Abide #17: Doctrine and Covenants 124

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On January 19, 1841 Joseph Smith voiced a revelation that declared Nauvoo as the new gathering place for the Saints. Much had happened since we left Joseph in section 123. After the expulsion from Missouri, 5,000 Saints scattered traveling east across Missouri to safety in Illinois, 200 miles east of Far West, Missouri 1838, with a population of 1,800. They took in 5,000 Mormon refugees. The citizens of Quincy did much to welcome the Saints officially resolving to “extend kindness” to the Saints, to speak out against those with prejudices against the Saints, help them find employment and housing, and their last resolution: “Resolved, That we recommend to all the citizens of Quincy, that in all their intercourse with the strangers, they use and observe a becoming decorum and delicacy, and be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or expressions calculated to wound their feelings, or in any way to reflect upon those, who by every law of humanity, are entitled to our sympathy and commiseration.”

This generous example stands through time.

Quincy was an important respite for the Saints, but they soon began to move about 50 miles to the north to another bend in the Mississippi to a place originally called Commerce. There they cleared trees, drained swampy land, built houses, planted crops and began to build a city. What we now know as section 124 became a sacred charter for that city Joseph Smith called Nauvoo. This revelation centered the Saints, enabled them to think of Nauvoo as a new home, and sharpened their focus as they worked to build up the city.

As the Joseph Smith Papers tell us: [this was] One of the few revelations from the Illinois period to be later canonized by the church, the 19 January revelation served as divine direction for the Saints for the duration of their time in Nauvoo. Mayor John C. Bennett read it at the general conference of the church in Nauvoo on 7 April 1841. The text was published in the 1 June issue of the church’s Nauvoo newspaper, Times and Seasons, as well as in the September 1841 issue of the Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star, printed in Manchester, England. The Saints in Illinois referred to the revelation frequently in print and in public settings.

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