Doctrine and Covenants Study
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 69

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“Doctrine and Covenants 69,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 69,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 69

Revelation, 11 November 1831–A

Source Note

Revelation, [Hiram Township, OH], 11 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “74 Received on the. 11 of Oct 1831,”1 copied [between 11 and 20 Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, p. 122; 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

On 11 November 1831, JS dictated this revelation assigning “John [Whitmer]” to accompany “Oliver [Cowdery]” on an upcoming trip to Missouri. Sometime in late October or early November, Oliver Cowdery received the assignment to carry JS’s revelations to Missouri so they could be published at the printing office William W. Phelps was establishing there.2 John Whitmer later wrote that he was appointed by revelation to accompany Cowdery.3 This 11 November directive for Whitmer—who, according to a March 1831 revelation, was responsible for keeping “the Church Record & History continually”4—to go to Missouri indicates that the records necessary to maintain a history of the church were to be kept there. While this revelation did not enumerate exactly which records should be preserved, it indicated that among them were the accounts of Saints who were “abroad in the Earth,” supplemented by records Whitmer himself was to obtain by traveling to different congregations. The revelation also reiterated the need for Whitmer to write in his history “all the important things which he shall observe & know concerning my Church.”

The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. John Whitmer copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, probably before his and Cowdery’s departure for Missouri on 20 November.5 When Whitmer copied the revelation, he dated it 11 October 1831, but he later changed the date to 11 November 1831. Whitmer copied the revelation between the testimony of the divine origin of JS’s revelations, written sometime around 2 November, and another revelation dated 11 November,6 suggesting that November and not October was the correct month. Although “11” is probably the correct day, an account in a later JS history raises some questions. According to that history, “The Book of Commandments and Revelations was to be dedicated, by prayer, to the service of Almighty God, by me; and after I had done this, I enquired of the Lord concerning these things, and received” the revelation.7 This dedication occurred at a conference held on 12 November. Since that conference focused on the publication of the revelations, it is plausible that the revelation was dictated then, although the minutes of the conference do not record such an event.8 Without additional evidence, 11 November remains the more probable date.

Portrait of John Whitmer ca. 1870

John Whitmer. Circa 1870. Whitmer was appointed church historian in March 1831. An 11 November 1831 revelation later directed him to travel to Missouri with Oliver Cowdery and said that they should carry with them the manuscript book of revelations they had prepared. Whitmer stayed in Missouri after arriving in January 1832 and served as a church leader there. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)

<749> Received on the. 11 of Oct 183110

[1]Hearken unto me saith the Lord for verily I say unto you for my Servent Olivers [Oliver Cowdery’s] sake it is not wisdom in me that he should be intrusted with the commandments & moneys which he shall carry unto the Land of Zion except one go with him who will be true & faithfull [2]wherefore I the Lord willeth that my Servent John (Whitmer) shall go with my servent Oliver [3]& also that he observe to continue in writing & makeing a history of all the important things which he shall observe & know concerning my Church [4]& also that he receive council & assistance from my Servent Oliver & others11 [5]& also that my Saints which are abroad in the Earth should send forth their accounts12 to the Land of Zion [6]for the Land of Zion shall be a seat & a place to receive & do all these things [7]nevertheless let my Servnt John travel many times from place to place & from Church to Church that he may the more easily obtain knowledge [8]Preaching & expounding writing cop[y]ing & selecting & obtain[in]g all things which shall be for the good of the Church & for the rising generations which shall grow up on the Land of Zion to possess it from generations to generations forever & ever13 Amen