Section 104: Reorganization of United Order and United Firm
The United Firm had been established by revelation (see sections 69 and 70, 78 and 82, and 92). The United Firm was a separate united order consisting of the leading brethren of the Church, that was created to manage the temporal affairs of the Church. It was a type of business partnership in which the partners controlled the business interests and properties of the Church and used the financial means at their disposal to finance the various programs of the Church. Initially they shared the responsibilities of holding church properties in trust, and they lived off the earnings of these properties. After taking from the earnings of these properties sufficient monies for their needs, they gave the surplus to the bishops’ storehouses for use by the poor. In fact, this body was assigned primary responsibility for the care of the poor. The brethren of the United Firm had continued to purchase land and jointly operate the various business ventures owned by them in Missouri and Kirtland.
The spring of 1834, while arrangements were being made for the march to Missouri by Zion’s Camp, was a time of great financial strain for the Church. Before the saints from Kirtland and the East could hope to go to the aid of the Missouri saints, the Prophet Joseph had to solve crushing financial problems in the Church As Joseph wrote to Orson Hyde on April 7, “Unless we can obtain [financial] help, I myself cannot go to Zion, and if I do not go, it will be impossible to get my brethren in Kirtland, any of them, to go; and if we do not go, it is in vain for our eastern brethren to think of going” (HC, 2:48).
Two years earlier, in April 1832, the United Firm had secured a five-year loan for $15,000, an immense sum at the time, primarily for purchasing goods and property in Missouri (see Cannon and Cook, Far West Record, 48). When the saints were driven out of Jackson County, not only did they suffer staggering financial losses and abject poverty, but the United Firm also lost its collateral on this loan and its primary means of paying it back. Added to this were other debts incurred by the order on behalf of the Church in Missouri and in Kirtland. The provisioning of Zion’s Camp also would require a great outlay of funds, as did continuing construction of the Kirtland Temple. Further, an apostate name Philastus Hurlbut was trying to acquire property owned by the United Firm by suing church leaders, and the church’s leaders’ having to defend themselves in court was causing escalating legal fees. And, as always, the needs of Kirtland’s poor saints also had to be met. For all of these reasons, the Church in the spring of 1834 was deeply in debt.
At a conference in Avon, New York, on March 17, 1834, Joseph Smith proposed, besides raising volunteers and contributions for Zion’s Camp, also raising two thousand dollars to pay the debts of the Church in Kirtland (HC, 2:44). On April 7, 1834, Joseph wrote in Kirtland, “Bishop Whitney, Elder Frederick G. Williams, Oliver Cowdery, Heber C. Kimball, and myself, met in the council room, and bowed down before the Lord, and prayed that he would furnish the means to deliver the [United] Firm from debt, that they might be set at liberty; also that I might prevail against that wicked man, Hurlbut, and that he might be put to shame” (HC, 2:47-48). Two days later, Hurlbut lost his lawsuit, was put under bond to keep the peace, and was forced to pay court costs.
On April 10, 1834, the members of the United Firm met in council. This council agreed that the United Firm, as it was then organized, be dissolved. Further, they agreed that the properties owned jointly by the Firm be divided among its members and that each receive his share as his individual stewardship for which he was accountable before the Lord (HC, 2:49). Apparently this was done to protect the assets held by the United Firm. It seems that creditors who might have had a claim against assets of the United Firm could then not collect by seizing property allotted to its individual members. This was not an attempt to avoid paying the debts of the Church (see verse 78), but was done to protect church property while gaining time to raise additional funds. Even so, actual dissolution of the United Firm was postponed for two weeks, apparently in the hope that funds could be raised in time and dissolution could be avoided.
This dissolution of the United Firm was simply a reorganization since the Firm apparently continued to function in the role of governing board of the United Order in Kirtland. However, we don’t have any reference to the United Firm after this reorganization.
Thirteen days after this reorganization, on April 23, 1834, Joseph met in council with members of the United Firm and received from the Lord section 104. The Lord instructed that the order was to be dissolved and reorganized into two separate United Firms, one in Kirtland and one in Missouri, though members of the Firm were still to receive individual stewardships. In a separate, unpublished revelation received the same day, members of the Firm in Kirtland were instructed to forgive each other their personal debts and their debts to the United Firm. All of these developments, together with the Lord’s financial instructions contained in section 104, allowed the Prophet Joseph to meet the Church’s most challenging financial problems and, thus, to begin preparations in earnest for Zion’s Camp.
It should be noted that in section 104 and its heading, the use of the terms “order,” “United Order,” and “united order” refer consistently to the United Firm. This usage may cause confusion since the same term—“united order” may also be used in two other ways: (1) It may refer to a group of saints who are living the law of consecration and stewardship. We may refer to this group of saints as a “united order.” (2) The term “united order” may be used to refer to the law of consecration and stewardship itself. This is probably a careless usage. We have noted previously in these notes (see sections 78 and 82) that the set of principles by which a group of people enter into an agreement for their common temporal welfare is the law of consecration and stewardship. The term “law of consecration and stewardship,” however, is a relatively modern term, and in 1834 the law or set of principles may have been referred to by Joseph Smith as the “united order.”
D&C 104:12-14 That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him. For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
D&C 104:17 The earth is full, and there is enough and to spare.
D&C 104:18 If any man shall . . . impart not his portion, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
1 verily I say unto you, my friends, I give unto you counsel, and a commandment, concerning all the properties which belong to the order which I commanded to be organized and established, to be a united order, and an everlasting order for the benefit of my church, and for the salvation of men until I come—
verse 1 “the order which I commanded to be organized and established”
This order is the United Firm, and the commandment is section 78.
“an everlasting order” The everlasting or eternal aspect of the United Firm is the covenant of consecration that each person enters into when he enters the kingdom of God or when he covenants to live the law of consecration and stewardship.
2 With promise immutable and unchangeable, that inasmuch as those whom I commanded were faithful they should be blessed with a multiplicity of blessings;
3 But inasmuch as they were not faithful they were nigh unto cursing.
4 Therefore, inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment, but have broken the covenant through covetousness, and with feigned words, I have cursed them with a very sore and grievous curse.
verse 4 “inasmuch as some of my servants have not kept the commandment” The United Firm at that time consisted of about a dozen members in both Kirtland and Missouri.
“with feigned words” “Feigned words” are words that misrepresent or conceal one’s true intent or meaning. The speaker has a hidden agenda or hidden purpose. In this case, the hidden purpose of the guilty parties is covetousness, or the desire to get personal gain.
5 For I, the Lord, have decreed in my heart, that inasmuch as any man belonging to the order shall be found a transgressor, or, in other words, shall break the covenant with which ye are bound, he shall be cursed in his life, and shall be trodden down by whom I will;
verse 5 “he shall be cursed in this life” The order is, of course, the United Firm. Why should covetousness, or the desire for personal gain, be so seriously punished by the Lord in this case? The answer lies in the terms of the covenant made by those who entered the United Firm. D&C 78:5-7 specifically requires members of the order to be equal in earthly things that they might be equal in heavenly things and to be equal temporally if they hope for a place in the celestial world. The desire by members of the order to benefit personally and get unshared gains breaks this most solemn covenant.
6 For I, the Lord, am not to be mocked in these things—
verse 6 All agreements with God are strictly voluntary. He forces no one to heaven. One of the most sacrosanct principles of eternity is the law of agency. Nevertheless, once we choose to enter a covenant with God of our own free will, he will keep his word—and he expects us to keep ours. Those who know God’s commandments, have made covenants with him, and then of their own accord choose to break those covenants, in a way, mock God or treat him with ridicule or contempt. These face consequences far more stringent than those who have sinned without the knowledge of God’s law or without having made covenants with the Lord (that is, without the ordinances of baptism and the temple).
7 And all this that the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust; and that the guilty among you may not escape; because I, the Lord, have promised unto you a crown of glory at my right hand.
verse 7 “that the innocent among you may not be condemned with the unjust” This verse refers in part to the reorganization of the United Firm into personal stewardships of private property as commanded in verses 11-13. By making each member accountable for his own stewardship, the common property of the entire order could not be liable to seizure through the actions of any single member. It is possible that the unsuccessful lawsuit of Philastus Hurlbut illustrated the hazards of collective ownership and therefore of collective legal liability. Further, individual accountability over stewardships within the Church makes financial mismanagement easier to detect and assess than does collective accountability.
8 Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath in your lives.
9 Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.
verse 9 “ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan” To be “cut off” is to be excommunicated and therefore to be denied the shield of the gospel covenant, the atonement, and the priesthood—to be turned over to the buffetings of Satan and his minions both here in this life and in the spirit world to come (see also D&C 78:12 and its commentary).
