2477012

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

before the face of his people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord in whose hand is given all power,19

According to the New Testament, when John was eight days old, he was to be circumcised and named. John’s father, Zacharias, stated that he would “be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” The Bible does not identify John’s authority or where he obtained it, although Zacharias was a priest. (Luke 1:5, 59, 76.)  


and again, the offices of Elder

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
& 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
are necessary appendages belonging unto 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
,20

An 11 November 1831 revelation explained that “a Bishop must be chosen from the high Priesthood.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:69].)  


and again the offices of 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 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
are necessary appendages belonging to 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
, which priesthood

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
was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons therefore as I said, concerning the Sons of Moses, for the sons of Moses, and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an aaceptable offering and sacrifice21

See Malachi 3:3–4.  


in the house of the Lord which house shalt be built unto the Lord in this generation upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed and the sons of Moses, and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord upon mount Zion in the Lords house whose sons are ye, and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my 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
for whoso is faithful unto the attaining of these two Priesthoods of which I have spoken and the magnifying there calling are sanctified by the spirit unto the renewing of there bodies that they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham22

See Galatians 3:29.  


and the church and kingdom and the elect of God and also all they who receive this Priesthood receiveth me saith the Lord for he that receiveth my servants receveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth my father, and he that receiveth my father, receiveth my fathers kingdom, therefore all that my father hath shall be given unto him and this is according to the oath and the covenant which belongeth to the Priesthood, therefore all those. who receive the Priesthood, receiveth this oath and covenant of my father which he cannot break neither can it be mooved, but whoso breaketh this covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom shall not have forgivness23

In Revelation Book 2, this reads “shall not have forgivness of sin in this world.” (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832, in Revelation Book 2, p. 24 [D&C 84:41].)  


in this world nor in the world to come and all those that come not unto this Priesthood, which ye have received, which I now confirm24

“To give new assurance of truth or certainty”; “to fix more firmly”; “to strengthen; to ratify.” The elders and high priests in attendance presumably had already been ordained to the greater priesthood. (“Confirm,” in American Dictionary [1845], 177.)  


upon you who are present this day viz the 23d. day of September AD 1832 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 one25

According to a 14 January 1833 letter from Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith that mentions this revelation, the high priests in attendance were the same twelve that met in a conference on 13–14 January 1833. Those high priests were JS, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, Ezra Thayer, Zebedee Coltrin, Newel K. Whitney, John Murdock, Frederick G. Williams, Joseph Coe, Samuel Smith, and Orson Hyde. However, Samuel Smith and Hyde were preaching in the eastern states in September. Subtracting them from the number leaves “Eleven high Priests save one,” if JS is included as one of the high priests. The notation “viz 23d. day of September AD 1832 Eleven high Priests save one” is not included in any published version of this revelation, perhaps because it interrupted the flow of the text. (Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833; Minutes, 13–14 Jan. 1833; Hyde, Journal, 22 Sept. 1832; Samuel Smith, Diary, 22 Sept. 1832.)  


by by mine own voice out of the heavens and even I have given the heavenly hosts and mine Angels charge concerning you, and I now give unto you a commandment

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
to beware concerning yourselves to give heed dilligently to the words of eternal life for you shall live by evry word that procedeth forth from the mouth of God26

See Matthew 4:4; and Luke 4:4.  


for the word of the Lord is truth and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is spirit even the spirit of Jesus Christ, and the spirit giveth light to evry man that cometh into the world, and the spirit enlightneth evry man through the world that harkneth to the voice of the spirit, and evry one that harkneth to the voice of the spirit cometh unto God even the father and the father teacheth him of the covenant which he hath renewed and confirmed upon you which is confirmed upon you for your sakes and not for yours27

The copy of this revelation in Revelation Book 1 and the version published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants here add “Sakes.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 152; Doctrine and Covenants 4:7, 1835 ed.)  


only, but for the sake of the whole world, and the whole world lieth in sin and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin and by this you may know they are under the bondage of sin because they come not unto me for whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin, and whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquanted with my voice. and is not of me, and, by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sins and darkness even now, and your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief and because you have treated lightly the things you have received which vanity and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation and this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion even all, and thay shall remain [p. [2]]
before the face of his people to prepare them for the coming of the Lord in whose hand18

TEXT: Or “hands”.  


is given  all power,19

According to the New Testament, when John was eight days old, he was to be circumcised and named. John’s father, Zacharias, stated that he would “be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” The Bible does not identify John’s authority or where he obtained it, although Zacharias was a priest. (Luke 1:5, 59, 76.)  


and again, the offices of Elder

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
& 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
are necessary appendages belon[g]ing unto 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
,20

