26058

Revelation, circa Early 1830

23 Commandment AD 1830
A Revelation given to Joseph 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...

View Full Bio
Hyram Hiram Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
Josiah Stowell

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

View Full Bio
& Joseph Knight Sr.

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
given at Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

More Info
Ontario County New York1

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


Behold I the Lord am God I Created the Heavens & the Earth & all things that in them is wherefore they are mine & I sway my scepter over all the Earth & ye are in my hands to will & to do that I can deliver you out of evry difficulty & affliction according to your faith & dilligence & uprightness Before me & I have covenanted with my Servent that earth nor Hell combined against him shall not take the Blessing out of his hands which I have prepared for him if he walketh uprightly before me neither the spiritual nor the temporal [p. 30]
23 Commandment AD 1830
A Revelation given to Joseph 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...

View Full Bio
Hyram [Hiram Page]

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
Josiah [Stowell]

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

View Full Bio
 & Joseph Knight [Sr.]

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
given at Manchester

Settled 1793. Formed as Burt Township when divided from Farmington Township, 31 Mar. 1821. Name changed to Manchester, 16 Apr. 1822. Included village of Manchester. Population in 1825 about 2,700. Population in 1830 about 2,800. JS reported first vision of...

More Info
Ontario C[ounty] New York1

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


Behold I the Lord am God I Created the Heavens & the Earth  & all things that in them is wherefore they are mine & I sway  my scepter over all the Earth & ye are in my hands to will &  to do that I can deliver you out of evry difficulty & affliction  according to your faith & dilligence & uprightness Before me  & I have covenanted with my Servent that earth nor Hell  combined against him shall not take the Blessing out of  his hands which I have prepared for him if he walketh  uprightly before me neither the spiritual nor the temporal [p. 30]
Next
This revelation directed JS and others to obtain the copyright for the Book of Mormon “upon all the face of the Earth” and appointed four men, 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...

View Full Bio
, Joseph Knight Sr.

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
, Hiram Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
, and Josiah Stowell

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

View Full Bio
, to travel to Kingston, Upper Canada, to secure a copyright for the four provinces of Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

More Info
. Since the men apparently traveled to Kingston sometime between late January and early March 1830,1

The only copy of this revelation (in Revelation Book 1) is simply dated 1830 and placed between two April 1830 revelations. David Whitmer’s later account helps narrow the dating: he reportedly recalled that the revelation was dictated in January 1830 and that Cowdery and Page crossed Lake Ontario on the ice to reach Kingston, which only would have been possible that winter between January and early March. This window of time also coincides with a period when E. B. Grandin’s printshop used the original Book of Mormon manuscript, rather than the printer’s manuscript, for a portion of the typesetting from Helaman to the third book of Nephi. It is probable that Cowdery, scribe for the printer’s manuscript, was in Canada with the manuscript. (Traughber, “False Prophecies,” 1; Skousen, “Translating and Printing the Book of Mormon,” 107–109.)  


the revelation must have been written early in 1830. More than six months earlier, on 11 June 1829, JS had applied for a copyright for the Book of Mormon in the United States

North American constitutional republic. Constitution ratified, 17 Sept. 1787. Population in 1805 about 6,000,000; in 1830 about 13,000,000; and in 1844 about 20,000,000. Louisiana Purchase, 1803, doubled size of U.S. Consisted of seventeen states at time ...

More Info
by submitting the book’s title page to the clerk of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York

Located in northeast region of U.S. Area settled by Dutch traders, 1620s; later governed by Britain, 1664–1776. Admitted to U.S. as state, 1788. Population in 1810 about 1,000,000; in 1820 about 1,400,000; in 1830 about 1,900,000; and in 1840 about 2,400,...

More Info
.2 The copyright protected the text against unauthorized changes and distribution. In January 1830, Abner Cole

Aug. 1783–13 July 1835. Bar iron and castings manufacturer, judge, newspaper editor and publisher. Likely born in Chesterfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Southworth Cole and Ruxby Bryant. Moved to Geneva, Ontario and Seneca counties, New York, ...

View Full Bio
, who printed the Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

More Info
Reflector on the same press being used for the Book of Mormon, tested the prepublication copyright by printing a portion of the Book of Mormon in his newspaper without authorization. The problem was quickly resolved, in part because JS asserted his copyright authority.3

“The First Book of Nephi,” Reflector (Palmyra, NY), 2 Jan. 1830, 9; Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 9, [9]–[10]; see also Historical Introduction to Letter from Oliver Cowdery, 28 Dec. 1829.  


Shortly after that confrontation, this revelation commanded JS to expand copyright protection of the Book of Mormon throughout the world.
The potential profits from the sale of the books had also recently become the subject of an agreement between JS and 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...

