Revelation, 6 August 1833 [D&C 98]
- Source Note
JS dictated this 6 August 1833 revelation, which encouraged peace amid escalating violence, approximately two weeks after a and were tarred and feathered and the church was destroyed in , Missouri. Though he may have known about increasing tensions in , at this time JS had no knowledge of these specific events. In surviving documents, JS neither explained the immediate background of this revelation nor offered any interpretation of its text. On the same day JS dictated the revelation, the copied it into a letter that they sent to church leaders in Jackson County, noting simply, “Here follows another revelation received to day.” In the letter, following the transcription of this and two other revelations, the presidency commented briefly about the revelations’ contents, but nothing pertained to the 6 August revelation in particular.Though contemporary sources provide little information as to what prompted the revelation, it may have come in response to the growing opposition against the church. On 9 July 1833, wrote a letter, no longer extant, to , Ohio. That letter and another, also not extant, from participants in the prompted JS and the presidency of the high priesthood to respond to Missouri leaders in the aforementioned 6 August letter. When Cowdery wrote to Kirtland, he may have expressed concern about the sporadic violence against church members in Jackson County and sought guidance from JS and the presidency of the high priesthood on how to respond to the problem. On 15 July, only days after Cowdery wrote his letter, an influential faction in issued a manifesto declaring their intent “to rid our society” of Mormons “peacably if we can, forcibly if we must.” A later article printed in Kirtland in an extra to The Evening and the Morning Star noted that some Jackson County residents had long made “every effort to fan the flames” of opposition “till this demoniac spirit became general.” Cowdery left Jackson County sometime in late July, just after violence had erupted, and arrived in Kirtland on 9 August 1833, three days after JS dictated the 6 August revelation. In a letter to church leaders in Missouri that he wrote on 10 August, Cowdery mentioned the presidency’s 6 August letter and described its contents as “three revelations concerning .” Yet the revelation featured here never specifically mentions Jackson County or the circumstances there.Since this revelation is addressed to the presidency of the high priesthood, who were in , it may also reflect concerns about circumstances in . Although a 2 July letter written from Kirtland indicated that “the spirit of bitterness among the people is fast subsiding and a spirit of enquiry is taking its place,” and an area newspaper suggested that the church in Kirtland was “far removed from danger,” some evidence indicates that opposition against the church in Kirtland had been intensifying. In late June 1833, a excommunicated , and following a brief reinstatement by JS, a general council excommunicated Hurlbut again. JS recorded that after being cut off from the church, Hurlbut “then saught the distruction of the sainst [Saints] in this place and more particularly myself and family.” Less than two weeks after this revelation was dictated, JS wrote to and other church leaders that church members in Kirtland suffered “great persicution on account of” Hurlbut, who lied “in a wonderful manner and the peapl [people] are running after him and giveing him mony to b[r]ake down mormanism which much endangers our lives.” In the same letter, JS declared, “We are no safer here in Kirtland then you are in the cloud is gethering arou[nd] us with great fury and all pharohs host or in other words all hell and the com[bined] powrs of Earth are Marsheling their forces to overthrow us.” Thus, this revelation may be related to aggression and escalating tension in one or both of the church centers.This revelation counseled church members to remain temperate in their reactions to violent confrontation. It advocated following constitutional law and supporting civil authority, though it says nothing explicit about using the laws of the land to respond to the violence perpetrated by enemies of the church. Rather, it advised church members to patiently bear their afflictions, to “renounce war and proclaim peace,” and to offer forgiveness to wrongdoers. At the same time, this revelation explained in detail the conditions under which self-defense was permissible.Though this revelation proved to have great relevance for church members in their coming trials, it was rarely mentioned in contemporary sources. One possible contemporary allusion to this revelation appears in a letter written by an unidentified church member on 30 October 1833 in , Missouri. The letter echoed the instructions of the revelation, reporting that when “the mob, or at least some of the leaders began to move; strict orders were given with us not to be the aggressors—but to warn them not to come upon us.”Several versions of this revelation exist. Two versions are contemporaneous: one was written in a letter sent to on 6 August 1833 and the second appears in Revelation Book 2. Insufficient evidence exists to determine which is the earliest extant copy. Since the 6 August letter is published in its entirety elsewhere in this volume, the version featured here is from the manuscript revelation book. Significant differences between the two versions are noted.
Times and Seasons. Commerce/Nauvoo, IL. Nov. 1839–Feb. 1846.
The Evening and the Morning Star. Independence, MO, June 1832–July 1833; Kirtland, OH, Dec. 1833–Sept. 1834.
Memorandum of Agreement, 23 July 1833. CHL.
Painesville Telegraph. Painesville, OH. 1822–1986.