Missouri, to be called the Evening and Morning Star.
The first Sunday in October, Orson Hyde, 6 a clerk in Brother Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney's store, in Kirtland, was baptized, and became a member of the Church. He was soon after designated as one of the chosen men of the Lord, to bear His word to the nations.
A Prayer Revealed.
In the fore part of October, I received the following prayer through revelation:
1. Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
2. The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth.
3. Yea, a voice crying—Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb, make ready for the Bridegroom.
4. Pray unto the Lord, call upon his holy name, make known his wonderful works among the people.
5. Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.
6. Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen.
Revision of the Bible Renewed.
Soon after the above revelation was received, I renewed my work on the translation of the Scriptures, in company with Elder Rigdon, who had removed to Hiram, to act in his office of scribe to me.
Instructions and Appointments of the Conference of October 11th.
On the 11th of October, a conference was held at Brother Johnson's where I was living, at which the Elders were instructed in the ancient manner of conducting meetings, of which knowledge most of them were ignorant. A committee of six was appointed to instruct the several branches of the Church. Elders David Whitmer and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed as two of the said committee; with the further duty on their mission of setting forth the condition of Brothers Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that they might obtain means to continue the translation. This conference was adjourned till the 25th of October, to meet at the house of Irenus Burnett, in Orange, Cuyahoga county.
Special Conference of October 21st.
On the 21st, I attended a special conference, to settle a difficulty which had occurred in Kirtland, on account of William Cahoon and Peter Devolue, having abused one of Brother Whitney's children. Elder Rigdon and myself were appointed to go to Kirtland and settle the difficulty, which we did.
Conference at Orange, Ohio, October 25th.
At the conference on the 25th, at Orange, twelve High Priests, seventeen Elders, four Priests, three Teachers, and four Deacons, together with a large congregation attended. Much business was done, and the four remaining members of the committee, authorized by the conference at Hiram on the 11th, were appointed, and consisted of Simeon Carter, Orson Hyde, Hyrum Smith, and Emer Harris. 8
At the request of William E. M'Lellin, 9 I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:
Revelation, given October, 1831. 10
1. Behold thus saith the Lord unto my servant William E. M'Lellin—Blessed are you, inasmuch as you have turned away from your iniquities, and have received my truths, saith the Lord your Redeemer, the Savior of the world, even of as many as believe on my name.
2. Verily I say unto you, blessed are you for receiving mine everlasting covenant, even the fulness of my gospel, sent forth unto the children of men, that they might have life and be made partakers of the glories which are to be revealed in the last days, as it was written by the prophets and apostles in days of old.
3. Verily I say unto you, my servant William, that you are clean, but not all; repent, therefore, of those things which are not pleasing in my sight, saith the Lord, for the Lord will show them unto you.
4. And now, verily, I, the Lord, will show unto you what I will concerning you, or what is my will concerning you.
5. Behold, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should proclaim my gospel from land to land, and from city to city, yea, in those regions round about where it has not been proclaimed.
6. Tarry not many days in this place; go not up unto the land of Zion as yet; but inasmuch as you can send, send; otherwise, think not of thy property.
7. Go unto the eastern lands, bear testimony in every place, unto every people and in their synagogues, reasoning with the people.
8. Let my servant Samuel H. Smith go with you, and forsake him not, and give him thine instructions; and he that is faithful shall be made strong in every place; and I, the Lord, will go with you.
9. Lay your hands upon the sick, and they shall recover. Return not till I, the Lord, shall send you. Be patient in affliction. Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10. Seek not to be cumbered. Forsake all unrighteousness. Commit not adultery—a temptation with which thou hast been troubled.
11. Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads.
12. Continue in these things even unto the end, and you shall have a crown of eternal life at the right hand of my Father, who is full of grace and truth.
13. Verily, thus saith the Lord your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ. Amen.
Special Conference November 1st.
I returned from the conference at Orange, to Hiram; and as Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer were to start for Independence, Missouri, a special conference was appointed for the first of November, 11 at which I received the following:
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the voice of him who dwells on high, and whose eyes are upon all men; yea, verily I say: Hearken ye people from afar; and ye that are upon the islands of the sea, listen together.
2. For verily the voice of the Lord is unto all men, and there is none to escape; and there is no eye that shall not see, neither ear that shall not hear, neither heart that shall not be penetrated.
3. And the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow; for their iniquities shall be spoken upon the housetops, and their secret acts shall be revealed.
4. And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days.
5. And they shall go forth and none shall stay them, for I the Lord have commanded them.
6. Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.
