“Doctrine and Covenants 78,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 78,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 1 Mar. 1832. Featured version copied [ca. 1 Mar. 1832]; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; two pages; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes notation, docket, and archival marking. For more information, see the source note on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
This revelation deals with the church’s mercantile and publishing endeavors. As church members gathered to Jackson County, Missouri, in 1831 to establish Zion, the need for money to purchase land became pressing. In July 1831, a revelation instructed Sidney Gilbert, who was a partner with Newel K. Whitney in N. K. Whitney & Co., to “establish a store” in Independence, Jackson County, so that the church could receive “money to buy lands for the good of the Saints.”1 Gilbert opened a store in Missouri in early 1832 that was funded in part by Whitney and operated under the name Gilbert & Whitney. Whitney, who remained in Kirtland, Ohio, to run his own store (which had been in existence since at least 1824), received direction in 1831 to provide funding for the establishment of Zion.2
Money was also needed to fund the publication of JS’s revelations, another venture church leaders began exploring in 1831. On 12 November 1831, a special conference in Hiram, Ohio, gave JS, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, and Sidney Rigdon the responsibility of managing the “sacred writings” of the church, including the revelations.3 That same day, a revelation directed that JS, Cowdery, Whitmer, Rigdon, Martin Harris, and William W. Phelps be ordained “stewards over the revelations & commandments” and that any “profits” they gained from publishing church materials over and above their needs be placed in the Lord’s storehouse to benefit “the inhabtants of Zion & … their generations.”4
On 1 March 1832, JS, who was in Kirtland on a short visit, assembled a group of high priests, presumably to discuss the coordination of the church’s publication and mercantile endeavors.5 At the meeting, JS dictated this revelation, which instructed himself, Rigdon, and Whitney to organize a “firm” to manage the “Literary and Merchantile establishments” of the church. The revelation also required JS, Rigdon, and Whitney to travel to Zion and “sit in councel” with the church there and emphasized the need for church members to be equal in temporal things in order for unity to prevail in spiritual matters.
The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. Frederick G. Williams, who spent some time in March 1832 copying revelations into Revelation Book 2, made a copy of the document for Whitney, probably at the same time Williams recorded it in Revelation Book 2. Although it is unclear exactly when the Whitney copy was made, Williams probably made the entry in Revelation Book 2 sometime between 8 March (the date of a note that precedes the revelation) and 1 April (when JS departed for Missouri). He titled the Revelation Book 2 copy “A Revelation given for Sidney Joseph & Newel to go an[d] sit in council with the elders in Zion, March 1—1832.”6
Kirtland March 1◊ 1832
Hearken unto me saith the Lord your God O ye who are ordained unto the High Priesthood of my church who have assembled yourselves together7 & listen to the councel of him who has ordained you from on high who shall speak in your ear the words of wisdom that salvation may be unto you in that thing which you have presented before me saith the Lord God for verily I say unto you the time has come and and is now at hand and behold & lo it must needs be that there be an organization of the Literary and Merchantile establishments of my church both in this place and in the land of Zion for a perminent and everlasting establishment and firm unto my church to advance the cause which ye have espaused [espoused] to the salvation of man and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven that you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things yea and earthly things also for the obtaining of
heavenly of heavenly things for if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly thing[s]8 for if ye will that I give unto you a place in the celestiel world9 you must prepare yourselves by doing <the> thing which I have commanded & required of you & now verily thus saith the Lord it is expedient that all things be done unto my glory that ye should who are joined together in this firm or in other words that my Servant Newel [K. Whitney]10 and my servant Joseph and my servant Sidney [Rigdon] sit in councel with the saints who are in zion otherwise satan seeketh to turn there hearts away from the truth that they become blinded & understand not the things which are prepared for them wherefore a commandment I give unto you to prepare an[d] organize yourselves by an everlasting covinent11 which cannot be broken & he who breaketh it shall loose his office & standing in the church and shall be delivered over unto the buffitings of satan untill the day of redemption, Behold this is the preperation wherewith I prepare you and the foundation & the [p. ] ensample which I give unto you whereby you may accompish the commandments which are given to you that through the providenc of your Father notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you you may stand independent above all other creatures12 beneath the Celestial world that you may come up unto the crown prepared for you and be made rulers over many kingdom[s]13 saith the Lord God the holy one of Israel Verily Verily I say unto you ye are little children and ye have not as yet understood how great blessings the father has put into his own hands and prepared for you and ye cannot bear all things now14 nevertheless be of good cheer for I will lead you along, the kingdom is yours and the blessings there of are yours and the riches of Eternity are yours & he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious in the things of this world even an hundred fold yea more wherefore do the things which I have commanded you saith your redeemer even Jesus Christ who prepareth all things before he cometh and then he will come even with the church of the first born15 & receive you in the clowd and appoint evry man his portion & he that is a faithful & wise steward shall inherit all things Amen——[6 lines blank]
N. K. Whitney
Kirtland Ohio [p. ]