“Doctrine and Covenants 37,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 37,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Canandaigua Township, NY, to JS and Sidney Rigdon, [30 Dec.] 1830. Featured version, titled “40th Commandment AD 1830,” copied [ca. Mar. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, p. 49; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
A September 1830 revelation declared that all members of the Church of Christ should gather together into one place.1 A second revelation decreed that a “City” (the New Jerusalem) would be located “among the Lamanites.”2 Within a month, JS sent missionaries to search out the location for the New Jerusalem—understood to be the future gathering place—and to preach to American Indians. Traveling first to northeastern Ohio, these missionaries preached in the areas around Kirtland and Mentor. They remained in Ohio a few weeks and baptized several dozen individuals, many of whom were members of Sidney Rigdon’s restorationist congregation, before continuing west. After passing through Independence, Missouri, the group attempted to preach to the Indians who had been relocated by the United States government to territory just beyond the western border of Missouri.
In late 1830, two of the Ohio converts, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, visited JS in New York, where opposition to the church was intensifying. Rigdon stayed for two months and became JS’s close confidant, serving as scribe for his revision of the Bible.3 In late December, JS and Rigdon traveled from Fayette to Canandaigua, New York, and there continued work on JS’s inspired translation of the Bible. Shortly after their arrival, JS dictated this revelation, which formally designated Ohio as a gathering place for the Church of Christ. Three days later, on 2 January 1831, the third conference of the church convened in Fayette, and there JS announced the plan to gather in Ohio.
This revelation also directed JS and Rigdon to temporarily stop their revision of the Bible so they could preach to and strengthen the existing congregations in New York before the move to Ohio. They preached in public venues and believers’ homes in Canandaigua, Palmyra, Fayette, and Colesville.4
40th Commandment AD 1830
A Revelation to Sidney [Rigdon] & Joseph at a
t time that they went from Fayette to Canandaigua to translate &c given at Canandaigua Ontario County State of New York5
A Commandment to sidney & Joseph saying Behold I say unto ye that it is not Expedient in me that ye should Translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio & this because of the enemy & for your sakes6 & again I say unto you that ye shall not go untill ye have Preached my Gospel in those parts & have strengthened up the Church whithersoever it is found & more especially in Colesville for Behold they pray unto me in much faith7 & again a commandment I give unto the Church that it is expedient in me that they should assemble together at the Ohio
by <against> the time that my Servent Oliver [Cowdery] shall return unto them8 Behold here is wisdom & let evry man Choose for himself until I come amen even so amen