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Revelation, 10 June 1831 [D&C 54]

& he that hath sought me early shall find rest to their  Souls8

See Proverbs 8:17; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 329 [Alma 37:34].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. Palmyra, NY: E. B. Grandin, 1830.

even So amen —— [p. 91]
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This revelation provided instructions to the church members from Colesville, New York, after they encountered difficulties settling in Thompson, Ohio. In May 1831, shortly after they arrived in Ohio in compliance with revelations directing all New York members to gather there,1 JS instructed Bishop Edward Partridge to settle the Colesville members in Thompson on land offered by convert Leman Copley, a former Shaker.2
When JS moved to Ohio in early February, Copley had invited JS and Sidney Rigdon to live with him at Thompson, offering to “furnish them houses & provisions &c.”3 While both JS and Rigdon made other living arrangements for their families, Joseph Knight Sr., who accompanied JS to Ohio, recalled that in March he and JS went to Thompson, presumably to see about settling the soon-to-be-emigrating Colesville congregation on Copley’s property.4

Knight, Reminiscences, 9.
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Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL.

Once the Colesville members arrived in Ohio, JS sent them to Thompson to live on Copley’s extensive landholdings.5

Geauga County tax records from 1832 show Copley in possession of 759 acres in Thompson. (Geauga Co., OH, Duplicate Tax Records, 1832–1833, p. 282, microfilm 506,577, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

U.S. and Canada Record Collection. FHL.

The arrangement with Copley apparently granted the Colesville members the privilege to live on the property in return for making improvements upon it, and according to Joseph Knight Sr., they “all went to work and made fence and planted and sowed the fields.”6

Knight, Reminiscences, 9.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL.

On 7 May Copley was called to preach, along with Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, to the Shaker settlement in nearby North Union, Ohio.7 However, the missionary expedition failed to convert any of the Shakers, and the resulting confrontation between the Mormon elders and the Shakers apparently disturbed Copley. He soon went back to North Union, where he apparently reconciled with the Shaker community, and he then returned to Thompson with Shaker leader Ashbel Kitchell, perhaps intending to evict the Mormons.8

See “Mormon Interview,” 4–15. Although Newel Knight explained that the problems with Copley occurred before the important conference in early June 1831, Copley was reportedly present at the conference, perhaps to learn how the land dispute would be resolved. His name is not among church office holders listed in the conference minutes, but Levi Hancock’s account of the conference describes not only Copley’s presence but his apparent possession by the devil, which was reportedly cast out by Lyman Wight. (Knight, Autobiography and Journal, 30; Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831; Hancock, Autobiography, 91–92.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

“A Mormon Interview. Copied from Brother Ashbel Kitchell’s Pocket Journel,” 1856. Elisha D. Blakeman copy of Ashbel Kitchell, Reminiscences. Photocopy in editors’ possession. Original at Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY. Also available as Lawrence R. Flake, “A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission,” BYU Studies 20, no. 1 (Fall 1979): 94–99.

Knight, Newel. Autobiography and Journal, ca. 1846. CHL.

Hancock, Levi Ward. Autobiography, ca. 1854. CHL.

During his visit to Thompson, Kitchell held a meeting with the Mormons on Copley’s farm, was involved in a contentious altercation, and initiated efforts to remove them.9

“Mormon Interview,” 15–17.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

“A Mormon Interview. Copied from Brother Ashbel Kitchell’s Pocket Journel,” 1856. Elisha D. Blakeman copy of Ashbel Kitchell, Reminiscences. Photocopy in editors’ possession. Original at Shaker Museum and Library, Old Chatham, NY. Also available as Lawrence R. Flake, “A Shaker View of a Mormon Mission,” BYU Studies 20, no. 1 (Fall 1979): 94–99.

Joseph Knight Jr. recalled, “We had to leave his [Copley’s] farm and pay sixty dollars damage,” adding bitterly that the payment was for “fitting up his houses and planting his ground.”10

Knight, Autobiographical Sketch, 2–3.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Knight, Joseph Jr. Autobiographical sketch, 1862. CHL.

Because of the difficulties with Copley, Newel Knight, the presiding elder over the Colesville group, went to Kirtland to consult with JS before the conference held in early June. Knight later explained that as a result of a revelation on 6 June,11 the last day of that conference, “we now understood that this [Ohio] was not the land of our inheritance—the land of promise, for it was made known in a revelation, that Missouri was the place chosen for the gathering of the Church, and several were called to lead the way to that state.”12

Knight, History, 290.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Knight, Newel. History. Private possession. Copy in CHL.

Though that 6 June revelation addressed the church generally, the 10 June revelation responded specifically to the concerns of the Colesville members living in Thompson. Knight later introduced the revelation with these words: “As I had come to see brother Joseph concerning our position in Thompson, he enquired of the Lord and received the following revelation.”13

Knight, History, 307.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Knight, Newel. History. Private possession. Copy in CHL.

John Whitmer similarly recalled, “At this time the Church at Thompson Ohio was involved in difficulty, becaus of the rebellion of Leman Copley. Who would not do as he had previously agreed. Which thing confused the whole church and finally the Lord spake unto Joseph Smith Jr the prophit.”14

Whitmer, History, 29.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitmer, History / Whitmer, John. “The Book of John Whitmer Kept by Commandment,” ca. 1838–1847. CCLA.

Facts