“Doctrine and Covenants 46,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 46,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, ca. 8 Mar. 1831. Featured version, titled “48th Commandment March ◊th. 1831,” copied [between ca. Mar. and June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 76–78; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
In the heading to this text in Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer wrote that it was directed “to the Church concerning conformation & sacrament meetings &c.” JS’s revelations and the Book of Mormon addressed these topics even before the founding of the Church of Christ in 1830. In May 1829 JS dictated a passage as part of his translation of the gold plates which stated, “And behold, ye shall meet together oft, and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you, and forbid them not.”1 Just weeks later Oliver Cowdery drew upon these instructions in his “Articles of the Church of Christ,” which directed, “And the church shall meet together oft for prayer & suplication casting out none from your places of worship but rather invite them to come.”2 The JS document “Articles and Covenants,” unanimously approved at the 9 June 1830 conference of the church, stated the following concerning “church members after they are received by baptism”: “The elders or priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning this church of Christ to their understanding previous to their partaking of the sacrament, and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the elders, so that all things shall be done in order.”3
When John Whitmer introduced this revelation in his history he explained: “In the beginning of the church, while yet in her infancy, the disciples used to exclude unbelievers, which caused some to marvel, and converse about this matter because of the things that were written in the Book of Mormon. Therefore the Lord deigned to speak on this subject, that his people might come to understanding.”4 The revelation made clear that none were to be excluded from public worship meetings.
Besides clarifying matters related to church meetings, this revelation also addressed spiritual gifts, which were described in both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.5 After JS’s arrival in Ohio, he encountered spiritual expressions that he deemed unacceptable.6 In a letter to his brother Hyrum, JS reported that on 4 March, less than a week before dictating this revelation, he aided a woman who “had an awful strugle with satan but being armed with the power of God he was cast out and the woman is Clothed in hir right mind.” In the same letter, JS noted that since his arrival in Ohio, “I hav[e] been ingageed in regulating the Churches here as the deciples are numerous and the devil had made many attempts to over throw them it has been a Serious job but the Lord is with us and we have overcome and have all things regular.”7 This revelation lists some acceptable spiritual gifts and warns that others are of the devil.
48th Commandment March ◊th. 8 1831
given at Kirtland geauga County Ohio to the Church concerning conformation & sacrament meetings &c9
Hearken oh ye my people of my Church for Verily I say unto you that these things are spoken unto you for your profit & learning but notwithstanding those things which are written it always has been given to the Elders of my Church from the begining & ever shall be to conduct all meetings as they are conducted & guided by the Holy spirit10 nevertheless ye are commanded never to cast any one out from your publick meetings [p. 76] which are held before the world ye are also commanded never to cast any one out who belongeth to the Church out of your sacrament meetings11 nevertheless if any have trespassed let him not partake untill he makes reconciliation12 And again I say unto you ye shall not cast any out of your sacrement meetings who is earnestly seeking the Kingdom I speak this concerning
this those who are not of the Church And again I say unto you concerning your confirmation meetings13 that if there be any that is not of the Church that is earnestly seeking after the Kingdom ye Shall not cast them out but ye are commanded in all things to ask of God who giveth liberally & that which the spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all Holyness of heart walking uprightly before me considering the end of your salvation doing all things with prayer & thanksgiving that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits or doctrines of Devils14 or the commandments of men for some are of men & others of Devils Wherefore beware lest ye are deceived & that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts15 always remembering for what they were are given for verily I say unto you they are given for the benefit of those who love me & keep all my commandments & him that seeketh so to do that all may be benefitted that seeketh or that asketh of me that asketh & not for a sign that he may consume it upon his lusts16 And again Verily I say unto you I would that ye should always remember & always retain in your minds what these gifts are that are given unto the Church for all have not every gift given unto them for there are many gifts & to evry man is given a gift by the spirit of God to some is given one & to some is given another that all may be profited thereby to some is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the son of God & that he was crusified for the sins of the World to others it is given to believe on their words that they also may might have eternal life if they continue faithful And again to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the [p. 77] Defferences of administeration as it will be pleasing unto the same Lord according as the Lord will suiting his mercies according to the conditions of the children of men And again it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of opperations whether it be of God or not so that the manifestations of the spirit may be given to evry man to prophet [profit] withall And again Verily I say unto you to some it is given by the spirit of God the word of wisdom to another it is given the word of Knowledge that all may be taught to be wise & to have knowledge & again to some it is given to have faith to be healed & to others it is given to have faith to heal And again to some it is given the working of miracles & to others it is given to prophecy & to others the decerning of spirits & again it is given to some to speak with tongues & to another it is given the interpretation of tongues17 & all these18 gifts cometh from [God]19 for the benefit of the children of God & unto the Bishop of the Church & unto such as God sahall appoint & ordain to watch over the Church & to <be> the Elders unto the Church are to have it given unto [them] to decern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you prophecying & yet not be of God20 & it shall come to pass that he that asketh in spirit shall receive in spirit that unto some it may be given to have all those gifts that there may be a head in order that evry member may be propheted profited thereby he that asketh in spirit asketh according to the will of God wherefore it is done even as he asketh & again I say unto you all things must be done in the name of Christ whatsoever you do in the spirit & ye must give thanks unto God in the spirit for whatsoever blessing ye are blessed with & ye must practice virtue & holyness before me continually even so amen [p. 78]