A successful businessman who built bridges and dams, a laborer in a type foundry (which produced typefaces for printing presses), a self-employed hatmaker, and a popular preacher—these were among the people who were called to serve in the newly organized church between October and December of 1830. What did they have in common? A willingness to follow the voice of the Lord and the courage to share their convictions.
“Open your mouths and they shall be filled,” the Lord instructed Ezra Thayer and Northrup Sweet (Doctrine and Covenants 33:8). “Lift up your voice and spare not,” He said to Orson Pratt (Doctrine and Covenants 34:10). And to Sidney Rigdon, He explained, “I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thresh the nations by the power of my Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants 35:13).
They were called to serve in different places and in different ways, but they were all being stretched: they all had to exercise faith to fulfill these new assignments. For example:
- Peter Whitmer, Jr., Parley P. Pratt, and Ziba Peterson were called to accompany Oliver Cowdery “into the wilderness” to preach the gospel to the Native Americans (Doctrine and Covenants 32:2).
- John Whitmer was called to preach in the area near the home of Philip Burroughs, a farmer in Fayette, NY (Doctrine and Covenants 30:10).
- Thomas B. Marsh was told to follow the Spirit to know where to preach: “Go your way whithersoever I will, and it shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do and whither you shall go” (Doctrine and Covenants 31:11).
- David Whitmer, one of the three witnesses of the Book of Mormon, was instructed to remain at his father’s house and “ponder upon the things which [he had] received” (Doctrine and Covenants 30:3).
- Sidney Rigdon was called to serve as Joseph Smith’s scribe (Doctrine and Covenants 35:20).
- Edward Partridge was “sent forth to preach the everlasting gospel among the nations” (Doctrine and Covenants 36:5).
The revelations in which these early church leaders received these callings contain many principles which are applicable to us. Here are some of those principles, together with links to some relevant blog posts: