The City of Nauvoo D&C 124 – powered by Happy Scribe
Funding for this program was provided in part by the Division of Continuing Education at Brigham Young University.
Welcome to another session of the Doctrine of Covenants Round Table. This session will be talking about section 124 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which is the longest section that we have in the Scripture. Joining me this hour are distinguished professors from Brigham Young University. The first is Dr. Craig Ostler. Welcome, Craig.
We are also joined this hour by Dr. John Livingston.
Good to be here.
Welcome, John. We are also joined by Dr. Lawrence Flake.
Thank you for joining us. Well, this section of the Doctrine of Covenants notice it follows directly after the sections in which Joseph Smith was in Liberty Jail, and we learned about his sufferings. It’s now, two years later, during those two years, Joseph escaped from Liberty Jail and has gone up to a mosquito infested swampland and founded a town that will ultimately known as beautiful Nava. Craig, can you tell us more of that? As we now go into verses the first verses and learn what the Lord is telling his Prophet.
I would look at this as kind of the Lord’s plan for NA vu is he reveals to Joseph what he would like Navu to become and also to kind of remind Joseph who he is. This first verse Verily thus says the Lord, and to you, my servant, Joseph Smith. I’m well pleased with your offering and Acknowledgments, which you’ve made for under this end, I’ve raised you up and reminding him how he got to where he’s at even that I might show forth my wisdom through the weak things of the Earth.
Then he continues, Your prayers are acceptable before me. And in answer to them, I say unto you that you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel. And of this stake which I have planted to be a cornerstone of Zion. That’s interesting to refer. A cornerstone has three major functions. I guess one is kind of a foundation. You build things on. Another cornerstone gives you direction so you can lay the building straight square to make sure it’s squared up completely. And the other is it kind of ties the building together.
And I thought of what happens in Navu. That’s a perfect description. Much of what the Saints are going to do after Joseph smarter is built on the foundation of that which happens with the temple and with the doctrines that are lucidated and clarified in Navu, they understand better what a city stake of Zion is to be like, because this is really the first place they’ve been able to actually develop a city on the citystate plat that Joseph has drawn up to know how that’s done. And so he continues, speaking of this cornerstone, which shall be polished with refinement, which is after the similitude of the palace.
And I think at least I’ve heard Navu often even to this day referred to as the Gem on the Mississippi.
Could I just read Joseph Smith’s words as he explained that Hebrew origin of the word he said, it signifies a beautiful situation, a place carrying with it also the idea of rest. And I think that’s a good description of it, and especially the first few years there. It really was a rest for them compared with what they had been persecution, right? That’s the only way ours arrest.
But in a sense, it’s a rest. Today you consider what the brethren have done with the city of Navu, rebuilding the temple. And of course, people go there to recreate. We go there to see and learn. And it really has become a wonderful cornerstone. Think of what you put in a cornerstone and how the restoration of Navu is.
There. As we read these early verses, we learned that Joseph Smith is told to make a solemn proclamation of the Gospel to the President, governors and rulers of nations. Did that happen?
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen during the Prophet’s lifetime. There’s quite a history of him trying to get it organized and trying to get it accomplished. But the press of other concerns and the persecutions and so forth that really never did take place. But true to the charge, the Karma Twelve did accomplish that after his death. And in 1845 it was that Parley P. Pratt mostly was writing for the Quorum of the Twelve. They all, of course, were involved. But he wrote the proclamation to the world which fulfilled this command.
And it was published in England by Wilford Woodruff, who was there at the time. And it is bold. It really is remarkable. It’s addressed to the Kings of the world, to the President of the United States of America, to the governors of several of the several States, and to the rulers and Peoples of all nations. And then they just launched right into it. Know Ye that the Kingdom of God has come, as has been predicted by ancient prophets and prayed for in all ages. And the Great Elohim has been pleased once more to speak from heaven.
By these means, the great eternal high priesthood is restored to the Earth. And it goes on in that vein, maybe John has it on his computer. You might want to share some things, but just one other thought here they are not shy to announce that. And we now bear witness that the coming of the Messiah is at hand. And not many years hence, the nations and their Kings shall see him coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. So it’s a glorious.
Powerful proclamation, wonderful fulfillment. As we continue on, you’ll notice that the Lord speaks of Hiram, David W. Patton, even Joseph Smith senior and many things about the greatness of their lives, their integrity. And then finally, Craig, we come to where he’s talking about a need to build a Navu house. And as well as a Navu temple.
