Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures
The purpose of this page is to quickly place the receipt of each of the the modern LDS scriptures within the broad sweep of LDS church history. A more detailed discussion of the setting for a particular book or section may be included on the main page for that book or section. Lengthier discussions of the historical setting are also available at Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants and Other Modern Scriptures and Church History in the Fulness of Times. This page (excluding footnotes) should remain short enough to read in about thirty minutes.
This page is under construction and will stay ahead of the Gospel Doctrine lesson schedule.
- 1 First Vision and Book of Mormon, D&C 2-19
- 2 Church in New York, D&C 20-40
- 3 Law of Consecration in Ohio, D&C 41-51
- 4 Missions to Zion, D&C 52-64
- 5 Hiram period, D&C 65-81
- 6 Consolidated Instruction and Prophecy, D&C 82-93
- 7 Kirtland Temple and Zion's Camp, D&C 94-110
- 8 Far West, D&C 111-123
- 9 Nauvoo, D&C 124-135
- 10 After Joseph, D&C 136, 138, Official Statements
- 11 Resources
- 12 Notes
First Vision and Book of Mormon, D&C 2-19
The angel Moroni first appeared to Joseph Smith three years later on September 22, 1823 as recorded in JSH 1:27-54. On this occasion Moroni quoted to Joseph Smith from many of the Old Testament prophets. A portion of what he quoted from Malachi is recorded in D&C 2. Every year for the next four years Joseph returned to the Hill Cumorah to meet and receive instruction from Moroni. During this time Joseph married Emma Hale in January 1827. He finally received the gold plates from Moroni on September 22, 1827.
In about December 1827, to escape rising persecution, Joseph and Emma left Palmyra, New York to go live with her parents at Harmony, Pennsylvania. During the following April - June 1828 Martin Harris spent two months at Harmony serving as Joseph's scribe and helping to translate 116 pages of handwritten text from the Book of Mormon. Martin then took the manuscript home to Palmyra, New York, where it was lost. Joseph learned of the loss in July, and soon afterward Moroni appeared and related to Joseph the chastisement and instruction recorded in D&C 3.
In September 1828, at Harmony, Joseph received the gold plates back again from Moroni. Probably also at this time Joseph received the instruction found in verses 1-37 of D&C 10 that he was not to re-translate the lost 116 pages.
In April 1829 Oliver Cowdery arrived at Harmony and began assisting Joseph as scribe for the remainder of the Book of Mormon translation. D&C 6, D&C 7, D&C 8 and D&C 9 were all received in April as Joseph and Oliver translated. On May 15 Joseph and Oliver received the Aaronic Priesthood as recorded in D&C 13 and JSH 1:68-74. About this time Joseph received D&C 11 directed to his brother Hyrum Smith and D&C 12 directed to Joseph Knight Sr. when these two people visited him at Harmony. It was likely in late May, as Joseph and Oliver neared the end of the Book of Mormon translation, that they were instructed in verses 38-70 of D&C 10 to translate the small plates containing First Nephi through Words of Mormon. 
About the first of June 1829, to again escape rising persecution, Joseph and Oliver moved to Fayette, New York to stay with the Whitmer family. During that time Joseph received revelations directed to three of the Whitmer sons, D&C 14 to David, D&C 15 to John, and D&C 16 to Peter Jr. About mid June Joseph received D&C 18 directed to Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer appointing them to later seek out the twelve Apostles. About late June Joseph received D&C 17 in which Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris are identified as the Three Witnesses, probably in the morning of the same day on which they received their vision of Moroni and the gold plates. Martin Harris soon afterward granted a mortgage on his farm to guarantee the cost of printing the Book of Mormon.
The translation was completed at Fayette near the end of June 1829, and the center of activity then moved back to Palmyra where Oliver Cowdery and Hyrum Smith oversaw the process of printing the Book of Mormon. Joseph spent most of October 1829 through March 1830 back home in Harmony, Pennsylvania. In March 1830, as the printing of the Book of Mormon neared completion, Joseph returned to Palmyra. Martin Harris, who was concerned that he might lose his farm if the Book of Mormon did not sell, insisted that Joseph obtain a revelation from the Lord, and this resulted in D&C 19.
Church in New York, D&C 20-40
Following the organization of the Church, revelations were increasingly addressed to the Church as a whole rather than to individuals. Many of the revelations received during the first months of the Church's existence address basic matters of Church doctrine and practice.
