“Doctrine and Covenants 63,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 63,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 30 Aug. 1831; copied [ca. 30 Aug. 1831]; handwriting of Oliver Cowdery; three pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking. For more information, see the source note on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
Three days after JS arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, a 30 August revelation provided information about the gathering of the Saints to Missouri. As a later JS history explained, the identification of Independence as the “centre place” of Zion made “‘the land of Zion’ … the most important temporal object” to church members.1 Despite Zion’s importance, much uncertainty still surrounded the process of gathering to Zion. Funds were required to purchase lands in and around Independence for the gathering. A 1 August 1831 revelation had intimated that not all of the Saints would migrate to Zion at once, and some members may have questioned how leaders would determine who would move. That same revelation also instructed that an epistle and subscription “be presented unto all the Churches to obtain money to be put into the hands of the Bishop,”2 but who would take these documents to the different churches had not been determined. Compounding the problem of this uncertainty, JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Oliver Cowdery discovered upon their return to Ohio that “many [had] apostitized” in their absence.3 Coming on the heels of the antagonism that JS had apparently experienced from some of his company of elders on the return trip to Ohio, the knowledge that many others had fallen away was distressing: “We could not help beholding,” a later JS history recounts about this time period, “the exertions of Satan to blind the eyes of the people so as to hide the true light that lights every man that comes into the world.”4
The 30 August revelation addressed many of the issues JS faced on his return to Kirtland, providing instruction on how those who were to move to Zion would be selected, how quickly the Saints should gather to Zion, and how to prepare for Christ’s return to the earth. It condemned the wicked both in and out of the church, especially sign seekers and adulterers, and appointed Newel K. Whitney and Cowdery to raise money for Zion. As Rigdon wrote the next day, the revelation gave instruction on how to “escape … the day of tribulation which is coming on the earth.”5 A passage in this revelation addressed the church members residing on “this farm,” indicating that JS dictated the revelation on the Isaac Morley farm, where he had left his family in June and where many of the Saints traveling to Ohio in 1831 relocated.6
Oliver Cowdery served as scribe for this revelation. Whitney had a copy of the revelation in Cowdery’s handwriting, which may be the original inscription. However, the handwriting is so compact and neat that it is likely a fair copy made by Cowdery. He may have made it for Whitney and himself to take with them as they traveled together to the different churches.7 Whitney endorsed his copy with the date of 31 August 1831, likely an incorrect date. Other early copies of the revelation inscribed around this same time—including one that John Whitmer made in Revelation Book 1 and one that Sidney Gilbert made in his book of revelations—bear the date of 30 August.8
Hearken O ye people and open your hearts and give ear from afar and listen you that call yourselves the people of the Lord & hear the word of the Lord & his will concerning you yea verily I say hear the word of him whose anger is kindled against
you <the> wicked & rebellious who willeth to take even them whom he will take & preserveth in life them whom he will preserve who buildeth up at his own will & pleasure & destroyeth when he please & is able to cast the soul down to hell. Behold I the Lord uttereth my voice & <&> it shall be obeyed wherefore verily I say let the wicked take heed & let the rebellious fear & tremble & let the unbelieving hold their lips for the day of wrath shall come upon them as a whirlwind & all flesh shall know that I am God.9 And he that seeketh signs shall see signs but not unto salvation Verily I say unto you There are those among you who seeketh signs & there has been such even from the beginning10 But behold faith cometh not by signs but signs follow those that believe11 yea signs cometh by faith not by the will of men nor as they please but by the will of God12 yea signs cometh by faith unto mighty works for without faith no man pleaseth God13 & with whom God is angry he is not well pleased wherefore unto such he sheweth no signs only in wrath unto their condemnation Wherefore I the Lord am not well pleased with those among you who have sought after signs & wonders for faith & not for the good of men unto my glory Nevertheless I gave commandments & many have turned away from my commandments & have not kept them There were among you adulterers & adulteresses some of whom have turned away from you & others remain with you that hereafter shall be revealed let such be aware & repent speedily lest judgements shall come upon them as a snare & their folly shall be made manifest14 & their works shall follow them in the eyes of the people & verily I say unto you as I have said before he that looketh on a woman to lust after her or if any shall commit adultry in his heart they shall not have the spirit but shall deny the faith & shall fear15 Wherefore I the Lord have said that the fearful & the unbelieving & all liars & whoso<ever> loveth & maketh a lie & the whoarmunger <& the> sorcerer should have their part in that lake which burneth with fire & brimstone which is the second death16 Verily I say <that> they shall not have part in the first resurrection And now behold I the Lord saith unto you that ye are not justified because of these things are among you nevertheless he that endureth in faith & doeth my will the same shall overcome & shall receive an inheritance upon the Earth when the day of transfiguration shall come when the earth shall be transfigured even according to the pattern which was shown unto mine apostles upon the mount of which account the fulness ye have not yet received.17 And now verily I say unto you that as I said that I would make known my will unto you behold I will make it known unto you not by the way of commandment