“It Is Not Expedient in Me That Ye Should Translate Any More until Ye Shall Go to the Ohio”

Doctrine and Covenants 37:1–4

1 Behold, I say unto you that it is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio, and this because of the enemy and for your sakes.
2 And again, I say unto you that ye shall not go until ye have preached my gospel in those parts, and have strengthened up the church whithersoever it is found, and more especially in Colesville; for, behold, they pray unto me in much faith.
3 And again, a commandment I give unto the church, that it is expedient in me that they should assemble together at the Ohio, against the time that my servant Oliver Cowdery shall return unto them.
4 Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so. Amen.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“Section 37 is a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Fayette, while Sidney Rigdon was visiting the Prophet in December 1830. It seems that, in keeping with the commandment previously given, Sidney Rigdon had commenced to write for the Prophet in his ‘translation’ or revision of the scriptures. The Lord now commands them to cease for a season and prepare to go to the Ohio, because of their enemies and for their sakes.

“. . . The call to the Ohio was for two reasons. The opposition to the Church in and around Fayette had become bitter. There had been many converts made among the followers of Sidney Rigdon in Kirtland, and the spirit there was friendly. The trend of the Church was ever westward; as persecution arose, and it became necessary to seek protection, the Church moved farther and farther west. The Lord had a design in this. The place of the City Zion was west and it was necessary that eventually the Church be located there, although it would not be a permanent residence until Zion is redeemed. Not only [were] Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon commanded to go to Ohio, but this came as a command to the entire Church. The Lord was anxious for them to assemble there, ‘against the time’ when Oliver Cowdery should return from his mission to the Lamanites in the west. However, the Prophet was not to leave for Ohio until he had ‘strengthened up the Church whithersoever it is found, and more especially in Colesville; for, behold, they pray unto me in much faith.’ It appears that these members in Colesville needed some attention and encouragement before the change of residence should be taken. The Lord had some very special reasons why the Church should assemble in Kirtland. This reason will be shown as we proceed with the history of the Church.”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:163–64.)