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D&C 49: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley, at Kirtland, Ohio, May 7, 1831. Leman Copley had embraced the gospel but still held to some of the teachings of the Shakers (United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing), to which he had formerly belonged. Some of the beliefs of the Shakers were that Christ’s Second Coming had already occurred and that He had appeared in the form of a woman, Ann Lee. They did not consider baptism by water essential. They rejected marriage and believed in a life of total celibacy. Some Shakers also forbade the eating of meat. In prefacing this revelation, Joseph Smith’s history states, “In order to have [a] more perfect understanding on the subject, I inquired of the Lord, and received the following.” The revelation refutes some of the basic concepts of the Shaker group. The aforementioned brethren took a copy of the revelation to the Shaker community (near Cleveland, Ohio) and read it to them in its entirety, but it was rejected.
D&C 50: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, May 9, 1831. Joseph Smith’s history states that some of the elders did not understand the manifestations of different spirits abroad in the earth and that this revelation was given in response to his special inquiry on the matter. So-called spiritual phenomena were not uncommon among the members, some of whom claimed to be receiving visions and revelations.
Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 49-50, May 10-16) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor and I’m Tyler. This is The Book of Mormon Central’s Come, Follow Me Insights.
Today is Doctrine and Covenants sections 49-50.
So in section 49, we’re introduced to Leemon, Coppelia, Copely Copley and he is an interesting character in church history. He joined the church probably in early, eighteen thirty one in Ohio. He has been associated with a group that we refer to as the Shakers. What can you tell us about the Shakers? Well, it’s a really fascinating Christian group. They got started as a break off from the Quakers. And you may be familiar with the Quakers.
You may have purchased Quaker Oats at some point. And the man depicted on many of the Quaker products is actually William Penn, for whom Pennsylvania or Penn’s Woods is named. And he was one of the most famous Quakers. And one of their beliefs was, if you’ve been saved or you have the spirit of God, you should be able to visit visually and physically manifest that the spirit is with you. So you might be quaking at times when the spirits with you and the Shakers kind of had that same idea.
And so to distinguish between those who quaked with the spirit, who shake with the spirit, they use those different words. But let me just share a word here that you might be familiar with the word enthusiasm or another word that you might be quite familiar with in inspiration. And what I want to point out is with the word inspiration, the word spirit shows up in this word and anciently. The belief was when you’re inspired, you literally have God’s spirit in you, acting in you.
And this one is similar. The word comes from Theil, which means God, God in you. And the idea if you’re super enthusiastic, well, under normal circumstances, you don’t act like that. So if you’re that energetic, that must come from God. So the idea was enthusiasm is God’s in you. So we see this with the Shakers and Quakers that they must have God with them when they’re doing all these rapturous, like loud, even like I’m doing right now, is going to have the spirit.
And it raises some questions that we’ll be discussing here in section forty nine and fifty.
How what we talked about the gifts, the spirit just a few seconds ago, another question is how do you build a unified community of believers? Well, it’s the gifts, the spirit. Well, how do you manifest those gifts and how you detect what comes from God and what doesn’t? And just as a preview, you got a Section 50 versus twenty two to twenty three that the gifts of the spirit are meant to edify all. And this is one of the big questions, like if somebody is doing things that seem a bit off and not at a fine.
Now, you can start to discern right now it’s important that we that we know something here, that when you use a term like the shaker’s, that that’s kind of a it’s a nickname. Their official name is the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing. A much longer, but that’s their that’s their official name, but because of what happens, it’s easy to put a label on them as, oh, they’re just the Shakers.
And yet what’s interesting is that they’re very focused on a belief in Christ and a deep interest in let’s be prepared for when it comes again. And you think as members of the church, we also want to be known by the name that we believe in, Jesus Christ and what’s in our name of Latter day Saints. So in some ways, the members of the Church of Latter day Saints, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints are the shakers.
Well, the United Society of Believers and Christ with the same challenge is that they’re known by their nicknames, Shaker’s Mormons, even though they probably would prefer to be known by their full official name.
Now, just so that we we lay a foundation of understanding for the context of Section forty nine.
Let’s talk about a couple of their underlying beliefs and and their approach to life and their approach to religion, their approach to God. Some of these are going to sound very familiar to to being very closely related to what we believe others are going to be totally opposite. So so watch as this comes through. They believe in direct revelation to individuals. They aren’t as big into a hierarchical setting in their church traditionally as other Christian denominations at the time and in the region.
