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Revelations for the Church - Insight Into D&C 28

TitleRevelations for the Church - Insight Into D&C 28
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsBlack, Susan Easton
Book TitleRestoration Voices Volume 2: Insights and Stories of the Doctrine and Covenants
Number of Volumes2
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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September 1830 was not the first time Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery disagreed on religious matters. Just one month earlier, Oliver had sent a letter to Joseph about a perceived error in the wording of Doctrine and Covenants 20:37. Oliver penned, “I command you in the name of God to erase those words!” Joseph wrote back to Oliver, asking “by what authority he took upon him to command me to alter or erase, to add to or diminish from, a revelation or commandment from Almighty God.”[1]

Although that disagreement was resolved, another arose in September 1830 over Hiram Page, one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, who claimed to receive revelations through a “seer stone” which he wore about his neck. His revelations were of Zion, restoration doctrines, and Church organization. Oliver Cowdery and the Whitmer family were supportive of Hiram Page. The Prophet Joseph tried to reason with Oliver and the Whitmers but without success.

The Prophet inquired of the Lord concerning the matter and received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 28, which clearly states “no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church” except the Prophet Joseph (D&C 28:2).

This was not the last time Joseph was confronted by a member claiming to receive revelations for the Church. For example, Mrs. Hubble, who appeared to be very religious, misled the newly baptized. In answer to Joseph’s query about the matter, the Lord again said that the prophet of the Church, whether Joseph Smith or someone called to be the prophet after Joseph, is the only one who has the right to receive revelation for the entire Church (D&C 43:3–4). The reason being is that the prophet holds the keys of the kingdom.

Elder Boyd K. Packer told the story of President Spencer W. Kimball possessing the keys of the kingdom and having the right to receive revelation for the Church. President Kimball invited members of the Quorum of the Twelve and other Church leaders to go with him to the “Vor Frue Church, where the Thorvaldsen statues of the Christus and of the Twelve Apostles stand.” Elder Packer recalled that President Kimball “had visited there some years earlier and wanted all of us to see it.” Depicted in the hand of the statue of the Apostle Peter was “a set of heavy keys. President Kimball pointed to the keys and explained what they symbolized.” He then “turned to President Benthin and with unaccustomed firmness pointed his finger at him and said, ‘I want you to tell everyone in Denmark that I hold the keys! We hold the real keys, and we use them every day.’”[2]

[1] History, circa June 1839–circa 1841 [Draft 2]. Joseph Smith Papers.

[2] Elder Boyd K. Packer, “The Twelve,” Ensign, May 2008.



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Scripture Reference

Doctrine and Covenants 28:1