Commentary on Doctrine & Covenants 14

/ Doctrine & Covenants 14 / Commentary

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

Verses 1-6

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

The call to the ministry the Lord issues here parallels the calls He gave to Joseph Smith Sr., Oliver Cowdery, and Hyrum Smith. He gave a similar call to David’s brothers, John and Peter, in Doctrine and Covenants 15 and 16 (see D&C 4; 6:1–5; 11:1–9). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 7-8

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

The Lord promised David eternal life provided that he endure to the end. He was baptized the same month of this revelation and became one of the six original members of the Church in April 1830. David followed the Church when it moved to Kirtland and then to Jackson County, Missouri. He was subject to the terrible persecutions faced by Church members in 1833, and the next year Joseph Smith appointed him as president of the Church in Missouri. During the crisis linked to the Kirtland Safety Society, David challenged Joseph Smith’s leadership over the Church, attempting to become the president of the Church (David Whitmer Biography, JSP). The Missouri High Council excommunicated him on April 13, 1838, at Far West, Missouri, based on charges of “not observing the word of wisdom, for unchristian-like conduct in neglecting to attend meetings, in uniting with, and possessing the same spirit with the dissenters, [and] in writing letters to the dissenters in Kirtland unfavorable to the cause and to Br. Joseph Smith Jr.” (Minute Book 2, 132, JSP).

 

Though David was excommunicated, he remained steadfast in his testimony of the Book of Mormon. In 1884, B. H. Roberts interviewed David who recounted his experience with the Angel Moroni and beholding the gold plates and other artifacts. According to Roberts, when the angel was showing the plates to the witnesses, he turned and looked directly at David, saying, “David, blessed is he that endureth to the end.” In a talk later given in general conference, Roberts said, “It is a rather sad reflection that of these three witnesses [David] was the only one who died outside of membership in the Church. I wonder if Moroni was not trying to sound a warning to this stubborn man, that perhaps whatever his experiences and trails might be, that at the last he, too, might have been brought into the fold, and might have died within the pale of the Church” (Conference Report, October 5, 1926, 126). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)

Verses 9-11

Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)

Even before Joseph and Oliver arrived at the Whitmer household, the family began to receive temporal and spiritual blessings. When David received Oliver Cowdery’s letter requesting help relocating to Fayette, he was already overwhelmed. He later explained, “I did not know what to do, I was pressed with my work. I had some 20 acres to plow, so I concluded I would finish plowing then go. I got up one morning to go to work as usual, and on going to the field, found between five and seven acres of my ground had been plowed during the night. I didn’t know who did it; but it was done just as I would have done it myself, and the plow was left standing in the furrow” (Joseph F. Smith, Diary, 7–8 Sept. 1878, Joseph F. Smith Collection, LDS Church Archives).

 

Lucy Mack Smith recalled the same incident with slightly different details. According to her, David’s work entailed sowing the field with plaster of paris, a common element used during the time to reduce the acidity of soil. David determined to complete the chore and then depart to assist Joseph and Oliver. Lucy reported,

 

The next morning, David took a wooden measure under his arm and went out to sow the plaster, which he had left, two days previous, in heaps near his sister’s house, but on coming to the place, he discovered that it was gone! He then ran to his sister and inquired of her if she knew what had become of it. Being surprised she said, “Why do you ask me? Was it not all sown yesterday?” “Not to my knowledge,” answered David. “I am astonished at that,” continued his sister, “for the children came to me in the forenoon and begged of me to go out and see the men sow plaster in the field, saying, that they never saw anybody sow plaster so fast in their lives. I accordingly went, and saw three men at work in the field, as the children said, but, supposing that you had hired some help, on account of your hurry, I went immediately into the house, and gave the subject no further attention.”

 

Lucy added, “David made considerable inquiry in regard to the matter, both among his relatives and neighbors, but was not able to learn who had done it. However, the family were convinced that there was an exertion of supernatural power connected with this strange occurrence. David immediately set out for Pennsylvania, and arrived there in two days without injuring his horses in the least, though the distance was 135 miles” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, pp. 149–51, JSP). (Doctrine and Covenants Minute)