An 11 November 1831 revelation explained that “a Bishop must be chosen from the high Priesthood.” (Revelation, 11 Nov. 1831–B [D&C 107:69].)  


and again the offices of 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 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
are necessary appendages belong ing to 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
, which priesthood

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
was confirmed upon Aaron and his sons therefore  as I said, concerning the Sons of Moses, for the sons of Moses, and also the sons of Aaron shall of fer an aaceptable offering and sacrifice21

See Malachi 3:3–4.  


in the house of the Lord which house shall shalt be built  unto the Lord in this generation upon the consecrated spot as I have appointed and the sons  of Moses, and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord upon mount Zion in the  Lords house whose sons are ye, and also many whom I have called and sent forth to  build up my 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
for whoso is faithful unto the attaining of these two Priesthoods  of which I have spoken and the magnifying there calling are sanctified by the spir[i]t  unto the renewing of there bodies that they become the sons of Moses and of Aaron  and the seed of Abraham22

See Galatians 3:29.  


and the church and kingdom and the elect of God and also  all they who receive this Priesthood receiveth me saith the Lord for he that receiveth  my servants receveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth my father, and he that receiveth  my father, receiveth my fathers kingdom, therefore all that my father hath shall be given unto  him and this is according to the oath and the covenant which belongeth to the Priest hood, therefore all those. who receive the Priesthood, receiveth this oath and covenant of  my father which he cannot break neither can it be mooved, but whoso breaketh this  covenant after he hath received it, and altogether turneth therefrom shall not have  forgivness23

In Revelation Book 2, this reads “shall not have forgivness of sin in this world.” (Revelation, 22–23 Sept. 1832, in Revelation Book 2, p. 24 [D&C 84:41].)  


in this world nor in the world to come and all those that come not unto  this Priesthood, which ye have received, which I now confirm24

“To give new assurance of truth or certainty”; “to fix more firmly”; “to strengthen; to ratify.” The elders and high priests in attendance presumably had already been ordained to the greater priesthood. (“Confirm,” in American Dictionary [1845], 177.)  


upon you who are  present this day viz the 23d. day of September AD 1832 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 one25

According to a 14 January 1833 letter from Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith that mentions this revelation, the high priests in attendance were the same twelve that met in a conference on 13–14 January 1833. Those high priests were JS, Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith Sr., Hyrum Smith, Ezra Thayer, Zebedee Coltrin, Newel K. Whitney, John Murdock, Frederick G. Williams, Joseph Coe, Samuel Smith, and Orson Hyde. However, Samuel Smith and Hyde were preaching in the eastern states in September. Subtracting them from the number leaves “Eleven high Priests save one,” if JS is included as one of the high priests. The notation “viz 23d. day of September AD 1832 Eleven high Priests save one” is not included in any published version of this revelation, perhaps because it interrupted the flow of the text. (Letter to Edward Partridge and Others, 14 Jan. 1833; Minutes, 13–14 Jan. 1833; Hyde, Journal, 22 Sept. 1832; Samuel Smith, Diary, 22 Sept. 1832.)  


by  by mine own voice out of the heavens and even I have given the heavenly hosts and  mine Angels charge concerning you, and I now give unto you a commandment

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
to beware concerning yourselves to give heed dilligently to the words of eternal life for you  shall live by evry word that procedeth forth from the mouth of God26

See Matthew 4:4; and Luke 4:4.  


for the word of  the Lord is truth and whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is sp irit even the spirit of Jesus Christ, and the spirit giveth light to evry man that  cometh into the world, and the spirit enlightneth evry man through the world that  harkneth to the voice of the spirit, and evry one that harkneth to the voice of the spirit  cometh unto God even the father and the father teacheth him of the covenant which he  hath renewed and confirmed upon you which is confirmed upon you for your sakes and  and not for yours27

The copy of this revelation in Revelation Book 1 and the version published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants here add “Sakes.” (Revelation Book 1, p. 152; Doctrine and Covenants 4:7, 1835 ed.)  


only, but for the sake of the whole world, and the whole world lieth  in sin and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin and by this you may  know they are under the bondage of sin because they come not unto me for whoso com eth not unto me is under the bondage of sin, and whoso receiveth not my voice is  not acquanted with my word voice. and is not of me, and, by this you may know the right eous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sins and darkness  even now, and your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief  and because you have treated lightly the things you have received which vanity and  and unbelief hath brought the whole church under condemnation and this con demnation resteth upon the children of Zion even all, and thay shall remain [p. [2]]
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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...

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, 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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
) 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...

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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...

View Glossary
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...

View Glossary
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...

View Glossary
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...

View Glossary
, 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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