It was not Joseph's decision. In the spring of 1837 Joseph went to Heber C. Kimball in the Kirtland Temple and, speaking softly into Heber's ear, said, "Brother Heber, the Spirit of the Lord has whispered to me, 'Let my servant Heber go to England and proclaim my Gospel and open the door of salvation to that nation' " (Millennial Star, Sept. 10, 1864, 584).
Heber Kimball said of his call to England in 1837: "I felt myself one of the very weakest of God's servants. I asked Joseph what I should say when I got there; he told me to go to the Lord and he would guide me, and speak through me by the same spirit that dictated him" (Deseret News, May 21, 1862, 370).
In 1831 the Lord revealed to Joseph: "The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth" (D&C 65:2). Joseph served a number of missions. On a short mission to New York in the autumn of 1833, he preached to a number of people and pleaded in his journal, "Oh God, seal our testimony in their hearts." Soon thereafter he noted the baptism of fourteen souls (Joseph Smith Ohio Journal, 6, 13–14 Oct. 1833, Church Archives, The Joseph Smith Papers 2:6–7, 13–14. punctuation modernized).