Eleven days after the Book of Mormon first went on sale at Palmyra, the Church was organized thirty miles away at Fayette on Tuesday, April 6, 1830. During this organizational meeting Joseph Smith received D&C 21, in which the Lord approved both the organization of the Church and Joseph's role as his prophet.
Four days later on Saturday, April 10, D&C 20 was recorded at Fayette in essentially its current form, though portions had been received by revelation and written in drafts over the previous year. Today D&C 20 is often called the "Constitution" of the Church, but in the early days of the Church it was known as the Church's "Articles and Covenants". D&C 20 was often copied into personal journals and read in its entirety at Church meetings until the membership became familiar with it. D&C 20 proclaims the role of God’s Church in restoring the gospel, establishes basic doctrines such as the Godhead, the creation, the fall, the atonement, faith, repentance, baptism, sanctification and justification, establishes the qualifications for and covenant of baptism, and outlines the duties and organization of the priesthood leadership and of the general Church membership. D&C 20 was read and accepted by the Church membership at the First Quarterly General Conference in June 1830.
About a week later on April 16 several of the brethren were back in Manchester-Palmyra when Joseph received D&C 22 stating that the Church is not to recognize baptisms performed by other denominations since they lack Priesthood authority to perform valid ordinances. About this time, also at Manchester, Joseph Smith received a series of five short revelations directed to Oliver Cowdery, his father Joseph Smith Sr., his brothers Hyrum and Samuel, and Joseph Knight Sr. Those five revelations are now printed together in D&C 23.
The Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith's first major translation project. After returning home to spend the summer of 1830 at home in Harmony, Pennsylvania, Joseph began working on a second major translation project, the Inspired Version or Joseph Smith Translation (JST) of the Bible. The project began in June with his receipt of Moses 1. That chapter relates a series of three visitations at the time of Moses' call to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt and serves more as a preface to Genesis rather than a translation. By late July the JST had progressed through about the first three chapters of Genesis, or Moses 2-4. Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer also spent much of the summer at Harmony working as Joseph's scribes.
In about early July Joseph received D&C 24, in which he was instructed to strengthen the three Church branches at Palmyra, Fayette, and Colesville, to continue working on the Joseph Smith Translation, and to work his farm. D&C 25 is addressed to Joseph's wife Emma. That section is best known for its instruction that Emma compile a book of hymns. By the end of July Joseph was again instructed in D&C 26 to strengthen the branch at Colesville.
In late August Newel Knight and his wife Sally Knight traveled from Colesville to visit Joseph at Harmony. During this visit Joseph went out to obtain some wine in order to administer the sacrament. He was met along the way by an angel who stated, as recorded in D&C 27, that it does not matter whether one drinks wine or something else as long as it is done in sincere devotion.
During the summer Oliver Cowdery left Harmony to stay at Fayette with Whitmers. In about August Oliver wrote a letter from Fayette in which he told Joseph Smith to correct a portion of D&C 20:37. Joseph fired back a letter from Harmony inquiring as to Oliver’s authority to change a revelation from God. Joseph then traveled to Fayette and ultimately succeeded in convincing Oliver Cowdery and Whitmers that the verse was written correctly. In September Joseph Smith also moved to Fayette and discovered that Hiram Page was writing down false revelations for the Church. In D&C 28 Joseph received instruction how to resolve this issue, which was to have Oliver Cowdery teach Hiram Page that only the prophet (Joseph) is authorized to receive recorded revelation for the Church. Other Church leaders may speak by way of commandment, but they may only write by way of suggestion. This established the "order of revelation" for the Church.
D&C 28 was also the first in a series of revelations to address a "Mission to the Lamanites" and the location of latter-day Zion. Two topics of great interest to Church members at this time were the fulfillment of the promises in the Book of Mormon regarding the latter day restoration of the Lamanites to a knowledge of the gospel, and the location of the latter day Zion prophesied in Ether 13. D&C 28 appointed Oliver Cowdery to go on a mission to preach to the Lamanites in Indian Territory west of Missouri. D&C 28 identified the border area between Missouri and Indian Territory as the general location for latter day Zion. D&C 28 was read at the Second Quarterly General Conference of the Church in late September 1830.
D&C 29 was also received in connection with the second quarterly general conference. It was received not long after Moses 4 and shares much in common with it doctrinally. But D&C 29 more directly applied those doctrines to the current situation of the Saints and placed the mission to the Lamanites in its grand historical context from the pre-mortal to the post-Millennial.
