The Apostolic Charge

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Given by Oliver Cowdery February 21st, 1835 in Kirtland, Ohio, including the revelation given through Joseph the Seer in June, 1829. The text of Oliver’s words were taken from the Minute Book 1, pages 147-58. The revelation is from the Book of Commandments, Section 15. The revelation within may also be found in the Doctrine and Covenants of Community of Christ section 14, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 18. Both texts have been altered for clarity and by inspiration. This is Section 12 of the Doctrines of the Saints. It was chosen after much prayer to be used as a charge to the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship. It was voted on and sustained as canon for use in the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship by the Assembly of Saints April 6, 2020.

The following Charge was given to the Twelve by President O. Cowdery:

  1. Dear Brethren, previously to delivering the charge I shall read a part of a revelation.
  2. It is known to you that previous to the organizing of this church in 1830 the Lord gave revelations or the Church could not have been organized.
  3. The people of this Church were weak in faith compared with the ancients.
  4. Those who embarked in this cause, were desirous to know how the work was to be conducted.
  5. They read many things in the Book of Mormon concerning their duty and the way the great work ought to be done,
  6. But the minds of men are so constructed, that they will not believe without a testimony of seeing or hearing.
  7. The Lord gave us a revelation, that in process of time there should be Twelve chosen to preach His gospel to Jew and Gentile.
  8. Our minds have been on a constant stretch to find who these Twelve were.
  9. ¶ When the time should come, we could not tell; but we sought the Lord by fasting and prayer to have our lives prolonged to see this day, to see you, and to take a retrospect of the difficulties through which we have passed.
  10. But, having seen the day, it becomes my duty to deliver to you a charge.
  11. And first, a few remarks respecting your ministry: You have many revelations put into your hands, revelations to make you acquainted with the nature of your Mission.
  12. You will have difficulties by reason of your visiting all the nations of the world.
  13. You will need wisdom in a tenfold proportion to what you have ever had.
  14. You will have to combat all the prejudices of all nations.
  15. [BoC 15:1] ¶ And Oliver Cowdery read: A Revelation to Joseph Smith Jr., Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer, making known the calling of Twelve Disciples in these last days, and also, instructions relative to building up the Church of Christ, according to the fulness of the gospel:
  16. [16:1a/18:1] Now behold, because of the thing which you have desired to know of me, I give unto you these words:
  17. [16:1b/18:2] Behold, I have manifested unto you, by my Spirit in many instances, that the things which you have written are true, wherefore you know that they are true.
  18. [16:1c1/18:3] And if you know that they are true, behold I give unto you a commandment, that you rely upon the things which are written;
  19. [16:1c2/18:4] For in them are all things written, concerning my church, my gospel, and my rock.
  20. [16:1d/18:5] Wherefore, if you shall build up my Church, and my Gospel, and my rock, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you.
  21. [16:2a/18:6] Behold the world is ripening in iniquity, and it must needs be, that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles, and also the house of Israel;
  22. [16:2b1/18:7a] Wherefore as thou hast been baptized by the hand of my servant, according to that which I have commanded him;
  23. [16:2b2/18:7b] Wherefore he hath fulfilled the thing which I commanded him.
  24. [16:2c/18:8a] And now, marvel not that I have called him unto mine own purpose, which purpose is known in me;
  25. [16:2d/18:8b] Wherefore if he shall be diligent in keeping my commandments, he shall be blessed unto eternal life, and his name is Joseph.
  26. [16:3a/18:9] ¶ And now Oliver, I speak unto you, and also unto David, by the way of commandment:
  27. [16:3b/18:9b] For behold, I command all men everywhere to repent, and I speak unto you, even as unto Paul mine apostle, for you are called even with that same calling with which he was called.
  28. [16:3c1/18:10] Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God:
  29. [16:3c2/18:11a] For behold the Lord your God suffered death in the flesh:
  30. [16:3c3/18:11b] Wherefore he suffered the pain of all men, that all men might repent and come unto him.
  31. [16:3d/18:12] And he hath risen again from the dead that he might bring all men unto him on conditions of repentance.
  32. [16:3e/18:13-14] And how great is his joy in the soul that repenteth, wherefore you are called to cry repentance unto this people.
