Saturday, February 27, 2010

ZION: The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 82 to D&C 99)

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 82 to D&C 99)

D&C 82

It is now April 26, 1832, and the Lord is still admonishing the brethren in the Church to set aside their differences and to forgive one another. Specifically, the problems seem to have been twofold: 1) Many of the brethren thought Joseph was setting himself up as some kind of monarch among them, and were very critical of him; and 2) Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge had some sort of running dispute between them over money and Sidney's near-drowning in the Missouri River. While the details are somewhat sketchy, it is clear the Lord was voicing his concern in these revelations. We read these revelations today, never asking or wondering what called forth the words of the Lord. They seem so appropriate for our own circumstances, and it is obvious their petty jealousies were not unlike ours.

So severe had the disputes become, that Joseph was admonished in a former revelation to "sit in council" with his brethren in Zion to resolve these matters. (See D&C 78).  It meant another trip out to Missouri, and this one was undertaken with the complication of Joseph and Sidney having to leave their children at a time they were all suffering with measles. This revelation was received two days after Joseph and his party arrived in Jackson County, at the conclusion of a conference after "all differences settled & the hearts of all run together in love." (See the minutes of the meeting, Far West Record, 24-25).

Section 82 details the organization of the United Firm in Missouri, and admonishes them to "manage the affairs of the poor." (See verse 12).  Some confusion still persists among Mormon history writers today over the affairs of the United Firm, because explicit reference to these business concerns was "deleted" from the printed version of the revelation 1835. (See RPJS, 331).  It was a business partnership composed of about a dozen members of the Church. They were landowners or merchants, and in most cases leaders of the Church, seeking to work harmoniously with one another to make a profit for the Church. Simultaneously, Joseph was establishing the United Order, the system designed to administer the law of consecration through the bishops. It is little wonder so much contention arose.

Their "sins" are mentioned many times in this revelation, but it would seem their most serious sin was their unwillingness to forgive one another. It is likely the leaders of the Church were indulged in their own business, and not the Lord's. They saw the mote in the eyes of their brethren, but were unwilling to acknowledge the beam in their own. It left them wide open for criticism and disputations among themselves. The need for secrecy to avoid the persecution of their neighbors now having passed, the code names mentioned in verse 11 of this revelation have been dropped except for those whose identity could not be established.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.
For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.
Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;
And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.
And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.
And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Alam and Newel K. Whitney, Mahalaleel and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and Horah and Oliver Cowdery, and Shalemanasseh and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships
To manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland.
For I have consecrated the land of Kirtland in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.
For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.
Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.
Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.
And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just --
And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church --
Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you, and unto your successors, inasmuch as you sin not.
And the soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.
And now, verily I say unto you, and this is wisdom, make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you. [To understand this "instruction" of the Lord, read the entire chapter of JST Luke 16. It is not what it might appear to be with only a casual reading.]
Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you.
For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness. Even so. Amen.

D&C 84:1-5; 31-32; 49-59; 74-76; 94-105

It is difficult to imagine a more doctrinally comprehensive revelation about Zion in our canon of scripture than this one. The Lord filled the eager and prepared mind of the Prophet, and at least one historian has suggested it came as a result of his work on the JST. (See RPJS, 176).  The subject matter is far-reaching and wide-ranging, probably because its original manuscript appears to be a composite of revelations received on at least two different days. (See HC 1:286-295).

Verses 1-5 comprise the Lord's announcement to the world of the location of "Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem." The Lord specifies the precise location of the temple and the commandment is given to build the temple "in this generation." (The fact that this requirement was rescinded in 1841, [see D&C 124:49-54] has led some to believe it will never be built. If one substitutes the word "generation" for "dispensation," however, we will thus harmonize this revelation with all the rest).  In verses 6-30 we have information concerning the priesthood, its lineage, definitions of the Aaronic and Melchizedek, the preparatory gospel, and the mission of John the Baptist. Verses 31 and 32 concern the "acceptable offering" of the sons of Moses and Aaron, and most people call verses 33-41 "the oath and covenant of the priesthood.” I would add verses 42-48 in the oath and covenant of the priesthood for a more complete understanding.

