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- Doctrine and Covenants 14:2 — 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝙶𝚘𝚍 𝚒𝚜 “𝚚𝚞𝚒𝚌𝚔 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚙𝚘𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚏𝚞𝚕.”
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- This week’s LDS Coloring Pages free digital download: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 11: March 8–14 “Strengthen the Church” Doctrine and Covenants 23–26
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Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 37-40, Apr 12-18) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor, and I’m Tyler, and I’m Ken Alford.
This is Book of Mormon Central’s Come, Follow Me Insights.
Today, Doctrine and Covenants, sections 37-40. And we’ve invited our friend and colleague Ken Alford to join us today.
Well, Ken, it’s a real privilege to have you join us today because these are some very, very important sections in the in the unfolding restoration and in the establishment of the church in this initial gathering. Question for you initially would be from a thirty thousand foot overview, looking at sections thirty seven, thirty three nine forty, what would you hope that people would would walk away with?
I would ask you to think about a couple of questions and put yourself in the position of these early church members. No one in the church at this point has been a member of the church even a year. And that includes the prophet. I mean, we’ve never had that situation. And in history, the prophet has been a member of the church less than a year. And and then on the 30th of December, in 1830, Joseph received instructions from the Lord that they are to gather.
And so I would just ask you to keep these questions in mind.
And the first question is, individually for you, what’s been the greatest sacrifice that you have been asked to make for the kingdom of God?
You know, being a church member has lots of little things that we do. But what’s the biggest sacrifice that you as an individual have been asked to give to the Lord?
The second question that I would ask is, you know, in this interesting period that we’re living in right now, how easily do we as individuals accept and embrace change? Because change is, you know, change is one of those things. It happens whether you want it to or not. But how we deal with change, I think is. A totally individual determination and probably a third question that I would ask is, you know. Why why do things happen in our lives and how do we react to that so those those questions, I guess, would be kind of the overriding questions as we look at sections thirty seven, thirty eight, thirty nine and forty and and also just one very broad general concept is the doctrinal concept of gathering that that concept.
We will talk about it in various ways here.
But if you can just kind of keep those things, sacrifice, change and gathering in your mind as we begin in these sections, that’s really powerful because at this stage of the church, our membership is not localized at all.
It’s spread out throughout New York, throughout now Ohio, because of those four missionaries who went on that journey to the to the west, converting people and baptizing them and establishing the churches, they went and we’re kind of scattered. And so we’re going to introduce this gathering.
And the Lord knows he wants very soon to build a temple. And that’s really hard to do in the 18 thirties if you got people living across New York and and you’re not together. Yeah.
So as we dove in, you’re going to be seeing God work with these people. But this question right here becomes really important because the timing in my mind, the timing couldn’t be worse as far as testing their their faith.
And what are you willing to sacrifice because of the time of year and the situations going on the world in eighteen, thirty, eighteen, thirty one. The world not just not just the US at that time, but the world is in is in upheaval. There’s a lot that’s happening now from the perspective of the twenty first century.
Things look pretty calm. But for the period at the time, Joseph frequently mentions in his his journals and has his scribes note his concern over world events and kind of these these closing days. And they see it in that perspective. So Section thirty seven, just to set the stage, section thirty seven is a really short section in the previous video Tylor that you and Taylor did, you discussed the events of the mission to the laminitis and the mission to find where Zion was led by Oliver Cowdrey and those four missionaries that went out.
Well, as a result of that and some of the baptisms in the Kirtland Mentor Ohio area, we have Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge’s who will soon become the first bishop of the church. He doesn’t know that yet. He’s a hatter, by the way. He makes he makes hats and they travel to New York to meet Joseph when Section thirty five is receive. Sydney is called as Joseph Scribe, which is very helpful for Joseph because his scribe, Oliver, had been sent out to to Missouri, to the borders of the laminitis, as it says in the revelation.
And so Sydney takes that calling to be scribe, very serious. And Joseph in Sydney actually go to Canandaigua, New York. It’s it’s near Fayette. And they go to Kennedy, go and do some translating. And as they are translating, this is a copy of what’s called a Fiani Cooperstown Bible. This is not the original that Joseph and Sydney used. But I will tell you, the original looks exactly like this. It has this leather tooled cover and it’s a very large print Bible.
And this is what they’re using as they’re doing the Joseph Smith translation. And in those weeks prior to Section thirty seven being received, they finish up Chapter five of what we know is the Book of Moses. Then they get Chapter six, then they get into Chapter seven. Now, interestingly, those verses in the Book of Moses are about what will in large measure, they’re about Đinđić and Joseph learns from the Lord through revelation he is able to expand on the account of Enoch.
That’s in this very brief in the in the Old Testament as we have it in the King James version. But he learns about Enoch and how Enoch did two interesting things. He gathered the people and he created a Zion. Now, isn’t the timing on that just interesting? Because in section thirty seven, what does the Lord invite Joseph to do? Wait a minute, Ken.
So what you’re saying is, is that sometimes the way of revelation might work.
Is God will take things that we have been focusing on in our scripture study. As those ideas come into our mind and into our heart, and he’ll take those and then he’ll help us find application for those principles in our life today, is that what you’re saying?
Oh, I’m going to guess that the people watching this have had that experience where you you hear a general conference talk or you read something in the scriptures or you see something in Come, Follow Me or something somewhere comes to your attention. And then in the next while you see it again and again and again and for the previous portion of your life, that verse might as well not even have existed. You just really didn’t notice it. And as soon as you read it or learn about it, it just keeps reappearing and the Lord keeps teaching you additional things.
That’s just one of the really fun things about about life and learning from the gospel. I love that.
Now, one thing that we we need to pause here for a second and discuss is, is the GST, because it goes on pause right here, they’re told in section thirty seven to to kind of put a hold on that for now.
It’ll, it’ll come back, they’re going to finish it. But keep in mind, Joseph started translating now. That’s an interesting word that we use, because the key he will use the word, the translation of the Bible in in some of these sections coming up.
But traditionally in the twenty first century, when when I say to somebody, I translated that the implication is that I know two languages and I know them well. And I’m taking something out of one language that I know translating it into another language that I know.
The fact is, is that this stage 18 30, Joseph Smith does not know Egyption, he doesn’t know Hebrew, he doesn’t know Greek, he doesn’t know the languages of ancient scripture. But he’s still through the help of the Holy Ghost and other prophetic means, he’s still making a translation of sorts, even though he may not know those original languages, God knows them. The Spirit knows them. And it’s fascinating to see that you have you have over 30, 600 verses in this Bible that he goes through, that he’s going to make changes 30, 600 plus.
And then there are hundreds of additional verses that are added to this to this inspired version of the Bible that he’s creating that don’t even appear here. And as Ken was talking, many of them are going to be in Enos story, the Book of Moses, for instance, you get Moses chapters one through eight in your pearl of great price. Those are the equivalent of Genesis, Chapter one through Chapter six, verse 13.
You’re noticing that there’s a lot added that doesn’t ever appear in the Holy Bible, which, by the way, causes a little bit of.
Potential discussion, and even at times contention among some of the early members were Josef’s teaching things about the Garden of Eden and about the fall of Adam and now Đinđić and building up of Zion, that they haven’t read these things before. This is new for years. It was kind of distrusted because many thought that some other people had probably changed some of the things Joseph did.
It was Robert Jay Mathews from our church who did his master’s and PhD research on it, and he brought it back to the church. And actually what had happened was Brigham Young had actually sent I believe it was John Byrne. Heisel it may have been another early member of the church, but he sent sent an emissary over to Emma Smith, asked for the manuscript of the Joseph Smith translation, and the church had been told to publish it. We’ll see that later as we get into Section one twenty four.
Well, William Law was commanded to publish it, but did not do so. And Emma kept it basically as personal property. She had carried it out. That’s another story that I’m sure will come in future weeks. But Emma did not give the manuscript up. And as a result, we kind of did distrust it because it was published by the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in eighteen sixty seven. And we had just little bits.
We had the Book of Moses. And the reason we had that is because it was published in Nauvoo in a newspaper called The Times and Seasons. And we had the Joseph Smith Matthew. But we just didn’t have very, very much from it up until nineteen eighty, eighty one and and sorry, nineteen seventy nine when the new Bible came out in nineteen eighty one when the doctrine of covenants came out. But Genesis this Moses it actually begins with Genesis zero I would say because Moses one is a chapter before the Old Testament actually begins.
And the Joseph Smith translation. Fascinating topic. Now you can find lots of resources on the church’s website about the Joseph Smith translation. It’s been known by various names. The Lord calls it the translation. He also calls it the new translation. That’s how Joseph referred to it. It’s then also called the inspired version when it was published in eighteen sixty seven. And it was it became known as the Joseph Smith translation in nineteen seventy nine. They were initially going to call it the the new translation and use the abbreviation Ente in our, in our Bibles.
But NTE had been taken, it was New Testament and so the Scripture Committee said, well it’s a translation that Joseph Smith did, let’s call it the Joseph Smith translation. And so today we know it is the GST.
Now there’s there’s one other element that we need to discuss regarding the translation of the Bible.
And then then we’re going to move on. Some people have assumed that what Joseph is doing, these 30, 600 plus change or verses that are changed, plus the additions that are made. In many cases, there’s an idea out there that what Joseph is doing is restoring the original and all of these thousands of cases.
The fact is, Joseph has a variety of reasons for making changes, in some cases, he’s restoring what the original author wrote like Moses one as an example that we don’t have. In other cases, he’s modernizing the language he’s making. He’s turning things like WIST into no, I wished not versus I knew not. And it had absolutely nothing to do. What any of the original writers of the scriptures, whether we’re Hebrew or Greek, what they wrote, because it wasn’t attached to that.
There are other times where Joseph is making changes that a prophet has that right, a seer and revelator has that right to take scripture and make it more accessible doctrinally to to teach or expound on a doctrine or to clarify where modern language may be has shifted the meaning of a word or a phrase or a concept.
It’s his right to say this is what the prophet meant. He never he didn’t have to write it that way. He didn’t it didn’t have to get translated that way. But for us now, this is what he meant. And if if the Lord were here redoing this, this is how it would come out. What I’m saying is there are a variety of reasons for the various changes that occur. The problem comes when you assume that all of the changes we’re trying to make it exactly the way as it came from the pen originally that may or may not be the case, but don’t you love the fact that we live in a church where we’re open to God, giving us more revelation, more clarification?
We believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God and to me that the Joseph Smith translation is kind of a little fruit of that root doctrine that we have, and it does all of that and.
There are many kinds of changes made, one other thing it does, though, is it serves it’s the way I think the Lord teaches Joseph the gospel.
