Church History
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 130
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“Doctrine and Covenants 130,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 130,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 130

[Two scribes recorded the teachings contained in this section. Both versions appear here.]

Historical Introduction

On 2 April 1843, JS responded to questions and instructed the Saints in Macedonia, Illinois, about the nature of God, prophecies of the last days, and the afterlife. The previous day, he began a journey from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Macedonia and Carthage, Illinois. During this four-day trip, JS, accompanied by William Clayton, Orson Hyde, and Jacob B. Backenstos, preached to members of the branch of the church in Macedonia, visited JS’s sister Sophronia Smith McCleary, and conducted business at Carthage.1 After spending the night in the home of church members Benjamin F. and Melissa LeBaron Johnson, JS spent Sunday, 2 April 1843, attending various public gatherings and private meetings.2

Following a Sunday morning service wherein Orson Hyde preached on portions of the New Testament, JS corrected elements of Hyde’s sermon. He also answered theological questions and related a dream he had, which Hyde interpreted.

At some point “during the day,” JS made several “remarks on doctrine” relating to the timing of events prophesied to occur in the days leading up to the second coming of Jesus Christ. In the early 1840s, there was considerable interest in the prophecies relating to the latter days. Baptist minister William Miller, for example, predicted an approximate date for Christ’s second coming based on a close reading of the Bible. He claimed that his examination of the books of Daniel and Revelation had revealed the second advent of Christ to be imminent, and his message was accepted by thousands of Christians in the early 1840s.3 Perhaps in response to a belief held by some Millerites that 3 April was the day appointed for the return of Christ, JS addressed this topic twice on 2 April.4

Later that day, during Sabbath meetings held at 1:00 p.m. and again at 7:00 p.m., JS preached on the meanings of several verses from the book of Revelation. The subject may have been of interest because of a high council meeting held two weeks earlier, in which church member Pelatiah Brown was tried for teaching false doctrine because of his controversial interpretation of these same passages.5

During his evening discourse, JS again corrected Hyde’s morning sermon. At the close of the discourse, he offered Hyde a moment to respond. The apostle stated that JS had said all that could be said and closed the meeting. JS spent the evening at the Johnsons’ home, where he continued to offer private instruction on portions of the book of Revelation relating to the sealing of the 144,000.6

William Clayton, one of JS’s travel companions, recorded details of JS’s 2 April 1843 sabbath-day teachings as he taught them.7 Clayton’s journal contains other entries for which the original text is also extant, and comparisons of these entries indicate that when he copied his notes, he often expanded or otherwise changed them. Because of this, it seems likely that Clayton expanded the entries for 2 April 1843 as well.8 After the trip, Willard Richards, who kept JS’s journal but was not present at the meetings, reconstructed a timeline for these teachings in JS’s journal, presumably relying on Clayton’s notes and conversations with people who were present. Because Clayton’s initial notes are apparently not extant, it is impossible to know the exact sources Richards used to create his entry. Therefore, both Clayton’s journal entry and the JS journal entry inscribed by Richards are featured here.9 Richards included some details of the day’s events that were not part of JS’s discourses. They have been left to stand in the transcription.


Instruction, 2 April 1843, as Reported by Willard Richards

Source Note

JS, Instruction, [Macedonia, Hancock Co., IL, 2 Apr. 1843]. Featured version copied [ca. 4 Apr. 1843] in JS, Journal, 1842–1844, book 2, pp. [37]–[44]; handwriting of Willard Richards; JS Collection, CHL. For more information, see the source note for JS, Journal, 1842–1844, on the Joseph Smith Papers website.


Elder [Orson] Hyde I am going to offer some corrections to you.10 Elder H. repli[e]d— they shall be thankfully recieved.— [1]When he shall appear we shall see him as he is. we shall see that he is a man like ourselves.— [2]And that same sociality. which exists amogt [amongst] us here. will exist amo[n]g us there only it will be coupled with eternl glory which glory we do not now enjoy.

[3]14 John 23.— the appearing of the father and of the Son in that verse is a personal. appearance.— to say that the father and the Son dwells in [p. [37]] a mans heart is an old Sectarian notion. and is not correct.

[5]There is are no angels who administer to this earth but who belong to or have belongd to this earth. [6]The angels do not reside on a planet like this earth. [7]but they reside in the presence of God— but on a Globe like a sea of glass. & fire. “sea of glass before the throne.— &c.” where all things are manif[e]st past present & to come,—

[8]The place where God resides is a great Urim And Thumim.