10 And I now give unto you power from this very hour, that if any man among you, of the order, is found a transgressor and repenteth not of the evil, that ye shall deliver him over unto the buffetings of Satan; and he shall not have power to bring evil upon you.
11 It is wisdom in me; therefore, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall organize yourselves and appoint every man his stewardship;
verse 11 “appoint every man his stewardship” The corporate holdings of the order, the United Firm, were to be divided up into individual parcels of private property. In most cases, these allotments reflected the informal division of property already in existence between the brethren at the time this revelation was received.
Until 1981, public versions of section 104 contained coded names in place of (or along with) the names of the stewards and the properties listed here. This was originally necessary to protect these individuals from enemies seeking to attach their assets by lawsuits (see also the introductory commentary for section 43).
12 That every man may give an account unto me of the stewardship which is appointed unto him.
13 For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures.
14 I, the Lord, stretched out the heavens, and built the earth, my very handiwork; and all things therein are mine.
verses 12-14 The importance of section 104 goes far beyond the division of property in Kirtland, Ohio, in 1834. Here the Lord elaborates upon the principles of individual stewardship and accountability in the Church and kingdom of God already laid down in the law of the Church (see D&C 42:59). Each person born into mortality brings with him or her a variety of godly attributes earned through their obedience over a considerable period of time in the premortal world. The veil through which we pass between the pre-existence and mortality prevents ready memory, but it does not completely prevent us from finding and refining those considerable abilities we formerly possessed once we arrive here on earth. The Lord expects us to do so and then utilize those abilities for the building up of the kingdom of God on earth. Each man and woman in the kingdom (in fact, in the world) is a steward over these premortal gifts or “talents,” and each of us will be required—individually—to account to the Master for our use of those abilities—that stewardship.
”all things therein are mine” God is the Creator, and therefore the owner, of the physical universe and all it contains. In reality we own nothing, not even our lives. This fact is foundational to the law of consecration and stewardship.
15 And it is my purpose to provide for my saints, for all things are mine.
verse 15 “it is my purpose to provide for my saints” Note the profound similarity between this phrase and Moses 1:39: “ For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”
16 But it must needs be done in mine own way; and behold this is the way that I, the Lord, have decreed to provide for my saints, that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low.
verse 16 “that the poor shall be exalted, in that the rich are made low” The primary meaning of “exalted” here is economic. The poor will be lifted up out of their poverty by drawing the rich back down to the middle class. In a Zion society, everyone will be middle class, economically speaking (that is, there will be no rich or poor among them; 4 Nephi 1:3; Moses 7:18).
17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.
verse 17 “the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare” Prior to Adam’s being placed on the earth, the earth was ready and then some: “there [was] enough and to spare.” If the resources of the earth are stewarded in righteousness, there will be enough of everything to last until the Savior comes. All shortages are man-made and due to greed, or due otherwise to the Babylon system of world economics.
This verse has been used on occasion by General Authorities as an argument against birth control. The argument of population control to avoid a using up of the earth’s resources is rendered invalid by this verse.
18 Therefore, if any man shall take of the abundance which I have made, and impart not his portion, according to the law of my gospel, unto the poor and the needy, he shall, with the wicked, lift up his eyes in hell, being in torment.
verse 18 “according to the law of my gospel” The law of the gospel in its most basic and essential form is the new commandment given by the Savior to his disciples to selflessly love one another (John 13:34-35; D&C 88:123). This love is the opposite of covetousness. Thus, when we obey the law of the gospel, we “cease to be covetous” and impart “as the gospel requires” (D&C 88:123). James, the brother of Jesus, called this “the royal law” (James 2:8).
“lift up his eyes in hell” The allusion here is to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-26). Those who insist on taking and keeping more than their portion of the earth’s bounty in this life will suffer the pains of hell in the life to come, like the rich man in Jesus’s parable.
verses 19-46 The specific Kirtland properties belonging to the United Firm are parceled out to each member as his individual stewardship. Though these will still be managed as stewardships for the Lord, they will legally be recognized as private property. This arrangement gave the church holdings at that time more legal protection and provided for more individual accountability on the part of the stewards.
