`Olive leaf ' to brethren in Missouri

The Prophet Joseph Smith designated D&C 88 as the "olive leaf . . . plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us." President Joseph Fielding Smith provided this explanation for the name:

"Ten days after writing this epistle for publication to the world, the Prophet wrote to William W. Phelps and the brethren in Zion. Word had reached the Prophet and his brethren in Kirtland that all was not well in Zion. There had been some quarreling, disagreements, bitterness and violation of covenants on the part of brethren in Zion. This spirit was manifest in some measure when the Prophet visited Independence and it was thought that all had been corrected and when the Prophet left for Kirtland there was harmony prevailing. However, it was not long after when jealousies and an evil influence crept in among the brethren and some very good men, who had been loyal and who had been blessed with a testimony of the truth, permitted Satan to influence them and cause them to find fault and this spirit was manifest against the Prophet. Some of the spirit of their bickering and dissension prevailing is reflected in the letter to William W. Phelps. The Prophet commences his letter by stating that he was sending to the brethren in Missouri the great revelation known as the olive leaf,' so named because of the great truths revealed therein, but also, without doubt, intended to be anolive leaf' or branch to the Missouri brethren. Surely such great truths regarding the kingdom of God, His mercies and the plan of redemption and other matters should have touched the hearts of these brethren and caused them to rejoice, for there have been few greater manifestations of knowledge and wisdom than are found in this revelation. The Prophet expressed regret that the brethren in Zion indulged in feelings towards the brethren in Kirtland contrary to their covenant, yet he felt that the Lord approved of the Kirtland brethren. It was declared that if Zion would not purify herself then the name of the Lord in Kirtland would be held in remembrance for the salvation of nations; for the Lord will have a place whence His word will go forth, in these last days, in purity; for if Zion will not purify herself, so as to be approved of in all things, in his sight, he will seek another people, for his work will go on until Israel is gathered, and they who will not hear his voice must expect to feel his wrath.' The brethren in Zion were admonished to repent and purify themselves, for the anger of the Lord would otherwise be kindled in fierceness.Repent, repent, is the voice of God to Zion.' The members of the Church in Zion were not to justify themselves until their character be past being redeemed, and their follies be exposed to the gaze of mankind. They were to heed the warning voice, lest Zion fall, and the Lord in His wrath declare that the inhabitants of Zion should not enter into His rest."The text of the Prophet's letter to William W. Phelps is found in History of the Church 1:22, p. 316.

Subscribe for free and get daily or weekly updates straight to your inbox
The three things you need to know everyday
Highlights from the last week to keep you informed