26033

Revelation, March 1829 [D&C 5]

Behold I say unto you that my servant1 hath desired A witness that my Servant Joseph hath got the things2

The 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants has “plates.” (Doctrine and Covenants 32:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 5:1].)  


which he hath testified that he hath got and now Behold thus shall ye say unto him I the Lord am God I have given these things unto him & I have commanded him that he should stand as A witness of these things nevertheless I have caused him that he should enter into 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 that he should not show them except I Command him & he hath no power over them except I grant it unto him & he hath A gift to translate

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...

View Glossary
the Book3

On the “gift to translate,” see “Joseph Smith Documents Dating through June 1831.”  


& I have commanded him that he shall pretend to no other gift for I will grant unto him no other gift and verily I say unto you that woe shall come unto the Inhabitents of the Earth if they will not hearken unto my words for Behold if they will not believe my words they would not believe my servants if it were possible he could show them all things O ye unbelieving ye stiffnecked Generation Behold I have reserved the things which have been spoken of which I have entrusted to my servant for A wise perpose in me & it shall be made Known unto future Generations but for this Generation they shall have my word yea & the testimony of three of my Servants shall go forth with my word unto this Generation yea three shall Know of A surety that those things are true for I will give them power that they may Behold & vew these things as they are4

Three men—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—attested in June 1829 that an angel from heaven presented the plates for their inspection. Their testimony was published in the first edition of the Book of Mormon in 1830 and in all subsequent editions. In addition to affirming that they saw the plates, they stated, “We also know that they [the plates] have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us.” (Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, June 1829–E [D&C 17].)  


& to none else will I grant this power among this Generation5

Shortly after the experience of the Three Witnesses, eight others stated that they had seen and handled the plates. (Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Late June 1829.)  


& the testimony of three Witnesses will I send forth6

JS later translated Book of Mormon passages about the three chosen witnesses. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 110, 548 [2 Nephi 27:12; Ether 5:2–4].)  


& my word & behold whosoever beleaveth in my word him will I visit with the manifestations of my spirit & they shall be Born of me & their testimony shall also go forth & thus if the People of this Generation harden not their hearts I will work a reformation among them & I will put down all lieings & deceivings & Priest Craft

The misuse of religious authority for personal gain or prestige. The Book of Mormon stated that “priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain, and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare...

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& envyings & strifes & Idolatries and sorceries7

In the nineteenth century, “sorceries” referred to illicit magical practices usually wrought “by the assistance or supposed assistance of evil spirits.” (“Sorcery,” in American Dictionary.)  


& all maner of Iniquities & I will establish 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...

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yea even the church which was taught by my Desiples8

Establishing a church was again referred to in a revelation not long after the reception of this revelation. (Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10:53].)  


& now if this Generation do hardon their hearts [p. 1]
Behold I say unto you that my servant1 hath desired  A witness that my Servant Joseph hath got the things2

The 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants has “plates.” (Doctrine and Covenants 32:1, 1835 ed. [D&C 5:1].)  


w hich he hath testified that he hath got and now Behold thu s shall ye say unto him I the Lord am God I have given these  things unto him & I have commanded him that he should  stand as A witness of these things nevertheless I have  caused him that he should enter into 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...

View Glossary
with  me that he should not show them except I Command him  & he hath no power over them e[x]cept I grant it unto him &  he hath A gift to translate

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...

View Glossary
the Book3

On the “gift to translate,” see “Joseph Smith Documents Dating through June 1831.”  


& I have commanded  him that he should shall pretend to no other gift for I will  grant unto him no other gift and verily I say unto you  that woe shall come unto the Inhabitents of the Earth  if they will not hearken unto my words for Behold if  they will not believe my words they would not believe  my servants if it were possible he could show them  all things O ye unbelieving ye stiffnecked Generation Beho ld I have reserved the things which have been spoken of  which I have entrusted to my servant for A wise per pose in me & it shall be made Known unto future  Generations but for this Generation they shall have  my word yea & the testimony of three of my Servan ts shall go forth with my word unto this Generation  yea three shall Know of A surety that those things are  true for I will give them power that they may Behold  & vew these things as they are4

Three men—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—attested in June 1829 that an angel from heaven presented the plates for their inspection. Their testimony was published in the first edition of the Book of Mormon in 1830 and in all subsequent editions. In addition to affirming that they saw the plates, they stated, “We also know that they [the plates] have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us.” (Testimony of Three Witnesses, Late June 1829; see also Historical Introduction to Revelation, June 1829–E [D&C 17].)  


& to none else will I gran t this power among this Generation5

Shortly after the experience of the Three Witnesses, eight others stated that they had seen and handled the plates. (Testimony of Eight Witnesses, Late June 1829.)  