Thomas Marsh and Parley Pratt were both baptized in early September. During and soon after the OCtober conference Joseph Smith received revelations directed to them and several other Church members. In D&C 30 Peter Whitmer Jr. was instructed to accompany Oliver Cowdery on his Mission to the Lamanites. In D&C 31 Thomas Marsh, a doctor, was given counsel regarding his family and called a physician to the Church. In D&C 32 and Parley Pratt and Ziba Peterson were also added to the mission to the Lamanites. In D&C 33 Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet were called on a mission. And in D&C 34 Parley's younger brother Orson Pratt was instructed to lift up voice in preaching.
The mission to the Lamanites consisted of four of the Church’s entire ordained ministry of nine elders, its Second Elder and one of the Three Witnesses (Oliver Cowdery), and one of the Eight Witnesses (Peter Whitmer Jr.). The importance of this mission is also reflected in its objectives to begin preaching the gospel to the Lamanites in fulfillment of the promises made to them in the Book of Mormon, and to scout the location of Zion, the New Jerusalem to be built in preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming.
On their journey west (see the maps of United States, Kirtland, and Missouri), Parley Pratt suggested that the missionaries stop in Kirtland, Ohio to preach to his friend and former pastor Sidney Rigdon. Within a month during October - November 1830 the missionaries baptized about 125 converts. Those converts continued preaching after the missionaries resumed their journey to Missouri, and there were soon more members in Ohio than the 200 or so who lived in New York. This first group of early Ohio converts included many who would play prominent roles over the next decade, including Sidney Rigdon, Frederick Williams, Edward Partridge, Sidney Gilbert, Newel Whitney, Isaac Morley, John Murdock, and Lyman Wight.
In December, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge left Kirtland to go meet the prophet Joseph Smith in New York. D&C 35 appointed Sidney Rigdon to serve as Joseph's scribe and likened his work as a reformist preacher to that of John the Baptist as prepared the hearts of the people at Kirtland to receive the restored gospel. D&C 36 stated that Edward Partridge, and all others who embraced the calling and commandment to preach, should be ordained and sent forth.
After Sidney Rigdon began serving as scribe for the JST, Joseph Smith received Moses 7, which described te Zion community established by Enoch. During December Joseph also received D&C 74, likely in response to a question raised by Sidney Rigdon, as an explanation of a statement by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:14..
Also during December 1830 Joseph Smith received D&C 37, which instructed him to stop working on the JST until he had visited the branches in New York and then moved to Ohio. D&C 37 also instructed all the New York Saints to gather to Ohio. On January 2, 1831 the Church held its Third Quarterly General Conference at Fayette. During the conference the membership asked Joseph about the instruction to gather to Ohio, and in response, he received D&C 38, which ____. The scope of activity continues to grow, now from building up a church to establishing a Zion community.
Law of Consecration in Ohio, D&C 41-51
Two groups of Ohio converts figured prominently during Joseph Smith's first four months in Kirtland, Ohio: the Morley Common Stock Family of about fifty converts who owned all property in common, and those involved with false spirits.
Within days of his arrival in Ohio, Joseph Smith received D&C 41. This revelation introduced the office of bishop, appointed Edward Partridge to that office, and renewed the promise to reveal the Lord’s Law.
That Law was revealed five days later in D&C 42, which expands upon the charge to “love thy neighbor” in Commandments Six through Nine (to not lie, commit adultery, kill, or steal). But the section is best known for implementing the Tenth Commandment (to not covet) by announcing the Law of Consecration and Stewardship. Members were to consecrate their property by deeding it to the bishop and then receiving back an amount sufficient for their families. Members who grew their stewardships were to periodically also consecrate the excess. Church discipline was also addressed as part of the Law governing the Church. This revelation was often copied into journals, read at meetings, and treated as a governing document much like D&C 20.
It is likely that Moses 8 was also received during February soon after Joseph Smith arrived in Ohio and resumed working on the JST.
One of those who joined with the Saints in Kirtland was a lady named Laura Hubble, who began announcing prophecies much as Hiram Page had done in New York. During February Joseph Smith received D&C 43, which established the "order of revelation" for the Saints in Ohio much as D&C 28 had done six months earlier for the Saints in New York. D&C 43 also went on to clarify several points regarding the last days and Second Coming.
As generally appointed in D&C 20:61, the Church had held quarterly general conferences in New York in June, September, and January. When by late February the Saints had failed to appoint a fourth quarterly general conference, it was appointed for them in D&C 44.
