Doctrine and Covenants 28: Only the Prophet Receives Revelations for the Church

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 39–40

In the early days of the Church the members did not understand that the Lord calls only one person to receive revelations to direct the whole Church. We may all receive personal revelation for ourselves and for our specific responsibilities, but only the prophet and President of the Church speaks for the Lord to the world.Hiram Page was a brother-in-law to Oliver Cowdery and to the Whitmers. He had married Catherine Whitmer, a sister of Peter Jr., Christian, John, Jacob, and David Whitmer. Oliver Cowdery was also married to one of their sisters, Elizabeth Ann Whitmer. Hiram Page was also one of the Eight Witnesses to the Book of Mormon. He had obtained a stone through which he believed he received revelations from God. As you readDoctrine and Covenants 28, notice to whomthis revelation was given and why. Notice also the difference between the Prophet Joseph Smith’s calling and Oliver Cowdery’s calling. Doctrine and Covenants 28also contains Oliver Cowdery’s call to be a missionary to the native American Indians and states that Zion “shall be on the borders by the Lamanites” (v. 9).
Oliver Cowdery

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 28

Professed(section heading)Claimed 
Borders by the Lamanites(v. 9)The boundary between the United States and the Indian Territory (,maps 5–6 in the back of your triple combination) 
Common consent(v. 13)Collective approval ( the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 26:2, p. 38). 

Doctrine and Covenants 28:1–3—Who Has the Right to Receive Revelation for the Church?

In a 1913 declaration entitled “A Warning Voice,” the First Presidency—Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund, and Charles W. Penrose—explained:

“From the days of Hiram Page (Doc. and Cov., Sec. 28), at different periods there have been manifestations from delusive spirits to members of the Church. Sometimes these have come to the men and women who because of transgression became easy prey to the Arch-Deceiver. At other times people who pride themselves on their strict observance of the rules and ordinances and ceremonies of the Church are led astray by false spirits, who exercise an influence so imitative of that which proceeds from a Divine source that even these persons, who think they are ‘the very elect,’ find it difficult to discern the essential difference. Satan himself has transformed himself to be apparently ‘an angel of light.’

“When visions, dreams, tongues, prophecy, impressions or any extraordinary gift or inspiration, convey something out of harmony with the accepted revelations of the Church or contrary to the decisions of its constituted authorities, Latter-day Saints may know that it is not of God, no matter how plausible it may appear. Also, they should understand that directions for the guidance of the Church will come, by revelation, through the head. All faithful members are entitled to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit for themselves, their families, and for those over whom they are appointed and ordained to preside. But anything at discord with that which comes from God through the head of the Church is not to be received as authoritative or reliable” (Improvement Era,Sept. 1913, 1148).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 28.

Activity A iconWho Receives Revelation for the Church?

Read the section heading toDoctrine and Covenants 28and verses 1–7, 11–13. Then answer the following questions:

  1. 1.

    What was the problem the Prophet Joseph Smith “inquired earnestly” about?

  2. 2.

    What answer did the Lord give him? (vv. 1–7).

  3. 3.

    How are revelations for the Church accepted today? (vv. 11–13; alsoD&C 26:2).

  4. 4.

    Who receives revelation for the entire Church today?