“If They Will Not Believe My Words, They Would Not Believe You, My Servant Joseph”
Doctrine and Covenants 5:5–10
5 Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words;
6 For hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men.
7 Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you.
8 Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation—mine anger is kindled against them.
9 Behold, verily I say unto you, I have reserved those things which I have entrusted unto you, my servant Joseph, for a wise purpose in me, and it shall be made known unto future generations;
10 But this generation shall have my word through you;
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“‘Verily, I say unto you, that woe shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words’ [D&C 5:5]. So said the Lord. It was His purpose that the word to His ancient prophets as contained in the Book of Mormon should be proclaimed to all the world, but this was to be done in His own way. . . . [T]he Lord [further] declared in this revelation: ‘Behold, if they,’ the people of the world, ‘will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you. Oh, this unbelieving and stiffnecked generation—mine anger is kindled against them’ [D&C 5:7–8]. . . .
“The Lord has always sent His accredited witnesses to testify of His truth, and has declared that all who reject these witnesses shall be under condemnation. This revelation declared that this generation shall have the word of the Lord through Joseph Smith [see D&C 5:10]. There may be some who think that this is unreasonable, and the Lord should use some miraculous means to convert the world. Frequently when strangers visit [Temple Square in Salt Lake City] and hear the story of the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, they ask if the plates are in some museum where they may be seen. Some of them with some scientific training, express themselves to the effect that if the scholars could see and examine the plates and learn to read them, they would then bear witness to the truth of the Book of Mormon and the veracity of Joseph Smith, and the whole world would then be converted. When they are informed that the angel [Moroni] took the plates back again, they turn away in their skepticism, shaking their heads. But the Lord has said: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’ [Isaiah 55:8–9]. We have learned that people are not converted by miracles or by examining records. If the Lord had placed the plates where the scholars could examine them, they would have scoffed at them just as much as they do today. People are converted by their hearts being penetrated by the Spirit of the Lord when they humbly hearken to the testimonies of the Lord’s servants. The Jews witnessed the miracles of our Lord, but this did not prevent them from crying out against Him and having Him crucified.”
(Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. , 1:39–40.)