31850

Revelation, 11 November 1831–B [D&C 107 (partial)]

upon transgressors upon testimony it shall be laid before them according to the Laws

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
by the assistance of his councillors

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
whom he hath chosen or will choose among the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
of the church

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
6

At a June 1831 conference in Ohio, John Corrill and Isaac Morley “were ordained assistants to the Bishop.” (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  


thus shall he be a judge even a common judge among the inhabitants 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...

More Info
until the borders are enlarged & it becomes necessary to have other Bishops

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
or judges & inasmuch as there are other Bishops appointed they shall act in the same office7

A 1 November 1831 revelation explained that “there rema[i]neth hereafter in the due time of the Lord other Bishops to be set apart unto the church to minister even according to the first.” (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 68:15].)  


& again verily I say unto you the most important business of the church & the most difficult cases of the church inasmuch as there is not satisfaction upon the decision of the judge it shall be handed over & carried up unto the court of the church before the president of the high Priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

View Glossary
& the president of the Court of the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
shall have power to call other high priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
even twelve to assist as counsellors & thus the president of the high priesthood & his councellors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church & after this desision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord for this is the highest court of the church of God & a final desision upon controversies all persons belonging to the church are not exempt from this court of the church & inasmuch as the president of the high priesthood shall transgress he shall be had in remembrance before the common court of the church8

That is, the bishop’s court, since the bishop was the “common judge.”  


who shall be assisted by twelve counsellors of the high Priesthood & their desicision upon his head shall be an end of controversy concerning him thus none shall be exempt from the justice of the Laws of God that all things may be done in order & in solemnity before me according to truth & righteousness Amen A few more words in addition to the Laws of the church And again verily I say unto you the duty of a president over the office of a Deacon

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

View Glossary
is to preside over twelve Deacons to set in council with them & to teach them their duty edifying one another as it is given according to the covenants9

The Articles and Covenants outlined the duties of elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:38–59].)  


And also the duty of the president over the office of the Teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
is to preside over twenty four of the Teachers & to set in council with them teaching them the duties of their office as given in the covenants Also the duty of the president over the priesthood10

“Priesthood” here seems to refer specifically to those ordained to the office of priest.  


is to preside over forty eight priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
& to set in council with them & to teach them the duties of their office as given in the covenants And again the duty of the president over the office of the Elders is to preside over ninety six Elders11

This is the first time groups of church officers were assigned a numerical capacity. Although it is unclear why each group had a different numerical capacity assigned to it, minutes of some conferences around this time suggest that there were many more elders than lesser officers in the church. (See, for example, Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


& to set in council with them & to teach them according to the covenants And again the duty of the president of the office of the High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church & to be like unto Moses12

A September 1830 revelation declared that “no one shall be appointed to Receive commandments & Revelations in this Church excepting my Servent Joseph for he Receiveth them even as Moses.” (Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:2].)  


behold here is wisdom yea to be a Seer

The Book of Mormon identified a seer as a “revelator, and a prophet also,” specifying, however, that a seer was “greater than a prophet.” A seer could “know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come.” The work of a seer included translation...

View Glossary
a revelator a translator

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

View Glossary
& a prophet having all the gifts of God which he bestoweth upon the head of the chuch13

See Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:29].  


Wherefore now let every man learn his duty & to act in the office in which he is appointed in all diligence he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand even so Amen [p. 123]
upon transgressors upon testimony it shall be laid before them according  to the Laws

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
by the assistance of his councillors

A gathering of church leaders assembled “for consultation, deliberation and advice”; also a body responsible for governance or administration. As early as 9 February 1831, a revelation instructed that “the Elders & Bishop shall Council together & they shall...

View Glossary
whom he hath chosen or  will choose

John Whitmer handwriting ends; Oliver Cowdery begins.  


among the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
of the church

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
6

At a June 1831 conference in Ohio, John Corrill and Isaac Morley “were ordained assistants to the Bishop.” (Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.)  


thus shall he be a judge even a common judge among  the inhabitants 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...

More Info
until the borders are enlarged & it becomes necessary to have other Bishops

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
 or judges & inasmuch as there are other Bishops appointed they shall act in the same office7

A 1 November 1831 revelation explained that “there rema[i]neth hereafter in the due time of the Lord other Bishops to be set apart unto the church to minister even according to the first.” (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 68:15].)  


& again  verily I say unto you the most important business of the church & the most difficult cases  of the church inasmuch as there is not sufficient satisfaction upon the decision of the judge it  shall be handed over & carried up unto the court of the church before the president of the high  Priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

View Glossary
& the president of the Court of the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
shall have power to call other high  priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. Christ and many ancient prophets, including Abraham, were described as being high priests. The Book of Mormon used the term high priest to denote one appointed to lead the church. However, the Book of Mormon also discussed...