Hence, they would often, in their readings, sit in quiet meditation for long periods of time until somebody would be overcome by the spirit that God would get into them, get into them, and they would start manifesting that that spirit by by pacing, walking, running, contorting, shouting, a hollering, hanging from the rafters, speaking in the language, in the language that nobody understood, speaking in tongues.
And so they they would leap for joy. They also believed that the second coming had already occurred. The second appearing had already occurred in their mind, in the character, in the person of an Lehi. This woman who from seventeen seventy two to seventeen eighty four, had led the group. There was at that time somewhat of a hierarchy because they all looked to and Lehi as the embodiment of Christ having come to the Earth again.
It’s interesting that you didn’t see a lot of this in Christianity to have female leadership.
So they really believe very much in equality that everybody is God’s children and God can inspire anybody. And they actually got started in England and and Lehi right because of her her preaching and telling people that they needed to repent. They need to fully let go of all their sins. She got thrown in prison, she got persecuted. And so she and her followers actually came to North America for religious freedom. And this is actually where she died. And she also got persecuted here, too.
So it wasn’t like you leave one country for another and suddenly the floor is great.
They they believe that the church that Jesus Christ established in the New Testament had completely fallen away, that there was an apostasy. Consequently, they claimed that in order for it to be Christ’s church, it would require a new revelation, a new dispensation, if you will, a new opening of his gospel, rather than just a rearranging of the different Protestant or Catholic faith that was in existence at that time. They also believe that marriage is worldly and that that marriage relationships or evil, so to speak, and to make sure they weren’t necessarily against marriage, but they did not believe in.
They believed that sexual relations were the foundation for all evil in the world. So should be married, but you’re going to live a completely celibate life, even if you’re married, even if you’re married.
And they would call they actually referred to that doctrine as taking up the cross or carrying their cross this this complete celibacy. They believed Adam and Eve were the cause of the evil. They believe that Adam and Eve were the ones who brought all that evil into the world. And, you know, we feel differently that Adam and Eve were instruments God’s hand to help usher in his plan. Yeah, they also believe that there is no such thing as the resurrection.
They believe that the spirit is once it once the body dies, the spirit can then soar and have a holy spiritual afterlife. So no resurrection for them. They also believe that you need to confess, you need to repent, but you don’t have to be baptized. There’s no such thing as receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Ordinances are not required in their view. Many of them believed that meat should not be eaten, and many of them preach the doctrine of of being vegetarian as kind of the ideal.
They also believed in consecration and stewardship.
Hence, you get a lot of crossover with these early groups of of shakers, with some of the early members of the church in Ohio. They’re living all in the same regions. They’re they’re trading with each other. They’re doing business with each other. Some some of them have family members and vice versa in both congregations. They’re very well acquainted with each other in this area. And so there’s going to be a lot of crossover in the way the early members of the church try to live the law of consecration, kind of following some of the same patterns learned there.
The other thing that they believe regarding the Godhead is they envision God as Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother, and they refer to the eternal mother in heaven that the foundation that they use for that is coming from Genesis. Chapter one, verse twenty six and twenty seven, which is a very, very famous passage in the Old Testament, referring to the creation of man and woman was the verse twenty six and God said, Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish in the sea and over the course of the year.
And he finishes all the Dominion and then verse twenty seven. So God created man in his own image in the image of God created him male and female created he them. And they go back to the Old Testament Hebrew word for God being Elohim, which is plural right. To do the plural in Hebrew. One of the ways at an am you get it in the words Yeroham and Thomond, those are actually the plural and L or L.O. just little means God.
But here it’s gods and our English translation has God as a singular singular, even though the verb is plural. Yes, but if you actually look at the Hebrew, it’s it’s the plural throughout.
And so they’re taking that idea and they’re seeing that God’s said, let us make man in our likeness and image. And they end up doing that, creating man and woman, male and female in the image of God.
So the Shakers doctrine is very, very comfortable with this. This neither the man without the woman, neither is a woman without the man in the Lord. And so so I hope you’re seeing as we’ve gone through this list, that on many points we were totally divergent from their beliefs. But on other doctrines, we we could say, yeah, I understand where you’re coming from here. And we would we would agree with many of the things that they’re that they’re teaching.
And for the early saints who are seeing both commonalities and divergences, the question arises like, well, what’s true? What should we be focusing on, which necessitates the need for revelation, which we find in DNA. Forty nine and also in fifty. Yeah.
