Effort to Overwhelm the Church by Falsehood—Sundry Revelations Leading to Doctrinal Development.
Efforts through the Press to Retard the Work.
At this age of the Church [i. e., early in the spring of 1831] many false reports, lies, and foolish stories, were published in the newspapers, and circulated in every direction, to prevent people from investigating the work, or embracing the faith. A great earthquake in China, which destroyed from one to two thousand inhabitants, was burlesqued in some papers, as ” ‘Mormonism’ in China.” 1 But to the joy of the Saints who had to struggle against every thing that prejudice and wickedness could invent, I received the following:
Revelation at Kirtland, given March 7th, 1831. 2
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church, to whom the kingdom has been given; hearken ye and give ear to him who laid the foundation of the earth, who made the heavens and all the hosts thereof, and by whom all things were made which live, and move, and have a being.
2. And again I say, hearken unto my voice, lest death shall overtake you; in an hour when ye think not the summer shall be past, and the harvest ended, and your souls not saved.
3. Listen to him who is the advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him—
4. Saying: Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified;
5. Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.
6. Hearken, O ye people of my church, and ye elders listen together, and hear my voice while it is called today, and harden not your hearts,
7. For verily I say unto you that I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the light and the life of the world—a light that shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
8. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life.
9. And even so I have sent mine everlasting covenant into the world, to be a light to the world, and to be a standard for my people, and for the Gentiles to seek to it, and to be a messenger before my face to prepare the way before me.
10. Wherefore, come ye unto it. and with him that cometh I will reason as with men in days of old, and I will show unto you my strong reasoning,
11. Wherefore, hearken ye together and let me show unto you even my wisdom—the wisdom of him whom ye say is the God of Enoch, and his brethren,
12. Who were separated from the earth, and were received unto myself—a city reserved until a day of righteousness shall come—a day which was sought for by holy men, and they found it not because of wickedness and abominations;
13. And confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth;
14. But obtained a promise that they should find it and see it in their flesh.
15. Wherefore, hearken and I will reason with you, and I will speak unto you and prophesy, as unto men in days of old.
16. And I will show it plainly, as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh, and spake unto them, saying; As ye have asked of me concerning the signs of my coming in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds of heaven, to fulfil the promises that I have made unto your fathers,
17. For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I will show unto you how the day of redemption shall come, and also the restoration of the scattered Israel.
18. And now ye behold this temple which is in Jerusalem, which ye call the house of God, and your enemies say that this house shall never fall.
19. But, verily I say unto you, that desolation shall come upon this generation as a thief in the night, and this people shall be destroyed and scattered among all nations.
20. And this temple which ye now see shall be thrown down that there shall not be left one stone upon another.
21. And it shall come to pass, that this generation of Jews shall not pass away until every desolation which I have told you concerning them shall come to pass.
22. Ye say that ye know that the end of the world cometh; ye say also that ye know that the heavens and the earth shall pass away;
23. And in this ye say truly, for so it is; but these things which I have told you shall not pass away until all shall be fulfilled.
24. And this I have told you concerning Jerusalem; and when that day shall come, shall a remnant be scattered among all nations;
25. But they shall be gathered again; but they shall remain until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
26. And in that day shall be heard of wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them, and they shall say that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.
27. And the love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound.
28. And when the times of the Gentiles is come in, a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel;
29. But they receive it not, for they perceive not the light, and they turn their hearts from me because of the precepts of men.
30. And in that generation shall the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
31. And there shall be men standing in that generation, that shall not pass until they shall see an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land.
32. But my disciples shall stand in holy places, and shall not be moved; but among the wicked, men shall lift up their voices and curse God and die.
33. And there shall be earthquakes also in divers places and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another.
34. And now, when I the Lord had spoken these words unto my disciples, they were troubled.
35. And I said unto them: Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.
36. And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—
37. Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand;
38. Even so it shall be in that day when they shall see all these things, then shall they know that the hour is nigh.
39. And it shall come to pass that he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come, even for the signs of the coming of the Son of Man.
40. And they shall see signs and wonders, for they shall be shown forth in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath.
41. And they shall behold blood, and fire, and vapors of smoke.
42. And before the day of the Lord shall come, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon be turned into blood, and the stars fall from heaven.
43. And the remnant shall be gathered unto this place;
44. And then they shall look for me, and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory, with all the holy angels; and he that watches not for me shall be cut off.
45. But before the arm of the Lord shall fall, an angel shall sound his trump, and the saints that have slept shall come forth to meet me in the cloud.