On March 7 the Lord expanded on D&C 43 by revealing more about the last days and Second Coming in D&C 45. This revelation also instructed Joseph that his work on the JST should move from Genesis to the New Testament, and promised that even more about the last days would then be revealed.
The Book of Mormon states in 3 Ne 18:22 that sincere investigators should be allowed to attend Church meetings. When this teaching is not followed, it was reaffirmed on March 8 in D&C 46, though church leaders were always authorized to conduct meetings as led by the Spirit. D&C 46 also identified several gifts of the Spirit and encouraged the Saints to seek after them. In D&C 47, also received on March 8, John Whitmer was appointed to succeed Oliver Cowdery, who was still in Missouri, as Church historian.
During the spring about 200 New York Saints moved to Ohio. D&C 48 instructed the Ohio Saints to share their lands with the New York Saints. If needed, additional land should be purchased with money. Three who shared their large farms with the New York Saints were Frederick Williams, Isaac Morley and a Shaker convert named Leman Copley.
The Shakers were a religious group that gathered in communities and shared some doctrines in common with the Church. When Leman Copley asked that he be sent to preach to the local Shaker community, he, Sidney Rigdon, and Parley Pratt were appointed to do so in probably in probably early March in D&C 49. This revelation provided the text of their preaching and corrected several incorrect Shaker doctrines.
The Saints in Ohio came to the Church from a variety of religious backgrounds. Some, especially among the younger converts, became involved in what were called excessive spiritual displays. Some members were suspicious of these displays, while others were unsure what to make of them. Finally, to resolve the issue, several of the leading brethren asked Joseph Smith in May to in inquire of the Lord concerning the matter. D&C 50 announced two tests for distinguishing between good and evil spirits. In the course of doing so it also explained that all teaching and conversion in the Church is to be through the Holy Ghost, and that any other method is not of God.
On ____ D&C 51 provided the bishop with guidance in implementing the law of consecration and stewardship by explaining that stewardships were to be given to each family to own as their private property, and that the size of each stewardship was to be based not only on a family’s needs, but also its wants.
In May Joseph Smith heals Elsa Johnson’s arm. This experience leads to the baptism of the Father John Johnson family and Ezra Booth. These new converts will soon play significant roles in Church history.
Matthew 24 JST or Joseph Smith - Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price.
Fourth Quarterly General Conference. D&C 50 provides two tests for identifying false spirits. That which is of God is light and promotes understanding; that which does not is of the devil. If the elders are still unsure, they can pray to receive the manifested spirit, and if they do not receive it then it is not of God. At the Fourth Quarterly General Conference both the Holy Ghost and false spirits are manifested, and the elders gain practical experience in distinguishing between them.
Missions to Zion, D&C 52-64
As soon as the Fourth Quarterly General Conference closed, Joseph Smith received D&C 52 on the evening of June 6, 1831. This revelation appointed Joseph Smith and several companions to travel to Missouri, where the Lord would reveal the location of Zion. It also appointed two dozen missionaries to travel to Missouri in pairs, preaching along the way. Those traveling to Zion were to conduct the next, fifth quarterly general conference of the Church in Zion.
Two days later on June 8 Joseph Smith received D&C 53, in which Sidney Gilbert was instructed to accompany Joseph Smith to Missouri. Another two days later D&C 54 instructed the Colesville Branch to leave the farm in Thompson, Ohio owned by Leman Copley (who had broken his covenant to let them settle there) and move as a group to Zion in Missouri. Another four days later, D&C 55 instructed William Phelps and Joseph Coe to also travel to Missouri in company with Joseph Smith. The next day, June 15, D&C 56 again instructed Newel Knight, the Colesville Branch president, to leave for Missouri with as many members of the branch as were willing to go. The companions appointed in D&C 52 for Thomas Marsh and Selah Griffin did not go to Missouri, so the two were also appointed in D&C 56 as a new companionship.
When Joseph Smith left for Missouri on June 19, 1831 he had progressed on his translation of the Bible to Matthew 26. Matthew 24 JST thus also dates from probably June 1831.
Several of the missionaries appointed in D&C 52 left for Missouri within days of receiving their calls. Joseph Smith's traveling group left on June 19, and the Colesville Branch left on June 28. In mid to late July Joseph Smith, the Colesville Saints and two pairs of missionaries arrived in Jackson County, Missouri where they were reunited with Oliver Cowdery and the other missionaries appointed in D&C 28, 30, 32.
