“Appendix,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 113–28

“Appendix,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 113–28


The following article, which constitutes this appendix, was published as a series in the Church News. It is an excellent source of authoritative material concerning the law of consecration.

The United Order and Law of Consecration as Set out in the Revelations of the Lord

by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Section One

Summary Statement on the Development of the United Order

The next few pages are written merely to give a sort of summary background of some of the more important facts connected with the setting up of the United Order in Zion. The principal revelations and other papers having to do with the attempt are listed.

In the revelation given at Fayette, New York, January 2, 1831, the Lord, promised to his people ‛a land for their inheritance,’ declared “I will give unto you my law” [D&C 38:20, 32].

Shortly after receiving this revelation, the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, and Edward Partridge, with the Prophet’s wife, Emma, journeyed to Kirtland, Ohio, where they met and, for a while, lived with Newel K. Whitney.

In Kirtland the Prophet found the people living a communal life “holding all property in common and living as one family.” The Prophet, however, “advised against continuance of the experiment, and tactfully brought about the disorganization of ‛The Family.’ ” [B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:243.]

On February 4, 1831 (the Prophet and party arrived at Kirtland about February 1, 1831), the Prophet received another revelation, in which the Lord directed that Edward Partridge “should be appointed by the voice of the Church, and ordained a bishop unto the Church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the Church; to see to all things as it shall be appointed unto him in my laws in the day that I shall give them” [D&C 41:9–10].

The Prophet records:

“On the 9th of February, 1831, at Kirtland, in the presence of twelve elders, and according to the promise heretofore made,” [see D&C 38:20, 32] “the Lord gave the following revelation, embracing the law of the Church” [History of the Church, 1:148].

The Prophet then records the forty-second section of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is the basic charter of “my law,”—The Law of Consecration administered under the United Order.

The law was amplified, explained, and supplemented in the following revelations, which are only listed here. They will be analyzed in subsequent parts of these notes.


Given At



Kirtland, Ohio



Kirtland, Ohio



Kirtland, Ohio



Thompson, Ohio



Kirtland, Ohio



Jackson County, Mo.


August 1

Jackson County, Mo.


August 7

Jackson County, Mo.



Kirtland, Ohio


September 11

Kirtland, Ohio


October 25

Orange, Ohio



Kirtland, Ohio


December 4

Kirtland, Ohio



January 25

Amherst, Ohio



Hiram, Ohio


April 26

Jackson County, Mo.


April 30

Independence, Mo.


(See July number of Star, I Doc. Hist. 278)

Sept. 22–23

Kirtland, Ohio


November 27

Kirtland, Ohio


November 27

Letter from the Prophet to W. W. Phelps [see History of the Church, 1:293]

December 27

Kirtland, Ohio



January 14

Letter from the Prophet to W. W. Phelps [see History of the Church, 1:316]

January 14

Epistle Conference of High Priests at Kirtland to Brethren in Zion [see History of the Church, 1:317]

February 27

Kirtland, Ohio


March 8

Kirtland, Ohio


March 15

Kirtland, Ohio


April 13

Prophet’s letter to Carter [see History of the Church, 1:338]

April 21

Prophet to Brethren in Zion [see History of the Church, 1:340]

The first mobbings in Missouri began in April of this year, 1833.

The following lists the revelations thereafter received, bearing on the United Order.


Given At


May 6

Kirtland, Ohio


June 1

Kirtland, Ohio


June 4

Kirtland, Ohio


June 25

Letter from Prophet to W. W. Phelps, Edward Partridge, and others [see History of the Church, 1:362 ff.]

In July, 1833, the spirit of mobocracy in Missouri rose very rapidly [see History of the Church, 1:374 ff.]; the printing establishment was wrecked on July 20th [see History of the Church, 1:390 ff.]; on the same day, Bishop Partridge and Elder Charles Allen were tarred and feathered [see History of the Church, 1:390–91]; on July 23rd, the mob reassembled, thoroughly armed, bearing a red flag, and to stop bloodshed the Saints agreed to leave the county within a fixed time [see History of the Church, 1:394]. On this date, the cornerstone of the Kirtland Temple was laid “after the order of the Holy Priesthood” [History of the Church, 1:400].

Before the Prophet could have had word from Missouri of the mobbings of July 20–23, 1833, he had two revelations containing encouragement, condemnations, admonitions, and exhortations applicable to the situation in Zion. The revelation contained specific warnings to the Saints in Kirtland, contained the law of war for the Saints [see D&C 98:33–38] and laid down the law of forgiveness [see D&C 98:23–32, 37–48; 97; 100].

In the next revelation given bearing immediately on the Saints in Zion and the United Order, (October 12, 1833, Perrysburg, New York) the Lord, speaking to Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, gave words of comfort for Zion. He said:

“Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.

“And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season.

“Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved.

“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the Church.

“For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness;

“And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved.” [D&C 100:12–17.]

In November, 1833, Saints were driven from Jackson County by armed mobs.

On December 10, 1833, the Prophet wrote a letter to Bishop Partridge, W. W. Phelps, John Whitmer, A. S. Gilbert, John Corrill, Isaac Morley and the Saints in Zion in which he expressed his great sympathies and own perturbation over the persecutions in Missouri, which he set forth at length.

Concerning this letter, Elder Roberts says:

“This letter was, as will be seen by the text of it, written after the first definite and detailed account of what had taken place in Missouri reached the Prophet’s hand. We know of nothing written by him that better manifests the nobility of his soul, or the gentle sympathy of his nature, than this communication.” [History of the Church, 1:453.]

On December 15, W. W. Phelps wrote a letter from Clay County to the Prophet in which he described the condition of the Saints in these words:

“The condition of the scattered Saints is lamentable, and affords a gloomy prospect. No regular order can be enforced, nor any usual discipline kept up; among the world, yea, the most wicked part of it, some commit one sin, and some another (I speak of the rebellious, for there are Saints that are as immovable as the everlasting hills), and what can be done? We are in Clay, Ray, Lafayette, Jackson, Van Buren and other counties, and cannot hear from one another oftener than we do from you. I know it was right that we should be driven out of the land of Zion, that the rebellious might be sent away. But, brethren, if the Lord will, I should like to know what the honest in heart shall do? Our clothes are worn out; we want the necessaries of life, and shall we lease, buy, or otherwise obtain land where we are, to till, that we may raise enough to eat? Such is the common language of the honest, for they want to do the will of God. I am sensible that we shall not be able to live again in Zion, till God or the President rules out the mob.” [History of the Church, 1:457.]

On December 16, 1833 (Kirtland) the day following the date on which Elder Phelps wrote the foregoing, the Prophet (who of course had not then received this letter) received a revelation dealing with the Saints in Zion and their persecutions. The Lord declared he had other places to appoint to the Saints thereafter [see D&C 101:20–23] and pictured for the Saints a new and glorious earth [see D&C 101:24–42]: the Lord gives the Saints a parable about a nobleman and his estate [see D&C 101:43–62] and gives them commandments concerning further gatherings and colonization [see D&C 101:63–80]; he commends to them the parable of the importunate widow [see D&C 101:81–88], prescribes punishment for the unmerciful judge [see D&C 101:89–95] and declares it to be his will that they should retain their holdings, even though they do not occupy them [see D&C 101:99–101].

Acting on the Prophet’s letter and the commandments of this revelation, the Saints sought to find redress in the courts and petitioned to the President of the United States, who answered through Secretary Cass, stating that under the Constitution Federal troops might not be used in case of State disorders, except upon the request of the Governor of the State, [see History of the Church, 1:493].

On February 24, 1834, the Lord again spoke to the Prophet (Kirtland) about Zion and her peoples, telling Joseph why the Lord had suffered the Saints to be chastened [see D&C 103:1–4], declaring that the Saints should prevail against their enemies [see D&C 103:11–13], that a new Moses should be raised up [see D&C 103:15–18]; that an angel of the Lord should go before the people [see D&C 103:19–20]; and Joseph was declared to be the servant [see D&C 101:55 ff.] of the parable of the nobleman [see D&C 103:21–28]. In this revelation the Lord forcast Zion’s Camp [see D&C 103:22 ff.], and gave instructions how the brethren should go out to raise volunteers [see D&C 103:37–40].