Thank you. If you go to Navu, there are the two places I want to look for one because they’re both have been built or were built originally under command of God. And it helps us to see that the Saints may not be of the world, but they don’t intend to leave the world, because when the Navu house, verse 23 indicates it’s to be a house for strangers that come from afar to Lodge therein. And of course, with Navu being kind of a swampy area, they might be kind of concerned about health issues when people come to visit.
And two, I’ve been in large cities before and you now and again fear for your safety, physical safety in a large city. And he indicates we need a place verse 23, where the weary traveler may find health and safety while he shall contemplate the word of the Lord. And I thought that not only happened in Navu but in Salt Lake City as the Saints come here, they had the Hotel Utah for a time. Now the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, a beautiful place of health and safety where the weary traveler may come and then contemplate what it is that the Lord’s people have been asked to do.
And I think it has the same purpose that this Navu house had. And in many ways I look at Navu. The Salt Lake City is just simply Navu transported a little less than 1000 miles to the west, a temple at the center, laid out like Navu.
A Navu house and the hotels right across the street from the temple.
Jumping ahead to verse 60, just the description there describes the Navau house as a delightful habitation, which is, I think, what the Lord had in mind.
Okay, now, John, was that NABU house ever really finished?
You know, it wasn’t really finished. As a matter of fact, much of the foundation only part of the foundation really is covered with a house today. The death of Joseph Smith, of course, and the exodus of the Saints meant that the naval house really never was completed. But it’s a unique structure and the cornerstone. The things that were put in there are still of interest to us today.
The Prophet wanted it finished even with the temple. He said it was just as important, and I think it has to do with the way people look at us. We know that the Lord has his eye on Kings, Magistrates, rulers, and the influence for good that they can do for the Kingdom going forth. I think it would have a different story had they been able to fail.
And I think too, the Lord wants us to be hospitable to welcome people.
Okay, so the structure we see on the spot then built 1872. More of the vitamin house as opposed to the Nava house that the Lord is speaking of in this section.
That’s a good way to describe it. Different I never thought of that before.
Isn’t it true, Susan, that the Prophet and Hiram were buried in the basement of that house for a period of time, right?
For a period of time for theirs moved over to the Bee house. And then, of course, where they are today. Well, Lawrence, we’re also commanded to build a temple. Tell us about this magnificent structure. As I look at the temple restored. It’s so obvious that the Saints love the Lord. You compare their small brick houses and you see this magnificent temple, and you know it is truly a house of the Lord.
Well, it is a remarkable thing that they had left a temple that they had built with their blood and tears. And now the Lord is inviting them to build another temple, and they build this beautiful facility.
The major work of it. Interestingly enough, is emphasized in this section is for the dead. And specifically, baptism for the dead is spoken of here very strongly by the Lord. And the importance of that would be to have that temple. And they go to it as we can see from history and see all that they put into it and almost get it finished before they leave. And it has a sad ending of the building. But now we see that glorious, almost resurrection as we see the temple on the very spot as it’s been restored.
I don’t think any of us can forget the day June 27, so many years after the martyrdom, when President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated this marvelous new house of the Lord. What a great day.
It’s impressive. The strong language that the Lord uses in directing the building. The temple, if you come to about verse 31 as we go into it a little ways, I grant unto you a sufficient time to build a house on me. During this time, your baptism shall be acceptable unto me. But behold, at the end of this appointment, your baptism for your dead shall not be acceptable unto me. And if you do not, these things at the end of the appointment, Ye shall be rejected as a Church with your dead.
Saith the Lord, your God.
What a punctuation Mark for the building.
That temple and a need for all of us to begin to search after our dead. If we haven’t begun.
There’S a change, I think, too, in the way the Saints understand the reality that’s here and that is that most people, during their mortal soldier, will never hear the fullness of the gospel. Most people never have an opportunity to receive the ordinances of the gospel because of that. And he knows that really the crowning work is temple work. We need temple work done. And look what it’s gone today. It’s not a temple that they’re building, but I imagine we’ll see the days of hundreds of temples, and the purpose has to do with many blessings.
That kind of people is if you reach through or beyond the veil and the great experiences. I think of our youth that they have as they do baptisms for the dead and working with the youth. It brings tears to my eyes when I see them coming, dressed in white and so humble and having these experiences of knowing they’re doing a work for those that are on the other side of the Vale.
I think it’s interesting, too, how the Lord talks even beyond baptism. If you come down here. Verse 37 38 again, Verily, I say unto you, how shall your washings be acceptable? Look at 39. But your anointing, your baptisms for the dead, your soul of assemblies, your memorials. He’s clearly pointing forward to a more complete endowment in the temple.
Soon await these Saints there in Navu before they flee to go west.