View Full Bio
, the primary financier for the printing, who had mortgaged his property in August 1829 as payment to E. B. Grandin

30 Mar. 1806–16 Apr. 1845. Printer, newspaper editor and publisher, butcher, shipper, tanner. Born in Freehold, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Son of William Grandin and Amy Lewis. Moved to Williamson, Ontario Co., New York, by 1810; to Pultneyville, Ontario Co...

View Full Bio
.4

Martin Harris to Egbert B. Grandin, Indenture, Wayne Co., NY, 25 Aug. 1829, Wayne Co., NY, Mortgage Records, vol. 3, pp. 325–326, microfilm 479,556, U.S. and Canada Record Collection, FHL.  


On 16 January 1830, likely during his visit to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

More Info
to confront Cole

Aug. 1783–13 July 1835. Bar iron and castings manufacturer, judge, newspaper editor and publisher. Likely born in Chesterfield, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Southworth Cole and Ruxby Bryant. Moved to Geneva, Ontario and Seneca counties, New York, ...

View Full Bio
, JS signed an agreement that granted Harris the right to sell copies of the Book of Mormon until he was compensated for the cost of the printing.5 Although the agreement permitted Harris to collect $3,000 from the sale of the books, this revelation, possibly dictated about the same time, explicitly excluded Harris from sharing in the temporal blessings associated with the wider sale and distribution of the Book of Mormon. As shown in the text transcribed below, the revelation promised blessings to “those who have assisted” JS, “yea even all save M◊◊tin [Martin] only.” Three layers of deletion obscured Harris’s name. Hiram Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
later wrote that the necessary preparations for the trip to Upper Canada

British colony of Canada divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 1841. Upper Canada’s boundaries corresponded roughly to portion of present-day Ontario south of Hudson Bay watershed. Population in 1840 about 430,000. Immigrants mainly from...

More Info
were made “in a sly manor so as to keep Martin Haris from drawing a share of the money.”6

Hiram Page, Fishing River, MO, to William E. McLellin, 2 Feb. 1848, typescript, Letters and Documents Copied from Originals in the Office of the Church Historian, Reorganized Church, CHL; see also Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 30–31.  


According to a much later recollection by David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

View Full Bio
, Hyrum Smith

9 Feb. 1800–27 June 1844. Farmer, cooper. Born at Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont. Son of Joseph Smith Sr. and Lucy Mack. Moved to Randolph, Orange Co., 1802; to Tunbridge, before May 1803; to Royalton, Windsor Co., Vermont, 1804; to Sharon, Windsor Co., by...

View Full Bio
originally suggested to JS that the Book of Mormon copyright could be sold for “considerable money” in Upper Canada

British colony of Canada divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 1841. Upper Canada’s boundaries corresponded roughly to portion of present-day Ontario south of Hudson Bay watershed. Population in 1840 about 430,000. Immigrants mainly from...

More Info
.7

Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 31.  


Hiram Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
recalled that a small group of church leaders were assembled at the Smith log home in Palmyra Township

First permanent white settlers arrived, ca. 1789. Included village of Palmyra. Erie Canal opened, 1825, in southern portion of township. Population in 1810 about 2,200. Population in 1830 about 3,400. Home of Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family, beginning...

More Info
when this revelation came.8

H. Page to W. McLellin, 2 Feb. 1848.  


It directed 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...

View Full Bio
, Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
, Stowell

22 Mar. 1770–12 May 1844. Farmer, sawmill owner. Born in Winchester, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Stowell and Mary Butler. Member of Presbyterian church. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge), Chenango Co., New York, 1791. Married Miriam Bridgeman...

View Full Bio
, and Knight

3 Nov. 1772–2 Feb. 1847. Farmer, miller. Born at Oakham, Worcester Co., Massachusetts. Son of Benjamin Knight and Sarah Crouch. Lived at Marlboro, Windham Co., Vermont, by 1780. Married first Polly Peck, 1795, in Windham Co. Moved to Jericho (later Bainbridge...

View Full Bio
to obtain the copyright for the Book of Mormon not only in Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

More Info
but “upon all the face of the Earth of which is known by you.” They were to begin their efforts in Kingston and were then authorized, under certain conditions, to sell the Book of Mormon copyright for the four major British provinces in North America.
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...

View Full Bio
, Page

1800–12 Aug. 1852. Physician, farmer. Born in Vermont. Married Catherine Whitmer, 10 Nov. 1825, in Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS church by Oliver Cowdery, 11 Apr. 1830, at Seneca Lake,...