After arriving in Missouri, Joseph Smith received D&C 57 on July 20 identifying western Jackson County as the land of Zion and providing a large number of specific instructions for settling there. On August 1 D&C 58 provided additional temporal instructions about the mechanics of settling Zion, including dedicating the land of Zion, and that there would be much tribulation in settling Zion. The land of Zion was then dedicated the next day, and the Independence temple site the day after that. And the day after that, August 4, the Fifth Quarterly General Conference was held in Jackson County, Missouri. On the following Sunday, August 7, D&C 59 set forth the law, or the spiritual arrangements applicable to the Saints who settle in Zion. Like the Law of D&C 42, this section also emphasized several of the Ten Commandments in addition to fasting.
The next day Joseph Smith received D&C 60, which instructed the missionaries returning to Ohio to travel through St. Louis. From there Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon were to return quickly, while the rest were to return two by two, preaching along the way. The day after that, on Tuesday, August 9 Joseph Smith and ten other elders departed by canoe down the Missouri River. There was contention as the returning elders traveled downstream by canoe, followed by an accident that was nearly serious. On Friday, August 12, D&C 61 chastised the company and taught that the Saints were generally to travel by land rather than by water. The next day the company of returning elders crossed paths with four elders who were still on their way to Missouri. On Saturday, August 13, D&C 62 instructed the outbound elders to continue on to Jackson County and to hold a conference there before returning to Ohio.
Upon arriving back in Ohio, Joseph Smith received D&C 63 and D&C 64 which explained the arrangements under which Saints were to be sent from Ohio to Zion. For the next five years, they were to move to Zion only as appointed by Church leaders, and not in haste or confusion.
The Church now had two centers of activity 800 miles apart, one in Ohio and one in Missouri. This would continue until 1838, only a year before the Saints moved to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1839. Joseph Smith lived in Ohio with Sidney Rigdon and most of the Saints, all living under the same economic rules as their neighbors. Bishop Edward Partridge was the spiritual and temporal leader of the Saints in Missouri where the Law of Consecration and Stewardship iwa implemented.
Hiram period, D&C 65-81
Upon his return to Ohio, Joseph Smith moved about 30 miles from Kirtland to live at the John Johnson Farm in Hiram. Joseph and his family lived at the John Johnson farm for six months from September 1831 until March 1832, when Joseph left on a second trip to Missouri. This period is often referred to as the “Hiram Period.” During this time several revelations were received related to publishing the Book of Commandments (the first edition of the Doctrine & Covenants).
The Sixth Quarterly General Conference was held in Ohio in late October. Following the conference, William McLellin accompanied Joseph Smith home to Hiram. On October 29 Joseph received D&C 66 directed to William McLellin. The next day Joseph also received D&C 65 as a revelation or inspired prayer based on a portion of the Lord's prayer in Matthew 6:10.
Special conferences were held in November regarding publication of the revelations that Joseph Smith had received thus far. This book was to be called the Book of Commandments. The first conference was held on November 1-2. On the first day of this conference D&C 1 was received as the Lord’s own "Preface" to his Book of Commandments. Following the receipt of this Preface, some of the elders expressed dissatisfaction with the language of the revelations. That afternoon the Lord confirmed in D&C 67 that the revelations were his, and he challenged those attending to try and write a better one. That night William McLellin attempted to do so, but he could not. The next day those at the conference affirmed their testimony of the revelations. Joseph then received D&C 68.
The next day following the conference, November 3, Joseph Smith also received D&C 133. This revelation was placed at the end of the Book of Commandments and was often known simply as the "Appendix" . D&C 1 and D&C 133, received two days apart, thus formed the bookends of the Book of Commandments.
The last of the special conferences was held on November 11-12. In contrast to the first conference, which was mostly concerned with the content of the Book of Commandments, this conference was more concerned with the mechanics of actually getting the book into print. On the first day of this last conference, D&C 69 appointed John Whitmer to accompany Oliver Cowdery to Missouri with the revelation manuscripts and the money that had been donated for purchasing land in Missouri. William Phelps was also appointed about this time to purchase a printing press that he would operate in Missouri. The next day D&C 70 appointed Joseph Smith, Martin Harris who had mortgaged his farm, the printer William Phelps, and Joseph's scribes Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and John Whitmer, as joint stewards over the Book of Commandments. While the Law of Consecration and Stewardship announced in D&C 42 had previously provided for individual family stewardships, the “Literary Firm” announced in D&C 70 was the first joint stewardship under that law, and it was a first step toward the broader joint stewardship known as the United Order or United Firm.
