Doctrine & Covenants/Church History
Lesson 13
“This Generation Shall Have My Word through You”

Lesson Highlights

A study of this lesson will help us appreciate the Prophet Joseph Smith’s role in bringing forth the word of the Lord in this dispensation.

Scripture references for study:  Our Heritage,pages 23–25, 41, 58; Bible Dictionary, “Joseph Smith Translation,” page 717
    Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at and will open in a new window.

Lesson 13 Handout (PDF)

The Prophet Joseph Smith

In March 1829, Martin Harris came to visit Joseph Smith in Harmony. Martin had never seen the plates while serving as scribe and desired a witness from the Lord that Joseph actually had the plates. Section 5 was given in response to Martin's request. Part of this revelation was directed to Martin and part to Joseph.

In subsequent revelations, the Lord continued to reaffirm the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Section 21 was given to the Prophet during the organization meeting of the Church on April 6, 1830 in Fayette, New York.

Shortly after the organization of the Church there was a challenge to Joseph's authority as prophet and spokesman for the Lord. After spending time with Joseph in Harmony, Oliver Cowdery returned to Fayette.

There were several occasions in the early days of the Church when the Saints had to be reminded that the house of the Lord is one of order and that only one man is called to receive revelation for the whole Church.

The challenges to Joseph Smith and the revelations continued until his assassination at Carthage. There were often those who challenged the Lord's confirming witness that Joseph Smith was His spokesman, "I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, Jun." (D&C 28:2).

A Choice Seer

Many centuries ago the Lord gave a prophecy to Moses:  "And now, Moses, my son, I will speak unto thee concerning this earth upon which thou standest; and thou shalt write the things which I shall speak. And in a day when the children of men shall esteem my words as naught and take many of them from the book which thou shalt write, behold, I will raise up another like unto thee; and they shall be had again among the children of men—among as many as shall believe" (Moses 1:40-41).


It is a testimony to me of the calling of the Prophet Joseph Smith when I realize he lived several years less than myself and that he was able to accomplish the translation and preparation of these great works. Clearly, he was blessed and empowered by the Lord to fulfill this great calling of bringing forth the word of the Lord to this generation. The Book of Mormon alone stands as a remarkable testimony of this man. Evidence after evidence has come forth revealing things no mortal in Joseph Smith's situation could have known. Truly, he was the Lord's anointed.

Plain & Precious Doctrines

It is interesting to review some of the doctrines of the gospel that were restored or clarified through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Again, it helps us realize that Joseph Smith was indeed called of the Lord to be his instrument in restoring the fulness of the gospel to the earth.


This lesson has provided a glimpse into the person and character of Joseph Smith. As the Lord's instrument in delivering authority, principles, doctrines, and practices, the Prophet did a remarkable thing. The bringing forth of the Book of Mormon was miraculous. The reception of revelation that clarified and restored important principles is a tremendous blessing. 

Some years ago I had the opportunity of going to Temple Square with some friends. One of the group was not a member of the Church. We went through the displays and saw the movies and presentations. As I discussed the Church with this non-member, she was quite impressed with the Church and its programs. She told me that it all looked great, but she could not believe the Joseph Smith part. I tried to explain to her that everything she saw and heard was built on the foundation that the Lord established through his servant Joseph Smith. 

For additional resources on the Prophet Joseph Smith, see Gospel Topics at

Gospel Doctrine Notebook

Record your thoughts and testimony on the Prophet Joseph Smith. How have the revelations received through the Prophet affected your life?

Resources Used In This Lesson

A Comprehensive History of the Church by B.H. Roberts (CHC).

Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt.

Conference Reports (CR).

Discourses of Wilford Woodruff


History of the Church (HC).

Pearl of Great Price Commentary by Milton R. Hunter.

The Heavens Resound: A History of the Latter-day Saints in Ohio, 1830-1838, by Milton V. Backman, Jr.

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Changes last made on:  30 January 2017