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- D&C 13 is the text of the prayer pronounced by John the Baptist ordaining Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to the Aaronic Priesthood.
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- Received: 15 May 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
- Prior section in chronological order: D&C 9
- Next section in chronological order: D&C 10
In the Manuscript History, the revelation explaining to Oliver Cowdery why he was unable to translate (D&C 9) is followed by:
- We still continued the work of translation. And in the ensuing month of (May 1829) on a certain day we went into the woods to pray and enquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission of sins spoken of in the translation of the plates. While we were thus praying and calling upon the name of the Lord, a messenger [John the Baptist] descended in a cloud of light from heaven and having laid his hands upon us ordained us saying: [D&C 13]. (Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 34-35).
For a brief overview of D&C 13 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.
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- D&C 13: What does it mean that the Aaronic Priesthood holds the keys to the ministering of angels?
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- D&C 13 was first written down in the original manuscript of Manuscript History of the Church, Vol. A-1, p. 34-35, often known as Joseph Smith's 1838 account of his history.
- D&C 13 was first published as part of the serial publication of the History of Joseph Smith in the Times & Seasons newspaper at Nauvoo on 1 August 1842 (Vol. 3, No. 19, p. 865).
- D&C 13 was not included in the Doctrine & Covenants until the 1876 edition that was published a year before Brigham Young's death.
- The text of D&C 13 in significant editions of the Doctrine & Covenants can be found at:
Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 13.
- D&C 13 is one of several sections that were added to the Doctrine & Covenants for the 1876 edition, along with D&C 2, D&C 110, and D&C 132. These additions cause the Doctrine & Covenants to begin with Malachi's promise in D&C 2 that Elijah will return and restore the priesthood sealing keys and an account in D&C 13 of John restoring the first set of preparatory keys, and to finish with an account of the fulfillment of Malachi's promise in D&C 110 and with discussions of the exercise of those keys through proxy baptism in D&C 127 and D&C 128 and eternal marriage in D&C 132 (further bookended by the Preface in D&C 1 and the Appendix in D&C 133).
Doctrinal references cited on this page.
Historical references cited on this page.
- President Faust touched on the ministering of angels in the Priesthood Session of April Conference 2006 "A Royal Priesthood." Of particular interest may be a quote from Joseph F. Smith in the seventh paragraph.
Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.