26027

Revelation, June 1829–E [D&C 17]

A Revelation to Oliver 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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David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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and Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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given Fayett

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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sineca co Fayette, Seneca County New York given previous to them having a view of the plates &c.1

This heading was most likely not part of the original revelation text. It may have been created by Frederick G. Williams when he copied the text into Revelation Book 2.  


Behold I say unto you that you must rely upon my word which if you do with full purpose of heart2

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:3, 27].  


you shall have a view of the plate and also the brestplate3

In 1845, Lucy Mack Smith recounted that shortly after obtaining the breastplate with the gold plates, JS handed it to her, wrapped in “a thin muslin handkerchief.” She reported, “It was concave on one side . . . and extended from the neck downwards as far as the centre of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast: two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 114.)  


the sword of Laban4

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 12, 72 [1 Nephi 4:8–9; 2 Nephi 5:14].  


the Urim and Thumim

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into ...

View Glossary
5

In this version of the revelation, the use of “Urim and Thummim” (rather than the Book of Mormon term “interpreters” or the term “spectacles,” which JS used in 1829 and 1832) is probably a later redaction since “Urim and Thummim” does not appear in JS’s writings before 1833. The revisions in this section may in part be correcting errors made while copying from a source text that had itself been revised. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 172–173, 546 [Mosiah 8:13; Ether 4:5]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832; and “Joseph Smith Documents Dating through June 1831.”)  


which was given to the brother of Jared upon the mount when he talked with the Lord face to face6

This episode is recounted in Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 543–545 [Ether 3].  


and the marveelus directors which was given to Lehi while in the wilderness on the borders of the red sea7

In the Book of Mormon the “marveelus directors,” named the “liahona,” function something like a compass to guide Lehi’s party in their journey. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 39, 48–49, 329 [1 Nephi 16:10; 18:12–21; Alma 37:38–40].)  


and it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them8

For the most part, Cowdery, Harris, and Whitmer focused on the plates in their public testimonies. Whitmer did, however, make repeated reference to seeing the other objects as well. (See Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829.)  


even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old and after that you have obtained faith and have seen them with your eyes you shall testify of them by the power of God and this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith Jr may not be distroyed9

See Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:25–26]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 548 [Ether 5:2–4]. The March 1829 revelation discussing the prospect of Harris seeing the plates concluded with a commandment to JS that he stop translating the plates because, as the revelation explained, “I foresee the lieing in wait to destroy thee yea I foresee that if my Servant [Martin Harris] humbleth not himself & receive a witness from my hand that he will fall into transgression & there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee off the face of the Earth.” (Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:32–33].)  


that I may bring about my rightous purposes unto the children of men in this work and ye shall testify that ye have seen them even as my servant Joseph Smith jr has seen them for it is by my power that he has seen them and it is because he had faith and he has translated

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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them even that part which I have commanded him10

A portion of the plates was “sealed” and was not included in what JS translated. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 110, 547–548 [2 Nephi 27:7–11; Ether 5:1].)  


and as your Lord and your God liveth it is true wherefore you have received the same power and the same faith and the same gift like unto him and if ye do these last commandments of mine [p. 119]
A Revelation to Oliver [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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David [Whitmer]

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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and Martin [Harris]

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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 given Fayett

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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sineca co [Fayette, Seneca County] New York given previous  to them having a view of the plates &c.1

This heading was most likely not part of the original revelation text. It may have been created by Frederick G. Williams when he copied the text into Revelation Book 2.  


Behold I say unto you that you must  rely upon my word which if you do with  full purpose of heart2

See Revelation, June 1829–B [D&C 18:3, 27].  


you shall have a  view of the plate and also the brestplate3

In 1845, Lucy Mack Smith recounted that shortly after obtaining the breastplate with the gold plates, JS handed it to her, wrapped in “a thin muslin handkerchief.” She reported, “It was concave on one side . . . and extended from the neck downwards as far as the centre of the stomach of a man of extraordinary size. It had four straps of the same material for the purpose of fastening it to the breast: two of which ran back to go over the shoulders, and the other two were designed to fasten to the hips.” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, 114.)  


 the sword <of Laban the> Urim, and Thumim of Laban4

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 12, 72 [1 Nephi 4:8–9; 2 Nephi 5:14].  


the  Urim and Thumim

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into ...

View Glossary
5

In this version of the revelation, the use of “Urim and Thummim” (rather than the Book of Mormon term “interpreters” or the term “spectacles,” which JS used in 1829 and 1832) is probably a later redaction since “Urim and Thummim” does not appear in JS’s writings before 1833. The revisions in this section may in part be correcting errors made while copying from a source text that had itself been revised. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 172–173, 546 [Mosiah 8:13; Ether 4:5]; JS History, ca. Summer 1832; and “Joseph Smith Documents Dating through June 1831.”)  