7. Wherefore, fear and tremble, O ye people, for what I the Lord have decreed in them shall be fulfilled.
8. And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings unto the inhabitants of the earth, to them is power given to seal both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious;
9. Yea, verily, to seal them up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure—
10. Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellow man.
11. Wherefore the voice of the Lord is unto the ends of the earth, that all that will hear may hear:
12. Prepare ye, prepare ye for that which is to come, for the Lord is nigh;
13. And the anger of the Lord is kindled, and his sword is bathed in heaven, and it shall fall upon the inhabitants of the earth.
14. And the arm of the Lord shall be revealed; and the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people;
15. For they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant;
16. They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own God, whose image is in the likeness of the world, and whose substance is that of an idol, which waxeth old and shall perish in Babylon, even Babylon the great, which shall fall.
17. Wherefore, I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
18. And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world; and all this that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
19. The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
20. But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
21. That faith also might increase in the earth;
22. That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
23. That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
24. Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.
25. And inasmuch as they erred it might be made known;
26. And inasmuch as they sought wisdom they might be instructed;
27. And inasmuch as they sinned they might be chastened, that they might repent;
28. And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high, and receive knowledge from time to time.
29. And after having received the record of the Nephites, yea, even my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., might have power to translate through the mercy of God, by the power of God, the Book of Mormon.
30. And also those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth, with which I, the Lord, am well pleased, speaking unto the church collectively and not individually—
31. For I the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance;
32. Nevertheless, he that repents and does the commandments of the Lord shall be forgiven;
33. And he that repents not, from him shall be taken even the light which he has received; for my Spirit shall not always strive with man, saith the Lord of Hosts.
34. And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth: I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;
35. For I am no respecter of persons, and will that all men shall know that the day speedily cometh; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand, when peace shall be taken from the earth, and the devil shall have power over his own dominion.
36. And also the Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon Idumea, or the world.
37. Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.
38. What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.
39. For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.
Language of Revelations Criticised.
After this revelation was received, some conversation was had concerning revelations and language. I received the following:
Revelation, given November, 1831. 13
1. Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me.
2. Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give.
3. Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.
4. And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you.
5. Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language, this you also know.
6. Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you;
7. Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true;
8. But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true.
9. For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights.
10. And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
11. For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
12. Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
13. Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels, wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected.
14. Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen.
The Folly of William E. M'Lellin.
After the foregoing was received, William E. M'Lellin, as the wisest man, in his own estimation, having more learning than sense, endeavored to write a commandment like unto one of the least of the Lord's, but failed; it was an awful responsibility to write in the name of the Lord. The Elders and all present that witnessed this vain attempt of a man to imitate the language of Jesus Christ, renewed their faith in the fulness of the Gospel, and in the truth of the commandments and revelations which the Lord had given to the Church through my instrumentality; and the Elders signified a willingness to bear testimony of their truth to all the world. Accordingly I received the following:
The testimony of the witnesses to the book of the Lord's commandments, which He gave to His Church through Joseph Smith, Jun., who was appointed by the voice of the Church for this purpose; we therefore feel willing to bear testimony to all the world of mankind, to every creature upon the face of all the earth and upon the islands of the sea, that the Lord has borne record to our souls, through the Holy Ghost, shed forth upon us, that these commandments were given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for all men, and are verily true. We give this testimony unto the world, the Lord being our helper; and it is through the grace of God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to have this privilege of bearing this testimony unto the world, that the children of men may be profited thereby. 14
As the following Elders—Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson, and William E. M'Lellin—were desirous to know the mind of the Lord concerning themselves, I inquired, and received the following:
Revelation, given November, 1831. 15
1. My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the congregations of the wicked, in their synagogues, reasoning with and expounding all scriptures unto them.
2. And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—
3. And this is the ensample unto them, that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
4. And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall he the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.
5. Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants.
6. Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with you and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am, and that I am to come.
7. This is the word of the Lord unto you, my servant Orson Hyde, and also unto my servant Luke Johnson, and unto my servant Lyman Johnson, and unto my servant William E. M'Lellin, and unto all the faithful elders of my church—
8. Go ye into all the world, preach the gospel to every creature, acting in the authority which I have given you, baptizing in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
9. And he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.
10. And he that believeth shall be blest with signs following, even as it is written.
11. And unto you it shall be given to know the signs of the times, and the signs of the coming of the Son of Man;
12. And of as many as the Father shall bear record, to you shall be given power to seal them up unto eternal life. Amen.
13. And now, concerning the items in addition to the covenants and commandments, they are these—
14. There remain hereafter, in the due time of the Lord, other bishops to be set apart unto the church, to minister even according to the first;
15. Wherefore they shall be high priests who are worthy, and they shall be appointed by the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood, except they be literal descendants of Aaron.
