1 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name,and fools shall have thee in derision,and hell shall rage against thee;shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessingsconstantly from under thy hand.(D&C 1221-2)
This was a promise given to Joseph Smith when he was in Liberty Jail. I think it actually describes a cycle that still continues today and is part of the various ways that missionary work happens.
First, rumors about Joseph Smith from whatever source fly around. Second, those who haven’t heard about him begin to ask questions about him. They learn about him from different sources--hopefully more good than bad--and they make a decision about what they think. And at that point they are divided into three groups.
Some show themselves to be children of hell by raging against him. Some who think it is all foolishness show themselves to be fools by deriding him. Those who recognize he is a prophet show themselves to be pure, wise, noble, and virtuous by seeking counsel, blessings, and authority from him (or in these times, through the church he helped restore).
At this point, all three parties, by judging Joseph Smith, have judged themselves…and even separated themselves into three degrees. And then each of these groups tell others what they think about Joseph Smith and if they talk to people who haven’t heard of him before, that next group will begin to inquire after Joseph Smith too. Thus the cycle begins all over again.