A week later on November 11 Joseph received roughly D&C 107:59-100. This revelation expanded on the administrative structure previously revealed in D&C 20 by creating quorums. It also expanded on the relationship between the presiding bishop and the Church president recently addressed in D&C 68.
Ezra Booth was one of the missionaries appointed in D&C 52 who traveled to Missouri and back. But he stopped to preach only seven times on the entire outbound journey, and not even once on the return trip. Upon his return to Ohio in the fall of 1831 he publishes a series of antagonistic letters in a local newspaper. These letters damage the Church's image in Ohio and stir up significant opposition. In response, D&C 71 instructs Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on December 1, to stop working on the Joseph Smith Translation for a while and to instead go out preaching in northeast Ohio, calling upon their opponents to meet them in public debate. They do so until January 10 when D&C 73 instructs them to return to the Joseph Smith Translation.
Meanwhile in D&C 72 appoint a second bishop in Ohio and how he relates to Bishop in Missouri.
The year 1831 closes with the purchase of the temple lot at Independence, Missouri.
The Seventh Quarterly General Conference of the Church was held in northeast Ohio on January 25, 1832. D&C 75 was received during the conference and, much like D&C 52, appointed a dozen pairs of elders to missions.
On February 16, while working on the Joseph Smith Translation of John 5:28-29, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon receive the series of open visions regarding the three degrees of glory recorded in D&C 76. About the first of March, also in connection the translation, Joseph receives an explanation of portions of Revelation recorded in D&C 77.
By March 7 two of the elders appointed in D&C 75, Stephen Burnett and Eden Smith, were back home in northeast Ohio when D&C 80 appointed them as companions to another mission. Five days later on March 12 D&C 79 was a personal revelation directed to Jared Carter.
Meanwhile on March 8, 1832 Sidney Rigdon and Jesse Gause were appointed and ordained as Joseph Smith's counselors. A week later on March 15, D&C 81 was directed to Jesse Gause. His name was later deleted in favor of his successor in that calling, Frederick Williams, confirming that the revelation was directed more to the office of counselor than to a particular individual.
Symonds Ryder joined the Church in Ohio in ____ through the preaching of his close friend Ezra Booth. Symonds also apostatized during the the summer of 1831 at the same time as Ezra. On March 24, 1832 Symonds Ryder is one of the leaders of the mob that drags Joseph Smith out of the Jon Johnson home during the night and tars and feathers him.
Consolidated Instruction and Prophecy, D&C 82-93
The second year in Ohio and Missouri
Kirtland Temple and Zion's Camp, D&C 94-110
Following the receipt of D&C 105 at the conclusion of Zion's Camp in the summer of 1834, few additional revelations were added to the Doctrine & Covenants.
Zion's Camp was disbanded on July 5. Joseph Smith and most of the rest of Zion's Camp soon arrive back at Kirtland. In addition, many of the most prominent members in Missouri are appointed to receive their endownments in the Kirtland temple upon its completion. Work on the Kirtland Temple progresses rapidly, and the temple is completed 20 months later in March 1836.
In November 1834, D&C 106 appointed Warren Cowdery, older brother of Oliver Cowdery, as president of the branch in Freedom, western Pennsylvania where he lives, and instructed him to devote himself to this duty full time.
On February 14-15 a conference was held for the purpose of selecting the Twelve Apostles. The First Presidency set apart the Three Witnesses to perform this task as previously directed in D&C 18. Nine of the original Twelve were veterans of Zions Camp. Two weeks later on February 28 the First Quorum of Seventy was organized. All 70 initial members of the quorum were veterans of Zion's Camp. Also on February 28 Joseph Smith met with the Quorum of the Twelve to instruct them in their duty. During that meeting he received the remainder of D&C 107, which outlines the the relationship between the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods and explains the duties of the Twelve and the Seventy. This was considered in the early days of the Church to be one of the most significant revelations. From May to September the Twelve went on a collective mission and held a large number of conferences regulating the Church in the eastern states.
On July 3, 1835 the Saints purchased the Egyptian mummies and papyrus from Michael Chandler, who has been exhibiting them in the northeast and has by then made his way to northeast Ohio.