16. And if they be literal descendants of Aaron they have a legal right to the bishopric, if they are the firstborn among the sons of Aaron;
17. For the firstborn holds the right of the presidency over this priesthood, and the keys or authority of the same.
18. No man has a legal right to this office, to hold the keys of this priesthood, except he be a literal descendant and the firstborn of Aaron.
19. But, as a high priest of the Melchizedek Priesthood has authority to officiate in all the lesser offices he may officiate in the office of bishop when no literal descendant of Aaron can be found, provided he is called and set apart and ordained unto this power, under the hands of the First Presidency of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
20. And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency, and found worthy, and anointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their priesthood.
21. But, by virtue of the decree concerning their right of the priesthood descending from father to son, they may claim their anointing if at any time they can prove their lineage, or do ascertain it by revelation from the Lord under the hands of the above named Presidency.
22. And again, no bishop or high priest who shall be set apart for this ministry shall be tried or condemned for any crime, save it be before the First Presidency of the church;
23. And inasmuch as he is found guilty before this Presidency, by testimony that cannot be impeached, he shall be condemned;
24. And if he repent he shall be forgiven, according to the covenants and commandments of the church.
25. And again, inasmuch as parents have children in Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized, that teach them not to understand the doctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eight years old, the sin be upon the heads of the parents.
26. For this shall be a law unto the inhabitants of Zion, or in any of her stakes which are organized.
27. And their children shall be baptized for the remission of their sins when eight years old, and receive the laying on of the hands.
28. And they shall also teach their children to pray, and to walk uprightly before the Lord.
29. And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe the Sabbath day to keep it holy.
30. And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.
31. Now I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity but their eyes are full of greediness.
32. These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them; wherefore, let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings unto the land of Zion.
33. And a commandment I give unto them—that he that observeth not his prayers before the Lord in the season thereof, let him be had in remembrance before the judge of my people.
34. These sayings are true and faithful; wherefore, transgress them not, neither take therefrom.
35. Behold, I am Alpha and Omega, and I come quickly. Amen.
Preparation of the Revelations for Publication, Nov. 1st-15th.
It had been decided by the conference that Elder Oliver Cowdery should carry the commandments and revelations to Independence, Missouri, for printing, and that I should arrange and get them in readiness by the time that he left, which was to be by—or, if possible, before—the 15th of the month [November]. At this time there were many things which the Elders desired to know relative to preaching the Gospel to the inhabitants of the earth, and concerning the gathering; and in order to walk by the true light, and be instructed from on high, on the 3rd of November, 1831, I inquired of the Lord and received the following important revelation, which has since been added to the book of Doctrine and Covenants, and called the Appendix:
Revelation, given November 3, 1831. 16
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church, saith the Lord your God, and hear the word of the Lord concerning you—
2. The Lord who shall suddenly come to his temple; the Lord who shall come down upon the world with a curse to judgment; yea, upon all the nations that forget God, and upon all the ungodly among you.
3. For he shall make bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of their God.
4. Wherefore, prepare ye, prepare ye, O my people; sanctify yourselves; gather ye together, O ye people of my church, upon the land of Zion, all you that have not been commanded to tarry.
5. Go ye out from Babylon. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
6. Call your solemn assemblies, and speak often one to another. And let every man call upon the name of the Lord.
7. Yea, verily I say unto you again, the time has come when the voice of the Lord is unto you: Go ye out of Babylon; gather ye out from among the nations, from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
8. Send forth the elders of my church unto the nations which are afar off; unto the islands of the sea; send forth unto foreign lands; call upon all nations, first upon the Gentiles, and then upon the Jews.
9. And behold, and lo, this shall be their cry, and the voice of the Lord unto all people; Go ye forth unto the land of Zion, that the borders of my people may be enlarged, and that her stakes may be strengthened, and that Zion may go forth unto the regions round about.
10. Yea, let the cry go forth among all people: Awake and arise and go forth to meet the Bridegroom; behold and lo, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord.
11. Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.
12. Let them, therefore, who are among the Gentiles, flee unto Zion.
13. And let them who be of Judah flee unto Jerusalem, unto the mountains of the Lord's house.
14. Go ye out from among the nations, even from Babylon, from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon.
15. But verily, thus saith the Lord, let not your flight be in haste, but let all things be prepared before you; and he that goeth, let him not look back lest sudden destruction shall come upon him.
