26097

Revelation, 9 February 1831 [D&C 42:1–72]

be gathered in one

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
that ye may be my people & I will be your God5

The idea of a physical gathering place for believers, or “New Jerusalem,” was mentioned in several earlier revelations. (See Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:7–8]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:9]; Revelation, 30 Dec. 1830 [D&C 37:3]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; see also Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.)  


& again I say unto you that my Servant 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...

View Full Bio
shall stand in the office wherewith I have appointed him

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
6

Partridge was appointed bishop. (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; see also License for Edward Partridge, [ca. 4 Aug. 1831–ca. 5 Jan. 1832], JS Collection, CHL.)  


& it shall come to pass that if he transgress another shall be appointed in his Stead7

See Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831, in Book of Commandments 59:18–19 [D&C 58:14–15]; and Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831, in Book of Commandments 65:21–22 [D&C 64:17]. Partridge served as a bishop until his death in 1840. As the church grew, additional bishops were appointed.  


even so Amen——
The Law?

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
8

In Sidney Gilbert’s copy of this revelation, the words “Question 2d the Law regulating the Church in her present situation till the time of her gathering” appear in place of “The Law?” The version in Revelation Book 1 contained a similar heading for this section—“2nd The Law”—but it was canceled in a later redaction. (Gilbert, Notebook, [15]; Revelation Book 1, p. 63.)  


Again I say unto you that it shall not be given unto any one to go forth to preach my gospel or to build up my church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
except they be ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
by some one that hath authority

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

View Glossary
& it is known to the church that he hath authority & have been regularly ordained by the leaders of the church9

Instead of “leaders,” all other early manuscript versions have “heads.” The church’s “Articles and Covenants” included a directive to issue ministerial licenses, providing a means for certifying that authority had been appropriately granted. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:61–64]; for examples of licenses, see the 9 June 1830 licenses for John Whitmer, Joseph Smith Sr., and Christian Whitmer.)  


& again the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
& teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
of this Church shall teach the scriptures which are in the Bible & the Book of Mormon in the which is the fullness of the Gospel & thou Shalt observe the covenants & church articles

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

View Glossary
10 to do them & this Shall be thy teachings & thou shalt be directed by the spirit it shall be given thee by the prayer of faith & if ye receive not the spirit ye shall not teach & all this ye shall observe to do as I have commanded

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
concerning your teaching untill the fulness of my Scripture be given11

The phrase “fulness of my Scripture” here likely refers to JS’s ongoing project of Bible revision.  


& as ye Shall lift your voices by the comforter ye shall speak and prophecy as seemeth me good for behold the Comforter knoweth all things & beareth record of the father & the Son & now behold I Speak unto the church——
Thou shalt not kill & he that killeth shall not have forgiveness neither in this world neither in the world to come & again thou shallt not kill he that killeth shall die,12

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 87, 222–223, 319 [2 Nephi 9:35; Alma 1:13–14, 18; 34:12]; and Old Testament Revision 1, p. 24 [Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:6].  


Thou shalt not steel & he that steeleth & will not repent shall be cast out Thou shalt not lie he that lieth & will not repent shall be cast out Thoue shalt love thy wife with all thy heart & shalt cleave unto her & none else & he that looketh on a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith & shall not have the spirit & if he repent not he shall be cast out—— [p. [2]]
be gathered in one

As directed by early revelations, church members “gathered” in communities. A revelation dated September 1830, for instance, instructed elders “to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect” who would “be gathered in unto one place, upon the face of this land...

View Glossary
that ye may be my people & I  will be your God5

The idea of a physical gathering place for believers, or “New Jerusalem,” was mentioned in several earlier revelations. (See Revelation, Sept. 1830–A [D&C 29:7–8]; Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28:9]; Revelation, 30 Dec. 1830 [D&C 37:3]; and Revelation, 2 Jan. 1831 [D&C 38:32]; see also Covenant of Oliver Cowdery and Others, 17 Oct. 1830.)  


& again I say unto you that my  Servant 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...