Verses 49-59 speak of the wickedness of God's children in this fallen world, both in and out of the Church, and the Lord issues a stinging condemnation of the Church for neglecting The Book of Mormon. President Ezra Taft Benson cited this scripture frequently after he became President of the Church. When many predicted his speeches would be filled with the political rhetoric of his past, instead his message as the Prophet was simple -- "Read The Book of Mormon."  Since many of those present on the occasion of this revelation had just returned from their missions to the western states, verses 60-95 give specific instruction concerning missionary work and how it is to be conducted in this dispensation. (Compare verses 65-73 with Mark 16:17-18; verses 81 85 with Matthew 6 and 3 Nephi 13. Careful reading and comparison will reveal that these instructions are not reserved exclusively for apostles, as some have erroneously concluded).  A careful reading of these verses will reveal how far we seem to have strayed from these simple doctrines.

Verses 96-102 are pre-millennial and millennial in content, verses 103-110 again relate to missionary work, and verses 111-113 further define the duty of bishops "to administer to [the wants of the poor] by humbling the rich and the proud."

The revelation concludes with a commandment for Newel K. Whitney, "the bishop," to warn the people of New York, Albany, and Boston "with the sound of the gospel."  (Years later in 1863, Wilford Woodruff prophesied that New York City would be destroyed by an earthquake, Boston by a tidal wave, and Albany by fire, because the inhabitants thereof had rejected the gospel. [Source: Deseret News {Nov. 12, 1884}: 679.]  For a curious "coincidence," compare 3 Nephi 8:8-10 in which three cities were destroyed in similar manner at the coming of the Savior among the Nephites).  Pursuant to the Lord's request, Joseph Smith and Newel Whitney made a swift visit to each of the cities specified, and Joseph "prophesied unto that city." (See RPJS, 177, 316-317 for the historical record).

It is hard to pass quickly over the verses in this revelation that are so rich doctrinally, so reading the entire revelation in context is encouraged to fully comprehend the linkage between the subject matter of the priesthood, the Second Coming of the Lord and the establishment of Zion. They are all one and the same, for the inhabitants of the city of Zion will be those possessed of the fullness of the priesthood, not merely those called to the work.

A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it).  Present-day panoramic view of Temple Lot from the U.N. Plaza to the west. Significant buildings (left to right): Stone Church (a historic congregational building of the Community of Christ), Church of Christ Temple Lot, Community of Christ Temple, Mormon Independence Visitor Center (slightly visible to the left down the hill from the auditorium), Community of Christ Auditorium.

Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord [concerning this "acceptable offering and sacrifice," see TPJS, 171-173, and D&C 128:24; see also TPJS, 58-59], which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot [see D&C 57:3] as I have appointed --
And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.

And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. [In an earlier verse in this revelation the Lord defines precisely what "my voice" really is (see verse 45). If it were expressed as a string of synonyms it might look like this:  My Voice = The Word of the Lord = Truth = Light = Spirit = The Spirit of Jesus Christ.]
And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received
Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even The Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written --
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

Verily, verily I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father's kingdom where my Father and I am.
And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.
But, verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works; for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief, and your brethren in Zion for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you. [See D&C 82. Despite the continued admonitions of the Lord through revelation to the leaders of the Church in Jackson County, they were still harboring a rebellious spirit against Joseph. Pursuant to this instruction a letter was prepared and sent to Church leaders in Missouri, and the closing lines read: "Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer." (See HC 1:317-321)].

Nevertheless, search diligently and spare not; and wo unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony concerning me.
Wo, I say again, unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony of me;
For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness --
Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one.
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength;
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people.
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
Forever and ever, Amen.
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, it is expedient that every man who goes forth to proclaim mine everlasting gospel, that inasmuch as they have families, and receive money by gift, that they should send it unto them or make use of it for their benefit, as the Lord shall direct them, for thus it seemeth me good.
And let all those who have not families, who receive money, send it up unto the bishop in Zion, or unto the bishop in Ohio, that it may be consecrated for the bringing forth of the revelations and the printing thereof, and for establishing Zion.
And if any man shall give unto any of you a coat, or a suit, take the old and cast it unto the poor, and go on your way rejoicing.

