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Revelation, 31 August 1831

Behold thus saith the Lord by the voice of the Spirit it is wisdom in me that my Servent John Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

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David Eliot Elliott

18 Nov. 1799–2 Dec. 1855. Blacksmith. Born at Charleston, Montgomery Co., New York. Son of Peter Elliott and Phebe Holley. Married first Almira Holliday of Solon, Cortland Co., New York, ca. 1821. Married second Margery Quick. Lived at Ithaca, Tompkins Co...

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Erastus Babit Babbitt

15 Sept. 1792–6 Feb. 1879. Carpenter. Born at Adams, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joy Babbit and Esther Cook. Private in New York militia, 16 Apr.–30 June 1814; sergeant in New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1 July–30 Oct. 1814. Married first wife...

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should take their Journey this fall to the land of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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Given August 31. 1831 by Joseph the Seer [p. [1]]
Behold thus saith the Lord by the voice of the Spirit it  is wisdom in me that my Servent John Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

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David  Eliot [Elliott]

18 Nov. 1799–2 Dec. 1855. Blacksmith. Born at Charleston, Montgomery Co., New York. Son of Peter Elliott and Phebe Holley. Married first Almira Holliday of Solon, Cortland Co., New York, ca. 1821. Married second Margery Quick. Lived at Ithaca, Tompkins Co...

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Erastus Babit [Babbitt]

15 Sept. 1792–6 Feb. 1879. Carpenter. Born at Adams, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joy Babbit and Esther Cook. Private in New York militia, 16 Apr.–30 June 1814; sergeant in New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1 July–30 Oct. 1814. Married first wife...

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should take their Journey this fall to  the land of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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Given August 31. 1831 by Joseph the Seer [p. [1]]
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On 31 August 1831, JS dictated a revelation instructing three church members—John Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

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, Erastus Babbitt

15 Sept. 1792–6 Feb. 1879. Carpenter. Born at Adams, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Joy Babbit and Esther Cook. Private in New York militia, 16 Apr.–30 June 1814; sergeant in New York and Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1 July–30 Oct. 1814. Married first wife...

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, and David Elliott

18 Nov. 1799–2 Dec. 1855. Blacksmith. Born at Charleston, Montgomery Co., New York. Son of Peter Elliott and Phebe Holley. Married first Almira Holliday of Solon, Cortland Co., New York, ca. 1821. Married second Margery Quick. Lived at Ithaca, Tompkins Co...

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—to travel to the land of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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in the fall of that year. The revelation was probably dictated in Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, Ohio, where JS had dictated another revelation the day before.1

Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:38] .  


The 31 August revelation did not provide further information about what the three men were to do in 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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, whether they were to relocate or just visit, or what prompted this instruction, nor did JS provide any background to the revelation. But a revelation dictated 1 August, when JS was in Missouri, directed, “In as much as there is lands obtained let there be workmen sent forth of all kinds unto this land to labour for the saints of God.”2

Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:54].  


Burk, Babbitt, and Elliott had mechanical skills that may have been useful in Missouri as the Saints strove 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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: Babbitt was a carpenter and millwright, Elliott was a blacksmith, and Burk may have been trained in sawmill operations.3

In a collection of Burk family documents, a record dated 14 May 1828 indicates that Sidney Gilbert entered into a contract with an unidentified party for the sawing of several thousand feet of timber. Since documents surrounding the contract are Burk’s tax records, the unidentified party is probably Burk. (Sidney Gilbert, Note, 14 May 1828, Jameson Family Collection, CHL.)  


This 31 August revelation may be an instance of JS acting on the promise from the previous day’s revelation that the Lord would give “power” to JS “to descern by the spirit those who shall go up unto the land of Zion

JS revelation, dated 20 July 1831, designated Missouri as “land of promise” for gathering of Saints and place for “city of Zion,” with Independence area as “center place” of Zion. Latter-day Saint settlements elsewhere, such as in Kirtland, Ohio, became known...

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& those of my Desiples

Generally, a follower of Jesus Christ, and in certain cases, one selected to lead the ministry. In the New Testament, Christ ordained twelve of his disciples as apostles. The Book of Mormon recounted that during his ministry to the Nephites, Christ similarly...

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that shall tarry.”4

Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:41].  


It appears, however, that none of the men followed the revelation’s instructions immediately.5

In October 1831 and January 1832, Burk purchased land in Kirtland. Kirtland Township records indicate that Babbitt, meanwhile, was still in Kirtland in October 1831. In January 1832, Oliver Cowdery requested that Elliott and Babbitt relocate to Missouri, indicating they still had not gone. Burk eventually moved to Clay County, Missouri, and Elliott moved there in 1838, but it does not appear that Babbitt ever relocated. (Nathan Goodell to John M. Burk, Warranty Deed, 1 Oct. 1831, Jameson Family Collection, CHL; John M. Burk to Platt Card and Orin Holmes, Quitclaim Deed, 10 Jan. 1832, Jameson Family Collection, CHL; Kirtland Township Trustees’ Minutes and Poll Book, 82; Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Jan. 1832.)  


The scribe for the original manuscript of this revelation is unknown, but copies may have been made for each recipient. The only extant copy, which Burk

4 Feb. 1793–8 June 1853. Innkeeper, farmer. Born in Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York. Son of Charles Burke and Esther Robinson Bohannon. Married first Abigail Fellows, 13 Mar. 1821, in Fairfield. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, by 1823. Baptized into...

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retained in his possession, is in 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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’s handwriting.

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