“Doctrine and Covenants 6,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 6,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Harmony Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, to Cowdery, Apr. 1829. Featured version, titled “Chapter V,” typeset [between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1832] for Book of Commandments, 14–17. John Whitmer copied this revelation [ca. Mar. 1831] into Revelation Book 1, but the page or pages on which it was copied were removed at some point from that volume and are no longer extant.1 The version found in the Book of Commandments and featured below is the earliest complete, extant version. For more information, see the source note for the Book of Commandments on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
This revelation was dictated for Oliver Cowdery soon after he arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and began serving as JS’s scribe for the translation of the plates. JS’s history stated, “Two days after the arrival of Mr Cowdery (being the seventh of April) I commenced to translate the book of Mormon and he commenced to write for me, which having continued for some time I enquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummin and obtained the following revelation.”2 The exact date this text was dictated is unknown. The revelation apparently answered questions Cowdery had contemplated but not expressed to JS. According to Cowdery’s friend David Whitmer, “Soon after Oliver’s arrival in Harmony, he wrote to me and said that Joseph had envuired [inquired] of the Lord concerning him, and had told him secrets of his life that he knew could not be known to any person but himself, in any other way than by revelation from the Almighty.”3
JS’s history recounted, “After we had received this revelation he (Oliver Cowdery) stated to me that after he had gone to my father’s to board, and after the family communicated to him concerning my having got the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed, he called upon the Lord to know if these things were so, and that the Lord had manifested to him that they were true.”4 JS also explained that Cowdery had seen the Lord and the plates in a vision and “was desiorous to come and write” for JS in Harmony.5 The revelation featured below built on that experience by announcing that if Cowdery desired, the Lord would grant him a gift “to translate even as my servant Joseph.”
1 A Revelation to Oliver [Cowdery], given in Harmony, Pennsylvania, April, 1829, when employed a scribe for Joseph, while translating the book of Mormon.6
A GREAT and marvelous work is about to come forth unto the children of men: behold I am God, and give heed unto my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow:—7 Therefore give heed unto my words.
2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God: Yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God; therefore, if you will ask of me you shall receive; if you will knock it shall be opened unto you.8
3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion: seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold he that hath eternal life is rich.
4 Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be unto you; and, if you desire, you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. Say nothing but repentance unto this generation; keep my commandments and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.9 [p. 14]
5 Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above; and if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous: therefore thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways. Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those which are of thy faith.— Trifle not with sacred things. If thou wilt do good, yea and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation.
6 Verily, verily I say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done, for thou hast inquired of me, and behold as often as thou hast inquired, thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.
7 Behold thou knowest that thou hast inquired of me, and I did enlighten thy mind; and now I tell thee these things, that thou mayest know that thou hast been enlightened by the Spirit of truth; yea, I tell thee, that thou mayest know that there is none else save God, that knowest thy thoughts and the intents of thy heart: I tell thee these things as a witness unto thee, that the words or the work which thou hast been writing is true:
8 Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be, for the word’s sake. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate; have patience, faith, hope and charity. [p. 15]
9 Behold thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires, therefore, treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will incircle thee in the arms of my love.
10 Behold I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto my own and my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.10
11 Verily, verily I say unto you, if you desire a further witness, cast your mind upon the night that you cried unto me in your heart, that you might know concerning the truth of these things; did I not speak peace to your mind concering the matter?— What greater witness can you have than from God? And now behold, you have received a witness, for if I have told you things which no man knoweth, have you not received a witness? And behold I grant unto you a gift if you desire of me, to translate even as my servant Joseph.
12 Verily, verily I say unto you, that there are records which contain much of my gospel, which have been kept back because of the wickedness of the people; and now I command you, that if you have good desires, a desire to lay up treasures for yourself in heaven, then shall you assist in bringing to light, with your gift, those parts of my scriptures which have been hidden because of iniquity.
13 And now behold I give unto you, and also unto my servant Joseph, the keys of this gift, which shall bring to light this ministry;11 and in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established.12
14 Verily, verily I say unto you, if they reject my words, and this part of my gospel and ministry, bles[p. 16]sed are ye, for they can do no more unto you than unto me; and if they do unto you, even as they have done unto me, blessed are ye, for you shall dwell with me in glory: but if they reject not my words, which shall be established by the testimony which shall be given, blessed are they; and then shall ye have joy in the fruit of your labors.
15 Verily, verily I say unto you, as I said unto my disciples, where two or three are gathered together in my name, as touching one thing, behold there will I be in the midst of them:13 even so am I in the midst of you. Fear not to do good my sons, for whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap: therefore, if ye sow good, ye shall also reap good for your reward:
16 Therefore fear not little flock, do good, let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my Rock, they cannot prevail. Behold I do not condemn you, go your ways and sin no more: perform with soberness the work which I have commanded you: look unto me in every thought, doubt not, fear not: behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet: be faithful; keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven: Amen. [p. 17]