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Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 32

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“Doctrine and Covenants 32,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 32,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 32

Revelation, October 1830–A

Source Note

Revelation, Manchester Township, Ontario Co., NY, Oct. 1830. Featured version copied [ca. Aug. 1834] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 83–84; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; Revelations Collection, CHL. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

After Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer Jr. were called on a mission to preach to the American Indians in September 1830,1 several other elders expressed a desire to see the fulfillment of God’s purposes among “the remnants of the house of Joseph—the Lamanites residing in the west.” JS inquired “of the Lord respecting the propriety of sending som[e] of the Elders among them,” resulting in the following revelation for Parley P. Pratt and Ziba Peterson.2

With his longstanding interest in the American Indians, Pratt no doubt welcomed the call. He had set out for Ohio from New York in the fall of 1826, when he was nineteen, with plans to preach to the Indians. He later recalled his youthful thoughts: “I will win the confidence of the red man; I will learn his language; I will tell him of Jesus; I will read to him the Scriptures; I will teach him the arts of peace; to hate war, to love his neighbor, to fear and love God.”3 However, Pratt did not then follow through with his plan. Instead, he built a small log hut some thirty miles west of Cleveland, Ohio, and spent the winter in reading and study, especially of the Bible. The following summer he returned to New York, married Thankful Halsey, and went back to Ohio with his new bride.4 In 1829, Pratt, who was a Baptist, was influenced by Sidney Rigdon, a restorationist preacher affiliated with Alexander Campbell. Attracted by the Campbellites’ efforts to recreate the primitive church of the New Testament and by their expectation of Christ’s second coming, Pratt decided to become an itinerant preacher of their message. In the summer of 1830, Pratt and his wife left Ohio for their “native place,” Columbia County, New York, where he planned to preach. En route by canal boat, Pratt responded to what he felt were spiritual promptings and disembarked at Newark, near Palmyra, leaving his wife to travel on alone. Pratt encountered a Baptist deacon who loaned him a copy of the Book of Mormon; he soon “knew and comprehended that the book was true.”5 Pratt then traveled to the Palmyra area, where he met Hyrum Smith. Shortly after, the two traveled to Fayette, where Pratt was baptized into the Church of Christ and ordained an elder. He then continued on to Columbia County to rejoin his wife and proselytize friends and family.6

Pratt soon learned of the call Cowdery and Whitmer had received to preach to the Lamanites. Not long after, the revelation featured here called Pratt, along with Ziba Peterson, to accompany them. Peterson, a resident of Macedon, New York, was a founding elder of the Church of Christ and received an elder’s license on 9 June 1830.7

Unlike other revelations from this period, this revelation was not recorded in Revelation Book 1. It is possible that Pratt took the only copy with him when he left on his mission, making it unavailable for inclusion when John Whitmer was compiling the relevant portion of the book. When this revelation was later recorded in Revelation Book 2 (the source for the text presented here), it included the notation “Manchester Oct 1830.” Though the precise date of the revelation was not recorded, it was likely dictated shortly before 17 October, when Pratt and the other missionaries assigned to preach to the Lamanites signed a covenant to follow Cowdery as he led them in their missionary labors.8

Parley P. Pratt and Sidney Rigdon

Parley P. Pratt. After becoming associated with Sidney Rigdon and embracing the reformed Baptist movement, Pratt joined the Church of Christ in September 1830. Shortly thereafter, he was called to serve a mission to the Indians. En route, he and three other missionaries stopped in Ohio and preached to Rigdon’s congregation, many of whom were baptized. (Courtesy Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City.)

Revelation to Parley [P.] Pratt to go to th[e] wilderness9

[1]And now concerning my servant Parley behold I say unto him that as I live I will that he shall declare my gospel and Learn of me and be [p. 83] meek and lowly of heart [2]and that which I have appointed unto him is that he shall go with my servant Oliver [Cowdery] and Peter [Whitmer Jr.]10 into the wilderness among the Lamanites [3]and Ziba [Peterson] also shall go with them and I myself will go with them and be in their midst and I am their advocate with the Father and nothing shall prevail [4]and they shall give heed to that which is writen and pretend to no other revelation and they shall pray always that I may unfold them to their understanding [5]and they shall give heed unto these words and trifle not and I will bless them amen Manchester11 Oct 1830—