So the first time that we run into this, this group of of United Society believers and Christ second appearing is with those four missionaries who left New York to go out to the to the to preach to the laminitis in the frontiers. They had stopped at various places on their way coming through Ohio. One of the places is North Union, where there’s a body of what we would call the shakers living there. They left, they preached a few days, many days, then they left some copies of The Book of Mormon with that group and then they continued on their journey.
So Ashbolt, Kitchell or Kitchell, however you want to pronounce his name, is kind of the leader of that group in North Union. And he took seriously, I think, the the idea that he wanted to read The Book of Mormon and find out if it was true. His request to know if this was true isn’t going to come full circle until we get another group of missionaries coming to him, which they get their mission call to go do that in Section forty nine.
That will cover in just a moment here. In the meantime, most of the shakers that had heard that preaching and had seen those missionaries come through, most of them rejected their message. But there was one guy who actually believed and gets baptized in early in eighteen thirty one, and that is Leemon Copely, which is kind of the center focal point for our our historical context here in section forty nine. So Leamon Copely, when once Joseph Smith comes to Ohio, he, he is fully in the church, but he’s still holding on to some of these, these Shakr beliefs and he’s wondering which which ones should I believe from my from my past and which ones should I embrace from my present and and how do I bring those together?
And he comes to Joseph with this question of what should I believe? What shouldn’t I believe and what do they have? That’s right. What do they have? That’s wrong.
And hence, section forty nine comes along with the command after this revelation is given Leemon complete. Sidney Rigdon, probably your brother told now go to the Shakra community and read this full revelation to them. You imagine somebody coming into our one of our buildings today and like I have a revelation to read to you guys. And it’s actually you all need to repent. You can imagine how people respond. And what’s interesting about Leemon Copely is that he’s very sincere, but really throughout his life, he was basically part member and part Shakr, like he found himself out of the church at one point, gets rebaptized and after the Saints after persecution head west, he stays behind.
And our best evidence is that he rejoins the Shaker community later in life.
Yeah, but he ever seems to really he’s in and out and in and out and in and out of of his his engagement with the church and actually does some things that cause intense persecution for the prophet and for other members and then later apologizes and asks to be rebaptized. And Joseph forgives him. He gets rebaptized, but then he just stays there. He seems more focused on on being torn between these two ideals or between these two approaches to religion. And he ends up staying there as the church keeps moving, moving west.
He never, never comes with them. All right, with that introduction, let’s open up to Section forty nine. Let’s start in verse one. Harkin, onto my word, my servants, Sydney and Parly and Leamon, so those are the three who are now called on this this mini mission to go to to visit the shaker’s up in North Union, Ohio, for behold. Verily, I say to you that I give unto you a commandment, you shall go and preach my gospel, which you have received even as you have received it unto the shaker’s.
Behold, I sent you that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, huh? That’s interesting because it kind of sounds like what we just finished describing with Lehman Copely. A desire to know the truth, but a reticence to embrace all of it, you kind of want to know, but you don’t want to fully engage or fully change rather than having this lesson be all about Lehman, Copley and this group of Shaker’s back in eighteen thirty one.
What about us today? Has there ever been a time in your life where you’ve you’ve wanted to know what God wants you to do or your family either individually or collectively, but not completely, you’re reticent to ask him because you kind of already know what the answer is going to be. And you’re you don’t know if you’re ready to actually do it yet. I think we can relate to this this human element of a struggle to move forward with all of our heart, my mind and strength and to engage in the work of loving God and building his kingdom.
Notice the last part of verse two, they are not right before me and must needs repent. So there are some things that God wants this group of his children to do, and he’s calling these three missionaries to go and do it. Where for? I send you my servants, Sydney, and partly to preach the gospel and to them. That’s interesting, Sydney. And partly you’re going to go preach the gospel to them. I thought three were being called.
Well, look at the role of Lehman in verse four, and my servant Lehman shall be ordained into this work that he may reason with them, not according to that which she has received of them, but according to that which shall be taught him by you, my servants, and by so doing, I will bless him. Otherwise he shall not prosper. Interesting that you have these two. Can we call them seasoned veterans of the church, the churches is, you know, barely a year and a few months old at this point, and Sydney hasn’t been in the church from the very beginning.