On August 17, 1835 the Church voted during a conference in Kirtland to accept the Doctrine & Covenants as a book of scripture. During the conference D&C 134 was accepted as a statement of the Church's beliefs on government. It was attached to the end of the Doctrine & Covenants much like another appendix. A month later in mid September the Doctrine & Covenants went on sale in significant numbers.
On December 26, 1835 Lyman Sherman felt prompted to approach Joseph Smith for a personal revelation. Within the hour Joseph Smith received D&C 108.
During January to April 1836, as the Kirtland temple neared completion, Church members in Ohio experienced an unusually rich outpouring of spiritual experiences. On January 21, 1836, much of the Church's highest leadership met in the attic story of the temple. During this meeting Joseph smith saw the vision recorded in D&C 137.
The Kirtland Temple was dedicated on Mach 27, 1836. The dedicatory prayer is recorded in D&C 109. A week later Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the temple to accept it, and Moses, Elias, and Elijah restored priesthood keys as recorded in D&C 110.
Far West, D&C 111-123
In 1836 Church leaders were heavily in debt a a result of purchasing and developing several properties and businesses, including the Kirtland temple. In about July a brother from Massachusetts arrived at Kirtland and told Joseph Smith that he knew the location of a treasure buried in a cellar near Boston. In August Joseph Smith and some others arrive in Massachusetts, but they are unable to locate the treasure. On August 8 Joseph receives D&C 111, in which the Lord states that he other "treasure" for them in the city than gold and that the Lord will give them power to pay their debts.
Kirtland Bank, Caldwell County, Mission to England.
On July 23 1837 D&C 112 to Thomas Marsh re the Twelve.
At the end of 1837 the situation at Kirtland was very bad. On January 12, 1838 Joseph Smith fled Kirtland and made his way to Missouri, arriving at Far West in mid March. In late March, Joseph provided answers to questions about Isaiah as recorded in D&C 113.
On April 11 Joseph received D&C 114 to apostle David Patten instructing him and the rest of the Twelve to depart on mission in the following spring of 1839.
On April 26 Joseph received D&C 115. In this revelation the name of the Church was formally given as "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." The Saints were also instructed to build a temple at Far West, and the superior authority of the First Presidency over stake presidencies was clarified.
In May Joseph Smith spent several days exploring with others to identify locations for additional cities and stakes. On May 19 he received D&C 116 which identified Spring Hill as Adam-ondi-Ahman, the location where Adam, the ancient of days, will sit as prophesied in Dan 7:22.
On July 8, 1838 a quarterly general conference of the Church was held. That morning Joseph received several revelations. D&C 117 instructed William Marks, Newel Whitney, and Oliver Granger to settle up their business in Kirtland and move to Far West. D&C 118 stated that the four apostles who had been excommunicated were to be replaced by John Taylor, John Page, Wilford Woodruff, and Willard Richards. It also states that the Twelve were to go on a second mission to England, departing in one year's time from the temple lot at Far West. D&C 119 stated that the Saints were to be tithed by giving all of their surplus property to the bishop and thereafter one tenth of their increase. D&C 120 stated that henceforth tithes would not be disposed of by the bishop acting alone, but rather by a council consisting of the First Presidency, Presiding Bishopric, and the Twelve.
But things then begin to go downhill. Mormon-Missouri War. Richmond and Liberty Jails.
During March 20-25, 1839 Joseph wrote a lengthy letter to the Saints. Portions of this letter were later included in the Doctrine & Covenants as D&C 121, D&C 122, and D&C 123. In mid April Joseph Smith and those imprisoned with him escape and make their way to Illinois, arriving on April 22 at Quincy where the main body of Saints had collected.
Nauvoo, D&C 124-135
After Joseph, D&C 136, 138, Official Statements
1890: Official declaration 1 regarding polygamy
1918: Joseph F. Smith receives D&C 138
1978: Official Declaration 2 regarding priesthood
1995: Proclamation on the Family
2000: Testimony of the Twelve regarding the Living Christ
This section is for listing links and print resources, including those cited in the notes. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link to the right to add a resource. →
- Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2nd ed.. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2000.
- Cook, Lyndon W. The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Provo, Utah: Seventy's Mission Bookstore, 1981.
- Elieson, Kurt S. Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants and Other Modern Scriptures, Vol. 1. 2011. (ISBN 9781460931882) BX8628.E45 2011.
- The Evening and the Morning Star, original series. Independence, Missouri: W.W. Phelps & Co., 1832-1833. BYU Harold B. Lee Library Digital Collections.
