“Doctrine and Covenants 25,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 25,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Harmony Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, to Emma Smith, [July] 1830. Featured version, titled “27th. Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 34–35; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
JS dictated this revelation for Emma Hale Smith, his wife, in July 1830. As with the other two July 1830 revelations, the precise date of the revelation is unknown. The earliest manuscript copy noted only the year, but its first printing in 1833 included the July 1830 date that has been carried forward in all subsequent editions.1 That the revelation discusses much of the same subject matter found in the other two July 1830 revelations strengthens this July 1830 identification. The period from April to mid-July 1830 involved a flurry of activity that included the organization of the Church of Christ, meetings in three different locations, and many convert baptisms.2 Emma was one of those baptized on 28 June at Colesville, New York, but the confirmations were delayed because of opposition.
The 1833 Book of Commandments placed the revelation directed to Emma Smith between the other two July 1830 texts, but when John Whitmer, who was in Harmony in July and was the recipient of one of these revelations, originally copied all three into Revelation Book 1, he placed this one last, the order accepted here.3 In addition to the Revelation Book 1 copy, private copies also were made, such as Ezra Booth’s. This was also one of the few revelations reproduced in Eber D. Howe’s Mormonism Unvailed in 1834.4
By July 1830, JS had dictated almost thirty revelations for individuals or small groups, but no women are known to have been included among the recipients. This revelation reflected the vital role that Emma Smith played in JS’s life and also foreshadowed a larger role for her in his work. The revelation called her “an Elect Lady” and charged her to comfort JS in his afflictions, select hymns for the church, preach to church members, and write for JS so that Oliver Cowdery could serve elsewhere.
When Whitmer copied this text into Revelation Book 1, he described it as a commandment to Emma Smith “to select Hymns.” In 1835, she, along with William W. Phelps, compiled the church’s first hymnal, A Collection of Sacred Hymns, for the Church of the Latter Day Saints, one of the few church publications at the time and a book that played an important part in the church’s worship practices.5 The revelation also explained to Emma, “Thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound Scriptures & exhort the Church.” When the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo was founded in 1842 and the members selected Emma as the president, JS read this revelation to those who were present and explained that Emma had been “ordain’d at the time, the Revelation was given, to expound the scriptures to all; and to teach the female part of community.”6
27th. Commandment AD 1830
A Revelation to Emma [Smith] given at Harmony Susquehan[na] County state of Pennsylvania giving her a command to select Hymns &c7
A Revelation I give unto you concerning my will Behold thy sins are for given thee & thou art an Elect Lady8 whom I have called murmer not because of the things which thou hast not seen for they are withheld from thee & the World which is wisdom in me in a time to come & the office of thy calling shall be for a comfort unto my Servent Joseph thy husband in his afflictions with consoleing words in the spirit of meekness & thou shalt go with him at the time of his going & be unto him a Scribe that I may send Oliver [Cowdery] whithersoever I will & thou shalt be ordained under his hand to expound Scriptures & exhort the Church according as it shall be given thee by my spirit9 for he shall lay his hands upon the[e] & thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost10 & thy time shall be [p. 34] Given to writing
s & to Learning & thou needest not fear for thy husband shall support thee from the Church for unto them is thy his calling that all things might be revealed unto them whatsoever I will according to their faith & verily I say unto you thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world & seek for the things of a better & it shall be given thee also to make a selection of Sacred Hymns as it shall be given thee which is pleasing unto me to be had in my Church for my Soul delighteth in the song of the heart yea the song of the heart righteous is a prayer unto me & it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads wherefore lift up thy heart & rejoice & cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made continue in the spirit of meekness & beware of Pride let thy soul delight in thy husband & the glory which shall come upon him keep my commandments continually & a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive & except thou do this where I am thou ye cannot come & verily I say unto you that this is my voice unto all even so amen