“Doctrine and Covenants 67,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 67,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, [Hiram Township, OH], ca. 2 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “71 Revelation given Nov 2nd. 1831,” copied [ca. Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 114–115; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
At a 1–2 November 1831 conference that discussed the publication of the Book of Commandments, JS “received” a “testimony of the witnesses to the book of the Lord’s commandments.”1 Several elders signed the statement and, by so doing, testified that the Holy Ghost had “born record” that the revelations “are given by inspiration of God & are profitable for all men & are verily true.”2 At this same conference, JS dictated this revelation, which addressed the fact that some of the elders had not received such a spiritual conviction. That manifestation had not come, the revelation explained, because of “fears” in the hearts of the elders. The revelation also disclosed that some of the elders questioned the “imperfections” in the language JS used in the revelations, even though another revelation that emerged from the conference declared that the commandments were given to God’s “Servents in their weakness after the manner of their Language.”3 To dispel the hesitation to testify about the source of the revelations, this November revelation challenged the elders to write a revelation “like unto” those dictated by JS, emphasizing that if the elders failed, they would be justified in testifying to the world of the divine origin of JS’s revelations and condemned if they did not so testify.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant, but John Whitmer dated it 2 November when he copied it into Revelation Book 1, likely sometime before his departure for Missouri on 20 November 1831.4 Unlike the minutes for proceedings of the conference on 1 November, the minutes for 2 November do not specifically mention dictation of a revelation, leaving open the possibility that this revelation could be the one referred to in the 1 November minutes as coming after JS “asked the conference what testimony they were willing to attach to these commandments.” According to the minutes, several elders “arose and said that they were willing to testify to the world that they knew that they were of the Lord.” Thereafter, a revelation was “received relative to the same”—perhaps this revelation, despite its being dated 2 November.5 A later JS history supports this possibility, stating that after the dictation of the preface to the Book of Commandments on 1 November, “some conversation was had concerning Revelations and language.” The history then presents this revelation as following that conversation.6 Although this is a plausible scenario for the production of the revelation, it does not explain why Whitmer then dated the document 2 November.7 Whatever the case, it is clear that the revelation—addressed to “ye Elders of my Church who have assembelled yourselves together”—was dictated sometime during the 1–2 November conference.
718 Revelation given Nov 2nd. 1831
Behold & hearken oh ye Elders of my Church who have assembelled yourselves together whose prayers I have heard & whose
hearts desires have come up before me behold & [p. 114] Lo mine eyes are upon you & the heavens & the earth are in mine hands & the riches of eternity9 are mine to give[.] ye endeavour to believe that you ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you but behold verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts & verily this is the reason that ye did not receive10 & now I the Lord give unto you a testimony of the truth of those commandments which I are lying before you your eyes have been upon my Servent Joseph & his language you have known & his imperfections you have known & you have sought in your hearts knowlege that you might express beyond his language this you also know now seek ye out of the Book of commandments even the least that is among them & appoint him that is the most wise among you or if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it then ye are Justified in saying that ye do not know that is true but if you cannot make one like unto it ye are under condemnation if you ye do not bear that it is true for ye know that there is no unrighteousness in it & that which is righteous cometh down from above from the father of lights11 & again verily I say unto you that it is your privilege & a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto the ministry that in as much as ye strip yourselves from Jealesies & fears & humble yourselves before me for ye are not sufficiently humble the veil shall not be wrent12 & you shall see me & know that I am13 not with the carnal neither natural14 but with the spiritual for no man hath seen God at any time in the flesh but by the Spirit of God15 neither can any natural man abide the presence of God16 neither after the carnal mind ye are not to able to abide the presence of God now neither the ministering of Angels wherefore continue in patience untill ye are perfected let not your minds turn back & when ye are worthy in mine own due time ye shall see & know that which was confirmed <upon you> by the hands of my Ser[v]ant Joseph17 Amen