The “High Council of the Church” met on the same day the revelation was received (February 24, 1834) and considered the conditions in Zion. The minutes record:

“Brother Joseph then arose, and said that he was going to Zion, to assist in redeeming it. He called for the voice of the Council to sanction his going, which was given without a dissenting voice. He then called for volunteers to go with him, when some thirty or forty volunteered to go, who were present at the Council. It was a question whether the company should go by water or by land, and after a short investigation it was decided unanimously that they go by land. Joseph Smith, Jun., was nominated to be the commander-in-chief of the armies of Israel, and the leader of those who volunteered to go and assist in the redemption of Zion; the nomination was seconded and carried by the vote of all present. Council then adjourned by prayer and thanksgiving.” [History of the Church, 2:39–40.]

Accordingly the Prophet records that on February 26, 1834-

“I started from home to obtain volunteers for Zion, in compliance with the foregoing revelation and action of the High Council” [History of the Church, 2:40].

In a revelation received (April 23, 1834) after the Brethren had returned to Kirtland from their recruiting, the Lord moved forward again in the effort to get the Saints to establish the United Order, this time in Kirtland. He declared to the Brethren-the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Newel K. Whitney, John Johnson, and Oliver Cowdery—assembled in Council, His will concerning the properties of the Order, and then commanded the setting up of the Order in Kirtland. [See D&C 104.] In this revelation the Lord dissolved the relationship between the Order in Zion and the newly created Order in Kirtland, and directed that the Orders should be called respectively the United Order of the City of Zion and the United Order of the Stake of Zion, the City of Kirtland [see D&C 104:47–48].

“And they shall be organized in their own names, and in their own name; and they shall do their business in their own name, and in their own names;

“And you shall do your business in your own name, and in your own names.

“And this I have commanded to be done for your salvation, and also for their salvation, in consequence of their being driven out and that which is to come.

“The covenants being broken through transgression by covetousness and feigned words—

“Therefore, you are dissolved as a united order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour unto them, only on this wise, as I said, by loan as shall be agreed by this order in council, as your circumstances will admit and the voice of the council direct.” [D&C 104:49–53.]

The Brethren, having finished their mission of recruiting the vanguard of Zion’s Camp, left Kirtland for Missouri on May 1, 1834 [see History of the Church, 2:61].

On May 5th, the balance of the Brethren, with Joseph accompanying and in command, left for Zion’s Camp, and on May 6th joined the vanguard at New Portage [see History of the Church, 2:63–64].

The Prophet records:

“The whole company now consisted of more than one hundred and thirty men, accompanied by twenty baggage wagons” [History of the Church, 2:64].

It is unnecessary to trace the march of Zion’s Camp to Missouri. The details will be found in the Prophet’s record [see History of the Church, 2:64–100]. As might be expected, the advance of these armed men caused great excitement in Missouri [see History of the Church, 2:61].

Mobs began gathering from Jackson County and vicinity, apparently in numbers greatly exceeding the number in Zion’s Camp, although the Camp had been increased to 205 men and 25 baggage wagons [see History of the Church, 2:87]. It must have become increasingly apparent to the Prophet and the Brethren generally that any attempt to repossess the Jackson County lands would lead to serious bloodshed. The mob was breathing vengeance and extermination.

But on June 20–21 cholera appeared in the Camp [see History of the Church, 2:106], where some, perhaps considerable, disloyalty existed.

The Prophet records:

“At the commencement, I attempted to lay on hands for their recovery, but I quickly learned by painful experience, that when the great Jehovah decrees destruction upon any people, and makes known His determination, man must not attempt to stay His hand. The moment I attempted to rebuke the disease I was attacked, and had I not desisted in my attempt to save the life of a brother, I would have sacrificed my own. The disease seized upon me like the talons of a hawk, and I said to the brethren: ‛If my work were done, you would have to put me in the ground without a coffin.’ … When the cholera made its appearance, Elder John S. Carter was the first man who stepped forward to rebuke it, and upon this, was instantly seized, and became the first victim in the camp.” [History of the Church, 2:114–15.]

The Prophet told the Camp that “God had decreed that sickness should come upon the camp, and if they did not repent and humble themselves before God they should die like sheep with the rot; that I was sorry, but could not help it. The scourge must come; repentance and humility may mitigate the chastisement, but cannot altogether avert it. But there were some who would not give heed to my words.” [History of the Church, 2:107.]

Heber C. Kimball recorded: “When he (the Prophet Joseph) spoke these things it pierced me like a dart, having a testimony that so it would be” [History of the Church, 2:107].

While the Camp was at Fishing River and the cholera was raging, Joseph again heard from the Lord concerning Zion and the Saints there, in a revelation [D&C 105], which set out the reasons for the affliction of the people (vs. 1–8); declared the redemption of Zion was postponed (vs. 9–13); that the Lord would fight the battles of Zion (vs. 14–15); indicated that Zion’s Camp had failed [to adequately hearken to the Lord] (vs. 16–17), but that the faithful should have an endowment if they continued faithful (vs. 18–19); directed the dispersion of the Camp (vs. 20–22), gave instructions to the Saints in Zion (vs. 23–27), commanded them to continue the purchase of lands in Jackson County (vs. 28–29), declared that Israel’s Army would be guiltless in taking possession of their own lands (vs. 30–32), stated the eiders should receive their endowments (v. 33), and instructed the people to sue for peace (vs. 38–41).

But for our purposes the most important part of this revelation was that which declared:

“And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption” [D&C 105:34].

Zion had failed in her great experiment.

The Lord had begun this same revelation with these fateful words:

“Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people-

“Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the Church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.

“But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

“And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;

“And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

“And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.

“I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;

“But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.

“Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion —

“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 endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch 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 said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil—I will fight your battles.

“Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.” [D&C 105:1–15.]

The cholera continued so to increase in the Camp, that on June 25, 1834, “the Camp was separated into small bands, and dispersed among the brethren living in the vicinity” the cholera having “burst forth among us, and about midnight it was manifested in its most virulent form” [History of the Church, 2:114]. The disease continued for about four days, and finally ceased on July 1, the brethren having convenanted to keep the commandments of the Lord and obey the counsel of Joseph [see History of the Church, 2:120].

On July 4, 1834, the Prophet “authorized General Lyman Wight to give a discharge to every man of the Camp who had proved himself faithful, certifying that fact and giving him leave to return home” [History of the Church, 2:123].

Sixty-eight of the brethren were stricken with cholera, fourteen died, including Elder Algernon Sidney Gilbert. (As to the character of the men who died and their place in the hereafter, see [History of the Church, 2:181n].) The Prophet records that “among the most active of those who were engaged in taking care of the sick at the camp, burying the dead, etc., were John D. Parker, John Tanner, Nathan Tanner, Joseph B. Noble, Brigham Young, Joseph Young, Heber C. Kimball, Luke S. Johnson and Eleazar Miller” [History of the Church, 2:120].

Thus Zion’s Camp came to an end without achieving the purpose for which the Brethren understood it was organized. They thought they were to repossess, with the Saints in Zion, the Jackson County lands. But the Camp did not even reach Jackson County, the Saints did not repossess the lands, and the Camp was dispersed by a scourge from God [see History of the Church, 2:107]. They made their way back East, those who went, as best they might. That they still loved and followed Joseph is one of the great evidences of his divine calling and of his almost incomparable personality. Loyalty in defeat and disaster, is the greatest of all loyalties.

The question naturally comes-Why did the Lord, knowing the end from the beginning, command Zion’s Camp and its tragic mission. Elder Roberts quotes Elder Joseph Young as giving the following incident in answer:

“Elder Joseph Young in his ‛History of the Organization of the Seventies,’ (page 14) says that the following sentiment was delivered by the Prophet Joseph Smith in an address to the Elders assembled in Kirtland soon after the Seventies were organized: ‛Brethren, some of you are angry with me, because you did not fight in Missouri; but let me tell you, God did not want you to fight. He could not organize His kingdom with twelve men to open the Gospel door to the nations of the earth, and with seventy men under their direction to follow in their tracks, unless He took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham. Now the Lord has got His Twelve and His Seventy, and there will be other quorums of Seventies called, who will make the sacrifice, and those who have not made their sacrifices and their offerings now, will make them hereafter.’” [History of the Church, 2:182n.]

In the Fishing River revelation (June 22, 1834) the Lord declared:

“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, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;

“And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.” [D&C 105:35–37.]

