The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 100 to D&C 105)
The circumstance that gave rise to this revelation was the Prophet's anxiety about his family while he was on a preaching mission with Sidney Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson to New York and Canada. He inquired of the Lord as to the well-being of his family, and received the following.
In addition to being given the assurance he sought concerning his family, Joseph learned how to teach the gospel in verses 5-8, thus establishing a pattern for each of us. Sidney is called as Joseph's spokesman, and Joseph is called as a revelator to Sidney. The Lord once again confirms that Zion will be redeemed, though she is chastened "for a little season," and the Lord declares he will raise up "a pure people that will serve [him] in righteousness." Of comfort, surely to Joseph and Sidney, is that the Lord calls them "my friends."
Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.
Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.
Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
And it is expedient in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph.
And I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony.
And I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures, that thou mayest be a spokesman unto him, and he shall be a revelator unto thee, that thou mayest know the certainty of all things pertaining to the things of my kingdom on the earth.
Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.
And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season.
Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved.
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.
For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness;
And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.
It is now December 16, 1833, and several weeks after Orson Hyde and John Gould had left Kirtland on their errand to seek redress for the persecution suffered by the saints in Jackson County. The Prophet learned by letter on December 10, that the main body of saints had been expelled by force from Jackson County. Houses had been burned by the mobs, men were whipped, women sexually assaulted, and the judges were refusing to issue warrants for the arrest of the offenders. (For a complete description of the events see HC 1:458-464).
The revelation that followed Joseph's petitions to the Lord for mercy was little comfort, as Joseph learned the reason for their expulsion and suffering. Notwithstanding their anguishing experience in the land of Zion, however, they are enjoined by the Lord to continue purchasing the land around Jackson County. That command has never been repealed, despite the fact that Zion is still inhabited by its temporary landlords instead of the saints.
The parable concludes that "after many days all things were fulfilled," and the vineyard was reclaimed from the enemies. The redemption of the vineyard, it is important to note, occurred only after the strength of the nobleman's house had been gathered. The object lesson of the parable is to illustrate the gathering of the saints into the stakes of Zion all around the world that continues today in preparation for the reclamation of the vineyard of Zion in Jackson County. We are still delayed, and we still wonder with the servant in the parable, "When shall these things be?" And the Spirit whispers to the soul of every pilgrim and foreigner who seeks the Holy City, "Be still and know that I am God."
Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance --
I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.
I have sworn, and the decree hath gone forth by a former commandment which I have given unto you, that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.
Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.
And in that day all who are found upon the watch tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.
And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.
And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.
And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion --
And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.
And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints
Until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion.
Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;
And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.
And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed;
And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.
And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.
And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him.
And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.
And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.
In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree;
And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious.
Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things --
Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof
Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.
When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion, even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened --
He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.
And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;
And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves:
What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.
Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and -- after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof -- built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.
And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?
And he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;
And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you -- a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.
And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him; and after many days all things were fulfilled.
Again, verily I say unto you, I will show unto you wisdom in me concerning all the churches, inasmuch as they are willing to be guided in a right a proper way for their salvation --
That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.
Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;
While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.
Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed.
Nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you.
And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things --
Which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints;
All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand.
Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you.
And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands.
And the churches in the eastern countries, when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.
There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.
And again I say unto you, those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers and are in authority over you --
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion? I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge, for men ought always to pray and not to faint, which saith
There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man.
And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying: Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Thus will I liken the children of Zion.
Let them importune at the feet of the judge;
And if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor;
And if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president;
And if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation;
And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers;
Even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
Pray ye, therefore, that their ears may be opened unto your cries, that I may be merciful unto them, that these things may not come upon them.
What I have said unto you must needs be, that all men may be left without excuse;
That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.
And again, I say unto you, it is contrary to my commandment and my will that my servant Sidney Gilbert should sell my storehouse, which I have appointed unto my people, into the hands of mine enemies.
Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name;
For this is a very sore and grievous sin against me, and against my people, in consequence of those things which I have decreed and which are soon to befall the nations.
