“Doctrine and Covenants 70,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 70,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Hiram Township, OH, 12 Nov. 1831. Featured version, titled “Revelation 76 Hiram Nov. 12. 1831,” copied [between 12 and 20 Nov. 1831] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 124–125; handwriting of Oliver Cowdery; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
On 12 November 1831, JS dictated this revelation in which he and others were appointed stewards over the revelations and commandments of the church. JS may have dictated this revelation during or immediately after a conference held that same day, in which he petitioned the elders to compensate those who had assisted him in producing the “sacred writings” of the church.1 Although the 12 November minutes do not explicitly mention the revelation, the similar subject matter of both the conference and the revelation indicate that the two are closely related. A later history states that the revelation came “in answer to an enquiry” and suggests that JS dictated it after the conference approved a resolution stating that the revelations were “worth to the church, the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally.”2 It is unclear what the original inquiry was, but the revelation’s designation of JS and five others as stewards over the publishing concerns of the church allowed them to claim compensation for their service in recording, preserving, and publishing the revelations.
According to the revelation, the stewards would have claim to any profits resulting from the publication of the revelations “for their necessities & their wants,” with any remainder to be transferred to the Lord’s storehouse. This mode of compensation through stewardships followed earlier instructions given to church members about consecrating property, whereby Saints were appointed stewards over an inheritance and then donated any surplus to the bishop. Church members had also been told that the elders and their families would be “supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Lord either a stewardship or otherwise.”3 This revelation reemphasized these principles while also reiterating that no one—not even those in leadership positions—was exempt from “this law.” All were required to adhere to the principles embedded in the consecration commandments.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant. Oliver Cowdery, who as clerk of the conference may have been the original scribe for the revelation, copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, which he and John Whitmer were preparing to take to Missouri.4
Behold & hearken o ye inhabitants of Zion & all ye people of my Church which are far off & hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Jos[e]ph & also unto my servant Martin [Harris] & also unto my servant Oliver [Cowdery] & also my servant John [Whitmer] & also unto my servant Sidney [Rigdon] by the way of commandment
s unto them for I give unto them a commandment W[h]erefore hearken & hear for thus saith the Lord unto them I the Lord have appointed them & ordained them to be stewards over the revelations & commandments which I have given unto them & which I shall hereafter give unto them & an account of this stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgement wherefore I have appointed unto them & this is their business in the church of God to manage them & the concerns thereof yea the profits thereof wherefore a commandment I give unto them that they shall not give these things unto the church neither unto the world nevertheless inasmuch as they receive more than is for their necessities & their wants it shall be given into my storehouse & the benefits thereof shall be consecrated unto the inhabtants of Zion & unto their generations inasmuch as they become heirs according to the laws of the kingdom8 behold this is what the Lord requires of every man in his stewardship even as I the Lord have appointed or shall hereafter apoint unto any man & behold none is exempt from this law who belong to the church of the Living God9 yea neither Bishop neither the agent who keepeth the Lords storehouse10 neither he that is appointed in a stewardship over temporal things he that is appointed to administer spiritual things the same is worthy of his hire even as they who are appointed in a stewardship to administer in temporal things11 yea even more abundantly which abundance is multiplied unto them through the manifestations of the spirit nevertheless in your temporal things you shall be equal in all things & this not grudgeingly otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the spirit shall be withheld now this commandment I give unto my servants while they remain for a manifestations of my blessings upon their heads & for a reward of their diligence & for their security for food & for raiment for an inheritance for houses & for lands & in whatsoever circumstances I the Lord shall place them & whithersoever I the Lord shall send them [p. 124] for they have been faithful over many things & have done well inas much as they have not sin[n]ed behold I the Lord am merciful & will bless them & they shall enter into the joy of these things12
even so Amen and again verily I say unto you that my servant William [W. Phelps] shall be included in this commandment with you in this same stewardship13 even so Amen