From Historian to Dissident
Bruce N. Westergren, editor
Gathering to Ohio
[p.51]The time drew near for the brethren from the State of New York to arrive at Kirtlan[d,] Ohio. And some had supposed that it was the place of gathering even the place of the New Jerusalem spoken of in the Book of Mormon according to the visions and revelations received in the last days. There was no preparation made for the reception of the Saints. from the east. The Bishop being anxious to know something concerning the matter. Therefore the Lord spoke unto Joseph Smith Jr. as follows1:
Thus saith the Lord, it is necessary that ye should remain for the present time in your place of abode as it shall be suitable to your circumstances. And inasmuch as ye have lands, ye shall impart to the eastern brethren. And inasmuch as ye have not lands, let them buy for the present time in those regions round about; as seemeth them good; for it must needs be necessary that they have places to live for [the] present time; It must needs be necessary that ye save all the money that ye can, and that ye obtain all that ye can, that in time ye may be [p.52]enabled to purchase lands for inheritances: even the City2. The place is not yet to be revealed; but after your brethren come from the east, there are certain men to be appointed and to them <it> shall be given; to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed, and they shall be appointed, to purchase the lands and to make a commencement to lay the foundation of the City; and then ye shall begin to be gathered with your families, every man according to his family: according to his circumstances, and as is appointed to them by the Bishop and elders of the church according to the laws and commandments which ye have received: and which ye shall hereafter receive, and thus it is. Amen.
2. It is important to note the difference between members of the church building a home for Joseph Smith and other church authorities and the “hireling priests” that Whitmer and other Mormons constantly preach against. Joseph was built a home as compensation for his time in attending to the financial business of the church and other day-to-day administrative work, not as compensation for preaching and teaching. “Hireling priests” were defined as those people hired by a congregation to preach to the members of the church. In American Protestant practice a body of congregation members determined the hiring and firing of the minister and also tended to administrative matters. At this time Joseph was doing both. Thus, in recognition of his time spent in administrative details, and in view of the fact that such business was taking away from the amount of time he had to look after and house his family, the Saints built Joseph a home as a partial remuneration. It should be remembered that in both [p.53]Missouri and in Nauvoo, Joseph owned and worked a farm to take care of the needs of his family.