46. Wherefore, if ye have slept in peace, blessed are you; for as you now behold me and know that I am, even so shall ye come unto me and your souls shall live, and your redemption shall be perfected; and the saints shall come forth from the four quarters of the earth.
47. Then shall the arm of the Lord fall upon the nations.
48. And then shall the Lord set his foot upon this mount, and it shall cleave in twain, and the earth shall tremble, and reel to and fro, and the heavens also shall shake.
49. And the Lord shall utter his voice, and all the ends of the earth shall hear it; and the nations of the earth shall mourn, and they that have laughed shall see their folly,
50. And calamity shall cover the mocker, and the scorner shall be consumed; and they that have watched for iniquity shall be hewn down and cast into the fire.
51. And then shall the Jews look upon me and say: What are these wounds in thine hands and in thy feet?
52. Then shall they know that I am the Lord; for I will say unto them: These wounds are the wounds with which I was wounded in the house of my friends. I am he who was lifted up. I am Jesus that was crucified. I am the Son of God.
53. And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament because they persecuted their king.
54. And then shall the heathen nations be redeemed, and they that knew no law shall have part in the first resurrection; and it shall be tolerable for them.
55. And Satan shall be bound, that he shall have no place in the hearts of the children of men.
56. And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins.
57. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.
58. And the earth shall be given unto them for an inheritance; and they shall multiply and wax strong, and their children shall grow up without sin unto salvation.
59. For the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.
60. And now, behold, I say unto you, it shall not be given unto you to know any further concerning this chapter, until the New Testament be translated, and in it all these things shall be made known;
61. Wherefore I give unto you that ye may now translate it, that ye may be prepared for the things to come.
62. For verily I say unto you, that great things await you;
63. Ye hear of wars in foreign lands; but, behold, I say unto you, they are nigh, even at your doors, and not many years hence ye shall hear of wars in your own lands.
64. Wherefore I, the Lord, have said, Gather ye out from the eastern lands, assemble ye yourselves together ye elders of my church; go ye forth into the western countries, call upon the inhabitants to repent, and inasmuch as they do repent, build up churches unto me.
65. And with one heart and with one mind, gather up your riches that ye may purchase an inheritance which shall hereafter be appointed unto you,
66. And it shall be called the New Jerusalem, a land of peace, a city of refuge, a place of safety for the saints of the Most High God;
67. And the glory of the Lord shall be there, and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion.
68. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety.
69. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another.
70. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand.
71. And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.
72. And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you;
73. That when they shall know it, that they may consider these things.
74. For when the Lord shall appear he shall be terrible unto them, that fear may seize upon them, and they shall stand afar off and tremble.
75. And all nations shall be afraid because of the terror of the Lord, and the power of his might. Even so. Amen.
The Gifts of the Holy Ghost.
The next day after the above was received, I also received the following revelation, relative to the gifts of the Holy Ghost:
Revelation given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831. 3
1. Hearken, O ye people of my church; for verily I say unto you, that these things were spoken unto you for your profit and learning.
2. But notwithstanding those things which are written, it always has been given to the elders of my church from the beginning, and ever shall be, to conduct all meetings as they are directed and guided by the Holy Spirit.
3. Nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your public meetings, which are held before the world.
4. Ye are also commanded not to cast any one who belongeth to the church out of your sacrament meetings; nevertheless, if any have trespassed, let him not partake until he make reconciliation.
5. And again I say unto you, ye shall not cast any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom—I speak this concerning those who are not of the church.
6. And again I say unto you, concerning your confirmation meetings, that if there be any that are not of the church, that are earnestly seeking after the kingdom, ye shall not cast them out.
7. But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
8. Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
9. For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lust.
10. And again, verily I say unto you, I would that ye should always remember, and always retain in your minds what those gifts are, that are given unto the church,
11. For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.
12. To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.
13. To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
14. To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful.
15. And again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration, as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord, according as the Lord will, suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men.
16. And again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the Spirit may be given to every man to profit withal.
17. And again, verily I say unto you, to some is given, by the Spirit of God, the word of wisdom.
18. To another is given the word of knowledge, that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge.
19. And again, to some it is given to have faith to be healed,
20. And to others it is given to have faith to heal.
21. And again, to some is given the working of miracles;
22. And to others it is given to prophesy;
23. And to others the discerning of spirits.
24. And again, it is given to some to speak with tongues;
25. And to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
26. And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.
27. And unto the bishop of the church, and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church, and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God.