<which was> given to the brother of  Jared upon the mount when he talked with  the Lord face to face6

This episode is recounted in Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 543–545 [Ether 3].  


and the marveelus directors  which was given to Lehi while in the wilderness  on the borders of the red sea7

In the Book of Mormon the “marveelus directors,” named the “liahona,” function something like a compass to guide Lehi’s party in their journey. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 39, 48–49, 329 [1 Nephi 16:10; 18:12–21; Alma 37:38–40].)  


and it is by  your faith that you shall obtain a view  of them8

For the most part, Cowdery, Harris, and Whitmer focused on the plates in their public testimonies. Whitmer did, however, make repeated reference to seeing the other objects as well. (See Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829.)  


even by that faith which was had  by the prophets of old and after that you  have obtained faith and have seen  them with your eyes you shall testify of  them by the power of God and this you  shall do that my servant Joseph Smith Jr  may not be distroyed9

See Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:25–26]; and Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 548 [Ether 5:2–4]. The March 1829 revelation discussing the prospect of Harris seeing the plates concluded with a commandment to JS that he stop translating the plates because, as the revelation explained, “I foresee the lieing in wait to destroy thee yea I foresee that if my Servant [Martin Harris] humbleth not himself & receive a witness from my hand that he will fall into transgression & there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee off the face of the Earth.” (Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:32–33].)  


that I may bring  about my rightous purposes unto the  children of men in this work and ye  shall testify that ye have seen them  even as my servant Joseph Smith jr has  seen them for it is by my power that  he has seen them and it is because he  had faith and he has translated

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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them  even that part which I have commanded  him10

A portion of the plates was “sealed” and was not included in what JS translated. (Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 110, 547–548 [2 Nephi 27:7–11; Ether 5:1].)  


and as your Lord and your God liveth  it is true wherefore you have received  the same power and the same faith and  the same gift like unto him and if ye  do these last commandments of mine [p. 119]
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After both a passage in the Book of Mormon and a JS revelation promised that three witnesses would testify of the gold plates

A record engraved on gold plates, which JS translated and published as the Book of Mormon. The text explained that the plates were an abridgement of other ancient records and were written by an American prophet named Mormon and his son Moroni. The plates ...

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, Oliver 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...

View Full Bio
, David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

View Full Bio
, and Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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requested that they be given the opportunity.1

See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 548 [Ether 5:2–4]; Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:11–14].  


In response, JS dictated this revelation in Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, New York, in June 1829. The text of the revelation implies that it was dictated after the translation

To produce a text from one written in another language; in JS’s usage, most often through divine means. JS considered the ability to translate to be a gift of the spirit, like the gift of interpreting tongues. He recounted that he translated “reformed Egyptian...

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was finished.2

See also Joseph F. Smith, New York City, NY, to John Taylor et al., [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], 17 Sept. 1878, draft, Joseph F. Smith, Papers, CHL; and “Mormonism,” Kansas City Daily Journal, 5 June 1881, 1.  


JS later said that it was “not many days” after the revelation was given, that he, Cowdery, Whitmer, and Harris “agreed to retire into the woods, and try to obtain by fervent and humble prayer, the fulfilment of the promises given in this revelation; that they should have a view of the pl[a]t[es].”3

JS History, vol. A-1, 24.  


According to JS’s history, the “heavenly messenger” who delivered the plates to him in 1827 had commanded him not to show them to anyone.4

JS History, vol. A-1, 6, 8.  


By March 1829, Emma Smith

10 July 1804–30 Apr. 1879. Scribe, editor, boardinghouse operator, clothier. Born at Willingborough Township (later in Harmony), Susquehanna Co., Pennsylvania. Daughter of Isaac Hale and Elizabeth Lewis. Member of Methodist church at Harmony (later in Oakland...

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, Martin Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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, Reuben Hale, and possibly others had served as scribes for JS as he dictated the translation, yet none of them had seen the plates. That same month Harris, whose wife

1 May 1792–summer 1836. Born at Swift’s Landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York. Daughter of Rufus Harris and Lucy Hill. Affiliated with Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Married Martin Harris, 27 Mar. 1808, in Palmyra. Partially deaf, by ...

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strongly objected to his involvement with JS, traveled to Harmony

Located in northeastern Pennsylvania. Area settled, by 1787. Organized 1809. Population in 1830 about 340. Population in 1840 about 520. Contained Harmony village (no longer in existence). Josiah Stowell hired JS to help look for treasure in area, Oct. 1825...

