“Doctrine and Covenants 64,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 64,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 11 Sept. 1831. Featured version, titled “67 Revelation Kirtland Sept 11th. 1831,” copied [ca. Sept. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 108–111; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
JS dictated a revelation in Kirtland, Ohio, on 11 September 1831, just a few days after arriving back from Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. Although the Missouri trip involved the identification of the site for the city of Zion and the dedication of land for the construction of a temple, it generated disappointment and disillusionment for some.1 Despite high expectations, Oliver Cowdery and his companions had been unsuccessful in their attempts to preach to the American Indians, or “Lamanites,” west of the Missouri border. Their subsequent efforts among the white population of Jackson County, Missouri, yielded little success.2 Disappointment also stemmed from the designation of Independence, a rough frontier village, as the “centre place” for the city of Zion.3 Ezra Booth, one of the elders called to travel to Missouri in the summer of 1831, also expressed disillusionment with JS himself. Booth complained that he and his companion, Isaac Morley, had to walk to Missouri while JS, Sidney Rigdon, and other church leaders traveled by way of stagecoach and canal.4 Apparently, Booth witnessed a confrontation between Edward Partridge and JS over the quality of Missouri land selected for purchase. Booth believed that JS’s conduct in these disagreements was unbecoming a Christian.5 Rigdon, likely referring to the same incident, placed the blame on Partridge, stating he had “insulted the Lord’s prophet in particular & assumed authority over him in open violation of the Laws of God.”6 Partridge was later penitent: the same minutes that contain Rigdon’s accusation record Partridge saying that “if Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will, as he is & has always been sorry.”7 Booth, on the other hand, apparently became more resentful, and a conference barred him from preaching as an elder in the church on 6 September 1831.8
A week later, this 11 September revelation expounded on the necessity of forgiveness and specifically referred to problems involving Booth, Morley, and Partridge, indicating that the latter two were forgiven for their sins. It also discussed preparations for the gathering to Missouri. The revelation clarified the relationship between Kirtland and Missouri: a previous revelation had established Independence as the “centre place”9 at which to build the city of Zion, and this revelation declared that Kirtland, where the Saints had previously gathered, would remain “a strong hold” for five years. It also indentified what property should be retained in Kirtland. Portraying a bright future for the land of Zion, the revelation offered encouragement to those who remained committed to the mission and leadership of JS.
The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. John Whitmer copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1 probably soon after its dictation, calling it “Directions to the Elders &c &c.” Sidney Gilbert also made a copy, dating the revelation 12 September 1831.10 Although JS held a conference of elders on 12 September—an appropriate setting for dictating a revelation11—all other manuscript copies bear the same 11 September date as the version of the text featured here.12
6713 Revelation Kirtland Sept 11th. 1831
Directions to the Elders &c &c14
Behold thus saith the Lord your God unto you O ye Elders [p. 108] of my Church hearken ye & hear & receive my will concerning you for verily I say unto you I will that ye should overcome the world15 wherefore I will have compassion upon you there are those among you who have sinned but verily I say for this once for mine own glory & for the salvation of Souls I have forgiven you your sins I will be mercyfull unto you for I have given unto you the Kingdom & the keys of the mysteries of the kingdom shall not be taken from my Servent Joseph while he liveth in-as-much as he obeyeth16 mine ordinances17 there are those who have sought occation18 against him without a cause nevertheless he hath sinned but verily I say unto you I the Lord forgiveth sins unto those who confess their sins before me & ask forgiveness who have not sinned unto death19 my Deciples in days of old sought occasion20 against one an other & forgave not one an other in their hearts21 & for this evil they were afflicted & sorely chastened wherefore I say unto you that ye had ought to forgive one another for he that forgiveth not his brother his tresspasses standeth condemned before the Lord for there remaineth in him the greater sin I the Lord will forgive whom I will forgive but of you it is required to forgive all men & ye had ought to say in your hearts let God Judge between me & thee22 & reward thee according to thy deeds & he that repenteth not of his sins & confess them not then ye
