2477012

Revelation, 22–23 September 1832 [D&C 84]

strength and truth is established in her bowels and the heavens hath smiled upon her and she is clothed with the glory of her God for he standeth in the midst of his people, glory and honor and power and might be ascribed to our god56

See Revelation 7:11–12.  


for he is full of mercy Justice grace and truth and peace for ever and ever Amen——
And again verily verily I say unto you it is expedient that evry man who goes forth to proclaim mine everlasting gospel that in asmuch as they have families and receive monies by gift they should send it unto them or make use of it for there benifit as the Lord shall direct them for thus it seemeth me good57

The February 1831 revelation giving the laws of the church explained that the families of those “proclaiming repentance” should be “supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Lord.” At an October 1831 general conference of elders, JS declared “that the Lord held the Church bound to provide for the families of the absent Elders while proclaiming the Gospel.” A 25 January 1832 revelation reiterated these commandments: “it is the duty of the church to assist in supporting the families of those and also to support the families of those who are called and must needs be esent unto the world to proclaim the gospel unto the world.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:71]; Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–B [D&C 75:24].)  


and let all those who have not families who receive monies send it up unto the Bishop

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

View Full Bio
in 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
or unto the Bishop

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...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
that it may be consecrated

The dedicating of money, lands, goods, or one’s own life for sacred purposes. Both the New Testament and Book of Mormon referred to some groups having “all things common” economically; the Book of Mormon also referred to individuals who consecrated or dedicated...

View Glossary
for the bringing forth of the revelations and the printing thereof58

According to a 4 December 1831 revelation, “the duty of the Bishop” was “to keep the Lords storehouse [and] to receive the funds of the church,” which included funds for printing. At a 30 April 1832 meeting, the Literary Firm decided to print three thousand copies of the Book of Commandments, which would be the first published compilation of JS’s revelations. By the time of the present revelation, the work was well under way. (Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:9–10]; Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832.)  


and for establishing of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
and if any shall give unto any of you a coat, or a suit take the old and cast it unto the poor and go your way rejoicing and if any man among you be strong in the spirit let him take with him he that is weak that he may be edefied in all meekness that he may become strong also59

Similarly, a 15 March 1832 revelation counseled Jesse Gause to “succour the weak lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the weak knees.” (Revelation, 15 Mar. 1832 [D&C 81:5].)  


therefore take with you those who are 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...

View Glossary
unto the lesser Priesthood

The lower, or lesser, of two divisions of the priesthood. Sometimes called the Levitical priesthood. It was named for Aaron, the brother of Moses, “because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed” in antiquity. JS and other church leaders taught that the...

View Glossary
, and send them before you to make appointments and to prepare the way, and to fill appointments that yourselves are not able to fill, behold this is the way that mine Apostles in ancient days built up my church unto me, therefore let evry man stand in his own office, and labour in his own calling and let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand, also the body hath need of evry member that all may be edefied together that the systim may be kept perfect,60

See 1 Corinthians 12:14–27.  


and behold the high Priest

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
should travel and also 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
and also the lesser 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
, but the Teacher

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
and 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
should be appointed to watch over the church to be a standing minister unto the church,62

The Articles and Covenants of the church stated that “the teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with them and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, nor no hardness with each other nor no lying nor backbiting, nor no evil speaking, and see that the church meets together oft, and also see that evry member does his duty.” Deacons were to assist teachers in these responsibilities. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–57].)  


and the Bishop

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
63

The bishop referred to here was identified as Newel K. Whitney when this revelation was published in 1835. (Doctrine and Covenants 4:23, 1835 ed.)  


also should travel round about and among all the churches searching after the poor to administer to ther wants by humbling the rich and the proud he should also imploy an agent for to take charge and to do his seccular business as he shall direct nevertheless let the Bishop64

Newel K. Whitney, the bishop in Kirtland, Ohio.  


go unto the city of New York

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

More Info
and also to the city of Albany

State capital and county seat, located in eastern-central part of state on west bank of Hudson River. Area settled by Dutch, 1612. Known as Fort Orange and Beaver Wyck, 1623; name changed to Williamstadt, 1647. Capitulated to English forces, 1664, and renamed...