Joseph learns the gospel through two major translation efforts The Book of Mormon. And the Joseph Smith translation, one thing that I would just encourage you to look for throughout this year as you study the doctrine and covenants is to look for a connection between Joseph’s efforts, translating the Joseph Smith translation and sections in the doctrine and covenants. There are literally dozens of sections that come about because Joseph or a member of the church had questions because of what Joseph had learned while doing the Joseph Smith translation.
And it’s beautiful to see that Joseph got answers to Revelation. We learned scriptural doctrines and the restoration unfolded in large measure through the doctrine of covenants because Joseph or somebody else ask a question. And I think the analogy there is, well, if I want to learn the gospel for myself, how do I do that? I study the word of the Lord, and when I don’t understand everything, I ask questions and we can learn the same way Joseph did absolutely that pattern.
President Ruslan Nillson has has pled with us to seek more inspiration and more revelation to hear him and the quickest way to hear him. Many of our profits and apostles and other church leaders have said is, open your scriptures, start studying them.
You’ll hear his voice. All right.
Now, section 37, verse one, we get an introduction to this this concept.
That that had to be revolutionary coming there the end of December 18 30. Behold, I said to you that it is not expedient to me that you should translate anymore until you shall gather or sorry, until you shall go to the Ohio. And this because of the enemy, for your sakes.
And I would just mention section twenty nine is where that term is first introduced in a previous lesson, and I’m sure that was mentioned and now it’s about to be operationalized. Now we’re going to actually do it. It’s going to go from theoretical to real. Very quickly here.
We’re going to move to the Ohio notice first to again, I say and to you that you shall not go until you have preached my gospel in those parts and strengthen up the church with whoever it is found and more especially in Colesville. I love that. That the Lord. We see in these verses well, throughout all of the scriptures, but we see it multiple times in the readings for this week. That the Lord says, I hear your prayers.
I know who you are. I know how I know your faith, I know your situation, and because of that. Let me help you out. I just I just know how to help you and those those good saints in Coleville, we’re going to see them well, in many future future weeks, they get battered from pillar to post, but they stay faithful. And they stay active, by and large, it’s a it’s an amazing it’s an amazing group of folks.
It’s interesting, Ken, because if you go back to your very first question that you posed at the beginning, what what are you willing to sacrifice for the Lord and for his gospel and for building up his kingdom on the earth? I think if we were to have any of those Colesville. Members of the church here today to ask them that question, I don’t think they would focus on how how hard those sacrifices were, because, like you said, that particular group is going to go through a portion of struggle.
But I think we watch the Lord shaping them and working with them through that intense opposition. If you want to talk about refining gold, that’s a that’s a group who had their gold refined. And they were they were remarkable. Now jump down to verse four, inverse three seven to close off that section, behold, here is wisdom and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so, I mean, you’ll notice throughout the doctrine and covenants and quite frankly, throughout all of scripture and through any any dispensation of the gospel that God is saying to us basically without using these exact words in scripture, the phrase he’s giving is.
Do you trust me? Do you trust me? I’m God, I’m a creator of worlds without No. I hold them in my hand, my I can hear some I know my works. I’m powerful. I know everything. Do you trust me?
That’s the question every man choose for himself, this agency element that came out of his initial translation of of the Book of Moses and the Garden of Eden.
These questions are swirling around the people’s minds and he’s saying you get to choose for yourself. But don’t forget who I am and don’t forget who you are. One thing I like to think about is how many times, as Heavenly Father successfully taken his spirit, children through the plan of salvation with a winning result. It’s an infinite number of times, I mean, we it and then I look at it, how many times have I completely gone through the plan of salvation and its point?
Something it’s a zero point something. So. Hopefully, we’re wise enough to balance an infinite number of successful results. With our zero point something experience and recognize that when the Lord says, you can trust me, here’s my hand, take my hand, I know how to do this. These are the these are the ways you should live your life, their commandments. These are the relationships we can establish with ordinances and covenants. And take my hand.
I’m going to give you some help. I’m going to give you the scriptures. I’m going to give you prophets. I’m going to give you Postles. I’m going to give you the Holy Ghost. I’m going to do everything I can for you. But as it says that the universe. Thirty seven let every person choose for for themselves until I come. I’ve got all these things. I’ve set it up. I know how this works. I can bring you safely home, but you you still get to choose.
I’m not going to force you to do it. So what happens then? We have this on the 30th of December, three days later, just three days later on the 2nd of January, eighteen thirty one, the church holds its third conference. They’re holding their conference in Fayette. And so I don’t know if we have a count of the number of people that assemble for the conference, but it’s not huge. There’s there’s no big auditoriums and halls and there’s not that many members of the church at that time anyway.
But they assemble in Fayette. So Josephine City come back from Canandaigua, they assemble there. And Joseph stands up in the conference and teaches the Saints brothers and sisters. Just three days ago, the Lord called us to gather to the Ohio. And here’s what’s been happening with Oliver and and and brother Peterson and Charlie Pratt and Peter Wittmer Jr., who are out there teaching. They’ve had phenomenal success. And the Lord is calling us together for all these little branches in the New York area and joined with those saints in Cortland.
And he’s calling us to do that. Now. Now, if I was a member of of one of those little branches. I don’t know, I might have I might have a question, and that question might be. Why Kirtland and why now, Joseph, I don’t know if you’ve checked the calendar, but it’s you know, I looked outside and it was January and I own a farm and there’s not a lot of folks looking for farms in January in upstate New York.
And as you pointed out, there aren’t a lot of folks looking for Tobii Farms period in eighteen thirty one in eighteen, thirty, thirty one and so. There’s got to be some way questions, and in fact, the history of the church says the Saints, basically I’m going to paraphrase, but basically inquired of Joseph, and I think that’s probably a loaded phrase. I’m guessing there was some serious inquiry of Joseph regarding why now, why this just why.
And so Joseph inquires during the conference and receives Section thirty eight. This is when something really interesting about Section thirty eight, most of the commandments we received from the Lord. The Lord does not give a postscript saying, here’s my reasons why. And here, section thirty eight is basically. But think about it, this is the first time when was the last time Saints of God were asked to gather and build Zion? How many centuries had that been? It had been millennia.
And and so the Lord takes that early church by the hand and he says, let me help you out, we’re going to go with Joseph, I’m going to help you out with the Saints. I’m going to give you Section thirty eight and brothers and sisters. Here’s some reasons why you should gather. And by the way, here’s the blessings I’m going to give you if you do that. And that’s what Section thirty eight is all about. So just as a side note, to bring this out of the 18, 30 thirty one time frame into the twenty first century and into our modern day today.
What is President Nelson? Repeatedly been inviting the church to do with regards to this and how does it apply to us, this gathering effort is not exclusively important to them. This is it’s growing.
And it’s important that President Nelson said this is this is from October of twenty twenty in general conference.
He said for them, more than 36 years I’ve been an apostle. The doctrine of the gathering of Israel has captured my attention.
Interestingly, if you go back and you look at President Nelson’s addresses in general conference and other addresses that he’s given from the time he was called as a general authority, this doctrine of gathering Israel has been a constant and recurring theme throughout his teachings. I wonder if maybe we’re listening a little closer now that he’s the prophet, but it’s been a consistent theme and he said. Everything about it is intrigue me. When we speak of gathering Israel on both sides of the veil, we are referring, of course, to missionary temple and family history work.
We are also referring to building faith and testimony in the hearts of those with whom we live, work and serve. Any time we do anything that helps anyone on either side of the veil to make and keep their covenants with God, we are helping together Israel.
Any time we do anything that helps anyone on either side of the veil. Oh, my gosh, least can we really be any any more inclusive there? Any time we do anything that helps anyone on either side of the veil to make and keep Covenant’s with God, we are helping to gather Israel.
Oh. Yay for the causes and I mean, what a great what a great what a great statement. And and so section thirty eight kind of the Lord kind of pulls back the curtain. He does that sometimes in the scriptures. You know, when we don’t understand, he’ll pull it back enough so we can understand, but not so much that he overwhelms us in a section 38. He’s pulling back that curtain for us so that those saints could see there’s a bigger purpose here.
And as much as they’ll understand from Section thirty eight, the Lord also knows if you’re gathered at Kirtland, I can tell you about temples and you can build a place where we can have additional priesthood keys restored.
But the Saints have to show their faith and gather to Kirtland first before they ever learn about any of that. And that’ll be in future lessons in future weeks that’ll come. So as we look at Section thirty eight, one of the things you might want to do is you go through that section is just look, what are some of the things that the Lord is saying are the reasons why he’s having them do that? Because, again, this is one of those rare times when the Lord says, I’m going to let you see a little bit of things from my side.
And it starts right in verse to in verse two of section thirty eight. The Lord says when he’s talking about himself, he says, for all things are present before my own eyes. In other words, whether you live in Fayette or Palmyra or Coleville, wherever you are, I know who you are. I know everything about everything, and I know what’s for your best good. And this gathering to Ohio is so going to be for your everlasting benefit.
Once again, you can almost hear him asking the unwritten question, do you trust me? Or maybe the better question, to what extent do you trust me? You’ll notice the opening of Section thirty eight because of the degree of sacrifice there’s going to be required of this group, you can see verse one, two, three, four, five.
The Lord’s putting a little extra emphasis on identity as far as who he is, who we are. Just sure. A quick quote with you from October 20, 20 general conference as well from Sister Michelle Craig.
She said, Perhaps the most important things for us to see clearly are who God is and who we really are.
Sons and daughters of heavenly parents with a divine nature and eternal destiny. Ask God to reveal these truths with to you, along with how he feels about you, the more you understand your true identity and purpose so deep, the more it will influence everything in your life. That’s exactly what I see going on here, is God clearly establishing identity because these people, quite frankly, I don’t know how many of you would be willing to just up and walk away from a home and a bunch of land that you’ve developed and just walk away, in some cases in the middle of the winter to to go out into the frontier.
This is this is not an easy task.
But I love the fact that as we watch God working with shaping molding these saints through these these historical events as they unfold, that you’re you’re watching some shrink and fall away.
You’re watching others, it seems that they’re just holding the course. But others just seem to be refined. They when when they come to the end of their life, they’re they’re a totally different person than they were at the beginning. And I love the fact that now you translate that into our day today, can without being too personal, your family’s been called to go through some pretty difficult and trying things this last year and years. And what effect does it have on your on your relationship with God, on your sense of identity, of who God is and who you are?
Yeah, just very briefly, we’ve had some experiences, not myself, but those near and dear. We’ve had leukemia in the family. We’ve had continuing cancer challenges in the family and other other other challenges. And I guess through all of it, the thing that’s just been really amazing is that. Heavenly Father can comfort infinitely, and he knows the end from the beginning, and we don’t know how some of these stories are going to turn out yet. But it’s going to be OK.
You know, to two quotes just come to mind on this topic, elder Heils Robert de Hales, who had continuing health problems, heart problems and other problems, he made a statement in nineteen ninety eight in general conference and he said this. This was in the October conference. He said, quote, I have come to understand how useless it is to dwell on the whys, the what ifs and the only issues for which there are likely to be given no answers in mortality.
