This section was significantly changed between the Book of Commandments and the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Date Given: March 1829
Location Given: Harmony, Pennsylvania – Hale Farm
Date Canonized: August 17, 1835
Background: After the loss of The Book of Lehi and Joseph Smith Jr.’s refusal or inability to recreate the work, there were three people who began to vocally seek jail time for Joseph Smith Jr. and Joseph Smith Sr.. The Harris family saw too many connections to the Smith’s treasure digging past for comfort, and believed the story of the Golden Plates was used to extort money out of people, namely Martin Harris. They tried to get as many people who would speak out against the Smith family as possible to speak at the hearing for this lawsuit.
Joseph Smith Jr. and Martin Harris had not seen each other since the summer of 1828 after the loss of The Book of Lehi. Martin Harris had never actually seen the Golden Plates while he worked with Smith on The Book of Lehi, and he traveled from Palmyra, New York to Harmony, Pennsylvania to ask Smith if he could see them. Harris’s family’s concerns were likely a large motivator for him to do so.
This revelation responded to Harris’s question about whether he could see the plates or not. It said that God would only show them to three people and they needed to publicly testify that they had seen them. This revelation promised Harris that he could be one of those people, but only if he “humbled himself”. The revelation also acknowledges the people who filed a lawsuit against the Smiths and made a vague prediction of misfortune for them if they were successful.
Martin Harris’s anxieties were alleviated and he even went on to defend Smith at the lawsuit’s hearing.
A. Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me;
B. and now, behold, this shall you say unto him: He who spake unto you said unto you, I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things,
C. and I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I command you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you.
D. And you have a gift to translate the plates, and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded that you should pretend to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.
A. Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;
B. for hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men.
C. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you.
D. Oh, this unbelieving and stiff-necked generation, mine anger is kindled against them!
A. Behold, verily, I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have intrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations; but this generation shall have my word through you;
B. and in addition to your testimony, the testimony of three of my servants, whom I shall call and ordain, unto whom I will show these things;
C. and they shall go forth with my words that are given through you; yea, they shall know of a surety that these things are true; for from heaven will I declare it unto them;
D. I will give them power that they may behold and view these things as they are; and to none else will I grant this power, to receive this same testimony, among this generation, in this, the beginning of the rising up, and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness; clear as the moon and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.
E. And the testimony of three witnesses will I send forth of my word; and, behold, whosoever believeth on my words, them will I visit with the manifestation of my Spirit, and they shall be born of me, even of water and of the Spirit.
F. And you must wait yet a little while, for you are not yet ordained; and their testimony shall also go forth unto the condemnation of this generation, if they harden their hearts against them;
G. for a desolating scourge shall go forth among the inhabitants of the earth, and shall continue to be poured out, from time to time, if they repent not, until the earth is empty, and the inhabitants thereof are consumed away, and utterly destroyed by the brightness of my coming.
H. Behold, I tell you these things even as I also told the people of the destruction of Jerusalem, and my word shall be verified at this time as it hath hitherto been verified.
A. And now I command you, my servant Joseph, to repent and walk more uprightly before me, and yield to the persuasions of men no more;
B. and that you be firm in keeping the commandments wherewith I have commanded you, and if you do this, behold, I grant unto you eternal life, even if you should be slain.
A. And now again I speak unto you, my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness:
B. Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see.
C. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord has shown unto Joseph Smith, Jr., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them; for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.
D. And I, the Lord, command him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say, I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God, and these are the words which he shall say:
E. but if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold he is condemned.
F. And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views;
G. for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken.
H. And if this be the case, I command you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him, that he shall do no more, nor trouble me anymore concerning this matter.
A. And if this be the case, behold, I say unto thee, Joseph, When thou hast translated a few more pages thou shalt stop for a season, even until I command thee again; then thou mayest translate again.
B. And except thou do this, behold, thou shalt have no more gift, and I will take away the things which I have intrusted with thee.
C. And now, because I foresee the lying in wait to destroy thee; yea, I foresee that if my servant Martin Harris humbleth not himself, and receive a witness from my hand, that he will fall into transgression; and there are many that lie in wait to destroy thee from off the face of the earth;
D. and for this cause, that thy days may be prolonged, I have given unto thee these commandments; yea, for this cause I have said, Stop and stand still until I command thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing which I have commanded thee;
E. and if thou art faithful in keeping my commandments, thou shalt be lifted up at the last day. Amen.