From Historian to Dissident
Bruce N. Westergren, editor
A Change of Venue
[p.81]June 6, 1831. Received a Revelation what to do. Printed at Kirtland Ohio, first edition Book Doctrine and Covenants Page 192. insert the revelation.1
After this revelation was received those elders were making all possible speed who were called to go according to commandment to fill their missions in their several courses.
At this time the Church at Thompson Ohio was involved in difficulty, becaus of the rebellion of Leman Copley.2 Who would not do as he had previously agreed. Which thing confused the whole church and finally the Lord spake unto Joseph Smith Jr. the prophit saying3:
“Behold thus saith the Lord, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end, even he who was crucified for the sins of the world. Behold verily, verily I say unto you, my Servant Newel Knight,4 You shall stand fast in the office wherewith you have been appointed; and if your brethren desire to escape their enemies, let them repent of all their sins; and become truly humble before me and contrite: and as the covenant which they [p.82]made unto me, has been broken, even so it has [p. 30] become void and of none affect; and wo to him by whom this offenc cometh, for it had been better for him that he had been drowned in the depth of the sea; but blessed are they who have kept the covenant, and observed the commandment, for they shall obtain mercy.
Wherefore, go to now and flee the land lest your enemies come upon you; and take your journey
into the regions westward, and appoint whom you will to be your leader, and to pay moneys for you. And thus you shall take your Journey <into the regions> westward, unto the land of Missouri5; unto the borders of the Lamanites And after you have done Journeying, behold I say unto you, seek ye a living like unto men, until I prepare a place for you.
And again, be patient in tribulation until I come: and behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, and they who have sought me early, shall find rest to their souls; even so: Amen.
some time some of the elders had left and the time [came] for Joseph Smith Jr. and others to leave. Some of those who had been commanded to take their Journey speedily, [found] that some had denied the faith, and turned from the truth. And the church at Thompson Ohio, had not done according to the will of the [Lord]. Therefore, before Joseph and his company left thus came the word of the Lord; saying: Hearken O ye my people which profes my name, &c. See, book doctrine & covenants first edition published at Kirtland Ohio, page 197. Insert the revelation.6
The Church at Thompson made all possible haste to leave for Missouri, and left and none of their enemies harmed them.
The Church at Chardon Ohio was also anxious to take their journey to Missouri: and by much teasing they obtained a [p.83]permit to take their journey.
2. When the Colesville Branch arrived in the Kirtland area in May 1831, members were instructed to settle on some property in Thompson, Ohio, about sixteen miles northeast of Kirtland. The land was owned by Leman Copley, a recent convert to the church. However, with the attempt to initiate the law of consecration a few months later, where all property would be dedicated to the Lord and ownership turned over to the bishop, Copley rebelled and left the church. He also ordered the Colesville Saints off his property. As a consequence, they emigrated to Missouri. See Backman, Heavens, 44-47, 66.
4. According to Pratt, at this time Newel Knight was the president of the Colesville Branch (Pratt, Autobiography, 54). Consequently, the revelation was given to him as a representative of the branch for the branch as a whole. After receiving the revelation, it was his responsibility as president to return to the branch and present it to the membership as a whole.