View Glossary
even twelve to assist as counsellors & thus the president of the high priesthood & his coun cellors shall have power to decide upon testimony according to the laws of the church & after this  desision it shall be had in remembrance no more before the Lord for this is the highest court of  the church of God & a final desision upon controvers[i]es all persons belonging to the church are not exempt  from this court of the church & inasmuch as the president of the high priesthood shall transgress  he shall be had in remembrance before the common court of the church8

That is, the bishop’s court, since the bishop was the “common judge.”  


who shall be assisted by  twelve counsellors of the high Priesthood & their desicision upon his head shall be an end of  controversy concerning him thus none shall be exempt from the justice of the Laws of God  that all things may be done in order & in solemnity before me in according to truth & righteousness  Amen A few more words in addition to the Laws of the church And again verily I say  unto you the duty of a president over the office of a Deacon

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

View Glossary
is to preside over twelve Deacons  to set in council with them & to teach them their duty edifying one another as it is  given according to the covenants9

The Articles and Covenants outlined the duties of elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:38–59].)  


And also the duty of the president over the office of the  Teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
is to preside over twenty four of the Teachers & to set in council with them teaching them  the duties of their office as given in the covenants Also the duty of the president over the priest hood10

“Priesthood” here seems to refer specifically to those ordained to the office of priest.  


is to preside over forty eight priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
& to set in council with them & to teach them  the duties of their office as given in the covenants And again the duty of the president over the  office of the Elders is to preside over ninety six Elders11

This is the first time groups of church officers were assigned a numerical capacity. Although it is unclear why each group had a different numerical capacity assigned to it, minutes of some conferences around this time suggest that there were many more elders than lesser officers in the church. (See, for example, Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831.)  


& to set in council with them & to <teach>  them according to the covenants And again the duty of the president of the office of the  High Priesthood is to preside over the whole church & to be like unto Moses12

A September 1830 revelation declared that “no one shall be appointed to Receive commandments & Revelations in this Church excepting my Servent Joseph for he Receiveth them even as Moses.” (Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:2].)  


behold  here is wisdom yea to be a Seer

The Book of Mormon identified a seer as a “revelator, and a prophet also,” specifying, however, that a seer was “greater than a prophet.” A seer could “know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come.” The work of a seer included translation...

View Glossary
a revelator a translator

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

View Glossary
& a prophet having  all the gifts of God which he bestoweth upon the head of the chuch13

See Revelation, ca. 8 Mar. 1831–A [D&C 46:29].  


Wherefore now  let every man learn his duly duty & to act in the office in which he is appointed in  all diligence he that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand  & he that learneth not his duty & sheweth himself not approved shall  not be counted worthy to stand even so Amen [p. 123]
Previous
In Hiram

Area settled by immigrants from Pennsylvania and New England, ca. 1802. Located in northeastern Ohio about twenty-five miles southeast of Kirtland. Population in 1830 about 500. Population in 1840 about 1,100. JS lived in township at home of John and Alice...

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, Ohio, on 11 November 1831, JS dictated this revelation—addressed to the church “in 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...

More Info
”—dealing with church administration and the responsibilities of members holding different church offices. The immediate circumstances surrounding the dictation of the revelation are unclear. A conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

View Glossary
of elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
was held in Hiram on that day to discuss Reynolds Cahoon

30 Apr. 1790–29 Apr. 1861. Farmer, tanner, builder. Born at Cambridge, Washington Co., New York. Son of William Cahoon Jr. and Mehitable Hodges. Married Thirza Stiles, 11 Dec. 1810. Moved to northeastern Ohio, 1811. Located at Harpersfield, Ashtabula Co.,...

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’s question of whether he should migrate to 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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in the spring. During that meeting, 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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read “Commandments

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
concerning the duties of the Elders.”1 It is possible the revelation was dictated at that time, but the minutes do not specifically refer to it.
Addressing the Saints 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...

More Info
, the revelation called for additional administrative positions to be established within the church, including presiding officers for deacons

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The “Articles and Covenants” directed deacons to assist teachers in their duties. Deacons were also to “warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ.” Although deacons did not have the authority...

View Glossary
, teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
, priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
, and elders. More generally, it discussed the necessity of appointing additional bishops

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
for the church and designating someone to preside over the entire church

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
as president of the high priesthood

Both the office of the president of the high priesthood and the body comprising the president and his counselors; the presiding body of the church. In November 1831, a revelation directed the appointment of a president of the high priesthood. The individual...

