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Revelation, 4 February 1831 [D&C 41]

44 Commandment given Feb. 4th. 1831
at Kirtland Geauga County Ohio given to the Church  in these parts it pointing at1

The word “at” was crossed out and “out” was inserted in its place by John Whitmer sometime after his initial inscription of the manuscript. (Revelation Book 1, p. 61.)
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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.

the office of Edward [Partridge] &c & there  was a man by the name of Coply [Leman Copley] in the Township of  Thompson who had requested <his> Brother [JS]2

Text supplied based on John Whitmer’s later insertion in the manuscript. (Revelation Book 1, p. 61.)
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.

& Sidney [Rigdon] & to live with  him & he would furnish them houses & provisions &c then  By Joseph enquired of the lord & Received as follows3

John Whitmer likely created this heading when he copied the text into Revelation Book 1.  

 
Hearken & hear oh! my People saith your lord & your  God ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of  blessings ye that hear me & ye that hear me not will I  curse with that have professed my name with the heaviest  of all cursings hearken oh ye Elders of my Church  whom I have called Behold I give unto you a commandm ent that ye shall assemble yourselves to gether to agree  upon my my word & by the prayer of your faith ye shall  receive my law4

The 2 January 1831 revelation directing the members in New York to remove to Ohio had promised the reception of “my law” in Ohio. The first part of a revelation titled in Revelation Book 1 “The laws of the Church of Christ” was received five days after this 4 February revelation. (Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–72].)  

 
that ye may know how to govern my Church  Church & have all things right before me & I will be  your ruler & ye shall see that my law is kept he that  Receiveth my law & doeth it the same is my Deciple &  he that saith he Receiveth it & Doeth it not the same is  not my Deciple & shall be cast out from among you  for it is not meet that the things which belong to the [p. 61]
Next
This revelation was dictated the same day JS arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, from New York.1

Revelations dated 30 December 1830 and 2 January 1831 directed church members to gather in Ohio. According to an article in the Painesville Telegraph, Sidney Rigdon arrived on 1 February and JS arrived three days later. (Revelation, 30 Dec. 1830 [D&C 37:1, 3]; Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; [Matthew S. Clapp], “Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 15 Feb. 1831, [1].)
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Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1831–1838.

According to John Whitmer’s headnote, inscribed a few months later in spring 1831, the revelation was a response to JS’s prayer regarding an offer made by new convert Leman Copley to provide JS and Sidney Rigdon “houses & provisions” on his farm in Thompson Township, Ohio, about twenty miles east of Kirtland.2

Copley was formerly a member of the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as Shakers. (See Historical Introduction to Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49].)  

 
JS and his family were in need of housing because of their recent move, and Sidney and Phebe Rigdon had lost a house apparently being built for them by his former Campbellite congregation in nearby Mentor, Ohio, when he converted to the Church of Christ.3

Rigdon’s son later recalled that his father’s congregation in Mentor, Ohio, had “bought him a little farm . . . and were engaged in building him a house on it” when Oliver Cowdery and Parley P. Pratt introduced him to the Book of Mormon. After Sidney and Phebe Rigdon were baptized, the family moved in with other converts in the Kirtland area. (Rigdon, “Lecture on the Early History of the Mormon Church,” 14, 19–20.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Rigdon, John Wickliff. Lecture on the Early History of the Mormon Church, [1906]. CHL.

Early published versions of this revelation did not include Whitmer’s headnote,4

Book of Commandments 43; Doctrine and Covenants 61, 1835 ed.
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A Book of Commandments, for the Government of the Church of Christ, Organized according to Law, on the 6th of April, 1830. Zion [Independence], MO: W. W. Phelps, 1833.

Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of the Latter Day Saints: Carefully Selected from the Revelations of God. Compiled by Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Frederick G. Williams. Kirtland, OH: F. G. Williams, 1835.

and in their later histories neither JS nor Whitmer connected Copley’s offer to this revelation. Both histories instead place the revelation in the context of concerns about religious excesses among the new church members in Ohio. The revelation, however, does not explicitly address this matter.
In setting the scene for the revelation, John Whitmer wrote in his history: “About these days Joseph the Prophet and Sidney [Rigdon] arrived at Kirtland to the joy and satisfaction of the Saints. The disciples had all things common, and were going to destruction very fast as to temporal things: for they considered from reading the scripture that what belonged to a brother belonged to any of the brethren, therefore they would take each others clothes and other property and use it without leave: which brought on confusion and disappointments: for they did not understand the scripture. After Joseph lived here a few days the word of the Lord came.”5

Whitmer, History, 11; see also Acts 2:44–45.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Whitmer, History / Whitmer, John. “The Book of John Whitmer Kept by Commandment,” ca. 1838–1847. CCLA.

JS’s history gave a similar introduction: “The branch of the church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard, which had increased to nearly one hundred members, were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it; though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them. With a little caution, and some wisdom, I soon assisted the brethren and sisters to overcome them. The plan of ‘common stock,’ which had existed in what was called ‘the family,’ whose members generally had embraced the ever lasting gospel, was readily abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord: and the false spirits were easily discerned and rejected by the light of revelation.”6
The revelation instructed church members that JS “should have a house built in which to live & translate” and that Sidney Rigdon “should have a comfortable Room to live in.” Though silent about Copley’s offer of assistance, JS’s history explained that upon their arrival in Kirtland JS and Emma Smith “were kindly received and welcomed into the house of brother N[ewel] K. Whitney.” The history continues, “I and my wife lived in the family of Brother Whitney several weeks, and received every kindness and attention, which could be expected, and especially from Sister [Elizabeth Ann] Whitney.”7 Although neither JS nor Sidney Rigdon accepted Copley’s offer to live in Thompson, Copley made a similar offer a few months later to the group of church members migrating to Ohio from Colesville, New York.8

Knight, Autobiography and Journal, 29–30; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, 20 May 1831 [D&C 51].
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Knight, Newel. Autobiography and Journal, ca. 1846. CHL.

John Whitmer’s headnote in Revelation Book 1 listed another purpose for this revelation: “pointing at [out] the office of Edward [Partridge],” who the revelation commanded to be ordained as the church’s first bishop. This is the first extant document that uses bishop as an office in the church. JS first met Ohio businessman and hatter Edward Partridge in December 1830 in Fayette, New York. Partridge had accompanied recent convert Sidney Rigdon on a trip to New York to meet JS. On 9 December, JS dictated a revelation calling Partridge to “preach my Gospel as with the voice of a Trump,” and Partridge was baptized by JS two days later.9

Revelation, 9 Dec. 1830 [D&C 36:1]; JS History, vol. A-1, 94; Young, “Incidents,” 3.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Young, Emily Dow Partridge. “Incidents of the Life of a Mormon Girl,” ca. 1884. CHL.

Partridge spent the next month and a half sharing his new faith with relatives and friends in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, an effort that his daughter Emily later characterized as unsuccessful.10

Young, “Incidents,” 3–4; see also Partridge, Genealogical Record, 5–6.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Young, Emily Dow Partridge. “Incidents of the Life of a Mormon Girl,” ca. 1884. CHL.

Partridge, Edward Jr. Genealogical Record. 1878. CHL.

He returned to New York from Massachusetts in time to join JS, Emma, and Sidney Rigdon in their move to Ohio during the last week of January 1831.11

Revelation, 30 Dec. 1830 [D&C 37:1]; Young, “Incidents,” 5.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Young, Emily Dow Partridge. “Incidents of the Life of a Mormon Girl,” ca. 1884. CHL.

Facts