D&C 12:7-9 Joseph Knight and You
Joseph Knight, Sr. resided in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and he and his family had been supportive of Joseph Smith since they first met in 1825. The first six verses of this revelation, which is directed to Brother Knight, are identical to Section 11 and similar to Section 4; these truths being pertinent to all who are part of the latter-day Restoration. Indeed, the Lord said in verse 7, “I speak unto you, and also to all those who have desires to bring forth and establish this work.”
What do you think are the most important attributes for those who engage in missionary work or any other aspect of the Lord’s work? In verses 8-9 the Lord set forth some of the qualifications for those who “have desires” to assist in His work. His emphatic premise was, “No one can assist in this work except he …”:
- Be humble
- Be full of love
- Have faith
- Have hope
- Have charity
- Be temperate in all things (meaning “moderate,” “balanced,” or “not extreme”)
- Give heed with all one’s might
The first qualification the Lord specified is to be humble. How would you describe a humble person? What things do humble people do, or not do? As we strive to be humble and to follow all these precepts with our might, the Lord says, “then you are called” (verse 9).
JS—H 1:66-71 Another Minister from Heaven
These verses relate events that led up to—and the occurrence of—the visit of the resurrected John the Baptist, on May 15, 1829, to restore the lesser priesthood upon the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. After John simultaneously conferred the priesthood upon them, Joseph and Oliver immediately obeyed his instruction to baptize each other (Joseph baptizing Oliver first), and then to ordain one another to the Aaronic Priesthood (again, Joseph ordained Oliver first).
What prompted this glorious event? They were doing God’s work, involved in the scriptures, and praying with fervor. After translating the account in 3 Nephi of the Savior’s appearance to the Nephites after His resurrection, Joseph and Oliver wondered about the issue of authority from God to administer the ordinances of the gospel, so they prayed.
D&C 13 “I Confer the Priesthood of Aaron”
What are the three keys John the Baptist specified as he conferred the Aaronic priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery? (See also JS—H 1:69). Regarding the ministering of angels, President Wilford Woodruff recounted, “I had the administration of angels while holding the office of a priest” (Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 298; see also D&C 84:26; D&C 107:20). How have you been blessed by holders of the Aaronic Priesthood?
JS—H 1:72-76 Help from the Holy Ghost
In verse 70 John the Baptist told Joseph and Oliver that he “had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost,” but this did not impede the influence of the Holy Ghost upon them, for Joseph wrote in verse 73:
- “Immediately on our coming up out of the water after we had been baptized, we experienced great and glorious blessings from our Heavenly Father.”
- “The Holy Ghost fell upon him [Oliver] and he stood up and prophesied many things [and] I also had the spirit of prophecy.”
- “We were filled with the Holy Ghost.”
- And in verse 74: “Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the scriptures laid open to our understanding, and the true meaning and intention of their more mysterious passages revealed unto us.”
Before Joseph and Oliver had the opportunity to receive the ordinance of confirmation and the gift of the Holy Ghost—and before they were members of the Church (which was not yet organized)—the Spirit fell upon them and influenced them, opening their minds and hearts in new and powerful ways.
Does the influence of the Holy Ghost help you recognize and appreciate “great and glorious blessings”? What difference does it make in your scripture study when you feel that you have the Holy Ghost helping you? What other blessings come to mind as you think about the gift of the Holy Ghost in your life?
JS—H, Endnote “Days Never to Be Forgotten”
This account and testimony were written by Oliver Cowdery and included at the end of Joseph Smith—History. It is a precious gem from an eloquent witness to and participant in a number of the magnificent events early in the Restoration. What thoughts and feelings come to you as you read Oliver’s narrative? What do you learn about Jesus Christ from his account?