“Doctrine and Covenants 108,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)
“Doctrine and Covenants 108,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers
Revelation, [Kirtland Township, Geauga Co., OH], 26 Dec. 1835. Featured version copied [ca. 26 Dec. 1835] in JS, Journal, 1835–1836, p. 90; handwriting of Frederick G. Williams; JS Collection, CHL. For more information, see the source note for JS, Journal, 1835–1836, on the Joseph Smith Papers website.
On the morning after Christmas Day in 1835, Lyman Sherman, one of the presidents of the Seventy, asked JS to petition God for a revelation that “should make known [his] duty.”1 In response, JS dictated this revelation.
Sherman, then thirty-one years old, had distinguished himself as a faithful Latter-day Saint prior to his request. He joined the church in western New York in January 1832 and relocated his family 120 miles west to Kirtland, Ohio, sometime around June 1833.2 Sherman marched to Missouri in May 1834 with about two hundred others as part of the Camp of Israel expedition.3 In February 1835, he was called as one of seven presidents over the Seventy, a newly established priesthood office. In his ordination blessing, Sherman was told, “Your ministry shall be great and you shall proclaim to various nations. Your faith shall be unshaken and you shall be delivered from great afflictions.”4 At a May 1835 conference, church leaders voted that Sherman, along with the other presidents of the Seventy, should “hold himself in readiness to go at the call of the Twelve, when the Lord opens the way.”5 Sherman likely left Kirtland during summer 1835 to preach in local communities, though he may have remained in Kirtland and prepared himself to preach as he had been instructed.6
On 26 December, Sherman called on JS as he was studying Hebrew with Frederick G. Williams and Warren Parrish. According to JS’s journal, Sherman entered the room in which they were studying and asked “to have the word of the lord” through JS. “I have been wrought upon to make known to you my feelings and desires,” he told JS, adding that he had been promised by the Lord that “I should have a revelation which should make known my duty.”7 Sometime before the end of the day, JS dictated a revelation—presumably to Williams, who was acting temporarily as JS’s scribe—that addressed Sherman’s concerns.8 Williams later copied the revelation into JS’s journal. That copy, which is the earliest extant version, is featured here.
The following is a revelation given to Lyman Sherman this day 26 Dec 1835
Verily thus saith the Lord unto you my servant Lyman your sins are forgiven you because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive councel of him whom I have appointed
Therefore let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing, and resist no more my voice, and arise up, and be more careful henceforth in observing your vows which you have made and do make, and you shall be blessed with exceding great blessings. Wait patiently untill the time when the solemn assembly9 shall be called of my servants then you shall be numbered with the first of mine elders and receive right by ordination with the rest of mine elders whom I have chosen
Behold this is the promise of the father unto you if you continue faithful—
and it shall be fulfilled upon you in that day that you shall have right to preach my gospel wheresoever I shall send you from henceforth from that time,10 Therefore strengthen your brethren in all your conversation in all your prayers, and in all your exhortations, and in all your doings, and behold and lo I am with you to bless you and deliver you forever Amen