Therefore, it is my will that my people should claim, and hold claim upon that which I have appointed unto them, though they should not be permitted to dwell thereon.
Nevertheless, I do not say they shall not dwell thereon; for inasmuch as they bring forth fruit and works meet for my kingdom they shall dwell thereon.
They shall build, and another shall not inherit it; they shall plant vineyards, and they shall eat the fruit thereof. Even so. Amen.
The date of this revelation is February 24, 1834, and it comes in the dead of winter following a distressing report from Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight about the condition of the saints after their expulsion from the land of Zion. They were appointed by the leaders of the Church in Missouri to travel to Kirtland to take counsel from the Prophet regarding the redemption of Zion.
The instructions given to the Prophet are to gather together "the strength of my house," and to go up unto the land of Zion "upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me." (See verse 22). It has often been deduced by some from the content of the revelation and the subsequent events that the Lord had in mind taking the land back by armed force. A careful study of the history of Zion's Camp, however, will reveal that the possibility of armed confrontation with the enemies of Zion was most remote in the Lord's mind.
This is the revelation that sanctions Zion's Camp. The parallels with the parable the Lord had given in the previous revelation are most striking. The Lord asked for five hundred men "of the strength of my house," but acknowledged that "men do not always do my will." (See verses 30 31). The language the Lord uses suggests they are going to take Zion by force -- "The redemption of Zion must needs come by power; ye shall avenge me of mine enemies; let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake," and so forth. (See verses 15, 25, 27).
As we will see, the subsequent events were anything but an armed conflict, though 205 men eventually answered the call to go redeem Zion and left Kirtland May 5, 1834. They left Kirtland armed to the gunnels determined to restore the lands and property of their brethren in Zion. When they returned some months later their hearts had been changed, all in preparation of their introduction to the endowment awaiting them in the Kirtland Temple. (See D&C 105:33).
Brother Joseph received a revelation concerning the redemption of Zion, part of which remains yet to be fulfilled. He sent Messengers to the East and to the North, to the West and to the South to gather up the Elders and, He gathered together as many of the brethren as he conveniently could, with what assistance that we could to our afflicted brethren. We gathered clothing and other necessaries to carry up to our brethren and sisters who had been plundered; and putting our horses to the wagons and taking our firelocks and ammunition, we started on our journey; leaving only Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and a few aged workmen who were engaged at the Temple; so that there were very few men left in Kirtland. (Heber C. Kimball Journal, under date, Church Archives, see also RPJS, 209, where this entry is reproduced).
The portion of the revelation that Heber C. Kimball alluded to as being still unfulfilled undoubtedly refers to that passage mentioning "a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel." (See verse 16). Like the "one mighty and strong" we looked at earlier, speculation has continued as to this man's identity, particularly given the redemption of the land of Zion in the last days being likened to Israel's possession of the land of Canaan in the Old Testament. This much is certain -- in a limited sense the prophecy was fulfilled in Joseph's leadership of Zion's Camp in 1834, but the complete fulfillment must still lie ahead since the land of Zion is still not redeemed.
Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;
Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time.
For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;
And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them.
But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.
But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.
For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.
Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren -- your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.
Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances.
Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;
Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.
For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.
And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.
Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.
Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.
Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged -- Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me.
And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them.
And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them;
And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies.
And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.
And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.
It is my will that my servant Sidney Rigdon shall lift up his voice in the congregations in the eastern countries, in preparing the churches to keep the commandments which I have given unto them concerning the restoration and redemption of Zion.
It is my will that my servant Parley P. Pratt and my servant Lyman Wight should not return to the land of their brethren, until they have obtained companies to go up unto the land of Zion, by tens, or by twenties, or by fifties, or by an hundred, until they have obtained to the number of five hundred of the strength of my house.
Behold, this is my will; ask and ye shall receive; but men do not always do my will.
Therefore, if you cannot obtain five hundred, seek diligently that peradventure you may obtain three hundred.
And if ye cannot obtain three hundred, seek diligently that peradventure ye may obtain one hundred.
But verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall not go up unto the land of Zion until you have obtained a hundred of the strength of my house, to go up with you unto the land of Zion.
Therefore, as I said unto you, ask and ye shall receive; pray earnestly that peradventure my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may go with you, preside in the midst of my people, and organize my kingdom upon the consecrated land, and establish the children of Zion upon the laws and commandments which have been and which shall be given unto you.
All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.
Let my servant Parley P. Pratt journey with my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.
Let my servant Lyman Wight journey with my servant Sidney Rigdon.
Let my servant Hyrum Smith journey with my servant Frederick G. Williams.
Let my servant Orson Hyde journey with my servant Orson Pratt, whithersoever my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., shall counsel them, in obtaining the fulfilment of these commandments which I have given unto you, and leave the residue in my hands. Even so. Amen.
It is now April 23, 1834, and the Lord, having pled with the saints to consecrate their property, observed their contentions and covetousness, and having patiently endured their bickering and backbiting, now gives this revelation as the Prophet struggles to assemble enough men to fulfill the Lord's desire for five hundred men to accompany him to Jackson County. The Prophet had been diligently seeking to collect enough money in donations to satisfy the debts of the United Firm at Kirtland, but was unsuccessful for the most part. This revelation comes prior to the Prophet's departure for Jackson County, and sanctions the dissolution of the United Firm at Kirtland.
. . .many of the brethren [at Kirtland] had given their time and talent to speculation and were absorbed in schemes detrimental to their religious standing, and quite contrary to the counsel of the Prophet. Speculations brought on jealousies and hatreds, and those evil attributes manifested themselves toward Joseph who sought diligently to suppress them. Prominent men who had shown the highest degree of loyalty to the Prophet became disaffected. Their financial speculation brought on a spirit of self sufficiency, and that spirit made them wise in their own conceit. The affairs of the Church were put to the test of "wisdom" wisdom as they understood it. Such wisdom, however, was undermining their integrity in the Church. (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 7th printing, 1978], 67).
Orson F. Whitney, Heber C. Kimball's biographer, called the prevailing conditions in Kirtland at the time "idolatry:"
The greed of gain, the spirit of speculation was abroad in the land. Mammon had reared his altars on consecrated ground. The money changer was within the temple. The love of the things of earth had usurped, in many hearts, the love of the things of heaven, and comparatively few were free from the soul destroying influence of idolatry. Idolatry? Yes; the bowing down to the modern Baal, the worship of wealth -- the god of gold -- the lust after the ways and pleasures of the world. (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945], 98).
We were very much grieved on our arrival in Kirtland, to see the spirit of speculation that was prevailing in the Church. Trade and traffic seemed to engross the time and attention of the Saints. When we left Kirtland a city lot was worth about $.50; but on our return, to our astonishment, the same lot was said to be worth from $500 to $1000. . . in fact, everything in the place seemed to be moving in great prosperity, and all seemed determined to become rich. . . This appearance of prosperity led many of the Saints to believe that the time had arrived for the Lord to enrich them with the treasures of the earth, and believing so, it stimulated them to great exertions. (Ibid., 99).
It was little wonder the Lord had no choice but to withdraw the United Order from among such a covetous people. They had failed to learn to trust one another in matters of their temporal welfare, and to rely upon God to fulfill his promises. They lived on the cutting edge of frontier America, and we live in the sophisticated world of twenty-first century Babylon. If they didn't learn the lesson, what will future generations say of our day? The result of giving heed to that beguiling spirit of speculation and the gods of Baal was the Panic of 1837, soon to follow. It will be no different in our day, for the struggle between Mammon and God, each seeking dominion in the hearts of men, continues in our day. The love of Mammon in every dispensation of the gospel is a love affair foreordained to break hearts.
The Firm was dissolved temporarily in this revelation, and the assets held in common were divided among the principals along the lines detailed in the revelation. The essence of the revelation was that the United Order in Kirtland was to be made separate from the Order in Zion. Unpublished portions of the revelation, and additional unpublished revelations in the Kirtland Revelation Book, 100 and 111 respectively, give further details of this division of the United Order. (See RPJS, 210-12). The Lord makes it clear why the earlier commandments to implement a program to live the law of consecration are now rescinded, ". . .the covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words." (See verse 52).
