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Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 34

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“Doctrine and Covenants 34,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 34,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 34

Revelation, 4 November 1830

Source Note

Revelation, Fayette Township, Seneca Co., NY, to Orson Pratt, [4 Nov.] 1830. Featured version, titled “37th Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 45–46; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

Orson Pratt was baptized by his older brother Parley on 19 September 1830, Orson’s nineteenth birthday, in Canaan, New York.1 In October he traveled over two hundred miles to Fayette Township, New York, to meet JS. He arrived just after Parley and several others had been called by revelation “to go forth unto the Lamanites, to proclaim glad tidings of great joy unto them, by presenting unto them the fulness of the Gospel.”2 Orson Pratt later explained that he too wanted to know his duty and requested that JS “inquire of the Lord” for him. The result, according to Pratt’s account, was the following 4 November 1830 revelation, dictated by JS in his presence and written down by John Whitmer.3

James Van Cleave preserved a lengthier secondhand account of the reception of this revelation by reporting in a letter a later interview he had with Orson Pratt. According to Van Cleave, Pratt recounted that “after he was ordained an Elder in the Church of Christ, he was anxious to know what his mission was and would be, and at Peter Whitmer Sr’s residence he asked Joseph whether he could not ascertain what his mission was, and Joseph answered him that he would see, & asked Pratt and John Whitmer to go upstairs with him, and on arriving there Joseph produced a small stone called a seer stone, and putting it into a Hat soon commenced speaking and asked Elder P[ratt] to write as he would speak, but being too young and timid and feeling his unworthiness he asked whether Bro. John W[hitmer] could not write it, and the Prophet said that he could: Then came the revelation.”4

Though the revelation itself does not specify the area where Pratt was to preach, he later explained that his “mission was to Colesville, Broome County, N.Y.”5 The revelation left a deep impression on Pratt: “I thought that was a very great and important calling. … I felt, therefore, the importance of those sayings; and truly, when I looked at the magnitude and importance of the command given to me to prophesy by the power of the Holy Ghost, I felt oftentimes to tremble and shrink, for fear I never should be able to fulfill and accomplish so great a work.”6 Despite such trepidations, Pratt had by 2 December 1830 been ordained an elder and was on his way to Colesville to begin his mission.7

Orson Pratt. Soon after his baptism in September 1830, Pratt traveled to Fayette, New York, to meet Joseph Smith. On 4 November 1830, Smith dictated a revelation for Pratt, appointing him to preach. Shortly thereafter Pratt was ordained an elder and left for a mission to Colesville, New York. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

37th Commandment AD 1830

A Commandment to Orson [Pratt] his call to the ministery &c given at Fayette Seneca county State of New York8

[1]My Son Orson hearken ye & Behold what I the Lord God say unto you even Jesus Christ your Redeemer [2]the light & the life of the world9 & a10 light which shineth in darkness & the darkness Comprehendeth it not11 [3]who so loved the world that he gave his own life that as many as would believe might become the Sons & daughter[s] of God12 Wherefore ye are my Son [4]& blessed are ye because ye have believed [5]& more blessed are ye because ye are called of me to Preach my Gospel [6]to lift up your voice as with a the sound of a Trump both long & loud & cry repentance to a crooked & perverse generation13 prepareing the way of the Lord for his second Coming [7]for Behold Verily Verily I say unto you the time is soon at hand that I will come in a cloud with power & great glory14 [8]& it shall be a great day at the [p. 45] time of my coming for all nations shall tremble [9]but before that great day shall come the sun shall be darkened & the moon be turned into blood & the stars shall refuse their shineing15 & some shall fall & great distructions await the wicked [10]Wherefore lift up thy voice & spare not for the Lord God hath spoken16 therefore Prophecy & it shall be given by the power of the Holy Ghost [11]& if ye are faithful behold I am with you until I come [12]& Verily Verily I say unto you I come quickly17 even so your Lord & your redeemer amen