More Info
and also to the city of Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

More Info
and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel with a loud voice of the desolation and utter abolishment which awaits them if they do reject these things,65

This instruction apparently applied only to Newel K. Whitney and not Edward Partridge, bishop in Zion. According to John Whitmer, “The Lord gave a Commandment for Joseph the seer and N. K. Whitney the Bishop at Kirtlnd to go and cry repntanc [repentance]” to those cities. Whitney apparently considered this calling and the information on the priesthood the two key parts of the revelation, endorsing his copy with the words, “A Revelation relative to order of P.H & to N.K.W going to Boston Sept 23. 1832.” (Whitmer, History, 39.)  


for if they do reject these things the hour of their Jodgment is nigh and there house shall be left unto them dessolate,66

See Matthew 23:38; and Luke 13:35.  


let him trust in me and he shall not be confounded and an hair of his head shall not fall to the ground unnoticed, and verily I say unto you the rest of my servants go ye forth as your circumstances shall permit in your several callings unto the great and notable cities and villages reprooving the world in righteousness of all ther unrighteous and ungodly deeds setting forth clearly and [p. [5]]
strength and truth is established in her bowels and the heavens hath smiled upon  her and she is clothed with the glory of her God for he standeth in the midst of  his people, glory and honor and power and might be ascribed to our god56

See Revelation 7:11–12.  


for  he is full of mercy Justice grace and truth and peace for ever and ever  Amen——
And again verily verily I say unto you it is expedient that evry man  who goes forth to proclaim mine everlasting gospel that in asmuch as they  have families and receive monies by gift they should send it unto them  or make use of it for there benifit as the Lord shall direct them for thus it  seemeth me good57

The February 1831 revelation giving the laws of the church explained that the families of those “proclaiming repentance” should be “supported out of the property which is consecrated to the Lord.” At an October 1831 general conference of elders, JS declared “that the Lord held the Church bound to provide for the families of the absent Elders while proclaiming the Gospel.” A 25 January 1832 revelation reiterated these commandments: “it is the duty of the church to assist in supporting the families of those and also to support the families of those who are called and must needs be esent unto the world to proclaim the gospel unto the world.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:71]; Minutes, 25–26 Oct. 1831; Revelation, 25 Jan. 1832–B [D&C 75:24].)  


and let all those who have not families who receive  monies send it up unto the Bishop

27 Aug. 1793–27 May 1840. Hatter. Born at Pittsfield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell. Moved to Painesville, Geauga Co., Ohio. Married Lydia Clisbee, 22 Aug. 1819, at Painesville. Initially a Universal Restorationist...

View Full Bio
in 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
or unto the Bishop

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...

View Full Bio
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...

More Info
 that it may be consecrated

The dedicating of money, lands, goods, or one’s own life for sacred purposes. Both the New Testament and Book of Mormon referred to some groups having “all things common” economically; the Book of Mormon also referred to individuals who consecrated or dedicated...

View Glossary
for the bringing forth of the revelations and  the printing thereof58

According to a 4 December 1831 revelation, “the duty of the Bishop” was “to keep the Lords storehouse [and] to receive the funds of the church,” which included funds for printing. At a 30 April 1832 meeting, the Literary Firm decided to print three thousand copies of the Book of Commandments, which would be the first published compilation of JS’s revelations. By the time of the present revelation, the work was well under way. (Revelation, 4 Dec. 1831–B [D&C 72:9–10]; Minutes, 30 Apr. 1832.)  


and for establishing of Zion

A specific location in Missouri; also a literal or figurative gathering of believers in Jesus Christ, characterized by adherence to ideals of harmony, equality, and purity. In JS’s earliest revelations “the cause of Zion” was used to broadly describe the ...

View Glossary
and if any shall give  unto any of you a coat, or a suit take the old and cast it unto the poor  and go your way rejoicing and if any man among you be strong in the  spirit let him take with him he that is weak that he may be edefied  in all meekness that he may become strong also59

Similarly, a 15 March 1832 revelation counseled Jesse Gause to “succour the weak lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen the weak knees.” (Revelation, 15 Mar. 1832 [D&C 81:5].)  


therefore take with you  those who are 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...