And now, a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise --
After you are organized, you shall be called the United Order of the Stake of Zion, the City of Kirtland. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the United Order of the City of Zion.
Once again, notice the consistency -- Kirtland is a Stake of Zion, but Missouri is the City of Zion.
Important correspondence between the saints who had been driven from their homes in Jackson County and Governor Daniel Dunklin, Governor of Missouri, is recorded in Volume 1 of History of the Church, 472- 493. The letters from the Governor clearly portray his desire and his assurances to the dispossessed saints that they will be restored to their property and their homes in Jackson County. That fact -- the Governor's assurances that he would stand behind the saints with the Constitutional guarantees due them -- is critical in understanding what Zion's Camp was all about.
The brethren in Kirtland did not undertake their armed march to Jackson County to restore the saints by force, which would have been an act of insurrection clearly outside the parameters of the legal system. Rather, they fulfilled the requirement of the Lord that they petition the government at all levels for redress, and work within the framework of the Constitution. A sample of the many guarantees Governor Dunklin extended prior to the arrival of Zion's Camp in Jackson County is this from a letter dated February 4, 1834:
. . .I am very sensible indeed of the injuries your people complain of, and should consider myself very remiss in the discharge of my duties were I not to do everything in my power consistent with the legal exercise of them, to afford your society the redress to which they seem entitled. One of your requests needs no evidence to support the right to have it granted; it is that your people be put in possession of their homes, from which they have been expelled. But what may be the duty of the Executive after that, will depend upon contingencies. . .
Even as late as June 6, 1834, the Governor in a letter to Colonel Thornton, commander of the state militia at the time, makes the following observations and admonitions to protect the rights of the saints:
. . .A more clear and indisputable right does not exist, than that of the Mormon people, who were expelled from their homes in Jackson county, to return and live on their lands; and if they cannot be persuaded, as a matter of policy, to give up that right, or to qualify it, my course, as the chief executive of the state, is a plain one. The constitution of the United States declares "that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states." Then we cannot interdict any people, who have a political franchise in the United States, from immigrating to this state, nor from choosing what part of the state they will settle in, provided they do not trespass on the property or rights of others. Our state constitution declares that the people's "right to bear arms, in defense of themselves and of the state, cannot be questioned." Then it is their constitutional right to arm themselves. Indeed, our military law makes it the duty of every man, not exempted by law, between the ages of eighteen and forty five, to arm himself with a musket, rifle, or some firelock, with a certain quantity of ammunition, etc.; and again, our constitution says, "that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences."
I am fully persuaded that the eccentricity of the religious opinions and practices of the Mormons is at the bottom of the outrages committed against them. They have the right constitutionally guaranteed to them, and it is indefeasible, to worship Joe Smith as a man, an angel, or even as the only true and living God, and to call their habitation Zion, the Holy Land, or even heaven itself. Indeed, there is nothing so absurd or ridiculous that they have not a right to adopt as their religion, so that in its exercise they do not interfere with the rights of others. . . (See HC, Vol. 2, 94).
The day following this letter, June 7, 1834, Zion's Camp crossed the Mississippi River into Monroe County. They rested a few days, then under date of June 15, 1834, the Prophet makes this entry in his journal:
Sunday, June 15. -- Traveled twelve miles. While on the way Orson Hyde and Parley P. Pratt returned to us from Jefferson City, and reported that Governor Dunklin refused to fulfill his promise to reinstate the brethren on their lands in Jackson county on the ground of impracticability. . . (Ibid.)
Conditions worsened steadily following this communication, until June 19, 1834, when five men armed with guns rode into the camp, swearing that "the Mormons will see hell before morning." Their threats and "accompanying oaths partook of all the malice of demons," according to the Prophet, and they told the camp that a mob in excess of 300 was massing nearby, ready to cross the Missouri River above the mouth of Fishing River.