19 And now, verily I say unto you, concerning the properties of the order—
20 Let my servant Sidney Rigdon have appointed unto him the place where he now resides, and the lot of the tannery for his stewardship, for his support while he is laboring in my vineyard, even as I will, when I shall command him.
verse 20 “the place where he now resides” The descriptions in the revelation were not meant to be legally precise, nor did they need to be. In most cases, it will be seen that the individuals named were already living on the premises described. The only thing that changed was the legal ownership—from the United Firm to the individuals.
21 And let all things be done according to the counsel of the order, and united consent or voice of the order, which dwell in the land of Kirtland.
22 And this stewardship and blessing, I, the Lord, confer upon my servant Sidney Rigdon for a blessing upon him, and his seed after him;
23 And I will multiply blessings upon him, inasmuch as he will be humble before me.
24 And again, let my servant Martin Harris have appointed unto him, for his stewardship, the lot of land which my servant John Johnson obtained in exchange for his former inheritance, for him and his seed after him;
25 And inasmuch as he is faithful, I will multiply blessings upon him and his seed after him.
26 And let my servant Martin Harris devote his moneys for the proclaiming of my words, according as my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., shall direct.
27 And again, let my servant Frederick G. Williams have the place upon which he now dwells.
28 And let my servant Oliver Cowdery have the lot which is set off joining the house, which is to be for the printing office, which is lot number one, and also the lot upon which his father resides.
29 And let my servants Frederick G. Williams and Oliver Cowdery have the printing office and all things that pertain unto it.
30 And this shall be their stewardship which shall be appointed unto them.
31 And inasmuch as they are faithful, behold I will bless, and multiply blessings upon them.
32 And this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed them, for them and their seed after them.
33 And, inasmuch as they are faithful, I will multiply blessings upon them and their seed after them, even a multiplicity of blessings.
34 And again, let my servant John Johnson have the house in which he lives, and the inheritance, all save the ground which has been reserved for the building of my houses, which pertains to that inheritance, and those lots which have been named for my servant Oliver Cowdery.
35 And inasmuch as he is faithful, I will multiply blessings upon him.
36 And it is my will that he should sell the lots that are laid off for the building up of the city of my saints, inasmuch as it shall be made known to him by the voice of the Spirit, and according to the counsel of the order, and by the voice of the order.
verse 36 “laid off” That is, “set aside” or “reserved.”
37 And this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed unto him, for a blessing unto him and his seed after him.
38 And inasmuch as he is faithful, I will multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon him.
39 And again, let my servant Newel K. Whitney have appointed unto him the houses and lot where he now resides, and the lot and building on which the mercantile establishment stands, and also the lot which is on the corner south of the mercantile establishment, and also the lot on which the ashery is situated.
40 And all this I have appointed unto my servant Newel K. Whitney for his stewardship, for a blessing upon him and his seed after him, for the benefit of the mercantile establishment of my order which I have established for my stake in the land of Kirtland.
41 Yea, verily, this is the stewardship which I have appointed unto my servant N. K. Whitney, even this whole mercantile establishment, him and his agent, and his seed after him.
verse 41 “his agent” The identity of the “agent” is not certain, though it might well be Orson Hyde, since he worked for Bishop Whitney and later had the store deeded to him for a short time.
42 And inasmuch as he is faithful in keeping my commandments, which I have given unto him, I will multiply blessings upon him and his seed after him, even a multiplicity of blessings.
43 And again, let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., have appointed unto him the lot which is laid off for the building of my house, which is forty rods long and twelve wide, and also the inheritance upon which his father now resides;
verse 43 “my house” This, of course, is the temple which is under construction in Kirtland.
44 And this is the beginning of the stewardship which I have appointed unto him, for a blessing upon him, and upon his father.
45 For behold, I have reserved an inheritance for his father, for his support; therefore he shall be reckoned in the house of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.
46 And I will multiply blessings upon the house of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., inasmuch as he is faithful, even a multiplicity of blessings.
47 And now, a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise—
verse 47 “no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion”
Until this time, the United Firm, both in Kirtland and Missouri, had been a single entity with two branches—one in Kirtland and one in Zion (Independence).
verses 48-50 The Lord here directs that the United Firm in Kirtland be separated from the United Firm in Missouri.
48 After you are organized, you shall be called the United Order of the Stake of Zion, the City of Kirtland. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the United Order of the City of Zion.