- Harper, Steven C. "The McLellin Manuscripts of D&C 22, 45, 65 and 66." In William McLellin, The Journals of William E. McLellin 1831-1836, p. 233-54. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch, ed. Provo, Utah: BYU Studies and Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1994.
- Kelly, William H. Interviews with William McLellin, 13 September 1881, and David Whitmer, 15 September 1881. In "Letter from Elder W.H. Kelly." In The Saints' Herald, 1 March 1882, Vol. 29, No. 5, p. 66-68. Plano, Illinois, Lamoni, Iowa and Independence, Missouri: Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (now Community of Christ), 1860-present.
- Knight, Joseph, Sr. "Joseph Knight's Recollection of Early Mormon History", Dean C. Jessee, ed. Reprinted in Brigham Young University Studies, Autumn 1976, Vol. 17, No. 1, p.29-39.
- Minute Book 1 (previously known as the Kirtland High Council Minute Book). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Minute Book 2 (previously known as the Far West Record). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Porter, Larry C. A study of the Origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816-1831. Ph.D. dissertation, Brigham Young University, 1971.
- Revelation Book 1 (previously known as the Book of Commandments and Revelations). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Revelation Book 2 (previously known as the Kirtland Revelation Book). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Smith, Joseph. History 1839-1856, Vol. A-1 (also known as the Manuscript History of the Church). The Joseph Smith Papers.
- Smith, Lucy Mack. History of Joseph Smith by His Mother. Edited by Preston Nibley. Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1942. First edition published 1901.
- Smith, Lucy Mack, Letter to Mary Smith Pierce, 23 January 1829. Reprinted in Dean C. Jessee, ed., "Lucy Mack Smith's 1829 Letter to Mary Smith Pierce". In Brigham Young University Studies, Autumn 1982, Vol. 22, No. 4, p. 455-65.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.
- Joseph Smith History 1:14-20.
- Joseph Smith History 1:29, 36-39.
- Joseph Smith History 1:54, 57, 59.
- Joseph Smith History 1:61.
- Joseph Smith History 1:63.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 9-10.
- Smith, Lucy Mack, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 125-32.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 10; Revelation, July 1828 (D&C 3), in Revelation Book 1, p. 1-2.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 11-12; Parkin, Max, "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10," in The Seventh Annual Sperry Symposium: The Doctrine & Covenants, p. 68-84, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1979.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 11; Smith, Lucy Mack, Letter to Mary Smith Pierce, 23 January 1829.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 13-17.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 17-18.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 19-21.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 11-12; Parkin, Max, "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10," in The Seventh Annual Sperry Symposium: The Doctrine & Covenants, p. 68-84, Provo, Utah: BYU Press, 1979.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 21-23.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 23-24; Cowdery, Oliver, Letter to Hyrum Smith, 14 June 1829, reprinted in Lyndon Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 29 (paraphrasing a portion of D&C 18).
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 23-24; Kelly, William, "Interview with David Whitmer," 15 September 1881, p. 68.
- Porter, Larry, A Study of the Origins of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the States of New York and Pennsylvania, 1816-1831, p. 88, citing Wayne County, New York Mortgage Records, Book 3, p. 325.
- Smith, Lucy Mack, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, 157.
- Knight, Joseph Sr., Recollection of Early Mormon History; Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 35.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 37-38.
- Church Articles and Covenants, 10 April 1830 (D&C 20), in Revelation Book 1, p. 52-58.
- Commandment, c. June 1829, in Revelation Book 1, p. 23-24; Woodford, Robert, Historical Development of the Doctrine & Covenants, p. 287-93.
- Woodford, Robert, Historical Development of the Doctrine & Covenants, p. 293, 299-300.
- Minute Book 2, 9 June 1830, p.1.
- Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 38; Harper, Steven, "The McLellin Manuscripts of D&C 22, 45, 65 and 66," p. 236, quoting William McLellin's manuscript copy of D&C 22.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 38-39; Knight, Joseph Sr., Recollection of Early Mormon History.
- Explanation of Scripture, c. December 1830 (D&C 74), in Revelation Book 1, p. 60; Transcription of Explanation of Scripture, c. December 1830 (D&C 74), on Joseph Smith Papers website.
- Smith, Joseph. Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 88-90.
- Smith, Joseph, Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 92-93.
- (1) Smith, Joseph. Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 95.. (2) Commandment, 9 February 1831 (D&C 42). In Revelation Book 1, p. 62-67.