& the testimony  of three Witnesses will I send forth6

JS later translated Book of Mormon passages about the three chosen witnesses. (See Book of Mormon, 1830 ed., 110, 548 [2 Nephi 27:12; Ether 5:2–4].)  


& my word & be hold whosoever beleaveth in my word him will I visit  with the manifestations of my spirit & they shall be Born  of me & their testimony shall also go forth & thus  if the People of this Generation harden not their  hearts I will work a reformation among them & I will  put down all lieings & deceivings & Priest Craft

The misuse of religious authority for personal gain or prestige. The Book of Mormon stated that “priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain, and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare...

View Glossary
&  envyings & strifes & Idolatries and sorceries7

In the nineteenth century, “sorceries” referred to illicit magical practices usually wrought “by the assistance or supposed assistance of evil spirits.” (“Sorcery,” in American Dictionary.)  


& all ma ner of Iniquities & I will establish 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
yea  even the church which was taught by my Des iples8

Establishing a church was again referred to in a revelation not long after the reception of this revelation. (Revelation, Spring 1829 [D&C 10:53].)  


& now if this Generation do hardon their hea rts [p. 1]
Next
This revelation, which promised 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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he would see 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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if he humbled himself, was “given to Joseph and Martin, in 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, March, 1829.”1 JS had last seen Harris in the summer of 1828 when he traveled to 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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and found that Harris had lost the portion of 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...

View Glossary
later referred to as “the Book of Lehi.” JS returned to Harmony disheartened and without Harris, his scribe. He did not “go immediately to translating, but went to laboring” on the small farm he had purchased from his father-in-law, Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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.2

Preface to Book of Mormon, ca. Aug. 1829; JS History, vol. A-1, 11.  


There is no indication that JS and Harris met again until March 1829, when Harris traveled to Harmony to see him.
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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later reported that “in March the People Rose up & united against the Work[,] gathering testimey [testimony] against the Plates.” As Harris recalled, these persecutors threatened a lawsuit and “Said they had testamoney Enough & if I did not Put Joseph in Jail & his father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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for Deseption they Would me.”3

“Testamoney of Martin Harris,” 4 Sept. 1870, [4], Edward Stevenson, Collection, CHL.  


According to Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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, Harris’s 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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(also named Lucy) played a central role in generating this opposition to JS’s work: she “mounted her horse [and] flew through the neighborhood like a dark spirit from house to house making diligent enquiry at every house for miles where she had the least hope of gleaning anything that would subserve her purpose.” Lucy Harris sought to prove that JS had pretended to have gold plates “for the express purpose of obtaining money from those who might be so credulous as to believe him . . . [and] entered a complaint before a magistrate at Lyons [New York].”4

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [5].  


It was in the midst of these difficulties that Harris 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...

More Info
to see JS. According to the revelation’s heading in the 1833 Book of Commandments, “Martin desired of the Lord to know whether Joseph had, in his possession, the record of the Nephites

A term used in the Book of Mormon to refer to the descendants and followers of Nephi, as well as those who later identified themselves as Nephites for religious reasons. According to JS and the Book of Mormon, Lehi and Sariah, Nephi’s parents, and their family...

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.”5 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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’s father, Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

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, reported that Harris hoped to gain a “greater witness” of the plates.6

Isaac Hale, Affidavit, Harmony, PA, 20 Mar. 1834, in “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian (Montrose, PA), 1 May 1834, [1]. Martin Harris later stated that a man named Rogers accompanied him on the journey to Harmony. Unknown to Harris at the time, Rogers had plotted with Martin’s wife, Lucy Harris, that he would cut off “the covering of the Plates” with his knife when JS displayed them. No other known source mentions this scheme or provides evidence that Rogers followed through with it. Rogers cannot be positively identified, though there was a Joseph Rogers living near Manchester in Phelpstown who later gave a negative account about the Smiths and claimed to have affidavits demonstrating that they were thieves. (“Testamoney of Martin Harris,” 4 Sept. 1870, [4], Edward Stevenson, Collection, CHL; “Joseph Rogers’ Statement,” in Naked Truths about Mormonism [Oakland, CA], Apr. 1888, 1.)  


Addressing 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 concerns, the revelation spoke of his desiring “a witness that my Servant Joseph hath got the things which he hath testified,” but stated that JS could not show them to anyone. Harris was then told that God would show the plates to three witnesses who would publicly testify of what they saw, and he was promised he would be one of those witnesses, “if he will go out & bow down before me & humble himself in mighty prayer & faith in the sincerity of his heart.” The revelation also warned JS that “there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee,” perhaps an allusion to those preparing a lawsuit against JS, and declared that “the Swoard of Justice” hung above the people of that generation and that if they would “persist in the hardness of ther hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon them.” The revelation asserted that the book’s authenticity would be evidenced primarily by its message, not by the plates. If the people would not believe the translation, they also would not believe even if JS “could show them all things.”
Though 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
was not allowed to view the plates during his March 1829 visit 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...