A timely storm of tremendous intensity and suddenness was unleashed throughout the remainder of that night, driving off the mob who were unable to launch their boats to cross the river because it had risen thirty feet in its channel. Joseph described the storm in these words:
Very little hail fell in our camp, but from half a mile to a mile around, the stones or lumps of ice cut down the crops of corn and vegetation generally, even cutting limbs from trees, while the trees, themselves were twisted into withes by the wind. The lightning flashed incessantly, which caused it to be so light in our camp through the night, that we could discern the most minute objects; and the roaring of the thunder was tremendous. The earth trembled and quaked, the rain fell in torrents, and, united, it seemed as if the mandate of vengeance had gone forth from the God of battles, to protect His servants from the destruction of their enemies, for the hail fell on them and not on us, and we suffered no harm, except the blowing down of some of our tents, and getting wet; while our enemies had holes made in their hats, and otherwise received damage, even the breaking of their rifle stocks, and the fleeing of their horses through fear and pain. (HC, Vol. 2, 104- 5).
Because the members of Zion's Camp had no other purpose in coming to Missouri than to assist their brethren in securing the restitution of their homes based upon Governor Dunklin's assurances, and the Governor having refused to honor his previous commitments to the saints, Zion's Camp did not reclaim Jackson County. All that remained for the Camp was to proceed to Clay County and rejoin the exiled saints, and hope some compromise could be worked out.
On June 22, 1834, the Prophet inquired of the Lord, and received this revelation at Fishing River, Missouri:
Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people --
Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.
But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom;
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
But I speak concerning my churches abroad -- there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.
Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.
And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.
For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.
Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.
For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil -- I will fight your battles.
Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.
Behold, I have commanded my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to say unto the strength of my house, even my warriors, my young men, and middle-aged, to gather together for the redemption of my people, and throw down the towers of mine enemies, and scatter their watchmen;
But the strength of mine house have not hearkened unto my words.
But inasmuch as there are those who have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them, if they continue faithful.
I have heard their prayers, and will accept their offering; and it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith.
And now, verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that as many as have come up hither, that can stay in the region round about, let them stay;
And those that cannot stay, who have families in the east, let them tarry for a little season, inasmuch as my servant Joseph shall appoint unto them;
For I will counsel him concerning this matter, and all things whatsoever he shall appoint unto them shall be fulfilled.
And let all my people who dwell in the regions round about be very faithful, and prayerful, and humble before me, and reveal not the things which I have revealed unto them, until it is wisdom in me that they should be revealed.
Talk not of judgments, neither boast of faith nor of mighty works, but carefully gather together, as much in one region as can be, consistently with the feelings of the people;
And behold, I will give unto you favor and grace in their eyes, that you may rest in peace and safety, while you are saying unto the people: Execute judgment and justice for us according to law, and redress us of our wrongs.
Now, behold, I say unto you, my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the army of Israel becomes very great.
And I will soften the hearts of the people, as I did the heart of Pharaoh, from time to time, until my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and mine elders, whom I have appointed, shall have time to gather up the strength of my house,
And to have sent wise men, to fulfil that which I have commanded concerning the purchasing of all the lands in Jackson county that can be purchased, and in the adjoining counties round about.
For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given.
And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;
That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws.
Verily I say unto you, it is expedient in me that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in my house, which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland.
And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.
There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy.
And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;
And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.
And again I say unto you, sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people;
And lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation of peace unto the ends of the earth;
And make proposals for peace unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good. [Pursuant to the directions of the Lord in this verse, an "appeal" was prepared and signed by twelve of the brethren in Missouri on July 7, 1834, the full text of which can be found in HC, Vol. 2, 126-134.]
Therefore, be faithful; and behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end. Even so. Amen.
Although the sacrifice and struggle of those who participated in Zion's Camp is clear to us today, this revelation left little doubt in the minds of the saints that the Lord was displeased with their feigned attempts to live "the law of the celestial kingdom," and thus reclaim Zion. Added to his rejection of the saints on these grounds was the fact that so few had responded to the Prophet's call to go with him to Jackson County. The Lord had asked for five hundred men. Only 205 put their faith on the line.
