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

How the Elders of the church of Christ are to  act upon the points of the Law given by Jesus  Christ to the Church in the presents of twelve  Elders February 9th 1831 as agreed upon by Seven Elders  Elders Feby 23d 1831 according to to the comman dment of God1

This paragraph and the one that follows are not found in any other early copy of this revelation. This introductory paragraph acknowledges the role church elders played on this date in helping JS define procedures for implementing the “points of the Law” dictated on 9 February. The elders acted in response to two previous revelations, one instructing them to “assemble yourselves to gether to agree upon my word,” and the other enjoining, “I give unto you a commandment that when ye are assembled yourselves together ye shall note with a Pen how to act . . . upon the points of my law . . . & thus it shall become a law unto you.” (Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]; Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:2]; Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43:8–9].)  

1th The first commandment in the law teaches  that all the Elders shall go unto the regions  westward and labour to build up Churches  unto Christ wheresoever they shall <find> any to  receive them and obey the Gospel of Jesus  Christ except Joseph & Sidney [Rigdon] and Edward [Partridge]  and Such as the Bishop Shall appoint to  assist him in his duties according to  the Law which we have received this  commandment as far as it respects these  Elders to be sent to the west is a special one  for the time being incumbent on the  present Elders who shall return when  directed by the Holy Spirit2

Compare to the first part of Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–10].  

2d Every person who belongeth to this church of  Christ Shall observe all the Commandments [p. [6]]
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.