Doctrine and Covenants Study
Joseph Smith’s Revelations, Doctrine and Covenants 11

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“Doctrine and Covenants 11,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers (2020)

“Doctrine and Covenants 11,” Joseph Smith’s Revelations: A Doctrine and Covenants Study Companion from the Joseph Smith Papers

Doctrine and Covenants 11

Revelation, May 1829–A

Source Note

Revelation, Harmony Township, Susquehanna Co., PA, to Hyrum Smith, May 1829. Featured version, titled “Chapter X,” typeset [between 1 Nov. and 31 Dec. 1832] for Book of Commandments, 28–30. John Whitmer copied this revelation [ca. Mar. 1831] into Revelation Book 1, but the pages on which it was copied were removed at some point from that volume and are no longer extant.1 The version found in the Book of Commandments and featured below is the earliest extant version. For more information, see the source note for the Book of Commandments on the Joseph Smith Papers website.

Historical Introduction

In May 1829, JS’s older brother, Hyrum Smith, arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, to visit JS and Oliver Cowdery, who were engaged in translating the Book of Mormon. At Hyrum’s “earnest request,” JS “enquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummin, and received for him” the revelation featured here.2

Hyrum and other members of JS’s family had long supported JS’s efforts to obtain and translate the plates. After JS and his wife Emma moved from Manchester, New York, to Harmony in 1827, the Smith family continued to stay in touch and provide assistance. Early in 1829, Joseph Smith Sr. and Samuel Smith traveled from Manchester to visit JS and Emma in Harmony.3 During that visit JS dictated a revelation for his father that declared the urgency of the work in which JS was engaged and encouraged others to participate.4 In mid-May, not long after JS and Oliver Cowdery baptized each other,5 Samuel made another visit to Harmony, during which he was convinced of the truthfulness of the work and was baptized by Cowdery. JS’s history states that Samuel then “returned to his father’s house greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit. Not many days afterwards, my brother Hyrum Smith came to us to enquire concerning these things.”6 This revelation followed.

Although Joseph Sr. had been told, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work,”7 the revelation to Hyrum qualified that message and cautioned him that “you need not suppose you are called to preach until you are called.” He was instructed to wait until his knowledge was deeper and the translation of the plates was completed. The revelation identified its source as Jesus Christ and told Hyrum to put his trust “in that Spirit which leadeth to do good.” The text is similar to the revelations addressing Cowdery a month earlier, with the first three paragraphs reflecting the initial April 1829 revelation to Cowdery and subsequent paragraphs reiterating themes and phrases from the other instructions Cowdery received.8

Although the exact date JS dictated this revelation is unknown, the heading given in the Book of Commandments placed it in May 1829. The time frame can be further narrowed because the revelation originated sometime between 15 May, when JS and Cowdery baptized each other, and the end of May, when David Whitmer arrived in Harmony to help move JS and Cowdery to Fayette, New York.9 Further, JS’s history states that Hyrum arrived “not many days” after Samuel’s departure and that Samuel was baptized at least “a few days” after 15 May.10 Given this sequence of events, the revelation was likely dictated in late May but before JS, Cowdery, and Whitmer departed for New York around 29 May. Hyrum’s arrival late in the month, and JS and Cowdery’s prompt move thereafter, probably account for his not being baptized until after the relocation to Fayette.11

Hyrum Smith

Hyrum Smith. Joseph Smith’s older brother Hyrum was one of the first individuals to receive a revelation through Joseph. The revelation, which was dictated in May 1829, instructed Hyrum not to preach until the translation of the plates was completed. Shortly thereafter, he became one of the Eight Witnesses of the gold plates, assisted in the printing of the Book of Mormon, and presided over the church members in Colesville, New York. Portrait by Sutcliffe Maudsley, circa 1844. (Church History Library, Salt Lake City.)


1 A Revelation given to Hyrum [Smith], in Harmony, Pennsylvania, May, 1829.12

[1]A GREAT and marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men: [2]behold I am God and give heed to my word, which is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of both joints and marrow: therefore, give heed unto my word.

[3]2 Behold the field is white already to harvest, therefore, whoso desireth to reap, let him thrust in his sickle with his might, and reap while the day lasts, that he may treasure up for his soul everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God; [4]yea, whosoever will thrust in his sickle and reap, the same is called of God: [5]therefore, if you will ask of me, you shall receive; if you will knock, it shall be opened unto you.

[6]3 Now as you have asked, behold I say unto you, keep my commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion.13 [7]Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold the mysteries of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich; behold he that hath eternal life is rich.

[8]4 Verily, verily I say unto you, even as you desire of me, so shall it be done unto you; and, if you desire you shall be the means of doing much good in this generation. [9]Say nothing but repentance unto this generation. Keep my commandments, and assist to bring forth my work according to my commandments, and you shall be blessed.

[10]5 Behold thou hast a gift, or thou shalt have a gift, if thou wilt desire of me in faith, with an honest [p. 28] heart, believing in the power of Jesus Christ, or in my power which speaketh unto thee: [11]for behold it is I that speaketh: behold I am the light which shineth in darkness, and by my power I give these words unto thee.

[12]6 And now, verily, verily I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good: Yea, to do justly; to walk humbly; to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit.14

[13]7 Verily, verily I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy, [14]and then shall you know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which is pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.

[15]8 Behold I command you, that you need not suppose that you are called to preach until you are called: [16]wait a little longer, until you shall have my word, my Rock, my church, and my gospel, that you may know of a surety my doctrine;15 [17]and then behold, according to your desires, yea, even according to your faith, shall it be done unto you.

[18]9 Keep my commandments; hold your peace; appeal unto my Spirit: [19]Yea, cleave unto me with all your heart, that you may assist in bringing to light those things of which have been spoken: Yea, the translation of my work: be patient until you shall accomplish it.

[20]10 Behold this is your work, to keep my commandments: Yea, with all your might, mind, and strength: [21]seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongues be loosed; then, if you desire you shall have my Spirit, and my word: Yea, the power of God unto the [p. 29] convincing of men: [22]but now hold your peace; study my word which hath gone forth among the children of men; and also study my word which shall come forth among the children of men; or that which you are translating: Yea, until you have obtained all which I shall grant unto the children of men in this generation; and then shall all things be added thereunto.

[23]11 Behold thou art Hyrum, my son; seek the kingdom of God and all things shall be added according to that which is just. [24]Build upon my Rock, which is my gospel; [25]deny not the Spirit of revelation, nor the Spirit of prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things:16 [26]therefore, treasure up in your hearts until the time which is in my wisdom, that you shall go forth: [27]Behold I speak unto all who have good desires, and have thrust in their sickles to reap.

[28]12 Behold I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God: I am the life and the light of the world: [29]I am the same which came unto my own, and my own received me not: [30]but verily, verily I say unto you, that as many as receiveth me, them will I give power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on my name:17 Amen. [p. 30]