Doctrine and Covenants Study
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 19

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“Doctrine and Covenants 19,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 19,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 19

Revelation, circa Summer 1829

Source Note

Revelation, Manchester Township, Ontario Co., NY, to Martin Harris, [ca. summer 1829, though possibly Mar. 1830]. Featured version, titled “Chapter XVI,” typeset [ca. early 1833] for Book of Commandments, 39–42. John Whitmer copied this revelation [ca. Mar. 1831] into Revelation Book 1, but the pages on which the first part of the revelation 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.

Historical Introduction

This revelation, directed to Martin Harris, clarified doctrines regarding the nature of God, Christ’s atonement, repentance, and the afterlife, and it counseled Harris on a variety of matters. Its immediate purpose was to assure payment to printer E. B. Grandin by commanding Harris to “not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon.”

Although the first two published versions date this revelation to March 1830,2 the earliest extant manuscript and the context for the revelation better support a summer 1829 date. The earliest manuscript version, found in Revelation Book 1, is only partially extant. It includes only the final portion of the revelation and does not bear a date.3 But when John Whitmer inscribed it in Revelation Book 1, he placed it within a series of 1829 revelations and listed it in the book’s index as an 1829 revelation.4 When the revelation was first printed, in the 1833 Book of Commandments, it was dated March 1830, with the location and date in parentheses. The Book of Commandments used parentheses frequently to supply information not included in manuscript sources, while the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants eliminated all such parentheses, with one exception: it retained the parentheses around the dating of this revelation, suggesting that the 1830 date was not certain. Although a recollection by Joseph Knight Sr. seems to provide evidence for a March 1830 date, Knight’s placement of the revelation in the later time frame is likely explained by his reliance on the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants.5

In June 1829, before this revelation was dictated, Harris and JS talked with several printers in Palmyra and Rochester, New York, about printing the Book of Mormon, finally settling on E. B. Grandin of Palmyra. John H. Gilbert, the compositor who assisted Grandin in estimating the cost of the project and later typeset the Book of Mormon, recalled that Harris initiated the negotiations and planned to pay for the printing.6 Gilbert also remembered that Grandin would not begin work or purchase the needed type from the foundry until “after Harris had promised to insure the payment for the printing.”7 Grandin’s price to print five thousand copies was $3,000, which would require Harris to impart essentially all of the property to which he had legal right.8 Printing began in September 1829.9

JS likely dictated the text of this revelation sometime after the negotiations in June and before 25 August 1829, when Harris mortgaged his property to Grandin as payment for the publication, thus apparently fulfilling the revelation’s injunction to “pay the printer’s debt.”10 The language of the revelation suggests that Harris had already agreed to Grandin’s terms but had not yet arranged payment. Grandin’s brother-in-law later recalled that “Harris became for a time in some degree staggered in his confidence; but nothing could be done in the way of printing without his aid.”11 Once Harris mortgaged his property, however, Grandin considered himself paid in full.12 According to Gilbert, printing then proceeded: “As quick as Mr. Grandin got his type and got things all ready to commence the work, Hyrum Smith brought to the office 24 pages of manuscript on foolscap paper.”13

John H.Gilbert

John H. Gilbert. Circa 1890. Gilbert was a typesetter in E. B. Grandin’s printshop in Palmyra, New York, in 1829 and 1830. This photograph of Gilbert with the press proofs for the Book of Mormon was taken decades after Gilbert helped set the type for the first edition of the book. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)


1 A commandment of God and not of man to you, Martin [Harris], given (Manchester, New-York, March, 1830,) by him who is eternal:

[1]YEA, even I, I am he, the beginning and the end: Yea, Alpha and Omega,14 Christ the Lord, the Redeemer of the world:

[2]2 I having accomplished and finished the will of him whose I am, even the Father:

3 Having done this, that I might subdue all things unto myself:

[3]4 Retaining all power, even to the destroying of satan and his works at the end of the world, and the last great day of judgment, which I shall pass upon the inhabitants thereof, judging every man according to his works, and the deeds which he hath done.15

[4]5 And surely every man must repent or suffer, for I God am endless:

[5]6 Wherefore, I revoke not the judgments which I shall pass, but woes shall go forth, weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth:

7 Yea, to those who are found on my left hand,16 [6]nevertheless, it is not written, that there shall be no end to this torment; but it is written endless torment.