49 And they shall be organized in their own names, and in their own name; and they shall do their business in their own name, and in their own names;
50 And you shall do your business in your own name, and in your own names.
51 And this I have commanded to be done for your salvation, and also for their salvation, in consequence of their being driven out and that which is to come.
verse 51 “for your salvation” It is likely the salvation meant here is primarily the financial salvation of the Church. One reason the separation of the orders was necessary was so that the debts incurred by the Missouri order and losses suffered through subsequent persecution would not bankrupt the entire Church. The Lord intended the saints to pay all their debts (see verse 78), and this legal separation gave the Kirtland leadership additional time in which to raise the necessary funds (see verses 84-85).
“and that which is to come” The Missouri persecutions were not over in April 1834, nor would they be for years to come.
52 The covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words—
verse 52 The Lord repeats the substance of verse 4 but in a context that points more directly at the Missouri members as the original transgressors of the order.
53 Therefore, you are dissolved as a united order with your brethren, that you are not bound only up to this hour unto them, only on this wise, as I said, by loan as shall be agreed by this order in council, as your circumstances will admit and the voice of the council direct.
verse 53 “by loan” The Kirtland order could make future loans to its sister order in Missouri if conditions warranted.
54 And again, a commandment I give unto you concerning your stewardship which I have appointed unto you.
55 Behold, all these properties are mine, or else your faith is vain, and ye are found hypocrites, and the covenants which ye have made unto me are broken;
verse 55 “all these properties are mine” The Lord reminds the brethren that regardless of who holds legal title to the properties described in this revelation, they are all, in fact, both by right of creation and by covenant obligation—his (see verses 12-14). For a steward to accept legal title out of the Church’s necessity but then take personal control and ownership away from the Church would be hypocrisy at least and breaking of the covenant at worst.
56 And if the properties are mine, then ye are stewards; otherwise ye are no stewards.
57 But, verily I say unto you, I have appointed unto you to be stewards over mine house, even stewards indeed.
58 And for this purpose I have commanded you to organize yourselves, even to print my words, the fulness of my scriptures, the revelations which I have given unto you, and which I shall, hereafter, from time to time give unto you—
verse 58 “even to print my words, the fulness of my scriptures” In the strictest sense, “the fulness of my scriptures” refers to Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible. Grammatically, however, the entire verse may also be understood to include all of God’s revelations both past and future, as God’s words and as the fulness of his scriptures. Moreover, the copy of section 104 found in the Kirtland Revelation Book and dated August 18, 1834, contains some extra lines at this point, directing the brethren to secure copyrights for the Book of Mormon, “the articles and covenants,” “all my commandments,” “and also the copyright of the New translation of the Scriptures.” (Kirtland Revelation Book, 105; see also Woodford, “Historical Development,” 2:135153, 1366). This would seem to support identifying the Joseph Smith Translation as part of “my words, the fulness of my scriptures” along with the other revelations specified in the Kirtland Revelation Book.
One purpose (actually the original purpose) for the organization of the United Firm (then, the Literary Firm) was to print the scriptures of this dispensation—the Book of Commandments (or the Doctrine and Covenants) and Joseph’s inspired revision of the Bible.
59 For the purpose of building up my church and kingdom on the earth, and to prepare my people for the time when I shall dwell with them, which is nigh at hand.
verses 60-77 The saints are to create two treasuries and appoint a treasurer over each. The first was “the sacred treasury of the Lord” (verses 60-66). The monies that were placed in this treasury were the profits (“avails”) from the sale of the scriptures, and they were to be used only for “sacred and holy purposes” at the discretion of the United Firm or by commandment from the Lord. The second treasury (verses 67-78) is unnamed but might well be called the general or mundane treasury. This other treasury was to be created from the profits of all other types of stewardships. These monies also were to be spent at the discretion of the United Firm.
Even though the United Order in Missouri had ceased to function with the expulsion of the saints in the fall of 1833, the Lord did not officially absolve them of their responsibility to live the law of consecration until June 22, 1843 (see D&C 105:34).
60 And ye shall prepare for yourselves a place for a treasury, and consecrate it unto my name.
61 And ye shall appoint one among you to keep the treasury, and he shall be ordained unto this blessing.
62 And there shall be a seal upon the treasury, and all the sacred things shall be delivered into the treasury; and no man among you shall call it his own, or any part of it, for it shall belong to you all with one accord.
