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Revelation, 23 April 1834 [D&C 104]

own way: & behold, this is the way that I the Lord hath decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted in that the rich are made low; for the earth is full, & there is enough & to spare; yea, I have prepared all things, & have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves. Therefore if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, & impart not his portion according to the law of my gospel unto the poor & the needy, he shall with Dives lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment. And now verily, I say unto you concerning the properties of the Firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

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, Let my servant [p. [23]]
own way: & behold, this is the way  that I the Lord hath decreed to provide  for my saints, that the poor shall  be exalted in that the rich are  made low; for the earth is full,  & there is enough & to spare; yea,  I have prepared all things, & have  given unto the children of men  to be agents unto themselves. Therefore  if any man shall take of the abun dance which I have made, & impart  not his portion according to the law  of my gospel unto the poor & the  needy, he shall with Diveses lift  up his eyes in hell, being in tor ment. And now verily, I say un to you concerning the properties  of the Firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

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, Let my servant [p. [23]]
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This 23 April 1834 revelation contains instructions for the reorganization of the United Firm

An organization that supervised the management of church enterprises and properties from 1832 to 1834. In March and April 1832, revelations directed that the church’s publishing and mercantile endeavors be organized. In accordance with this direction, the...

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, which was formed in April 1832 to manage the church’s mercantile and publishing endeavors and had served as an important administrative structure since that time. The firm consisted of three components. The first was N. K. Whitney & Co.

A partnership between Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert; later the branch of the United Firm responsible for overseeing the church’s mercantile endeavors in Kirtland, Ohio. In late 1826 or early 1827, Whitney and Gilbert established this partnership to ...

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, a company originally formed in 1826 by 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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and Sidney Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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in 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; it functioned as the firm’s mercantile branch in Kirtland. The second was Gilbert, Whitney & Co.

The branch of the United Firm responsible for overseeing the church’s mercantile endeavors in Missouri. Sidney Gilbert and Newel K. Whitney were partners in the mercantile business in Kirtland, Ohio, before Gilbert relocated to Missouri, by January 1832, ...

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, a company formed by Gilbert and Whitney after Gilbert moved 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 early 1832; it served as the firm’s mercantile branch in Missouri and operated Gilbert’s store in Independence

Located twelve miles from western Missouri border. Permanently settled, platted, and designated county seat, 1827. Hub for steamboat travel on Missouri River. Point of departure for Santa Fe Trail. Population in 1831 about 300. Mormon population by summer...

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. The third component was the Literary Firm

The branch of the United Firm responsible for church publications. In November 1831, a revelation appointed JS, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations & commandments.” In March 1832...

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, an organization of six men who managed church publications. The Literary Firm supervised W. W. Phelps & Co., the organization responsible for the church’s printing operations in Missouri, and F. G. Williams & Co.

A firm established by the United Firm on 11 September 1833 to print newspapers in Kirtland, Ohio. In December 1833, F. G. Williams & Co. resumed the interrupted printing of the church newspaper The Evening and the Morning Star. After the United Firm was reorganized...

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, the company in charge of the church’s printing efforts in Kirtland. Members of the United Firm—JS, 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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, 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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, 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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, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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, Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, Edward Partridge

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...

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, Newel K. Whitney, Sidney Gilbert, 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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, and John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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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...

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property to the church, but these properties were still held in the names of the individual members. Profits from the different enterprises were to fund their individual endeavors and provide income to the firm’s members.
By 1834, the firm faced several significant issues. Because of the violence that drove church members from Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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, Missouri, in summer and fall 1833, William W. Phelps

17 Feb. 1792–7 Mar. 1872. Writer, teacher, printer, newspaper editor, publisher, postmaster, lawyer. Born at Hanover, Morris Co., New Jersey. Son of Enon Phelps and Mehitabel Goldsmith. Moved to Homer, Cortland Co., New York, 1800. Married Sally Waterman,...

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’s printing office and Gilbert

28 Dec. 1789–29 June 1834. Merchant. Born at New Haven, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Eli Gilbert and Lydia Hemingway. Moved to Huntington, Fairfield Co., Connecticut; to Monroe, Monroe Co., Michigan Territory, by Sept. 1818; to Painesville, Geauga Co...