I’ve noticed so interesting verse 36, that he’s talking about the fact that baptisms now will be performed in other places Besides Zion. And specifically, it says in Jerusalem. And I thought, my word, that’s incredible to think baptism is for the dead in Jerusalem. And then I thought, hey, that’s where they began. That’s the first reference we have is Paul talking about baptism for the dead in Jerusalem. It will be restored.
Lawrence, maybe also take up the idea that it appears the Saints are now being excused by the Lord from building this temple in Jackson County at this time.
I think that let’s see that’s 1st 49. Sometimes people look and see what you could interpret in a negative way, I guess, is failure after failure. We try to do it and it didn’t happen. And Jackson County is one of those places where great plans, but it just didn’t materialize. And some people would see that as Joseph Smith not having the true revelation. But the fact is, as the Lord points out here, that when the sons of men go forth with all their might and with all they have to perform that work and cease not in their diligence and their enemies come upon them and hinder them from performing that work, behold, it behooveth me to require that work no more.
In other words, the Lord is not going to take their agency away and keep opposition from happening. And he does not require of the sons of men anymore. And to me that verse seems to even for each of us. Sometimes we have something we really want to do, and the Lord would like to have us do. But we just can’t because of maybe a physical handicap. I think of young men that cannot serve a mission because of some limitations. And the letter from the First Presidency says to the bishops and state presidents, tell them they’re honorably excused.
That’s touching to me.
I like verse 51, where a few words in he said, I accepted the offering of those. It’s just as if he’s captive and wants to know that just because you cannot get it done. You’re not condemned. Lord understands.
As it goes on versus 56 to 83. It talks about back to building this NABU house and that’s one of those that didn’t get done when we’re back to it. Feelings about that, especially the cornerstone, maybe might be a topic here for that.
I love the fact that here the Lord shows that he’s a businessman too. He understands stock and investment and limitations and limited companies and things like that. But verse 60, let the name of that house be called Navu House. Let it be a delightful habitation for man and a resting place for the weary traveler that he may again contemplate the glory, design and the glory of this, the cornerstone thereof. Again, back to the idea that somehow the Navu period of Church history represents kind of the cornerstone, the foundation.
And like Craig said, well, you’ve got a perfect square corner to build from, and whether it’s endowment, temples, missionary work, we really can take the roots of it back to Navu.
We look at ourselves. We call ourselves a Navu Church more than a Kirkland Church, because Navu with the temple work and work for the dead. That’s what we associate with the work of the Kingdom today.
In a sense, we turned a major corner.
As we continue, and we turn this corner. We find that Father Joseph Smith SR. Has died, and prior to his death, he’s called in various family members and given them blessings and a blessing recorded by Lucy Max Smith. Hiram received from his father. It was said, I now seal upon your head the patriarchal power and you shall bless the people. This is my dying blessing upon your head in the name of Jesus. So we begin to see this now literally fulfilled. As we look at verses 84 through 96.
Craig, would you like to share some of those with us?
At this time Hiram then has been serving in the first presidency of the Church. And so he’s released from that call, and in his stead, William Law is called to be the second counselor, the Prophet Joseph Smith. For you, William came from Upper Canada near Toronto area. He doesn’t end up John Canadians, and he is given in verse 89, a responsibility if you’ll notice toward the end to publish the new translation of what we would refer to as the Bible. Now, because of other concerns, he had some of them taking away from the Church and becoming enemy to Joseph.
It’s not published in that time.
I think it’s interesting beginning of verse 89. It’s almost as if the Lord can see that coming. If he will do my will, let him henceforth hearken to the counsel, my servant Joseph, and he didn’t do it.
It’s kind of interesting to take William Law and John C. Bennett and circle all of the ifs and the ifs just didn’t happen with them.
Okay. I’d probably also add in Alma W. Babt that worship the Golden Calf. Where you get Joseph Smith and Carthage jail, asking Uncle John Smith to go get the help of attorney Alma W. Babbot to assist Joseph. And although Babbitt was in serving as a branch President there in Raymond, his comment when asked, Will you help Joseph? His comment was, you’re too late. I’ve already been hired by the other side. So you kind of look at what’s going on to these men. The counsel. Will they listen?
And then you contrast that with this great man hiring Smith.
Just a thought about Alma Babbitt. He did come back into the Church after he’d been excommunicated, came to Utah, but he still had trouble following counsel. And one of the things that he was counsel to do is when coming back from Washington, DC to travel with a large group of people and he wouldn’t do it. He was alone. And he was one of the few Mormons ever killed by Indians crossing the Plains because of not following the Council.
Yeah, that’s right. Well, tell us the ultimate contrast is this very faithful man, Hiram Smith.