[9]This earth in its sanctifid & immortal state. will be a Urim & Thummim for all things below it in the scale of creation. but not above it.— [p. [38]]

related the Dream. written on page 3d Book <B>11

Interpretati[o]n By O. Hyde— old man.— Govermnt of these Unitd States, who will be invaded by a foriegn foe. probably England. U. S. Goverment will call on Gen Smith to defend probably all this western territory and offer him any am[ou]nt of men he shall desire & put them under his command.

[12]I prophecy in the Name of the Lord God that the commenceme[n]t of bloodshed as preparat[o]ry to the coming of the son of man. will commenc[e] in South Carolina.— [13](it probably may arise through the slave trade.)— this the a voice declard to me. while I was praying earne[s]tly on the subje[c]t 25 December 1832.— [p. [39]]

[14]I earnestly desird to know concern[in]g the coming of the Son of Man & prayed. when— a voice said to me, [15]Joseph, my, son, if thou livest until thou art 85 years old thou shalt see the facce of the son of man. therefore let this suffice & trouble me no more on this matter.—

1. P. M. attended meeting.

Joseph read 5.th chapter of Johns revelation, referring particularly to the 6[th] verse. shewing from that. the a[c]tual existenc[e] of beasts in heaven probable those were beasts which had lived on another planet. than our’s—12

God never made use of the figure of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven.— Beasts. 7 eyes Pr[i]esthood.— [p. [40]]

this is the fi[r]st time I have ever taken a text in Revelati[o]n.—13 and if the young elders would let such things alone it would be far14 better.— then corrected Elder Hyde as in private.—

supped at Bro [Benjamin F.] Johnson’s.— expected to sta[r]t for Carthage, but bad weather prevntd [prevented] called another meeti[n]g. by bell.— read Rev[elation]— between Meeti[n]gs with Elder Hyde & expou[n]ding.— during this time several came in & expressd fear that I had come in contact with the old scripture

Meeting 7. eve resumd the subjct of the beast.— shewed very plainly that Johns vision was very different from Daniels Prophecy— one refering to things ex[is]ting in heaven. the other a figure of things on the which are on the earth.—

[18]whatever principle of inteligence we attain unto in this life. it will rise with us in the revalatin [revelation],15 [19]and if a person gains more knowledge and intelignce. through his obedience & diligence. than another he will have so much the advantage in the world to come—

[20]There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven. before the foundation of the world upon which all blessings are predicated [21]and when we obtain a blessing it is by obedi[e]nce to the law upon which that blessing is predicated.

again revertd to Elders Hyde mistake. &c [22]the Father has a body of flesh & bones as tangible as mans16 [p. [42]] the Son also, but the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.— and a person cannot have the personage <of the H G. [Holy Ghost]> in his heart [23]he may recive the gift of the holy Ghost. it may descend upon him but not to tarry with him.—

What is the meaning of the scriptures. he that is faithful over a few thi[n]gs shall be made ruler over many? & he that is faithful over many shall be made ruler over many more?17

What is the mea[n]ing of the Parable of the 10 talents?18 [blank] Also [blank] conversation with Nicodemus. except a man be born of water & of the spi[ri]t.—19

I shall not tell you?—

Closed by flagellating the audience [p. [43]] for their fears.— & calld upon Elder Hyde to get up. & fulfil his covenant to preach 1/4 of an hour.— otherwise I will give you a good whipping.—

Elder Hyde arose & said Brothe[r]s & Sisters I feel as though all had been Said that can be said. I can say nothing but bless you.—

To B. F. Johnsons—— one20 the 144000 seald21 are the pri[e]sts who are appointed to administer in the daily sacrifice.— [6 lines blank] [p. [44]]


Instruction, 2 April 1843, as Reported by William Clayton

Source Note

JS, Instruction, [Macedonia, Hancock Co., IL, 2 Apr. 1843]. Featured version copied [between 2 Apr. 1843 and 24 Sept. 1844] in William Clayton, Journal, 27 Nov. 1842–28 Apr. 1843, [24] Sept. 1844–31 Mar. 1845, pp. 66–74; handwriting of William Clayton; William Clayton, Journals, Nov. 1842–Jan. 1846, CHL. Includes redactions, use marks, and archival markings. For more information, see the source note for William Clayton, Journal, in JSP, D11:501.


P. M. Joseph preached on Revelations chap. 5. he called on me to open the meeting. He also preachd on the same subject in the evening. During the day22 president Joseph made the following remarks on doctrine.