View Glossary
unto the lesser Priesthood

The lower, or lesser, of two divisions of the priesthood. Sometimes called the Levitical priesthood. It was named for Aaron, the brother of Moses, “because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed” in antiquity. JS and other church leaders taught that the...

View Glossary
, and send them before  you to make appointments and to prepare the way, and to fill ap pointments that yourselves are not able to fill, behold this is the way th at mine Apostles in ancient days built up my church unto me, therefore let  evry man stand in his own office, and labour in his own calling and  let not the head say unto the feet it hath no need of the feet for without the feet how shall the body be able to stand, also the body hath need  of evry member that all may be edefied together that the systim may  be kept perfect,60

See 1 Corinthians 12:14–27.  


and behold the high Priest

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
hood should travel also and  and also 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
and also the lesser 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
, but the Teacher

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
61

TEXT: Possibly “Teachers”.  


and 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
 should be appointed to watch over the church to be a standing minister unto  the church,62

The Articles and Covenants of the church stated that “the teacher’s duty is to watch over the church always, and be with them and strengthen them, and see that there is no iniquity in the church, nor no hardness with each other nor no lying nor backbiting, nor no evil speaking, and see that the church meets together oft, and also see that evry member does his duty.” Deacons were to assist teachers in these responsibilities. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:53–57].)  


and the Bishop

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
63

The bishop referred to here was identified as Newel K. Whitney when this revelation was published in 1835. (Doctrine and Covenants 4:23, 1835 ed.)  


also should travel round about and among all  the churches searching after the poor to administer to ther wants by humbling  the rich and the proud he should also imploy an agent for to take charge  of and to do his seccular business as he shall direct nevertheless let the Bishop64

Newel K. Whitney, the bishop in Kirtland, Ohio.  


go  unto the city of New York

Dutch founded New Netherland colony, 1625. Incorporated under British control and renamed New York, 1664. Harbor contributed to economic and population growth of city; became largest city in American colonies. British troops defeated Continental Army under...

More Info
and also to the city of Albany

State capital and county seat, located in eastern-central part of state on west bank of Hudson River. Area settled by Dutch, 1612. Known as Fort Orange and Beaver Wyck, 1623; name changed to Williamstadt, 1647. Capitulated to English forces, 1664, and renamed...

More Info
and also to the city of  Boston

Capital city located on eastern seaboard of Massachusetts at mouth of Charles River. Founded by English Puritans, 1630; received city charter, 1822. Population in 1820 about 43,000; in 1830 about 61,000; and in 1840 about 93,000. JS’s ancestor Robert Smith...

More Info
and warn the people of those cities with the sound of the gospel with a  loud voice of the desolation and utter abolishment which awaits them if they  do reject these things,65

This instruction apparently applied only to Newel K. Whitney and not Edward Partridge, bishop in Zion. According to John Whitmer, “The Lord gave a Commandment for Joseph the seer and N. K. Whitney the Bishop at Kirtlnd to go and cry repntanc [repentance]” to those cities. Whitney apparently considered this calling and the information on the priesthood the two key parts of the revelation, endorsing his copy with the words, “A Revelation relative to order of P.H & to N.K.W going to Boston Sept 23. 1832.” (Whitmer, History, 39.)  


for if they do reject these things the hour of thei[r] Jodgment is  nigh and there house shall be left unto them dessolate,66

See Matthew 23:38; and Luke 13:35.  


let him trust in me  and he shall not be confounded and an hair of his head shall not fall to  the ground unnoticed, but <any> <and> verily I say unto you the rest of my servants go ye  forth as your circumstances shall permit in your several callings unto the great  and notable cities and villages reprooving the world in righteousness  of <all> ther unrighteous and ungodly deeds setting forth clearly and [p. [5]]
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After JS relocated from 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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to 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...

More Info
, Ohio, on 12 September 1832, 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
who had returned from preaching in the eastern 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 ...

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came to JS to report on their proselytizing. While JS and these elders were “together in these seasons of joy,” a later history recounts, JS “inquired of the Lord and received” a revelation dated 22 and 23 September 1832.1

JS History, vol. A-1, 229.  


The beginning of the revelation identified its audience as JS and six elders, but partway through the revelation, the audience shifted to “Eleven 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
save one.” Because JS was living in 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...