Neither has has partly this is this is a young group as far as the gospel is concerned. But Sydney and Pali have much more experience in the gospel than Lehman. And so God’s telling him, learn what you can from from these other two missionaries who who have maybe a little more experience. Look at first five. Thus, says the Lord, for I am God and have sent my only begotten son into the world for the redemption of the world and have decreed that he that receives him shall be saved and he that received him, not received with him, not shall be damned.
Did you notice something interesting in verse five that we haven’t seen a whole a whole lot of in the doctrine and covenants up to this point? I am God and have sent my only begotten son into the world. Huh, it sounds like the voice of the father here. Previously in your doctrine and covenants, we’ve heard mostly the voice of Jesus Christ speaking to people through Joseph Smith, the prophet. But here it comes out as I am God and my only begotten son, so we have a couple of options available.
We have the option that it is the father speaking. Another option is that it’s the son speaking, that it’s still the voice of Jesus Christ as it is in the other revelations. But here it’s possible that he’s speaking under divine investiture of authority because we have other places in the scriptures where we’re certain prophets have told us that’s what’s happening. That the interesting note here is to say, where else do we know in scripture that the voice of the father is is speaking?
The clearest place that I know of anywhere in scripture is when the father and the son are standing together side by side in the sacred grove and the father says to young Joseph, Joseph, this is my beloved son here, Kim. That’s very clearly the father. There are other places like the Baptism of Christ, the Mount of Transfiguration, the the Nephites and laminitis in thirty five eleven at the coming of Christ when they hear the voice of the father, those are very clear cases of where the voice of Heavenly Father is being heard by by people on the earth.
You get other places for fun. A cross reference that you could put next to verse five. There is second Nephi chapter thirty one. And in this section of the scriptures, you’re at the very end towards the end of Nephi life. Let’s start with verse 10. This is Nephi writing, remember, he says, Under the children, men follow thou, me work for my beloved brother and can we follow Jesus if we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the father, then verse 11 and the father said, repent, repent and be baptized in the name of my beloved son.
So they’re Nephi scribing and the voice of the father says, what was his message, repentance and baptism in the name of his son. Keep in mind, before we go any further, brothers and sisters, that baptism and repentance and faith in Christ, these are man made ideas or notions or ordinances. These weren’t invented by humans saying, what can we do to try to connect with God? These are things that the father has given to us as means whereby we can connect with him and with the son through these these steps that he has laid out for us.
Look, I was 12 and also the voice of the son came under me saying he that is baptized in my name to him. Will the father give the Holy Ghost like unto me? Where for follow me and do the things which you have seen me do. Don’t you love the fact that the father is the one who lays out the path that has to be? Followed and then Jesus comes to the earth. And shows us that path he lives it, he becomes all of all of the things that the father has laid out for us.
Now you turn the page over, look at verse 14, but behold, my beloved brother. And thus came the voice of the son. And to me saying and again, he’s going to focus on repentance, baptism, gift to the Holy Ghost and how you should stay on the path. Then look at verse 15 and I heard a voice from the father saying, yay, the words of my beloved are true and faithful. He that in the end the same shall be saved.
I wanted to point that section of the scriptures out to us in seventy five thirty one for a very important reason, because it’s in that section where you get the voice of the father and the voice of the son. So that’s verse 11, verse 12, and then in verse 14 and 15, you get the voice of the son and then the father. And they’re both sharing. The gospel, as laid out by the father and carried forth by the son to Nephi in that context.
Consequently, as we now flip back in our scriptures to Section forty nine, it shouldn’t bother us that. Father and son could both speak to Joseph Smith or through Joseph Smith to other people for for varying reasons as as there is precedence for that in scriptures that have come before. Here’s the point, regardless of what the reality of whose voice it actually was speaking, I think Jesus would emphasize that the one ness, the unity, this idea that they are they are one the father and the son.
And to use Jesus his own phrase from Section one, whether by my own voice or the voice of my servants, it is the same. I think he would say I think Heavenly Father would say whether by my own voice or the voice of my son, it is the same. The the work. The glory, the purpose. The the perfection. The intent, the the effort, the mission, all of it, it’s the same, and so some people will get really confused and really frustrated.
Wait, I can’t tell whose voice this is in the scriptures. I love just coming back to the idea that if it isn’t really clear, if it doesn’t say very clearly which one it is, it’s the same. The message is a message of salvation for us, of God in heaven, whether it be the father or the son or interchangeably, both of them moving forward. They’re teaching us what we need to know in order to progress, which, by the way, a must have cross reference next to verse five could be section 50, verse forty three.