  33. [16:3f/18:15] And if it so be that you should labor in all your days, in crying repentance unto this people, and bring save it be one soul only unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!
  34. [16:4a/18:16] And now if your joy will be great with one soul, that you have brought unto me into the kingdom of my Father, how great will be your joy, if you should bring many souls unto me!
  35. [16:4b/18:17] Behold, you shall have my gospel before you, and my rock, and my salvation:
  36. [16:4c/18:18] Ask the Father in my name in faith believing that you shall receive, and you shall have the Holy Ghost which manifesteth all things, which is expedient unto the children of men;
  37. [16:4d1/18:19] And if you have not faith, hope and charity, you can do nothing.
  38. [16:4d2/18:20] Contend against no church, save it be the church of the devil;
  39. [16:4e/18:21-22] Take upon you the name of Christ, and speak the truth in soberness, and as many as repent, and are baptized in my name, which is Jesus Christ, and endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
  40. [16:4f/18:23] Behold Jesus Christ is the name which is given of the Father, and there is none other name given whereby man can be saved.
  41. [16:4g1/18:24] Wherefore, all men must take upon them the name which is given of the Father, for in that name shall they be called at the last day;
  42. [16:4g2/18:25] Wherefore, if they know not the name by which they are called, they cannot have place in the kingdom of my Father.
  43. ¶ [16:5a1/18:26-27a] And now behold, there are others which are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew: Yea, even unto twelve;
  44. [16:5a2/18:27b] And the twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name.
  45. [16:5b1/18:27c] And the twelve are they which shall desire to take upon them my name, with full purpose of heart;
  46. [16:5b2/18:28] And if they desire to take upon them my name, with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.
  47. [16:5c1/18:29] And they are they which are ordained of me to baptize in my name, according to that which is written;
  48. [16:5c2/18:30] And you have that which is written before you, wherefore you must perform it according to the words which are written.
  49. ¶ And Oliver Cowdery proceeded to say: Have you desired this ministry with all your hearts?
  50. If you have desired it, you are called of God, not of man, to go into all the world.
  51. [16:5d/18:31] ¶ He then continues reading: And now I speak unto the twelve: Behold my grace is sufficient for you: You must walk uprightly before me and sin not.
  52. [16:5e1/18:32] And behold you are they which are ordained of me to ordain Priests and Teachers to declare my gospel, according to the power of the Holy Ghost which is in you, and according to the callings and gifts of God unto men;
  53. [16:5e2/18:33] And I Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it.
  54. [16:5f1/18:34a] These words are not of men, nor of man, but of me:
  55. [16:5f2/18:34b-35a] Wherefore you shall testify they are of me, and not of man; for it is my voice which speaketh them unto you, for they are given by my Spirit unto you.
  56. [16:5g1/18:35b] “And by my power you can read them one to another; and save it were by my power, you could not have them;
  57. [16:5g2/18:36] Wherefore you can testify that you have heard my voice, and know my words.
  58. [16:6a1/18:37] And now behold I give unto you, Oliver, and also unto David, that you shall search out the twelve which shall have the desires of which I have spoken;
  59. [16:6a2/18:38] And by their desires and their works, you shall know them.
  60. [16:6b-c1/18:39-40] And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them, and you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name.
  61. [16:6c2-d1/18:41] “And you must preach unto the world, saying: ‘You must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ,
  62. [16:6d2/18:42] For all men must repent and be baptized; and not only men, but women and children, which have arrived to the years of accountability.
  63. [16:7a/18:43] And now, after that you have received this, you must keep my commandments in all things.
  64. [16:7b/18:44] And by your hands I will work a marvelous work among the children of men, unto the convincing of many of their sins, that they may come unto repentance; and that they may come unto the kingdom of my Father.
  65. [16:7c/18:45] Wherefore the blessings which I give unto you are above all things.
  66. [16:7d/18:46] And after that you have received this, if you keep not my commandments, you cannot be saved in the kingdom of my Father.
  67. [16:7e/18:47] Behold I Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, and your Redeemer, by the power of my Spirit, have spoken it; Amen.
  68. ¶ Oliver Cowdery then continued: You have your duty presented in this revelation.
  69. You have been ordained to the Holy Priesthood, you have received it from those who had their power and authority from an angel.—
