“Doctrine and Covenants 44,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 44,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, to JS and Sidney Rigdon, Feb. 1831. Featured version, titled “46th Commandment Febu. 1831,” copied [between ca. Mar. and June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 70–71; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
Shortly after JS and Emma Smith relocated to Kirtland, Ohio, in early February 1831, a revelation established laws to govern the church. The “first Commandment” declared on that occasion was for the elders to go two by two “in to the regions westward” to preach the gospel and build up the church.1 A short time later JS dictated the revelation featured here, which commanded the elders to assemble together so that the Lord could “pour out” his Spirit in preparation for more missionary work. When John Whitmer copied this text into Revelation Book 1, likely during summer 1831, he dated it simply February 1831. JS’s history dates the revelation to the “latter part of February” but likewise provides no specific date.2 However, JS implied a date prior to 22 February when he apparently alluded to this revelation in a letter to Martin Harris, whom he instructed to “inform the Elders which are there that all of them who can be spared will come here without delay if possable this by Commandment of the Lord.”3 Similarly, John Whitmer explained in the heading to this document that the revelation was “a call to the Eldrs of this Church &c.,” and he later recorded that “the elders were sent for according to the … Revelation.”4 JS wrote to his brother Hyrum shortly after the revelation was written and told him that “the work is brakeing forth on the right hand and on the left and there is a great Call for Elders in this place.”5
There is some uncertainty as to when the proposed meeting of the elders, the “day that they assemble themselves together,” occurred. Minute Book 2 records a “special meeting of the Elders of the Church of Christ held at Kirtland Geauga Co. Ohio, April 9. 1831. to do Church business &c.,” but little else is said about the content of that meeting.6 However, JS’s history explains that this revelation “caused the church to appoint a conference to be held on the 6th of June ensuing.”7 The records relating to the June 1831 conference include an extensive list of elders as well as accounts of ordinations to the “High Priesthood.”8 The June conference, rather than the 9 April meeting, is therefore more likely the meeting to which the elders were called to gather.
46th Commandment Febu. 1831
A Revelation to Joseph & Sidney [Rigdon] Receivd at Kirtland Geauga Ohio a call to the Eldrs of this
Church &c Church &c9
Blehold thus saith the Lord unto you my Servents it is expedient in me that the Elders of my Church should be called to gether from the East & from the West & from the North & from the South by letter or some other way & it shall come to pass that I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together & it shall come to pass that they shall go forth unto the regions round about & preach repentance unto this People & many shall be converted insomuch that ye shall obtain power to organize yourselves according to the laws of man10 that your enemies may be under your feet11 in all things that ye may be enabled to keep my laws that evry band12 may be broken wherewith the enemy seeketh to destroy my People Behold I say unto [p. 70] you that ye must visit the poor & the needy & administer to their releaf that they may be kept untill all things may be done according to my law which ye have receivd13 amen