To receive the Lord’s comfort, we must exercise faith. The questions, why me, why our family, why now are usually unanswerable questions. These questions detract from our spirituality and can destroy our faith. We need to spend our time and our energy building our faith by turning to the Lord and asking for strength to overcome the pains and trials of this world and to endure to the end for greater understanding. Know another general authority that that the church watched his trials was elder elder Scott Elder Richard Scott, who lost his his wife, Janine, and he shared this in nineteen ninety five.
He said, quote, It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God, rather ask What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my blessings in times of trial? You know, nobody nobody gets out of this life alive. Mortality is an interesting experience, but I think one of the things that’s just such a blessing of being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints is to have the Holy Ghost and the comfort in the bigger picture to know that, I mean, the the knowledge of the plan of salvation is worth everything.
And the Saints in this early time in this you know, the church is only eight months old. The Lord’s already taken by the hand and starting to lay this foundation for them so they can do that maybe to just be appropriate. This Brigham Young, this called together, you know, we talk about it, I think sometimes a little bit too much abstract. My family followed me around the world for almost 30 years in the military. I served in the army and and we got moved every couple of years.
And so these verses in church history where they’re called to move and uproot themselves, they were very real for fear for my family because we did it all the time.
But I want to just share with you a statement that Brigham Young made. Brigham Young joined the church, came into the church in the Kirtland area era, and he didn’t join at this period. It was actually about two years later, two and a half years later. But let me just share Brigham statement with you, because I think it gives a feel for these early saints. Here’s what Brigham said. This is from the Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11 quote, When we arrived in Kirtland, If any man that ever did gather with the Saints was poorer than I was, it was because he had nothing.
I had two children to take care of. That was all. I was a widower. Brother Brigham, had you any shoes? No, not a shoe to my foot, except a pair of borrowed boots.
I had no winter clothing except a homemade coat that I had had for three or four years. Any pantaloons, pants? No. What did you do? Did you go without. No, he said I borrowed a pair to wear till I could get another pair. But here’s the key. Here’s the key, here’s how he ends that reminiscence. He says. But Joseph said, come up. And I went up the best I could. I think that just speaks volumes, what a difference that would make in the church if when we raise our hand to sustain our our profits and regulators, if we gave them that kind of sustaining.
Faith in Christ, that he’s giving us the direction that we need to do things the best we could as it comes from the prophets or our leaders. What a beautiful principle. Now, let’s dove into these beautiful words. Section thirty eight. You’ll notice verse one through five or one through four. Like we said, it’s this this incredible introduction of identity where verse one by the Lord, your God, even Jesus Christ the great. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning of the end, which look at the pond, the wide expanse of eternity and the seraphic hosts of heaven before the world was made.
I know all things. Verse two, I’ve created everything. Verse four, I am the same which have taken the city of or the Zion of Enoch into my own bosom. That’s that’s going to mean more to Joseph at that point as context now. And he finishes all of this and then notice the very first word of verse five after introducing his grand identity. The very first word, a verse five is. But it’s this in spite of all of that.
Behold the residue of the wicked have I kept in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day, even though I’ve got all of this amazing stuff to give?
There are still people who refuse to let me be their God, and I’ve reserved some judgment for them. Verse six. And even so will I cause the wicked to be kept that will not hear my voice but harden their hearts and market. Whoa, whoa, whoa. Three. It’s their doom. Brothers and sisters, that is a very significant verse here we are, it’s it’s right after New Year’s Day. It’s a day later in eighteen thirty one, and we’re we’re getting ready to gather designed to to Kirtland, rather.
And God is pronouncing the triple-O on this group of people who prefer to live in darkness and in chains rather than walk in the light. The triple wall only appears twice in The Book of Mormon in second Nephi chapter twenty eight, verse fifteen and in third Nephi nine, right before he returns, right before coming to the to the Nephites only minutes.
And then you get it here. And then there’s one other time where it appears. So there are four triple wolves. The other one is in Revelation Chapter eight where he’s going to pronounce these these three wolves in a row. It’s this superlative curse of doom and destruction, so to speak. Don’t you love the fact that verse seven, after he gets through with the triple whoa, what is the very first word of her? Seven, but. Again, in spite of this now, but behold, verily, I say to you that mine eyes are upon you, I’m in your midst and you can’t see I can see you, but he says you can’t see me.
You’re not seeing me. I wonder I wonder if we could take Section thirty eight and ponder it in our day today and look around and say there are some pretty crazy things going on in our in our world today in all countries of the world. And there there are some pretty difficult situations. And then come back to verse seven, but.
And then trust that God’s eyes really are upon us, that he’s in our midst and then verse, but notice the first word, by the way, this section is one of my favorites for doing this, where you take the first word of each verse and it really sets the stage.
He he he gives you a precursor for exactly what he’s going to tell you. And it flows in this nice grammatical, logical chain of of events here.
So the but the day soon comes that you shall see me and know that I am even though you don’t see me now the but gives us hope that it won’t always be that way. There will be a day when we can see him clearly. And then he says in nine, OK, now that you know this information, what do you do about it growing up your loins and that scripture talk for get to work. OK, you can look up on the Internet what it meant to Gurjit lines, tucking in your your tunic.
But he also says at the end of verse nine, I just love this look, it’s all worth it because the enemy shall not overcome. This is the only dispensation out of the history of the world. This is the only dispensation where the good guys win. And the good guys and gals win in spectacular fashion, ushering in the millennial reign of the savior and rolling up the earth into the celestial kingdom, I mean, the wind is so huge in this dispensation, but this is the only one in which good triumphs.
Ultimately, isn’t it fascinating that Joseph, he really, really gets excited about the dispensations and the dispensation heads through the history of time.
And there are lots of dispensations. But the seven that he keeps coming back to repeatedly are Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus himself. And then the seventh dispensation, the dispensation of the fullness of time, which is ours. You have all of these apostasies that have occurred with these falling away’s that have taken place, and there’s only one other dispensation that didn’t end in a complete apostacy, although once in a city is translated, the rest of the world is left in an apostacy.
And it’s fascinating that that is what is on Joseph’s mind more than anything right now, is I want to do what Enoch did. And the Lord is putting it on Joseph’s mind through multiple ways, through the Jesus translation, through this command together. And the theme of Building Zion is a continuing theme throughout this dispensation.
It’s going to occupy much of Joseph’s time. It’s going to move the church again after Kirtland into Zion, into Missouri. And it’s a it’s a continuing theme. And today we are still seeking to build Zion, where in the stakes of Zion, we’re trying to build Zion in the stakes.
And so as we look at we look at these verses, there’s just some wonderful, wonderful things in here. Section thirty eight is one of those sections, I think, that you can skim across the top. But if you’ll take just a minute and wade in a little bit, there’s some really cool things in this section.
Now, keep in mind that the magnitude of the day in which you and I live. Keep in mind that what God is now doing with this small handful of of, quite frankly, poor farmers and other trades tradesmen in Frontier America, what he’s trying, what he’s not trying, but what he is going to do with them eventually is what Enoch did with one city.
And keep in mind, timing is is difficult when it comes to the far back in the Old Testament time frame. But the biblical account gives Đinđić three hundred and sixty five years to create Zion in one city. You’ll notice what God is now doing in the dispensation of the fullness of times, what was accomplished in one city like Ken was saying, where do you gather? It’s not gathered in one city. It is here at this stage of the church.
But today it’s gather to the stakes across the world. God is turning this Zion concept into a global concept, not a one city, one location ideal.
And so then is section thirty eight continues. The Saints, the Lord again pass the curtain and he says there’s some things going on in the background that you just don’t know about, and he mentions it in in verse 13. He says there are things going on in secret chambers and they’re plotting your destruction. And he goes over and continues later in the verses and basically says, you talk about wars in other lands, but you don’t even know the hearts of of men in your own land.
Many have seen that as perhaps a precursor of the coming American civil war. But but also the fact that there are those that are are bent on destroying the church. St would have loved nothing more than to squash the church when its little young and helpless. So the Lord says, now the way I’m going to fix that is I’m going to pluck up all these individual branches. I’m going to move them and put them as a group because there’s safety in numbers and I’m going to put them there.
They’re going to be big enough to build a temple. They’re going to be away from everything else because Kirtland, Ohio, at that point, you know, Ohio is the Northwest Territories and it’s pretty rough. My family and I lived in New York for a while and we’ve seen the Coleville area and it is just lush and beautiful. And when you went to Kirtland, you had to clear the farm of original growth forest, which had to just be a trick in of itself.
And so the Lord describes that Kirtland area is a land of promise, land in verse 18, flowing with milk and honey. But it’s only that way after they clear the land and make it make it such. But there’s some fun, some fun comments and verses 14 and 15. The Lord says at the end of that verse, he says, I will be merciful unto you in your weakness. Therefore, be strong from henceforth, and so right now you’re just you’re just weak and I think of, you know, ether Chapter 12, where the Lord says, I’ll take weak things and your weaknesses and I’ll make them strong onto you.
And there’s a great quotation that I heard many years ago from from elder Neil Maxwell that I just think is just this kind of sums up this concept that even though we’re weak, the Lord can make us strong. And here’s here’s what elder Maxwell had to say. This was in a July nineteen seventy five enzyme magazine.
Quote, God does not begin by asking us about our ability. But only our availability. And if we prove our dependability, he will increase our capability. I just think that’s a great, great quote. God does not begin by asking us about our ability, but only our availability. And if we prove our dependability, he will increase our capability. And that’s exactly what the Lord is doing here.
These I mean. By the standards of the nation, this is this is maybe a little more school to group, especially when they get out to Missouri and see the state of the folks in that frontier area. But these are not schooled people. These are not. You know, they’re not wealthy by the world’s standards, these are these are humble folks that the Lord has gathered up, you know, one of a family or one of a city. And and he tells them, though, in verse 19.
To to seek this with all their hearts and isn’t that a key to Tyler to making this all work? If we if you go in whole hog things, just things are just going to work out.
It’s interesting because it’s that idea of what is it that your heart really desires?
What do you what do you think about when you have nothing to think about? Where do you where does your mind and where does your heart go when it comes to life?
Why why are we here on this earth? What is it all about? All of the sacrifice, all of the trials, all the tribulations, all of the setbacks, all of the successes, all of the pleasures and the joys, put it all together and say, what is it really all about? And here I think we get this this witness that President Nelson has emphasized again and again, there is no work that is more important. There is nothing going on on the Earth right now that is more important than the gathering of Israel and the building up of Zion.
And then the Lord says in verse 20, to hear my voice and follow me and, you know, it’s been mentioned before, but it’s worth mentioning again, so many sections in the doctrine of covenants use the word Hakin. Now, I personally like that because my first name is Ken. And so I think it’s a personal invitation from the Lord because he begins the doctrine of covenants with here, Ken. But if you’re not, name’s not Ken.
