“Doctrine and Covenants 92,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 92,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 15 Mar. 1833. Featured version copied [ca. late Mar. 1833] in Revelation Book 2, p. 55; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; Revelations Collection, CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
On 8 March 1833, a revelation declared Frederick G. Williams equal “in holding the keys of this Last Kingdom” with JS and Sidney Rigdon in the presidency of the high priesthood.1 A week later, the following revelation, dated 15 March, elevated Williams within the United Firm from assistant scribe to a member in full partnership with JS, Rigdon, and other founding members of the firm.2 In addition to becoming equal with JS and Rigdon in holding the keys, Williams now became similarly responsible for overseeing the financial and temporal matters of the church under JS’s direction.
In accordance with a revelation dated 1 March 1832, JS organized a group of men called the United Firm on 26 April 1832 to manage the “Literary and Merchantile establishments” of the church. As a governing financial council, the firm was responsible for printing church publications, holding church properties in trust, assisting the poor, and operating general stores in Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio, to generate funds for the church.3 Among other duties, members of the United Firm oversaw city planning for Independence and Kirtland, including the construction of a house of the Lord and other buildings.4 The firm was also directed to manage land, including allotting portions of Williams’s farmland to members of the church.5
On 26 April 1832, JS dictated a revelation that named the initial members of the United Firm as himself, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Gilbert, Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, Sidney Rigdon, John Whitmer, and Newel K. Whitney. Cowdery, Gilbert, Partridge, Phelps, and Whitmer oversaw the business and financial affairs in Missouri, while JS, Harris, Rigdon, and Whitney represented the firm in Ohio.6 The 26 April revelation also emphasized that members of the organization were equal with one another: they were to “have equal claims on the properties” managed by the United Firm, “every man according to his wants & his needs,” in order to “improve upon his tallent,” which was “to be cast into the Lords Storehouse to become the common property of the whole Churc[h].”7
Williams was the first member added to the firm since its organization.8 JS wrote to the Missouri members of the United Firm on 21 April 1833 and inserted the featured revelation in the letter to inform them of Williams’s new status.9 Members of the United Firm in Missouri apparently raised questions in a follow-up letter about Williams’s intended role in the firm. On 25 June 1833, JS, Rigdon, Williams, and Harris responded to their letter and affirmed Williams’s status to the Missouri members when they wrote, “As to Bro Frederick, all members of the United Firm are considered one” for the support of “the mercantile establishment God commanded.”10
Williams inscribed the revelation featured here into Revelation Book 2. He also made note of this revelation in Minute Book 1.11 Williams later copied the revelation into JS’s letterbook as part of the 21 April 1833 letter to the Missouri church leaders.12
Kirtland 15th March 1833—
Verely thus saith the Lord I give unto the united firm organized agreeable to the commandment previously given13 a revelation & commandment concerning my servant Frederick [G. Williams] that ye shall r[e]ceive him into the firm14 what I say unto one I say unto all.15 and again I say unto you my servent Frederick thou shalt be a lively member in this firm and inas much as thou art faithful in keeping all former commandments thou shalt be blessed for ever Amen—— [p. 55]