28. And it shall come to pass that he that asketh in Spirit shall receive in Spirit;
29. That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head, in order that every member may be profited thereby.
30. He that asketh in the Spirit, asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh.
31. And again, I say unto you, all things must be done in the name of Christ, whatsoever you do in the Spirit;
32. And ye must give thanks unto God in the Spirit for whatsoever blessings ye are blessed with.
33. And ye must practice virtue and holiness before me continually. Even so. Amen.
John Whitmer Appointed Historian.
The same day that I received the foregoing revelation, I also received the following, setting apart John Whitmer as a historian, 4 inasmuch as he is faithful:
Revelation to Joseph Smith, Jun., and John Whitmer, given at Kirtland, March 8th, 1831. 5
1. Behold, it is expedient in me that my servant John should write and keep a regular history, and assist you, my servant Joseph, in transcribing all things which shall be given you, until he is called to further duties.
2. Again, verily I say unto you that he can also lift up his voice in meetings, whenever it shall be expedient.
3. And again, I say unto you that it shall be appointed unto him to keep the church record and history continually, for Oliver Cowdery I have appointed to another office.
4. Wherefore, it shall be given him, inasmuch as he is faithful, by the Comforter, to write these things. Even so. Amen.
On the Purchase of Lands in Ohio.
Upon inquiry how the brethren should act in regard to purchasing lands to settle upon, 6 and where they should finally make a permanent location, I received the following:
Revelation, given at Kirtland, March, 1831. 7
1. It is necessary that ye should remain for the present time in your places of abode, as it shall be suitable to your circumstances.
2. And inasmuch as ye have land, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren;
3. And inasmuch as ye have not land, let them buy for the present time in those regions round about, as seemeth them good, for it must needs be necessary that they have places to live for the present time.
4. It must needs be necessary, that ye save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness, that in time ye may be enabled to purchase land for an inheritance, even the city.
5. The place is not yet to be revealed; but after your brethren come from the east there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed.
6. And they shall be appointed to purchase the lands, and to make a commencement to lay the foundation of the city; and then shall ye begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the presidency and the bishop of the church, according to the laws and commandments which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive. Even so. Amen.
The Shaking Quakers.
At about this time came Leman Copley, one of the sect called Shaking Quakers, 8 and embraced the fulness of the everlasting Gospel, apparently honest-hearted, but still retaining the idea that the Shakers were right in some particulars of their faith. In order to have more perfect under standing on the subject, I inquired of the Lord, and received the following:
Revelation to Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley, given March, 1831. 9
1. Hearken unto my word, my servants Sidney, and Parley, and Leman; for behold, verily I say unto you, that I give unto you a commandment that you shall go and preach my gospel which ye have received, even as ye have received it, unto the Shakers.
2. Behold, I say unto you, that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent.
3. Wherefore, I send you, my servants Sidney and Parley to preach the gospel unto them;
4. And my servant Leman shall be ordained unto this work, that he may reason with them, not according to that which he has received of them, but according to that which shall be taught him by you my servants; and by so doing I will bless him, otherwise he shall not prosper.
5. Thus saith the Lord; for I am God, and have sent mine Only Begotten Son into the world for the redemption of the world, and have decreed that he that receiveth him shall be saved, and he that receiveth him not shall be damned—
6. And they have done unto the Son of Man even as they listed; and he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory, and now reigneth in the heavens, and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is nigh at hand—
7. I, the Lord God, have spoken it; but the hour and the day no man knoweth, neither the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes.
8. Wherefore, I will that all men shall repent, for all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that ye know not of.
9. Wherefore, I say unto you, that I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning.
10. And that which I have promised I have so fulfilled, and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power.
11. Wherefore, I give unto you a commandment that ye go among this people, and say unto them, like unto mine apostle of old, whose name was Peter:
12. Believe on the name of the Lord Jesus, who was on the earth, and is to come, the beginning and the end;
13. Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, according to the holy commandment, for the remission of sins;
14. And whoso doeth this shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of the hands of the elders of the church.
15. And again, verily I say unto you, that whoso forbiddeth to marry is not ordained of God, for marriage is ordained of God unto man.
16. Wherefore, it is lawful that he should have one wife, and they twain shall be one flesh, and all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation;
17. And that it might be filled with the measure of man, according to his creation before the world was made.
18. And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;
19. For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.
20. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another, wherefore the world lieth in sin.