View Full Bio
shall stand in the office wherewith  I have appointed him

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

View Glossary
6

Partridge was appointed bishop. (Revelation, 4 Feb. 1831 [D&C 41:9]; see also License for Edward Partridge, [ca. 4 Aug. 1831–ca. 5 Jan. 1832], JS Collection, CHL.)  


& it shall come to pass that if he  transgress another shall be appointed in his Stead7

See Revelation, 1 Aug. 1831, in Book of Commandments 59:18–19 [D&C 58:14–15]; and Revelation, 11 Sept. 1831, in Book of Commandments 65:21–22 [D&C 64:17]. Partridge served as a bishop until his death in 1840. As the church grew, additional bishops were appointed.  


 even so Amen——
The Law?

Principles given to the church and its members in February 1831 revelations. In January 1831, a revelation promised the saints in New York that the law would be given after they gathered in Ohio. Once in Ohio, on 9 and 23 February 1831, JS dictated two revelations...

View Glossary
8

In Sidney Gilbert’s copy of this revelation, the words “Question 2d the Law regulating the Church in her present situation till the time of her gathering” appear in place of “The Law?” The version in Revelation Book 1 contained a similar heading for this section—“2nd The Law”—but it was canceled in a later redaction. (Gilbert, Notebook, [15]; Revelation Book 1, p. 63.)  


Again I say unto you that it shall  not be given unto any one to go forth to preach my  gospel or to build up my church

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
except they be  ordained

The conferral of power and authority; to appoint, decree, or set apart. Church members, primarily adults, were ordained to ecclesiastical offices and other responsibilities by the laying on of hands by those with the proper authority. Ordinations to priesthood...

View Glossary
by some one that hath authority

Power or authority of God. The priesthood was conferred through the laying on of hands upon adult male members of the church in good standing; no specialized training was required. Priesthood officers held responsibility for administering the sacrament of...

View Glossary
& it is  known to the church that he hath authority &  have been regularly ordained by the leaders of the  church9

Instead of “leaders,” all other early manuscript versions have “heads.” The church’s “Articles and Covenants” included a directive to issue ministerial licenses, providing a means for certifying that authority had been appropriately granted. (Articles and Covenants, ca. Apr. 1830 [D&C 20:61–64]; for examples of licenses, see the 9 June 1830 licenses for John Whitmer, Joseph Smith Sr., and Christian Whitmer.)  


& again the Elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
priests

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. In the Book of Mormon, priests were described as those who baptized, administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto the church,” and taught “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” A June 1829 revelation directed...

View Glossary
& teachers

Generally, one who instructs, but also an ecclesiastical and priesthood office. The Book of Mormon explained that teachers were to be ordained “to preach repentance and remission of sins through Jesus Christ, by the endurance of faith on his name to the end...

View Glossary
of  this Church shall teach the scriptures which  are in the Bible & the Book of Mormon in  the which is the fullness of the Gospel & thou  Shalt observe the covenants & church articles

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

View Glossary
10  to do them & <this> Shall be thy teaching<s> & thou  shalt be directed by the spirit it shall be given  the[e] by the prayer of faith & if ye receive not the  spirit ye shall not teach & all this ye shall  observe to do as I have commanded

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
concerning your  teaching untill the fulness of my Scripture be  given11

The phrase “fulness of my Scripture” here likely refers to JS’s ongoing project of Bible revision.  


& as ye Shall lift your voices by the  comforter ye shall speak and prophecy as seemeth  me good for behold the Comforter knoweth all  things & beareth record of the father & the Son &  now behold I Speak unto the church——
Thou shalt not kill & he that killeth shall not have  forgiveness neither in this world neither in the  world to come & again thou shallt not kill  he that killeth shall die,12

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 87, 222–223, 319 [2 Nephi 9:35; Alma 1:13–14, 18; 34:12]; and Old Testament Revision 1, p. 24 [Joseph Smith Translation, Genesis 9:6].  


