“Doctrine and Covenants 105,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 105,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, Clay Co., MO, 22 June 1834. Featured version copied [between ca. 23 June 1834 and 5 July 1835] in Revelation Book 1, pp. 199–; handwriting of John Whitmer; CHL. Includes redactions. For more information, see the source note for Revelation Book 1 on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
JS dictated this 22 June 1834 revelation at the campsite of the Camp of Israel on the property of John Cooper, a church member who lived about four miles north of Fishing River in Clay County, Missouri.1 The revelation told members of the Camp of Israel that for the present they were no longer required to redeem Zion by restoring church members to their Jackson County, Missouri, lands. By 22 June, it had become apparent that church members would not be able to enter Jackson County without bloodshed, particularly since Governor Daniel Dunklin seemed reluctant to call out the militia to escort them into the county.2 One resident of Lexington County, Missouri, reported on 20 June, “Should they cross the river” into Jackson County, “there will be a battle, and probably much blood shed.”3
Even with Dunklin unwilling to call out the militia, JS still seemed determined to have the camp press on. Charles C. Rich recorded in his journal that a council was held once news of Dunklin’s reluctance was received, and it was “decided that we should go on armed and equiped.”4 However, on 21 June, Cornelius Gilliam, sheriff of Clay County, along with a delegation of men from Clay and Ray counties, conversed with JS and members of the camp, informing them of the great alarm the expedition had caused among many western Missouri residents. To help alleviate the tense situation, JS and others signed a statement on 21 June, indicating that the camp did not intend “to commence hostilities against any man or boddy of men” and that they were willing to work toward a peaceful solution to the issues, even offering a proposal that church members purchase the land of those not willing to live in Jackson County if the Saints returned.5
The following day, JS held a council “to determine what steps” the camp should take.6 During the council, he dictated this revelation, which, according to camp participant Joseph Holbrook, “show[ed] the mind of God concerning the redemption of Zion.”7 According to the revelation, the Lord did not require the camp to redeem Zion through military force at that time. The revelation stated that before Zion could be redeemed, the church’s elders needed to obtain an “endowment of power” in the House of the Lord that was being constructed in Kirtland, Ohio. The revelation also declared that Zion could have been redeemed had church members living outside of Missouri been willing to provide financial support to the Camp of Israel expedition.8
The revelation went on to reiterate directions given in previous revelations that Saints outside of Missouri were to purchase lands in Jackson County and the surrounding areas and gather to those locations.9 At some point, the revelation intimated, the armies of Israel might be great enough for the Saints to reclaim their lost Jackson County lands, but until then, they should live humbly and peacefully with their neighbors. The revelation also stated that the Lord accepted the offering of those who had participated in the camp. Some camp participants later remembered the revelation indicating that their offering was like the biblical patriarch Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac, but that comparison is not in the revelation, suggesting that perhaps JS made that declaration to the camp independently.10
After camp members heard the revelation, some accepted it as “the word of the lord” and “rejoiced.”11 Nathan Baldwin, for example, recalled that the revelation “was the most acceptable to me of anything I had ever heard before, the gospel being the exception.”12 Others were not so enthusiastic. According to William Farrington Cahoon, “many in the camp murmured because we were not permited at this time to restore our Brethren & Sisters to their Homes and defend them there at all hazards.”13 George A. Smith remembered that “several of the brethren apostatized because they were not going to have the privilege of fighting.”14 Nathan Tanner also recalled that some declared “they had rether die than to return with out a fite.” and then “gave vent to their Rath on a patch of Pawpaw brush” some distance from the camp, mowing it “down like grass.”15 Regardless of these attitudes, the revelation, coupled with the visit from Gilliam’s delegation, apparently convinced JS to disband the camp, a process that began shortly thereafter. The dispersal was hastened by an outbreak of cholera, which some camp members interpreted as punishment from God for their rebellious attitudes. Expedition leaders gave official discharges to camp members in early July.16
The original inscription of this revelation has not been located. Frederick G. Williams, who had already served as JS’s scribe during the expedition for a letter to Emma Hale Smith,17 may have been the original scribe of the revelation. John Whitmer, who arrived at the campsite on 22 June, apparently received a copy of the revelation at that time and may have recorded it in Revelation Book 1 as early as 23 June.18 Other Missouri church leaders, including William W. Phelps and John Corrill, made copies as well, though likely after Whitmer.19 Oliver Cowdery also made a copy of the revelation in Revelation Book 2 sometime after JS and others had returned to Kirtland.20
The revelation’s contents were apparently not broadcast widely,21 probably because of its declaration that once the Saints had assembled a large army, they would be justified in reclaiming their Jackson County lands and “throw[i]ng down the tower” of their enemies. The revelation was not included in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, and when it was first published in the 1844 edition, pseudonyms were used to refer to JS and the elders.22 However, the Saints who knew of the revelation acted quickly on some of its directions, including holding a meeting on 23 June to select those elders who would receive an endowment of power. In early July 1834, they also prepared an appeal for peace that was then published in the August 1834 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star.23