16. Hearken and hear, O ye inhabitants of the earth. Listen, ye elders of my church together, and hear the voice of the Lord; for he calleth upon all men, and he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.
17. For behold, the Lord God hath sent forth the angel crying through the midst of heaven, saying: Prepare ye the way of the Lord, and make his paths straight, for the hour of his coming is nigh—
18. When the Lamb shall stand upon Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand, having his Father's name written on their foreheads.
19. Wherefore, prepare ye for the coming of the Bridegroom; go ye, go ye out to meet him.
20. For behold, he shall stand upon the mount of Olivet, and upon the mighty ocean, even the great deep, and upon the islands of the sea, and upon the land of Zion.
21. And he shall utter his voice out of Zion, and he shall speak from Jerusalem, and his voice shall be heard among all people;
22. And it shall be a voice as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, which shall break down the mountains, and the valleys shall not be found.
23. He shall command the great deep, and it shall be driven back into the north countries, and the islands shall become one land;
24. And the land of Jerusalem and the land of Zion shall be turned back into their own place, and the earth shall be like as it was in the days before it was divided.
25. And the Lord, even the Savior, shall stand in the midst of his people, and shall reign over all flesh.
26. And they who are in the north countries shall come in remembrance before the Lord; and their prophets shall hear his voice, and shall no longer stay themselves; and they shall smite the rocks, and the ice shall flow down at their presence.
27. And an highway shall be cast up in the midst of the great deep.
28. Their enemies shall become a prey unto them.
29. And in the barren deserts there shall come forth pools of living water; and the parched ground shall no longer be a thirsty land.
30. And they shall bring forth their rich treasures unto the children of Ephraim, my servants.
31. And the boundaries of the everlasting hills shall tremble at their presence.
32. And there shall they fall down and be crowned with glory, even in Zion, by the hands of the servants of the Lord, even the children of Ephraim.
33. And they shall be filled with songs of everlasting joy.
34. Behold, this is the blessing of the everlasting God upon the tribes of Israel, and the richer blessing upon the head of Ephraim and his fellows.
35. And they also of the tribe of Judah, after their pain shall be sanctified in holiness before the Lord, to dwell in his presence day and night, forever and ever.
36. And now, verily saith the Lord, that these things might be known among you, O inhabitants of the earth, I have sent forth mine angel flying through the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel, who hath appeared unto some and hath committed it unto man, who shall appear unto many that dwell on the earth.
37. And this gospel shall be preached unto every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.
38. And the servants of God shall go forth, saying with a loud voice: Fear God and give glory to him, for the hour of his judgment is come;
39. And worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters—
40. Calling upon the name of the Lord day and night, saying: O that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence.
41. And it shall be answered upon their heads; for the presence of the Lord shall be as the melting fire that burneth, and as the fire which causeth the waters to boil.
42. O Lord, thou shalt come down to make thy name known to thine adversaries, and all nations shall tremble at thy presence—
43. When thou doest terrible things, things they look not for;
44. Yea, when thou comest down, and the mountains flow down at thy presence, thou shalt meet him who rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, who remembereth thee in thy ways.
45. For since the beginning of the world have not men heard nor perceived by the ear, neither hath any eye seen, O God, besides thee, how great things thou hast prepared for him that waiteth for thee.
46. And it shall be said: Who is this that cometh down from God in heaven with dyed garments; yea, from the regions which are not known, clothed in his glorious apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?
47. And he shall say; I am he who spake in righteousness, mighty to save.
48. And the Lord shall be red in his apparel, and his garments like him that treadeth in the wine-vat.
49. And so great shall be the glory of his presence that the sun shall hide his face in shame, and the moon shall withhold its light, and the stars shall be hurled from their places.
50. And his voice shall be heard: I have trodden the winepress alone, and have brought judgment upon all people; and none were with me;
51. And I have trampled them in my fury, and I did tread upon them in mine anger, and their blood have I sprinkled upon my garments, and stained all my raiment; for this was the day of vengeance which was in my heart.
52. And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever.
53. In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old;
54. Yea, and Enoch also, and they who were with him; the prophets who were before him; and Noah also, and they who were before him; and Moses also, and they who were before him;
55. And from Moses to Elijah, and from Elijah to John, who were with Christ in his resurrection, and the holy apostles, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, shall be in the presence of the Lamb.
56. And the graves of the saints shall be opened; and they shall come forth and stand on the right hand of the Lamb, when he shall stand upon Mount Zion, and upon the holy city, the New Jerusalem; and they shall sing the song of the Lamb, day and night forever and ever.
