Do you know how Joseph Smith was called to save the earth?

When Joseph left the grove after seeing the Father and the Son, he was not a prophet. He had no calling and no idea that he ever would. The calling came three and a half years later. Joseph Smith-History 1:27-65 tells the story. Doctrine and Covenants section 2 is a quote from that history. It’s one of many things an angel told Joseph when he called him, and maybe ultimately the most important thing.

A reminiscent entry Joseph’s journal, written in 1835, also tells the story

“When I was about 17 years,” Joseph Smith said, “I had another vision of angels; in the night season, after I had retired to bed; I had not been asleep, but was meditating on my past life and experience.  I was well aware I had not kept the commandments, and I repented heartily for all my sins and transgressions, and humbled myself before him, whose eye surveys all things at a glance.  All at once the room was illuminated above the brightness of the sun; An angel appeared before me.” “I am a messenger sent from God,” he told Joseph, introducing himself as Moroni. He said that God had vital work for Joseph to do. There was a sacred book written on golden plates, buried in a nearby hillside. “He explained many of the prophecies to me,” Joseph said, including “Malachi 4th chapter.”[1]

Moroni appeared three times that night and again the next day, emphasizing and expounding the same prophecy

There must have been something vital to Joseph’s calling in that. Malachi doesn’t mention priesthood. Moroni does. Speaking for the Lord, Moroni said: “I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Joseph said Moroni paraphrased Malachi’s next verse too: “And he [Elijah] shall plant in the hearts of the children the promises made to their fathers, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers, if it were not so the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.'”

In the Doctrine and Covenants, angels are sent to solve problems Joseph doesn’t know exist

In the case of section 2, Joseph knew he needed forgiveness but he didn’t know that the earth was on track to be wasted unless Elijah came soon to catalyze a dramatic turn. President Russell M. Nelson taught that “eternal life, made possible by the atonement, is the supreme purpose of Creation. To phrase that statement in its negative form, if families were not sealed in holy temples, the whole earth would be utterly wasted.”[2] Section 2 is the Lord’s announcement to Joseph that Elijah will endow him with priesthood powerful enough to seal families forever, reverse the effects of death and the disintegration of families, and thus fulfill the purpose for which the earth was created (see section 110).

Joseph just wanted forgiveness

He got it–and a calling to save the earth. From the earliest (chronologically speaking) revelation in it, the Doctrine and Covenants points us to the temple, to the Savior’s priesthood, and to the ultimate purpose of sealing families so they can be together forever.

[1] “History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834],” p. 5, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 21, 2020, “Journal, 1835–1836,” p. 24, The Joseph Smith Papers, accessed July 21, 2020,

[2] Elder Russell M. Nelson, Conference Report (October, 1996), 97.

The post Come Follow Me: Doctrine and Covenants 2 and Joseph Smith-History 1:27-65 appeared first on Steven C. Harper.

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