It’s also in this lesson for today that we’re studying in the very next section. Notice what he what he tells Joseph in forty three and the father and I are one. I am in the father and the father in me because many people would read that and say Oh so members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints are Trinitarian. Keep reading, and inasmuch as you have received me, you are in me and I in you. You’ll notice that little preposition in very important two letter word here back to the beginning, the father and I are one.
I am in the father and the father in me. And in as much as you have received me, Lehi are in me and I in you, so you get this beautiful relationship, father in the son, son in the father to the point where when the sun’s going forth because the father is in him, he can speak as if he were the father at times. And at other times he speaks for himself. Hmm. Then enter you in the picture.
Same comparison. The son can be in you and you in the sun. So this this whole question of voice of who’s speaking in section forty nine to me is a beautiful place to pause and focus on. What is my relationship with with the savior. Because here he’s telling you that if you’ll if you’ll receive me, then I will be in you and you’ll be in me, which is very, very similar to the wording in the intercessory prayer in June 17, verse twenty one, where he prays to the to the father saying that they may be one even as we are one, that they may be one in us, that we can all become unified and become one.
Is that not the essence of Jesus’s whole mission to take William Tyndall’s coined word at one moment, it’s the process or product of becoming at one or becoming unified, becoming one brothers and sisters. That is at the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I think we’re seeing that portrayed here. Whenever you get de speaking to the Earth, you get this unity in this oneness reflected from heaven. And he’s trying to help us on earth to do the same.
Oh, how our world needs more unity and more oneness and less divisiveness, less polarization, less less combativeness and fighting.
The gospel is so beautiful and I just love how focused God is. There’s just so many things you could teach. But he focuses on what really matters, and his message is consistent throughout the gospel and throughout the scriptures. Repent by believing in the sun, coming to him through baptism and stay firm on the path through sacrament and faith in adhering to the end. So let’s take a look at the next couple of verses, verses six and seven. And we have some interesting things going on here.
Remember, the Shakers believe that Jesus has already come. They believe the second coming had already happened in the form of an Lehi and here Jesus reveals that it has not yet happened. He actually describes himself an interesting way. He says this phrase and they have done I’m in verse six and they have done unto the son of man even as they wished or listed. And he has taken his power on the right hand of his glory and now ramnath in the heavens and will reign till he descends on the earth to put all enemies under his feet, which time is now at hand.
So meaning the second coming has not happened. This is an interesting phrase that Jesus uses to describe himself. Son of man. Now, this phrase, sometimes you see it in the Old Testament with the M lowercase, when you see son of man with the M lowercase, it actually means human. But when you have an uppercase. It actually means a heavenly character or heavenly individual endowed with power and usually referring to Jesus Christ himself. And if you notice here in this first, the references to heaven and to power, and so Son of Man is the perfect title for God or Jesus in this verse because he’s talking about his heavenly power filled qualities.
And Tyler, we were talking earlier about how in our scriptures we are given additional information about sort of man. And I’ll just point out briefly that for a lot of years, people have been confused about son of man and the phrase son of God.
And if this is a bouncy board. We only discovered scars, only kind of made this clear in the last, I don’t know, one hundred years plus that there’s a difference between these two phrases. Son of man refers to a heavenly person, son of God is an earthly king or the Messiah. What do we learn from the praise from Revelation before the scholars discover this? So while Jesus doing the translation of the The Book of Genesis, he comes across the the sections on Đinđić and embedded in there in Moses, chapter six, verse fifty seven.
We get this little gem. We’re four. Teach it under your children that all men everywhere must repent. What percentage is that. All men everywhere, and we understand that when referring to men, we’re referring to all mankind, all of God’s children, or they can always inherit the kingdom of God for no unclean thing, can dwell there or dwell in his presence for in the language of Adam. So we’re going back to Adamic here. Man of Holiness is his name and the name of his only begotten is The Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous judge who shall come in the beginning of time.
So Son of man is a shortened form in this đinđić passage for Jesus Christ, whose full version there would be son of man of holiness. Jesus Christ is a son of Heavenly Father, the son of man, the man.
I love that title. And coming back to this. So we often see these phrases again. Son of man lowercase just means any human when you have the upper case. It’s this heavenly character and it’s actually Jesus full of power and ability. And the son of God is an interesting one because it really actually refers to a human, an earthly king, a messiah, one who’s been anointed to be the king. Now look at how does Jesus define himself in the New Testament.