57. And for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories which were to be revealed, the Lord sent forth the fulness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant, reasoning in plainness and simplicity—
58. To prepare the weak for those things which are coming on the earth, and for the Lord's errand in the day when the weak shall confound the wise, and the little one become a strong nation, and two shall put their tens of thousands to flight.
59. And by the weak things of the earth the Lord shall thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit.
60. And for this cause these commandments were given; they were commanded to be kept from the world in the day that they were given, but now are to go forth unto all flesh—
61. And this according to the mind and will of the Lord, who ruleth over all flesh.
62. And unto him that repenteth and sanctifieth himself before the Lord shall be given eternal life.
63. And upon them that hearken not to the voice of the Lord shall be fulfilled that which was written by the prophet Moses, that they should be cut off from among the people.
64. And also that which was written by the prophet Malachi: For, behold, the day cometh that shall burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.
65. Wherefore, this shall be the answer of the Lord unto them:
66. In that day when I came unto mine own, no man among you received me, and you were driven out.
67. When I called again there was none of you to answer; yet my arm was not shortened at all that I could not redeem, neither my power to deliver.
68. Behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea. I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink, and die for thirst.
69. I clothe the heavens with blackness, and make sackcloth their covering.
70. And this shall ye have of my hand—ye shall lie down in sorrow.
71. Behold, and lo, there are none to deliver you; for ye obeyed not my voice when I called to you out of the heavens; ye believed not my servants, and when they were sent unto you ye received them not.
72. Wherefore, they sealed up the testimony and bound up the law, and ye were delivered over unto darkness.
73. These shall go away into outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
74. Behold the Lord your God hath spoken it. Amen.
Dedication of the Book of Commandments.
The Book of Commandments and Revelations was to be dedicated by prayer to the service of Almighty God by me; and after I had done this, I inquired of the Lord concerning these things, and received the following:
Revelation, given November, 1831. 17
1. Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servant Oliver Cowdery's sake. It is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the moneys which he shall carry unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who will be true and faithful.
2. Wherefore, I, the Lord, will that my servant, John Whitmer, should go with my servant Oliver Cowdery;
3. And also that he shall continue in writing and making a history of all the important things which he shall observe and know concerning my church;
4. And also that he receive counsel and assistance from my servant Oliver Cowdery and others.
5. And also my servants who are abroad in the earth should send forth the accounts of their stewardships to the land of Zion.
6. For the land of Zion shall be a seat and a place to receive and do all these things.
7. Nevertheless, let my servant John Whitmer travel many times from place to place, and from church to church, that he may the more easily obtain knowledge.
8. Preaching and expounding, writing, copying, selecting, and obtaining all things which shall be for the good of the church, and for the rising generations that shall grow up on the land of Zion, to possess it from generation to generation, forever and ever. Amen.
Esteem in which the Conference Held the Book of Commandments and Book of Mormon.
My time was occupied closely in reviewing the commandments and sitting in conference, for nearly two weeks; for from the first to the twelfth of November we held four special conferences. In the last which was held at Brother Johnson's, in Hiram, after deliberate consideration, in consequence of the book of revelations, now to be printed, being the foundation of the Church in these last days, and a benefit to the world, showing that the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom of our Savior are again entrusted to man; and the riches of eternity within the compass of those who are willing to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God—therefore the conference voted that they prize the revelations to be worth to the Church the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally. The great benefits to the world which result from the Book of Mormon and the revelations which the Lord has seen fit in His infinite wisdom to grant unto us for our salvation, and for the salvation of all that will believe, were duly appreciated; 18 and in answer to an inquiry, I received the following:
Revelation, given November, 1831. 19
1. Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my church who are afar off, and hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and also unto my servant Martin Harris, and also unto my servant Oliver Cowdery, and also unto my servant John Whitmer, and also unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, and also unto my servant William W. Phelps, by the way of commandment unto them.
2. For I give unto them a commandment; wherefore hearken and hear, for thus saith the Lord unto them—
3. I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be stewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them;
4. And an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment.
5. Wherefore, I have appointed unto them, and this is their business in the church of God, to manage them and the concerns thereof, yea, the benefits thereof.
6. Wherefore, a commandment I give unto them, that they shall not give these things unto the church, neither unto the world;
7. Nevertheless, inasmuch as they receive more than is needful for their necessities and their wants, it shall be given into my storehouse;
8. And the benefits shall be consecrated unto the inhabitants of Zion, and unto their generations, inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom.
9. Behold, this is what the lord requires of every man in his stewardship, even as I, the Lord, have appointed or shall hereafter appoint unto any man.