I’m sorry, that doesn’t work for you. But but the key is he says, hear my voice and follow me. And then in twenty three, teach one another. So as we come to learn something, we teach it to our families, to our loved ones and to everyone who will listen. Love it. Verse twenty four. What a difference it would make in our world and in our society today if people would live verse twenty four, let every man esteem his brother as himself and practice virtue and holiness before me.
And then you’ll notice a very interesting shift, verse twenty six, this is this is an outlier in in the scriptures of the restoration. Why look closely for one man among you having 12 sons and it’s no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently and he stays under the one B. Thou clothed in robes and sit down here and the other be thou clothed in rags and sit down there and look upon his sons and say, yes, I am just that’s a really, really strange insert here.
Look at the qualification he gives in twenty seven. Behold this I have given unto you as a parable and it is even as I am I saying to you be one. And if you are not one, you are not my brothers and sisters. Are you noticing that one of Jesus’s favorite or preferred teaching techniques in his mortal ministry among the Jews in the Galilee and Jerusalem and throughout Judea is to teach in parables? But did you notice that when he came to the Nephites in third Nephi, he didn’t share a single parable that we have record of?
It doesn’t mean he didn’t. It just means we don’t have any record of it. If he did. And here in the in the doctrine and covenants, you would think, wow, he’s going to be able to share all kinds of parables with these people and you only get a couple of them. This is one of them in the in the doctrine and covenants where where he himself says, I’m given this kind of like a parable to you.
Why is that parables we’re given as this sitting side by side of concrete, well known situations that people would be familiar with in order to teach abstract truth and eternal truth? It’s kind of hard to wrap our heads around. It’s fascinating to me that in restoration scripture, God doesn’t need to do a lot of the sitting side by side. He just teaches directly. I guess what I’m saying is be grateful for the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the doctrine and covenants, he doesn’t have to veil or Cloke meaning behind parables and some symbolic placeholders.
He’s he really is just talking to us directly for the most part, isn’t he?
And you but you will find in the doctrine and covenants that the Lord explains gives little. Pieces, little portions of verses several times that explain his New Testament parables so that we can clearly understand them. And in fact, there’s there’s one instance I won’t steal the thunder of future weeks, but there is almost an entire section where the Lord explains the parable of the wheat and the tears. And he says, here’s what it man. They really didn’t understand it.
But here’s here’s what it is. I’m going to give it to you. Just write out. And so then we have. Yeah, that beautiful verse about about being one, and then he says, I tell you these things because of your prayers. You’ve been praying you want to know why you’re doing this? I’m going to I’m going to help you out and tell you these things. And then in verse 30. He says. I just love the ending of that verse.
In verse 30, where it says, if you are prepared, you shall not fear and you know, that does doesn’t apply to scriptural things, that applies to temporal preparedness. That applies to, you know, emotional preparedness. It it applies to financial preparedness. It applies to just everything. I think that is some of the most wonderful counsel we’ve ever been given, that if you just sit down and prepare one of the things while I was on active duty in the military, one of the things the military has to do is prepare for scenarios that we hope don’t occur.
But because you are prepared, if they do occur, whether it’s a natural disaster or whatever it might be, somebody already thought it through. We’re already prepared. You don’t have to panic in the moment. We know from the scriptures that there are interesting times coming. And it’s the Lord has said, you know, be wise. I’ve let you know these things are coming. I’m giving you the signs of the times. We’ll see other sections that are dedicated to that in future weeks.
But he’s saying, be wise, be prepared. And if you’re prepared, you just you know, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy to go through. The world’s gone through a, you know, a worldwide pandemic.
Not easy, but where preparation had occurred, it was easy and we were prepared.
Look at verse as we now begin to make this transition from New York to physically move that group of people. Notice there’s a group we haven’t even started making the move, but there’s a group that Jesus doesn’t want forgotten in all of this for thirty five. And they shall look to the poor and the needy and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer and send them for to the place which I have commanded them.
Isn’t that interesting that the guard has a special place in his heart for those who are sick and afflicted, fatherless widows, the poor, the needy does it exactly the same thing in Section 136, when the pioneers are getting ready to move out to the West. He specifically addresses the poor and the needy and says, how dare to get out there? They do the same thing when they’re leaving Kirtland. They do the same thing when they’re leaving Missouri. They do the same thing when they’re leaving every Nauvoo winter quarters, just every time.
Can we back up just just a verse? Thirty two, I think is a really important verse in verse thirty says where for for this cause. In other words, remember we said he’s he’s telling them why he just comes right out and says it. He says wherefore for this cause I gave under you the commandment that you should go to the Ohio. OK, folks, you’ve been waiting for it. Here it is. I’m going to tell you point blank.
And there I will give unto you my law. And if you check the footnote, it footnotes it to Doctrine and covenants section forty two. So just a little preview of a coming attraction next week. That section forty two is one of those sections that has. A nickname or a subtitle, and it is called The Law, and you’ll see next week for very good reason. But the Lord says, if you’ll show faith and go to the Ohio, I will give you my law and my law is here’s how you live.
If you want to be a zillion people and I’m going to give that to you when you get there. And, you know, looking forward to part two is and you shall be endowed with power from on high now in the 21st century. We hear that and we hear that word in doubt. And we immediately think of what Tylor the endowment temple. We absolutely do. But I’ve got to believe in eighteen thirty one in January on the 2nd of January when they heard this.
That’s not the first thing that popped into their mind, but they did understand that God is going to give us a great gift, he’s going to just give us a great gift. Joseph said this about gathering because the Lord saying I’m causing you to gather Joseph said this. What is the object of gathering? When the people of God in any age of any age in the world, the main object was to build unto the Lord a house whereby he could reveal under his people the ordinances of his house and the glories of his kingdom and teach the people the way of salvation.
It is for the same purpose that God gathers together his people in the last days to build under the Lord a house, to prepare them for the ordinances and endowment’s washings and anointing, etc.. Now, coming from a military background. One thing that struck me about this is my wife and I had the opportunity as newlyweds to live in Europe.
And so one thing, I really love it. I love medieval castles. I’ve just. I can’t remember a lot of people’s names sometimes, but I remember every castle I’ve ever been to and when it was built just the way your brain works. But on medieval castles, they are built. So that, you know, this is stone and this is called a Merline and this is called. A crennel, and so this up and down and it’s on basically every medieval fortress, it’s called a translation.
And accreditation is built that way so that you can hide behind the Merline while you’re starring in your bow or reloading your weapon, and then you step into the criminal to take offensive action. And this is this is across the cross, the medieval world. Well, interestingly. When Brigham Young. Was telling the scenes how the Salt Lake Temple should be built. Because I’d say the Salt Lake Temple is probably the most iconic of all the all the temples.
When Brigham Young sent out through an angel over to Europe, instructed him to look at cathedrals and castles and stately buildings, and then brother, brother Angel came back and Brigham and Brother Angel as they design the Salt Lake Temple. When you look at a picture of the Salt Lake temple, that temple is filled on almost every edge. With translations. Because what did Translation’s do in medieval castles? They protected the people on the inside. And what is the purpose of the temple?
It’s to protect us against the world and to boot, to endow us with power and to give us the ordinances. And covenants that we need to return to our heavenly father. And so I can’t look at the Salt Lake Temple and not see those translations first, that’s the first thing I notice every time I look at a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. And I hope you will, too, in the future and recognize I think the Lord is sending us a very visible symbol in that building because in stone, the Salt Lake Temple has way more symbolism on the on the in the stone of that building.
But it applies to every temple in the world that it’s a place of refuge. It’s a house of the Lord. It’s a place to learn, but it’s a place of safety. And a place where we can be endowed with power. What a I just think that’s just a wonderful metaphor. Beautiful can. And it brings us back again to what you emphasized at the bottom verse 30. Again, if you are prepared, you shall not fear you’re not out in the open where you can be destroyed by the enemy who is combined against you.
The Lord also warns them in verse thirty nine against pride.
And Boy, just coming off a book of Mormon Come, Follow Me year, we saw that the Lord once or twice in the Scriptures. And isn’t it interesting that he did? He invokes the actual book The Book of Mormon people who who fell to pride lest you become as the neophytes of old well and then he says in verse really says in verse 40 a commandment OK, go with your might labor with your hands. We are commanded to build Zion. And then he says, I’m forty one.
Let your preaching be the warning voice every man to his neighbor in mildness and in meekness. We are out there not by way of commanding. We’re not trying to compel. We are inviting. I love that. In Section twenty one it says basically the mission of the church is to invite everyone to come under Christ, and that’s our invitation is to just invite. And then he says in verse forty to go yell from among the wicked. We’re going to pull you out from all these different places in New York and in parts of Pennsylvania and that those areas and plant yourself in Kirtland.
And then the Lord closes with be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Tyler, do you want to what imagery is the Lord giving us here?
It’s beautiful because in Old Testament times and then into the New Testament as well, the imagery of of cleanliness in burying the vessels of the Lord, it it sees its fulfillment throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. This idea of if a priest is called, for instance, to bear certain vessels in the temple or the tabernacle anciently there, there are extremely stringent cleanliness rituals. They have to go through, changing their clothes, taking a ritual bath, washing of the hands, the the anointing there.
There are a whole bunch of elements that go into this. And while those are physical and literal in nature in antiquity, I think he’s bringing it to us today. Be clean that the vessels of the Lord. I love one of the little adjustments that was made in the temple recommend interview. Where there’s that added statement that the Lord has said that all things are to be done in cleanliness before him. I think there’s power in that that that virtue, that holiness, that striving to be clean before the Lord in all things.
There’s a wonderful statement from President Gordon B. Hinckley. He he said in the April nineteen ninety six general conference quote, Be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Thus, has he spoken to us in modern revelation and then President Hinckley adds, be clean and body, be clean and mind, be clean in language, be clean in dress and manner and just kind of kind of sums it up.
Well, section thirty eight. I hope you’ll give section thirty eight a good look. And now we move into two sections, thirty nine and forty because they’re kind of a matched pair. Yeah. That you can’t have one without the other. Can’t, can’t have one without the other. I would add that the research from the great scholars at the Joseph Smith Papers project have helped us understand in recent years that Section thirty nine was given one day before Section forty.
All we used to know earlier was that it was sometime in January, but they’ve now determined that it was on the 5th of January and the 6th of January. James Carville, a little bit about him. He is a Protestant minister. He’s been teaching he’s been teaching Christianity for about 40 years. He’s been a circuit a religion writer. He travels around to various areas preaching. He hears the gospel preached in the Canandaigua area. When Joseph and Sidney are there, they give they give a presentation, I believe, in a large hall.