In passing it is worth noting that in the Zion’s Camp expedition, Brigham Young, who was thereafter to lead the Saints to the Valleys, got his first experience in handling bodies of men on a trek; he was later to get more experience when it devolved upon him to evacuate the Saints from Missouri to Illinois while the Prophet unjustly languished in a dungeon.

This account may be closed by a statement of the Prophet (Feb. 8, 1835) recorded by Elder Joseph Young:

“Brethren, I have seen those men who died of the cholera in our camp; and the Lord knows, if I get a mansion as bright as theirs, I ask no more” [History of the Church, 2:181n].

Section Two

The Earth Is the Lord’s

The fundamental principle of the whole Church financial setup from the beginning until now is that the earth is the Lord’s.

Speaking to Joseph in December, 1831, the Lord said:

“And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers, and the poor have complained before me, and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons.

“And I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it.” [D&C 38:16–17.]

Two and a half years later, the Lord amplified this principle thus:

“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine …

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.” [D&C 104:14–15, 17.]

Section Three

The Law of Consecration

The initial provision on consecration was as follows:

“… thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken” [D&C 42:30].

As finally commanded by the Lord, the United Order required that a man deed all of his property to the Church (by a deed good even if he left the Church [see D&C 42:32, 37], for “according to the law every man that cometh up to Zion, must lay all things before the bishop in Zion” [D&C 72:15]; [see also D&C 58:35–36]; the donor got back from the Church by a deed “as much as is sufficient for himself and family” [D&C 42:32]. [See History of the Church, 1:298.] His deed was to be good even if he .should leave the Church [see D&C 51:4–5; 83:3], the deed seemingly to be “for him and his seed after him” [D&C 104:24–25], “and thus all things shall be made sure, according to the laws of the land” [D&C 51:6; see also History of the Church, 1:340, 363–64, 455].

In March, 1832, the Lord gave to Joseph a revelation (Hiram, Ohio) in which the Lord set out certain broad principles of the law of consecration:

“For verily I say unto you, the time has come, and is now at hand; and behold, and lo, it must needs be that there be an organization of my people, in regulating and establishing the affairs of the storehouse for the poor of my people, both in this place and in the land of Zion—

“Or in other words, the city of Joseph, for a permanent and everlasting establishment and order unto my church, to advance the cause, which ye have espoused, to the salvation of man, and to the glory of your Father who is in heaven;

“That you may be equal in the bonds of heavenly things, yea, and earthly things also, for the obtaining of heavenly things.

“For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;

“For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.

“And now, verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient that all things be done unto my glory, by you who are joined together in this order;

“Or, in other words, let my servant Newel K. Whitney and my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and my servant Sidney Rigdon, sit in council with the saints which are in Zion;

“Otherwise Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them.

“Wherefore, a commandment I give unto you, to prepare and organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken.

“And he who breaketh it shall lose his office and standing in the church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.

“Behold, this is the preparation wherewith I prepare you, and the foundation, and the ensample which I give unto you, whereby you may accomplish the commandments which are given you;

“That through my providence, notwithstanding the tribulation which shall descend upon you, that the church may stand independent above all other creatures beneath the celestial world.” [D&C 78:3–14.]

An additional commandment, touching this same matter, was given by the Lord in September (22–23) 1832, at Kirtland, Ohio, when the Lord said:

“And if any man shall give unto any of you a coat, or a suit, take the old and cast it unto the poor, and go on your way rejoicing” [D&C 84:105].

In a letter from the Prophet to W. W. Phelps, and others in Zion, (June 25, 1833) the Prophet urged Edward Partridge: “… be sure to get a form according to law for securing a gift. We have found by examining the law, that a gift cannot be retained without this.” [History of the Church, 1:363.] He added:

“You will remember that the power of agency must be signed by the wives as well as the husbands, and the wives must be examined in the matter separate and apart from the husbands, the same as signing a deed, and a specification to that effect inserted at the bottom, by the justice before whom such acknowledgment is made, otherwise the power of attorney will be of none effect” [History of the Church, 1:364].

(See [History of the Church, 1:365–66], for Titus Billings forms; these are not executed, and do not legally conform to the commandments in the revelations.)

In the revelation (April 23, 1834) concerning the properties of the United Order, the Lord said, regarding stewardships, in connection with the establishment of the Order in Kirtland:

“It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship;

“That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.

“For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.

“I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.

“And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.

“But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.

“For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

“Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.” [D&C 104:11–18.]

In the revelation [D&C 105] given at Fishing River, Missouri, June 22, 1834, the Lord suspended (as has been already pointed out) the United Order including the law of consecration:

“But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.

“Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion—

“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 endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch 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 …

“And to have sent wise men, to fulfil that which I have commanded concerning the purchasing of all the lands in Jackson County that can be purchased, and in the adjoining counties round about.

“For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given …

“And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.” [D&C 105:8–13, 28–29, 34.]

(Church News, 25 Aug. 1945, pp. 1, 5, 9.)

Section Four

Measure of Amount of Property Individual Should Have

The measure of the amount of property that a man should have as his own was that every man should receive “as much as is sufficient for himself and family” [D&C 42:32], that every man should “be amply supplied and receive according to his wants” [D&C 42:33], “every man according to his family, according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to him by the presidency and the bishop of the church” [D&C 48:6], and every man should be “equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” [D&C 51:3]. In a later revelation (Jackson County, Missouri, April 26, 1832) the Lord recurred to this matter of equality, saying:

“And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just” [D&C 82:17].

The amount of a man’s property which should be retained by the Church and the amount he should receive back was to be determined as follows, as presented by the Prophet in a letter dated June 25, 1833 and addressed to Edward Partridge:

“I proceed to answer your questions, concerning the consecration of property: — First, it is not right to condescend to very great particulars in taking inventories. The fact is this, a man is bound by the law of the Church, to consecrate to the Bishop, before he can be considered a legal heir to the kingdom of Zion; and this, too, without constraint; and unless he does this, he cannot be acknowledged before the Lord on the Church books: therefore, to condescend to particulars, I will tell you that every man must be his own judge how much he should receive and how much he should suffer to remain in the hands of the Bishop. I speak of those who consecrate more than they need for the support of themselves and their families.

“The matter of consecration must be done by the mutual consent of both parties; for to give the Bishop power to say how much every man shall have, and he be obliged to comply with the Bishop’s judgment, is giving to the Bishop more power than a king has; and upon the other hand, to let every man say how much he needs, and the Bishop be obliged to comply with his judgment, is to throw Zion into confusion, and make a slave of the Bishop. The fact is, there must be a balance or equilibrium of power, between the Bishop and the people, and thus harmony and goodwill may be preserved among you.

“Therefore, those persons consecrating property to the Bishop in Zion, and then receiving an inheritance back, must reasonably show to the Bishop that they need as much as they claim. But in case the two parties cannot come to a mutual agreement, the Bishop is to have nothing to do about receiving such consecrations; and the case must be laid before a council of twelve High Priests, the Bishop not being one of the council, but he is to lay the case before them.” [History of the Church, 1:364–65.]

These properties held by individuals were sometimes spoken of as “portions,” sometimes as “stewardships” [see D&C 51:4; 70:3, 9; 72:3; 82:17; 104:11], and under certain conditions, “inheritances” [D&C 57:7, 15].

Section Five

Poor to Receive “Portions” out of Consecrated and Other Properties

Under the great revelation which set forth “my law” [D&C 42], the Lord said, regarding consecrated properties:

“And it shall come to pass, that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church, agreeable to my commandments, every man shall be made accountable unto me, a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, as much as is sufficient for himself and family.

“And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support after this first consecration, which is a residue to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer to those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied and receive according to his wants.” [D&C 42:32–33.]

It will be noted that every man shall receive “as much as is sufficient for himself and family” (v. 32) and shall “be amply supplied and receive according to his wants” (v. 33).

By a revelation received in May, 1831 [D&C 51] the Bishop was directed to “appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” (v. 3). [See D&C 104:11 ff. This allocation was to be made out of the properties consecrated “unto the bishop for the poor and needy of my church” [D&C 51:4–5], and of lands that were to be purchased [see D&C 48:6; 57:4ff. for instructions regarding the purchase of lands in Missouri; see also D&C 58:52 as to purchase of the “whole region of country”]. The Bishop “when he shall appoint a man his portion” was to “give unto him a writing that shall secure unto him his portion” [D&C 51:4].

