Doctrine and Covenants 14-16: Counsel for Three of the Whitmer Brothers

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 26–27


While Oliver Cowdery was in Harmony, Pennsylvania, helping the Prophet Joseph Smith with the translation of the Book of Mormon, he wrote a letter to his friend David Whitmer in Fayette, New York. In that letter he shared his testimony of the work. David Whitmer was interested and wrote back, offering to help at any time.In late May of 1829, persecution was hindering the work of translating the Book of Mormon. The Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery wrote to David Whitmer and asked about the possibility of staying with his family to finish the translation. His father, Peter Whitmer Sr., agreed, and he took a wagon to Harmony (about 135 miles), picked up Joseph Smith and his wife, Emma, and Oliver Cowdery, and took them back to Fayette. Shortly afterward the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelations found inDoctrine and Covenants 14–16, at the request of Peter Jr., John, and David Whitmer, who desired to know what God wanted them to do. ( also the information on the Whitmers in “People and Terms in the Doctrine and Covenants,” p. 232).Have you ever wondered what the Lord wants you to do? Think about that question as you read these three sections and if some of the counsel the Lord gave those three men might also apply to you.

Understanding the Scriptures

For additional help understandingDoctrine and Covenants 14:1–7, the “Understanding the Scriptures” section helps forDoctrine and Covenants 11:1–7and 12:1–6, which are similar.

Doctrine and Covenants 14

Utterance(v. 8)Words to speak 
Temporally(v. 11)Materially, physically 

Doctrine and Covenants 15and 16

Sharpness(v. 2)Exactness, clarity 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 14–16.

Activity A Scripture Mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 14:7

  1. 1.

    On a paper the size of a notebook page, make a poster that illustrates the ideas found inDoctrine and Covenants 14:7.

  2. 2.

    In scripture, the termsalvationmost often refers to exaltation. With that in mind, compareDoctrine and Covenants 14:7with2 Nephi 31:20. What does2 Nephi 31:20say about how we can accomplish what the Lord said we must do inDoctrine and Covenants 14:7?

Activity B iconThe Most Worth to You

  1. 1.

    What did the Lord say was “the thing which will be of the most worth” to John Whitmer and Peter Whitmer Jr.? (D&C 15:6;16:6).

  2. 2.

    List at least two reasons why this would be of greater worth than anything else they could do.