There he hears the gospel and he approaches Joseph. And as it says in the section heading, it says he covenant with the Lord that he, James, would obey any command that the Lord would give him through Joseph the Prophet. Well, Section 39 is the list of commands that James Colville receives, he’s told to do several things he’s told to. Teach the gospel, he’s told to go and gather to Zion, he’s told to go west. That’s going to be a little uncomfortable for him because he’s always taught to the east his whole life.
But he’s he specifically told in verse 14, go to the Ohio and to do all these various things. And remember, he had told the Lord, I’ll do whatever he told me to do, whatever you asked me to do, but. Let me just point out for six for just a second, this is one of the few times in the scriptures where the Lord defines the gospel. There’s these verses are kind of just just put in kind of like the cherry on the on the top of the cupcake several times in the scriptures.
But they’re but they’re not that frequent. And this is this is one that’s in the doctrine and covenants. And it says in verse six and this is my gospel. Repentance. And baptism by water and then come with the baptism of Fire and the Holy Ghost, even the comforter, and I love this definition of the Holy Ghost, which show with all things and teaches the peaceable things of the kingdom. You know, if you look at the great need of the world right now, I would suggest that one of the great needs of the world is just for people.
To esteem each other, to respect each other and just let peace prevail and a holy that’s what the Holy Ghost is all about, it’s to show all things and to teach peaceable things that you can’t be riled up and upset and feeling contempt. If you have the Holy Ghost with you, it’s just incompatible. This is fascinating, if you if you can get beyond the black words on the white page, if you can try to visualize what it’s actually like for a man like James Carville, who and by the way, if you have the nineteen seventy nine nineteen eighty one addition of the scripture, I guess nineteen eighty one edition of the triple combination, if you look in your section heading, it lists James Carville and it tells you he was a Baptist minister for about 40 years.
If you have the twenty thirteen edition of the Scriptures or if you look at the the gospel tools, the online version of the Scriptures, you’re going to notice that his name is spelled James Carville. And it tells you that he was a Methodist minister, not a Baptist minister. Almost a decade after this happened is when Joseph and others seem to be remembering back and writing down some of the details, and they apparently got some of the details wrong because again, well, there actually was a James Carville minister in the New York area just quite a ways away.
And they figured and scholars have figured out this this James Carville.
Now, keep in mind, he’s been a minister in the Methodist faith, traveling throughout. He’s very experienced 40 years worth of preaching on top of all of his growing up years. Joseph Smith. He’s just barely turned twenty five years old. He’s not even a year in the church having been established, and here he has this, this guy who he James Carville knows the Bible pretty well. He’s had a lot of experience working with people in a lot of life situations.
And I love the fact that God speaks to him so tenderly, so gently and so powerfully at the same time through the mouth of a twenty five year old farm boy who, quite frankly, if we were to have a final exam at this point on on the Bible, I could be wrong. Jesus had a lot of training from heaven at this point. But I think as far as the nuts and bolts of the Bible are concerned, I’ll bet James Carville would do pretty well on that test.
And yet, here’s God speaking through Joseph to him, calling him to an amazing work to do to perform. Look at verse eight. Verily, I see into the thine heart is now right before me at this time. If you like marking your scriptures, you might want to circle the word is because that’s present tense. January 5th. James, your heart is right before me. You’re in a good place. You’re humble, you’re meek. You’re willing to do anything I’ve asked you to do.
So I’m going to give you some amazing things to accomplish. And then what happens is James James Caldwell gets this revelation and the record says that the next day he’s just gone. He just disappears. And so Joseph and Sidney are wondering themselves where James go covenanted that he would do everything the Lord said. I got this wonderful revelation for him and now he’s gone. So I guess there’s the possibility that he went west and he started teaching, but that is not the case.
So Joseph inquires of the Lord and receive Section forty, so they learn about James Carville’s decision. Now note it’s one day later James Carville’s covenant to do whatever the Lord commands through his prophet Joseph LARC. One day. And the Lord says this, it’s just three short verses, he said, behold, verily, I say and to you that the heart of my servant, James Carville. Was right, so in on the fifth, his heart is right, he’s willing to be baptized, he’s willing to do whatever the Lord asks, and then he.
Force makes it and never joins the church. And then the landlord says the reasons why in verse verse two, he said, and he received the word with gladness, but straight Satan tempted him. And the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word. And don’t you love history, wherefore he broke my covenant, this is a covenant that God made and tried to establish with him and it remains with me to do with him as same as me.
Good. Amen. There’s a closure there that basically says to all of us, it’s not your place to judge James. That’s my job. I’ll take care of that. And we don’t know. So it’s not our job to say, man, what a terrible guy. The fact is, is none of us can judge his situation. Only only the Lord can now, rather than ending on that particular note. Let’s end on a on a higher note back in Section thirty nine.
Something that he is told that I think, quite frankly, applies to us every bit as much as it did to James Carville on January 5th of eighteen thirty one versus 10. Behold the days of thy deliverance or come if once again you could circle the word if this is conditional, if thou wilt hearken to my voice which says unto the and then you can fill in the blank with whatever the voice of the Lord has has prompted you with either from the Scripture study, from listening to the living prophets, from your patriarchal blessing, from other inspired revelation that you’ve received personally moved forward.
And then he says, and you shall receive my spirit and a blessing so great as you never have known. And if there it is again, if thou do this, I have prepared the for a greater work.
Now, as you study this week through these sections, you’re going to find we haven’t even talked about all of the incredible stories that we have in the Saints volume and in the other revelations in context, resources that the church has provided for us of the incredible sacrifices and miracles and setbacks and triumphs that these different groups have to go through in order to move from upstate New York to to the Ohio.
But you can see God working with these people, shaping them and refining them.
Just a closing thought. There’s a dream that Joseph Smith, prophet of the church around the turn of the 20th century, there’s a dream he had thinking back to the the way section thirty eight in this scripture block ends with the charge from the Lord to be clean. And Joseph Smith says that in his dream, he was he was going to meet important people. And along the way he felt impressed to stop and to take a bath and to put on new clothes.
And when he shows up, he’s greeted by many of the early members of the church. And his father, Hiram Smith, is there. Joseph Smith is there. And and he’s chided a little bit for being late.
And he looks at them and admits he’s late, but he says yes. But I am clean. And then Joseph Smith, when he would share this dream, would talk about the importance of being clean before the Lord. And. What a wonderful opportunity the Lord has given us to understand those things that we can do to become clean. From the from the world and be able to return to his presence, if we will take advantage of the atonement and and repentance, I just want to share my my testimony that these sections came from a prophet of God.
Yay for Joseph Smith, prophet of this restoration. I just want to share my testimony with you. This is a prophet of God. He holds the keys of this dispensation. And I am an next to Jesus Christ, he’s done more than anyone else has ever lived for the salvation of man. We learn of the savior because of what we’ve learned through Joseph Smith. I just want to just want to leave that testimony with you in the name of Jesus Christ Damon.
Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 41-44, Apr 19-25) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor and I’m Taylor. This is Book of Mormon Central’s Come, Follow Me Insights today, Doctrine and Covenants sections forty one to forty four.
So before we jump in today, let me just share a personal experience with you that that happened last night. As we’ve been. Preparing for and and teaching these little episodes each week from the doctrine and covenants, and the further we get into it, the more complex the history becomes and the more people come into the storyline. And it can get really, really overwhelming at times.
So last night, my wife went with part of my children to the school play that they were in, and I stayed home with some of the younger some of our youngest children and took care of them and then began about a two and a half hours session of preparing for today’s lesson today and reading lots of books and lots of stories and fact checking a lot of things.
And there came a moment when I felt completely overwhelmed and completely inadequate and this sense of I’m never going to be good enough when it comes to knowing everything that I should know about these sections and the church history events at the at the times when these sections were given enough to where I’ll be able to make sense of them in presenting to other people. And it was in that moment of feeling terribly inadequate and overwhelmed that the. Simple, still small whispering of the spirit came into my mind with the thought of don’t try to run faster than you have strength, you’ve got enough.
And the thought came to my mind of some of you in the world with so many things on your plate, so many demands on your time and energy and your efforts and realizing that you have families where you have church callings or you have responsibilities to to teach.
And people want to learn, they want to be edified, they want it to be a good experience, and sometimes it’s really easy as a parent or as a leader in the church or as a teacher of the gospel to feel overwhelmed. So as we jump into today’s lesson. I just wanted to share that with you, that whatever effort you put in, the Lord will magnify and it doesn’t you don’t have to know everything about every person and you don’t have to memorize all the dates and the places and the connections sometimes as we go into the into history, just to to become at least a little bit familiar with their setting and their situation and their life challenges opens doors for the Holy Ghost to reveal to us principals.
Then from our study and our teaching of the scriptures that become relatable, applicable, relevant to the situations that we’re facing in our world today.
So to kind of make things a little bit simple, here’s what we’re going to do today. I’m going to give out a couple of ideas of key themes to look for in these sections. Then I’ll share a few stories from some of the people that were alive at the time and they were making this transition to Ohio in January. Eighteen thirty one before the sections are revealed in February of eighteen thirty one. And then we’ll dig into the doctrines that God reveals to his people.
So let’s begin with this. Some of the themes that we have in these sections, we have the theme of gathering theme of operations of the spirit, and we also have the theme of church administration. These are some of the key ideas that you’ll find in these sections. There’s lots of other things we could put on the board. Also want you to understand that if you look at the doctrine covenants, many of the sections that we’ve been reviewing at this point were delivered to individuals.
And we have a market transition at this point in the doctrine of covenants, where most of the revelations from here on out are actually delivered to the church generally, even though there are still some specific revelations given to specific individuals for the most part. Now, revelations are giving to the body of the church. Why is that? Well, the church is growing quite a bit, but we started with six members in April of eighteen. Thirty by January of eighteen.
Thirty one. There may be three, four, five, six hundred members of the church, and so God is now giving revelation that is providing guidance and direction to far more people. And it’s interesting that we start getting more of these revelations about gathering people together, all these disparate groups. Let’s bring them together so we can build a temple. Let’s teach people about how the spirit works so we can have unity and not disorganization. And let’s teach people how to administer the church so that people can better understand the gospel and follow Jesus Christ.
So those are just some things you might want to look for. So still a couple of stories of people gathering, joining the church and gathering at the Body of the Saints. Let’s begin with Zebedee. Caltrain, January 8th, 18 thirty one. It’s very cold in Ohio. The ice on the water is a foot thick. And a man named Solomon Hancock is in Strongsville, Ohio, preaching. And Zebedee Caltrain hears from him if they stay up late at night talking about the gospel.
And after Solen falls asleep around one o’clock in the morning, Zebedee stays up, pondering upon the things he’s heard this powerful witness to the gospel and he determines. Late that Saturday night, we might call it really early Sunday morning, I’m going to be baptized into God’s kingdom. So the very next morning, Sunday morning, they cut a hole in the ice a foot thick. And he gets baptized. I grew up in Minnesota and there’s something called the polar bear plunge.