Section Six

Operation of the United Order (Extract from address of President Clark at the October Conference, 1942.)

There is a great deal of misapprehension among our people regarding the United Order.

I have not been able to believe that the United Order meant what some people have thought it meant, so within the last months I have spent quite a little time reading the revelations thereon, also reading our history, and at the same time giving some consideration to a dissertation which has been written regarding the Order.

There is a growing—I fear it is growing —sentiment that communism and the United Order are virtually the same thing, communism being merely the forerunner, so to speak, of a reestablishment of the United Order. I am informed that ex-bishops, and indeed, bishops, who belong to communistic organizations, are preaching this doctrine. So I thought that perhaps if I said just a few words to you tonight regarding the way I interpret the revelations that are printed about this in the Doctrine and Covenants (if there are other revelations about the Order, I do not know of them), I thought if I said something about it, it might be helpful. I recommend that you, my brethren, read a few of the sections of the Doctrine and Covenants which cover this matter, beginning with Sections 42 and 51. (See also Sections 70, 73, 82, 83, 85, 90, 92, 96, and 104.) If you will go over these sections, I feel sure Jhat you will find that my explanation of the United Order will be substantially accurate.

I may say to begin with, that in practice the brethren in Missouri got away, in their attempts to set up the United Order, from the principles set out in the revelations. This is also true of the organizations set up here in Utah after the Saints came to the Valleys. So far as I have seen there has been preserved only one document that purports to be a legal instrument used in connection with the setting up of the United Order, and that document is without date. It is said to have been found among the papers of Bishop Partridge. It was a “lease-lend” document. You may have heard that phrase before. Under this instrument the Church leased to Titus Billings a certain amount of real estate and loaned him a certain amount of personal property. [See History of the Church, 1:365–67.]

This instrument is not in accordance with the principle laid down in the revelations touching upon the United Order.

The basic principle of all the revelations on the United Order is that everything we have belongs to the Lord; therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of the property which we have, because it belongs to him. This, I repeat, is the basic principle. [See D&C 104:14–17, 54–57.]

One of the places in which some of the brethren are going astray is this: There is continuous reference in the revelations to equality among the brethren, but I think you will find only one place where that equality is really described, though it is referred to in other revelations. That revelation [D&C 51:3] affirms that every man is to be “equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” [see also D&C 82:17; 78:5–6]. Obviously, this is not a case of “dead level” equality. It is “equality” that will vary as much as the man’s circumstances, his family, his wants and needs, may vary.

In the next place, under the United Order every man was called to consecrate to the Church all of the property which he had; the real estate was to be conveyed to the Church, as I understand the revelations, by what we would call a deed in fee simple. Thus the man’s property became absolutely the property of the Church. [See D&C 42:30; 72:15.] Then the bishop deeded back to the donor by the same kind of deed, that is, in fee simple, and also transferred to him by an equivalent instrument, so far as personal property was concerned, that amount of real and personal property, which, the two being taken together, would be required by the individual for the support of himself and his family “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.” This the man held as his own property. [See D&C 42:32, 51:4–6; 83:3.]

In other words, basic to the United Order was the private ownership of property, every man had his own property from which he might secure that which was necessary for the support of himself and his family. There is nothing in the revelations that would indicate that this property was not freely alienable at the will of the owner. It was not contemplated that the Church should own everything or that we should become in the Church, with reference to our property and otherwise, the same kind of automaton, manikin, that communism makes out of the individual, with the State standing at the head in place of the Church.

Now, that part of a man’s property, which was not turned back to him, if he had more than was needed under this rule of “equality” already stated, became the common property of the Church, and that common property was used for the support of the poor of the Church. It is spoken of in the revelations as the “residue” of property. [D&C 42:34–36.]

Furthermore, it was intended, though apparently it did not work out very well, that the poor coming into Zion, and by Zion I mean, here, Missouri-the poor coming into Zion were to have given them a “portion” of land, which land was to be either purchased from the Government (and it was planned to purchase large areas from the Government), or purchased from individuals, or received as consecrations from members of the Church. The amount of this “portion” was to be such as would make him equal to others according to his circumstances, his family, his wants and needs.

The land which you received from the bishop by deed, whether it was part of the land which you, yourself, had deeded to the Church, or whether it came as an outright gift from the Church as just indicated, and the personal property which you received, were all together sometimes called a “portion” [D&C 51:4–6], sometimes a “stewardship” [D&C 104:11–12], and sometimes an “inheritance” [D&C 83:3].

As just indicated, there were other kinds of inheritances and stewardships than land or mere personal property; for example, the Prophet and others had a stewardship given to them which consisted of the revelations and commandments [see D&C 70:1–4]; others had given to them a stewardship involving the printing house [see D&C 104:29–30] ; another stewardship was a mercantile establishment [see D&C 104:39–42].

I repeat that whatever a steward realized from the portion allotted to him over and above that which was necessary in order to keep his family under the standard provided, as already stated above, was turned over by the steward to the bishop, and this amount of surplus, plus the residues to which I have already referred, went into a bishop’s storehouse [see D&C 51:13 and citations above], and the materials of the storehouse were to be used in creating portions, as above indicated, for caring for the poor [see D&C 78:3], the widows and orphans [see D&C 83:6], and for the elders of the Church engaged in the ministry, who were to pay for what they received if they could, but if not, their faithful labors should answer their debt to the bishop [see D&C 72:11 ff.].

Now, as time went on and the system developed, the Lord created two other insitutuions besides the storehouse: one was known as the Sacred Treasury, into which was put “the avails of the sacred things in the treasury, for sacred and holy purposes.” While it is not clear, it would seem that into this treasury were to be put the surpluses which were derived from the publication of the revelations, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and other similar things, the stewardship of which had been given to Joseph and others. [See D&C 104:60–66.]

The Lord also provided for the creation of “Another Treasury,” and into that other treasury went the general revenues which came to the Church, such as gifts of money and those revenues derived from the improvement of stewardships as distinguished from the residues of the original consecrations and the surpluses which came from the operation of their stewardships [see D&C 72:11 ff.].

The foregoing is the general outline as It is gathered from the revelations of the law of the United Order which the Lord spoke of as “my law” [D&C 44:6; 51:15]. There are passages in the revelations which, taken from their context and without having in mind the whole System, might be considered as inconsistent with some of the things which I have set out, but all such passages fall into line if the whole program is looked at as contained in. all of the revelations. The fundamental principle of this system was the private ownership of property. Each man owned his portion, or inheritance, or stewardship, with an absolute title, which he could alienate, or hypothecate, or otherwise treat as his own. The Church did not own all of the property, and the life under the United Order was not a communal life, as the Prophet Joseph, himself, said. [See History of the Church, 3:28.] The United Order is an individualistic system, not a communal system.

We have all said that the Welfare Plan is not the United Order and was not intended to be. However, I should like to suggest to you that perhaps, after all, when the Welfare Plan gets thoroughly into operation—it is not so yet-we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order.

In the first place I repeat again, the United Order recognized and was built upon the principle of private ownership of property; all that a man had and lived upon under the United Order, was his own. Quite obviously, the fundamental principle of our system today is the ownership of private property.

In the next place, in lieu of residues and surpluses which were accumulated and built up under the United Order, we, today, have our fast offerings, our Welfare donations, and our tithing, all of which may be devoted to the care of the poor, as well as for the carrying on of the activities and business of the Church. After all, the United Order was primarily designed to build up a system under which there should be no abjectly poor, and this is the purpose, also, of the Welfare Plan.

In this connection it should be observed that it is clear from these earlier revelations, as well as from our history, that the Lord had very early to tell the people about the wickedness of idleness, and the wickedness of greed, because the brethren who had were not giving properly, and those who had not were evidently intending to live without work on the things which were to be received from those who had property [see D&C 56:16–20].

Furthermore, we had under the United Order a bishop’s storehouse in which were collected the materials from which to supply the needs and the wants of the poor. We have a bishop’s storehouse under the Welfare Plan, used for the same purpose.

