“Doctrine and Covenants 94,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 94,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 2 Aug. 1833. Featured version copied [ca. 6 Aug. 1833] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 64–66; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; Revelations Collection, CHL. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
By summer 1833, agents for the Church of Christ had purchased several large parcels of land in Kirtland, Ohio. In the months before this 2 August revelation was dictated, church leaders planned for and began construction on a House of the Lord, or temple, on this newly acquired land, which was to serve as both a chapel and a schoolhouse.1 The presidency of the high priesthood was assigned to “obtain a draft or construction” for the interior of the building. Three weeks after the presidency received their assignment to create a design for the Kirtland temple, they sent to Missouri church leaders the architectural plans for another House of the Lord, similar in style and purpose, to be built in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri. They also sent a plat for an expansive “City of Zion” to be built in Independence.2 Frederick G. Williams wrote, “The plot for the City and the size form and dime[n]sions of the house were given us of the Lord.”3 On 2 August, the revelation featured here called for a similar “laying out” of Kirtland as the “city of the stake of Zion” and specified the construction of two additional buildings—a “house” for the presidency and one for a printing operation—to be built in the city’s center.
Four days after JS dictated this revelation, the presidency copied it, along with two other recent revelations, into a letter they sent to Missouri.4 The revelation, the presidency stated, “is also binding on you that is you at Zion have to build two houses as well as the one of which we have sent the pattern.” In other words, they instructed that, following the construction of the House of the Lord in Independence, the Missouri church members should build an administrative house for church business and one for their printing establishment “as soon … as means can be obtaind so to do.”5 These plans, however, were disrupted by events that had already begun to unfold in Jackson County. In late July 1833, unbeknownst to the presidency in Kirtland, opponents to the church had razed the church’s Independence printing office, threatened local leaders, and forced them to sign an agreement that they and their fellow religionists would leave Jackson County.6 Amid escalating tension, violent encounters drove the Saints from the county in November 1833.
Meanwhile, in the fall of 1833, members of the church in Kirtland were having their own difficulties fulfilling the commandment to build a House of the Lord. Construction in Kirtland temporarily halted because of a lack of building materials and the new priority to provide relief to church members in Jackson County.7 Completing the Kirtland House of the Lord consumed most of the church’s available resources for the next few years. After printing operations moved to Kirtland, they were first housed at the John Johnson inn and later at the schoolhouse. The two structures meant for the presidency and for printing were never built in either Kirtland or Jackson County.
In early published compilations of JS’s revelations, this 2 August revelation has been incorrectly dated to 6 May 1833. In the 6 August 1833 letter from the presidency of the high priesthood to Missouri church leaders, this revelation, though not specifically dated 2 August 1833, immediately follows, without any commentary or introduction, another revelation dated 2 August 1833. The letter indicated that the revelations were two separate texts by referring to them as “revelations,” in the plural.8 Several days later, when Oliver Cowdery wrote his own letter to church leaders in Zion, he was explicit: “Our brethren here have sent you three revelations concerning Zion two of them dated the second of Aug.”9 When this revelation was recorded in Revelation Book 2, it was given its own heading and again placed immediately after the other revelation that bears the date 2 August 1833. When it was later copied into Revelation Book 1, it was recorded as in the 6 August letter, without a separate introduction or date.10 Revelation Book 1 was used when creating the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the first canonized volume in which this revelation appeared. The printers included an introduction to the revelation, which read, “Revelation given same date,” which probably referred to the same date as the revelation that preceded it in the manuscript revelation book—that is, 2 August 1833. However, when preparing the 1835 volume for printing, the compositor apparently mistakenly inserted the 6 May 1833 revelation between the first 2 August revelation and the one featured here.11 Thus, in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, the phrase “given the same date” in the revelation’s heading seems to refer to 6 May rather than 2 August 1833. The 1844 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants maintained the same heading as the 1835 edition. For the 1876 edition, a new heading was written and explicitly dates this revelation to 6 May 1833. This error was perpetuated in all subsequent editions of the Doctrine and Covenants until the 2013 edition published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Several early copies of this revelation were made, one of which was included in the body of the aforementioned letter sent to Missouri on 6 August 1833 and one of which appears in Revelation Book 2.12 Insufficient evidence exists to determine which is the earliest extant copy. Because the 6 August letter, including the three revelations inscribed in it, is published in its entirety later in this volume, the version here is from the manuscript revelation book. Significant differences between the two versions are noted.
Kirtland 2d August 1833
And again verely I say unto you my friends13 a commandment I give unto you that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a begining and foundation of the city of the stake of Zion14 [p. 64] here in the land of Kirtland begining at my house15 and behold it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you16 and let the first lot on the south <be> consecrated unto me for the building of an house for the presidency for the work of the presidency in obtaining revelations and for the work of the ministry of the presidency in all things pertaining to the Church and Kingdom17 verely I say unto you that it shall be built fifty five by sixty five in the width thereof and in the length thereof in the inner court18 and there shall be a lower court and an higher court according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter19 and it shall be dedecated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof according to the order of the Priesthood according to the pattern which shall be given unto you hereafter20 and it shall be wholly dedecated unto the Lord for the work of the presedency and ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come into it and my glory shall be there and my presence shall be there but if ther shall come into it any unclean thing my glory shall not be there and my presence shall not come into it21 and again verily I say unto you the seccond lot on the south shall be dedecated unto me for the building of an house unto me22 for the work of the printing of the translation of my scripturs23 and all things whatsoever I shall command you [p. 65] and it shall be fifty five by sixty five in the width therof and in the length there of— in the inne[r] court and there shall be a24 lower and an higher court and this house shall be wholly dedecated unto the Lord from the foundation there of for the work of the printing25 in all thing[s] whatsoever I shall command you to be holy and undefiled according to the pattern in all things as it shall be given unto you and on the third lot shall my servant Hyrum [Smith] receive his inheritance and on the first and seccond lots on the North shall my servants Reynolds [Cahoon] and Jared [Carter] receive their inheritence26 that they may do the work which I have appointed unto them to be a committe[e] to build mine houses27 according to the commandment which I the Lord God have given unto you and now I give unto you no more at this time Amen28