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Church History

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When Investigators Don’t Keep Commitments

Missionaries often wrestle with their own feelings of confusion and disappointment when investigators who have clearly felt the Spirit and made commitments decide not to keep them, sometimes without explanation. In such situations, missionaries have often looked to a similar experience that Joseph Smith had with James Covel, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 39 and 40. For years, not much was known about Covel, but recent historical research has shed light on this man’s life before his brief encounter with the Church in January 1831.


See Jed Woodworth, “James Covel and the ‘Cares of the World’: D&C 39, 40,” history.lds.org