31821

Revelation, 1 August 1831 [D&C 58]

611

John Whitmer assigned this number to the revelation when recording it in Revelation Book 1.  


Commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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August 1st. 1831
A Revelation given to the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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who were assembeled on the land of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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2

Several elders were in Jackson County at this time and may have been in attendance when this revelation was dictated. Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Frederick G. Williams had been in Independence for several months; JS, in company with Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, and Joseph Coe arrived on 14 July; and Saints originally from Colesville, New York, arrived sometime during the week after JS’s arrival, as did Sidney Rigdon and Sidney Gilbert. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix [Canandaigua, NY], 7 Sept. 1831, [2]; JS History, vol. A-1, 126–127, 129.)  


Directions what to do &c &c &c3

This heading likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.  


Hearken oh ye Elders of my Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

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& give ear to my word & learn of me what I will concerning you & also concerning this land unto which I have sent you4

The Howe copy omits the phrase “& also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.”  


for verily I say unto you blessed is he that keepeth my commandments whether in life or in death & he that is faithfull in tribulation the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven5

The Howe copy omits “of heaven.”  


ye cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present time the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter & the glory which shall follow after much tribulation6

The Howe copy omits “come hereafter & the glory which shall” from this sentence, likely a scribal error.  


for after much tribulation cometh the blessings Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory the hour is not yet but is nigh at hand remember this which I tell you before that you [p. 94]
611

John Whitmer assigned this number to the revelation when recording it in Revelation Book 1.  


Commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
August 1st. 1831
A Revelation given to the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
who were assembeled in on  the land of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
2

Several elders were in Jackson County at this time and may have been in attendance when this revelation was dictated. Oliver Cowdery, Ziba Peterson, Peter Whitmer Jr., and Frederick G. Williams had been in Independence for several months; JS, in company with Martin Harris, Edward Partridge, William W. Phelps, and Joseph Coe arrived on 14 July; and Saints originally from Colesville, New York, arrived sometime during the week after JS’s arrival, as did Sidney Rigdon and Sidney Gilbert. (Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1]; William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix [Canandaigua, NY], 7 Sept. 1831, [2]; JS History, vol. A-1, 126–127, 129.)  


Directions what to do &c &c &c3

This heading likely did not appear in the original manuscript; John Whitmer likely added it when he copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.  


Hearken oh ye Elders of my Church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
& give ear to my word & learn of  me what I will concerning you & also concerning this land unto which I  have sent you4

The Howe copy omits the phrase “& also concerning this land unto which I have sent you.”  


for verily I say unto you blessed is he that keepeth my  commandments whether in life or in death & he that is faithfull in  tribulation the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of  heaven5

The Howe copy omits “of heaven.”  


ye cannot behold with your natural eyes for the present  time the design of your God concerning those things which shall come  hereafter & the glory which shall follow after much tribulation6

The Howe copy omits “come hereafter & the glory which shall” from this sentence, likely a scribal error.  


for  after much tribulation cometh the blessings Wherefore the day cometh  that ye shall be crowned with much glory the hour is not yet but  is nigh at hand remember this which I tell you before that you [p. 94]
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On 1 August 1831, JS dictated this revelation to the elders of the church who had joined him in western Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

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. Just a few days earlier, a revelation had designated Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, as the location at which to build the “City of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

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.”1

Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:2–3] .  


Upon arriving in Jackson County, however, some of the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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expressed disappointment with what they found. Oliver Cowdery

3 Oct. 1806–3 Mar. 1850. Clerk, teacher, justice of the peace, lawyer, newspaper editor. Born at Wells, Rutland Co., Vermont. Son of William Cowdery and Rebecca Fuller. Raised Congregationalist. Moved to western New York and clerked at a store, ca. 1825–1828...

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, Ziba Peterson

Ca. 1810–1849. Teacher, farmer, law officer. Born in New York. Lived in Macedon, Wayne Co., New York, ca. 1830. Baptized into LDS church. Ordained an elder, by 9 June 1830. Served mission to Ohio and Missouri, 1830–1831. Stripped of office of elder, Aug. ...

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, Peter Whitmer Jr.

27 Sept. 1809–22 Sept. 1836. Tailor. Born at Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, in Seneca Lake, Seneca Co. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Among six...

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, and Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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had been preaching to white settlers in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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and the vicinity since they were ejected from Indian Territory west of Missouri by February 1831.2 Despite their efforts, those arriving in Missouri in July found fewer than ten converts, whereas some had expected a burgeoning community of believers and perhaps a settlement that would soon be able to accommodate the migration of church members.3

According to Ezra Booth, the arriving elders “expected to find a large Church, which Smith said, was revealed to him in a vision, Oliver had raised up there.” Instead, they found a congregation consisting of only “three or four females.” For Booth, who left the church in fall 1831, this disappointment was difficult to overcome. Apparently, seven people had actually been baptized in Jackson County by this time, including Joshua Lewis and other members of his family. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. V,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 10 Nov. 1831, [3]; Knight, Reminiscences, 9; Whitmer, Journal, Dec. 1831, [1].)  


