Doctrine and Covenants Commentary - Section 53

by Don R. Hender

Scriptural Text [& Editorial]
Commentary & Explanation
Footnotes ~ References ~ JST
             SECTION 53

Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Algernon Sidney Gilbert, at Kirtland, Ohio, June 1831. HC 1:179-180. At Sidney Gilbert's request, the Prophet inquired of the Lord as to Brother Gilbert's work and appointment in the Church.

    1—3, Sidney Gilbert's calling and election in the Chruch is to be ordained an elder;
    4—7, He is also to serve as a bishop's agent.
 1 BEHOLD, I say unto you, my servant Sidney Gilbert, that I have heard your prayers; and you have called upon me that it should be made known unto you, of the Lord your God, concerning your acalling and belection in the church, which I, the Lord, have raised up in these last days.

 2 Behold, I, the Lord, who was acrucified for the sins of the world, give unto you a commandment that you shall bforsake the world.

 3 Take upon you mine ordination, even that of an elder, to preach faith and repentance and aremission of sins, according to my word, and the reception of the Holy Spirit by the laying on of bhands;

 4 And also to be an aagent unto this church in the place which shall be appointed by the bishop, according to commandments which shall be given hereafter.

 5 And again, verily I say unto you, you shall take your journey with my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon.

 6 Behold, these are the first ordinances which you shall receivea; and the residue shall be made known in a time to come, according to your labor in my vineyard.

 7 And again, I would that ye should learn, that he only is saved who aendureth unto the end. Even so. Amen.

 6a these are the first ordinances which you shall receive After being ordained an elder by Joseph Smith (June 6, 1831 at time of this revelation, Brother Gilbert is ordained a High Priest April 26, 1832 by Joseph Smith. Driven from Missouri, Brother Gilbert will host some of the sick of Zion's camp who have encamped near his property, from these he also contract the cholera and die. The Cholera began on the night of the 25th of June. That night John S. Carter, Seth Hitchcock and Erastus Rudd died within about a half hour of each other. Jesse Smith and George A. Smith helped bury Erastus Rud. Brother Gilbert hosted some of the sick. Dr. F. G. Williams, Jesse J. Smith and George A. Smith went to Brother Gilberts. Most of the rest of the sick went to Brother Burkets' home. On the morning of the 28th Dr. Williams pronounced that Jesse J. Smith was out of danger, Jesse later dies of the cholera on July 1st as does BrotherGilbert on the 29th. On the 28th, Joseph the prophet had sent with instructions to bring George A. Smith and Jesse J. Smith to him ever if it were by 'bob sled'. Dr. Williams decided it was not expedient for Jesse to go right then but to wait a couple of days. Evidently George A. Smith did go to Joseph. Later Joseph would state to George A. Smith that if he had'd come according to Joseph's word, they would have had to tumble him into the grough without a coffin like the others. George A. Smith said it seemed it would have been better for him to have so died than his cousin Jesse, as Jesse had a good education and could have been a far greater benefit to the Church.
In quickly judging those who die of cholera, it is frequently reported that since Brother Gilbert had spoken of his fear to preach the gospel he was so sticken dead. B.H. Roberts in his history softens that accessment in his history. Brother Gilbert had been called to receive his further ordinance blessing at the Kirtland Temple and was not sealed until the 1990s in the Provo Temple.