There is a lot of sacrifice at times to be a member of the church. And I just find it incredible that somebody was so anxious to join God’s kingdom. Not even a foot of ice and the cold biting wind of a January in Ohio could keep him from the warmth of the spirit that he’d receive by baptizing and being brought into God’s kingdom. Now, what’s amazing about Zebedee is he is one of the longtime faithful early members of the church in a dynan eighteen eighty seven.
He came with the body of Saints out to Utah many years later in eighteen forty seven, and he eventually became a church patriarch. And one of the great stories of celebrity culture and is to Postles, George Albert Smith and Melvin J. Ballard, when they each were individually 13 years old, received their Patrica blessings from Zebedee Coltrane and he promised each of them prophesied in their original blessings that they had become apostles in the church. And years later, when they did and they got talking about their young lives, they discovered this common connection that both of them had received their patriarchal blessings under the hand as every Coltrane and had received the promise that they would become apostles.
It’s a fun story of what’s happening is Joseph Smith is transitioning from New York to Ohio, that we have these saints that are gathering people discovering the gospel like 70 Coltrane. Another story that I really love at this time is that of Mary Rollins. Some of you might know her. She was a young girl who, with her sister, preserved. What have been printed of the Book of Commandments, the early doctrine covenants after a mob had ransacked the printing press?
Well, when she was 12 years old, she was living with her widowed mother and her family at her uncle’s house. Sidney Gilbert and one of the early LDS missionaries, Isaac Morley, had come into town with a copy of the Book of Mormon. Now, even though many copies have been printed in the Book of Mormon, Isaac Morley apparently only had one. And Mary Rollin’s, this 12 year old girl, pressed upon Isaac throughout the day like I want to read this book.
And he kept looking at her like, this is my only copy and I have other people I need to teach and other people who should read this. Finally, he relented and allowed Mary to take the copy with her. So that evening with her family, they took turns reading to each other from the Book of Mormon and stayed up quite late reading. Well, the next day, Isaac comes to retrieve the Book of Mormon. And let me share with you in her recollection what that exchange was like and how Isaac, you know, this missionary didn’t really expect a 12 year old girl to have been that faithful at reading the only copy of the Book of Mormon that was available for dozens of miles.
She said this after she woke up the next morning, as soon as it was light enough to see, I was up and learned the first verse in the book. When I read Brother Moralize, they had been up for only a little while. When I handed him the book, he remarked, I guess you did not read much of it. I showed them how far we had read. He was surprised and said, I don’t believe you can tell me one word of it.
I then repeated the first verse. Also the outlines of the history of Nephi. He gazed at me in surprise and said, Child, take this book home and finish it. I can wait. I love the faith of a twelve year old girl. We might remember that Jesus at age 12 was also going about his father’s business. Just this is what we also see with Mary Rollin’s. And so we have we are in our lives. We might take encouragement for the story of Mary Rollin’s, of this intense and loving desire to read God’s word.
And luckily, we live in a day when access to the scriptures has been far easier than ever before. And I hope that all of us have the same alacrity and desire to consume the word of God as we saw with Mary Rollin’s. We tell these stories to enlighten and inspire us, these individuals gathering into God’s kingdom, but also to remind us that there is sacrifice involved when we choose to follow Jesus. I mean, we could tell the story again of Joseph Smith.
Here he is in January, packing up yet again. How many times do they move now in their four years of marriage with like for six times?
Quite a few times. And the fact is, is remember, Emma has already lost one child, their first born named Alvin, and now she’s in her third trimester of pregnancy with twins and she’s struggling. It’s painful. It’s it’s middle of the winter they’ve gotten into this sleigh with. So we’re coming to the Ohio with Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge, who had come to New York to meet Joseph. So we’re relocating. We don’t have a place to really live.
We arrive in Kirtland. Joseph jumps out of the sleigh, goes into New York, Whitney store goes bounding in, sticks his hand out and says, Newark, Whitney, thou art the man. And he’s like, you got the better of me. I couldn’t I don’t know what your name is, I don’t know who you are. And he says, I am Joseph Smith. You prayed me here. Now, what do you want me to do?
And thus begins this this bond, this friendship where the witness actually moved to. So they’re upstairs to allow Joseph and Emma a place to stay. That was kind of their landing spot. Later on, they’re going to move to the Isaac Mallie farm.
And from there, later on in the year, they’re going to move to Hiram, Ohio, to stay with John and Elsa Johnson on the Johnson Farm. And so we’re bouncing around, but there’s incredible sacrifice, and shortly after giving birth to these two twins, neither one of them survive another. Couple in Kirtland had just had twins themselves, the Murdochs and unfortunately, Sister Murdoch passed away, and so Joseph and Emma are able to take those two twins and adopt them and to provide for them and to raise them.
And sometimes these are hard stories to tell because later a mob attacks the John Johnson home where Joseph Smith is staying and drag him out. And and actually one of the twins is exposed to cold and later dies. And hopefully none of us have to experience such hardships. But we want you to know that God is with us and he’s aware that we all suffer and struggle. It is part of life. And he provides revelations to provide us guidance and encouragement.
And I’m just impressed with Joseph Smith. I think about my own life, the things that I feel impressed by God to get done. If I had to be packing up every couple of months and moving into somebody else’s house and like and not even having a routine where I can get stuff done. And so we just tie together the stories that sacrifices involved when we were invited to participate in God’s kingdom is it’ll be surprised if life’s a little bit difficult.
Just know that you can always turn to God and he will provide the comfort, support and salvation that you need to make your way through. Sounds a little bit like the fourth verse of Praise to the man. Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven. And it just you see it throughout the scriptures, not just in church history, but throughout all of the scriptures. But here it’s a little closer to us.
And on a personal note, I often have said to God in my moments of sacrifice, like, listen, you could give me a multiple choice test about sacrifice. I think I could probably get in a B or maybe A minus for answering the questions. But you really need me to actually like I don’t need to take on assignment here.
So, yeah, I don’t want to have that kind of test.
I’d rather have the written test, not the not the live it kind of a test it God says to me, oh brother Taylor, that’s not quite how it works here.
Yeah, it’s beautiful. Now, let’s open up section forty one. You’ll notice this is the first of what is a sixty five sections and given in the Kirtland era, this is where the biggest number of doctrine and covenants sections are revealed.
And this is the very first one, section forty one, which comes right before the big one, the law. And we’ll get to that in a minute.
But as we now transition into the Ohio, you’ll notice there are some questions. Where do we live?
A guy by the name of Lehman Copely has a very large farm in the Thompson Township near Kirkland. And he he has offered to to take care of Joseph and Emma and have them come.
And so as they ask the Lord, what do you want us to do about this section? Forty one is given and in the section we get we get more than what we asked for, which happens all the time for us as we as we kneel down and plead with heaven for particular blessings. Have you noticed that sometimes God answers your question or answers your prayer, but then he gives you answers to questions you didn’t even ask or he gives you direction you you weren’t even capable of, of approaching him to seek his guidance on because you didn’t know about it yet.
That’s kind of what seems to be going on here in section forty one. So first of all, they’re told that they need to continue to assemble together and that a house needs to be provided for Joseph and Emma. And then you’ll notice in verse five, actually, as he leads into this, he’s he’s contrasting between two people, two kinds of people.
And even though he doesn’t use the exact words here like he does in The Book of Mormon and in the New Testament of the wise, in the foolish, whether it be the virgins or the wise men, the foolish man, he’s constantly in scripture showing you the contrast between that, which is just really wise to do and that which you should just avoid it at all costs because it’s foolish.
Well, look at the contrast here. Verse five, he that receives my law and do with it the same as my disciple and he that receives it and do with it not the same as not my disciple and shall be cast out from among you. It’s pretty simple. This is not this is not rocket science here. You’ll notice that in both cases, both groups of people receive the law, both of them know exactly what God wants them to do.
The contrast, so that’s the similarity now, the contrast is the wise actually do it, they they strive to live it, to become that the foolish reject it.
They they don’t follow what they’ve received.
So he talks about how to become a disciple. This is an interesting word. It actually is from the same word discipline. Now, many of us want to do important things in our lives or at least do something that matters and it takes discipline to do things that matter or say if you go to school, you might study a particular discipline so you can either be chaotic and you’re thinking you’re doing or you can be disciplined and follow standard practice or ideas or rules of thumb or whatever it might be or scientific ideas.
So. The idea here is that to be a disciple, you have to be disciplined, you have to be willing to be disciplined, and this goes back to the idea of the sacrifice that’s involved in following God. It’s not just a free for all and it’s not always easy. It sometimes requires well, actually, it always requires that we are discipled or disciplined in our efforts. So as you think about what we hear in the section, you ask yourself, am I willing to discipline myself as God has asked me to do?
I willing to be careful about my appetites and passions and to discipline myself. So I’m really willing and able to hear God’s spirit speak to me.
So now they’re told in verse seven, this is the verse where it refers to to Joseph Smith Jr. should have a house built in which to live and translate. So it’s not just to live, but it’s a place that, like Taylor was talking before, a space where I can carve out some time, some energy, some effort to be able to do the things that God has has asked him to do. In this case. One of the major jobs that that lies in front of him is to to complete that translation process of the of the Bible.
Then you get the additional stuff that comes starting in verse nine again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge, and I give a commandment that he should be appointed by the voice of the church and ordained a bishop under the church to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the church. He’s been trained as a hatter. He he he makes hats. That’s his occupation. And he’s told, leave that occupation and now come.
And in this early days of the church, it was going to be a full time job for him to be our first called and ordained bishop. And since that time, we’ve had tens of thousands of bishops in the church. And it’s a remarkable office in the priesthood. This calling for for him and for everyone since then to be a bishop, to be the shepherd over the flock, to watch over and direct and work with and help the Saints move forward.
You’ll notice first 10. The description to see to all things is it shall be appointed under him in my laws in the day that I shall give them. In other words, I’m going to give my law through the prophet.
But it’s the bishop who’s going to see to it that these things are actually carried out at that more local level from from our perspective of the church today. So our English word bishop originally comes out of the Greek word Episcopals scuppers means to see like a word spectacle. So Eppy means over and scope to look at, so it means an overseer, somebody who watches over and what a great name, what a great title, what a great word that God would use to describe a position, an office, a priesthood, opportunity to look out for people.
You have to kind of be on the high ground or on the tower. Right. We often hear the watchmen on the tower, somebody who has a larger perspective of what’s going on and is able to warn and encourage and support. So this title is a very important one. In Section forty one is the first time in the modern day in the restoration where we have a bishop. And if you want to find where we first have bishops mentioned in the New Testament, it’s Chapter 20.