ye shall bring him before the church & do with him as the Scriptures direct Saith unto you either by commandment or <by> revelation23 & this ye shall do that God might be glorified not because ye forgive not having not compassion but that ye may be Justified24 in the eyes of the law that ye may not offend him who is your lawgiver verily I say for this cause ye shall do these things Behold I the Lord was angery with him who was my Servent Ezra [Booth] & also my Servent Isaac [Morley] for they kept not the Law neither the commandment they sought evil in their hearts & I the Lord withheld my spirit25 they condemned for evil that thing in which there was no evil26 nevertheless I have forgiven my Servent Isaac & also my Servent Edward [Partridge] Behold he hath sinned & Satan Seeketh to destroy his soul but when these things are made known unto them they repenteth [p. 109] Of the evil & they shall be forgiven & now verily I say that it is expedient in me that my servent Sidney (Gilbert) after a few weeks should return upon his business & to his agency in the Land of Zion27 & that which he hath seen & heard may be made known unto my Deciples that they perish not & for this cause have I spoken these things & again I say unto you that my servent Isaac may not be tempted above that which he is able to bear28 & council wrongfully to your hurt I gave commandment that this farm should be sold29 I willeth not that my servent Frederick [G. Williams] should sell his farm30 for I the Lord willeth to retain a strong hold in the Land of Kirtland for the space of five years in the which I will not overthrow the wicked that thereby I may save some & after that day I the Lord will not hold any guilty that shall go with open hearts up to the Land of Zion31 for I the Lord requireth the hearts of the Children of men Behold now it is called to day & verily it is a day of Sacrifice & a day for the tithing of my People for he that is tithed shall not be burned32 for after to day cometh the burning this is speaking after the manner of the Lord for verily I say tomorrow all the proud & they that do wickedly shall be as stuble & I will burn them up saith the Lord for I am the Lord of hosts33 & I will not spare any that remaineth in Babylon wherefore if ye believe me ye will labour while it is called to day & it is not meet that my servent Newel [K. Whitney] & sidney [Gilbert] should sell their Store & their Possessions here34 for this is not wisdom untill the residue of the Church which remaineth in this place shall go up unto the Land of Zion behold it is said in my Laws or forbidden to get in debt to thine enemies35 but Behold it is not said at any time that the Lord should not take when he please & pay as seemeth him good wherefore as ye are agents36 & ye are on the Lords errand & whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lords business & it is the Lords business to provide for his saints in these last days that they may obtain an in heritance in the Land of Zion & Behold I the Lord declare unto you & my words are shure & shall not fail that they shall obtain it but all things must come [p. 110] to pass in its time wherefore be not weary in well doing37 for ye are laying the foundation of a great work & out of small things proceedeth that which is great38 behold the Lord requireth the heart s & a willing mind & the willing & obedient shall eat the good of the Land of Zion in these Last days39 & the rebelious shall be cut off out of the Land of Zion & shall be sent away & shall not inherit the Land for verily I say that the rebelious are not of the blood of Ephraim40 wherefore they shall be plucked out Behold I the Lord have made my Church in these last days like unto a Judge setting on a hill or in an high place to Judge the Nations for it shall come to pass that the inhabitants of Zion shall Judge all things & all liars & hypocrites shall be proved by them & they which are not Apostles shall be known41 & even the Judge & his councellors42 if they are not faithfull in their stewardship shall be condemned & an others shall be planted in their stead43 for behold I say unto you that Zion shall flourish44 & the glory of the Lord shall be upon her & she shall be an ensighn unto the People45 & these shall shall come unto her out of every Nation under heaven & the days shall come when the Nations of the Earth shall tremble because of her & shall fear because of her terable ones46 the Lord hath spoken it amen
Given at Kirtland September the 11th. 1831