RELATIVE TO PUBLISHING THE REVELATIONS.
Publishing the early revelations, or any of them, was contrary to the will of the Lord, as I will show you from the revelations themselves. The revelations in the Book of Commandments up to June, 1829, were given through the “stone,” through which the Book of Mormon was translated. These are the only revelations that can be relied upon, and they are not law. The Lord told us not to teach them for doctrine; they were given mostly to individuals, the persons whom God chose in commencing His work for their individual instruction, and the church had no need of them. They should have been kept with the sacred papers and records of the church, and never published in a book to become public property for the eyes of the world. It was not necessary for the whole church to ever see them. The written word is full on all matters pertaining to the Church of Christ. Of course I believe in God revealing His will to His servants in these days, by the various gifts of the Holy Ghost; but I believe in it according to the Scriptures. In the revelations themselves are positive commands to keep these things from the world, that they are sacred, etc. A revelation was given to Oliver Cowdery in April, 1829, (Sec. v:11, 13), in which he is told that he would be granted a gift “to translate even as my servant Joseph,” warning him as follows: “Remember, it is sacred, and cometh from above…. Trifle not with sacred things….Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those who are of thy faith.” But they published these things in a book, and made them known to the world!
In a revelation to Martin Harris (Sec. 18) concerning endless punishment, are these words: “And I command you that you preach naught but repentance; and show not these things, neither speak these things unto the world, for they cannot bear meat, but milk they must receive: wherefore, they must not know these things, lest they perish.” This revelation reads as I have quoted it, in the Book of Commandments; but in the Doctrine and Covenants it has been changed to read thus: “Show not these things unto the world, until it is wisdom in me.” The words, “until it is wisdom in me,” were added to this revelation. You see they had to add these words in order to publish the revelations. Judge for yourselves, brethren: I will make no farther comments to magnify the errors of the leaders of the church. My policy throughout will be to speak of no more of their errors than is necessary in order to prove all false doctrines as being false, and establishing the doctrine of Christ as it is set forth in the written word.
The main reason why the printing press was destroyed, was because they published the Book of Commandments. It fell into the hands of the world, and the people of Jackson county, Missouri, saw from the revelations that they were considered by the church as intruders upon the land of Zion, as enemies to the church, and that they should be cut off out of the land of Zion and sent away. The people seeing these things in the Book of Commandments became the more enraged, tore down the printing press, and drove the church out of Jackson county. (See Doc. and Cov., Sections 52:9, 64:7, 45:15.) “Which is the land of your inheritance. Which is now the land of your enemies.” “And the rebellious shall be cut off out of the land of Zion, and shall be sent away, and shall not inherit the land.” “And now I say unto you, keep these things from going abroad unto the world, until it is expedient in me, that ye may accomplish this work in the eyes of the people, and in the eyes of your enemies, that they may not know your works until ye have accomplished the thing which I have commanded you.” This is sufficient. I will quote no more to show you that the leaders made a mistake in publishing the revelations in a book. It is too plain.
Brethren, does it not look strange that they should have been so blind as to go ahead and publish these revelations in the face of this plain language to keep these things from the world? It surely does look strange.
I will now tell you of a prophecy which the Lord gave through me to Brothers Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon, of what should come to pass if they printed those revelations. In the spring of 1832, in Hiram, Ohio, Brothers Joseph and Sydney, and others, concluded that the revelations should be printed in a book. A few of the brethren — including myself — objected to it seriously. We told them that if the revelations were published, the world would get the books, and it would not do; that it was not the will of the Lord that the revelations should be published.
But Brothers Joseph and Sydney would not listen to us, and said they were going to send them to Independence to be published. I objected to it and withstood Brothers Joseph and Sydney to the face. Brother Joseph said as follows: “Any man who objects to having these revelations published, shall have his part taken out of the Tree of Life and out of the Holy City.” The Spirit of God came upon me and I prophesied to them in the name of the Lord: “That if they sent those revelations to Independence to be published in a book, the people would come upon them and tear down the printing press, and the church would be driven out of Jackson county.” Brothers Joseph and Sydney laughed at me. Early in the spring of 1833, at Independence, Mo., the revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments. Many of the books were finished and distributed among the members of the church, and through some of the unwise brethren, the world got hold of some of them. From that time the ill-feeling toward us began to increase; and in the summer of 1833 the mob came upon us, tore down the printing press, and drove the church out of Jackson county. Brothers Joseph and Sydney then saw that I did have some of the Spirit of God, after my prophecy had been fulfilled. To show you that Brother Joseph and myself still loved each other as brethren after this, I will tell you that he had so much confidence in me that in July, 1834, he ordained me his successor as “Prophet Seer and Revelator” to the Church. He did this of his own free will and not at any solicitation whatever on my part. I did not know what he was going to do until he laid his hands upon me and ordained me.
Now, bear in mind, brethren, that I am not claiming this office; as I have told you, I do not believe in any such an office in the church. I was then in error in believing that there was such an office in the Church of Christ. I suppose this is news to many of you — that Brother Joseph ordained me his successor — but it is in your records, and there are men now living who were present in that council of elders when he did it, in the camp of Zion, on Fishing River, Missouri, July, 1834.
This is why many of the brethren came to me after Brother Joseph was killed, and importuned me to come out and lead the church. I refused to do so. Christ is the only leader and head of his church.
Now, brethren, I will ask you to read the early revelations that were given through the stone, up to June, 1829, and see if this matter is not just as I have told you; that they — or any other revelations — should never have been published, thus necessarily becoming public property for the eyes of the world. Also notice that they were given to individuals, to those whom God chose in commencing his work, for their individual instruction, and were not given to the church, and the church had no need of them. In the Book of Doctrine and Covenants they are sections 2 to 16, inclusive. The headings over sections 4 and 7 are not like they are in the Book of Commandments, in which the headings show that they were also given to individuals. Section 4 is a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Martin Harris. Section 7 is a revelation given to Oliver Cowdery.
Now, bear in mind that these revelations were given through the “stone,” while the Book of Mormon was being translated. The revelations in June, 1829, were given about the time the translation of the book was finished. As I have stated before, Brother Joseph gave up the stone a few months after translating the Book of Mormon. You can see from the Book of Doctrine and Covenants that the next revelation after June, 1829, is March, 1830, a period of nine months, and we had been preaching since August, 1829. Now you notice that when the revelations began to come again, at the end of this nine months (this time through Brother Joseph as “mouthpiece”), they came thick and fast, and are of a different character to those given through the stone, which were given to individuals for their individual instruction in commencing the work.