  70. ¶ You are to preach the gospel to every nation.
  71. Should you in the least degree, come short of your duty, great will be your condemnation, for the greater the calling, the greater the transgression.
  72. I, therefore, warn you to cultivate great humility, for I know the pride of the human heart: beware, lest the flatterers of the world lift you up.
  73. Beware lest your affections are captivated by worldly objects, let your ministry be first.
  74. Remember the souls of men are committed to your charge, and if you mind your calling you shall always prosper.
  75. You have been indebted to other men in the first instance for evidence, on that you have acted;
  76. But it, is necessary that you receive a testimony from Heaven for yourselves, so that you can bear testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, and that you have seen the face of God; that is more than the testimony of an Angel.
  77. When the proper time arrives, you shall be able to bear this testimony to the world.
  78. When you bear testimony that you have seen God, this testimony God will never suffer to fall, but will bear you out.
  79. Although many will not give heed, yet others will, you will, therefore see the necessity of getting this testimony from Heaven.
  80. Never cease striving until you have seen God, face to face.
  81. Strengthen your faith, cast off your doubts, your sins and all your unbelief and nothing can prevent you from coming to God.
  82. Your ordination is not full and complete till God has laid his hand upon you.
  83. We require as much to qualify us as did those who have gone before us, God is the same; if the Saviour in former days laid his hands on his disciples, why not in the latter Days?
  84. ¶ With regard to superiority I must make a few remarks:
  85. The ancient Apostles sought to be great, but, brethren lest the seeds of discord be sown in this matter, understand particularly the voice of the spirit on this occasion.
  86. God does not love you better or more than others; you are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints; Jacob wrestled till he obtained.
  87. It was by fervent prayer and diligent search that you have obtained the testimony you are now able to bear.
  88. You are as one, you are equal in bearing the keys of the kingdom to all nations.
  89. You are called to preach the gospel of the son of God to the nations of the earth.
  90. ¶ It is the will of your Heavenly Father that you proclaim his gospel to the ends of the earth, and the Islands of the sea.
  91. Be zealous to save souls, the soul of one man is as precious as the soul of another.
  92. You are to bear this message to those who consider themselves wise, and such may persecute you, they may seek your life; the adversary has always sought the life of the servants of God:
  93. You are, therefore, to be prepared at all times to make a sacrifice of your lives, should God require them in the advancement and building up of his cause.
  94. Murmur not at God; be always prayerful, be always watchful.
  95. ¶ You will bear with me while I relieve the feelings of my heart; we shall not see another day like this.
  96. The time has fully come; the voice of the spirit has come to set these men apart.
  97. You will see the time when you will desire to see such a day as this, and you will not see it.
  98. Every heart wishes you peace and prosperity; but the scene, with you, will inevitably change.
  99. Let no man take your bishopric, and beware that you lose not your crowns; it will require your whole souls; it will require courage like Enoch’s.
  100. The time is near when you will be in the midst of congregations, who will gnash their teeth upon you.
  101. This gospel must roll and will roll till it fill the whole Earth; did I say congregations would gnash upon you? Yea, I say nations will gnash upon you.
  102. You will be considered the worst of Men; be not discouraged at this.
  103. When God pours out his Spirit, the enemy will rage; but God, remember, is on your right hand and on your left.
  104. A man, though he may be considered the worst, has joy who is conscious that he pleases God.
  105. The lives of those who proclaim the true gospel will be in danger; this has been the case ever since the days of righteous Abel.
  106. The same opposition has been manifest whenever men came forward to publish the gospel.
  107. The time is coming when you will be considered the worst by many and by some the best of men.
  108. The time is coming, when you will be perfectly familiar with the things of God.
  109. This testimony will make those who do not believe your testimony, seek your lives.
  110. But there are whole nations, who will receive your testimony; they will call you good men.
  111. Be not lifted up when you are called good men; remember you are young, and you shall be spared, I include the other three.
  112. Bear them in mind in your prayers carry their cases to a throne of grace, although they are not present, yet you and they are equal.
