Commentary on Doctrine & Covenants 11

/ Doctrine & Covenants 11 / Commentary

Find helpful commentary on the verses below to better understand the message of this revelation.

Verses 1-6

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

Hyrum’s father and brother Samuel had already witnessed spiritual manifestations of Joseph’s revelatory powers. The revelation to Joseph Smith Sr. is currently in the scriptural canon as Doctrine and Covenants 4, and much of the language in this portion of section 11 parallels the wording of that section. This call to service in the kingdom serves as a sort of standard preamble to revelations given to individuals during this period, including Oliver Cowdery (D&C 6), Joseph Knight Sr. (D&C 12), David Whitmer (D&C 14), John Whitmer (D&C 15), and Peter Whitmer Jr. (D&C 16). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 7-14

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

Here the Lord explained and introduced the specific gifts given to Hyrum, along with the challenges Hyrum would face and the counsel that would prepare him for the work. The Lord commended Hyrum for having an honest heart and a belief in the power of Jesus Christ (verse 10). Hyrum’s honesty and uprightness became a hallmark of his work in the early Restoration. In the Book of the Law of the Lord, a record kept by Joseph during the Nauvoo period, Joseph recorded of Hyrum, “Blessed is my servant Hyrum Smith, for I the Lord loveth him; because of the integrity of his heart, and because, he loveth that which is right before me saith the Lord” (Book of the Law of the Lord, 4).

 

The Lord considers integrity, honesty, and humility to be key characteristics of those who follow the Spirit of Truth. Honesty in dealing with others is still upheld as a one of the chief requirements of those who seek to serve the Lord and enter into sacred covenants with Him. (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 15-22

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

Though Hyrum eventually became one of the most powerful leaders in the Church, he was instructed here to be patient and study the word of God before embarking on a mission to declare the gospel. At the time this revelation was given, the Book of Mormon was still being translated, the Church was still unorganized, and Hyrum was still unbaptized. Hyrum was baptized in June 1829, at Seneca Lake near Fayette, New York (JS History, vol. A-1, p. 23, JSP). He also served as one of the original six members of the Church when it was organized (Richard Lloyd Anderson, “Who Were the Six Who Organized the Church of 6 April 1830?” Ensign, June 1980).

 

Most importantly, in every copy of the Book of Mormon the name of Hyrum Smith is found as one of the eight witnesses who saw and handled the gold plates. Hyrum’s witness was a direct fulfillment of the Lord’s promise that Hyrum would “assist in bringing to light those things of which has been spoken—yea, the translation of my work” (verse 19). Hyrum never denied his testimony of the reality of the gold plates, eventually dying a martyr’s death alongside Joseph in Carthage Jail. Because of his integrity, his name, along with Joseph’s, “will be classed among the martyrs of religion; and the reader in every nation will be reminded that the Book of Mormon, and this book of Doctrine and Covenants of the church, cost the best blood of the nineteenth century to bring them forth for the salvation of a ruined world” (D&C 135:6). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 23-30

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

Like other members of the small group gathering around Joseph Smith at this point, Hyrum was not to deny the spirit of revelation and prophecy (verse 25). This instruction implied a broad application of prophetic gifts among people who seek the Lord. In an echo of the Gospel of John, the Lord renewed His promise that those who receive Him will “become the sons of God” (John 1:12). This promise was repeated to several other early seekers of counsel during this time, including Orson Pratt (D&C 34) and James Covel (D&C 39). Women are also brought into this exalted relationship when a revelation to Emma Smith promised that “all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom” (D&C 25:1). While commenting on a vision shown to him and Sidney Rigdon, Joseph taught that through Jesus Christ the inhabitants of all worlds created by divine power “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” and that those who enter into exaltation are “gods, even the sons of God” (D&C 76:58). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)