View Full Bio
’s white store

In Apr. 1826, Whitney purchased quarter-acre lot on northeast corner of Chardon and Chillicothe roads and built two-story, 1500-square-foot, white store. Mercantile store also functioned as Kirtland Mills post office. Whitney met JS at store, 4 Feb. 1831....

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, the revelation was probably dictated in either the store’s upstairs “translating room” or the upstairs “council room,” places where JS frequently worked.
The revelation was dictated over the course of two days, most likely beginning the evening of 22 September and continuing into the early morning hours of 23 September.2

A life sketch of Evan Greene (who was presumably present) gives the revelation’s date as “the night of the 22nd and 23rd of September, 1832.” (Richards, “Brief Life Sketch of Evan Melbourne Greene,” 2.)  


Textual evidence indicates a pause in the dictation at some point on 23 September. The three existing manuscript copies of the revelation (one in the handwriting of Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, another by Williams and JS, and one by 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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) all contain a clear break between the phrase “for he is full of mercy Justice grace and truth and peace for ever and ever Amen” and the phrase “And again verily verily I say unto you it is expedient . . . ,” marking an interruption in the dictation.3

The Williams copy is featured herein. For the Williams and JS copy and the Whitmer copy, see Revelation Book 2, pp. 20–31; and Revelation Book 1, pp. 149–156.  


Whitmer’s copy even adds “Received on the 23 day of September 1832” between those two lines. However, the three manuscripts also include “viz 23d. day of September AD 1832” as a notation several pages before this break, indicating that material presented before the interruption was also dictated on 23 September. It may be that the dictation went into the early morning hours of 23 September, halted for a period of time, and then recommenced later that day.
The index of Revelation Book 2, one of the volumes in which this revelation was recorded, designated the revelation as one “explaining the two priest hoods

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

View Glossary
and commissioning the Apostles

A title indicating one sent forth to preach; later designated as a specific ecclesiastical and priesthood office. By 1830, JS and Oliver Cowdery were designated as apostles. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained that an “apostle is an elder...

View Glossary
to preach the gospel.”4

Revelation Book 2, Index, [1].  


An understanding of priesthood was still developing among followers of JS, especially in terms of its connection to different offices in the church. The Book of Mormon indicated that authority from God was necessary to perform certain ordinances, such as 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
and conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost

A right or privilege bestowed through the confirmation ordinance. Individuals were confirmed members of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands. The Book of Mormon explained that remission of sins requires not only...

View Glossary
, which led JS 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
to petition God for such authority as they worked together in translating

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
that record.5

See, for example, Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 477–478, 493 [3 Nephi 11:21–22; 18:36–37].  


Later accounts indicate that in May 1829 and sometime thereafter, they received angelic visitations that provided them first with the authority to baptize and later with the authority to officiate in other ordinances

A religious rite. JS taught that ordinances were covenants between man and God, in which believers could affirm faith, gain spiritual knowledge, and seek blessings. Some ordinances were considered requisite for salvation. The manner in which ordinances were...

View Glossary
.6

Oliver Cowdery, Norton, OH, to William W. Phelps, 7 Sept. 1834, LDS Messenger and Advocate, Oct. 1834, 1:15–16; JS History, vol. A-1, 17–18.  


However, extant records up to June 1831 did not call such authority “priesthood”; that term—while appearing in both the Book of Mormon and in JS’s Bible revision—did not appear in any other contemporary documents until the minutes of a June 1831 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
, which noted that several individuals “were ordained to 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
.”7

Minute Book 2, 3 June 1831. For more information on the meaning of “high Priesthood” in 1831, see Historical Introduction to Minutes, ca. 3–4 June 1831.  


Moreover, the “Articles and Covenants” of the church explained the different duties of apostles, elders, 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
, 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
, and 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
but did not explicitly associate these offices with the priesthood.8
By late 1831, the high priesthood was understood to refer to both the office of high priest and to a broader authority. The office, according to an 11 November 1831 revelation, was superior to other offices in the church, just as the authority seemed to be the highest authority. This revelation stated that after the offices of deacon, teacher, priest, and elder came “the high Priest hood which is the greatest of all.”9 A history JS began writing around summer 1832 suggests that he had received two separate powers with different responsibilities. In that history, JS noted that “the ministring of—Aangels

Being who acts as a minister and messenger between heaven and earth. JS taught that angels were individuals who “belonged to this earth”; those who had already lived on earth were often resurrected beings. In addition to giving instruction, direction, and...