View Full Bio
, and likely the other two traveled to Kingston in response to the revelation, but they failed to obtain a copyright.9

British copyright law, under the 1709 Statute of Anne, provided copyright protection for British subjects, including those in Canada, only if a copy of the work was physically registered with Stationers Hall in London, a difficult proposition for most Canadian authors.a From 1814 to 1835 no author or printer registered any books from the Canadian provinces; even if one had, registration would have offered little or no protection in North America because of the lack of enforcement.b Lower Canada created copyright laws in 1832, but the laws could not be enforced until 1841, when provincial legislatures enacted local statutes.c Therefore, the only copyright that was available in Canada to JS and his agents was under British common law. Nonetheless, since this revelation explained that they should obtain the copyright “upon all the face of the Earth,” a copyright could have been obtained if JS’s agents had journeyed to York and there enlisted a British subject to register the copyright in London. This was an uncommon practice, however, and would not have given them protection in Canada. They also had the right to make legal agreements with individual printers in various locations to publish the Book of Mormon and the right to distribute the profits according to those agreements.  


aAn Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by Vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or Purchasers of Such Copies, during the Times Therein Mentioned [10 Apr. 1710], Statutes at Large, vol. 4, chap. 19, p. 418, sec. 2.

bFleming et al., History of the Book in Canada, 352; Ehat, “‘Securing’ the Prophet’s Copyright in the Book of Mormon,” 38–52.

cSee Vogel, Early Mormon Documents, 5:260n11; Fleming et al., History of the Book in Canada, 352, 457n35; An Act for the Protection of Copy Rights in This Province, [18 Sept. 1841], Provincial Statutes of Canada, chap. 61, pp. 323–327; and An Act for the Protection of Copy Rights, [25 Feb. 1832], Provincial Stautes of Lower-Canada, chap. 53, pp. 624–625.

A local resident apparently informed them that they were more likely to secure a copyright if they went to York,10

H. Page to W. McLellin, 2 Feb. 1848.  


the capital of Upper Canada

British colony of Canada divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 1841. Upper Canada’s boundaries corresponded roughly to portion of present-day Ontario south of Hudson Bay watershed. Population in 1840 about 430,000. Immigrants mainly from...

More Info
, but rather than travel more than 160 miles farther, they returned home and reported to JS at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr.

14 Apr. 1773–13 Aug. 1854. Farmer. Born at Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer and likely Maria Salome. Member of Presbyterian church. Married Mary Musselman, before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., by...

View Full Bio
in Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

More Info
. Almost six decades later David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

View Full Bio
questioned the legitimacy of the revelation because of the group’s failure to secure a copyright. He claimed that in a council held on 1 November 1831 to consider printing the revelations, JS repudiated the revelation.11

Traughber, “False Prophecies,” 1–2; Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 31. The extant minutes of the 1 November 1831 conference do not contain any discussion of this revelation. (See Minute Book 2, 1–2 Nov. 1831.)  


Whitmer further stated that he and Jacob

27 Jan. 1800–21 Apr. 1856. Shoemaker, farmer. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Elizabeth Schott, 29 Sept. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. One of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, June 1829. Baptized into LDS...

View Full Bio
and 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...

View Full Bio
were present when Cowdery and Page returned. “We asked Joseph,” he wrote, “how it was that he had received a revelation from the Lord for some brethren to go to Toronto [Kingston] and sell the copy-right, and the brethren had utterly failed in their undertaking.” Joseph reportedly enquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into ...

View Glossary
and, according to Whitmer, received a revelation that stated, “Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil.”12

Whitmer, Address to All Believers in Christ, 31; see also Traughber, “False Prophecies,” 2.  


Page, however, left no indication in his recollection that he was bitter about the revelation or his trip to Canada

In late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Canada referred to British colonies of Upper Canada and Lower Canada. Divided into Upper Canada and Lower Canada, 1791; reunited 10 Feb. 1841. Boundaries corresponded roughly to present-day Ontario (Upper...

More Info
.13

H. Page to W. McLellin, 2 Feb. 1848. Page’s letter to McLellin offered this comment on his and Cowdery’s trip to Kingston: “But when we got there, there was no purchaser neither were they authorized at Kingston to buy rights for the provence; but little York was the place where such buisaness had to be done, we were to get 8,000 dollars[.] we were treated with the best of respects by all we met with in Kingston—by the above we may learn how a revlation may be received and the person receving it not be benafited.”  


Even though the text in Revelation Book 1 includes editing marks, it was not published with other revelations in the Book of Commandments in 1833.14

Sidney Rigdon apparently edited this copy of the revelation for subsequent use, primarily by crossing out the passages of the revelation that referred to selling the copyright and by adding an “amen” immediately preceding the section to be deleted. An unidentified person also marked “to Kingston” for deletion. These redactions most likely occurred during preparations for publication in 1832–1833. (Revelation Book 1, pp. 30–31.)  


Facts