31824

Revelation, 7 August 1831 [D&C 59]

Behold blessed saith the Lord are they who have come up  unto this land with an eye single to my glory1

See Matthew 6:22; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 533 [Mormon 8:15]; and Revelation, Feb. 1829 [D&C 4:5]. In spring 1831, in connection with his revision of the Bible, JS changed the passage in Matthew 6:22 to read, “If therefore if thine eye be single to the glory of God thy whole body shall be full of light.” (New Testament Revision 1, p. 13 [Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 6:22]; see also Faulring et al., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible, 64–65.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. Palmyra, NY: E. B. Grandin, 1830.

New Testament Revision 1 / “A Translation of the New Testament Translated by the Power of God,” 1831. CCLA. Also available in Scott H. Faulring, Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds., Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004), 153–228.

Faulring, Scott H., Kent P. Jackson, and Robert J. Matthews, eds. Joseph Smith’s New Translation of the Bible: Original Manuscripts. Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2004.

according to my  Commandments for them that live shall inherit the earth and them  that die shall rest from all their labours & their works shall follow  them2

See Revelation 14:13.  

 
they shall receive a crown in the mansions of my Father which I  have prepared for them.3

See John 14:2.  

 
Yea blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land  of Zion who have obeyed my Gospel for they shall receive for their reward  the good things of the earth & it shall bring forth in her strength4

See Genesis 4:12.  

 
& they  also shall be crowned with blessings from above yea & with comm andments not a few & with revelations in their time they that are  faithful & diligent before me. Wherefore I give unto them a command ment saying thus Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy  heart with all thy might mind & strength & in the name of Jesus Christ thou  shalt serve him thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself5

See Matthew 22:37–39.  

 
thou shalt not  steal neither commit adultry nor kill or do any thing like unto it6

See Exodus 20:13–15; Deuteronomy 5:17–19; and Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:18–24].  

 
thou shalt  thank the Lord thy God in all things thou shalt offer a sacrafice unto the  Lord thy God in righteousness even that of a broken heart & a contrite  spirit.7

The Articles and Covenants listed “a broken heart & a contrite spirit” as a requirement for baptism. The phrases also appear in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:37]; see, for example, Psalms 34:18; 51:17; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 474, 480, 576 [3 Nephi 9:20; 12:19; Moroni 6:2].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. Palmyra, NY: E. B. Grandin, 1830.

And that thou mayest more fully keep thyself unspotted  from the world8

See James 1:27.  

 
thou shalt go to the house of prayer & offer up thy  sacraments upon my holy day9

See Isaiah 56:6–7. The Articles and Covenants previously instructed members to “meet together oft to partake bread & wine in Rememberance of the Lord Jesus,” but this revelation appears to be the first time that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is specifically associated with Sunday worship. (Articles and Covenants, 10 Apr. 1830, in Revelation Book 1, p. 57, in JSP, MRB:84–85 [D&C 20:75].)  

 
for verily this is a day appointed unto you  to rest from your labours & to pay thy devotions unto the most high  Nevertheless thy vows should be offered up in righteousness <in> all days & at  all times but remember that on this the Lords day thou shalt offer thine  oblations & thy sacraments unto the most High Confessing thy sins unto thy brethren & before the Lord & on this day thou shalt do none other <things>  only let thy food be prepared with singleness of heart10

The New Testament church “were together, and had all things common; . . . and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart.” (Acts 2:44–46.)  

 
that thy fastings may  be perfect or in other words that thy joy may be full verily this is fas ting and prayer or in other words rejoicing & prayer.11

A passage in the Book of Mormon implies that when one fasts and prays much, one can “worship God with exceeding great joy.” (“Baptism, &c.,” The Evening and the Morning Star, Apr. 1833, [8]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 348 [Alma 45:1].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon, upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. Palmyra, NY: E. B. Grandin, 1830.

And inasmuch as ye do these  things with thanksgiving with cheerful hearts & coutenances not with much  laughter (for this is sin) but with a glad heart & a cheerful countenance  verily I say that inasmuch as ye do this the fulness of the earth is yours12

See Deuteronomy 33:16; see also Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:45].  

 
the  beasts of the fields & the fowls of the air & that which climbeth upon trees & walketh  upon the earth yea & the herb & the good things which cometh of the earth  whether for food or for raiment or for houses or for barns or for orchards or for  gardens or for vineyards yea all things which cometh of the earth in the sea son therof is made for the benefit & the <use> of man both to please the eye  & to gladen the heart yea for food & for raiment for taste & for  smell to strengthen the body & to enliven the soul13