21. And wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need.
22. And again, verily I say unto you, that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth.
23. Wherefore, be not deceived, but continue in steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken, and the earth to tremble and to reel to and fro as a drunken man, and for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low, and for the rough places to become smooth—and all this when the angel shall sound his trumpet.
24. But before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.
25. Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.
26. Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
27. Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.
28. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, and I come quickly. Even so. Amen. 10
Inquiry on Spiritual Manifestations.
During the month of April, I continued to translate the Scriptures as time would allow. In May, a number of Elders being present, and not understanding the different spirits 11 abroad in the earth, I inquired and received from the Lord the following:
Revelation, given May, 1831. 12
1. Hearken, O ye elders of my church, and give ear to the voice of the living God; and attend to the words of wisdom which shall be given unto you, according as ye have asked and are agreed as touching the church, and the spirits which have gone abroad in the earth.
2. Behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many spirits which are false spirits, which have gone forth in the earth, deceiving the world.
3. And also Satan hath sought to deceive you, that he might overthrow you.
4. Behold, I, the Lord, have looked upon you, and have seen abominations in the church that profess my name.
5. But blessed are they who are faithful and endure, whether in life or in death, for they shall inherit eternal life.
6. But wo unto them that are deceivers and hypocrites, for, thus saith the Lord, I will bring them to judgment.
7. Behold, verily I say unto you, there are hypocrites among you, who have deceived some, which has given the adversary power; but behold such shall be reclaimed;
8. But the hypocrites shall be detected and shall be cut off, either in life or in death, even as I will; and wo unto them who are cut off from my Church, for the same are overcome of the world.
9. Wherefore, let every man beware lest he do that which is not in truth and righteousness before me.
10. And now come, saith the Lord, by the Spirit, unto the elders of his church, and let us reason together, that ye may understand;
11. Let us reason even as a man reasoneth one with another face to face.
12. Now, when a man reasoneth he is understood of man, because he reasoneth as a man; even so will I the Lord, reason with you, that you may understand.
13. Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question—Unto what were ye ordained?
14. To preach my gospel by the Spirit, even the Comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth.
15. And then received ye spirits which ye could not understand, and received them to be of God; and in this are ye justified?
16. Behold ye shall answer this question yourselves; nevertheless, I will be merciful unto you; he that is weak among you hereafter shall be made strong.
17. Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18. And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19. And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20. If it be some other way it is not of God.
21. Therefore, why is it that ye cannot understand and know that he that receiveth the word by the Spirit of truth, receiveth it as it is preached by the Spirit of truth?
22. Wherefore, he that preacheth and he that receiveth, understand one another, and both are edified and rejoice together.
23. And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
24. That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
25. And again, verily I say unto you, and I say it that you may know the truth, that you may chase darkness from among you;
26. He that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.
27. Wherefore, he is possessor of all things; for all things are subject unto him, both in heaven and on the earth, the life and the light, the Spirit and the power, sent forth by the will of the Father, through Jesus Christ, his Son.
28. But no man is possessor of all things except he be purified and cleansed from all sin.
29. And if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done.
30. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask; and as ye are appointed to the head, the spirits shall be subject unto you.
31. Wherefore, it shall come to pass, that if you behold a spirit manifested that you cannot understand, and you receive not that spirit, ye shall ask of the Father in the name of Jesus; and if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God.
32. And it shall be given unto you, power over that spirit; and you shall proclaim against that spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God—
33. Not with railing accusation, that ye be not overcome, neither with boasting nor rejoicing, lest you be seized therewith.
34. He that receiveth of God, let him account it of God; and let him rejoice that he is accounted of God worthy to receive.
35. And by giving heed and doing these things which ye have received, and which ye shall hereafter receive—and the kingdom is given you of the Father, and power to overcome all things which are not ordained of him—
36. And behold, verily I say unto you, blessed are you who are now hearing these words of mine from the mouth of my servant, for your sins are forgiven you.
37. Let my servant Joseph Wakefield, in whom I am well pleased, and my servant Parley P. Pratt go forth among the churches and strengthen them by the word of exhortation;
38. And also my servant John Corrill, or as many of my servants as are ordained unto this office, and let them labor in the vineyard; and let no man hinder them doing that which I have appointed unto them—
39. Wherefore in this thing my servant Edward Partridge is not justified; nevertheless let him repent and he shall be forgiven.
40. Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; we must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
41. Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
42. And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
43. And the Father and I are one. I am in the Father and the Father in me; and inasmuch as ye have received me, ye are in me and I in you.
44. Wherefore, I am in your midst, and I am the good shepherd, and the stone of Israel. He that buildeth upon this rock shall never fall.
