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Revelation, 16 April 1830 [D&C 22]

1

Immediately preceding this text in the Painesville Telegraph is the text of Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20].  


A 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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unto the church of Christ

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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which was established in these last days A. D. 1830, on the 4th month and the 6th day of the month, which is called April:—2

This opening may have been added to the revelation text at some point after its initial dictation.  


Behold I say unto you that all old covenants

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

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have I caused to be done away in this thing, and this is a new and everlasting covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

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;3

The text in Revelation Book 1 includes here the phrase “even the same which was from the begining.” Other early versions of the revelation match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 32; McLellin, Copies of Revelations, 7; Gilbert, Notebook, [12] [D&C 22:1].)  


wherefore, although a man should be baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
a hundred times it availeth him nothing, for ye cannot enter in at the straight gait by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works, for it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me;4

Revelation Book 1 includes here the phrase “even as in days of old,” as does Sidney Gilbert’s early copy of the revelation. (Revelation Book 1, p. 32; Gilbert, Notebook, [12] [D&C 22:3].)  


wherefore enter ye in at the gate as I have commanded, and seek not to counsel your God.5

Immediately following this text in the Painesville Telegraph is the text of Revelation, ca. Aug. 1830 [D&C 27], as though it were part of the same text.  


[p. [4]]
1

Immediately preceding this text in the Painesville Telegraph is the text of Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20].  


A  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
unto the church of Christ

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
 which was established in these last days  A. D. 1830, on the 4th month and the  6th day of the month, which is called A pril:—2

This opening may have been added to the revelation text at some point after its initial dictation.  


Behold I say unto you that all old  covenants

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

View Glossary
have I caused to be done away  in this thing, and this is a new and ever lasting covenant

Generally referred to the “fulness of the gospel”—the sum total of the church’s message, geared toward establishing God’s covenant people on the earth; also used to describe individual elements of the gospel, including marriage. According to JS, the everlasting...

View Glossary
;3

The text in Revelation Book 1 includes here the phrase “even the same which was from the begining.” Other early versions of the revelation match Revelation Book 1. (Revelation Book 1, p. 32; McLellin, Copies of Revelations, 7; Gilbert, Notebook, [12] [D&C 22:1].)  


wherefore, although a  man should be baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
a hundred times  it availeth him nothing, for ye cannot enter  in at the straight gait by the law of Moses,  neither by your dead works, for it is  because of your dead works that I  have caused this last covenant and this  church to be built up unto me;4

Revelation Book 1 includes here the phrase “even as in days of old,” as does Sidney Gilbert’s early copy of the revelation. (Revelation Book 1, p. 32; Gilbert, Notebook, [12] [D&C 22:3].)  


wherefore  enter ye in at the gate as I have com manded, and seek not to counsel your  God.5

Immediately following this text in the Painesville Telegraph is the text of Revelation, ca. Aug. 1830 [D&C 27], as though it were part of the same text.  


[p. [4]]
JS dictated this revelation shortly after the formal organization of the church on 6 April 1830. While the version featured here does not include a specific date, a manuscript copy in the handwriting of William E. McLellin

18 Jan. 1806–14 Mar. 1883. Schoolteacher, physician, publisher. Born at Smith Co., Tennessee. Son of Charles McLellin and Sarah (a Cherokee Indian). Married first Cynthia Ann, 30 July 1829. Wife died, by summer 1831. Baptized into LDS church by Hyrum Smith...

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dates the revelation to 16 April 1830.1

McLellin, Copies of Revelations, 7.  


When 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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copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, he likely wrote the heading found there: “A Revelation given to Joseph the Seer Some were anxious to Join the Church without Rebaptism & Joseph enquired of the Lord & he received as follows.”2

Revelation Book 1, p. 32. Many years later Orson Pratt explained the context for this revelation. Although Pratt did not become a member of the church until September 1830, he may have gained his information from those familiar with the circumstances. According to Pratt, “This is the reason why the Lord commanded this people—the Latter-day Saints—to re-baptize all persons who come to them professing to have been baptized before. In the early days of this Church there were certain persons, belonging to the Baptist denomination, very moral and no doubt as good people as you could find anywhere, who came, saying they believed in the Book of Mormon, and that they had been baptized into the Baptist Church, and they wished to come into our Church. The Prophet Joseph had not, at that time, particularly inquired in relation to this matter, but he did inquire, and received a revelation from the Lord.” (Orson Pratt, in Journal of Discourses, 2 Nov. 1873, 16:293.)  


Although several passages in the Book of Mormon emphasized the necessity of baptism

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

View Glossary
by proper authority,3

See, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 200–201, 477–479 [Mosiah 21:33–35; 3 Nephi 11:21–22; 12:1].  


no revelation prior to 16 April 1830 explicitly addressed the question of rebaptism for those who had been baptized in other faiths. 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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’s June 1829 “Articles of the Church of Christ” prescribed the method of baptism and the wording of the baptismal prayer, declaring that “whosoever repenteth & humbleth himself before me & desireth to be baptized in my name shall ye baptize them,” but it did not address the question of rebaptism.4 The revelatory document on church government known as “Articles and Covenants,” which superseded Cowdery’s earlier document, clarified that baptism was necessary for entry into the church but did not explicitly address rebaptism either.5
The version of the 16 April revelation featured here was published in the Painesville Telegraph and reportedly obtained from Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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. The newspaper appended the revelation to its publication of Articles and Covenants, as though it were part of that text.6

See Historical Introduction to Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20].  


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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’s early revelation notebook also appended the 16 April revelation to the end of Articles and Covenants, again without a separate heading or title. The first version of Articles and Covenants published in a church newspaper, in June 1832, likewise combined the two documents.7

Gilbert, Notebook, [1]–[12]; “The Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, June 1832, [1]–[2].  


The combining of these two texts in so many early versions suggests that the 16 April revelation was seen as an extension of the instructions on baptism contained in Articles and Covenants. The 16 April revelation is presented separately herein because the official version, found in Revelation Book 1, records it as a discrete text.
Despite the clarity this revelation may have provided church members, the requirement of rebaptism became a point of contention for many outside the church. Opponents criticized followers of JS for teaching “that their book contained a new covenant

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

View Glossary
, to come under which the disciple must be re-immersed,” and when Thomas Campbell, father of Disciples of Christ founder Alexander Campbell

12 Sept. 1788–4 Mar. 1866. Teacher, minister, magazine publisher, college president. Born near Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Ireland. Son of Thomas Campbell and Jane Corneigle. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Glasgow, Lanark, Scotland, 1808. Immigrated to Buffalo ...

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, set forth his objections to JS’s teachings, he argued that “re-baptizing believers is making void the ordinance of Christ.”8

[Matthew S. Clapp], “Mormonism,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1831, [1]; Thomas Campbell, “The Mormon Challenge,” Painesville Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1831, [2]. Late in 1830, when missionaries took their message to northeastern Ohio, the Painesville Telegraph chided Oliver Cowdery for maintaining “that the ordinances of the gospel, have not been regularly administered since the days of the Apostles, till the said Smith and himself commenced the work.” (“The Golden Bible,” Painesville Telegraph, 16 Nov. 1830, [3].)  


Facts