D&C 85:1-2

This revelation is an extract of a letter (the complete text can be found in Times and Seasons, Vol. 5 [October 15, 1844]: 673) written by Joseph Smith to W. W. Phelps, who was living in Independence, Missouri. Brother Phelps had written to Joseph concerning those who had moved to Zion, but had not yet received their "inheritance." This letter was the answer to his inquiry.

The letter makes reference to "one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God." (See verse 7).

Based upon the description and the events contemplated, there has been much speculation about the identity of this personage. The Church offered an official statement about it a hundred years ago, hoping to quell interest in several pretenders to the office by saying this person would be a future Bishop of the Church, "if there are those who will still insist that the prophecy concerning the coming of 'one mighty and strong' is still to be regarded as relating to the future." (See article published in the Deseret News, November 13, 1905, under the signatures of Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, First Presidency, and reproduced in several sources in which this subject is thoroughly and comprehensively addressed).  Without adding fuel to an already large fire, let us simply reflect that the description cited above seems more likely to be someone one from the other side of the veil.

Several other points of interest arise from this letter, including the contents of verse 8. It seems Edward Partridge's continued opposition to the Prophet gave rise to the warning in this verse. Ezra Booth ultimately used the differences between Joseph and Edward Partridge as the excuse for his apostasy. Despite the fact that he gave Joseph his right hand in fellowship when the Prophet had made his earlier trip to Jackson County, and all seemed to be healed, Edward Partridge continued to bring up their differences over and over again. In their article, the First Presidency notes:

. . .and inasmuch as through his repentance and sacrifices and suffering, Bishop Edward Partridge undoubtedly obtained a mitigation of the threatened judgment against him of falling "by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning," so the occasion for sending another to fill his station "one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritance of the Saints" may also be considered as having passed away and the whole incident of the prophecy closed.

And yet one wonders is this still a future unfulfilled event of prophecy?

The "book of the law of God," is likewise an interesting expression, since numerous documents affirm that the "Book of the Law of the Lord" served as a multipurpose Church record book. Entries include revelations, correspondence, minutes of important meetings, the laying of the cornerstones of the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House, biographical sketches of faithful saints, and names of individual donors of tithing and consecrations for the Nauvoo Temple. (See RPJS, 317).

After that rather lengthy introduction, we now cite the first two verses describing the contents of the record:

It is the duty of the Lord's clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop;
And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.

D&C 89:1-3

These are Joseph Smith's words of introduction to the Word of Wisdom, received by revelation February 27, 1833. (See HC 1:327-329).

A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion.
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days --
Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

D&C 90:6-11; 28-37

A vacancy in the First Presidency, occasioned by the excommunication of Jesse Gause who had served with Sidney Rigdon as a counselor to Joseph, prompted this revelation. Frederick G. Williams is called as the new counselor in this revelation, and instruction on their conduct as a quorum is given in these verses.

The balance of the verses deals with the commandment to Vienna Jaques to consecrate her property, and to go to the land of Zion to receive her inheritance from the bishop. The word of the Lord to Vienna Jaques could well be considered a type and shadow for each of us. In the last verse the Lord again emphasizes that Zion will not be moved out of her place.

And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of this last kingdom;
As also through your administration the keys of the school of the prophets, which I have commanded to be organized;
That thereby they may be perfected in their ministry for the salvation of Zion, and of the nations of Israel, and of the Gentiles, as many as will believe;
That through your administration they may receive the word, and through their administration the word may go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews.
And then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the gospel of their salvation.
For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.

And again, verily I say unto you, it is my will that my handmaid Vienna Jaques should receive money to bear her expenses, and go up unto the land of Zion;
And the residue of the money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own due time.
Verily I say unto you, that it is meet in mine eyes that she should go up unto the land of Zion, and receive an inheritance from the hand of the bishop;
That she may settle down in peace inasmuch as she is faithful, and not be idle in her days from thenceforth.
And behold, verily I say unto you, that ye shall write this commandment, and say unto your brethren in Zion, in love greeting, that I have called you also to preside over Zion in mine own due time.
Therefore, let them cease wearying me concerning this matter.
Behold, I say unto you that your brethren in Zion begin to repent, and the angels rejoice over them.
Nevertheless, I am not well pleased with many things; and I am not well pleased with my servant William E. McLellin, neither with my servant Sidney Gilbert; and the bishop also, and others have many things to repent of.
But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me.
For she shall not be removed out of her place. I, the Lord, have spoken it. Amen.