10. And behold, none are exempt from this law who belong to the church of the living God;
11. Yea, neither the bishop, neither the agent who keepeth the Lord's storehouse, neither he who is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things.
12. He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is worthy of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;
13. Yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the Spirit.
14. Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.
15. Now, this commandment I give unto my servants for their benefit while they remain, for a manifestation of my blessings upon their heads, and for a reward of their diligence and for their security;
16. For food and for raiment; for an inheritance; for houses and for lands in whatsoever circumstances I, the Lord, shall place them, and whithersoever I, the Lord, shall send them.
17. For they have been faithful over many things, and have done well inasmuch as they have not sinned.
18. Behold, I, the Lord, am merciful and will bless them, and they shall enter into the joy of these things. Even so. Amen.
Chapter 17 - Notes
1. It would be more proper to say "revision of the Bible" than "translation" of it; as the Prophet did not at any time pretend to a knowledge of the ancient languages that would enable him to translate from the Hebrew or the Greek as "translation" is commonly understood. But what he did was to revise the English text of the Bible under the inspiration of God; and that led him not only to give different renderings of various passages, but also to supply missing parts.
2. The miracle here referred to is thus related in Hayden's History of the Disciples (a Campbellite work), pp. 250-1. "Ezra Booth, of Mantua, a Methodist preacher of much more than ordinary culture, and with strong natural abilities, in company with his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and some other citizens of this place [Hiram], visited Smith at his home in Kirtland, in 1831. Mrs. Johnson had been afflicted for some time with a lame arm, and was not at the time of the visit able to lift her hand to her head. The party visited Smith partly out of curiosity, and partly to see for themselves what there might be in the new doctrine. During the interview the conversation turned on the subject of supernatural gifts, such as were conferred in the days of the apostles. Some one said, 'Here is Mrs. Johnson with a lame arm; has God given any power to man now on the earth to cure her?' A few moments later, when the conversation had turned in another direction, Smith rose, and walking across the room, taking Mrs. Johnson by the hand, said in the most solemn and impressive manner: 'Woman, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I command thee to be whole,' and immediately left the room. The company were awe-stricken at the infinite presumption of the man, and the calm assurance with which he spoke. The sudden mental and moral shock—I know not how better to explain the well-attested fact—electrified the rheumatic arm—Mrs. Johnson at once lifted it up with ease, and on her return home the next day she was able to do her washing without difficulty or pain."
4. It is generally supposed that Ezra Booth was the first to turn away from the faith; but this is an error. Others denied the faith before him, but he was the first apostate, I think, to publish anything against the Church. That he was not the first apostate, however, is evident from the fact that John Whitmer in his history makes mention of others turning from the faith even before the journey of the Elders to Missouri was undertaken; whereas Booth did not announce his apostasy until his return from that journey in the month of September. Writing of a time previous to the assembling of the conference of June 3rd-6th, 1831, John Whitmer remarks: "About these days the disciples arrived from the state of New York to this place, Kirtland, Ohio. They had some difficulty between themselves because of some that did not continue faithful—who denied the truth and turned to fables." (Ch. 8.) Again in chapter 8 he says: "After some of the Elders had left [i. e., for Missouri], and the time for Joseph Smith, Jun., and others to leave [had come]—some of those who had been commanded to take their journey speedily, had denied the faith and turned from the truth." And still speaking of a time previous to the apostasy of Booth, and before detailing the events which happened on the land of Zion among the Elders who went there, he says: "There was much trouble and unbelief among those who called themselves disciples of Christ; some apostatized and became enemies to the cause of God, and persecuted the Saints." (Chapter 9.) All this was before Booth's apostasy. In the minutes of a conference held on the 6th of September, 1831, and signed by Oliver Cowdery, it is recorded: "Upon testimony satisfactory to this conference, it was voted that Ezra Booth be silenced from preaching as an Elder in this Church."
5. The series of letters referred to in the text above were nine in number, and first appeared in the Ohio Star, published at Ravenna, the county seat of Portage county. Afterwards they were published in E. D. Howe's Book, Mormonism Unveiled, pp. 175-221.
