Line Upon Line – D&C 1 – Hearken Ye People – powered by Happy Scribe
It’s 1833 in Independence, Missouri, and two young girls, Mary and Caroline, saw terrifying angry mob demolishing a printing press and throwing all of the printed pages out a window and destroying them. One said, let’s run and those pages.
They’re too important to let the mob destroy them secretly, they try to grab as many pages as they could, but a member of the mob saw them stop, get those girls.
Don’t let them take the papers. Mary and Caroline were chased by the mob into a nearby cornfield where they threw the pages on the ground, laid on top to protect them with their lives, and were still and quiet as they could be. Where are they?
I don’t see them anywhere. Keep searching. The mob searched for them for a long time and only stopped once it got dark. The girls had heroically saved the pages.
But what were these pages and why was it so important for these girls to risk their lives to save them?
Great question. Well, these writings happen to be some of the most amazing and inspired revelations received by the Lord’s prophet Joseph Smith, giving early members of the church knowledge and strength and guidance. So naturally, all the members wanted their own copies to read and study, but they weren’t printed at the time.
Alexa, read me Joseph Smith’s revelations.
And let’s be honest, there were no computers or copy machines or smartphones lying around. I mean, this was the early eighteen hundreds. So the only way to carry these revelations around was to get a hold of one of the few handwritten copies and memorize it or write it down by hand. Word for word, man. Can you imagine how long it would take to write even a few of these revelations by hand with ink and quill?
Neither of these ways was very practical. Look, they were farmers and missionaries and moms with big families with places to go and things to do and didn’t really have time to memorize books of scripture or write them all down. So in 1831, a special meeting of elders was called in Hyrum, Ohio.
And at the conference, they discussed for hours the problem of helping everyone get copies of these amazing revelations to read. They decided to print the revelations in a book. So they sent all of the revelations to a printer. And just one month later they had the book. Yay!
Well, no, it actually took about four years to get it done.
Remember earlier, the mob destroying the printing press and the pages? Yeah, that was just one of the many problems.
They also needed an introduction for the book, a preface, a way to let the world know what the book was about. So at the conference, they did what they thought made the most sense. They picked the three most intelligent and educated men in the room, Oliver Cowdery, William McClellan and Sidney Rigdon, to write an introduction.
You three, you’re the smartest and have more book learning than the rest of us. You guys write an introduction. We’ll pick the best one.
Well, they did their best using all of the most eloquent intellectual words that they could, but their attempts were, well, awful and wrong and not helpful at all.
What would they do now? These were the three smartest people in their group who was smarter than them.
Surprisingly, it was only then after they had tried their best and failed, that it dawned on them to ask the Lord what the introduction should be.
Are we ever like that trying to do everything on our own first before we asked the Lord? Well, Joseph asked the Lord, and then went to the window where the Lord revealed to him a line or two at a time, which Joseph would repeat out loud, and it was written down.
Then the Lord would reveal a couple more lines which Joseph would share, and so on, back and forth, until the Lord had revealed the entire introduction to the new book.
This revelation is the Lord’s preface, which we now know as doctrine and covenants section one. Pretty incredible. OK, but what did the Lord teach in his preface?
For one thing, he teaches us how to be strong. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you couldn’t do anything right or felt weak, not very smart, or struggled to do things it seems like everyone else can do? The Lord said that we are the weak things of the world, the weak and the simple. Remember, Joseph Smith himself was just a young, uneducated farm boy. So how then is the Lord supposed to use all of us who are weak to do his work and be strong enough to share it with everyone in the world who seem to be so smart and talented and amazing?
Well, it’s not by lifting lots of weights or drinking kale smoothies, although those are good.
Well, sort of we can become strong by humbling ourselves before the Lord and following his prophet, he teaches us that if we humble ourselves will be made strong and blessed with power from on high so that we can come forth and break down the strong.
So if you’re feeling weak and uncertain, like the elders at the conference in Hyrum, kneel down, pray humbly for strength and obey the living prophet and the commandments, and you can become strong enough to conquer anything.
Perhaps an even more important message from the preface is how the Lord talks about his church.
He says it’s the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth.
Oh, think about that. There are hundreds of churches and religions around the world and many do wonderful things and help people to have great lives. But there’s only one church on the whole earth that the Lord says is true and living.
Wait, what does that mean?
It means it’s continually growing and evolving as it’s fed continuously by revelation through a divinely called prophet of God. So it is true. And living is in this gospel.
The Lord said prepare you, prepare you for that which is to come for the Lord is not.
And this begins our journey as we study the doctrine and covenants, watch our next video for more of the exciting revelations Mary and Careline risked their lives to save.
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