45. And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am.
46. Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready, Even so. Amen. 13
Arrival in Ohio of the New York Saints.
Not long after the foregoing was received, the Saints from the State of New York began to come on, and it seemed necessary to settle them; therefore at the solicitation of Bishop Partridge, I inquired, and received the following:
Revelation, given May 1831. 14
1. Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, and I will speak unto my servant Edward Partridge, and give unto him directions; for it must needs be that he receive directions how to organize this people.
2. For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; otherwise, they will be cut off.
3. Wherefore, let my servant Edward Partridge, and those whom he has chosen, in whom I am well pleased, appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.
4. And let my servant Edward Partridge, when he shall appoint a man his portion, give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion, that he shall hold it, even this right and this inheritance in the church, until he transgresses and is not accounted worthy by the voice of the church according to the laws and covenants of the church, to belong to the church.
5. And if he shall transgress and is not accounted worthy to belong to the church, he shall not have power to claim that portion which he has consecrated unto the bishop for the poor and needy of my church; therefore, he shall not retain the gift, but shall only have claim on that portion that is deeded unto him.
6. And thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land.
7. And let that which belongs to this people be appointed unto this people.
8. And the money which is left unto this people—let there be an agent appointed unto this people, to take the money to provide food and raiment, according to the wants of this people.
9. And let every man deal honestly, and be alike among this people, and receive alike, that ye may be one, even as I have commanded you.
10. And let that which belongeth to this people not be taken and given unto that of another church.
11. Wherefore, if another church would receive money of this church, let them pay unto this church again according as they shall agree;
12. And this shall be done through the bishop or the agent, which shall be appointed by the voice of the church.
13. And again, let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this church; and let all things both in money and in meat, which are more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop.
14. And let him also reserve unto himself for his own wants, and for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business.
15. And thus grant unto this people a privilege of organizing themselves according to my laws.
16. And I consecrate unto them this land for a little season, until I, the Lord, shall provide for them otherwise, and command them to go hence;
17. And the hour and the day is not given unto them, wherefore let them act upon this land as for years, and this shall turn unto them for their good.
18. Behold, this shall be an example unto my servant Edward Partridge, in other places, in all churches.
19. And whoso is found a faithful, a just, and a wise steward shall enter into the joy of his Lord, and shall inherit eternal life.
20. Verily, I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who cometh quickly, in an hour you think not. Even so. Amen.
Chapter 14 – Notes
1. This earthquake in China is a matter of some interest in connection with the history of the church, since it was the means of bringing Simonds Ryder, a somewhat noted preacher of the Campbellite faith, into the Church. According to Hayden’s History of the Disciples on the Western Reserve (a Campbellite book), Mr. Ryder was much perplexed over “Mormonism,” and for a time was undecided whether to join the Church or not. “In the month of June,” (1831) writes Mr. Hayden, “he read in a newspaper an account of the destruction of Pekin in China, and he remembered that six weeks before, a young ‘Mormon’ girl had predicted the destruction of that city.” J. H. Kennedy, in his Early Days of Mormonism (Scribner’s & Sons, 1888), refers to the same thing, and adds: “This appeal to the superstitious part of his nature was the final weight in the balance and he threw the whole power of his influence upon the side of ‘Mormonism.’ His surrender caused an excitement almost equal to that which followed the fall of Rigdon,” (pp. 103-4). It was doubtless this prophecy and the conversion connected with it that led the papers mentioned in the text to refer to it as “Mormonism” in China. The discrepancy in dates, Hayden and Kennedy referring to the published accounts of the events as appearing in June, and the Prophet making reference to it previous to the 7th of March, need cause no confusion. It will be seen that the Prophet alludes to it in connection with a number of other things as taking place “at this age of the Church”—a very indefinite reference as to the time in which a thing may have occurred.
2. D&C 45.
3. D&C 46. With reference to the matters mentioned in verses 17 in this revelation, John Whitmer writes: “In the beginning of the Church, while yet in her infancy, the disciples used to exclude unbelievers, which caused some to marvel and converse of this matter because of the things written in the Book of Mormon [3 Nephi 18:22-34.] Therefore the Lord deigned to speak on this subject, that His people might come to understanding, and said that He had always given to His Elders to conduct all meetings as they were led by the Spirit.”—John Whitmer’s History of the Church, ch. 4.
4. Previous to this Oliver Cowdery, had acted as historian and recorder. John Whitmer, according to his own representations, said he would rather not keep the Church history, but observed—”The will of the Lord be done, and if He desires it, I wish that He would manifest it through Joseph the seer.”—John Whitmer’s History of the Church, ch. 6.—Accordingly the revelation was given.