6. Orson Hyde was born January 8th, 1805, at Oxford, New Haven county, Connecticut. He was the son of Nathan and Sally Hyde. His father served in the United States army in the war of 1812. When Orson was seven years old his mother died, and the large family of Nathan Hyde, consisting of nine sons and three daughters, were scattered. Orson was taken in charge by a man of the name of Nathan Wheeler. Seven years later, or when young Hyde was fourteen years of age, Mr. Wheeler moved from the state of Connecticut to Ohio, settling in the vicinity of Kirtland. Orson accompanied him and continued to live with him in Ohio for about four years, after which he engaged in various occupations on his own account, at last becoming a clerk in the firm of Gilbert & Whitney, merchants. In the year 1827 a religious revival of unusual fervor occurred in Kirtland and vicinity, and under its influence Orson Hyde became a convert to the Methodist faith; and shortly afterwards was made a class leader. "At about the same time," writes Edward Tullidge, in a biographical sketch of him, "he heard that a 'golden Bible' had been dug out of a rock in the state of New York. It was treated, however, as a hoax; but, on reading the report, Hyde remarked: 'Who knows but that this 'golden Bible' may break up our religion and change its whole features and bearing." (Utah and her Founders, Biographical Sketches, p. 70). Some time subsequent to his becoming a Methodist he heard Sidney Rigdon preach the Campbellite faith, and being convinced that the doctrine Rigdon advocated was more scriptural than that which he had embraced, he accepted it and was baptized into the Campbellite church. He also became a theological student under his new teacher's instruction, with a view of becoming a minister of the new church; and, in fact, began to preach and had already assisted in founding several Campbellite congregations in Lorain and Huron counties. In 1830, he was made pastor over these congregations. In the fall of that year the Lamanite mission of the Church of Jesus Christ arrived in the northeast part of Ohio, and soon the whole country was agitated by the presentation of the Book of Mormon and its attendant message, the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. At first Orson Hyde, at the request of members of the Campbellite faith, opposed the Book of Mormon in public addresses; but feeling reproved by the Spirit for this course, he suspended his opposition in order to make further inquiry, with the result that after much prayer and some hesitancy he accepted the great latter-day message, and was baptized, as related in the text.
7. D&C 65.
8. This was a very important conference, and continued through two days, the 25th and 26th of October—Tuesday and Wednesday. The minutes of it are contained in the Far West Record, pp. 10-15. Very many of the brethren holding the Priesthood addressed the conference, and each one expressed his willingness to consecrate all he possessed to God and His cause. The minutes of the Prophets remarks upon this subject, as relating to his own willingness to consecrate all to the Lord, are of particular interest. It stands as follows in the record: "Brother Joseph Smith. Jun., said that he had nothing to consecrate to the Lord of the things of the earth, yet he felt to consecrate himself and family. Was thankful that God had given him a place among His Saints; felt willing to labor for their good" (p. 13). It appears at this time that the Prophet and other leading Elders of the Church were much embarrassed in the work of translating the Scriptures and preaching the Gospel, in consequence of the difficulty they encountered to do this work of the ministry and at the same time provide for their families. It appears also that the Saints were somewhat backward in providing means for the support of the ministry of the Church. Referring to the subject the Prophet, according to the minutes above referred to, said: "The Lord held the Church bound to provide for the families of the absent Elders while proclaiming the Gospel. Further said that God had often sealed up the heavens because of covetousness in the Church" (p. 13).
The remarks of Simeon Carter, one of the High Priests in attendance at the conference, are of interest and importance, owing to the light they throw upon the views of the faithful brethren respecting the journey to the land of Zion and the work that had been accomplished there. The minute of his remarks stands as follows: "Brother Simeon Carter said that he was thankful that he had been spared and preserved to go to the land of Zion according to the commandment of the Lord, for he received it as from His mouth; and also thanked the Lord that his feet had trodden upon the consecrated ground which was the inheritance of the Saints. Testified that the Book of Mormon was true. Mourned because of the falling away [in Kirtland] since he took his journey to the land of Zion" (p. 12).
Another item of interest will be found in the following circumstance: Several of the brethren took occasion to testify to the truth of the Book of Mormon; and now the minutes—"Brother Hyrum Smith said that he thought best that the information of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon be related by Joseph himself to the Elders present, that all might know for themselves."
"Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., said that it was not intended to tell the world all the particulars of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon; and also said that it was not expedient for him to relate these things" (p. 13). This will account for the Prophet confining himself to the merest generalities in all his statements concerning the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
9. The exact date of the birth of William E. M'Lellin cannot be ascertained. He was born in the state of Tennessee about the year 1806. He first heard the Gospel preached by Elders Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon, while those brethren were en route from Kirtland to Independence, Missouri, in the early summer of 1831. He closed up his affairs as soon as possible and followed these missionaries to Jackson county. On the way to that place he was baptized and ordained an Elder. During the same summer he made his way to Kirtland, where we find him in attendance at the special conference of October 25th, seeking to learn the will of the Lord, through the Prophet, respecting himself.
