Church History
Doctrine and Covenants 3–5

Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Doctrine and Covenants 3–5, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources (2020)

Doctrine and Covenants 3–5, Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources

Doctrine and Covenants 3–5

Photograph of a red clapboard house with a rail fence in the foreground and sunset in the background.

The reconstructed home of Joseph and Emma Smith in Harmony (now Oakland Township), Pennsylvania, USA. Joseph and Emma lived at this location when Doctrine and Covenants sections 3–5 were received.


Historical background and the earliest manuscript of each revelation, as published in The Joseph Smith Papers

Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3]

This is the first Joseph Smith revelation for which a text has survived. According to Joseph Smith’s history, it was obtained using the Urim and Thummim after Martin Harris lost the earliest Book of Mormon manuscript. More …

Revelation, February 1829 [D&C 4]

Joseph Smith dictated this revelation for his father, Joseph Smith Sr., one of his earliest and staunchest supporters. More …

Revelation, March 1829 [D&C 5]

This revelation, which promised Martin Harris he would see the gold plates if he humbled himself, was “given to Joseph and Martin, in Harmony, Pennsylvania, March, 1829.” More …

Painting showing Emma Smith writing as Joseph translates

Emma Smith served as Joseph’s scribe for the initial translation process.

Robert Taylor Pack, Emma as Scribe, 2016, oil on copper, Church History Museum.


Biographical facts and historical images of individuals associated with the revelations

Historical Background

Revelations in Context

Essays on the background of each revelation

The Contributions of Martin Harris

D&C 3, 5, 10, 17, 19

Though Martin Harris came to believe quite sincerely, his wife had turned bitterly hostile. Lucy Harris was concerned, quite understandably, that Martin might take a large financial risk to help publish the book, that her peers would mock her husband’s participation in what they viewed as a fraudulent scheme, and that Martin had simply left her feelings out of his calculations. More …

Joseph Smith’s Support at Home

D&C 4, 11, 23

During his visit to his son in Harmony, Joseph Smith Sr. asked for a revelation concerning his own role in the Restoration; the young prophet thus received one of his earliest revelations for another individual. More …

Painting of a woman wearing a bonnet.

This portrait, drawn by Sutcliffe Maudsley from life, celebrates and memorializes the Prophet’s mother.

Sutcliffe Maudsley, Lucy Mack Smith 1776–1855, before 1844, gouache, Church History Museum.

Saints: The Story of the Church of Jesus Christ in the Latter Days

Narrative history of events surrounding the revelations

Volume 1, Chapter 5

All Is Lost

Martin Harris returned from Palmyra and took over as scribe, giving Emma a chance to rest before the baby came. But rest did not come easy. Martin’s wife, Lucy, had insisted on coming with him to Harmony, and both Harrises had strong personalities. More …

Volume 1, Chapter 6

The Gift and Power of God

Martin Harris traveled to Harmony with some bad news. His wife had filed a complaint in court, claiming Joseph was a fraud who pretended to translate gold plates. Martin now expected a summons to testify in court. More …

Volume 1, Chapter 7

Fellow Servants

As Joseph and his friends finished the translation, their minds turned to a promise the Lord had given in the Book of Mormon and in His revelations—to show the plates to three witnesses. More …

Church History Topics

Essays on subjects related to the revelations

Book of Mormon Translation

Joseph Smith translated an ancient text “by the gift and power of God” to produce the Book of Mormon. More …

Lost Manuscript of the Book of Mormon

In June 1828, Joseph Smith reluctantly allowed his scribe Martin Harris to borrow 116 pages of the original Book of Mormon manuscript. More …

Witnesses of the Book of Mormon

The first edition of the Book of Mormon featured two testimonials: one written by a group of three witnesses and another by a group of eight. More …


Translate: To produce a text from one written in another language; in Joseph Smith’s usage, most often through divine means.

Urim and Thummim: A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. More …


Maps and information about places associated with the revelations from The Joseph Smith Papers, Historic Sites, and other helpful sources


Timeline placing each revelation in the context of key events in the Church’s first century

View the chronology …

Pot with Hopi patterns, figures, and a depiction of the gold plates.

As prophesied, millions have gained a testimony of the Book of Mormon. Navajo artist Lucy Lueppe McKelvey shares her witness, showing how the scriptures speak to her in her cultural language.

Lucy Lueppe McKelvey, Pot with Hopi Dwellings and Gold Plates, 1988, ceramic, Church History Museum.