I do want to point out, even though there’s an official priest office of being a bishop, any one of us who were overseeing those within our realm of influence, say, a parent overseeing children, we aren’t bishops per say officially, but we are playing the role of an overseer. So, yes, God is officially called overseers, but all of us should be looking out for one another and assisting the bishop who’s assisting Jesus in the work of God.
OK, section forty two. You could just write in your scriptures if you like, marking them the law because it’s been promised that it would come and and we’ve gathered to the Ohio and here the Lord gives it to them actually beginning on February 9th. But then two weeks later, he’s going to give the the last part of the section versus seventy four thousand ninety three. They’re going to come a couple of weeks later in kind of in follow up to to some questions and to some clarification that was needed regarding the implementation of the law as it was originally laid out.
Now, keep in mind, we call it the law.
And there’s a whole bunch of crossover between what you get in Section forty two and what you get at Mount Sinai, where the law, the original law of Moses was given, and then Jesus gives us the higher law on the Mount of Beatitudes and in the Book of Mormon at the sermon at the temple.
And you’re going to see a lot of crossover between these different Giving’s of the law.
It’s important to note that when God reveals his law, it’s not to say he now totally disregard everything I’ve said before, it’s to, in the words of President Hinckley, it’s bring all the good that you have and then watch as I add to it as we build on it. And that’s kind of what’s going to be unfolding here in section forty two for this this quickly growing body of saints that are going to be continually gathering to the Ohio. They’re given the law now.
It would help to to understand what brought this on in the original version, they had actually written down in the manuscript the questions that these elders had asked. Then the Lord gives the response and in subsequent versions of of the printing of the Book of Commandments and the and the doctrine and covenants, rather, they’ve crossed out those questions that were given that brought on Section 42 because they felt like this is not on the same level, because it’s not revelatory.
These are just our questions. But it’s helpful for us to know what those questions were. So here you go. The first 10 verses, section forty two, verse one through 10 are an answer to this question. Shall the church come together into one place or remain as they are in separate bodies? That was the simple question. Verse one through 10 is going to give us the answer. Then the huge chunk, verse 11 through sixty nine, 11 to sixty nine, the question that is being answered is what is the law regulating the church in her present situation until the time of her gathering and then verse seventy three, seventy three is going to help the priesthood holders learn their obligations that the church owes to the families while they’re fulfilling their obligations to the church.
In other words, you’ve got the bishop, Edward Partridge’s, and his two councilors who are devoting basically all of their their time and energy and effort to the building up of the church. And so those verses refer to what is the church’s responsibility to help them now provide for their family since they’re no longer performing their their trades or their their normal work. And then the final set of versus seventy four thousand ninety three.
Once again, they they’re answering specific questions that the elders had regarding questions of church discipline. And what do you do when when people don’t keep certain laws that have been given? How do we how do we manage that? How do we move forward?
And before we jump into this law, we want to remind everybody that that God is a covenant making and a covenant keeping. God, in fact, it’s interesting if we go back to the law of Moses, he gave it, that God gave to most of the people at Sinai. The word law, the underlying Hebrew word there is Torah. And it actually is interesting, the word torture really comes from the Hebrew meaning of instruction. And really, it’s actually covenantal instruction.
And loyalty. So let me just explain this briefly. But. S. Forty two is the law of God, but it’s Torah, it’s instruction, God is giving us covenantal instructions to show us how to be loyal to him. God has all these things he wants to offer us, he wants to freely give them to us, though we have to show our acceptance of he wants to freely give by being loyal to him. And how do we know how to be loyal?
You cannot be loyal unless it’s revealed, and that’s why you need God’s laws, so you have instructions for how to show covenantal love and loyalty back to God. So you look at these verses in Section 42, you can say to yourself, what has God revealed to me in the latter days that I can do to show that I am loyal to him, that I love him? And what you’ll notice, much of it is giving instructions for how we love others, for as we love others, we are showing that we love God.
So now let’s watch as God makes very clear his identity. In this case, it’s it’s Jesus Christ. Look at verse one oh yielders of my church who have assembled yourselves together in my name. Even Jesus Christ, the son of the living God, the savior of the world. And as much as you believe on my name and keep my commandments. So he sets very clearly the intro. Now we’re going to answer the question and he he tells them about the need for them to come together, to be strengthened, but then to separate two by two and go out into the world, north, south, east and west and preach this gospel, which is a gospel of gathering Israel to invite this God, the savior of the world, the son of the living God, to be able to come into their life and have them come into the fold, into that covenantal fold of God.
Look at verse nine. He tells them that they’re going to go out and preach in every region, verse nine, until the time shall come, when it shall be revealed unto to you from on high, when the city of the new Jerusalem shall be prepared, you may be gathered in one. That may be my people and I will be your God, so here we have the nutshell definition once again of every covenant that we ever make with God.
And it’s very simply put him saying to us, I will be your God. And then the other part of the nutshell definition, you will be my people. And brothers and sisters, this this covenant connection, this relationship with the God of the universe, who knows all things, has all power. He’s saying. Gather people in one into my fold. That’s that’s what missionaries are doing, that’s what mommies and daddies are doing. That’s what we’re doing every time we repent.
I love what President Nelson said. Any time we do anything to help anyone on either side of the veil come closer to God, we’re helping together Israel. We’re helping God to prevail in the world and in in the lives of of people all over the world. It’s a powerful invitation that he gives us. Now, verse 12. This is you could call this the law for teachers or the law of teaching in the Kingdom of God in the latter days was 12, 13, 14.
Notice the wording here again. The elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel. So no one teach principles of my gospel, not just ethics, not just philosophies of the world, but teach the principles of my gospel which are in the Bible and The Book of Mormon in the which is the fullness of the Gospel. Now, at the time that this was given, we don’t have a book of commandments that’s not going to come until eighteen, thirty three and then the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, the first edition, eighteen thirty five.
We don’t have that. But if we had, I think the Lord would have included the Bible The Book of Mormon the doctrine and covenants.
And then much later, decades later, the pearl of great price. The canon of scriptures is where we find the principles of the Gospel. Now, notice this verse 13 and they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them, and these shall be their teachings as they shall be directed by the spirit, huh? You know, Taylor mentioned this earlier. It’s a lot easier to pass a multiple choice or a written test asking questions about principles of the gospel.
It’s way easier to do that than it is to actually live the gospel in its in its fullness going through life.
And notice the qualifier in 13, they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them if you want to teach with power, it’s not just knowing all the facts and figures in the dates and the names and the places.
It’s putting those in a in a way that they sink from your head into your heart and then out to your hands where you actually put the gospel into practice, you don’t just talk about it. You don’t just memorize facts, but you strive to become more like God. So if we’re going to love him with all our heart, my mind and strength, you’ll notice we dedicate our our feelings and our heart to him and our mind, we worship him with our mind, which means we study whenever you study the gospel, whenever you open your scriptures, whenever you engage in a study of the words of the living prophets and our church leaders, that is one way that you’re showing God that you love him by loving him with all of your mind.
You’re thinking you’re pondering your studying, but then it’s with your might and strength as well that you overcome these natural man, a natural woman, tendencies of the flesh in a fallen world. And you observe the covenants and church articles to do them. And you do this as directed by the Spirits of Lovers 13. And then verse 14 in the spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith. And if you receive not the spirit, you shall not teach.
It’s interesting, if you were to change that Lehi into a thou, then it becomes. Very similar to Mt. Sinai language, thou shalt not teach you teach what you are. Did you catch that? It’s not just what we say or write or put up on a screen. Those are those are techniques. Those are elements of teaching. You teach what you are or who you are. Look at Jesus Christ, the master teacher. Why was he the master teacher?
Because he was the master disciple.
He his words, his miracles, all of his doings and sayings, all of it combined, were simply a reflection of who he was and there was incredible power in everything he did and everything he said, hence the master teacher, because he had perfectly observed the covenants in church articles to do them. And it shows. Now, notice, he then goes down to verse 16 and as you shall lift up your voices by the comforter, you shall speak and prophesy as he must me good.
So if you’re sitting at home feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you’re never going to be good enough, you’re never going to have enough knowledge to be able to teach or to train your children or to help your grandchildren or loved ones or serving your church calling.
Brothers and sisters, if you come back to the law of the Lord, he doesn’t he doesn’t fill us with the spirit of overwhelm, of overwhelm, and he gives us this spirit of peace that you do the best you can at learning the principles of the gospel from the scriptures in the words of living prophets, and then do the best you can to observe, to do them and to strive to live the gospel and the Holy Ghost will help you speak and prophesy as seems him, good.
It’s very, very comforting for for anybody who has to teach or lead in any way. Then he shifts gears into this long list of of the second half of what would be the law of Moses, Ten Commandments, the ones that are associated with how to treat each other.
Love your neighbor. You’ll notice the first four commandments of the Ten are really focused on how we love God. And then the final six are focused on how we love our neighbors ourself.
Well, verse 18, Thou shalt not kill verse 20. Thou shalt not still twenty one. Thou shalt not lie. Verse twenty two. Thou shalt love thy wife with all my heart and shall cleave onto her and none else. Do any of you find it interesting that there are only two people in the Scriptures that you’re commanded to love with all of your heart? It’s the Lord. And your wife or your spouse, I think I think he’s helping us understand the importance of that covenantal connection, not just with him, but in this context with in a marriage covenant that we we love our spouse with all of our heart and Cleveland to her and until none else.
And then he talks about adultery and lusting in twenty three and twenty four and working our way through this process of repentance as need be. Then look at verse 30. Behold, that will remember the poor. So now we’re shifting into this. You can’t move forward and leave people behind in the gospel and the poor in this context are the the financially poor and destitute. He tells them that will remember the poor and consecrated life properties for their support, that which thou hast to impart onto them with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.
So now we’re shifting gears in verse 30 and then leading down thirty one through thirty nine forty. We’re going to talk about the law of consecration. So you have a group of people living at the Isaac Moroni farm who have agreed to to live a communal life. And this was before the missionaries even showed up. And then they learn the gospel and many of that group join the church. And so now they’ve had some struggles at the Isaac farm with how to implement this this communal living.
They’re trying to do what they’re reading about in the Book of Acts, where Peter in the early Christian church are are living this united order where they have all things common and they’re struggling at the at the Mallee farm. So here in the law, the Lord lays out some principles of the law of consecration that clarify and make it a little more structured on how this should work in the kingdom.
And it’s it’s fascinating to watch different phases of church history in different locations where they try to live this this united order, all things in common. And there are some times when it works really well and other times when even with this additional information, it doesn’t it doesn’t work great.
But the principle is very simple. With the bishop as the overseer, he has all of the resources of the church that everybody pays into. And the bishop then sees what your needs are and he appoints you, what you need for your family to some less than others and others have greater needs. It’s this it’s this amazing principle, the law of consecration, which is rooted on a couple of key elements. The first key element is this, because if we’re not careful.
