Revelation, 15 June 1831 [D&C 56]

59th. Commandment June 15th. 1831
Thomas [B.] Marsh was desirous to know what he should do as the  Lord had commanded him & Ezra Thayer to take their Journey to the  land of Missorie but Thayer could not get ready as he said soon as  Thomas wanted that he should & these are the words of the Lord as follows1

John Whitmer likely created this heading when he copied the text into Revelation Book 1.  

Hearken O ye people which Profess my name saith the lord your God  for Behold mine anger is kindeled against the rebelious & they shall know  mine arm & mine indignation in the day of visitation & of wrath upon  the Nations & he that will not take up his cross & follow me & keep  my commandments the same shall not be saved behold I the Lord comman deth & he that will not obey shall be cut off in mine own due time [p. 91]
When he copied the following revelation into Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer introduced it by writing, “Thomas [B.] Marsh was desirous to know what he should do as the Lord had commanded him & Ezra Thayer to take their Journey to the land of Missorie but Thayer could not get ready as soon as Thomas wanted that he should.” Thayer and Marsh had been commanded in a 6 June 1831 revelation to “take their Journey also preaching the word by the way unto this same land [Missouri],”1

Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:22]. Thayer was also among those “ordained to the High Priesthood” at the June conference associated with this revelation. (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  

and nine days later, Marsh was apparently ready to depart with others traveling to Missouri while Thayer was not. An earlier revelation directed Thayer to board with Joseph Smith Sr. on Frederick G. Williams’s farm. That same revelation directed that “all the Brethren immediately assemble together & put up an house for my Servent Ezra” on Williams’s property. It also instructed Thayer to “humble himself & at the conference meeting he shall be ordained unto power from on high & he shall go from thence (if he be obedient unto my commandments) & proclaim my Gospel unto the western regions with my Servents that must go forth even unto the borders of the Lamanit[e]s.”2
It is uncertain what prevented Thayer from accompanying Marsh, but this revelation refers to the “former commandment which I have given him [Thayer] concerning the place upon which he lives” and the money Thayer had apparently paid for it. It is likely that he paid some of the balance Williams owed Isaac Moore on the farm where he and the Joseph Smith Sr. family lived and worked.3 Because the revelation asserts that “there shall no divisions be made upon the land,” Thayer may have previously requested that before his departure for Missouri, a title be assigned to him for the portion of land he had paid for. The revelation also suggests that he might have requested that the money he had paid toward the debt be returned to him if he was not assigned title.
The 6 June 1831 revelation had also directed that Newel Knight, leader of the Colesville branch then located at Thompson, Ohio, and Selah Griffin travel together to Missouri.4 Both men received further instruction in this 15 June revelation. Recent difficulties between the Colesville, New York, believers and landowner Leman Copley, who withdrew his offer to allow them to settle on his property, prompted a 10 June revelation that directed the Colesville group to move to Missouri. That revelation further instructed the Thompson members to “appoint whom you will to be your leader & to pay moneyes for you.”5 Upon learning that revelations had both dictated their removal to Missouri and assigned their leader Newel Knight to leave them for a preaching mission, some of the members in Thompson may have voiced concerns to JS.6

The compiler of Newel Knight’s history in 1871 included this note: “I will here introduce the facts as nearly as I am able to glean them. On taking the revelation to Thompson, concerning the removal of the Saints from there to Missouri, which gave them the privilege of appointing their own leader; and also the revelation appointing him to his mission, it appears that the Saints were grieved at the thought of brother Knight leaving them, for he had been with them from their first acquaintanc with the Church, and they leaned on him, as their guide and appointed him as their leader, from Thompson to Missouri. This reached the prophet Joseph’s ears, and in a revelation . . . brother Newel’s mission was revoked, and he was sustaind in leading them.” It is possible that this reconstruction of events was made with the benefit of sources that are no longer extant. (Knight, History, 310a–310b.)
Comprehensive Works Cited



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

Whatever the impetus, this revelation rescinded the command for Knight to leave on a mission and instead assigned Knight’s previously named missionary companion, Selah Griffin, to accompany Marsh in place of Thayer.