[14]I was once praying very earnestly to know to the time of the comeing of the son of man when I heard a voice repeat the following [15]‘Joseph my son, if thou livest untill thou art 85 years old thou shalt see the face of the son of man, therefore let this suffice and trouble me no more on this matter.’ [p. 66] [16]I was left this thus without being able to decide wether this coming referred to the beginning of the Millenium, or to some previous appearing, or wether I should die and thus see his face. [17]I believe the coming of the son of man will not be any sooner than that time23

In correct<ing> two points in E[lde]r Hydes [Orson Hyde’s] discourse24 he observed as follows,

The meaning of that passage where it reads [1]‘when he shall appear we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is’25 is this, When the saviour appears we shall see that he is a man like unto ourselves, [2]and that same sociality which exists amongst us here will exist among us there26 only it will be coupled with eternal glory which we do not enjoy now. [p. 67] [3]Also The appearing of the father and the son in John c 14 v 23 is a personal appearing,27 and the idea that they will dwell in a mans heart is a sectarian doctrine and is false28

[4]In answer to a question which I proposed to him as follows, ‘Is not the reckoning of Gods time,29 Angels time, prophets time & mans time according to the planet on which they reside30 [5]he answered Yes

But there is no Angel ministers to this earth only what either does belong or has belonged to this earth31 [6]And the Angels do not reside on a planet like our earth [7]but they dwell with God and the planet where he dwells is like crystal, and like a sea of glass before the throne.32 This is the great Urim & Thummim whereon all things [p. 68] are manifest both things past, present & future and are continually before the Lord. The Urim & Thummim is a small representation of this globe.33 [9]The earth when it is purified will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim & Thummim34 whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order will be manifest to those who dwell on it.35 And this earth will be with Christ [10]Then the white stone mentioned in Rev. c 2 v 17 is the Urim & Thummim whereby all things pertaining to an higher order of kingdoms even all kingdoms will be made known [11]and a the white stone is given to each of those who come into this the celestial kingdom,36 whereon is a new name [p. 69] written which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

[18]Whatever principal of intelligence we obtain in this life will rise with us in the resurrection: [19]and if a person gains more knowledge in this life through his diligence & obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come.37 [20]There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world upon which all blessings are predicated; [21]and when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated.38

[22]The Holy Ghost is a personage,39 and a person cannot have the personage [p. 70] of the H. G. in his heart. [23]A man may receive the gifts of the H. G, and the H. G. may descend upon a man but not to tarry with him.

He also related the following dream40

I dreamed that a silver-headed old man came to me and said he was invaded by a gang of robbers, who were plundering his neighbors and threatening destruction to all his subjects. He had heard that I always sought to defend the oppressed, and he had come to see if the General would call out his Legion41 and protect him, and he had come to hear with his own ears what answer I would give him. I answered, if you will make out the papers and shew that you are not the aggressor I will call out the Legion [p. 71] and defend you while I have a man to stand by me. The old man then turned to go away. When he got a little distance he turned suddenly round and said I must call out the Legion and go and he would have the papers ready when I arrived, and says he I have any amount of men which you can have under your command.

Er Hyde gave the this interpretation

The old man represents the government of these United States who will be invaded by a foreign foe, probably England. The U. S. gorvernment will call on you to defend probably all this Western Territory, and will offer you any amount of men you may need for that purpose. [p. 72]

[12]Once when prest. Joseph was praying earnestly to know concerning the wars which are to preceed the coming of the son of man, he heard a voice proclaim that the first outbreak of general bloodshed would commence at South Carolina— see Revelation42

The sealing of the 144000 was the number of priests who should be anointed to administer in the daily sacrifice &c.43

During prest. Joseph’s remarks he said their was a nice distinction between the vision which John saw as spoken of in Revelations & the vision which Daniel saw.44 the former relating only45 to things as they actually existed in heaven— the latter being a figure representing things on the earth. God never made use of the figure [p. 73] of a beast to represent the kingdom of heaven—46 when they were made use of it was to represent an apostate church.

Notes

  1. JS, Journal, 1–4 Apr. 1843, in JSP, J2:321–327.

  2. JS, Journal, 1–2 Apr. 1843, in JSP, J2:323.

  3. Rowe, God’s Strange Work, chaps. 4–7.

  4. On 13 January 1843, the Christian Secretary reported that a prominent Millerite preacher, George Storrs, had identified 3 April 1843 as the date of the Second Coming. The belief caught on among some Millerites, although Storrs reportedly later denied he made this statement. JS seems to have believed that this date was universally accepted by the Millerites and their preachers. His journal entry for 3 April 1843 reads: “Millers’s Day of Judgment has arrived. but. tis too. pleas[a]nt. for false prophets.” (“The Time of the End,” Christian Secretary, 13 Jan. 1843, [3]; Notice, Signs of the Times, 18 Jan. 1843, 141; JS, Journal, 3 Apr. 1843, in JSP, J2:326; see also Editorial, Christian Secretary, 27 Jan. 1843, [3].)

