Unit 4: Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 11–12

“Unit 4: Day 2, Doctrine and Covenants 11–12,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


Shortly after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood in May 1829, Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum and Joseph Knight Sr. visited the Prophet in Harmony, Pennsylvania. Both men expressed their desire to serve God and assist in the Restoration. Doctrine and Covenants 11 and 12 contain the Lord’s words to Hyrum Smith and the Lord’s words to Joseph Knight Sr. about how they could help bring forth God’s work.

Doctrine and Covenants 11:1–14

Hyrum Smith learns how he can help bring forth the Lord’s work

Have you ever wanted to participate in a worthwhile cause that you felt would benefit people’s lives and the world? That is how many people felt about the Church in the early days of the Restoration. In fact, that is how many feel about serving in the Church—the kingdom of God on earth—today. In sections 11 and 12 of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord counseled Hyrum Smith and Joseph Knight Sr. concerning their participation in the Lord’s work. Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:27 and 12:7 to discover who else the Lord was referring to in these revelations.

Hyrum Smith

Hyrum Smith, Joseph’s older brother, was likely aware of recent events, such as the progress on the translation of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood. He wanted to know how he could help Joseph in the Lord’s work. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 11 for Hyrum. Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:3, 8, 10, 14, 17, 21, and 27, and note the words desire, desires, and desireth. Think about the sincere feelings someone should have who truly wants to assist in the Lord’s work.

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, make two columns. Label the first Promised blessings because of his righteous desires. Label the second What he needed to do to claim those blessings. Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:5–8. In the first column, list the blessings the Lord promised Hyrum Smith regarding his desire to assist in the Lord’s work. In the second column, list what Hyrum needed to do to claim those divine blessings.

As you studied these verses, you may have discovered these truths: We can receive blessings from God according to our righteous desires. If we desire to do God’s work, we will be the means of doing much good.

  1. journal iconComplete the following activities in your scripture study journal:

    1. Write a few responses to the following question: What can you do to “be the means of doing much good” in your generation?

    2. Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:9–14, looking for the counsel the Lord gave that would help Hyrum accomplish much good. Write the Lord’s counsel to Hyrum in your scripture study journal, and see if His counsel matches some of the ideas you wrote down.

    3. According to Doctrine and Covenants 11:12–13, how do you recognize the influence of the Spirit?

From the counsel Hyrum received, we learn that the Spirit of the Lord leads us to do good, to be humble, and to judge righteously. The Spirit also enlightens our minds and fills our souls with joy. It may be helpful to cross-reference these truths in Doctrine and Covenants 11:12–13 with the scripture mastery passage in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3.

  1. journal iconTake a moment and consider situations in which you have felt the Spirit. In your scripture study journal, write about one or more of the following experiences you have had:

    1. An experience in which the Spirit led you to do good

    2. An experience when the Spirit influenced you to be humble

    3. An experience when the Spirit helped you judge righteously

    4. An experience when the Spirit enlightened you on a subject or personal matter

Doctrine and Covenants 11:15–30

The Lord commands Hyrum Smith to prepare for his call to preach

Imagine watching the beginnings of what you felt would be the greatest cause in the world, knowing you could be a part of it. How much of your time would you spend thinking about that cause and planning and preparing to participate in it? Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:15–16, looking for what the Lord wanted Hyrum Smith to do.

Why do you think the Lord would command Hyrum to “wait a little longer”? Consider the facts that the Church would not be officially organized for several more months and the Book of Mormon had not yet been published. How do you think these future events would affect Hyrum’s preparation to help in the Lord’s work?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:18–20, looking for what the Lord said Hyrum would need to do to become an effective instrument in the hands of the Lord.

  1. journal iconAnswer one or more of the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. How could a young person preparing for a mission “appeal unto [the] Spirit”?

    2. What do you think it means to “cleave unto [the Lord] with all your heart”?

    3. What is the Lord asking you to “assist in bringing to light”?

Using Doctrine and Covenants 11:18–20, write a principle that states several important ways you can prepare to serve in the Lord’s kingdom:

Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:21–22, and identify something else the Lord said Hyrum Smith would need to do to help him become an effective teacher of the gospel. What did the Lord tell Hyrum he would need to do in order to be able to declare His word?

missionary reading scriptures

How do you think studying the scriptures to “obtain [the Lord’s] word” is different from just reading the scriptures? Those who study the Lord’s word will receive His Spirit and the power to convince others of the truth of the gospel.

To see that Hyrum kept the Lord’s commandments and followed His counsel, look at the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 11 and note the date that revelation was received. Then turn to the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 23 and note the date of that revelation. How many months later did the Prophet Joseph Smith receive the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 23?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 11:21, and then read Doctrine and Covenants 23:3. What did you discover? How does this apply to preparing for a mission?

Elder David A. Bednar

Consider the counsel Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave to young men during a priesthood session of general conference: “My earnest hope for each of you young men is that you will not simply go on a mission—but that you will become missionaries long before you submit your mission papers, long before you receive a call to serve, long before you are set apart by your stake president, and long before you enter the MTC” (“Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 45).

  1. journal iconIn your scripture study journal, write about some of the things you feel impressed to accomplish or change in the coming months to help you better obtain the word of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 12

The Lord counsels Joseph Knight Sr. on how he can help establish the cause of Zion

Think of the names of a few well-known people in history. What qualities are they known for having?

Have you ever heard of a man named Joseph Knight Sr.? Read the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 12 to learn about Joseph Knight Sr. and an example of his contribution to the kingdom of God.

You may notice that the words of the Lord in Doctrine and Covenants 12:1–6 are the same as His words in Doctrine and Covenants 11:1–6. Often the Lord will repeat the same instructions to different individuals—“what I say unto one I say unto all” (D&C 82:5). Such is the case with Hyrum Smith (D&C 11) and Joseph Knight Sr. (D&C 12); some instruction is the same.

Although Joseph Knight Sr. was not a well-known member of the early Church, he did much good in building the kingdom of God. He sustained the Prophet with food and other supplies during the critical work of translation. Read Doctrine and Covenants 12:6–8, and mark the righteous characteristics the Lord said are needed for those who want to assist in the Lord’s work. Ponder how you are developing these characteristics in your life.

Joseph Knight Sr. consistently tried to live these righteous characteristics. He helped the Prophet throughout his ministry temporally and spiritually. Many years after the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 12, he recorded the following: “Joseph Knight, Sen., … has been faithful and true, and even-handed [fair] and exemplary, and virtuous and kind, never deviating to the right hand or to the left. … He is a righteous man” (in History of the Church, 5:124).

  1. journal iconTo help you reflect on and apply what you have learned today, finish this phrase in your scripture study journal: In order to assist the Lord in His work, I will …

  2. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 11–12 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: