Sections 97 and 98 were given by revelation to Joseph Smith in Ohio about two weeks after mob action began against Latter-day Saints in Missouri. Section 134, prepared by Oliver Cowdery in August 1835, is a response to the persecutors of the Church who accused the Saints of being opposed to the laws of the land.
Groups of Latter-day Saints had gathered in Missouri as the result of a revelation from the Lord, recorded as Section 57, which states that the Lord had "appointed and consecrated" the land for that purpose. By the spring and summer of 1831, some 300-400 members of the Church began gathering to Missouri.Editorials in The Evening and the Morning Star, which William W. Phelps began publishing in June 1832, reflected the gathering members' optimism, as future prospects for Zion appeared bright and promising.
More members arrived in Independence during the spring and early summer of 1833. Parley P. Pratt wrote: " . . . the wilderness became a fruitful field, and the solitary place began to bud and blosson as the rose. . . . There has seldom, if ever, been a happier people upon the earth than the Church of the Saints now were." (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography, Church History in the Fulness of Times, p. 129.)
A school for the elders, modeled after the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, was organized in Missouri. In late June 1833, Joseph Smith sent to the Saints in Missouri a plan for the building up of the city of Zion and its temple. However, the plan was not implemented as the happy and favorable circumstances of the Saints in Jackson County ended suddenly in July of 1833.
"The original inhabitants of the area became increasingly suspicious as the number of Church members in Jackson County grew rapidly. The `old settlers' were from a different background than the incoming Latter-day Saints, and it was natural that cultural, political, religious, and economic differences arose." (CHFT, pp. 130-131.)
Ministers resented the "Mormon instrusion." Merchants among the old settlers feared that the Church members would take over their lands and businesses.
The Missourians, who feared and hated the Indians, resented the Latter-day Saints declaring the prophetic destiny of the native Americans. Also, the Missourians feared that LDS settlers would bring abolitionist philosophies and would encourage freed slaves to migrate to Missouri, which came into the Union as a slave state.
"During the summer of 1833, the many differences between the Saints and the old settlers combined to set the stage for violence. A mob atmosphere had been developing since April; in early July hundreds of people, including prominent citizens, signed a manifesto known as the
secret constitution,' denouncing the Mormons and calling for a meeting on 20 July. The manifesto accused the Mormons of tampering with slaves, encouraging sedition, and inviting free Negroes and mulattoes to join the Church and immigrate to Missouri. It declared the intent of the signers to remove the Mormonspeaceably if we can, forcibly if we must.' " (History of the Church 1:34.)
Mob violence began soon. It was during this time, in August 1833, that the Prophet Joseph Smith, at Kirtland, Ohio, received revelations recorded as Sections 97 and 98 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The heading for Section 98 states: "This revelation came in consequence of the persecution on the saints in Missouri. . . . Although some news of the problems in Missouri had no doubt reached the Prophet in Kirtland (nine hundred miles away), the seriousness of the situation could have been known to him at this date only by revelation."
Following their expulsion from Jackson County in late 1833, some of the Saints went to other counties in Missouri. By 1837, a few had settled in the newly created Daviess County, north of Caldwell County. At Far West, in Caldwell County, more members gathered and built more than 150 homes, four dry goods stores, three grocery stores, several blacksmith shops, two hotels, a printing shop, and a large schoolhouse that doubled as a church and courthouse. At Far West in April 1838, Joseph Smith received a revelation from the Lord concerning building a temple there.