View Glossary
” gave him an authority that allowed him “to adminster the letter of the Gospel.” He also recorded receiving “the high Priesthood after the holy order of the son of the living God,” which gave him “power and ordinence from on high to preach the Gospel in the administration and demonstration of the spirit.”10
This 22–23 September revelation similarly delineated the existence of two priesthoods: a greater priesthood that contains keys

Authority or knowledge of God given to humankind. In the earliest records, the term keys primarily referred to JS’s authority to unlock the “mysteries of the kingdom.” Early revelations declared that both JS and Oliver Cowdery held the keys to bring forth...

View Glossary
to the mysteries of the kingdom and to the knowledge of God, and a lesser priesthood

The lower, or lesser, of two divisions of the priesthood. Sometimes called the Levitical priesthood. It was named for Aaron, the brother of Moses, “because it was conferred upon Aaron and his seed” in antiquity. JS and other church leaders taught that the...

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holding the keys of the ministering of angels and of the gospel of repentance and baptism.11

Positing the existence of multiple priesthoods was not unique. In 1827, Alexander Crawford, a Scottish minister living in Canada, discussed three distinct priesthoods: a patriarchal priesthood (which he also called a priesthood after the “order of Melchizedec”), an Aaronical priesthood (originally held by Aaron), and a priesthood held by Jesus Christ. Alexander Campbell and the Disciples of Christ were influenced by Crawford’s ideas, though Campbell differed somewhat in his conception of the priesthood, arguing that God had given a “priesthood” to the tribe of Levi and a “high priesthood” to Aaron and his sons. As a former associate of Campbell, Sidney Rigdon was probably familiar with these ideas. (Campbell, Delusions, 11; Staker, Hearken, O Ye People, 148–151.)  


The revelation traced the lineage of the two priesthoods, noting that the greater priesthood was held by Moses, who received it from a line of individuals (including Melchizedek) who had ultimately received it from God. Aaron, meanwhile, held the lesser priesthood, which was passed to his descendants until it reached John the Baptist. Both priesthoods, the revelation posited, are eternal, and men in 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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could become the “sons of Moses” and the “sons of Aaron” by receiving these priesthoods and “magnifying there calling.” Doing so would enable these “sons” to enter the temple

A sacred edifice “built unto the Lord.” In both the Bible and Book of Mormon, temples were built as places of worship. As early as 1830, church members expected to build a temple in the New Jerusalem, or city of Zion. Revelations in 1830 and 1831 indicated...

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that the Saints would construct 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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, allowing them to receive God’s glory that would fill the temple. Some of this information seems a culmination of ideas first expressed in JS’s revisions to passages in Hebrews, Genesis, and Exodus, which were completed in the six months leading up to September.12

Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 69–71. See also, for example, New Testament Revision 2, part 2, pp. 139–140 [Joseph Smith Translation, Hebrews 7:3, 19–21, 25–26]; Old Testament Revision 1, p. 34 [Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 14:27–40]; and Old Testament Revision 2, p. 70 [Joseph Smith Translation, Exodus 34:1–2]; see also Godfrey, “Culmination of Learning,” 175.  


The revelation also explained how the different offices in the church are connected to the two priesthoods. The offices of elder and bishop

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...

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, it states, are “appendages” to the high priesthood, or to the office of high priest; the offices of teacher and deacon, meanwhile, are appendages to the lesser priesthood, or to the office of priest.13

For use of the term “high priesthood” to refer to the office of high priest, see, for example, Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107 (partial)]. For use of the term “lesser priesthood” to refer to the office of priest, see McLellin, Journal, 25 Oct. 1831.  


