W.W. Phelps writes to Brigham about Joseph's 1831 revelation on polygamy.

Aug 12, 1861
W. W. Phelps

W.W. Phelps, Letter to Brigham Young, August 12, 1861, MS 4583, Church History Library

Church History Library
W. W. Phelps, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Jr.
Brigham Young

President B. Young I have the pleasure of sending you

The Substance

of a revelation by Joseph Smith Jun. given over the boundary, west of Jackson Co. Missouri, on Sunday morning, July 17, 1831, when Seven Elders, viz: Joseph Smith Jun. Oliver Cowdery, W.W. Phelps, Martin Harris, Joseph Coe, Ziba Peterson and Joshua Lewis united their hearts in prayer, in a private place, to inquire of the Lord who should preach the first sermon to the remnants of the Lamanites and Nephites, and the people of that Section, that should assemble that day in the Indian country, to hear the gospel, and the revelations according to the Book of Mormon.

Among the company, there being neither pen, ink or paper, Joseph remarked that the Lord could preserve his words as he had ever done, till the time appointed, and proceeded:

Verily, verily, saith the Lord your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world, ye can not discerne with your natural eyes, the design and the purpose of your Lord and your God, in bringing you thus far into the wilderness for a trial of your faith, and to be especial witnesses, to bear testimony of this land, upon which the zion of God shall be built up in the last days, when it is redeemed.

Verily, inasmuch as ye are united in calling upon my name to know my will concerning who shall preach to the inhabitants that shall assemble this day to learn what new doctrine you have to teach them, you have done wisely, for so did the prophets anciently, even Enoch, and Abraham, and others: and therefore, it is my will that my servant Oliver Cowdery should open the meeting with prayer; that my servant W. W. Phelps should preach the discourse; and that my servants Joseph Coe and Ziba Peterson should bear testimony as they shall be moved by the Holy Spirit. This will be pleasing in the sight of your Lord.

Verily I say unto you, ye are laying the foundation of a great work for the salvation of as many as will believe and repent, and obey the ordinances of the gospel, and continue faithful to the end: For, as I live, saith the Lord, so shall they live.

Verily I say unto you that the wisdom of man in his fallen state, knoweth not the purposes and the privileges of my holy priesthood. but ye shall know when ye receive a fulness by reason of the anointing: For it is my will, that in time, ye should take unto you wives of the Lamanites and Nephites, that their posterity may become white, delightsome and Just, for even now their females are more virtuous than the gentiles.

Gird up your loins and be prepared for the mighty work of the Lord to prepare the world for my second coming to meet the tribes of Israel according to the predictions of all the holy prophets since the beginning; For the final desolation, and decrees upon Babylon: For, as the everlasting gospel is carried from this land, in love for peace, to gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, for Zion,— even so shall rebellion follow after speedily, with hatred for war until the consumption decreed hath made a full end of all the kingdoms and nations that strive to govern themselves by the laws and precepts, and force and powers of men under the curse of sin, in all the world.

Verily I say unto you, that the day of vexation and vengeance is nigh at the doors of this nation, when wicked, ungodly and daring men will rise up in wrath and might, and go forth in anger, like as the dust is driven by terrible wind; and they will be the means of the destruction of the government, and cause the death and misery of man souls, but the faithful among my people shall be preserved in holy places, during all these tribulations.

Be patient, therefore, possessing your souls in peace and love, and keep the faith that is now delivered unto you for the gathering of scattered Israel, and lo, I am with you, though ye cannot see me, till I come: even so. Amen.

Reported by W.W.P.

About three years after this was given, I asked brother Joseph privately, how "we," that were mentioned in the revelation could take wives from the "natives"—as we were all married men? He replied instantly "In the same manner that Abraham took Hagar and Katurah; and Jacob took Rachel Bilhah and Zilpah: by revelation—the saints of the Lord are always directed by revelation.

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