In the fall of 1831, Church leaders faced a challenge: printing the revelations that the Lord had given to Joseph Smith. These sections instruct the elders to sacrifice to get this task done and also instruct the Church on aspects of discipleship including parenting, sabbath day, and prayer.
“Joseph Smith and the United Firm: The Growth and Decline of the Church’s First Master Plan of Business and Finance, Ohio and Missouri, 1832-1834,” Max H. Parkin, BYU Studies 46, no. 3 (2007).
Sections 69 and 70 are part of the unfolding instruction about printing the Lord’s revelations to Joseph Smith. This article places these sections in context. “In Hiram, Joseph Smith and leading elders held five conferences, November 1–13, 1831, to prepare his revelations for publication. At their final meeting, they organized a ‘literary firm,’ an antecedent to the United Firm, to manage Church publications and provide an income for its officers.”
“The Book of John Whitmer,” Brian Reeves, Revelations in Context
D&C 69 directed John Whitmer to take the handwritten revelation books from Kirtland to Missouri, where W. W. Phelps had set up a printing press. Whitmer was tasked with creating a history of the Church.
“Historical Context and Background of D&C 67,” Steven C. Harper, Doctrine and Covenants Central, citing Doctrine and Covenants Contexts, and Casey Paul Griffiths, citing Doctrine and Covenants Minute
“In November 1831 Joseph convened a council at the Johnson home in Hiram, Ohio, and laid the manuscript Book of Commandments before the Church leaders. It was the archive of dozens of his revelations.” Read more about challenges the elders faced in printing the revelations.
“Historical Context and Background of D&C 68,” Steven C. Harper, Casey Paul Griffiths
Section 68 begins with instruction for four elders and continues with words for the Church generally. It teaches about the office of bishop, about parenting, and about discipleship.
“Historical Context and Background of D&C 69,” Steven C. Harper, Casey Paul Griffiths
John Whitmer was called to accompany Oliver Cowdery to Missouri to begin printing the revelations. John Whitmer wrote an important history but eventually stopped. His history, “John Whitmer, History, 1831-circa 1847,” is presented at Joseph Smith Papers.
“Historical Context and Background of D&C 70,” Steven C. Harper, Casey Paul Griffiths
The men who organized the United Firm, to publish the revelations, gave their best efforts, impoverishing themselves in the process. The press they bought was later destroyed in Missouri, along with many copies of the printings.