  5. Nauvoo Stake High Council Minutes, 19 Mar. 1843; Discourse, 8 Apr. 1843, in JSP, D12 (forthcoming).

  6. See Revelation 7:4.

  7. In a letter to the Deseret Evening News, Benjamin F. Johnson recalled that JS’s “instructions were drawn out through questions asked by those present, and Brother William Clayton, his private secretary, wrote down at the time his replies.” (Benjamin F. Johnson, “Sayings of the Prophet,” Deseret Evening News [Salt Lake City], 25 Nov. 1899, 4.)

  8. See Clayton, Journal, 25–28 Apr. 1843. Clayton inscribed entries for 25–28 April 1843 at the end of his 1842–1843 journal. He also inscribed revised versions of these entries at the beginning of his 1843–1844 journal.

  9. Portions of the 2 April 1843 instruction as recorded by Willard Richards were later canonized in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

  10. In the morning, Orson Hyde preached on 1 John 1:1–3, John 14:23, the concept of God dwelling in human hearts, and the second coming of Jesus Christ. (JS, Journal, 2 Apr. 1843, in JSP, J2:323.)

  11. JS’s dream was recorded on manuscript page 3 of JS’s journal. Though not labeled “B,” the journal in which the dream was recorded was the second memorandum book kept by Richards. (JS, Journal, 11 Mar. 1843, in JSP, J2:306; Editorial Note, in JSP, J2:303.)

  12. In 1832, JS answered questions about the book of Revelation, including a query about “the four beasts spoken of by John.” Instead of adopting the traditional interpretation that the beasts represented corrupt kingdoms, JS responded that they were actually “four individual beasts which were shewn to John to represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation in the enjoyment of their eternal felicity.” (Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832, in JSP, D2:209–210 [D&C 77:2–3], herein; see also Discourse, 8 Apr. 1843, in JSP, D12 (forthcoming).)

  13. Preachers commonly took a biblical passage as their sermon topic. JS was stating that this was the first time he had preached on the book of Revelation. (Sturtevant, Preacher’s Manual, 1:68; Stowe, “On Expository Preaching,” 384.)

  14. TEXT: Possibly “for”.

  15. Clayton’s account of these instructions has “resurrection.”

  16. TEXT: Possibly “ours mans”.

  17. See Matthew 25:21, 23.

  18. See Matthew 25:14–30; and Luke 19:11–27. Benjamin F. Johnson recalled that during this April visit, JS told him privately “that the Lord had revealed to him that plural or patriarchal marriage was according to his law.” JS sought Johnson’s assistance to introduce Johnson’s sister, Almera, to the idea of marrying JS as a plural wife. When Johnson expressed his displeasure with the concept, JS promised that “at this morning’s meeting, I will preach you a sermon that no one but you will understand.” Johnson recounted that at the meeting JS “read the parable of the Talents, and showed plainly that to him that hath shall be given more, and from him that had but one should be taken that he seemed to have, and given to him who had ten. This, so far as I could understand, might relate to families.” Johnson incorrectly identified this sermon as having occurred in the morning. (Johnson, “Life Review,” 90–91.)

  19. See John 3:1–5.

  20. TEXT: Possibly “are”.

  21. See Revelation 7:3–4; 14:1.

  22. Willard Richards’s account lays out JS’s discourses from this day in a clearer chronological order.

  23. Benjamin F. Johnson recalled that this statement was made in response to a question he asked. JS seems to have alluded to this same revelation on 14 February 1835, when he stated that “even fifty six years, should wind up the scene.” JS’s eighty-fifth birthday would have occurred on 23 December 1890. (Johnson, “Life Review,” 89; Minutes, Discourse, and Blessings, 14–15 Feb. 1835, in JSP, D4:225.)

  24. According to Willard Richards’s account, Hyde preached on several scriptural passages, including 1 John 1:1–3 and John 14:23. (JS, Journal, 2 Apr. 1843, in JSP, J2:323.)

  25. See 1 John 3:2; and Book of Mormon, 1840 ed., 564 [Moroni 7:48].

  26. TEXT: Possibly “then”.

  27. In 1839, JS explained that “the other Comforter which the Lord hath promised the Saints as is recorded in the testimony of St. John in the XIV ch … is no more or less than the Lord Jesus Christ himself & this is the sum & substance of the whole matter that when any man obtains this last Comforter he will have the personage of Jesus Christ to attend him or appear unto him from time to time.” (Discourse, between ca. 26 June and ca. 2 July 1839, in JSP, D6:525.)

