“Doctrine and Covenants 95,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 95,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Kirtland Township, OH, 1 June 1833. Featured version copied [likely between 6 June and 30 July 1833] in Revelation Book 2, pp. 59–60;1 handwriting of Orson Hyde; Revelations Collection, CHL. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 2 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
In late December 1832 and early January 1833, as part of a call to educate men for the ministry, a revelation instructed church members to organize a “school of the prophets” and to build a House of the Lord wherein individuals would learn the law and receive power that had been previously promised. The revelation further told them that they should “prepare evry needful [thing]” for the school and that the house should be “an house of prayer, an house of fasting, an house of faith, an house of Learning, an house of glory, an house of order an house of God.” During the early months of 1833, before construction on the house began, the first School of the Prophets, which involved just over a dozen church elders, met in Kirtland, Ohio. On 11 January 1833, JS emphasized the urgency of building the house and holding the school in a letter to William W. Phelps in Jackson County, Missouri. JS stated, “You will see that the Lord commanded us in Kirtland to build an house of God, & establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, & we must— yea the Lord helping us we will obey, as on conditions of our obedience, he has promised us great things, yea even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his own presence.”2
On 4 May, nearly four months after JS wrote about the urgent need to build the house, a committee was formed to raise funds for the building’s construction. A conference unanimously voted that a committee, consisting of Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon, be formed to raise the money.3 Nearly a month later, neither this committee nor other church leaders had taken any steps toward constructing the building.
The revelation featured here, dictated on 1 June, stated that church leaders’ unresponsiveness to the call to build this religious structure would halt the growth and spiritual work of the church. The revelation also specified the building’s dimensions and directed the manner in which church members should construct it. Immediately following this revelation, a conference of high priests discussed the revelation and began drafting construction plans. The conference appointed JS, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams—the presidency of the high priesthood—to serve as the planning committee, which was responsible for obtaining “a draft or construction of the inner court of the house.”4
Likely in response to this revelation, the building committee, which still comprised Hyrum Smith, Jared Carter, and Reynolds Cahoon, prepared a circular for the members of the Church of Christ that same day, writing that they had been officially charged with soliciting subscriptions to establish a fund to build the house. “Unless we fulfil this command vis establish an house,” they warned, “and prepare all things necessary whereby the Elders may gather into a school called the school of the prophets and receive that instruction that the Lord designs they should receive we may all dispare of obtaining the great blessing that God has promised to the faithful of the Church of Christ.”5 The circular reiterated the promise found in the 2 January 1831 revelation that God would endow individuals with “power from on high,” which they would gain from “that instruction that the Lord designs” in the School of the Prophets. The committee encouraged church members to “make evry possable exertion to aid temporally as well as spiritually in this great work that the Lord is bringing about and is about to accomplish.” The circular also called for church members to pay their subscriptions and to send the funds to Kirtland by 1 September 1833.6 Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and others began construction on the multipurpose House of the Lord by 7 June 1833.7 The House of the Lord, completed in 1836, eventually served as both a school and a place of worship; it was the church’s first temple.
Kirtland June 1st. 1833—
Verily thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten8 that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation9 and I have loved you therefore ye must needs be chast[e]ned and stand rebuked before my face.10 for ye have sinned against me a verry grievous sin in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house11 for the preparation wherewith I deign to prepare mine Apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time12 that I may bring to pass my strange act13 that I may pour out my spirit upon all flesh.14 But behold verily I say unto you there are many who have been ordained among you whom I called but few of them are chosen.15 they who are not chosen have sinned a verry grievous sin in that they are walking in darkness at noon day,16 and for this cause I gave unto you a commandment that you should call your solem assembly17 that your fastings and your mourning might come up into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth18 which is by interpretation the creator of
all things the first day the beginning and the end. Yea verily I say unto you I gave unto you a commandment that you should build an house in the which house I design to endow those whom I have [p. 59] chosen with power from on high, for this is the promise of the Father unto you.19 Therefore, I commanded you to tarry even as mine Apostles at Jerusalem.20 nevertheless my servants sinned a verry grievous sin and contentions arose in the school of the prophets, which was verry grievous unto me saith your Lord. therefore I sent them forth to be chastened.21 Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build an house. If ye keep my commandments ye shall have power to build it. If ye keep not my commandments the love of the father shall not continue with you therefore ye shall walk in darkness.22 now here is wisdom and the mind of the Lord, Let the house be built not after the manner of this <the> world.23 for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world.24 Therefore let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you whom ye shall appoint and ordain unto this power25 and the size thereof shall be fifty and five feet in width and let it be sixty and five feet in length in the inner court thereof,26 and let the lower part of the inner court27 thereof be dedicated unto me for your sacrament offering and for your preaching and your fasting and your praying and the offering up your most holy desires unto me saith your lord, and let the higher part of the inner court28 be dedicated unto me for the school of mine Apostles29 saith Son Ah Man,30 or in otherwords Alphas, or in other words Omegas even Jesus Christ your lord31 Amen.——