As I have already indicated, the surplus properties which came to the Church under the Law of Consecration, under the United Order, became the “common property” of the Church [D&C 82:18] and were handled under the United Order for the benefit of the poor. We have now under the Welfare Plan all over the Church, ward land projects. In some cases the lands are owned by the wards, in others they are leased by the wards or lent to them by private individuals. This land is being farmed for the benefit of the poor, by the poor where you can get the poor to work it.

We have in place of the two treasuries, the “Sacred Treasury” and “Another Treasury,” the general funds of the Church.

Thus you will see, brethren, that in many of its great essentials, we have, as the Welfare Plan has now developed, the broad essentials of the United Order. Furthermore, having in mind the assistance which is being given from time to time and in various wards to help set people up in business or in farming, we have a plan which is not essentially unlike that which was in the United Order when the poor were given portions from the common fund.

Now, brethren, the Church has made tremendous advances in the Welfare Plan. We shall have to make still greater advances. As the Message of the First Presidency said this morning, we are being told by Government officials that we face what we used to call “hard times.” If the Welfare Plan is fully operative, we shall be able to care for every destitute Latter-day Saint wherever he may be.

Section Seven

Church Not a Communal Organization

One very common misapprehension may be corrected here regarding the United Order. The Church never was, and under existing commandments never will be, a communal society, under the directions thus far given by the Lord. The United Order was not communal nor communistic. It was completely and intensely individualistic, with a consecration of unneeded surpluses for the support of the Church and the poor. The Lord commanded:

“Thou shalt not take thy brother’s garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother” [D&C 42:54].

The only seeming element of communal life arises from the use of the term “equality” but the “equality” specified was to be “according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs” [D&C 51:3; 82:17], a man was to receive “sufficient for himself and family” [D&C 42:32–33; 48:6], it was not that equality of a dead level. Furthermore, that equality was not reached, as already stated, by a communal ownership, but upon a flexible maximum ownership by the individual. No man could live in luxury while his brethren lived in poverty.

These conclusions are necessary from a consideration of the revelations themselves and likewise from the actions and statements of the Prophet, himself.

When the Prophet first arrived in Kirtland about the first of February, 1831, he found the Saints there attempting “the experiment of holding all property in common and living as one family … he advised against continuance of the experiment, and tactfully brought about the disorganization of ‛The Family’” [Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:243]. Later (May 1838) the Prophet flatly denied that the “Mormons believe in having all things in common” [Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 119].

As bearing upon this problem it may be noted that on May 1, 1832, the Prophet, then at Independence, Missouri, records that:

“Arrangements were also made for supplying the Saints with stores in Missouri and Ohio, which action, with a few exceptions, was hailed with joy by the brethren” [History of the Church, 1:270].

Upon this statement, Brother Roberts makes the following statement:

“The arrangements here referred to for the establishment of stores in Missouri and Ohio, as disclosed by the minutes of these council meetings of the 26th, 27th, 30th of April, and the 1st of May, were that the brethren in mercantile pursuits in Kirtland and Zion should be united in one firm; and the establishments in Kirtland and Zion respectively were regarded merely as branches of one firm. Still it was resolved that each of these branches should have a separate company name. The name Of the branch in Zion was to be ‛Gilbert, Whitney & Company,’ and the one in Kirtland ‛Newel K. Whitney & Company.’ W. W. Phelps and A. S. Gilbert were appointed to draft the bond for the united firm. A. S. Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney were appointed to be agents of the new firm. It was also resolved that whenever any special business should arise it would be the duty of the united firm by its branches at Jackson County, Missouri, and Geauga County, Ohio, to regulate the same by special agency. It was also resolved that the united firm negotiate a loan of fifteen thousand dollars at six per centum. The firm of Newel K. Whitney & Co. was appointed to transact the business.” [History of the Church, 1:270.]

In 1843 (on September 14) the Prophet made the following record:

“I attended a second lecture on Socialism, by Mr. Finch; and after he got through, I made a few remarks, alluding to Sidney Rigdon and Alexander Campbell getting up a community at Kirtland, and of the big fish there eating up all the little fish. I said I did not believe the doctrine.

“Mr. Finch replied in a few minutes, and said: ‛I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness. I am the spiritual Prophet—Mr. Smith the temporal.’

“Elder John Taylor replied to the lecture at some length.” [History of the Church, 6:33.]

(Church News, 1 Sept. 1945, pp. 4, 9.)

Section Eight

United Order Dependent upon a Righteous People

Very soon after the United Order was set up, the Lord began to warn the people of the penalties that would follow sin,—the penalty of the loss of the principle.

In the second great revelation on the United Order (given at Thompson, Ohio, May, 1831) the Lord, speaking to Edward Partridge about organizing the people, said:

“For it must needs be that they be organized according to my laws; if otherwise, they will be cut off” [D&C 51:2].

In the revelation given at Kirtland, June, 1831, the Lord said:

“Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations.

“And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.

“Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.

“Wherefore, I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord …

“Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my people-you have many things to do and to repent of; for behold, your sins have come up unto me, and are not pardoned, because you seek to counsel in your own ways.

“And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness.” [D&C 56:1–4, 14–15.]

(See Sec. 58 [given Aug. 1, 1831] for the Lord’s reproof of some of those He had placed in charge of the Order.)

In the same month, August, 1831, the Lord said:

“Wherefore, let the church repent of their sins, and I, the Lord, will own them; otherwise they shall be cut off” [D&C 63:63].

See also Sec. 64:5–14, Sept. 11, 1831, “And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land” [D&C 64:35].

Joseph and Sidney Rigdon having suffered mob violence [see History of the Church, 1:261ff.], they with others went to Missouri, leaving Ohio April 1st and arriving in Missouri April 24, 1832 [see History of the Church, 1:265ff.]. The conditions there were disturbed and difficult. There was something of rebellion in which even Bishop Partridge was involved [see D&C 84:76] and Joseph attempted to heal up their differences and thought he had succeeded [see History of the Church, 1:267; Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 517]. On April 26, 1832 (Jackson County, Missouri) Joseph received a revelation, which opened as follows:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.

“Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.

“For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

“Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.

“Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;

“And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.

“And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.

“And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;

“Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.

“I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise …

“Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.

“This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you, and unto your successors, inasmuch as you sin not …

“For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness.” [D&C 82:1–10, 19–20, 24.]

In the second issue of “The Star” it is stated (showing the people in Missouri understood their situation):

“Although the Lord has said, that it is His business to provide for His Saints in these last days, yet, remember He is not bound so to do, unless we observe His sayings and keep them” [History of the Church, 1:27.9].

In his letter to W. W. Phelps of November 27, 1832 (afterwards incorporated in part in the Doctrine and Covenants as section 85) the Prophet lays down the principles governing the granting of inheritances, which shall go only to the righteous [see History of the Church, 1:297ff.].

In his letter to W. W. Phelps of January 14, 1833, the Prophet gave the following solemn warning and admonitions:

“I send you the ‛olive leaf which we have plucked from the Tree of Paradise. The Lord’s message of peace to us; for though our brethren in Zion indulge in feelings towards us, which are not according to the requirements of the new covenant, yet, we have the satisfaction of knowing that the Lord approves of us, and has accepted us, and established His name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for His work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear His voice, must expect to feel His wrath. Let me say unto you, seek to purify yourselves, and also all the inhabitants of Zion, lest the Lord’s anger be kindled to fierceness. Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion; and strange as it may appear, yet it is true, mankind will persist in self-justification until all their iniquity is exposed, and their character past being redeemed, and that which is treasured up in their hearts be exposed to the gaze of mankind. I say to you (and what I say to you I say to all), hear the warning voice of God, lest Zion fall, and the Lord sware in His wrath the inhabitants of Zion shall not enter into His rest.” [History of the Church, 1:316.]

On this same day, January 14, 1833, a Conference of Twelve High Priests, sent to “the Bishop, his Council, and the Inhabitants of Zion,” an “epistle,” written by Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, under appointment from the Council [see History of the Church, 1:318ff.].

The “epistle” began by quoting the 76th verse of Section 84, reading:

“But verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given, from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works, for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief; and your brethren in Zion, for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you.”