  28. In Adam Clarke’s prominent early nineteenth-century biblical commentary, which JS was known to consult, this verse was interpreted to mean that God would “make his heart our temple, where God the Father, Son, and Spirit, shall rest, receive homage, and dwell to eternity.” (Clarke, New Testament, 1:593.)

  29. See 2 Peter 3:8.

  30. JS’s translation of the Book of Abraham named Kolob as a planet “nearest to the celestial, or the residence of God.” Kolob was described as being “after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the Revolutions thereof, that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest; this is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.” (Facsimile 2, in JSP, R4:136; Book of Abraham Excerpt and Facsimile 2, 15 Mar. 1842, in JSP, D9:256, 261 [Abraham 3:4, facsimile 2].)

  31. In an instruction on priesthood read at the 5 October 1840 general conference of the church, JS referred to translated beings whose “place of habitation is that of the terrestrial order and a place prepared for such characters” and who God “held in reserve to be ministring Angels Unto many planets, and who as yet have not entered into so great a fulness as those who are resurrected from the dead.” (Instruction on Priesthood, ca. 5 Oct. 1840, in JSP, D7:438–439.)

  32. See Revelation 4:6.

  33. As early as 1832, JS and other Latter-day Saints used the term Urim and Thummim to indicate an object used to translate sacred texts. Later translated texts published by JS clarify that the Urim and Thummim could also be used to see visions of heaven. ([William W. Phelps], “The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [2]; “Questions Proposed to the Mormonite Preachers,” Boston Investigator, 10 Aug. 1832, [2]; Book of Abraham Excerpt and Facsimile 2, 15 Mar. 1842, in JSP, D9:255, 256 [Abraham 3:1, 4]; see also “Printer’s Manuscript of the Book of Mormon,” in JSP, R3, Part 1, p. xix.)

  34. In 1832, JS stated that “the Sea of Glass spoken of by John 4 Chap. and sixth verse of revelations … is the Earth in its sanctified immortal and eternal state.” (Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832, in JSP, D2:209 [D&C 77:1], herein.)

  35. According to the Book of Abraham, which was published one year earlier, Abraham saw through the Urim and Thummim the order of the stars, including Kolob—the star “to govern all those which belong to the same order of that upon which thou standest.” (Book of Abraham Excerpt and Facsimile 2, 15 Mar. 1842, in JSP, D9:256 [Abraham 3:3].)

  36. In 1832, JS and Sidney Rigdon reported that they saw in a vision that heaven included three degrees of glory, of which the celestial kingdom was the highest. (Vision, 16 Feb. 1832, in JSP, D2:179–192 [D&C 76], herein.)

  37. See Book of Abraham Excerpt and Facsimile 2, 15 Mar. 1842, in JSP, D9:257 [Abraham 3:18–19].

  38. The 15 March 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons published a portion of the Book of Abraham dealing with the notion of God’s premortal plan: “We will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them.” (Book of Abraham Excerpt and Facsimile 2, 15 Mar. 1842, in JSP, D9:257–258 [Abraham 3:25].)

  39. In early 1841, JS explained, “the Son Had a Tabernicle & so had the father But the Holly Ghost is a personage of spirit without tabernicle.” In January 1843, JS stated that the “Holy Gh[o]st is a personage in the form of a personage.” (Account of Meeting and Discourses, ca. 9 Mar. 1841, in JSP, D8:65; Discourse, 29 Jan. 1843, in JSP, D11:369.)

  40. The dream occurred on 9 March 1843 and was recorded in JS’s journal two days later. (JS, Journal, 11 Mar. 1843, in JSP, J2:306.)

  41. JS commanded the Nauvoo Legion as lieutenant general. (Minutes, 4 Feb. 1841, in JSP, D8:26.)

  42. JS dictated this revelation on 25 December 1832. (Revelation, 25 Dec. 1832 [D&C 87], herein.)

  43. See Revelation 7:3–4; 14:1. In 1832, JS explained that the 144,000 were “high Priests ordained unto the holy order of God to administer the everlasting Gospel.” (Answers to Questions, between ca. 4 and ca. 20 Mar. 1832, in JSP, D2:212 [D&C 77:11], herein.)

  44. See Revelation chaps. 4–5; Daniel chaps. 7–8; and Discourse, 8 Apr. 1843, in JSP, D12 (forthcoming).

  45. TEXT: Possibly “only”.

  46. On 19 March 1843, Pelatiah Brown was tried before the high council for having taught false doctrine, including the idea that the beasts in the book of Revelation represented kingdoms of the Saints. (Nauvoo Stake High Council Minutes, 19 Mar. 1843; Discourse, 8 Apr. 1843, in JSP, D12 (forthcoming).)