By Michael Barker

Section 11 (from Book of Commandments  (BoC) 10 (cf. LDS D&C 11; Community of Christ (CoC) 10)

Date:  May 1829 (after 25 May)

Hyrum Smith arrived in Harmony, Pennsylvania, after Samuel H. Smith’s baptism on 25 May 1829.  Thus, section 11 was of necessity received after that date.

Place:  Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

Historical Note:  Shortly after Samuel H. Smith returned to Manchester, New York, Hyrum Smith became interested in Joseph’s activities and traveled to Harmony to visit him.   At Hyrum’s request, Joseph inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim (seer stone?) and received section 11.

Publication Note:   Section 11 was first published as chapter 10 in the BoC in 1833.

Biographical Note: Hyrum Smith was born 9 February 1800 at Tunbridge, Orange County, Vermont.  Married Jerusha Barden 2 November 1826 in Manchester, New York.  Six children:  Lovina, Mary, John, Hyrum, Jerusha, and Sarah.  Appointed assistant counselor in First Presidency 3 September 1837.  Appointed second counselor in First Presidency in Far West, Missouri, 7 November 1837.   Married Mary Fielding December 1837 after death of first wife.  Two children:  Joseph Fielding and Martha Ann.   Ordained Patriarch and Assistant President of Church 24 January 1841.   Received endowment 4 May 1842.   Sealed to Mary Fielding, 29 May 1842.  Sealed to Mercy R. Thompson for time 11 August 1843.  Killed 27 June 1844.  Nauvoo Temple proxy sealings to Jerusha Barden and Mary 15 January 1846, to Susan Ivers (born 1789 in Massachusetts) 29 Janurary 1847, and to Lydia Dibble and Polly Miller (born 1795 in New York) 30 Janurary 1846.

Original Inscription in Revelation Book 1: Non existent

Section 12 (from BoC 11 (cf. LDS D&C 12;  CoC D&C 11))

Date:  May 1829

Place:  Harmony, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

Historical Note:  Joseph Knight, Sr., was a resident of Colesville, New York, in 1829, was one of the first individuals to step forward and assist Joseph during the revealing of the Book of Mormon by supplying money, food, and writing materials.   He also paid attorney’s fees for Joseph.  

Publication Note:  Section 12 was first published as chapter 11 in the BoC in 1833.

Biographical Note:  Joseph Knight, Sr., was born 26 November 1772 in Oakham, Worcester County, Massachusetts.   Married Polly Peck by 1796.  Seven children:  Nahum, Esther, Newel, Anna, Joseph, Polly, and Elizabeth.  Baptized 29 June 1830.  Family formed nucleus of small branch of church in Colesville, New York.   Received endowment in Nauvoo Temple 13 December 1845.  Sealed to dead wife, Polly, 2 February 1846.  Sealed to Phebe Crosby (born 1800 in New York) 2 February 1846.  Died 3 February 1847 at Mt. Pisgah, Harrison County, Iowa, during Mormon exodus from Illinois.

Original Inscription in Revelation Book 1: Non existent 

Section 13 (this section is absent from the 1833 BoC and the 1835 D&C) 

Date:  15 May 1829

Place:  Harmon, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

Historical Note:   Section 13 contains part of the instructions and prayer of ordination given by John the Baptist on 15 May 1829.  Several accounts of the restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods were written and published fewer than six years after the events (see for example, Messenger and Advocate [October 1834].)  Here is a handwritten account of Oliver Cowdery from 1835:

[Joseph Smith] was ordained by the angel John, unto the lesser or Aaronic priesthood, in company  with myself, in the town of Harmon, Susquehannah county, Pennsylvania, on Friday the 15th day of May, 1829:  after which we repaired to the water, even to the Susquehannah river, and were baptized:  he first ministering unto me, and after, I to him.  But before baptism our souls were drawn out in mighty prayer, to know how we might obtain the blessings of baptism and the Holy Spirit according to the order of God, and we diligently sought for the right of the fathers and the authority of the holy Priesthood, and the power to administer in the same;  for we desired to be, followers of righteousness….Therefore we repaired to the woods, even as our father Joseph said we should, that is, to the bush, and called upon the name of the Lord…and while we were in heavenly vision the angel came down and bestowed upon us this priesthood…

It appears that  3 Nephi11:21-30 prompted Joseph and Hyrum to inquire about authority to baptize.  Cowdery said:

After writing the account given of the Savior’s ministry to the remnant of the seed of Jacob, upon this continent, it was as easily seen, that amid the great strife and noise concerning religion, none had authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel.

Lucy Mack Smith said:

…one morning they sat down to their work, as usual, and the first thing which presented itself through the Urim and Thummim, was a commandment for Joseph and Cowdery to repair to the water, and attend to the ordinance of Baptism (Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet and His Progenitors for Many Generations. Loverpool,  England.:  S. W. Richards 1853, pg 131).

The reason this is important is because it gives us an idea of how far along Joseph and Oliver were in their work on the Book of Mormon.

Publication Note:  Section 13 was first published in the Times and Seasons (1 August 1842) and was later included in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Original Inscription in Revelation Book 1: Non existent 


Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith:  A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants, Deseret Book, 1985

H. Michael Marquardt, The Joseph Smith Revelations:  Text and Commentary,  Signature Books,  1999

Richard P. Howard, Restoration Scriptures:  A Study of Their Textual Development, Second Edition, Herald Publishing House, 1995

Steven C. Harper, Making Sense of the Doctrine and Covenants:  A Guided Tour through Modern Revelations, Deseret Book, 2008

Richard Lyman Bushman, Joseph Smith, Rough Stone Rolling: A Cultural Biography of Mormonism’s Founder, Knopf, Borzoi Books, 2005

Richard E. Turley Jr., William W. Slaughter, How We Got the Doctrine and Covenants, Deseret Book, 2012

Joseph Smith, Junior – Compiler,  The Parallel Doctrine and Covenants, The 1832-1833, 133, and 1835,  Editions of Joseph Smith’s Revelations,  The Smith-Pettit Foundation, 2009

Robin Scott Jensen, Robert J. Woodford, Steven C. Harper- Volume Editors, The Joseph Smith Papers:  Revelations and Translations, Manuscript Revelation Books, The Church Historian’s Press, 2009



Miguel is a Guatemalan-American Mormon living in the Northwest with his family. He is one of the proprietors of the Rational Faiths blog.

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