10. D&C 66.
11. This special conference at Hiram on November 1st, should receive larger notice. The number of copies in the edition of the Book of Commandments to be printed was considered and the decision reached that ten thousand should be published. The conference lasted two days. In the afternoon of the first day of the conference, according to the minutes of the meeting, the preface to the Book of Commandments was "received by inspiration." The same afternoon, the following occurred: "Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., said that inasmuch as the Lord had bestowed a great blessing upon us in giving commandments and revelations, he asked the conference what testimony they were willing to attach to these commandments which would shortly be sent to the world. A number of the brethren arose and said that they were willing to testify to the world that they knew that they were of the Lord." (Far West Record, p. 16.)
In the second day's proceedings of the conference it is recorded: "The revelation of last evening read by the moderator [this was Oliver Cowdery]. The brethren then arose in turn and bore witness to the truth of the Book of Commandments; after which Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., arose and expressed his feelings and gratitude concerning the commandments and preface received yesterday." (Far West Record, p. 16.)
12. D&C 1. This revelation which, in the current edition, and in fact in all editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, stands as section 1, is the Lord's Preface to the revelations which He has given to this Dispensation of the Fulness of Times.
13. D&C 67.
14. This "Testimony" to the truth of the "Book of Commandments" was doubtless drawn up with the intention of having it signed by the Elders present at the conference; but whether that was done or not does not appear in the Ms. of the Prophet's history. The testimony itself, however, is in the manuscript History. This is remarked because it has not been published heretofore in the History of the Prophet. The matter appears to stand thus: Each of the Elders present at the conference testified to the truth of the revelations then about to be published; and, as already seen (p. 222 note), expressed a willingness to testify to the truth of the revelations to all the world. Accordingly this testimony was prepared with the intention of having it signed and published in the "Book of Commandments." It may have been signed, too, and carried to Missouri, but owing to the fact that the printing press was destroyed by a mob before the "Book of Commandments" was all printed, the "Testimony" does not appear in the part of it that was printed. The names of the Elders present at this special conference, according to the minutes of it in the Far West Record (p. 15), are as follows: Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, John Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jun., Sidney Rigdon, William B. M'Lellin, Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman E. Johnson.
15. D&C 68.
16. D&C 133.
17. D&C 69. It must not be understood from the first paragraph of this revelation that Oliver Cowdery was untrustworthy, and therefore it was necessary that a companion be provided for him. The fact was that much of the journey between Kirtland and Independence, or Zion, was through a sparsely settled country, the western portion of it through a frontier country where there is always a gathering, more or less, of lawless people; and it was at considerable risk that a person traveled through such a country, especially when alone and carrying money with him. It was wisdom then, for the sake of Oliver Cowdery, and to insure the safety of the money and the sacred things he was to carry with him, that one should go with him that would be a true and faithful companion, hence the appointment of John Whitmer.
18. In the minutes of the special conference of November 12th, spoken of in the foregoing by the Prophet, occurs the following account of what took place in addition to what the Prophet has written: "Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., said one item he wished acted upon was that our brothers Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer and the sacred writings which they have entrusted to them to carry to Zion—be dedicated to the Lord by the prayer of faith. Secondly, Brother Oliver has labored with me from the beginning in writing, &c. Brother Martin has labored with me from the beginning and Brothers John Whitmer and Sidney Rigdon also for a considerable time, and as these sacred writings are now going to the Church for its benefit, that we may have claim on the Church for recompense—if this conference think these things worth prizing to he had on record to show hereafter—I feel that it will be according to the mind of the Spirit, for by it these things were put into my heart which I know to be the Spirit of truth.
"Voted; that Joseph Smith, Jun., be appointed to dedicate and consecrate these brethren and the sacred writings and all they have entrusted to their care, to the Lord. Done accordingly. * * * * Voted; that in consequence of the diligence of our brethren, Joseph Smith, Jun., Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, and Sidney Rigdon in bringing to light by the grace of God these sacred things,—[they] be appointed to manage them according to the laws of the Church and the commandments of the Lord. And also that in consequence of the families of Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, Peter Whitmer, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Hiram Page and David Whitmer administering to their wants in temporal things; and also [on account of] the labors of Samuel H. Smith, Peter Whitmer, Jun., William Smith and Don Carlos Smith—voted by the conference that the above named brethren be remembered to the Bishop in Zion as being worthy of inheritances among the people of the Lord according to the laws of said Church." (Far West Record, pp. 18, 19.)
19. D&C 70.