Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet Are Called by Revelation to Enter the Ministry

Doctrine and Covenants 33:1–6

1 Behold, I say unto you, my servants Ezra and Northrop, open ye your ears and hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, whose word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow, soul and spirit; and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
2 For verily, verily, I say unto you that ye are called to lift up your voices as with the sound of a trump, to declare my gospel unto a crooked and perverse generation.
3 For behold, the field is white already to harvest; and it is the eleventh hour, and the last time that I shall call laborers into my vineyard.
4 And my vineyard has become corrupted every whit; and there is none which doeth good save it be a few; and they err in many instances because of priestcrafts, all having corrupt minds.
5 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness.
6 And even so will I gather mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, even as many as will believe in me, and hearken unto my voice.

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:

“. . . Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet came in the Church at the time of the preaching of the Lamanite missionaries. [In] October 1830, they were called by revelation to enter the ministry and hearken to the voice of the Lord, ‘whose word is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword, to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow’ [D&C 33:1]. . . .

“. . . In sending these two men into the ministry, the Lord declared that they were to go forth to labor and lift up their voices ‘as [with] the sound of a trump, to declare my gospel unto a crooked and perverse generation’ [D&C 33:2]. This has been the proclamation of the Lord concerning mankind from the very beginning of time. It has been the tendency of men to turn away from the truth and manifest a perverse spirit towards the will and commandments of the Lord.

“. . . This is ‘the eleventh hour’ [D&C 33:3]. The time in which we live is compared to the eleventh hour, and so it is in the Lord’s reckoning, for we are in the closing scenes of the present world. Elder Orson F. Whitney referred to our dispensation as the ‘Saturday night’ of time. And, according to the parable of the men employed in the vineyard, we who labor in this hour will be rewarded if we are faithful with equal compensation with those who labored in the previous hours, or dispensations, in the history of mankind.

“. . . ‘And my vineyard has [become] corrupted every whit’ [D&C 33:4]. This is equivalent to the expression of our Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1820. Because of false doctrines, theories, and practices, not only in the religious world, but in the world of philosophy and science, it became necessary for the Lord to open the heavens and make His will known. The time is not far from the condition in Noah’s day when the Lord declared that ‘all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth’ (Genesis 6:12). The same accusation appears frequently throughout the scriptures.

“. . . ‘This church have I established and called forth out of the wilderness’ [D&C 33:5]. In the book of Revelation, chapter twelve, we have a very vivid symbolical description of the Church being driven into the wilderness by the great dragon. ‘And to the woman [Church] were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent’ [Revelation 12:14]. The Lord calls attention to this in the revelation [of] ‘the wheat and [of] the tares’ [see D&C 86:1]. ‘And after they [had] fallen asleep, the great persecutor of the church . . . behold he soweth the tares; wherefore, the tares choke the wheat and drive the church into the wilderness’ [D&C 86:3]. Now in the dispensation of the fulness of times, the Church is again called forth from the wilderness, and her man-child (the priesthood) is restored to her again.

“. . . The elect [are] to be gathered from the four corners of the earth [see D&C 33:6]. In speaking to His disciples the Lord said: ‘And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the . . . uttermost part of heaven’ (Mark 13:27). This same prophecy is found in the Prophet’s revision of the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, in the Pearl of Great Price, [Joseph Smith—Matthew 1:37]. Moreover, when the Lord was speaking to Enoch [see Moses 7:62–64] this same promise is made, and Enoch and his people will come and the city Zion, ‘a New Jerusalem,’ shall be established, ‘which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest.’”

(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:152, 153–54.)