Learning to Love
Doctrine and Covenants

Section 16: Revelation to Peter Whitmer, Jr. By Michael J. Preece

Section 16: Revelation to Peter Whitmer, Jr.

1 Hearken, my servant Peter, and listen to the words of Jesus Christ, your Lord and your Redeemer.

2 For behold, I speak unto you with sharpness and with power, for mine arm is over all the earth.

3 And I will tell you that which no man knoweth save me and thee alone–

4 For many times you have desired of me to know that which would be of the most worth unto you.

5 Behold, blessed are you for this thing, and for speaking my words which I have given unto you according to my commandments.

6 And now, behold, I say unto you, that the thing which will be of the most worth unto you will be to declare repentance unto this people, that you may bring souls unto me, that you may rest with them in the kingdom of my Father. Amen.

Brief Historical Setting

In June 1829, as the Book of Mormon translation was nearing completion, Joseph learned, from the text of the Book of Mormon itself, that there were to be three special witnesses of the Book of Mormon who would be allowed to see the plates (Ether 5:2-4; see also 2 Nephi 11:3; 27:12). About this time a repentant and chastened Martin Harris had come again from Palmyra to Fayette to see how the work was progressing. David Whitmer, Oliver Cowdery, and Martin Harris repeatedly petitioned Joseph to see if they might become the witnesses. As a result of their importuning, Joseph inquired of the Lord and was given a revelation which named the three as the witnesses [D&C 17 ­Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon].

Shortly thereafter, the Book of Mormon witnesses received a revelation charging them with the responsibility of choosing, when the appropriate time arrived, those who would comprise the first Quorum of Twelve Apostles in this dispensation [D&C 18 ­Book of Mormon Witnesses to Choose Twelve Apostles]. Martin Harris was excluded from this calling initially, but by 1835, when the time came to choose the Twelve, Martin had repented, and he participated in making those callings.

- Michael J. Preece