The years 1836 to 1838 were trying times for Joseph Smith as he navigated financial troubles and lawsuits as well as discord from the Saints. Through it all, he found comfort by trusting the Lord to guide the Church.
The context of section 111 is Church leaders’ concerns about the Church’s debts and their visit to Boston, Salem, and New York. In visiting Salem, Oliver and Joseph learned about the past evil perpetrated there and the need for religious tolerance and goodwill to those of all faiths.
The Twelve Apostles left Kirtland for the summer of 1836 for their assigned mission to visit the Saints in other places. When they returned, they found the members in Kirtland involved in financial speculation and briefly enjoying prosperity. Journals left by Wilford Woodruff and others tell how many of the Saints turned against Joseph Smith at this time.
“Isaiah in the Doctrine and Covenants,” Terry B. Ball and Spencer S. Snyder, You Shall Have My Word: Exploring the Text of the Doctrine and Covenants
Phrases of Isaiah appear in the Doctrine and Covenants frequently, as evidenced by a chart in this article. Section 113 is specifically concerned with Isaiah 11 and 52.
“During late 1837, the Church in Kirtland was in turmoil. Dissatisfied with Joseph Smith’s leadership, several hundred Saints questioned his divine calling and withdrew from the Church or were excommunicated.” Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon and their families fled Kirtland and left for Missouri in January 1838. There, Joseph received section 111. Oliver Cowdery and others left the Church in April 1838.
“The Kirtland Safety Society and the Fraud of Grandison Newell: A Legal Examination,” Jeffrey N. Walker, BYU Studies Quarterly 54, no. 3
The Kirtland Safety Society was proposed as a chartered bank but had to be organized as a joint stock company. National events, including the Panic of 1837, negatively impacted the Saints’ ventures. Through lawsuits, Grandison Newell persecuted the society not only in 1837 but in 1860, in an effort to obtain property in Kirtland including the temple.