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Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 56
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“Doctrine and Covenants 56,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 56,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 56

Revelation, 15 June 1831

Source Note

Revelation, [Kirtland Township, OH], 15 June 1831. Featured version, titled “59th. Commandment June 15th. 1831,” copied [ca. June 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 91–93; 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

When he copied the following revelation into Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer introduced it by writing, “Thomas [B.] Marsh was desirous to know what he should do as the Lord had commanded him & Ezra Thayer to take their Journey to the land of Missorie but Thayer could not get ready as soon as Thomas wanted that he should.” Thayer and Marsh had been commanded in a 6 June 1831 revelation to “take their Journey also preaching the word by the way unto this same land [Missouri],”1 and nine days later, Marsh was apparently ready to depart with others traveling to Missouri while Thayer was not. An earlier revelation directed Thayer to board with Joseph Smith Sr. on Frederick G. Williams’s farm. That same revelation directed that “all the Brethren immediately assemble together & put up an house for my Servent Ezra” on Williams’s property. It also instructed Thayer to “humble himself & at the conference meeting he shall be ordained unto power from on high & he shall go from thence (if he be obedient unto my commandments) & proclaim my Gospel unto the western regions with my Servents that must go forth even unto the borders of the Lamanit[e]s.”2

It is uncertain what prevented Thayer from accompanying Marsh, but this revelation refers to the “former commandment which I have given him [Thayer] concerning the place upon which he lives” and the money Thayer had apparently paid for it. It is likely that he paid some of the balance Williams owed Isaac Moore on the farm where he and the Joseph Smith Sr. family lived and worked.3 Because the revelation asserts that “there shall no divisions be made upon the land,” Thayer may have previously requested that before his departure for Missouri, a title be assigned to him for the portion of land he had paid for. The revelation also suggests that he might have requested that the money he had paid toward the debt be returned to him if he was not assigned title.

The 6 June 1831 revelation had also directed that Newel Knight, leader of the Colesville branch then located at Thompson, Ohio, and Selah Griffin travel together to Missouri.4 Both men received further instruction in this 15 June revelation. Recent difficulties between the Colesville, New York, believers and landowner Leman Copley, who withdrew his offer to allow them to settle on his property, prompted a 10 June revelation that directed the Colesville group to move to Missouri. That revelation further instructed the Thompson members to “appoint whom you will to be your leader & to pay moneyes for you.”5 Upon learning that revelations had both dictated their removal to Missouri and assigned their leader Newel Knight to leave them for a preaching mission, some of the members in Thompson may have voiced concerns to JS.6 Whatever the impetus, this revelation rescinded the command for Knight to leave on a mission and instead assigned Knight’s previously named missionary companion, Selah Griffin, to accompany Marsh in place of Thayer.


59th. Commandment June 15th. 1831

Thomas [B.] Marsh was desirous to know what he should do as the Lord had commanded him & Ezra Thayer to take their Journey to the land of Missorie but Thayer could not get ready as he said soon as Thomas wanted that he should & these are the words of the Lord as follows7

[1]Hearken O ye people which Profess my name saith the lord your God for Behold mine anger is kindeled against the rebelious & they shall know mine arm & mine indignation in the day of visitation & of wrath upon the Nations [2]& he that will not take up his cross & follow me & keep my commandments the same shall not be saved [3]behold I the Lord commandeth & he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time [p. 91] And after that I have commanded & the commandment is broken [4]Wherefore I the lord command & revoke as it seemeth me good & all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebelious saith the Lord [5]Wherefore I revoke the commandment which was given unto my servent Thomas & Ezra8 & give a new commandment unto my Servent Thomas that he shall take up his Journey speedily to the land of Missorie & my servent Sealy [Selah] Griffin shall also go with him [6]for behold I revoke the commandment which was given to my servents Sealy & Newel [Knight]9 in consequence of the stiffneckedness of my people which are in Thompson & their rebelions [7]Wherefore let my servent Newel remain with them & as many as will go may go that are contrite before me & be led by him to the land which I have appointed [8]& again verily I say unto you that my servent Ezra Thayer must repent of his pride & his selfishness & obey the former commandment which I have given him concerning the place upon which he lives [9]& if he will do this10 as there shall no divisions be <be> made upon the land he shall be appointed still to go to the land of Missorie [10]otherwise he shall receive the money which he has paid & shall leave the place & shall be cut off out of my Church saith the Lord god of host [11]& though the Heavens & the Earth pass away these words shall not pass away but shall be fulfilled [12]& if my servent Joseph must needs pay the money Behold I the Lord will pay <it> unto him again in the land of Missorie that those of whom he shall receive may be rewarded again according to that which they do [13]they shall receive11 even in lands for their in heritance [14]Behold thus saith the lord unto my people you have many things to do & to repent of for behold your sins have come up unto me & are not pardoned because you seek to council in your own ways [15]& your hearts are not satisfied & y◊ obey not the truth but have pleasure in unrighteousness12 [16]wo! unto you rich men that will not give your substance to the poor for your riches will kanker your souls And this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation & of Judgement & of indignation the Harvest is past the summer is ended & my soul is not saved13 [17]wo! unto you poor men whose hearts are not broken whose spirits are not contrite & whose bellys are not satisfied & whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other mens goods whose eyes are full of greediness whos will not labour with their own hands14 [p. 92] [18]But blessed are the poor <who are pure in heart whose hearts are broken &> whose spirits are contrite for they shall see the Kingdom of God coming with power & great glory15 unto their deliverance for the fatness of the Earth16 shall be theirs [19]for Behold the lord shall come & his recompence17 shall be with him & he shall reward every man & the poor shall rejoice [20]& their generations shall inherit the Earth from generation to generation for ever & ever18 & now I make an end of speaking unto you even So amen