“Doctrine and Covenants 55,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 55,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, [Kirtland Township, OH], to William W. Phelps, 14 June 1831. Featured version, titled “58 Comandment June 14th. 1831,” copied [ca. June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, p. 91; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
This revelation was directed to William W. Phelps. In 1830, Phelps was the publisher of an anti-Masonic newspaper, the Ontario Phoenix, in Canandaigua, New York, about fourteen miles from Palmyra. On 9 April, two weeks after the Book of Mormon was offered for sale, Phelps purchased a copy. He later wrote, “Notwithstanding my body was not baptized into this church till … June, 1831, yet my heart was there from the time I became acquainted with the book of Mormon.” In December 1830 he traveled to Fayette, New York, to meet JS and came away from the experience further committed to the new movement and convinced that he needed to “quit the folly of my way, and the fancy and fame of this world, and seek the Lord and his righteousness.”1 In late April 1831, shortly after the majority of church members left New York for Ohio, Phelps was arrested and imprisoned for thirty days in Lyons, New York, apparently over a delinquent debt he owed in Canandaigua.2 While incarcerated, Phelps relinquished the editorship of the Phoenix,3 and immediately after his release he journeyed with his family to Ohio to join the Saints. He reached Buffalo, New York, on 12 June 18314 and was in Kirtland, Ohio, by 14 June. His arrival prompted this revelation, which directed that he be ordained an elder and that he assist Oliver Cowdery in doing “the work of Printing.” Phelps was soon ordained an elder and later served as a printer for The Evening and the Morning Star.
58 Comandment June 14th. 1831
A Revelation to William [W.] Phelps & Joseph Coe their Calling &c5——
Behold thus saith the lord unto you my servent William yea even the lord of the whole Earth thou art called & chosen &
hast after thou hast been baptized by water6 which if you do with an eye single to my glory you shall have a remission of your sins & a reception of the Holy spirit by the laying on of hands & then thou shalt be ordained by the hand of my servent Joseph to be an Elder7 unto this Church to Preach repentance & remission of sins by way of baptism in the name of Jesus Christ the son of the living God & on whomsoever you shall lay your hands & if they are contrite before me you shall have power t◊ give the holy spirit & again thou shalt be ordained to assist my servent Oliver [Cowdery] to do the work of Printing8 & of Selecting & writing Books for Schools in this Church that little Children also may receive instruction before me as is pleasing unto me9 & again verily I say unto you for this cause thou shalt take thy Journey with my servents Joseph & Sidney [Rigdon] that thou mayest be planted in the land of thine inheritance to do this work & again let my servent Joseph (Coe)10 also take his Journey with them the residue shall be made known hereafter even as I will Amen