“The Calling of Newel K. Whitney as a Bishop”

Doctrine and Covenants 72:1–13

1 Hearken, and listen to the voice of the Lord, O ye who have assembled yourselves together, who are the high priests of my church, to whom the kingdom and power have been given.
2 For verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me for a bishop to be appointed unto you, or of you, unto the church in this part of the Lord’s vineyard.
3 And verily in this thing ye have done wisely, for it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity.
4 For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father.
5 Verily I say unto you, the elders of the church in this part of my vineyard shall render an account of their stewardship unto the bishop, who shall be appointed of me in this part of my vineyard.
6 These things shall be had on record, to be handed over unto the bishop in Zion.
7 And the duty of the bishop shall be made known by the commandments which have been given, and the voice of the conference.
8 And now, verily I say unto you, my servant Newel K. Whitney is the man who shall be appointed and ordained unto this power. This is the will of the Lord your God, your Redeemer. Even so. Amen.
9 The word of the Lord, in addition to the law which has been given, making known the duty of the bishop who has been ordained unto the church in this part of the vineyard, which is verily this—
10 To keep the Lord’s storehouse; to receive the funds of the church in this part of the vineyard;
11 To take an account of the elders as before has been commanded; and to administer to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay;
12 That this also may be consecrated to the good of the church, to the poor and needy.
13 And he who hath not wherewith to pay, an account shall be taken and handed over to the bishop of Zion, who shall pay the debt out of that which the Lord shall put into his hands.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“At a very early day after the organization of the Church the Lord revealed the need of a bishop to look after the temporalities and stewardships in the Church. Bishop Edward Partridge was called and sent to Zion to engage in the duties of his calling. On the 4th day of December, 1831, while the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon were engaged in their ministry refuting their enemies, a meeting of the elders was called and the Lord gave them a very important revelation. The Lord declared that it was expedient that a bishop should be called to serve in the Kirtland district. One important duty of this bishop was to look after the stewardships pertaining to the inhabitants of Kirtland and other parts of Ohio, and he was ‘to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity’ [D&C 72:3]. ‘For he who is faithful and wise in time is accounted worthy to inherit the mansions prepared for him of my Father’ [D&C 72:4]. The elders in ‘this part of my vineyard shall render an account of their stewardship unto the bishop, who shall be appointed of me in this part of my vineyard’ [D&C 72:5]. The bishop in Kirtland was to ‘hand over’ to the bishop in Zion, the record of the stewardships, where the permanent records should be kept. For this responsibility Newel K. Whitney was called to act as bishop [see D&C 72:8]. He was to keep the Lord’s storehouse in Kirtland, and to receive funds in that part of the vineyard, and to take an account of the elders as he was commanded; to administer to their wants, all those who should pay for that which they received, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay [see D&C 72:9–11]. These funds received were to be consecrated to the good of the Church, ‘to the poor and needy’ [D&C 72:12]. If there were any who were unable to pay, an account was to be made ‘and handed over to the bishop of Zion, who shall pay the debt out of that which the Lord shall put into his hands’ [D&C 72:13].”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:269–70.)

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