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Revelation, 23 February 1831 [D&C 42:74–93]

and covenants of the Church and it shall  come to pass that if any person among you  shall kill they shall be delivered up and  dealt with according to the Laws of the land for  remember that he hath no forgiveness and  it shall be proven according to the Laws of the  land but if any man shall commit Adultery  he Shall be tried before two Elders of the Church  or more and every word shall be established  against him by two witnesses of the Church  and not of the world but if there are more  than two witnesses it is better but he shall  be condemned by the mouth of two witnesses  and the Elders shall lay the case before the  Church and the Church shall lift up their  hands against them that they may be dealt  dealt with according to <the> Law and if it can  be it is necessary that the Bishop is present  also and thus ye shall do in all cases which  shall come before you3

For earlier disciplinary guidelines, see Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:80].  

 
and if an man shall  rob he shall be delivered up unto the Law  and if he shall steal he shall be delivered up  unto the Law and if he lie he shall be  delivered up unto the Law if he do any  manner of iniquity he shall be delivered  up unto the Law even that of God and if  thy Brother offend thee, thou shalt take him  between him and thee alone and if he  confess thou shalt be reconciled and if he con fess not thou shalt take another with thee  and then if he confess not thou Shalt deliver  him up unto the Church not to the members  but to the Elders and it shall be done in a  meeting and that not before the world4

See Matthew 18:15–17.  

 
and  if thy Brother offend many he shall be  chastened before many and if any one  offend openly he shall be rebuked openly that  he may be ashamed5

See 1 Timothy 5:20.  

 
and if he confess not  he Shall be delivered up unto the law, if  any shall offend in secret he shall be  rebuked in Secret the <that he> may have oportu nity to confess in Secret to him whome he [p. [7]]
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On 22 February 1831, JS wrote to Martin Harris referencing the “Laws of the Church of Christ” that JS had dictated 9 February: “We have received the laws of the Kingdom since we came here and the Disciples in these parts have received them gladly.”1 The next day, 23 February, JS and seven elders met to determine “how the Elders of the church of Christ are to act upon the points of the Law,” and the following revelation was recorded. In providing detailed guidance on how to discipline serious transgressors of the moral law, the revelation significantly elaborated on the few lines offered on the subject in the church’s earlier “Articles and Covenants.”2
Early members evidently saw the 23 February revelation as building upon the 9 February revelation, also known as “the Law,” by expanding on the guidelines it provided. After this revelation was dictated, “the Law” comprised eight sections in all, five received on 9 February and three on 23 February. Of the earliest extant copies of the Law, only the Symonds Rider copy, the version featured here, includes all eight sections; it separates the 9 February revelation from the 23 February revelation by including the date and an introductory heading between the fifth and sixth sections. The version found in Revelation Book 1 includes the first five sections, dictated 9 February, as well as a loose leaf containing only the eighth section, or final paragraph, of the 23 February dictation.3

Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67. A manuscript in Sidney Gilbert’s handwriting and one in Zebedee Coltrin’s both include only the first five parts. An early newspaper version includes only the first two parts. A manuscript in Orson Hyde’s hand includes parts two through four as well as parts seven and eight. (Gilbert, Notebook, [13]–[23]; Coltrin, Diary, [11]–[18]; “Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Western Courier [Ravenna, OH], 1 Sept. 1831, [1]; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [12]–[22]; see also Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Revelation Book 1 / “A Book of Commandments and Revelations of the Lord Given to Joseph the Seer and Others by the Inspiration of God and Gift and Power of the Holy Ghost Which Beareth Re[c]ord of the Father and Son and Holy Ghost Which Is One God Infinite and Eternal World without End Amen,” 1831–1835. CHL.

Gilbert, Algernon Sidney. Notebook of Revelations, 1831–ca. 1833. Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL.

Coltrin, Zebedee. Diary, 1832–1833. Zebedee Coltrin, Diaries, 1832–1834. CHL.

Western Courier. Ravenna, OH. 1826–1833.

Hyde, Orson, and Samuel Smith. Notebook of Revelations, 1832. Revelations Collection, 1831–ca. 1844, 1847, 1861, ca. 1876. CHL.

Some later published versions also exclude the first two paragraphs of the 23 February revelation, possibly because those sections seem to summarize content found in the first five sections. Textually, only the eighth and final paragraph in this document employs the divine first-person, which is possibly the reason it was the only portion of the 23 February revelation to be copied into Revelation Book 1.

Facts