The fact that any went at all was a demonstration of their willingness to accept the crucible of the Lord. Think of leaving the relative comforts of home in exchange for an arduous trek through the wilderness in response to the Prophet's request to aid their brethren. There were no guarantees at the outset, only a request for obedience. Those who answered the call were later promised "a great endowment" in this revelation, and the revelation was given after their hardship and then their disappointment over having seemingly failed in the purpose of their mission. Their faith would further be tried by the knowledge that came in this revelation that the redemption of Zion would have to wait "for a little season," even until the "army become very great."
The test of following a living prophet is always the standard by which faith in God is measured. Many are called to the priesthood, they are set apart in positions of authority in the Church and they receive callings to serve in wards, stakes, and missions. Nevertheless, despite this burgeoning number in the Church today, the Lord has always said, "but few are chosen." (Perhaps these references will be useful in understanding the lifetime process of being "chosen." It is the inheritance of "a few" in mortality, not the masses in the Church: D&C 121:34-40; D&C 52:1-2; D&C 95:3-8; D&C 64:33-36; D&C 105:35-37; D&C 107:40-42; D&C 124:74-76; D&C 132:7, 19-25; D&C 131:1-6. Joseph Smith commented, ". . .this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment." [See TPJS, 51]).
Many go to the temples to receive their endowments today, and many are called to take upon themselves sacred covenants of their own free will and choice, the violation of which will bring upon them the judgments of God, and many never consider that all the proffered blessings are conditional. Why is Zion still not redeemed? When will the Lord's army be great enough? What is necessary before the promises of the Lord concerning Zion will be fulfilled? President Joseph F. Smith gives us this answer:
But they did not redeem Zion, because the Saints were not prepared. Consequently, the day for the redemption of Zion was postponed, until the time should come when the people, through the experiences they would be called to pass through, should be prepared for the redemption of Zion and for the building of the House of God at the center stake thereof. And the day was not yet come; and no man, so far as I know, can foretell the day to the hour, the month or the year when the people of God are prepared to go back, and not before. Whether it be in this generation or in the next generation, it matters not; it will only be when the people have prepared themselves to do it by their faithfulness and obedience to the commands of God. I prophesy to you, in the name of the Lord, that when the Latter-day Saints have prepared themselves through righteousness to redeem Zion, they will accomplish that work, and God will go with them. No power will then be able to prevent them from accomplishing that work; for the Lord has said it shall be done, and it will be done in the due time of the Lord, when the people are prepared for it.
But when shall I be prepared to go there? Not while I have in my heart the love of this world more than the love of God. Not while I am possessed of that selfishness and greed that would induce me to cling to the world or my possessions in it, at the sacrifice of principle or truth. But when I am ready to say, "Father all that I have, myself included, is Thine; my time, my substance, everything that I possess is on the altar, to be used freely, agreeable to Thy holy will, and not my will, but Thine, be done," then perhaps I will be prepared to go and help to redeem Zion. (Millenial Star, June 18, 1894, 56:385-86).
In summary, the time for the redemption of Zion in 1834 was "not yet," and despite the ongoing and steady growth of Zion's army, the time is still "not yet." But come it will, for the promises of the Lord will never fail. Only the faith of men fails, their hope may sometimes ebb and their desires to wait patiently upon the Lord may evaporate, but the word of the Lord since that fateful day when the saints were driven from the centerstake of Zion in the dead of winter still echoes down the corridor of years in the ears of the faithful --
THEY THAT REMAIN, AND ARE PURE IN HEART SHALL RETURN, AND COME TO THEIR INHERITANCES, THEY AND THEIR CHILDREN, WITH SONGS OF EVERLASTING JOY, TO BUILD UP THE WASTE PLACES OF ZION AND ALL THOSE THINGS THAT THE PROPHETS MIGHT BE FULFILLED. AND, BEHOLD, THERE IS NONE OTHER PLACE APPOINTED THAN THAT WHICH I HAVE APPOINTED. . . (D&C 101:18-20).