Thou shalt not steel  & he that steeleth & will not repent shall be  cast out Thou shalt not lie he that lieth &  will not repent shall be cast out Thoue shalt  love thy wife with all thy heart & shalt cleave  unto her & none else & he that looketh on  a woman to lust after her shall deny the  faith & shall not have the spirit & if he  repent not he shall be cast out—— [p. [2]]
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A late December 1830 revelation first directed members of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
to migrate from 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 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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, and at a church conference

A meeting where ecclesiastical officers and other church members could conduct church business. The “Articles and Covenants” of the church directed the elders to hold conferences to perform “Church business.” The first of these conferences was held on 9 June...

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a few days later, another revelation declared, “There [in Ohio] I will give unto you my law.”1 Within a month, JS himself relocated to Ohio, and immediately after his arrival 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 church received on 4 February 1831 the revelatory promise, “By the prayer of your faith ye shall receive my law that ye may know how to govern my Church.”2 Less than a week later, on 9 February, JS dictated the revelation featured here during the course of a meeting of twelve elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
who were “called together, and united in mighty prayer.”3

Whitmer, History, 12.  


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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titled it “The Laws of the Church of Christ.”
Outside of Revelation Book 1, there are few extant manuscript copies of most of JS’s early revelations. The 9 February 1831 revelation, however, is an exception: five early manuscript copies survive.4

In addition to the Rider manuscript featured here, four other early handwritten versions of this revelation are extant. The versions are in Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67; Gilbert, Notebook, [13]–[23]; Coltrin, Diary, [11]–[18]; and Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [12]–[22].  


This was one of the earliest revelations to be published; it was printed in part by two 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...

More Info
newspapers only a few months after its dictation.5

“Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Western Courier (Ravenna, OH), 1 Sept. 1831, [1]; “Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 13 Sept. 1831, [1].  


The most complete version of the revelation (presented here) is in the handwriting of early church member Symonds Rider

20 Nov. 1792–1 Aug. 1870. Farmer, teacher, minister. Born in Hartford, Windsor Co., Vermont. Son of Joshua Ryder and Marilla Loomis. Moved to Hiram, Portage Co., Ohio, 6 Jan. 1814. Married Mahitable Loomis, 12 Nov. 1818, in Portage Co. Served as captain in...

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and was possibly created 23 May 1831, the date Rider inscribed on the manuscript. This is likely the earliest of the five early surviving manuscripts, although it is possible that the partial copy found in Revelation Book 1 was recorded first.
The earliest extant copies of this revelation suggest that “the Law” may have originally been a compilation of five distinct revelatory commandments

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

View Glossary
, each given in response to a practical question posed by the twelve elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
present at the 9 February 1831 meeting.6

The five questions answered in this revelation, as found in early copies of the text, are “First Shall the Church come to gether into one place or continue in seperate establishments?”;a “Question 2d the Law regulating the Church in her present situation till the time of her gathering”;b “3rd How the Elders are to dispose of their families while they are proclaiming repentance or are otherwise engaged in the Service of the Church?”; “4th How far it is the will of the Lord that we Should have dealing with the wo[r]ld & how we Should conduct our dealings with them?”; and “5th What preperations we shall make for our Brethren from the East & when & how?”c In place of the second question, Revelation Book 1 has “The Law,” and Symonds Rider’s copy (the text featured here) has “The Law?” When John Whitmer copied the revelation into Revelation Book 1, the questions served as introductory headings to each section. However, when the revelation was later prepared for publication, Oliver Cowdery crossed out the questions.  


aRevelation Book 1, p. 62.

bGilbert, Notebook, [15].

cRevelation, 9 Feb. 1831.

The elders apparently asked questions of JS, who then dictated revelatory answers, closing each answer with the words “even so Amen.” The Rider document featured here collates the revelations into a single document divided into five sections. Although it is unknown whether the initial writing captured the texts as a single document, early manuscripts confirm that the individual answers were originally understood as separate commandments. For example, when 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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copied what he titled “The Church Law” into Zebedee Coltrin

7 Sept. 1804–21 July 1887. Born at Ovid, Seneca Co., New York. Son of John Coltrin and Sarah Graham. Member of Methodist church. Married first Julia Ann Jennings, Oct. 1828. Baptized into LDS church by Solomon Hancock, 9 Jan. 1831, at Strongsville, Cuyahoga...

