Revelation, between circa 8 and circa 24 March 1832
Revelation, [between ca. 8 and ca. 24 Mar. 1832]. Featured version copied [ca. Mar. 1832]; handwriting of ; one page; Newel K. Whitney, Papers, BYU. Includes docket and archival marking.One leaf. The uneven left edge of the recto indicates the leaf was cut from a book. The excised leaf measures 12½ × 7⅝ inches (32 × 19 cm). The leaf was later folded for filing and bears two dockets in graphite by : “Duty of | To Joseph & | m” and “Duty of Bishops & c | To Joseph & Sidney | march 1832”. The first docket is overwritten by the second.This document and several other revelations, along with many other personal and institutional documents kept by , were inherited by his daughter Mary Jane Whitney, who married Isaac Groo. This collection was passed down in the Groo family and donated by members of the family to the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University during the period 1969–1974.
Andrus, Hyrum L., Chris Fuller, and Elizabeth E. McKenzie. “Register of the Newel Kimball Whitney Papers, 1825–1906,” Sept. 1998. BYU.
JS dictated this revelation dealing with the responsibilities of in the church circa March 1832. This revelation built on several 1831 revelations about a bishop’s duties. , for example, was told in two revelations that he should serve as a judge in Israel while also overseeing the of property and providing “” to the Saints in the . On 4 December 1831, a revelation appointed to serve as a bishop in , Ohio. Whitney was told that his responsibilities were “to keep the Lord’s to receive the funds of the church in this part of the vinyard to take an account of the as before has been commanded and to administer to their wants.”This circa March 1832 revelation also had a more immediate context. A 1 March 1832 revelation called for the establishment of a to oversee the church’s publishing and mercantile efforts, declaring that such a firm would help the church in its quest to be “equal in earthly things.” The firm’s mandate on the one hand and ’s and ’s financial responsibilities as bishops on the other overlapped somewhat, which may have prompted a clarification of the bishop’s role. As JS continued revising the New Testament in March, he may have had questions about bishops after reading Paul’s statements in 1 Timothy 3 about qualifications of bishops. It is also possible that, prior to dictating this revelation, JS received a January 1832 letter from that included minutes from a held on 23–24 January. This conference passed a resolution that “moneys or properties” consecrated to the church “be expended for the use and benefit of this church” and that if a bishop was removed from office, “such money or properties . . . shall be handed over to his successor.” This resolution may have invited clarification. Whatever the reasons, this revelation, which was directed to JS and , reiterated the bishop’s duties to oversee the consecration of property to the church. But it also emphasized what an 11 November 1831 revelation had declared: that “the office of a Bishop is not equal” to the .recorded this revelation, which was then apparently given to . Even though the instructions pertained to bishops in general, there is no indication that either JS or Rigdon ever discussed this revelation with or gave him a copy of it, or that it was ever provided to the general church membership. The revelation itself indicates that it was for JS’s and Rigdon’s “own prophet [profit] and instruction” and not necessarily for the bishops’ use, which may be one reason why it was not sent to Partridge. The only known copy of the revelation is the one Whitney owned, which Whitney docketed as “Duty of Bishops & c To Joseph & Sidney march 1832.”The March 1832 date assigned this revelation in his docket is likely correct. The revelation was likely written sometime between 8 March and 24 March: JS wrote a note dated 8 March 1832 that detailed his recent activities but did not mention this revelation, which suggests that this revelation was dictated after 8 March. On the night of 24–25 March, JS and were attacked by a group of men in . Rigdon was incapacitated for several days, after which he moved back to before leaving for in April. Because Rigdon served as scribe for this revelation, it is unlikely that the revelation was dictated after the attack, when Rigdon was seriously injured and likely not capable of performing scribal duties.