Meanwhile, tension arose between Bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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Edward Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and JS. The revelation of 20 July called Partridge to manage the properties of the church and “see to all things as it shall be appointed” by God’s “Laws,” with the assistance of Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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, who had been appointed “an agent unto the church to buy lands.”4

Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:10]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:6, 15]; Revelation, 8 June 1831 [D&C 53:4].  


According to one observer, Partridge argued with JS about the quality of the land selected for purchase. The disagreement apparently generated hard feelings on both sides. Partridge considered JS abusive, while Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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accused Partridge of “having insulted the Lord’s prophet.”5

Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1832; Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 24 Nov. 1831, [1]. In March 1832, Partridge admitted in a conference in Missouri that he had a disagreement with JS sometime prior to “a Conference held on this land at which our brs. Edward & Sidney were present face to face”—most likely the 4 August 1831 conference. “If Br. Joseph has not forgiven him he hopes he will,” the minutes of this meeting state, “as he is & has always been sorry.” (Minute Book 2, 10 Mar. 1832.)  


In the wake of this incident and faced with the daunting prospect of actually building the city of Zion

Also referred to as New Jerusalem. JS revelation, dated Sept. 1830, prophesied that “city of Zion” would be built among Lamanites (American Indians). JS directed Oliver Cowdery and other missionaries preaching among American Indians in Missouri to find location...

More Info
, JS dictated this 1 August revelation, probably at Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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.6

The heading that precedes this revelation in Revelation Book 1 records that this revelation was “given to the elders who were assembeled on the land of Zion.”  


After addressing the “unbelief & blindness of heart” of Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and others, the revelation gave “further directions” for the establishment of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

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, as had been promised in the 20 July revelation.7

Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:16] .  


The revelation instructed JS to return to Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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, directed those appointed to build up Zion to take the initiative in moving their families to Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
, and encouraged the elders to look beyond the land’s undeveloped condition and focus on its prophesied glory. The revelation also anticipated a major migration to Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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and provided information about the key roles that the bishop

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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and the agent

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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would play in regulating that migration by making known “from time to time” the “priveliges of the lands,” or the number of individuals that the church community could accommodate. Conferences of elders were to help control the migration as well, providing counsel on who should move.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant. John Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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later copied the version featured here into Revelation Book 1, the revelation book he was keeping in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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. Several copies were made in addition to Whitmer’s; Partridge

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

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, for example, indicated in a 5 August letter to his wife that copies of this and other Missouri revelations were to be carried to Ohio by “our brethren” returning from Missouri

Area acquired by U.S. in Louisiana Purchase, 1803, and established as territory, 1812. Missouri Compromise, 1820, admitted Missouri as slave state, 1821. Population in 1830 about 140,000; in 1836 about 240,000; and in 1840 about 380,000. Mormon missionaries...

More Info
, and Elizabeth Van Benthusen Gilbert later showed a copy to Levi Hancock

7 Apr. 1803–10 June 1882. Born at Springfield, Hampden Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Hancock III and Amy Ward. Baptized into LDS church, 16 Nov. 1830, at Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Clarissa Reed, 20 Mar. 1831. Served mission to Missouri with ...

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after Hancock arrived in Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

More Info
.8

Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL; Hancock, Autobiography, 119.  


Ezra Booth

14 Feb. 1792–before 12 Jan. 1873. Farmer, minister. Born in Newtown, Fairfield Co., Connecticut. Admitted on trial to Methodist ministry, 4 Sept. 1816, and stationed in the Ohio District in Beaver, Pike Co. Admitted into full connection and elected a deacon...

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also had a copy of the revelation, and it is likely that others made personal copies.9

Booth, who had become disaffected from the church, quoted a portion of the revelation pertaining to Partridge word for word in a 20 September 1831 letter to Partridge, which indicates that Booth possessed a copy. (Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No. VII,” Ohio Star [Ravenna], 24 Nov. 1831, [1].)  


Eber D. Howe

9 June 1798–10 Nov. 1885. Newspaper editor and publisher, farmer, wool manufacturer. Born at Clifton Park, Saratoga Co., New York. Son of Samuel William Howe and Mabel Dudley. Moved with family to Ovid, Seneca Co., New York, 1804. Located at Niagara District...

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, editor of the Painesville Telegraph, denounced JS and the church in his 1834 book Mormonism Unvailed, which published a version of the revelation “as a specimen of the manner in which the Prophet governs and rebukes his dupes.”10

Howe, Mormonism Unvailed, 221.  


Howe’s copy differs somewhat from Whitmer

27 Aug. 1802–11 July 1878. Farmer, stock raiser, newspaper editor. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Member of German Reformed Church, Fayette, Seneca Co., New York. Baptized by Oliver Cowdery, June 1829, most likely in Seneca...

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’s copy in Revelation Book 1: several phrases included in Whitmer’s copy do not appear in Howe’s, suggesting that Howe’s copy may be derived from an earlier text. Howe also dated the revelation 3 August 1831, which differs from Whitmer’s date of 1 August. Whitmer’s copy, however, was inscribed much earlier than Howe’s copy was published, and it is not known when or from whom Howe obtained a copy of the revelation, nor is it known what textual changes may have been made to Howe’s copy, whether intentional or unintentional. Because Howe’s version may have been copied from an earlier text than the Whitmer version, significant differences between the versions are noted in the annotation that follows.

Facts