[7]8 Again, it is written eternal damnation: wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, that it [p. 39] might work upon the hearts of the children of men, altogether for my name’s glory:

[8]9 Wherefore, I will explain unto you, this mystery, for it is mete unto you, to know even as mine apostles.

[9]10 I speak unto you that are chosen in this thing, even as one, that you may enter into my rest.

[10]11 For behold, the mystery of Godliness how great is it? for behold I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand, is endless punishment, for endless is my name:

12 Wherefore—

[11]Eternal punishment


[12]Endless punishment

is God’s punishment:

is God’s punishment:

[13–14]13 Wherefore, I command you by my name, and by my Almighty power, that you repent: [15]repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth,17 and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore:

14 How sore you know not!

15 How exquisite you know not!

16 Yea, how hard to bear you know not!

[16]17 For behold, I God have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer, if they would repent, [17]but if they would not repent, they must suffer even as I:

[18]18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore,18 both body and spirit:

19 And would that I might not drink the bitter cup and shrink:

[19]20 Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men:

[20]21 Wherefore, I command you again by my Al[p. 40]mighty power, that you confess your sins, lest you suffer these punishments of which I have spoken, of which in the smallest, yea, even in the least degree you have tasted at the time I withdrew my Spirit.19

[21]22 And I command you, that you preach nought but repentance; and show not these things,20 neither speak these things unto the world, [22]for they can not bear meat, but milk they must receive:21

23 Wherefore, they must not know these things lest they perish:

[23]24 Wherefore, learn of me, and listen to my words; walk in the meekness of my Spirit and you shall have peace in me, [24]Jesus Christ by the will of the Father.

[25]25 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.22

26 Nor seek thy neighbor’s life.

[26]27 And again: I command you, that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God,23 [27]which is my word to Gentile, that soon it may go to the Jew, of which the Lamanites are a remnant; that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come which has already come.

[28]28 And again: I command you, that thou shalt pray vocally as well as to thyself:

29 Yea, before the world as well as in secret; in public as well as in private.

[29]30 And thou shalt declare glad tidings; yea, publish it upon the mountains, and upon every high place, and among every people which thou shalt be permitted to see.24

[30]31 And thou shalt do it with all humility, trusting in me, reviling not against revilers. [p. 41]

[31]32 And of tenets thou shalt not talk, but thou shalt declare repentance and faith on the Savior and remission of sins by baptism and by fire; yea, even the Holy Ghost.25

[32]33 Behold this is a great and the last commandment which I shall give unto you:

34 For this shall suffice for thy daily walk even unto the end of thy life.

[33]35 And misery thou shalt receive, if thou wilt slight these counsels; Yea, even destruction of thyself and property.

[34]36 Impart a portion of thy property; Yea, even a part of thy lands and all save the support of thy family.

[35]37 Pay the printer’s debt.

38 Release thyself from bondage.

[36]39 Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see them.

[37]40 And speak freely to all: Yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice; with a sound of rejoicing, crying hosanna! hosanna! blessed be the name of the Lord God.

[38]41 Pray always and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing:

42 Yea, even more than if you should obtain treasures of earth, and corruptibleness to the extent thereof.

[39]43 Behold, canst thou read this without rejoicing, and lifting up thy heart for gladness; [40]or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide;26 [41]or canst thou be humble and meek and conduct thyself wisely before me:

44 Yea, come unto me thy Savior. Amen. [p. 42]