Discussions about the law of consecration quickly evolve into discussions of, well, then why why don’t we try to promote complete takeover of all resources at a central location than to redistribute it?
And that gets into all kinds of crazy political discussions that we’re not going to touch with a ten foot pole here.
The fact is, agency is completely involved here, it’s core to what’s going on, the second thing is an understanding of stewardship versus a principle of ownership, where in in some contexts we think everything I’ve got is mine.
And in this context, they’re saying you have a stewardship. You give everything you own to the to the building up of the kingdom of God, and then you’re given a stewardship back, that’s what you have to be responsible for and you have to develop this and take care of it and magnify it, multiply it, make it, make it shine, make it beautiful. So they’re going to be some people you’ll notice who. Who do really, really well with this model, they’re going to be some who do OK with it and then others who struggle and others who completely reject it, and it’s going to cause a lot of problem for that group.
So there’s this wide, wide range of response to the Lord’s law of consecration and what it means to actually be a steward and to use my agency to trust God in this kind of a a economic setting.
I want to share just a really, really quick personal experience with you that is relevant to this particular issue. Years ago, when my wife and I were first married, we were we were pretty poor. I was finishing my final year of my bachelor’s degree at the University of Utah State. And we had very, very strict line item budget. We knew where every dollar was going to be spent because we didn’t have very many of them. So we needed to know where they were all going.
And then something happened. Our first baby boy was born and when Benjamin arrived, that kind of changed our line item budget a little bit. And after one month, the the budget was all in the red in every category. And I could see we were going to be in trouble if we didn’t make some adjustments. And so I asked my wife to sit down and let’s analyze the budget. And I said, honey, we’ve got to cut back on some of our spending in areas that we can.
So my wife sat down next to me and she said, OK, I think we should add five dollars to our first offering. And I said, honey, we’re trying to cut back on the budget, not add to the budget. We’ve got a spending problem here, not a not a saving problem. And she said, I understand. And I think we should add five dollars to the first offering budget.
I said, honey, look at the fast offering budget, we’re poor starving college students with a new child and we’ve we’re already paying what I think is a generous fast offering it. It represents more than what we would pay for missing those meals once a month. This is already a sacrifice for us. And she looked at me and she said, Tyler, I get all of that, but I think the first thing we should do is add five dollars to our first offering budget.
I was so frustrated, I was praying, Heavenly Father, help her to understand the basic principles of mathematics because she’s clearly not getting this.
So I said, tell you what, sweetie, how about if we go through this process of subtracting and and cutting back on other areas and if at the end we can find five additional dollars somewhere else to cut, then we’ll put it in the fast offering budget.
And she said once again, no, I think we should start by adding five dollars to the fast offering budget that didn’t that didn’t sit well with me and we weren’t angry. But, boy, I was a bit frustrated and I said, you know what, let’s just figure this out later.
And she agreed. That happened to be the Saturday of a fast Sunday, so the next day was Fast Sunday, and I had to fill out a tithing slip with our with our tithing and fast offering that very day.
So if she was in the room, not with me and I pulled out the tithing slip and I filled it out for the the old amount.
But we didn’t have a tithing envelope in our day planner. So the tithing slip and the check were just sitting there. Later in the day, Kipling came and found those. And she she came to me in the kitchen and said, Oh, Tyler, thank you. That means a lot to me. And I had no idea what she was talking about. And she’s hugging me and I’m all confused. And then later I went to the day planner after she had left and I opened it up and I pulled out the tithing slip in there in my handwriting was written the first offering amount.
Plus five dollars more than what we normally pay. I felt like my agency had been violated. I didn’t know how this had happened because I had intentionally tried to write. The old amount was somehow in that process. I’d written the new amount and the check was written out for the the new amount. And brothers and sisters, it was in that moment that my prayer to understand basic principles of mathematics for her was answered on my own head, where little old Tyler Griffin understood basic principles of mathematics the way the Lord does math.
The principle I learned from my sweet wife was sacrifice just a little bit of what you feel like you don’t have and then watch what God does to multiply the remaining portion of what you do have, whether that be with money, whether that be with talent, whether that be with time or energy or resources or expertize, whatever it is, if we can be more kind and outward turned with the poor and the needy, whether it be in the financial room or any other realm, watch what the Lord does with the remaining portion.
I’ll never forget the lesson that day that the Lord taught me through my dear wife. Now, very quickly, let’s let’s jump down to verse 40 again. Thou shalt not be proud in my heart, but all they garment’s be plain and their beauty, the beauty of the work of thine own hands. It’s his idea of he’s inviting these people don’t try to be pleasing to the world, but try to be pleasing to God. And verse forty one. Let all things be done in cleanliness before him.
That verse right there is actually part of the temple recommend interview where the Lord has commanded that all things are to be done in cleanliness before him. It’s a beautiful phrase. And then he speaks in this law of consecration, it doesn’t it doesn’t work if you’ve got a lot of people sitting out here idle. And so he talks about that thou shalt not be idle for he that his idols shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.
Everybody has to be contributing to the best of their ability. And they’re going to be varying levels of ability. And that’s totally OK. But you’re all contributing. And then he talks about how to deal with the sick and the afflicted. And tells them that the elders should be called to lay hands upon them and if they die, they shall die. And I mean, if they live, they should listen to me. We know that there are many of you who are watching this, who have lost loved ones either recently or in the more distant past, and in many cases, these are situations where people with authority laid hands on their head to bless them.
And maybe those blessings didn’t always result in healing. And it can be pretty troubling because we as humans, from our mortal perspective, we want everybody to always be healed and everything to always work out for for a long, long, long life of peace and prosperity.
And sometimes it doesn’t work that way really, really quickly. Another personal experience from my mission. I was brand new in Brazil serving in the kriti cheeba Brazil mission with elder Pratts. And we had found this elderly gentleman named Sebastian who had had a pretty rough life. And here towards the end of his life, his late 70s, we teach him the gospel and he is so excited to receive the gospel. And he’s looking forward to his baptism date a few days before he was to be baptized.
We find out that he’s in the hospital with a terrible case of pneumonia and he’s not doing well. And he asked for us to come and give him a blessing. So we go an elder Pratt being the incredible trainer that he was and and working with me and helping me to develop, he he insisted that I be the one to give Sebastian the blessing and he would do the anointing. Keep in mind, I’m I’m still brand new and I’m struggling with Portuguese and having a hard time.
I had no idea what to do. Elder finished anointing and then I laid my hands on Sebastian’s head and he was very clearly in pain and not doing well, having a hard time breathing. And it came very, very distinctly into my mind, the words in Portuguese of let him go, release him, it’s his time. But here I was, a brand new missionary, and I was I was going to be able to baptize him and so I didn’t bless him to let him go, I blessed him that he would get better.
I blessed him that his family would come and join him in the church. And throughout that blessing, the words kept coming to my mind. Let him go, let him go, let him go.
But I didn’t let him go because that wasn’t my will. At the end, when I finished the lesson or the blessing, Sebastian turned to me and he said, Really? Really, I’m going to get better. I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I kind of feebly nodded and said, yeah, I think you’re going to be OK. And as we were walking out, Ildar Pratt turned to me and he said, Elder Griffin, did you really feel like he’s going to get better?
And I said, no. I had the words to let him go. Keep coming to my mind, but I didn’t want to let him go. He said, that’s interesting because that’s what I was feeling the whole time, is that we should have allowed him to move peacefully to the other side of the veil. Sebastian died a few days later, two days later. And that was a lesson that I learned. The in a painful way is when you’re when you’re standing there speaking for the Lord, if the person is appointed to live.
Then they’re going to live with this prayer faith, this blessing of faith, and if it’s their time to go or to die, then it’s best to let the spirit decide that and to follow that direction. That’s one of the things I look forward to in the next life, is meeting Sebastian and going up to him and asking him to forgive me for seeking to do my will rather than the Lord’s will. But I know that he was comforted. And in those final days of his life, regardless of the imperfections of a brand new missionary serving in his area there in Tharman, Brazil.
Then the rest of this section, for the sake of time, he he gives various elements of the law of scriptures in the coming forth of scriptures, the establishment of New Jerusalem, some more clarification on the law of consecration and then some issues with church discipline before we jump into Section 43. So Section forty three is an interesting one, because we have yet again the question in the young church, where do we receive revelation? There was a woman who came in there, most named Laura Hubbell, and she had been professing revelation and similar to what happened some sections before with Hiram Paige and his seer Stone.
And people thought, well, gosh, I mean, Hiram’s a good person. Let’s follow him as well. And Joseph had received revelation that there is order in how revelation is received. And this section again declares the order of revelation that God’s church, God’s kingdom, is a kingdom of order. So it’s a very lovely section. And that, again, is the context. And in your own life, you can ask yourself, what are the sources of truth that I, I have in my life?
And I’m I looking to the right sources for truth.
So like Taylor said, we’re not going to cover all the verses. But I just wanted to to focus your attention on two verses very quickly. Verse eight. Now, behold, I give to you a commandment not that this isn’t just a suggestion or recommendation. This is a commandment that when you are assembled together, you shall instruct and edify each other. You’ll notice all of our meetings in the church and in our families. It’s this idea of instruct, teach and edify at Nephi coming from the same root as edifice.
It’s this building up. It’s a constructive thing. So you you instruct and edify each other. Why that? Or we might say today so that or in order that you may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments which I have given. Verse nine, and thus you shall become instructed in the law of my church and be sanctified by that which you have received, and you shall bind yourselves to act in all holiness before me.
That’s the essence of this gospel message to the world, is to come and bind ourselves to God and to to make and keep those covenants, even though we have all these tugs and pulls of the world trying to get us to to abandon those those promises that we’ve made for Satan. Nine is a really, really good blueprint for us to follow any time we’re going to assemble and have any kind of a meeting. It’s beautiful to see his his invitation to the whole world.
What our missionaries are doing. They’re going out and preaching the gospel. And he’s promising them, saying, you know, we’ve been preaching the message, but if you don’t repent, then the day comes when thunders are going to start preaching this message and you’re going to have the voice of God speaking to you in other ways that maybe aren’t quite as pleasant as having some missionaries teach you the gospel. And he he invites all nations of the earth to listen and to come on to him.
Section forty four is an interesting little section. The church have been meeting every quarter for a general conference. Now we do it every six months and apparently with everything was going on in early January with moving everybody from New York to Ohio, apparently the plan for the next conference had not been the date had not been established. And so God here reveals to Joseph Smith that people should gather. The church should gather again. A date was established and he gives instructions about why they should be gathering and what they are supposed to be doing in preparation for that gathering.
So as you get ready on a bi annual basis to participate general conference, you might look at Section forty four for some guidance and insight from God about why he wants his people to gather on a regular basis. We want to say thank you for spending time with us. We love your love for the gospel and we want you to know that God loves you and we encourage you to spread light and goodness wherever you go.