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, Pennsylvania, to obtain, in the words of a revelation, “a witness that my Servant Joseph hath got the things which he hath testified that he hath got.” That same revelation, which JS dictated after Harris’s arrival in Harmony, spoke of “a covenant

A binding agreement between two parties, particularly between God and man. The term covenant was often associated with “commandments,” referring to revelation texts. The gospel as preached by JS—including the need for faith, repentance, baptism, and reception...

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with me [God] that he [JS] should not show them except I Command him,” but also promised that three people would see the plates by God’s power and thereafter testify to the world of their existence. Harris was then informed that if he was sufficiently humble he would be one of the three witnesses.5

Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5:1, 3, 11–18, 23–24]. For background on Martin Harris’s March 1829 visit to Harmony, see Historical Introduction to Revelation, Mar. 1829 [D&C 5].  


Oliver 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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also had reason to hope that he might be one of the promised witnesses. In April 1829, he became JS’s primary scribe and recorded almost all of the Book of Mormon manuscript produced after Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

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’s loss of the “Book of Lehi,”6 so he was familiar with the passage prophesying that three persons would see and stand as witnesses of the plates. About this same time JS dictated a revelation for Cowdery declaring that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses, shall every word be established” and that God’s words would “be established by the testimony which shall be given.” The revelation commanded Cowdery to “assist to bring forth my work,” language similar to that in the Book of Mormon passage that envisioned the book’s future translator showing the plates to three witnesses who would testify of them “by the power of God” and “assist to bring forth this work.”7

Revelation, Apr. 1829–A [D&C 6:9, 28, 31]; Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 548 [Ether 5:2–3].  


In late May or early June, David Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

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helped JS and 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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move to Fayette

Located in northern part of county between Seneca and Cayuga lakes. Area settled, by 1790. Officially organized as Washington Township, 14 Mar. 1800. Name changed to Fayette, 6 Apr. 1808. Population in 1830 about 3,200. Population in 1840 about 3,700. Significant...

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, New York, where they could more securely finish the translation. Whitmer was an important supporter of the translation effort from that time forward. Though he did not become a witness of the plates for weeks, he reported years later that soon after their arrival, his mother

27 Aug. 1778–Jan. 1856. Born in Germany. Immigrated to Pennsylvania. Married Peter Whitmer Sr., before 1798, in Pennsylvania. Lived in Lebanon Township, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania, by 1800. Moved to Fayette, Seneca Co., New York, by 1809. Member of German ...

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was shown the plates by a heavenly messenger.8

David Whitmer also reported later that he, Cowdery, and JS encountered the same messenger carrying the plates in a knapsack as they traveled from Harmony to Fayette. (Stevenson, Journal, 23 Dec. 1877, 9 Feb. 1886, and 2 Jan. 1887; see also Joseph F. Smith, New York City, NY, to John Taylor et al., [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], 17 Sept. 1878, draft, Joseph F. Smith, Papers, CHL.)  


Shortly after Whitmer was baptized

An ordinance in which an individual is immersed in water for the remission of sins. The Book of Mormon explained that those with necessary authority were to baptize individuals who had repented of their sins. Baptized individuals also received the gift of...

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in early June, JS dictated a revelation for him that again echoed the Book of Mormon passage about witnesses, calling Whitmer “to assist” in bringing forth the fulness of the gospel. He was also told that he might “stand as a witness of the things of which you shall both hear and see.”9

Revelation, June 1829–A [D&C 14:8, 11].  


In late June, JS translated another Book of Mormon passage that stated that three witnesses would testify “to the truth of the book, and the things therein.”10

Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 110 [2 Nephi 27:12].  


JS recalled that 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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, Whitmer

7 Jan. 1805–25 Jan. 1888. Farmer, livery keeper. Born near Harrisburg, Dauphin Co., Pennsylvania. Son of Peter Whitmer Sr. and Mary Musselman. Raised Presbyterian. Moved to Ontario Co., New York, shortly after birth. Attended German Reformed Church. Arranged...

View Full Bio
, and Harris

18 May 1783–10 July 1875. Farmer. Born at Easton, Albany Co., New York. Son of Nathan Harris and Rhoda Lapham. Moved with parents to area of Swift’s landing (later in Palmyra), Ontario Co., New York, 1793. Married first his first cousin Lucy Harris, 27 Mar...

View Full Bio
“became so very solicitous, and teazed me so much, that at length I complied and through the Urim and Thummim

A device used to translate and receive revelation. In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel used a device by this name to discern God’s will for Israel. The Book of Mormon gives an account of an ancient prophet, Mosiah, who translated records into ...

View Glossary
I obtained of the Lord for them” the revelation featured here.11

JS History, vol. A-1, 23.  


The text informed the three men that they would see the plates if they relied on the word of God “with full purpose of heart” and that they would testify they had seen them by the power of God.12

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