More Info
, the revelation allayed his doubts. William S. Sayre, a fellow traveler with Harris on the stagecoach back to Palmyra

Known as Swift’s Landing and Tolland before being renamed Palmyra, 1796. Incorporated, Mar. 1827, two years after completion of adjacent Erie Canal. Population in 1820 about 3,700. Joseph Sr. and Lucy Mack Smith family lived in village briefly, beginning ...

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, recalled that one of the other passengers “did not believe that Joe [JS] was capable of composing any thing, but that Joe’s father

12 July 1771–14 Sept. 1840. Cooper, farmer, teacher, merchant. Born at Topsfield, Essex Co., Massachusetts. Son of Asael Smith and Mary Duty. Nominal member of Congregationalist church at Topsfield. Married to Lucy Mack by Seth Austin, 24 Jan. 1796, at Tunbridge...

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was a man of some education & cunning & shr[e]wd . . . & was duping others through Joe, & that they were cheating” Harris out of his money. Harris, however, told his fellow passengers that JS “had found a gold bible & stone in which he look’d & was thereby enabled to translate the very ancient chara[c]ters.” He further explained that JS had “read to him a good deal of the bible & he [Harris] repeated to those in the stage verse after verse of what Smith had read to him.”7

William S. Sayre, Bainbridge, NY, to James T. Cobb, [Salt Lake City, Utah Territory], 31 Aug. 1878, in Theodore Albert Schroeder Papers. Although Sayre called his fellow passenger “Richards,” he admitted uncertainty about the name, and the details of Sayre’s account—which describes the man as the Palmyra resident who later financed the Book of Mormon—leave little doubt it was Martin Harris. Sayre dated the incident to April 1829, and Harris was known to be traveling from Harmony to Palmyra in March. The claim that JS was incapable of composing anything and was being assisted by his father was echoed in Harris’s statement, quoted previously, that those involved in the lawsuit wanted to put both JS and his father in jail for deception.  


Harris also defended JS at the hearing in Lyons, New York. Although no contemporary account of this trial has been located, Lucy Mack Smith

8 July 1775–14 May 1856. Oilcloth painter, nurse, fund-raiser, author. Born at Gilsum, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire. Daughter of Solomon Mack Sr. and Lydia Gates. Moved to Montague, Franklin Co., Massachusetts, 1779; to Tunbridge, Orange Co., Vermont, 1788...

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remembered a report that three witnesses each claimed JS had admitted to fabricating the story of the plates to deceive Martin Harris. But Harris, taking the stand, testified that JS had not defrauded him and that Harris had put only “$50 into his hands . . . for the purpose of doing the work of the Lord.”8

Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [7]. Lucy Mack Smith wrote that the first witness claimed the box in which JS kept the plates was filled with sand and that JS told him it was “to deceive the people,” the second witness claimed JS said the box was filled with lead, and the third witness declared the box was empty but was used to get Martin Harris’s money. (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1844–1845, bk. 8, [6]–[7].)  


Isaac Hale

21 Mar. 1763–11 Jan. 1839. Farmer, hunter, innkeeper. Born in Waterbury, New Haven Co., Connecticut. Son of Reuben Hale and Diantha Ward. Member of Methodist church. Moved to Wells, Albany Co., New York (later in Rutland Co., Vermont), ca. 1771, to live with...

View Full Bio
reported that he saw JS 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
comparing two manuscript copies of this revelation shortly after it was dictated.9

Isaac Hale, Affidavit, Harmony, PA, 20 Mar. 1834, in “Mormonism,” Susquehanna Register, and Northern Pennsylvanian (Montrose, PA), 1 May 1834, [1].  


Though it is unknown what happened to those copies, this text is the earliest extant copy of any of JS’s revelations.10

Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3], by contrast, is the earliest JS revelation for which a text has survived.  


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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possibly created it in April 1829, copying from an earlier manuscript. Another early version of this revelation was copied into Revelation Book 1, but the pages that contained it are missing.11

Revelation Book 1, p. [207].  


The editors of the 1833 Book of Commandments used Revelation Book 1 as their source, but it is unknown what editing to this revelation was done prior to its publication.12 The differences between the text featured here and the version in the Book of Commandments demonstrate that Revelation Book 1 may not consistently represent the earliest text of JS’s revelations.

Facts