Why is there no reference made in 3 Nephi chapter 11 to receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by laying on of hands?
Thomas, the reason you don’t see any confirmation references made in 3 Nephi 11 is because that chapter is only the first part of Jesus Christ‘s message. From chapter 11 to 18 (inclusive), He alternates between speaking to the 12 disciples and speaking to the multutude. By the time we get to the end of chapter 18, Jesus is back to speaking to the disciples again. Later, the “disciples bare record that he gave them power to give the Holy Ghost” (vs 37). Moroni gives us a sample of the actual words spoken. “Ye shall call on the Father in my name, in mighty prayer,” Jeus commands, “and after ye have done this ye shall have power that to him upon whom ye shall lay your hands, ye shall give the Holy Ghost; and in my name shall ye give it, for thus do mine apostles” (Moroni 2:2). The following day, the disciples exercise their new authority.
“And they did pray for that which they most desired; and they desired that the Holy Ghost should be given unto them. And when they had thus prayed they went down unto the water’s edge, and the multitude followed them.
And it came to pass that Nephi went down into the water and was baptized. And he came up out of the water and began to baptize. And he baptized all those whom Jesus had chosen. And it came to pass when they were all baptized and had come up out of the water, the Holy Ghost did fall upon them, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (3 Nephi 19:9-13)”
Moroni again further clarifies that there was more to receiving the Holy Ghost than just coming out of the water. “[A]s many as they laid their hands, fell the Holy Ghost” (Moroni 2:3). So it’s not mentioned in chapter 11 because the topic doesn’t come up until chapter 18, it isn’t actually performed until chapter 19, and the modern reader doesn’t get the disciples’ clarification until the Book of Moroni.