“Doctrine and Covenants 15,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 15,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Fayette Township, Seneca Co., NY, to John Whitmer, June 1829. Featured version, titled “Chapter XIII,” typeset [ca. early 1833] for Book of Commandments, 33. 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 extant version. For more information, see the source note for the Book of Commandments on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
This revelation and the one that follows were directed to brothers John Whitmer and Peter Whitmer Jr., respectively, in early June 1829, soon after they were baptized. The two revelations are identical but were addressed to each man separately. When compiling Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer copied in the revelation addressed to himself before the revelation to Peter, implying they were received in that order.2
Members of the Whitmer family became interested in JS’s work as early as fall 1828.3 Three of the sons of Peter Whitmer Sr., John (twenty-six), David (twenty-four), and Peter Jr. (nineteen), all became “zealous friends and assistants in the work.” Peter Jr. and David were baptized sometime in June 1829 in Seneca Lake, New York, and John was probably one of those baptized the same month.4 On occasion, John served as a scribe to JS when Oliver Cowdery was not available to record JS’s dictation of the Book of Mormon. John and Peter Jr. were “anxious to know their respective duties” and “desired with much earnestness that I [JS] should enquire of the Lord concerning them.”5
1 A Revelation given to John [Whitmer], in Fayette, New-York, June, 1829.6
HEARKEN my servant John, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer, for behold I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth, and I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone:7 for many times you have desired8 of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.
2 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given you, according to my commandments:9
3 And now behold I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you, will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me,10 that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father.11 Amen. [p. 33]