The “epistle” continues:-

“Brother Joseph, and certain others, have written to you on this all-important subject, but you have never been apprised of these things by the united voice of the conference of those High Priests that were present at the time this commandment was given …

“In the commandment above alluded to, the children of Zion were all, yea, even every one, under condemnation, and were to remain in that state until they repented and remembered the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments, which the Lord had given them, not only to say, but to do them, and bring forth fruit meet for the Father’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and a judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion: for ‛shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? I say unto you, nay!’” [History of the Church, 1:318.]

After commenting upon the fact that letters which had been sent had not brought about a satisfactory “confession and acknowledgment,” the brethren, asserting they had a deep interest in Zion, continued:

“… and knowing the judgments of God that will come upon her except she repent, resort to these last, and most effectual means in our power, to bring her to a sense of her standing before the Most High” [History of the Church, 1:318].

After calling attention to the fact that at the time Brother Joseph and his companions left Zion in the preceding summer everything seemed to have been cleared up as between the brethren and the spirit of good-will and fellowship existed among them, the brethren charged:

“… but, afterwards, you brought up all these things again, in a censorious spirit, accusing Brother Joseph in rather an indirect way of seeking after monarchial power and authority” [History of the Church, 1:318].

The brethren then take up the letters of several of those who have written from Zion, and treat each one separately. They first take Brother Corrill’s letter, from which it would appear came the charge that Brother Joseph was seeking “after monarchial power and authority.” The Brethren affirm that this charge is untrue and that the Prophet has no other idea than to “magnify the high office and calling where unto he has been called and appointed by the command of God, and the united voice of this Church.”

The Brethren then take up Brother Gilbert’s letter of December 10th, which they assert contains “low, dark, and blind insinuations.” The Brethren affirm they are not unwilling to be chastened or rebuked but they all wish it to be done in plain language that nobody can misunderstand. They recognize that Brother Gilbert is doing much, “and has a multitide of business on hand,” but they urge him to purge out the old leaven, and do his business in the spirit of the Lord, “otherwise the frown of the Lord will remain upon him.” They affirm that Brother Gilbert is manifestly uneasy and has “a tearfulness that God will not provide for His Saints in these last days, and these fears lead him on to covetousness.” Then telling him that this ought not to be and that he must do as the Lord has commanded him, they conclude:

“But if this uneasy, covetous disposition be cherished by him, the Lord will bring him to poverty, shame, and disgrace” [History of the Church, 1:319].

The Brethren then take up the letter of Brother Phelps, saying that it has been carefully read, and “betrays a lightness of spirit that ill becomes a man placed in the important and responsible station that he is placed in. If you have fat beef, and potatoes, eat them in singleness of heart, and boast not yourselves in these things.”

Denying that they would make an offender from the use of a word, they affirm “we want to see a spirit in Zion, by which the Lord will build it up; that is the plain, solemn, and pure spirit of Christ.”

Referring to the fact that Brother Phelps has asked Brother Joseph to come to Zion, the Brethren affirm:

“… we say that Brother Joseph will not settle in Zion until she repent, and purify herself, and abide by the new covenant, and remember the commandments that have been given her, to do them as well as say them.”

The brethren next testify to their good feelings toward Zion and that they feel more like weeping over her than like rejoicing over her, “for we know that the judgments of God hang over her, and will fall upon her except she repent, and purify herself before the Lord, and put away from her every foul spirit.”

The brethren then continue in a general arraignment of Zion. They say:

“We now say to Zion, this once, in the name of the Lord, Repent! repent! awake, awake, put on thy beautiful garments, before you are made to feel the chastening rod of Him whose anger is kindled against you. Let not Satan tempt you to think we want to make you bow to us, to domineer over you, for God knows this is not the case; our eyes are watered with tears, and our hearts are poured out to God in prayer for you, that He will spare you, and turn away his anger from you.” [History of the Church, 1:319–20.]

The Brethren speak with approval of the suggestion made in the letters of Brothers Gilbert and Phelps, that “certain ones appointed to regulate Zion, and Traveling Elders have nothing to do with this part of the matter”; the Brethren say this is something “we highly approbate.”

The Brethren then continue:

“We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that He may testify to His Father and our Father, to His God and our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation; and before we could wash our hands and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feelings of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her.

“Let the Bishop read this to the Elders, that they may warn the members of the scourge that is coming, except they repent. Tell them to read the Book of Mormon, and obey it; read the commandments that are printed, and obey them; yea, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that peradventure He may turn away His anger from you. Tell him that they have not come up to Zion to sit down in idleness, neglecting the things of God, but they are to be diligent and faithful in obeying the new covenant.“ [History of the Church, 1:320.]

All of these communications, these callings to repentance, these reproofs against covetousness, light mindedness and the various other ills which were afflicting the brethren in Zion, indicate that Zion, as a whole, was not conducting itself in a way that the Lord could give unto them blessings.

The Prophet’s letter and this epistle from the Brethren are dark shadows forecasting what was to take place as against the people who were in Zion in a very short time. It is perfectly clear from the kind of evils which it is indicated as having afflicted the brethren in Zion, that it would not be possible for such a group of Saints to live the law of consecration and the United Order as it had been laid down unto them.

In Section 90 (Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1833) the Lord gave a special message to the people in Zion:

“And behold, verily I say unto you, that ye shall write this commandment, and say unto your brethren in Zion, in love greeting, that I have called you also to preside over Zion in mine own due time.

“Therefore, let them cease wearying me concerning this matter.

“Behold, I say unto you that your brethren in Zion begin to repent, and the angels rejoice over them …

“But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me.

“For she shall not be removed out of her place. I, the Lord, have spoken it. Amen.” [D&C 90:32–34, 36–37.]

Acknowledging a letter from Zion, in which the brethren there made amends for their wrongdoings, following the receipt of the epistle of the brethren in Kirtland, the Prophet says (under date of April 21, 1833):

“It was read by the brethren in Kirtland with feelings of the deepest interest, knowing as we did, that the anger of the Lord was kindled against you, and nothing but repentance, of the greatest humility, would turn it away; and I will assure you that expressions of joy beamed on every countenance when they saw that our epistle and the revelation had been received by our brethren in Zion, and had had the desired effect” [History of the Church, 1:340].

The mobbings began in Missouri in April, 1833. They became terrible by July 20–23.

On August 2, 1833, before the Prophet could have received any word of the mobbings, he received a revelation (Kirtland) containing the following passages:

Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit, that I may show unto you my will concerning your brethren in the land of Zion, many of whom are truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth.

“Verily, verily I say unto you, blessed are such, for they shall obtain; for I, the Lord, show mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them unto judgment.” [D&C 97:1–2.]

After commending Parley P. Pratt for his work with the school of the prophets [see D&C 97:3–5] the Lord continues:

“And to the residue of the school, I the Lord, am willing to show mercy; nevertheless, there are those that must needs be chastened, and their works shall be made known.

“The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.

“Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice-yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command-they are accepted of me.

“For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.” [D&C 97:6–9.]

After instructing the Saints in Zion to build a Temple, the Lord continues:

“And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.

“And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;

“And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.

“Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.

“For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?

“The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come;

“For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works.” [D&C 97:18–24.]

Following this, the Lord declares the following penalties for disobedience to Him:

“But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with, plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.

“Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her;

“And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.” [D&C 97:26–28.]

Concerning this revelation Elder Parley P. Pratt writes:

“This revelation was not complied with by the leaders and Church in Missouri as a whole (notwithstanding many were humble and faithful); therefore, the threatened judgment was poured out to the uttermost, as the history of the five following years will show” [History of the Church, 1:402–3n].

On August 6, 1833, and while the Prophet must have been still without news from Missouri, he received (Kirtland) a revelation, the opening verses of which read as follows:

“Verily I say unto you my friends, fear not, let your hearts be comforted; yea, rejoice evermore, and in everything give thanks;

“Waiting patiently on the Lord, for your prayers have entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and are recorded with this seal and testament—the Lord hath sworn and decreed that they shall be granted.

“Therefore, he giveth this promise unto you, with an immutable covenant that they shall be fulfilled; and all things wherewith you have been afflicted shall work together for your good, and to my name’s glory, saith the Lord …

“And I give unto you a commandment, that ye shall forsake all evil and cleave unto all good, that ye shall live by every word which proceedeth forth out of the mouth of God.

“For he will give unto the faithful line upon line, precept upon precept; and I will try you and prove you herewith.

“And whoso layeth down his life in my cause, for my name’s sake, shall find it again, even life eternal.