D&C 93:51-53

The last three verses of this revelation are cited here, for they are instructions to the First Presidency, and the last verse contains the word Zion. The revelation was given in the course of Joseph's work on the JST. Once again the doctrinal content is rich, spelling out the process of obtaining "the fulness of the Father."

The counsel given by the Lord to the First Presidency is pertinent to each who would have an inheritance in Zion: 1) Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (see Luke 4:19; 2 Corinthians 6:2); 2) proclaim the gospel of salvation as directed by the Spirit; 3) pray the prayer of faith; 4) keep the "sayings" of the Lord.

The Lord admonishes Joseph to "hasten to translate my scriptures," so he may obtain "a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man." In like manner must each of us "translate" the words on the printed page of scripture into a similar understanding, that we may find "the salvation of Zion."

Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him.
And let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Frederick G. Williams make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

D&C 94:1-3; 10

This revelation was received August 2, 1833, based upon the manuscript copies we have of the original, and gives instruction for the building of two houses -- one for the work of the presidency, and the other for the work of printing the JST -- both of which were adjacent to the temple lot in Kirtland. Two months later construction began on the first building, the finished product being somewhat smaller than specified in this revelation, and it was completed in November 1834. It served both purposes until it was attached by judgment to satisfy a debt in 1837, then it was burned to the ground in January 1838. The second building was never built.

It should be noted that Kirtland is always referred to in the revelations as "a stake of Zion," and never Zion itself. The word Zion is always reserved for "the centerstake of Zion" meaning Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.

And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of the city of the stake of Zion, here in the land of Kirtland, beginning at my house.
And behold, it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you. [See Hebrews 8:5; D&C 52:14; 95:14; 97:10; 115:14-16].
And let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of a house for the presidency, for the work of the presidency, in obtaining revelations; and for the work of the ministry of the presidency, in all things pertaining to the church and kingdom.

And again, verily I say unto you, the second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me for the building of a house unto me, for the work of the printing of the translation of my scriptures, and all things whatsoever I shall command you.

D&C 96:1-5

On March 23, 1834, a council of elders and high priests met in Kirtland to discuss the purchase of land in and around Kirtland. Of particular interest was the Peter French farm, and the brethren sought direction from the Lord on how to proceed. It is clear the Lord intended the saints to stay in Kirtland awhile, for the encouragement is given to make the Kirtland Stake strong. The urgency of getting the JST printed is obvious in these verses, and for this reason the brethren were admonished to sink their roots long enough to accomplish that purpose.

Behold, I say unto you, here is wisdom, whereby ye may know how to act concerning this matter, for it is expedient in me that this stake that I have set for the strength of Zion should be made strong.
Therefore, let my servant Newel K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house.
And again, let it be divided into lots, according to wisdom, for the benefit of those who seek inheritances, as it shall be determined in council among you.
Therefore, take heed that ye see to this matter, and that portion that is necessary to benefit mine order, for the purpose of bringing forth my word to the children of men.
For behold, verily I say unto you, this is the most expedient in me, that my word should go forth unto the children of men, for the purpose of subduing the hearts of the children of men for your good. Even so. Amen.

D&C 97

If ever there were a revelation devoted exclusively to broadening Joseph's understanding of Zion, this is it. There is a rich irony in the events of July 23, 1833. The saints residing in Jackson County were compelled to sign an agreement with their enemies mandating their expulsion from the land of Zion, and on that same day in Kirtland the cornerstones of the temple were laid "after the order of the Holy Priesthood." (See HC 1:390-402).