5. D&C 47.
6. This question was agitating the minds of the brethren in consequence of the expected arrival in the near future, of the Saints from New York, who had been commanded to gather to Ohio, and for whose reception it was necessary to make preparations.
7. D&C 48.
8. This sect of Christians arose in England, and Ann Lee has the credit of being its founder. They derive their name from their manner of worship, which is performed by singing and dancing and clapping their hands in regular time, to a novel but rather pleasant kind of music. This sect was persecuted in England, and came to America in 1774. They first settled in Watervliet, near Albany, New York. They have, or think they have, revelations from heaven, or gifts from the Holy Spirit, which direct them in the choice of their leaders, and in other important concerns. Their dress and manners are similar to those of the society of Friends (Quakers); hence they are often called Shaking Quakers.”—Hayward’s Book of All Religions, pp. 84-85. “They assert, with the Quakers, that all external ordinances, especially baptism and the Lord’s supper, ceased in the apostolic age; and that God had sent no one to preach since that time till they were raised up, to call in the elect in a new dispensation. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and a vicarious atonement, as also the resurrection of the body.”—Burder’s History of All Religions, p. 502.
9. D&C 49.
10. Elders Rigdon and Pratt fulfilled the mission appointed to them by this revelation. In company with Leman Copley, who at his own earnest request had been ordained to the Priesthood, (John Whitmer’s History of the Church, p. 20) they visited the settlement of the Shakers, near Cleveland, Ohio, and preached the Gospel to them; “but,” writes Elder Pratt, “they utterly refused to hear or obey the Gospel.”—Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. 65 (first ed.) John Whitmer also remarks upon this incident: “The above-named brethren went and proclaimed [the Gospel] according to the revelation given them, but the Shakers hearkened not to their words and received not the Gospel at that time, for they are bound in tradition and priestcraft; and thus they are led away with foolish and vain imaginations.—John Whitmer’s History of the Church. Ms. p. 20.
11. This is a very brief allusion to very important and strange phenomena. Elder Parley P. Pratt, in his Autobiography, has a much more extended account of the spirit manifestations which called forth the revelation upon the subject. “As I went forth among the different branches,” he says, alluding to the branches in the vicinity of Kirtland, “some very strange spiritual operations were manifested, which were disgusting rather than edifying. Some persons would seem to swoon away and make unseemly gestures, and be drawn or disfigured in their countenances. Others would fall into ecstasies and be drawn into contortions, cramp, fits etc. Others would seem to have visions, and revelations, which were not edifying and which were not congenial to the doctrine and spirit of the Gospel. In short, a false and lying spirit seemed to be creeping into the Church. All these things were new and strange to me and had originated in the Church during our absence, and previous to the arrival of President Joseph Smith from New York. Feeling our weakness and inexperience, and lest we should err in judgment concerning these spiritual phenomena, myself, John Murdock, and several other Elders, went to Joseph smith and asked him to inquire of the Lord concerning these spirits or manifestations. After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation.” This is the revelation given in the text above on spiritual manifestations.
12. D&C 50.
13. Elder Parley P. Pratt; in his Autobiography, referring to this revelation, for he was present when it was given—indeed it was obtained chiefly at his own and Elder John Murdock’s solicitation—takes occasion to relate how this and other revelations were given through the Prophet. “Each sentence,” says he, “was uttered slowly and very distinctly, and with a pause between each, sufficiently long for it to be recorded by an ordinary writer in long hand. This was the manner in which all his written revelations were dictated and written. There was never any hesitation, reviewing, or reading back, in order to keep the run of the subject; neither did any of these communications undergo revisions, interlinings or corrections. As he dictated them so they stood, so far as I have witnessed; and I was present to witness the dictation of several communications of several pages each.”—Aut. Parley P. Pratt, pp. 65-66. This statement of Elder Pratt’s is true in a general way, and valuable as a description of the manner in which revelations were dictated by the Prophet; and needs modifying only to the extent of saying that some of the early revelations first published in the “Book of Commandments,” in 1833, were revised by the Prophet himself in the way of correcting errors made by the scribes and publishers; and some additional clauses were inserted to throw increased light upon the subjects treated in the revelations and paragraphs added, to make the principles or instructions apply to officers not in the Church at the time some of the earlier revelations were given. The addition of verses, 65, 66 and 67 in sec. 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, is an example.
14. D&C 51.