22 June 22, 1834. Clay Co. Mo.24
Verily I say unto you, who have assembled25 together that you may learn my will, concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people; behold I say unto you, were it not for the transgression of my people speaking concerning the church and not individuals,26 they might have been redeemed even now; but behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I require at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil and do not impart of their substanc[e] as becometh saints; to the poor and afflicted among them and are not united, according to the union
of required by the law of the celestial kingdom27 and Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principoles of the law of the Celestial kingdom otherwise, I cannot receive her unto my-self and my people must needs be chastened, until they learn obedience if it must needs be by the [things]28 which they suffer.29 I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people who are the first elders of my church30 for they are not all under this condemnation, but I speak concerning the church abroad, there are many who will say where is their god, Behold, he will deliver in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our monies.31
Therefore in consequence of the transgression of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion,32 that they themselves may be prepared and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands, and this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high, for behold I have prepared a great endowment33 and blessing to be poured out upon them—34 in as much as they are faithful and continue in humility before me. Therefore it is expedient in me, that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion, For behold I do not require at their hands, to fight the battles of Zion. for as I have said in a former commandment even so I will fulfil. I will fight your battles,35 behold the destroyer I have already sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies, and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, to blaspheme my name. [p. 199] upon the land which I have
consecranted consecrated for the gathering together of my Saints.36
Behold I have commanded my servant Joseph, to say to the strength of my house; even my wariers my young men and middle aged to gather
to together for the redemption of my people and throw down the tower of mine enemies, and scatter their watchmen—37 but the strength of my house has not hearkened unto unto my words, but in as much as there are those that have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them,38 I have heard their prayers and will accept their offering, and it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far, for a trial of their faith.
And now verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that as many as have come up hither that can stay in the region round about, Let them stay, and those who cannot stay, who have families in the east, let them tarry for a little season,39 in as much as my servant Joseph shall appoint unto them for I will counsel him concerning this matter, And all things whatsoever
is he shall appoint unto them shall be fulfilled and let all my people who dwell in the region round about, be very faithful and prayerful and humb[l]e before me, and reveal not the things which I have revealed unto them,40 Talk not of Judgment boast not of faith nor of mighty works,41 but carefully gather together42 in one region as can be consistently with the feeling of the people. And Behold I will give unto you favor and grace in their eyes, that you may rest in peace and safety, whilst you are saying unto the people execute judgment Justice for us according to law, and redress us of our wrongs.43
Now behold, I say unto you my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the armies of Israel become very great, and I will soften the hearts of the people as I did
I the heart of Pharioh44 from time to time, until my servant Joseph and mine elders whom he shall appoint shall have time to gather up the strength of my house; and to have sent wise men to fulfil that which I have commanded concerning the purchasing of all the lands in Jackson County [p. 100 ] that can be purchased and in the adjoining Counties round about, for it is my will, that these lands should be purchased45 that my saints should possess them according to the law of consecration, which I have given.46 And after these lands are purchased I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possessions of their own lands47 and of throw[i]ng down the tower of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avengeing me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.48 But firstly let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the Sun and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrable unto all nations,49 that the kingdom of this world may be constrainned to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion, is in very deed the kingdom of our God, and his Christ,
Therefore let us become subject unto her laws, Verily I say unto you it is expedient in me, that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in mine house which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland, and let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion, and her law be executed and fulfilled after her redemption. There has been a day of calling. but the time has come for a day of choosing, and let those be chosen that are worthy and it shall be manifest unto my servant Joseph by the voice of the Spirit, those who are chosen,50 and they shall be sanctified, and in as much as they, follow the counsels which they receive they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things partaining to Zion.
<And> again I say unto you, sue for peace not only the people that have smitten you, but also to all people. and lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation
of for peace unto the ends of the earth and make proposals of <for> peace unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the spirit which is in you,51 and all thing shall work together for your good, and be faithful52 and behold and low I am with you even unto the end. even so Amen [p. 101 ]