View Glossary
. Newel K. Whitney

3/5 Feb. 1795–23 Sept. 1850. Trader, merchant. Born at Marlborough, Windham Co., Vermont. Son of Samuel Whitney and Susanna Kimball. Moved to Fairfield, Herkimer Co., New York, 1803. Merchant at Plattsburg, Clinton Co., New York, 1814. Mercantile clerk for...

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was appointed bishop in Ohio

French explored area, 1669. British took possession following French and Indian War, 1763. Ceded to U.S., 1783. First permanent white settlement established, 1788. Northeastern portion maintained as part of Connecticut, 1786, and called Connecticut Western...

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less than a month later, JS was designated as president of the high priesthood in January 1832, and at least two presidents were called over the elders in 1832—Orson Pratt

19 Sept. 1811–3 Oct. 1881. Farmer, writer, teacher, merchant, surveyor, editor, publisher. Born at Hartford, Washington Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Moved to New Lebanon, Columbia Co., New York, 1814; to Canaan, Columbia Co., fall...

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in Ohio and Christian Whitmer

18 Jan. 1798–27 Nov. 1835. Shoemaker. Born in Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Married Anna (Anne) Schott, 22 Feb. 1825, at Seneca Co., New York. Ensign in New York militia, 1825. Constable of Fayette, Seneca Co., 1828–1829. Member...

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in Missouri.2

Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–A [D&C 72:8]; “History of Orson Pratt,” 11, Historian’s Office, Histories of the Twelve, ca. 1858–1880, CHL; Minute Book 2, 26–27 Apr. 1832; 15 and 27 Sept. 1832.  


This revelation was also part of a continuing unfolding of information about the high priesthood

The authority and power held by certain officers in the church. The Book of Mormon referred to the high priesthood as God’s “holy order, which was after the order of his Son,” and indicated that Melchizedek, a biblical figure, was a high priest “after this...

View Glossary
. The first individuals were ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

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to the high priesthood in June 1831, and at a conference held on 25–26 October 1831 in Orange

Located about five miles south of Kirtland Township. Area settled, 1815. Organized 1820. Population in 1830 about 300. Population in 1838 about 800. Sixty-five Latter-day Saints lived in township, by Nov. 1830. Joseph and Julia Murdock, twins adopted by JS...

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, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, JS and Sidney Rigdon

19 Feb. 1793–14 July 1876. Tanner, farmer, minister. Born at St. Clair, Allegheny Co., Pennsylvania. Son of William Rigdon and Nancy Gallaher. Joined United Baptists, ca. 1818. Preached at Warren, Trumbull Co., Ohio, and vicinity, 1819–1821. Married Phebe...

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spoke on the responsibilities of those holding (or desiring to hold) that office. JS, for example, explained that the high priesthood had the “power . . . to seal up the Saints unto eternal life.” He indicated that “it was the privilege of every Elder present to be ordained to the Highpriesthood.” Both JS and Rigdon emphasized the significance of the high priesthood, and Rigdon chastised some who were ordained at that meeting “because of their indifference to be ordained to that office.”3 This 11 November revelation also laid out a hierarchical gradation of offices in the church that began with deacon and proceeded upward to the high priesthood—“the greatest of all.”
The revelation discussed disciplinary bodies in the church as well. Prior to this time, the “Laws of 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
” directed that those accused of adultery or other transgressions be brought before “two Elders of the Church or more,” with the bishop attending if possible.4

Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:80].  


Conferences of elders sometimes served as disciplinary bodies, though not always with the bishop in attendance.5 The bishop, however, was designated as “a Judge in Israel” who would “Judge his people by the testimony of the Just.”6

Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:17–18].  


The 11 November revelation added another level to the disciplinary structure of the church: the president of the high priesthood and his court, or council. Referring to the president of the high priesthood as “like unto Moses,” the revelation declared that he was to officiate in the most important matters of the church. Just as Moses appointed judges to deal with “small matter[s]” and addressed the “great matter[s]” himself,7

Exodus 18:21–22.  


bishops were to act as common judges while the president of the high priesthood and his court would deal with “the most difficult cases of the church.” In addition, the revelation designated the president of the high priesthood as the head of the church and specifically noted that the office of bishop was subordinate to him.
The original manuscript of the revelation is not extant. 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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and 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
copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, likely before their departure to 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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on 20 November 1831.8

See Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 1; and Whitmer, History, 38. When this revelation was published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, material was added, creating a more complete “Instruction on Priesthood.” (Doctrine and Covenants 3, 1835 ed.)  


A Missouri council discussed this revelation in July 1832, indicating a copy had made it to Missouri and had come to the attention of church leaders at least by that time.9

Minute Book 2, 3 July 1832.  


Facts