“And the Lord Said unto Me: John, My Beloved, What Desirest Thou?”

Doctrine and Covenants 7:1–8

1 And the Lord said unto me: John, my beloved, what desirest thou? For if you shall ask what you will, it shall be granted unto you.
2 And I said unto him: Lord, give unto me power over death, that I may live and bring souls unto thee.
3 And the Lord said unto me: Verily, verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues and people.
4 And for this cause the Lord said unto Peter: If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? For he desired of me that he might bring souls unto me, but thou desiredst that thou mightest speedily come unto me in my kingdom.
5 I say unto thee, Peter, this was a good desire; but my beloved has desired that he might do more, or a greater work yet among men than what he has before done.
6 Yea, he has undertaken a greater work; therefore I will make him as flaming fire and a ministering angel; he shall minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation who dwell on the earth.
7 And I will make thee to minister for him and for thy brother James; and unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come.
8 Verily I say unto you, ye shall both have according to your desires, for ye both joy in that which ye have desired.

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland said:

“The Apostle John asked the Lord if he, John, might remain on the earth beyond the normal span of life for no other purpose than to bring more souls unto God. In granting that wish, the Savior said that this was ‘a greater work’ and a nobler ‘desire’ even than that of desiring to come into the presence of the Lord ‘speedily’ [see D&C 7:4–5].

“Like all prophets and apostles, the Prophet Joseph Smith understood the deep meaning of John’s request when he said, ‘After all that has been said, [our] greatest and most important duty is to preach the Gospel’ [Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 330]. I bear witness of that gospel and of Jesus Christ, who embodied it. I testify that ‘the worth of souls is great in the sight of God’ [D&C 18:10] and that saving those souls through the redeeming Atonement of His Beloved Son is at the very heart of His work and His glory [see Moses 1:39]. In pursuing that work I testify with Jeremiah that this last great missionary declaration to modern Israel will, in the end, be a greater miracle than ancient Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea [see Jeremiah 16:14–16]. That we will courageously and enthusiastically share the miracle of this message, I pray in the sacred name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen.”

(“Witnesses unto Me,” Ensign, May 2001, 16.)