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TitleSection 11
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsHarper, Steven C.
Book TitleDoctrine and Covenants Contexts
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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Cross reference Section 23

Father Smith returned home from his spring 1829 visit to Joseph with a revelation in hand saying he was called to the marvelous work. Joseph’s younger brother Samuel returned home a few weeks later having been baptized and “greatly glorifying and praising God, being filled with the Holy Spirit.” Joseph’s older brother Hyrum wanted to get in on the action. He went to Joseph’s place in Pennsylvania and asked what the Lord had in store for him. “Wait,” the Lord replied.[1]

Section 11 includes all of the anticipation of section 4 and later revelations, and it commands Hyrum to take part. There is a restraining tone to this one, however, that is not in the others. Note the several specific commands from the Lord to Hyrum: say nothing but repentance, keep commandments, assist with the marvelous work. The Lord makes these the conditions on which he will grant Hyrum's desires. As with so many others, the entire revelation follows this conditional formula. Hyrum has a spiritual gift to know whatever he righteously desires by faith and the power of the Holy Ghost. The Lord tells him to trust it and promises to enlighten his mind and fill him with joy.

Unlike his father, Hyrum is not yet called to preach but rather to wait until he has the Book of Mormon and the restored Church. Then, as Hyrum desires, he will be a successful preacher of the gospel. For now he should keep the Lord's commandments, be patient, appeal to the Spirit, and cleave unto Christ wholeheartedly in order to assist with the printing of the Book of Mormon. “Be patient until you shall accomplish it” (D&C 11:19), the Savior tells him. That is his work for now, simply to keep the commandments as best he can. He is not to declare the Lord's word but to obtain it. Then his tongue will be loosed, and then, if he desires, he will be full of the Spirit and the Lord's word, the power of God to convince many. So for now Hyrum should not preach but study the scriptures.

This revelation channels Hyrum's zeal. He is like a wild horse. Here the Lord bridles him, careful not to break his spirit but to train him. This revelation gives Hyrum, and so many others since him, the formula for becoming successful preachers of the gospel. Having the Lord’s conditional promise of power to convince by the Spirit if he will first learn the gospel, Hyrum spent a year searching the scriptures and helping with the publication of the Book of Mormon. When the Lord spoke to him again in April 1830, the Book of Mormon was printed, the Church was restored, the marvelous work had come forth, and Hyrum had the knowledge to pair with his desire to declare the good news. Having been promised in May 1829 that the Lord would loose his tongue if he would obtain the word, Hyrum learned in April 1830 that “thy heart is opened, thy tongue loosed; and thy calling is to exhortation” (D&C 23:3).

[1]History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834],” p. 19, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 22, 2020.


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