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’s store were no longer in operation. Yet the firm was still responsible for debts incurred to supply these establishments. 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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, firm members became increasingly indebted to N. K. Whitney & Co., which was in turn indebted to 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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companies for store goods. Besides these financial difficulties, some of the firm’s members, especially Phelps and Gilbert 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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, were accused of manifesting a covetous spirit toward the firm’s property for which they were responsible. Church leaders in 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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chastised Gilbert for refusing to provide goods to some of the “poor brethren that are pure in heart” in Jackson County, warning that this “uneasy covetous disposition” would result in “poverty shame, and disgrace” if it were not corrected. JS also reprimanded Phelps for referring to “my press” and “my types” when talking about the Missouri printing operation. “Where, our brethren ask, did you get them, & how came they to be ‘yours?’” JS inquired, adding, “You know, that it is, We, not I, and all things are the Lord’s, and he opened the hearts of his church to furnish these things, or we should not have been privileged with using them.” According to the 23 April 1834 revelation featured here, such covetous attitudes effectively broke the covenant and bond that members were required to take upon joining the firm.
In the midst of these concerns, JS was making plans in April 1834 to lead an expedition 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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to help the Saints who had been driven from Jackson County

Settled at Fort Osage, 1808. County created, 16 Feb. 1825; organized 1826. Named after U.S. president Andrew Jackson. Featured fertile lands along Missouri River and was Santa Fe Trail departure point, which attracted immigrants to area. Area of county reduced...

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reclaim their lands. However, JS believed that without financial help, he would be unable to travel to Missouri. This concern may have been connected to the indebtedness of the United Firm since it appears that all firm members shared its debts equally. These financial issues troubled JS as early as January 1834, when he and other firm members petitioned the Lord to provide the “means sufficient to discharge every debt that the Firm owes.” In March, he instructed several church members 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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to try to raise two thousand dollars “for the relief of the brethren in 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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,” but by 7 April, the necessary funds were still lacking. JS may have been concerned that the firm’s indebtedness needed to be settled before he could leave 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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.
Facing such problems, members of the 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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branch of the United Firm met on 10 April 1834 and decided “that the firm should be desolvd and each one” receive a stewardship

One who managed property and goods under the law of consecration; also someone given a specific ecclesiastical responsibility. According to the “Laws of the Church of Christ,” members of the church were to make donations to the bishop, who would record the...

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, or property, to manage. This 23 April revelation provided firm members in Kirtland with these stewardships and declared that all things were God’s and that the members of the firm needed to manage their stewardships wisely. The property granted in the stewardships came from the holdings of 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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, 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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, and John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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; much of it had been their own personal property or had been purchased with funds from the sale of their personal property. Despite the earlier decision to dissolve the firm, the revelation directed that it instead be reorganized and that the 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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and 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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branches be separated. The revelation called for the establishment of two treasuries in Ohio. One treasury was to house “sacred things” that were to be published and the “avails,” or profits, from the sale of those publications. Members of the firm were to deposit money gained from the management of their individual stewardships into a second treasury and then draw on these funds to carry out their stewardships. In addition, the revelation authorized members of the firm “this once” to use their stewardships as collateral for obtaining loans to pay their existing creditors.
Five days after this revelation, another revelation provided more instructions for “the division and settlement of the United Firm” and declared the 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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branch of the firm “free from the Firm of Zion.” However, there is no evidence that firm members followed the instructions to establish treasuries and mortgage their stewardships. Instead, it appears that after an initial period in which members of the firm executed deeds for the stewardships, no other action was taken. It may be that the expedition 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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—which resulted in JS’s absence from Kirtland from early May to late July 1834—distracted church leaders from implementing the instructions immediately. Alternatively, leaders may have decided to transfer much of the responsibility for the church’s temporal endeavors to other administrative bodies, such as the Kirtland high council

A governing body of twelve high priests. The first high council was organized in Kirtland, Ohio, on 17 February 1834 “for the purpose of settling important difficulties which might arise in the church, which could not be settled by the church, or the bishop...

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. Whatever the case, the United Firm effectively ceased to exist soon after this revelation was dictated.
The revelation may have been dictated at a council held on 23 April, which was attended by JS, 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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, 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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, 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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, John Johnson

14 Apr. 1779–30 July 1843. Farmer, innkeeper. Born at Chesterfield, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Son of Israel Johnson and Abigail Higgins. Married Alice (Elsa) Jacobs, 22 June 1800. Moved to Pomfret, Windsor Co., Vermont, ca. 1803. Settled at Hiram, Portage...

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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...

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, all members of the United Firm in 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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. The original inscription of the revelation has not been located. 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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copied the featured version of the revelation from the original into a notebook of revelations that Orson Hyde

8 Jan. 1805–28 Nov. 1878. Laborer, clerk, storekeeper, teacher, editor, businessman, lawyer, judge. Born at Oxford, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Nathan Hyde and Sally Thorpe. Moved to Derby, New Haven Co., 1812. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, ...

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was keeping in Kirtland. Probably after Pratt had made his copy, Hyde copied the revelation into Revelation Book 2 on 18 August 1834 and included the subtitle “appointing to each member of the united firm their Stewardship.” The revelation was later published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, replacing the names of the members of the United Firm with pseudonyms and calling the firm the “United Order.”

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