In fact, earlier in the revelation in verse 15, the Lord had addressed Hiram earlier. He said again, Verily, I sent you, blessed is my servant Hiram Smith, for I the Lord love him because of the integrity of his heart, and because he Loveth that which is right before me. Saith the Lord. No, ifs in there, by the way. And these verses back in verse 91, sometimes they’re problematic. Probably good to discuss them a little bit. And that hire him is actually being called to two offices in the priesthood, not one.
In fact, I think in verse one where it refers to hire him taking the office of priesthood. It’s not the same. And pay truck. It means there’s two. The office of priesthood is going to be that of standing next to Joseph is what is known as assistant or associate President of the Church, an office only held by one other person that we have any record of. Oliver Cadrey. And it helps us to discern. We’ve talked about this before John. You and I have that the patriarch does not hold keys.
And so in verse 92, when it says he holds the keys of patriarchal blessings, he doesn’t mean priesthood keys. It means the kind of key that unlocks the heavens so that you can receive revelation, but differently in verse 94. Now it’s referring to his presiding priesthood office, where he becomes a Prophet, seer and Revelator unto the Church. And that’s one reason I understand he’s in Carthage jail with the Prophet Joseph Smith as a second witness where Oliver Cavalry would have been there, possibly that he’d been faithful.
Just a wonderful line from that blessing you referred to Sister Black on the Prophet blessing. His father blessing him. He said, you shall be firm as the pillars of heaven onto the end of your days. What a great line. And his brother Joseph made this comment. He said his brother possessed the mildness of the Lamb, the integrity of a job, and in short, the meekness and humility of Christ. So we have a remarkable man filling both of those priesthood offices.
We see a son and then a grandson and others, too, that have had such important responsibilities in the Kingdom. And they often refer back to Hiram. He definitely is a good tap root for a family.
Even a great grandson serving in the quarantine of the 12th. Nowhere.
Well, as we continue on, we now learn that Hiram is called too many off to two offices then in this section. But we also find that others are being called.
We get so many of those named now in the Doctrine of Covenants.
I did a little study just to see. Actually, I looked at your book. Who’s who in the Doctrine and Covenants to find how many people are named in the Doctrine and Covenants. There are 156, including three sisters. And Interestingly enough, this section refers to 60 of the 156. So it’s really loaded with personnel and very interesting to see what happened to them and where they went.
Susan owes this revelation for her work. All the names that are there.
I personally grateful for all of these people. Well, okay. We get such things as we’ve got stake being organized. Well, John, you want to tell us about what’s going on here. The priesthood, everything’s being put in order.
The Lord is organizing a state here in Navu. He refers to the traveling Council, of course, who are the quorum of the 12th, and then the standing high Council that is there. He’s mentioning elders, quorum, high priest quorums. And this is really where we see the state President become the President of the Melchizedic priesthood. In his state, keys are being handed. Look at verse. If you go all the way down to 123 Verily, I say unto you, I now give unto the officers belonging to my priesthood that you may hold the keys thereof, even the priesthood, which is after the order of Melchizedek.
And of course, Hiram is granted the office of patriarch in 124. But my goodness, all these people, all these names, all these callings again back to the cornerstone of the Navu period of Church history here.
I think it’s interesting. The 70 also seemed to take hold more in Navu than they’ve had opportunity to anywhere else. And that’s one of the reasons the Gospel goes forth from Navu more to the world. Specifically, before this time, you have the twelve being mentioned, which are a little bit different twelve than they’d had years previously, because you’ve had apostasy. And in verse 129, you see these names of these great men who went to England on a mission. And we have 30,000 Saints, at least, I imagine, over in England within this decade, at least because of the work the twelve have done they have the 70 now who are also being sent with them or buy them to places in the world.
And it’s going forth marvelously.
In Navu, there were 35 quorums of 70.
I thought it was interesting and a hall that’s built.
You have a fuse them upstairs to show what they brought home right.
When the Lord lists the quorum of the twelve there, I thought it was touching that he lists one who is dead. David Patton, who had given his life as a martyr for the Church. And that makes the point of behold his priesthood no man take it from him. So he’s really still a member of the quorum of the Twelve. He’s just on the other side of the veil. I thought that was interesting.
In fact, verse 19 earlier the Lord referred to David W. Patton in verse 19. He’s referring to the work of Lyman White. Hopefully, he could be like David W. Patton, he said, who is with me at this time. And Elder Patton kind of holds a special place in our hearts because of his faithfulness to the very end of his life.
Good. That’s a wonderful way to end this great section. I thank you for your wonderful contributions. We’ve learned this hour about the Navu House and Navu Temple, the calling of patriarch and many other colleagues in the Church. Thank you.
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