for their are many who observe not to keep my commandments but unto him that keepeth my commandments I will give the mysteries of my Kingdom & the same shall be in him a well of <living> water springing up unto everlasting life18 And now behold this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his saints that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion19 not in haste lest there should be confusion which bringeth pestilence20 Behold the land of Zion I the Lord holdeth it in mine own hands nevertheless I the Lord rendereth unto Cezar the things which are Cezars21 Wherefore I the Lord willeth that you should purchase the lands that you may have advantage of the world that you may have claim on the world22 that they may not be stired up unto anger for satan putteth it into their hearts to anger & to the shedding of blood Wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood otherwise there is none inheritance for you & if by purchase d behold ye you are blessed & if by blood as ye are forbidden to shed blood lo your enemies are upon you23 & ye shall be scourged from city to city & from Synagogue to synagogue & but few shall stand to receive an inheritance I the Lord am angry with the wicked I am holding my spirit from the inhabitants of the earth I have sworn in my wrath & decreed wars upon the face of the earth & the wicked shall slay the wicked & fear shall come upon every man & the Saints also shall hardly escape24 [p. ] nevertheless I the Lord am with them & will come down in Heaven from the presence of God & consume the wicked with unquenchable fire25 & behold this is not yet but by & by Wherefore seeing that I the Lord have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth I willeth that my saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion & that every man should take righteousness in his hands & faithfulness upon his loins26 & lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth & declare both by word & by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked Wherefore let my Desiples in Kirtland arrange their temporal concerns which dwell upon this farm27 let my servant Titus [Billings] who has the care thereof dispose of the land28 that he may be prepared in the coming spring to take his journey up unto the land of Zion with those that dwell upon the face thereof excepting those whom I shall reserve unto myself that shall not go until I shall command them & let all the moneys which can be spared (it mattereth not unto me29 whether it be little or much) sent up unto the land of Zion unto them whom I have appointed to receive.30 Behold I the Lord will give unto my servant Joseph power that he shall be enabled to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion & those of my Desiples that shall tarry31 Let my servant Newel [K.] Whitney retain the his store or in other words the store32 yet for a little season nevertheless let him impart all the money which he can impart to be sent up unto the land of Zion behold these things are in his own hands let him do according to wisdom33 verily I say let him be ordained as an agent unto the Desiples that shall tarry & let him be ordained unto this power34 & now speedily go with <visit> the churches expounding these things unto them with my servant Oliver [Cowdery] behold this is my <will> with obtaining moneys even as I have directed35 he that is faithful & endureth shall overcome the world he that sendeth up treasures unto the land of Zion shall receive an inheritance in this world & his works shall follow him & also a reward in the world to come yea & blessed are the dead that die in the Lord from henceforth36 when the Lord shall come & old things shall pass away & all things become new37 they shall rise from the dead & shall not die & shall receive an inheritance before the Lord in the Holy City38 & he that liveth when the Lord shall come & have kept the faith blessed is he nevertheless it is appointed unto him to die at the age of man Wherefore children shall grow up until they become old.39 Old men shall die but they shall not sleep in the dust but they shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye40 Wherefore for this cause preached the apostles unto the world the resurrection of the dead these things are the things that ye must look for & speeking after the manner of the Lord they are now nigh at hand & in a time to come even in the day of the coming of the Son of man & until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise41 & & at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous & the wicked42 & in that day will I send mine angels & pluck out the wicked & cast into unquenchable fire43 And now <behold> verily I say unto you I the Lord am not pleased with my servant Sidney [Rigdon] he exaulted himself in his heart & received not counsel but grieved the spirit Wherefore his writing is not acceptable unto the Lord & he shall make another & if the Lord receive it not behold he standeth no longer in the office which he hath appointed him44 And again verily I say unto you let those who desire in their hearts in meekness to warn sinners to repentance let them be ordained unto this power for this is a day of warning & not a day of many worlds words45 for I the Lord am not to be mocked in the last days Behold I am from above & my power lieth beneath I am over all & in all & through all & searcheth all things & the days cometh that all things shall be subject unto me.46 Behold I am Alpha & Omega even Jesus Christ47 Wherefore let all men be ware how they take my name in their lips for behold verily I say that many there be who are under this condemnation who useth the name of the Lord & useth it in vain having not authority Wherefore let the church repent of their sins & I the Lord with <will> own them otherwise they shall be cut off. Remember that that cometh which cometh from above is sacred & must be spoken with care & by constraint of the spirit & in this there is no condemnation [p. ] and ye receive the spirit through prayer wherefore without this there remaineth condemnation. Let my servants Joseph & Sidney seek them a home as they are led taught through the spirit prayer by the spirit48 these things remain to overcome through patience that such may receive a more exceeding & eternal weight of glory49 otherwise a greater condemnation Amen.
Given by Joseph the Seer in Kirtland August 31, 1831 and written by Oliver—— [p. ]