“Therefore, be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart, saith the Lord, that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy.

“For if ye will not abide in my covenant ye are not worthy of me.

“Therefore, renounce war and proclaim peace, and seek diligently to turn the hearts of the children to their fathers, and the hearts of the fathers to the children;

“And again, the hearts of the Jews unto the prophets, and the prophets unto the Jews; lest I come and smite the whole earth with a curse, and all flesh be consumed before me.

“Let not your hearts be troubled; for in my Father’s house are many mansions, and I have prepared a place for you; and where my Father and I am, there ye shall be also.” [D&C 98:1–3, 11–18.] The Lord in this same revelation (98) begins to warn the people of Kirtland:

“Behold, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with many who are in the church at Kirtland;

“For they do not forsake their sins, and their wicked ways, the pride of their hearts, and their covetousness, and all their detestable things, and observe the words of wisdom and eternal life which I have given unto them.

“Verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will chasten them and will do whatsoever I list, if they do not repent and observe all things whatsoever I have said unto them.

“And again I say unto you, if ye observe to do whatsoever I command you, I, the Lord, will turn away all wrath and indignation from you, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.” [D&C 98:19–22.]

In a revelation given at Kirtland on December 16, 1833, the Lord explains why Zion has been chastened:

“Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance—

“I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;

“Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.

“Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.

“For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.

“Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.

“They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.

“In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.

“Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.

“I have sworn, and the decree hath gone forth by a former commandment which I have given unto you, that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.

“Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.

“And in that day all who are found upon the watch-tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.

“And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.

“And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.

“And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.

“Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.

“Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.

“They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion-

“And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.” [D&C 101:1–19.]

Upon the return of the Brethren to Kirtland, from their journey raising volunteers for Zion’s, Camp, the Prophet and Elders Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams, Newel K. Whitney, John Johnson, and Oliver Cowdery, assembled in Council (April 23, 1834) and received a revelation concerning the properties belonging to the United Order, and the setting up of the Order in Kirtland. On the first point the Lord said:

“Verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come—

“With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;

“But inasmuch as they were not faithful they were nigh unto cursing.

“Therefore, inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant through covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse.

“For I, the Lord, have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or, in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will;

“For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in these things-

“And all this that the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust; and that the guilty among you may not escape; because I, the Lord, have promised unto you a crown of glory at my right hand.

“Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath in your lives.

“Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.

“And I now give unto you power from this very hour, that if any man among you, of the order, is found a transgressor and repenteth not of the evil, that ye shall deliver him over unto the buffetings of Satan; and he shall not have power to bring evil upon you.

“It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship.” [D&C 104:1–11.]

In the revelation (Sec. 105) given (June 22, 1834) at Zion’s Camp on Fishing River, Missouri (the revelation in which the Lord suspended, until Zion was redeemed, the law of consecration and the United Order) the Lord made a closing arraignment of Zion:

“Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people—

“Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.

“But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;

“And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;

“And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.

“And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer …

“But I speak concerning my churches abroad—there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.” [D&C 105:1–6, 8.]

(Church News, 8 Sept. 1945, pp. 4, 9.)

Section Nine

Greed, Selfishness, Covetousness

The Lord very early made it clear that those who had means, must give fully for helping the poor and distressed and for carrying on the work of the Lord.

In March, 1830, the Lord gave these commandments to Martin Harris:

“Impart a portion of thy property, yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family.

“Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage.” [D&C 19:34–35.]

In a later revelation (August 1, 1831) the Lord commanded Martin Harris to be an example unto the Church by “laying his moneys before the bishop of the Church” [D&C 58:35] and called upon him to “repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world” [D&C 58:39].

As to the giving of property, the Lord made this declaration of general application:

“And also, this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land to receive an inheritance; and he shall do with his moneys according as the law directs” [D&C 58:36].

In the revelation of late August, 1831 [D&C 63:42–44] Newel K. Whitney is told he may keep his store “yet for a little season,” but he must send to Zion “all the money which he can impart.”

Later in the same year (October 25, 1831) William E. M’Lellin was told “… go not up unto the land of Zion as yet; but inasmuch as you can send, send; otherwise, think not of thy property” [D&C 66:6].

In the revelation of August 1, 1831, one who had received his inheritance had it taken from him.

“Let that which has been bestowed upon Ziba Peterson be taken from him; and let him stand as a member in the Church, and labor with his own hands, with the brethren, until he is sufficiently chastened for all his sins; for he confesseth them not, and he thinketh to hide them” [D&C 58:60].

During this period–1831–34-the Lord repeatedly reproved his servants in Zion for their faults and failings in connection with the carrying out of the law [see D&C 56, 58, 63–64, 90, 93].

As early as June 1831 (less than six months after the Order was established) the Lord uttered a general word of condemnation against those who would not help the poor. He said:

“Wo unto you rich men, that will not give your substance to the poor, for your riches will canker your souls; and this shall be your lamentation in the day of visitation, and of judgment, and of indignation: The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and my soul is not saved!” [D&C 56:16.]

The Lord has never modified or withdrawn this command, warning, and condemnation.

Section Ten


On more than one occasion, the Lord reproved the covetousness of the rich and the greediness of the poor.

When the Lord gave His first great commandment-“my law”-February 9, 1831, He gave the following commandment:

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer” [D&C 42:42].

This principle is elemental to the whole plan of the United Order.

In the revelation given at Kirtland, June 1831 (Sec. 56) the Lord spoke in strong terms of condemnation and commandment:

“Wo unto you poor men, whose hearts are not broken, whose spirits are not contrite, and whose bellies are not satisfied, and whose hands are not stayed from laying hold upon other men’s goods, whose eyes are full of greediness, and who will not labor with your own hands!

“But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory unto their deliverance; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.

“For behold, the Lord shall come, and his recompense shall be with him, and he shall reward every man, and the poor shall rejoice;

“And their generations shall inherit the earth from generation to generation, forever and ever. And now I make an end of speaking unto you.” [D&C 56:17–20.]

In the revelation given at Hiram, Ohio, in November, 1831, the Lord again took up this matter:

“And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord.

“Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.

“These things ought not to be, and must be done away from among them; wherefore, let my servant Oliver Cowdery carry these sayings unto the land of Zion.” [D&C 68:30–32.]

The Lord came to the question again in the revelation of January 25, 1832 (Amherst, Ohio). He said, speaking to certain elders who had enquired concerning the will of the Lord as to them:

“Let every man be diligent in all things. And the idler shall not have place in the church, except he repent and mend his ways.” [D&C 75:29.]

Again the Lord warns and commands, in the revelation given at Kirtland, Ohio, on December 27, 1832:

“See that ye love one another; cease to be covetous; learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires.

“Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated.

“And above all things, clothe yourselves with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.

“Pray always, that ye may not faint, until I come. Behold, and Jo, I will come quickly, and receive you unto myself.” [D&C 88:123–26.]

In Section 90 (Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1833) the Lord, giving special instructions regarding the family of Joseph Smith, Sr., said:

“Let your families be small, especially mine aged servant Joseph Smith’s, Sen., as pertaining to those who do not belong to your families;

“That those things that are provided for you, to bring to pass my work, be not taken from you and given to those that are not worthy—

“And thereby you be hindered in accomplishing those things which I have commanded you.” [D&C 90:25–27.]

Section Eleven

Discontinuance of United Order

In the June following the February in 1831 when the first revelation on the Law of Consecration or United Order was given, the Lord gave another revelation (Sec. 56) to the Prophet (then in Kirtland) the opening sentences of which read:

“Hearken, O ye people who profess my name, saith the Lord your God; for behold, mine anger is kindled against the rebellious, and they shall know mine arm and mine indignation, in the day of visitation and of wrath upon the nations.

“And he that will not take up his cross and follow me, and keep my commandments, the same shall not be saved.

“Behold, I, the Lord, command; and he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time, after I have commanded and the commandment is broken.

“Wherefore I, the Lord, command and revoke, as it seemeth me good; and all this to be answered upon the heads of the rebellious, saith the Lord.” [D&C 56:1–4.]

The Lord then revoked certain commandments he had theretofore given, and gave others, for the conditions had changed.

In earlier days, when the Savior sent out his Twelve in Palestine, he commanded them to go without purse or scrip (Matt. 10:9–10); but when he gave the command as to their missionary service after his death, he told them to take both purse and scrip. (Luke 22:35–36) Other considerations and conditions brought the change.

