The Mission of the Twelve

Church History in the Fulness of Times Teacher Manual, (2001), 36–37


  1. 1.

    The faith and loyalty of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles was tested.

  2. 2.

    The work accomplished by the Quorum of the Twelve in England was remarkable and had far-reaching consequences.

  3. 3.

    Orson Hyde dedicated the Holy Land for the return of the Jews.

    Student Manual and Scripture Sources

  • Student manual, chapter 18, pp. 225–39.

    Suggested Approaches

  • One of the tests the Savior gave the members of the Twelve was their call to England. Help students see that what initially seemed simple became complicated. Note the following chain of events:

    1. 1.

      Doctrine and Covenants 114 was given on 17 April 1838 calling Elder David W. Patten to prepare for a mission the following spring with the rest of the Twelve.

    2. 2.

      Doctrine and Covenants 118 was given on 8 July 1838 telling the Twelve that they were to leave on their mission from the temple site at Far West on 26 April 1839.

    3. 3.

      Governor Boggs issued his extermination order on 27 October 1838, and by 1 November of that year, Far West was surrendered to the Missouri mobocrats.

    4. 4.

      The Saints were to vacate Far West by early spring. For the Twelve to return to Far West could have meant death.

    5. 5.

      The Missourians and apostates openly avowed that Doctrine and Covenants 118 was a revelation that would never be fulfilled because of the date and place affixed to it.

    Review with students the fulfillment of the revelation and the events that took place when the Twelve met at the temple site at Far West, Missouri, as commanded.

  • Read about and discuss the terrible conditions and sickness that the Twelve faced in their departure from Nauvoo.

  • Read or tell students some of the blessings given to and successes enjoyed by the Twelve on their mission to Great Britain (see student manual, pp. 225–33). Assure them that when men do all they can to fulfill God’s revelation, he will “prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). God knows how to do his work, and when we exercise faith in him, we can accomplish his will. An excellent scripture for this truth is found in 1 Corinthians 3:6–9.

  • Read and discuss selected portions of the dedicatory prayer of the Holy Land by Orson Hyde (see History of the Church, 4:456–59). Discuss how this was a prayer of prophecy and promise in regard to the events transpiring in the Middle East today.

    Theme Sources

  • History of the Church, 3:336–40; 4:106–351, 372–92, 439–59.

  • Comprehensive History of the Church, 2:22–26, 43–46, 60–63, 85–88.

  • Readings in LDS Church History, 1:381–400.

  • James B. Allen and Malcolm R. Thorp, “The Mission of the Twelve to England, 1840–41: Mormon Apostles and the Working Classes,” Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1975, pp. 499–526.

    An examination of the Apostles’ success in Great Britain, the social and economic conditions under which their converts lived, and the organizational structure of the mission.

  • Paul Thomas Smith, “Among Family and Friends: John Taylor’s Mission to the British Isles,” Ensign, Mar. 1987, pp. 36–41.

    An examination of John Taylor’s work in the British Isles in 1840.

    Additional Sources

  • V. Ben Bloxham, James R. Moss, and Larry C. Porter, eds., Truth Will Prevail: The Rise of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the British Isles, 1837–1987 (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1987), pp. 104–20.

    Deals with the call of the Twelve Apostles to Britain and gives a brief assessment of the work there since 1837.

  • Bloxham, Moss, and Porter, Truth Will Prevail, pp. 121–62.

    Covers the work of the Apostles in England from 1840 to 1841.

  • James B. Allen, “‘We Had a Very Hard Voyage for the Season’: John Moon’s Account of the First Emigrant Company of British Saints,” in James B. Allen, ed., “The Historians Corner,” Brigham Young University Studies, Spring 1977, pp. 339–41.

    The experiences of a group of forty-one Saints who traveled from England to Nauvoo under the leadership of John Moon.

  • Stanley B. Kimball, “The First Immigrants to Nauvoo,” Improvement Era, Mar. 1963, pp. 178–80, 209–10.

    The experiences of the first English converts as they made their way from England to America.

  • Ronald K. Esplin, “The Emergence of Brigham Young and the Twelve to Mormon Leadership, 1830–1841,” Ph.D. diss., Brigham Young University, 1981, pp. 427–98.

    Covers the work of the Quorum of the Twelve in England under the inspired leadership of Brigham Young.

  • Ronald K. Esplin, “Sickness and Faith, Nauvoo Letters,” Brigham Young University Studies, Summer 1975, pp. 425–34.

    Letters between John and Leonora Taylor that detail the effect of sickness among the Saints in Illinois and the sacrifices the Taylors had to make in furthering the work of the Lord.

  • Richard L. Evans, A Century of “Mormonism” in Great Britain (Salt Lake City: Publishers Press, 1984).

    A summary of the Church’s work in Britain beginning in 1837.

  • Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff—History of His Life and Labors (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1964), pp. 99–146.

    Elder Cowley gives a detailed account of the successful labors of Wilford Woodruff in spreading the gospel in England.

  • Richard L. Evans, “History of the Church in Great Britain,” Ensign, Sept. 1971, pp. 24–29.

    A summary of the Church’s work in Britain from 1837 to 1971.

  • James B. Allen and others, Men with a Mission, 1837–1841: The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the British Isles (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1992).