Revelation, 12 November 1831 [D&C 70]

John Whitmer handwriting begins.  

<76> <Hiram>

John Whitmer handwriting ends; Oliver Cowdery begins.  

Nov. 12. 1831
Behold & hearken o ye inhabitants of Zion & all ye people of my  Church which are far off & hear the word of the Lord which I give unto my  servant Jos[e]ph & also unto my servant Martin [Harris] & also unto my servant Oliver [Cowdery]  & also my servant John [Whitmer] & also unto my servant Sidney [Rigdon] by the way of com mandments unto them for I give unto them a commandment W[h]erefore  hearken & hear for thus saith the Lord unto them I the Lord have appointed  them & ordained them to be stewards over the revelations & com mandments which I have given unto them & which I shall hereafter  give unto them & an account of this stewardship will I require of them  in the day of judgement wherefore I have appointed unto them & this is  their business in the church of God to manage them & the concerns  thereof yea the profits thereof wherefore a commandment I give unto  them that they shall not give these things unto the church neither unto  the world nevertheless inasmuch as they receive more than is for their  necessities & their wants it shall be given into my storehouse & the  benefits thereof shall be consecrated unto the inhabtants of Zion &  unto their generations inasmuch as they become heirs according to the  laws of the kingdom1

See Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52:2].  

behold this is what the Lord requires of every  man in his stewardship even as I the Lord have appointed or shall  hereafter apoint unto any man & behold none is exempt from this  law who belong to the church of the Living God2

See 1 Timothy 3:15.  

yea neither Bishop neither  the agent who keepeth the Lords storehouse3

The bishop was Edward Partridge, and the agent was Sidney Gilbert. A 20 July 1831 revelation instructed Gilbert to “establish a store” in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, so that he could provide “provisions & whatsoever things the Deciples may need to plant them in their inheritance.” (Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57:8].)  

neither he that is appointed  in a stewardship over temporal things he that is appointed to ad minister spiritual things the same is worthy of his hire even as they  who are appointed in a stewardship to administer in temporal things4

A day earlier, a revelation noted that “the office of a Bishop is in administering all temporal things,” while the president of the high priesthood is responsible for “the administring of ordinances & blessings upon the Church by the Laying on of the hands.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:65–68].)  

 yea even more abundantly which abundance is multiplied unto them  through the manifestations of the spirit nevertheless in your temporal  things you shall be equal in all things & this not grudgeingly otherwise  the abundance of the manifestations of the spirit shall be withheld  now this commandment I give unto my servants while they remain for  a manifestations of my blessings upon their heads & for a reward of  their diligence & for their security for food & for raiment for an  inheritance for houses & for lands & in whatsoever circumstances  I the Lord shall place them & whithersoever I the Lord shall send them [p. 124]
On 12 November 1831, JS dictated this revelation in which he and others were appointed stewards over the revelations and commandments of the church. JS may have dictated this revelation during or immediately after a conference held that same day, in which he petitioned the elders to compensate those who had assisted him in producing the “sacred writings” of the church.1

Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831. For additional information on this conference, see Minutes, 12 Nov. 1831.  

Although the 12 November minutes do not explicitly mention the revelation, the similar subject matter of both the conference and the revelation indicate that the two are closely related. A later history states that the revelation came “in answer to an enquiry” and suggests that JS dictated it after the conference approved a resolution stating that the revelations were “worth to the church, the riches of the whole earth, speaking temporally.”2 It is unclear what the original inquiry was, but the revelation’s designation of JS and five others as stewards over the publishing concerns of the church allowed them to claim compensation for their service in recording, preserving, and publishing the revelations.
According to the revelation, the stewards would have claim to any profits resulting from the publication of the revelations “for their necessities & their wants,” with any remainder to be transferred to the Lord’s storehouse. This mode of compensation through stewardships followed earlier instructions given to church members about consecrating property, whereby Saints were appointed stewards over an inheritance and then donated any surplus to the bishop. Church members had also been told that the elders and their families would be “supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Lord either a stewardship or otherwise.”3

Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:30–35, 70–73].  

This revelation reemphasized these principles while also reiterating that none—not even those in leadership positions—were exempt from “this law.” All were required to adhere to the principles embedded in the consecration commandments.
The original manuscript of this revelation is not extant. Oliver Cowdery, who as clerk of the conference may have been the original scribe for the revelation, copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, which he and John Whitmer were preparing to take to Missouri.4

See Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 1, in JSP, MRB:5; and Whitmer, History, 38, in JSP, H2:49.
Comprehensive Works Cited



JSP, H2 / Davidson, Karen Lynn, Richard L. Jensen, and David J. Whittaker, eds. Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Historical Writings, 1831–1847. Vol. 2 of the Histories series of The Joseph Smith Papers, edited by Dean C. Jessee, Ronald K. Esplin, and Richard Lyman Bushman. Salt Lake City, Church Historian’s Press, 2012.