Again: the people were commanded to build a temple in Jackson County, Missouri; they were forcibly driven from Missouri before this was carried out. The Lord then revealed these principles:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that when I give a commandment to any of the sons of men to do a work unto my name, and those sons of men go with all their might and with all they have to perform that work, and cease not their diligence, and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more at the hands of those sons of men, but to accept of their offerings.

“And the iniquity and transgresson of my holy laws and commandments I will visit upon the heads of those who hindered my work, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord God.

“Therefore, for this cause have I accepted the offerings of those whom I commanded to build up a city and a house unto my name, in Jackson County, Missouri, and were hindered by their enemies, saith the Lord your God.

“And I will answer judgment, wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation, so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.”

“And this I make an example unto you, for your consolation concerning all those who have been commanded to do a work and have been hindered by the hands of their enemies, and by oppression, saith the Lord your God.” [D&C 124:49–53.]

With these principles in mind the events which led up to the discontinuance of the United Order by the Lord may be readily understood. It seems well to recapitulate certain of them here.


As already pointed out, the United Order [law of consecration] was given to this people on February 9, 1831, at Kirtland, Ohio, ten months almost to the day from the organization of the Church.

Almost from the very first, the Lord began talking of the establishment of Zion (April, 1829). To Joseph and Oliver he then said: “Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion” [D&C 6:6]. This was repeated a month later (May, 1829, [see D&C 11:6; 12:6]) and in June (1829) Joseph received a revelation commanding David Whitmer: “Seek to bring forth and establish my Zion” [D&C 14:6; see also D&C 21:7], and in December (1830) the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were told that “Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice upon the hills and flourish” [D&C 35:24; see also D&C 39:13].

At about this same time, the Lord began to tell the people they should go westward. In December, 1830, the Lord called the people to gather together,-they were “to go to the Ohio,” “they should assemble together at the Ohio” [D&C 37:1, 3]. On January 2, 1831, speaking to Joseph at Fayette, New York (at a conference of the Church), the Lord said, “I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom” [D&C 38:4], told them he would give them “a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey” [D&C 38:18] and that “this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the inheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away” [D&C 38:20]. Then the Lord declared:

“Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high” [D&C 38:32].

It was just before this time that a part of the prophecy of Enoch (found in full in the Pearl of Great Price) was given to the Saints [see History of the Church, 1:133]. It seems clear that Enoch, his people, and his city were much in the mind of Joseph at this time, for the Lord repeatedly speaks about them in his revelations [see D&C 38:4; 45:11–12]. One can see that the Lord wished particularly to impress Joseph with this revealed fact: “And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them.” (Moses 7:18)

These were the conditions when, obedient to the Lord’s commands, Joseph went to Kirtland, Ohio, arriving there about February 1, 1831 [see History of the Church, 1:146–47]. As already pointed out, the Prophet found in Kirtland a communal organization known as “the family,” as to which he makes these comments:

“The branch of the Church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them. The plan of ‛common stock,’ which had existed in what was called ‛the family,’ whose members generally had embraced the everlasting Gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord; and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.” [History of the Church, 1:146.]

On February 4, 1831, the Lord, speaking to his people and to the elders said:

“And by the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law, that ye may know how to govern my church and have all things right before me” [D&C 41:3].

“And again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge; and I give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the church, and ordained a bishop unto the church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the church;

“To see to all things as it shall be appointed unto him in my laws in the day that I shall give them.” [D&C 41:9–10.]

Five days after this (February 9, 1831) “in the presence of twelve Elders, and according to the promise heretofore made” [History of the Church, 1:148], the Lord gave the great revelation, embodied as Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants, declaring:

“Again I say unto you, hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you” [D&C 42:2].

The earlier portions of the revelation gave directions regarding the opening of missions in “the regions westward”; they were to “build up my church in every region-

“Until the time shall come when it shall be revealed unto you from on high, when the city of the New Jerusalem shall be prepared, that ye may be gathered in one, that ye may be my people and I will be your God.” [D&C 42:8–9.]

The Lord thus indicated a move still farther west.

In this great revelation the Lord then set out the essentials of a government for the Church, not alone as to an economic system, (the United Order) but as to other essential matters which pertained to the standards of life and the living together of his Saints under his law. Orson Pratt is credited with the statement that verses 74 to 93 of this revelation were given some days after the first 73 verses [see History of the Church, 1:152n].

The Brethren in due course went out upon their missions and in June, 1831, the Prophet himself, with a party went westward, joining, about the middle of July, with those who had gone before at Independence, Missouri. Soon after his arrival the Prophet received a revelation which told the Saints that the land of Missouri was the gathering place for the Saints, with Independence as “the center place,” and the location of the temple that was to be built was indicated [see D&C 57; History of the Church, 1:188ff.]. Missouri was, for the next period, called Zion. The Colesville Saints arrived at this time [see History of the Church, 1:191], and the building of Zion under the Law was begun.

The course of events, the waywardness of the people, the warnings, admonitions, and condemnations of the Lord, are clear from earlier sections. The Saints were finally driven from their homes and their lands, their “inheritances,” “portions,” “stewardships” were lost. In fact they had little or no property to which the Law could be applied.

Zion’s Camp was organized and those participating quite clearly expected to assist the Saints apparently by force if necessary, in the repossession of their lands in Zion. But the use of force was not in accordance with the Lord’s purpose. He had warned them at the very beginning (August, 1831) to acquire their lands by purchase: “Behold, here is wisdom. Let them do this lest they receive none inheritance, save it be by the shedding of blood.” [D&C 58:53.]

A little later in the same month (August, 1831) the Lord said:

“Wherefore, the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you.

“And if by purchase, behold you are blessed;

“And if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance.” [D&C 63:29–31.]

So as Zion’s Camp neared Jackson County, where the enemies of the Saints had assembled in force under arms, the Camp was smitten with cholera, and the Lord directed its abandonment, as set out in the first section hereof.

Discontinuance of United Order

It was under these circumstances, with the Saints scattered and sometimes hunted like wild animals, with their property gone, their organization largely broken up, wounded in mind and spirit, with the condemnation of the Lord pronounced upon their heads because of their unfaithfulness, not to say wickedness, with “Zion” to all intents and purposes destroyed, that the Lord commanded them, in the great revelation given at Fishing River,–

“And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption” [D&C 105:34.]

It is interesting to note that after this pronouncement, the Lord practically never referred to the United Order in his revelations to the Prophet. The people had had their opportunity and failed. He then gave them the law of tithing in a revelation given in Missouri itself, in Zion, (July 18, 1838, [see D&C 119]), which is still in full force and effect.

As hereinbefore stated, the Lord had already, before Fishing River, dissolved the relationship between the Order in Zion and in Kirtland (Sec. 104) and gave directions as to setting up the order in Kirtland. But apparently before any real progress was made to this end, serious troubles broke out there, which finally compelled the brethren in Kirtland to flee in late 1837 and early 1838 to Missouri.

Then followed the evacuation of Missouri, under the compulsion of the mob, supported by the State authorities, and their removal to Illinois.

During the Illinois period, the Saints in Iowa undertook to establish the United Order there. The minutes of the High Council meeting held March 6, 1840, at Montrose, Iowa, contains the following entry:

“President Joseph Smith, Jun., addressed the Council on various subjects, and in particular the consecration law; stating that the affairs now before Congress was the only thing that ought to interest the Saints at present; and till it was ascertained how it would terminate, no person ought to be brought to account before the constituted authorities of the Church for any offense whatever; and (he) was determined that no man should be brought before the Council in Nauvoo till that time, etc., etc. The law of consecration could not be kept here, and that it was the will of the Lord that we should desist from trying to keep it; and if persisted in, it would produce a perfect defeat of its object, and that he assumed the whole responsibility of not keeping it until proposed by himself.” [History of the Church, 4:93.]

Thus the Lord directed that the law he had given regarding the setting up of the United Order in Zion was to be “executed and fulfilled” after the redemption of Zion, that is, in the meaning in which the Lord was then using the word Zion, the “redemption,” the reestablishment of the people in Missouri. This has not yet been accomplished.

(Church News, 15 Sept. 1945, pp. 4, 9.)