26033

Revelation, March 1829 [D&C 5]

against my words Behold I deliver them up unto Satan for he reigneth & hath much Power at this time for he hath got great hold upon the hearts of the People of this Generation & how far from the iniquities of Sodom and Gomorrah do they come at this time & Behold the Swoard of Justice doth hang above their heads & if they persist in the hardness of ther hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon them Behold I tell you these things even as I also told the People of the destruction of Jerusalem9

See Matthew 24:1–2; and Luke 21:20–24.  


& my word shall be verrified at this time as it hath hitherto been verrified & now I command my Servant Joseph that he repenteth & walketh more uprightly before me & yield to the perswations of men no more & that he be firm in Keeping the 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
which I have commanded him10

See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:5–9].  


& if he do this Behold I grant unto him Eternal life even if he should be slain. And now I speak again concerning the man that desireeth the Witness11 Behold I say unto him if he exalteth himself & doth not humble himself sufficiently before me I will grant unto him no such vews but if he will go out & bow down before me & humble himself in mighty prayer & faith in the sincerity of his heart then will I grant unto him a vew of the things which he desireth to vew then shall he say unto the People of this Generation Behold I have seen the things & I know of a surety that they are true for I have seen them & they have been shone unto me by the Power of God12

As early as 1831, a newspaper reported that Harris had spoken of seeing the plates. While there are few other early accounts of his experience with the plates, Harris frequently affirmed later in his life that he had seen them. (“Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 15 Mar. 1831, [1]; see also, for example, Thomas Godfrey, John E. Godfrey, and John Buttars, Affidavits, Cache Co., UT, 2 July 1933, Jesse P. Rich, Affidavits concerning Martin Harris, 1933, CHL; and William Pilkington, Affidavit, Cache Co., UT, 3 Apr. 1934, William Pilkington, Autobiography and Statements, 1934–1939, CHL.)  


& I command him that he say no more except I have seen them & they have been shone unto me by the Power of God13

Years later, Martin Harris may have had this passage in mind when he told an interviewer, “I am forbidden to say anything how the Lord showed them to me, except that by the power of God I have seen them.” (“Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 166.)  


& these are the words which he shall say but if he deny this he shall brake the 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
which he hath covenanted with me & Behold he is condemned & now except he humble himself & acknowledge unto me the things which he hath done that is wrong & covenant with me that he will Keep my commandments & exercise faith in me Behold I say unto him he shall have no such vews for I will grant unto him no such vews of which I have spoken & if this be the case I command him that he shall do no more nor trouble me no more Concerning this matter & if this be the case Behold I say unto you Joseph when thou hast 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...

View Glossary
a few more [p. 2]
against my words Behold I deliver them up unto Satan for  he reigneth & hath much Power at this time for he that hath  hath got great hold upon the hearts of the People of this  Generation & how far from the iniquities of Sodom and  Gomorrah do they come at this time & Behold the Swoard  of Justice doth hang above their heads & if they persist in the  hardness of ther hearts the time cometh that it must fall upon  them Behold I tell you these things even as I also told the People  of the destruction of Jerusalem9

See Matthew 24:1–2; and Luke 21:20–24.  


& my word shall be verrified  at this time as it hath hitherto been verrified & now I com mand my Servant Joseph that he repenteth & walketh  more uprightly before me & yield to the perswations of men  no more & that he be firm in Keeping the 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
 which I have commanded him10

See Revelation, July 1828 [D&C 3:5–9].  


& if he do this Behold I grant  unto him Eternal life even if he should be slain. And  now I speak again concerning the the man that desireeth the Wit ness11 Behold I say unto him if he exalteth himself & doth not  humble himself sufficiently before me I will grant unto  him no such vews but if he will go out & bow down before  me & humble himself in mighty prayer & faith in the  sincerity of his heart then will I grant unto him a vew  of the things which he desireth to vew then shall he say un to the People of this Generation Behold I have seen the things &  I know of a surety that they are true for I have seen  them & they have been shone unto me by the Power  of God12

As early as 1831, a newspaper reported that Harris had spoken of seeing the plates. While there are few other early accounts of his experience with the plates, Harris frequently affirmed later in his life that he had seen them. (“Mormonism,” Painesville [OH] Telegraph, 15 Mar. 1831, [1]; see also, for example, Thomas Godfrey, John E. Godfrey, and John Buttars, Affidavits, Cache Co., UT, 2 July 1933, Jesse P. Rich, Affidavits concerning Martin Harris, 1933, CHL; and William Pilkington, Affidavit, Cache Co., UT, 3 Apr. 1934, William Pilkington, Autobiography and Statements, 1934–1939, CHL.)  


& I command him that he say no more except  I have seen them & they have been shone unto me by the  Power of God13

Years later, Martin Harris may have had this passage in mind when he told an interviewer, “I am forbidden to say anything how the Lord showed them to me, except that by the power of God I have seen them.” (“Mormonism—No. II,” Tiffany’s Monthly, Aug. 1859, 166.)  


& these are the words which he shall say  but if he deny this he shall brake the 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
which  he hath covenanted with me & Behold he is condemn ed & now except he humble himself & acknowledge unto  me the things which he hath done that is wrong & cove nant with me that he will Keep my commandments  & exercise faith in me Behold I say unto him he shall  have no such vews for I will grant unto him no such vews  of which I have spoken & if this be the case I command him  that he shall do no more nor trouble me no more Con cerning this matter & if this be the case Behold I say unto  you Joseph when thou hast 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...

View Glossary
a few more [p. 2]
PreviousNext
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...

View Full Bio
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 ...

View Glossary
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...

More Info
, 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,...

More Info
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...

View Full Bio
.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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
, 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 ...

View Full Bio
(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...

View Glossary
.”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...

View Full Bio
’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...

View Full Bio
, 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...

View Full Bio
’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 ...

More Info
, 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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
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...

View Full Bio
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