High priests, elders, and priests, the revelation continued, have an obligation to travel to proclaim the gospel, while teachers and deacons are responsible for watching over the church in local congregations.
After providing a detailed explanation of the greater and lesser priesthoods, their offices, and their duties, the revelation emphasized the necessity of preaching to the world and provided an extensive discussion of many aspects of missionary work. Revelations from 1830, 1831, and 1832 called specific individuals on missions,14

See, for example, Revelation, July 1830–A [D&C 24]; Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; and Revelation, 7 Mar. 1832 [D&C 80].  


but few revelations gave general procedural instructions about missionary work.15

A 1 November 1831 revelation provided instructions on missionary work to Orson Hyde, Luke Johnson, Lyman Johnson, William Smith, and “all the faithful Elders of my church,” and a 1 December 1831 revelation to JS and Sidney Rigdon regarding preaching contained the universalizing instruction “whoso readeth let him understand and receive also.” A 10 January 1832 revelation likewise instructed “the Elders of the church of the Living God” to “continue preaching the gospel.” (Revelation, 1 Nov. 1831–A [D&C 68:7]; Revelation, 1 Dec. 1831 [D&C 71]; Revelation, 10 Jan. 1832 [D&C 73].)  


This 22–23 September revelation, however, provided direction on who should serve missions, how they should serve, how they should receive sustenance while serving, what they should proclaim, and what would happen to those who did not accept their message. These instructions parallel New Testament accounts of the resurrected Jesus Christ’s directions to the eleven apostles before his ascension into heaven. As in those accounts, Christ tells the high priests in this revelation that they have a responsibility to preach to all nations and to baptize those who believe. Signs will follow the believers, the revelation continues, and the Lord will go before them, just as Christ promised the ancient apostles that he would be with them always, “even unto the end of the world.”16

Matthew 28:20.  


The revelation specifically refers to “Eleven high Priests save one” (perhaps a reference to the eleven apostles to whom Christ spoke in the New Testament) and calls these high priests “apostles” and “friends” of Jesus Christ. Although many had preached the gospel before this time, this revelation seemed to launch a more urgent and comprehensive missionary campaign, even including in its preaching assignments individuals such as Bishop 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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, who generally oversaw temporal, not spiritual, concerns.
Frederick G. Williams

28 Oct. 1787–10 Oct. 1842. Ship’s pilot, teacher, physician, justice of the peace. Born at Suffield, Hartford Co., Connecticut. Son of William Wheeler Williams and Ruth Granger. Moved to Newburg, Cuyahoga Co., Ohio, 1799. Practiced Thomsonian botanical system...

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, who was serving as JS’s scribe, probably recorded the revelation as JS dictated it.17

A version of the life sketch of Evan Greene in the possession of Greene’s descendants states that Oliver Cowdery came into the room as JS was dictating the revelation and then, after discovering that no one was writing it down, served as scribe. This account is suspect, however, because minutes from Missouri meetings place Cowdery in Missouri at both the end of August and the first of October, making it highly unlikely that he was in Kirtland in late September. (Richards, “Brief Life Sketch of Evan Melbourne Greene,” 1; Minute Book 2, 24 Aug. and 2 Oct. 1832.)  


Williams also inscribed a copy of this revelation that was given to 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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, stating that he was transcribing it “for N K, Whitney and Joseph the Seer.” Whitney and JS traveled together in 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,...

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and other states in October 1832, and the copy was likely made for the two men to carry with them on that trip.18

Letter to Emma Smith, 13 Oct. 1832; JS History, vol. A-1, 240.  


Williams and JS also made a copy of the revelation in Revelation Book 2, probably soon after the revelation was dictated.19

Historical Introduction to Revelation Book 2.  


Parts of the revelation—including a “new song” on millennial themes, a condemnation of the church for neglecting the Book of Mormon, and the explanation of appendages to the greater and lesser priesthoods—were discussed in early 1833 issues of the church’s periodical The Evening and the Morning Star. A conference of high priests also wrote a letter in January 1833 calling church members 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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to repentance in conformance with instructions given in the revelation.20

“The Book of Mormon,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [3]; “Some of Mormon’s Teaching,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Jan. 1833, [4]; “The Church of Christ,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Mar. 1833, [1]–[2]; Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833.  


Since at least six elders and ten high priests heard portions of the revelation while it was dictated, it is probable that information in it was also spread through word of mouth.

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