A May 1831 revelation explained that “the beasts of the field & the fowls of the air & that which cometh of the Earth is ordained for the use of man for food & for raiment & that he might have in abundance.” After hearing reports in Kirtland, Ohio, from those who had traveled to Missouri, Elizabeth Godkin Marsh explained that “common game” in Missouri consisted of “Deer Turkies, prairie hens Rabt [a]nd Gray squirels.” She also reported that the state had an abundance of “wild plumbs, wild sweet grapes, mulberies, strawberies, rspberries, and Blackberies, hazlenuts hickery nuts &c are two numerious to mention.” (Revelation, 7 May 1831 [D&C 49:19]; Elizabeth Godkin Marsh, Kirtland Mills, OH, to Lewis Abbott and Ann Abbott, East Sudbury, MA, Sept. [1831], Abbott Family Collection, CHL.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Abbott Family Collection, 1831–2000. CHL.

& it pleaseth God that  he hath given all these things unto man for unto this end were they  made to be used with judgement not to excess neither by extortion  & in nothing doth man offend God or against none is his wrath kindled  save those who Confess not his hand in all things & obey not his command ments behold this is according to the law & the prophets. Wherefore trouble  me no more concerning this matter but learn that he who doeth the  works of righteousness shall receive his reward even peace in this world  & eternal life in the world to come I the Lord hath spoken it & the spirit  beareth record Amen
Given by Joseph the translatior & written by Oliver [Cowdery] August 7. 1831  in the land of Zion14

This notation by Cowdery may have been part of the original manuscript, because Samuel Smith included this same notation in his copy. It is not, however, in the copy made by John Whitmer in Revelation Book 1, nor is it included in the version published in the July 1832 issue of The Evening and the Morning Star. (Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [74]; Revelation Book 1, pp. 98–100, in JSP, MRB:5, 169–173; “Commandment for Keeping the Sabbath, &c.,” The Evening and the Morning Star, July 1832, [1].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

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

The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.

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On 7 August 1831, JS dictated a revelation in Missouri “instructing the sa[i]nts how to keep the sabath & how to fast and pray.”1

Revelation, 7 Aug. 1831, in Revelation Book 1, p. 98, in JSP, MRB:169 [D&C 59].  

 
The revelation was specifically addressed to those “who have come up unto” Missouri, in fulfillment of the commandment to gather there and build up the city of Zion.2

Revelation, 6 June 1831 [D&C 52]; Revelation, 20 July 1831 [D&C 57]; Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58]. This revelation may have resulted in part from a desire to know what rewards such individuals would obtain. The statement “trouble me no more concerning this matter”—which appears in the closing portion of the revelation—suggests that the revelation came as a response to inquiry on the part of JS or others with him.  

 
Some of the instruction in the revelation probably came in response to the conduct of the inhabitants of Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, among whom these Saints were living. Many of those already in Jackson County had migrated there from southern states, whereas most church members entering the area were from the Northeast. As William W. Phelps, who traveled with JS to Missouri, explained in a July 1831 letter, Jackson County residents were “emigrants from Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, and the Carolinas, &c., with customs, manners, modes of living and a climate entirely different from the northerners.”3

William W. Phelps, “Extract of a Letter from the Late Editor,” Ontario Phoenix (Canandaigua, NY), 7 Sept. 1831, [2].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Ontario Phoenix. Canandaigua, NY. 1828–1832.

One custom that was especially different was Sabbath day observance. A later JS history characterized “many” of the residents as “the basest of men [who] had fled from the face of civilized society, to the frontier country to escape the hand of justice, in their midnight revels, their sabbath breaking, horseracing, and gambling.”4

JS, “Church History,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:708, in JSP, H1:497. According to one history of Independence, the first clerk of the circuit court even left the town because of “the rough exterior and uncultivated manners of the people.” (History of Jackson County, Missouri, 104.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.

The History of Jackson County, Missouri, Containing a History of the County, Its Cities, Towns, Etc. Kansas City, MO: Union Historical Co., 1881.

A traveler to western Missouri in 1833 made a similar observation, stating that “the only indications of its being Sunday” in the area was “the unusual Gambling & noise, & assemblies around taverns.”5

Edward Ellsworth to Chauncey Goodrich Jr., 8 Aug. 1833, Fort Leavenworth, quoted in Irving, Indian Sketches, xxii.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Irving, John Treat. Indian Sketches, Taken During an Expedition to the Pawnee Tribes [1833], ed. John Francis McDermott. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1955.

Sabbath day observance, however, was an important component of worship to many members of the Church of Christ.6

Hartley, My Fellow Servants, 343–344.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Hartley, William G. My Fellow Servants: Essays on the History of the Priesthood. Provo, UT: BYU Studies, 2010.