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’s diary, he included only the second section, and in September 1831 local newspapers published the first and second sections as “the Law.”7

Coltrin, Diary, [11]–[18]; “Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Western Courier (Ravenna, OH), 1 Sept. 1831, [1]; “Secret Bye Laws of the Mormonites,” Painesville (OH) Telegraph, 13 Sept. 1831, [1].  


Further, although only the second of the five sections was titled “the Law” in the early manuscripts, the composite document, including all five sections, also came to be known as “the Law.”8

Four of the five early manuscripts reference “the Law” in titling the second section.  


When the revelation was published in the Book of Commandments, it was introduced as “A Revelation given to twelve elders assembled 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; and also the law for the government of the church, given in the presence of the same.” By describing the revelation in two parts, the heading suggests that the second through fifth sections of the text were considered together as “the Law.”9

Book of Commandments 44.  


On 23 February, two weeks after the initial dictation of this text, 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 JS dictated several additional paragraphs of instruction.10

The 9 February and 23 February revelations appeared separately in the Book of Commandments in 1833, but the two revelations were combined when published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. (Book of Commandments 44, 47; Doctrine and Covenants 13, 1835 ed.)  


Analysis of the early manuscripts of the 9 February revelation and the 23 February revelation suggests that “the Law” was a working document, meant to be revised or expanded as new circumstances raised new questions. In three of the five early manuscripts, the 23 February revelation was included at the end of the 9 February text.11

Only the Symonds Rider manuscript (featured below) includes the entirety of both texts. Revelation Book 1 includes the first four sections of the 9 February 1831 revelation and the last section of the 23 February revelation; Orson Hyde includes parts two, three, and four of the 9 February revelation, and the last two parts of the 23 February revelation. The Gilbert and Coltrin copies do not include the 23 February text (Revelation Book 1, pp. 62–67; Hyde and Smith, Notebook, [12]–[22]; Gilbert, Notebook, [13]–[23]; Coltrin, Diary, [11]–[18]; see also Revelation, 23 Feb. 1831 [D&C 42:74–93].)  


The historical context for the 9 February revelation included the recent conversion of a significant number of 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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members and the imminent arrival of church members from 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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, a migration the Ohio converts first learned of from 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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when he arrived in Ohio in mid-January.12

Whitmer explained, “The Lord manifested himself to Joseph the Revelater and gave commandment for me to go to the Ohio, and carry the commandments and revelations, with me, to comfort and strengthen my brethren in that land.” (Whitmer, History, 10.)  


The elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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’ first question was whether the various communities should gather “into one place or continue in seperate establishments.” This question was answered in conjunction with a commandment that called the elders to preach “to the regions westward” and “build up my Church in every region.”
Second, the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

View Glossary
inquired about the “Law regulating the Church in her present situation till the time of her gathering.” The revelatory response codified basic matters of authority, moral conduct, and economic organization, addressing specific concerns among the membership. In the first six months after the organization of the Church of Christ

The Book of Mormon related that when Christ set up his church in the Americas, “they which were baptized in the name of Jesus, were called the church of Christ.” The first name used to denote the church JS organized on 6 April 1830 was “the Church of Christ...

View Glossary
, questions had arisen 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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about authority13 and also about who could receive revelation for the church.14

Several months earlier, Hiram Page reported receiving a number of revelations, which were taken seriously by Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmers. (See Knight, History, 145–147; JS History, vol. A-1, 53–54; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, Sept. 1830–B [D&C 28].)  


Converts 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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asked similar questions. Many had been baptized by 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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and his companions, but the missionaries’ departure for 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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at the same time 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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left 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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to meet JS in New York left the new converts without experienced leaders.15 In the absence of such leadership, several charismatic individuals offered their own revelations to bolster their self-declared authority.16

See Whitmer, History, 10; and George A. Smith, in Journal of Discourses, 15 Nov. 1864, 11:2–4; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, Feb. 1831–A [D&C 43].  