Oliver Cowdery personally delivered a letter to the Prophet from the leaders of the Church in Jackson County, written after they had been forced to sign the compulsory pact with their enemies. In consequence of the persecutions the saints were suffering in Jackson County, following the Prophet's inquiry, the following revelation was given August 2, 1833.

Commenting years later about this revelation and the subsequent events, Parley P. Pratt makes this observation:

The leaders of the Church in Missouri did not comply with this revelation as a whole (notwithstanding many were humble and faithful); therefore, the threatened judgment was poured out to the uttermost, as the history of the five following years will show. (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1975], eleventh printing, 102).

Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit, that I may show unto you my will concerning your brethren in the land of Zion, many of whom are truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth.
Verily, verily I say unto you, blessed are such, for they shall obtain; for I, the Lord, show mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them unto judgment.
Behold, I say unto you, concerning the school in Zion, I, the Lord, am well pleased that there should be a school in Zion, and also with my servant Parley P. Pratt, for he abideth in me.
And inasmuch as he continueth to abide in me he shall continue to preside over the school in the land of Zion until I shall give unto him other commandments.
And I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, in expounding all scriptures and mysteries to the edification of the school, and of the church of Zion.
And to the residue of the school, I, the Lord, am willing to show mercy; nevertheless, there are those that must needs be chastened, and their works shall be made known.
The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.
Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command they are accepted of me.
For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.
Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you.
Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people.
Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion --
For a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices;
That they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you.
And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.
And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.
And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;
And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.
Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion -- THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.
For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?
The Lord's scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come;
For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works.
Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.
Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her;
And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.

There is little question that establishing Kirtland as a viable stake of Zion was going to take longer than anticipated, but this brief history holds out the hope in 1979 that it would someday become what was originally envisioned.

D&C 99

This revelation was given through the Prophet to John Murdock, the natural father of the twins (Joseph and Julia) who were adopted by Joseph and Emma following the death of Emma's infant during childbirth. Julia Murdock, John's wife, died giving birth to their twins, so the adoption seemed a logical arrangement and assuaged Emma's grief over the loss of her own child.

John Murdock's life parallels the important events of the Church from the date of his conversion with Sidney Rigdon in 1830, to his death in Lehi, Utah, in 1871. His was a long legacy of faithful devotion and service to the Church, and as promised in this revelation he received his inheritance in Zion in 1836, prior to the expulsion of the saints in 1839.

He served nine missions for the Church during his lifetime, served as bishop twice in Nauvoo and Salt Lake was ordained a patriarch by Heber C. Kimball, and was much loved by the leaders of the Church throughout his life. John Murdock's journal in the Church archives under the date of this revelation (August 29, 1832) gives some indication of the faith of this man who had just buried his wife, and demonstrates his desire to do what the Lord had commanded. With the dirt still settling over his wife's grave in Kirtland, John Murdock made arrangements to send his three surviving children to Jackson County to be cared for by the bishop there, and he set out on his mission to the eastern states. This is his journal account, followed by the revelation:

I then continued with the church preaching to them and strengthening them and regaining my health till the month of Aug. when I received the Revelation, at which time I immediately commenced to arrange my business and provide for my children and sent them up to the Bishop in Zion, which I did by the hand of Bro. Caleb Baldwin in Sept. I gave him 10 Dollars a head for carrying up my three eldest children.

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant John Murdock thou art called to go into the eastern countries from house to house, from village to village, and from city to city, to proclaim mine everlasting gospel unto the inhabitants thereof, in the midst of persecution and wickedness.
And who receiveth you receiveth me; and you shall have power to declare my word in the demonstration of my Holy Spirit.
And who receiveth you as a little child, receiveth my kingdom; and blessed are they, for they shall obtain mercy.
And whoso rejecteth you shall be rejected of my Father and his house; and you shall cleanse your feet in the secret places by the way for a testimony against them.
And behold, and lo, I come quickly to judgment, to convince all of their ungodly deeds which they have committed against me, as it is written of me in the volume of the book.
And now, verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly unto the bishop of Zion.
And after a few years, if thou desirest of me, thou mayest go up also unto the goodly land, to possess thine inheritance;
Otherwise thou shalt continue proclaiming my gospel until thou be taken. Amen.

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