  113. This appointment is calculated to create an affection in you, for each other, stronger than death.
  114. ¶ You will travel to other nations, bear each other in mind.
  115. If one or more is cast into prisons, let the others pray for him, and deliver him by their prayers; your lives shall be in great jeopardy, but the promise of God, is that you shall be delivered.
  116. Remember you are not to go to other nations, till you receive your endowment; tarry at Kirtland until you are endowed with power from on high:
  117. You need a fountain of wisdom, knowledge, and intelligence such as you never had.
  118. ¶ Relative to the endowment, I make a remark or two, that there be no mistake, the world cannot receive the things of God:
  119. He can endow you without worldly pomp or great parade;
  120. He can give you that wisdom, that intelligence and that power which characterized the ancient Saints and now characterizes the inhabitants of the upper world.
  121. The greatness of your commission, consists in this; you are to hold the keys of this ministry.
  122. You are to go to the nations afar off; nations that sit in darkness; this is coming when the work of God must be done.
  123. Israel shall be gathered, the seed of Jacob shall be gathered from their long dispersion; there will be a feast to Israel, the elect of God.
  124. It is a sorrowful tale, but the gospel must be preached and God’s​ ministers be rejected;
  125. But where can Israel be found, and receive your testimony, and not rejoice? No where.
  126. The prophecies are full of great things that are to take place in the last days, after the Elect is gathered out destruction shall come on the inhabitants of the Earth;
  127. All nations shall feel the wrath of God, after they have been warned by the Saints of the Most High.
  128. If you will not warn them others will and you will lose your crowns.
  129. You must prepare your minds to bid a long farewell to Kirtland, even till the great day come.
  130. You will see what you never expected to see; you will need the mind of Enoch or Elijah and the faith of the brother of Jared;
  131. You must be prepared to walk by faith, however appalling the prospect to human view.
  132. You, and each of you, should feel the force of the imperious mandate, ‘Son go labor in my vineyard’ and cheerfully receive what comes, but in the end you will stand while others will fall.
  133. You have read in the Revelation concerning ordination, beware how you ordain, for all nations are not like this nation; they will willingly receive the ordinances at your hand to put you out of the way.
  134. There will be times when nothing but the angels of God can deliver you out of their hand.
  135. We appeal to your intelligence, we appeal to your understanding, that we have so far discharged our duty to you.
  136. We consider it one of the greatest condescentions of our Heavenly Father in pointing you out to us; you will be steward over this ministry.
  137. ¶ We have work to do, that no other man can do; you must proclaim the Gospel in its simplicity and purity, and we commend you to God and the word of His Grace.
  138. You have our best wishes, you have our most fervent prayers, that you may be able to bear this testimony, that you have seen the face of God.
  139. Therefore, call upon him in faith and mighty prayer, till you prevail, for it is your duty and your privilege to bear such testimony for yourselves.
  140. We now exhort you to be faithful, to fulfill your calling; there must be no lack here.
  141. You must fulfill in all things, and permit us to repeat, all nations have a claim on you.
  142. You are bound together as the three witnesses were; you, notwithstanding, can part and meet, and meet and part again till your heads are silvered over with age.
  143. Do you with full purpose of heart take part in this ministry, to proclaim the gospel with all diligence with these your brethren, according to the tenor and intent of the charge you have received?
  144. ¶ Each of the twelve answered in the affirmative; and so too must those called into the Apostleship of the Church of Jesus Christ in Christian Fellowship. So mote it be; Amen
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Alexei Mattanovich, Apostle
3 years ago

An inspiring and compelling mandate, and warning of trifling with holy things and taking on responsibilities lightly. I vote for inclusion in the canon. Would to God every priest, teacher and deacon bring as much soberness to their callings.

David, First Elder
3 years ago

I vote yes. This is the call to all Apostles in our movement, regardless of denomination. Amen, and Amen!

3 years ago

5 votes yes from South Carolina

3 years ago

I approve the scriptures and revelations presented. Yes in all.

Christian Amparano
Christian Amparano
3 years ago

5 positive votes from here in California

Victoria Ramirez
Victoria Ramirez
3 years ago

My votes from Conference 2020: Pending Scriptures, All listed – yes

Kristine, Bishop
3 years ago

I vote yes.