The following vision was received by Joseph Smith Jr. January 21, 1836 in Kirtland, OH. It was recorded in his September 1835–April 1836 journal on pages 135-139 in the handwriting of Warren Parrish. It was shortened and altered before being included in the Church of Jesus Chrsit of Latter-day Saints’ Doctrine and Covenants.For the Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship, we are including the whole vision. Corrections to grammar and minor changes have been made. The largest example would be moving a correction in the text from the latter portion to the moment it happened, replacing the reported error. The Latter-day Saints’ version of the text is in italics.
1 At about 3, o’clock pm, I dismissed the School, and the presidency retired to the loft of the printing office where we attended to the ordinance of washing our bodies in pure water,
2 We also perfumed our bodies and our heads, in the name of the Lord.
3 At early candlelight, I meet with the presidency, at the west school room in the chapel to attend to the ordinance of annointing our heads with holy oil;
4 Also the councils of Kirtland and Zion met in the two adjoining rooms, who waited in prayer while we attended to the ordinance.
5 I took the oil in my left hand, Father Smith being seated before me and the rest of the presidency encircled him round about.
6 We then streched our right hands to heaven and blessed the oil and concecrated it in the name of Jesus Christ.
7 ¶ We then laid our hands on, our aged Father Smith and invoked the blessings of heaven.
8 I then annointed his head with the concecrated oil, and sealed many blessings upon him;
9 The presidency then in turn laid their hands upon his head, begenning at the eldest, untill they had all laid their hands on him, and pronounced such blessings, upon his head as the Lord put into their hearts;
10 All blessing him to be our Patriarch, to annoint our heads, and attend to all duties that pertain to that office.
11 ¶ After Father Smith, we received it in turn according to our age, (that is the presidency,)
12 I then took the seat, and Patriarch Smith anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led in days of old; also the blessings of Abraham Isaac and Jacob.
13 All of the presidency laid their hands upon me and pronounced upon my head many prophesies, and blessings, many of which I shall not notice at this time,
14 But as Paul said, so say I: let us come to vissions and revelations.
15 ¶ The heavens were opened upon us and I beheld the Celestial Kingdom of God, and the glory thereof; whether in the body or out I cannot tell.
16 I saw the transcendant beauty of the gate through which the heirs of that kingdom will enter, which was like unto circling flames of fire, also the blasing throne of God, whereon was seated the Father and the Son;
17 I saw the beautiful streets of that kingdom, which had the appearance of being paved with gold;
18 I saw father Adam, and Abraham, and Michael, and my Father and mother, my brother Alvin that has long since slept, and marvled how it was that he had obtained this an inheritance in this kingdom, seeing that he had departed this life before the Lord had set his hand to gather Israel the second time, and had not been baptized for the remission of sins.
19 ¶ Thus came the voice of the Lord unto me saying: “All who have died with a knowledge of this gospel, who would have received it, if they had been permited to tarry, shall be heirs of the Celestial Kingdom of God;
20 “Also all that shall die henseforth, without a knowledge of it, who would have received it with all their hearts, shall be heirs of that kingdom,
21 For I the Lord will judge all men according to their works according to the desires of their hearts.”
22 And I also beheld that all children who die before they arive to the years of accountability are saved in the Celestial Kingdom of heaven.
23 ¶ I saw the Twelve Apostles of the Lamb, who are now upon the earth who hold the keys of this last ministry, in foreign lands, standing together in a circle much fatiegued, with their clothes tattered and feet swolen, with their eyes cast downward, and Jesus standing in their midst,
24 And they did not behold Him; He, the Savior, looked upon them and wept.
25 ¶ I also beheld Elder William E. McLellin in the south, standing upon a hill surrounded with a vast multitude, preaching to them,
26 And a lame man standing before him, supported by his crutches, he threw them down at his word, and leaped as an heart by the mighty power of God.
27 ¶ Also Elder Brigham Young standing in a strange land, in the far southwest, in a desert place, upon a rock in the midst of about a dozen men of color, who, appeared hostile.
28 He was preaching to them in their own tounge, and the angel of God standing above his head with a drawn sword in his hand protecting him, but he did not see it.
29 ¶ And I finally saw the Twelve in the Celestial Kngdom of God.
30 I also beheld the redemption of Zion, and many things which the toung of man, cannot discribe in full.
31 ¶ Many of my brethren who received this ordinance with me, saw glorious visions also;
32 Angels ministered unto them, as well as my self, and the power of the highest rested upon us.
33 The house was filled with the glory of God, and we shouted “Hosanah to God and the Lamb!”
34 ¶ My Scribe also recieved his anointing with us, and saw in a vision the armies of heaven protecting the Saints in their return to Zion, and many things that I saw.
35 ¶ The Bishop of Kirtland with his counsellors and the Bishop of Zion with his counsellors, were present with us, and received their annointing under the hands of Patriarch Smith and confirmed by the presidency, and the glories of heaven were unfolded to them also.
36 ¶ We then invited the counsellors of Kirtland and Zion into our room, and President Hyrum Smith annointed the head of the president of the Counsellors in Kirtland and President David Whitmer the head of the president of the Counsellors of Zion.
37 ¶ The president of each quorum then annointed the heads of his colleagues, each in his turn beginning at the eldest.
38 ¶ The vision of heaven was opened to these also; some of them saw the face of the Saviour, and others were ministered unto by holy angels, and the spirit of propesey and revelation was poured out in mighty power,
39 And loud Hosanahs and “Glory to God in the Highest,” saluted the heavens for we all communed with the heavenly hosts.
40 And I saw in my vision all of the presidency in the Celistial Kingdom of God, and, many others who were present.
41 ¶ Our meeting was opened by singing and prayer offered up by the head of each quorum, and closed by singing and invoking the benediction of heaven with uplifted hands;
42 And we retired between one and two o’clock in the morning.
Though this section has a lot of teaching moments and many helpful inspirations, the main focus at this time is verse 19. Verse 7 in the Latter-day Saints’ version reads, “All who have died without a knowledge of this gospel” (italics added). The original text says “with,” which changes the meaning. The original indicates that know truth will be saved, with or without admittance into an earthly church. This acknowledges the teachings of Jesus Christ to the Nephites:
“whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost, even as the Lamanites, because of their faith in me at the time of their conversion, were baptized with fire and with the Holy Ghost, and they knew it not” (3 Nephi 4:50 RAV, 9:20 OPV).
If accepted, this Section of the Doctrine and Covenants will be added along side other visions.
Thoughts, comments, and other interpretations are welcome below.