In addition, the second section responded to the form of communalism that many 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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converts had previously embraced. In their effort to strictly apply the New Testament passage calling for believers to have “all things common,” they formed a communal group called “the Family,” with several families sharing Isaac

11 Mar. 1786–24 June 1865. Farmer, cooper, merchant, postmaster. Born at Montague, Hampshire Co., Massachusetts. Son of Thomas Morley and Editha (Edith) Marsh. Family affiliated with Presbyterian church. Moved to Kirtland, Geauga Co., Ohio, before 1812. Married...

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and Lucy Morley’s home and farm.17

Acts 2:44; see also “Fanaticism,” Connecticut Courant (Hartford), 12 July 1831, [1]. JS had recently dictated, as part of his Bible revision, an account of the people of Enoch, who were “of one heart and of one mind” and who had “no poor among them.” (Old Testament Revision 1, p. 16 [Moses 7:18].)  


However, “the Law” modified the 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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members’ communal ownership of property. It commanded members to “conscrate all [their] propertys,” which in the religious terminology of the day meant to “set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God” one’s possessions.18

“Consecrate,” in American Dictionary.  


This vision of consecration shared similarities with practices of other utopian communities, such as the Shakers and the Owenites.19

See Brewer, “Shakers of Mother Ann Lee,” 37–56; and Pitzer, “New Moral World of Robert Owen,” 88–134; see also May, “Communal Life and Values among the Mormons,” 135–158.  


This revelation not only provided a guideline for economic organization directed by the church but also outlined a code of conduct to which members of the church were expected to adhere, as well as procedures for casting out those who did not.
Third, knowing that many members of the church would leave their homes to preach, the elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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then inquired about the welfare of their families while they were “proclaiming repentance or are otherwise engaged in the Service of the Church.” This concern was initially raised 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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in late September and early October 1830, when several members were called to proselytizing missions.20

See Historical Introductions to Revelation, Oct. 1830–A [D&C 32]; and to Revelation, Oct. 1830–B [D&C 33].  


This revelation answered that they should “go forth in the power of my spirit preaching my Gospel two by two in my name” and that their families would be supported by the consecrated properties held by the church.
While the first three questions addressed in the 9 February revelation involved relationships within the church, the fourth question asked, perhaps with some urgency given the previous commandment to consecrate their property, “How far it is the will of the Lord that we Should have dealings with the wo[r]ld & how we Should conduct our dealings with them?” The brief answer was to avoid becoming indebted to the world but to counsel together and seek the Spirit in whatever dealings were necessary.
The elders

A male leader in the church generally; an ecclesiastical and priesthood office or one holding that office; a proselytizing missionary. The Book of Mormon explained that elders ordained priests and teachers and administered “the flesh and blood of Christ unto...

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’ final question addressed the concerns of 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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members about the expected influx of members gathering from 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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: “What preperations we shall make for our Brethren from the East & when & how?” The revelation called for single residences for each family, located as close together as possible, and instructed the bishop

An ecclesiastical and priesthood office. JS appointed Edward Partridge as the first bishop in February 1831. Following this appointment, Partridge functioned as the local leader of the church in Missouri. Later revelations described a bishop’s duties as receiving...

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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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, to appoint individuals who would assist him in procuring and distributing the land.
The text of this revelation, together with the church’s founding “Articles and Covenants

A foundational document presented at the first conference of the church for the approval of church members. The Articles and Covenants included a brief historical prologue, a declaration of beliefs, and a description of the offices, ordinances, and procedures...

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,” may have served to unify the 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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and 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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membership into a single community of believers by organizing them under the same laws and regulations.21

On 22 February 1831, JS wrote to Martin Harris: “We have received the laws of the Kingdom since we came here and the Disciples in these parts have received them gladly.” (Letter to Martin Harris, 22 Feb. 1831.)  


The New York members had been promised such a commandment

Generally, a divine mandate that church members were expected to obey; more specifically, a text dictated by JS in the first-person voice of Deity that served to communicate knowledge and instruction to JS and his followers. Occasionally, other inspired texts...

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as soon as they united with the Ohio members, and the questions asked at the 9 February meeting were followed by revelations that brought the two groups together under one law.22

For additional research about “the Law,” see Underwood, “Laws of the Church of Christ,” 108–141.  


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