Perhaps because of the general nonobservance of the Sabbath among the inhabitants of Jackson County, the 7 August revelation emphasized the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy, outlining what church members should do on that day. These guidelines filled a void that neither the “Articles and Covenants” of the church nor the February 1831 revelation giving the “Laws of the Church of Christ” had addressed, thereby providing direction to those who would be building up the city of Zion without the benefit of JS’s in-person leadership.7

A 1 August revelation instructed JS to return to Ohio. (Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831 [D&C 58:58]; see also “Articles of the Church of Christ,” ca. June 1829; Revelation, 9 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:1–73]; and Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93].)  

 
The revelation may have also been a response to the concerns of those who had gone to Missouri and felt daunted by the task of building up Zion in a region described by one observer as containing only “two or three merchants stores, and fifteen or twenty dwelling houses, built mostly of logs hewed on both sides.”8

Ezra Booth, “Mormonism—No VI,” Ohio Star (Ravenna), 17 Nov. 1831, [3].
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Ohio Star. Ravenna. 1830–1854.

Washington Irving, who traveled through Independence in 1832 on an expedition with federal Indian commissioners, also commented on the “rougher and rougher life” he encountered as he got closer to the town, while his traveling companion Charles Latrobe described Independence as “full of promise” but containing “nothing but a ragged congeries of five or six rough log huts, two or three clapboard houses, two or three so-called hotels, alias grogshops; [and] a few stores.”9

Washington Irving, Independence, MO, to “Mrs. Paris,” New York, 26 Sept. 1832, in Irving, Life and Letters of Washington Irving, 33, 38; Latrobe, Rambler in North America, 104.
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Irving, Pierre M. The Life and Letters of Washington Irving. Vol. 3. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.

Latrobe, Charles Joseph. The Rambler in North America, MDCCCXXXII—MDCCCXXXIII. Vol. 1. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1835.

Perhaps to encourage the Saints in such conditions, the revelation promised the bounties of the earth to church members and reminded them to express gratitude to God.
The revelation assured heavenly rewards for the obedient who would die in Zion—prompted, perhaps, by the death on the morning of 7 August of Polly Peck Knight, the fifty-seven–year-old wife of Joseph Knight Sr., and a friend of JS and his family. Polly Knight had traveled to Missouri with the Colesville Saints, but after falling ill she became “the first death in the church in this land.” It is unclear whether this revelation was dictated before or after JS was informed of her death.10

JS History, vol. A-1, 139; see also Knight, Reminiscences, 9. A later JS history gives Polly Knight’s date of death as 6 August, but Edward Partridge, writing to his wife on 7 August, declared, “This morning old Mrs Knight died.” (Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL.)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Knight, Joseph, Sr. Reminiscences, no date. CHL.

Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL.

Oliver Cowdery served as the scribe for the original inscription of this revelation. The copy featured here belonged to Newel K. Whitney and is also in Cowdery’s hand. Whitney’s copy may be the original but is more likely a fair copy. It was likely made for him sometime after Cowdery returned to Ohio at the end of August.11

Cowdery reached Kirtland, Ohio, on 27 August 1831. A 30 August 1831 revelation directed that Whitney be appointed an agent in Ohio and that he accompany Cowdery to different churches in the area to raise money for land purchases in Zion. Cowdery may have copied the 7 August revelation for Whitney in preparation for this trip, or he may have made a copy for Whitney as they traveled together. (JS History, vol. A-1, 146; Revelation, 30 Aug. 1831 [D&C 63:45–46].)  

 
Around that same time, John Whitmer copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1.12

Revelation Book 1, pp. 98–100, in JSP, MRB:5, 169–173.  

 
That there are few differences between the two copies suggests they were made around the same time or from the same copy.13

A copy of the revelation exists in the “Book of Commandments Law and Covenant,” book A, in Samuel Smith’s handwriting. Although Smith was likely present when the revelation was dictated (he arrived in Missouri on 4 August), he probably did not make his copy until after the spring of 1832, since it follows revelations in book A that are dated in early 1832. Smith’s copy, too, is similar to the other early manuscript copies; it is possible, though not likely, that Smith’s copy is earlier than the Whitney copy featured herein. (Edward Partridge, Independence, MO, to Lydia Clisbee Partridge, 5–7 Aug. 1831, Edward Partridge, Letters, 1831–1835, CHL; see also Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [69]–[74].)
Comprehensive Works Cited

 

 

Partridge, Edward. Letters, 1831–1835. CHL.

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

Facts