63 And I give it unto you from this very hour; and now see to it, that ye go to and make use of the stewardship which I have appointed unto you, exclusive of the sacred things, for the purpose of printing these sacred things as I have said.
64 And the avails of the sacred things shall be had in the treasury, and a seal shall be upon it; and it shall not be used or taken out of the treasury by any one, neither shall the seal be loosed which shall be placed upon it, only by the voice of the order, or by commandment.
65 And thus shall ye preserve the avails of the sacred things in the treasury, for sacred and holy purposes.
66 And this shall be called the sacred treasury of the Lord; and a seal shall be kept upon it that it may be holy and consecrated unto the Lord.
67 And again, there shall be another treasury prepared, and a treasurer appointed to keep the treasury, and a seal shall be placed upon it;
68 And all moneys that you receive in your stewardships, by improving upon the properties which I have appointed unto you, in houses, or in lands, or in cattle, or in all things save it be the holy and sacred writings, which I have reserved unto myself for holy and sacred purposes, shall be cast into the treasury as fast as you receive moneys, by hundreds, or by fifties, or by twenties, or by tens, or by fives.
69 Or in other words, if any man among you obtain five dollars let him cast them into the treasury; or if he obtain ten, or twenty, or fifty, or an hundred, let him do likewise;
70 And let not any among you say that it is his own; for it shall not be called his, nor any part of it.
71 And there shall not any part of it be used, or taken out of the treasury, only by the voice and common consent of the order.
72 And this shall be the voice and common consent of the order—that any man among you say to the treasurer: I have need of this to help me in my stewardship—
73 If it be five dollars, or if it be ten dollars, or twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, the treasurer shall give unto him the sum which he requires to help him in his stewardship—
74 Until he be found a transgressor, and it is manifest before the council of the order plainly that he is an unfaithful and an unwise steward.
75 But so long as he is in full fellowship, and is faithful and wise in his stewardship, this shall be his token unto the treasurer that the treasurer shall not withhold.
76 But in case of transgression, the treasurer shall be subject unto the council and voice of the order.
77 And in case the treasurer is found an unfaithful and an unwise steward, he shall be subject to the council and voice of the order, and shall be removed out of his place, and another shall be appointed in his stead.
78 And again, verily I say unto you, concerning your debts—behold it is my will that you shall pay all your debts.
verse 78 “pay all your debts” Again, it must be emphasized that the purpose of these reorganizations was never to avoid paying their individual debts or the debts of the Church but to allow church leaders the additional time necessary to raise the needed funds and avoid bankruptcy.
79 And it is my will that you shall humble yourselves before me, and obtain this blessing by your diligence and humility and the prayer of faith.
80 And inasmuch as you are diligent and humble, and exercise the prayer of faith, behold, I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, until I shall send means unto you for your deliverance.
81 Therefore write speedily to New York and write according to that which shall be dictated by my Spirit; and I will soften the hearts of those to whom you are in debt, that it shall be taken away out of their minds to bring affliction upon you.
verse 81 “write speedily to New York” The church’s unsecured loans were held by New York banks. Here the Lord promises, if Joseph is diligent and humble, to soften the hearts of the lenders to allow him to renegotiate the loans.
82 And inasmuch as ye are humble and faithful and call upon my name, behold, I will give you the victory.
83 I give unto you a promise, that you shall be delivered this once out of your bondage.
84 Inasmuch as you obtain a chance to loan money by hundreds, or thousands, even until you shall loan enough to deliver yourself from bondage, it is your privilege.
verses 83-84 “this once . . . a chance to loan money” In other words, this one time, the Lord will permit Joseph to loan (borrow) additional funds to renegotiate the debt of the Church.
85 And pledge the properties which I have put into your hands, this once, by giving your names by common consent or otherwise, as it shall seem good unto you.
verse 85 “And pledge the properties” Not only will the Lord allow Joseph to borrow money for the needs of the Church, but he will allow the Prophet to put up the properties of the Church, including even the Kirtland Temple, as collateral on the loans. Eventually, as much as $14,000 had to be borrowed to complete construction of the Kirtland Temple (Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland, 164).
86 I give unto you this privilege, this once; and behold, if you proceed to do the things which I have laid before you, according to my commandments, all these things are mine, and ye are my stewards, and the master will not suffer his house to be broken up. Even so. Amen.
- Michael J. Preece