He usually calls himself the son of man because he’s come from heaven, follows power. What do people often call him? The son of God, that he’s the king, the messiah. And he is he is these things. But it’s interesting how he chooses to represent himself to the people to help focus them on things that matter. Because with the Jews, they really wanted earthly king to liberate them from the oppressive the oppressive Romans. They wanted that that son of God, Messiah.
And he’s like, I’m actually far beyond that. Let’s now talk about Jesus returning from heaven a second time looking verse seven. I, the Lord God, have spoken it. But the hour in the day, no man knoweth neither the angels in heaven nor shall I know it until he comes. Now, we live in a world where people spend a lot of time predicting the end. Let me just share a brief story from about a generation or two before the time of Joseph Smith.
This happened in New England. It was called The Dark Day. It happened on May 19th. Seventeen eighty. Many people well, actually, all of New England basically had a blackout. There was so much fog, cloud, dust and smoke in the air, it was so dark that at noon day, people had to light candles to be able to go about their business. And this persisted for more than a day. And for many people, they saw it as a sign that this was the day of judgment, the end has come.
Now, it’s very interesting, we have a Connecticut state senator who’s going about his business, he’s in in the state Senate chambers with the other state senators and people are starting to freak out because the world’s gone black, it’s gone dark, and they’re all worried like, oh, my gosh, it’s the day of judgment. Maybe we should all flee. Maybe we should all get out of here. And Abraham Davenport, the state senator, says this.
I am against a government I’m in I’m against leaving the chamber of our work right now. The day of judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for a German. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought. I find that very compelling, that wherever we are in our lives, we should not be fearful. Of whatever day it is, we should be diligently about our duty and might I humbly encourage all of us that it isn’t what God has asked us to do to predict his end times.
He asked us to be aware of the signs, but the main thing is to be focused on him and the gospel and to be about our duty. I just find that wonderfully instructive. One other one other neat insight from verse seven is who he doesn’t include in the list of people who don’t know about his coming in Section 40, number seven, and not a lord God have spoken it. But the day or the hour in the day, no man knows neither of the angels in heaven, nor shall they know until he comes.
Interesting. Not even the angels in heaven will know the day until the day he comes. What does that tell us about this this effort that has been around for so long of people trying to predict and say, OK, this is when it’s going to happen? Brothers and sisters, he doesn’t include himself any more, Jesus is not on that list, whereas in Matthew chapter twenty four, verse thirty six, he tells the people on the Mount of Olives, his disciples, he says, I don’t even know when my second coming is going to be.
And he’s right at the towards the end of his his life, his mortal ministry in chapter twenty four, Matthew. And he’s saying, I don’t even know when it’s going to be. Only the father knows. But now you’ll notice now that he’s resurrected, glorified, perfected, he’s a God fully, fully exalted in heaven. He’s no longer included in that list along with us and the angels of people who don’t know the day or the hour of his coming.
And again, I just love it’s like, why spend time focusing on the things that we don’t know and they actually don’t matter to our salvation because. You will experience a second coming either when you die and you will meet Jesus or when he shows up on this earth, and so it really is irrelevant about when that day will be. Except have you believed in Jesus? Have you repented? Have you been baptized? And have you stayed steady? And that’s exactly were reading the second Nephi chapter thirty one, the father of the Thunderbolt testifying, testified about the end times and you need to know this particular hour.
So I just find that extremely instructive, that we should just stay focused on what really matters. Interesting.
I wonder I wonder if there will be a pattern that whenever God speaks about the end times, that he doesn’t just leave it hanging with this this eerie feeling in the air of, oh, no, I wonder if it’s if it’s going to be this year or next year or if I’m going to be alive. I wonder if he’s going to follow a pattern that has been found in lots of other places in the scriptures where after talking about in time prophecies, he usually follows it up with an invitation to live his gospel, which involves having faith in him or repenting or being baptized, getting the gift to the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.
I wonder if any of those elements might come up next. Let’s go to state wherefore I will that all men shall repent. So in English that that phrase I will is it’s my desire. It’s my will that all men shall repent. There’s one hundred percent again and your invitation to focus on things that you do have control over, which is repenting. For all notice, the percentage that’s one hundred percent yet again are under sin, the idea of being brothers and sisters, it does us no good to point fingers of accusation.
Boy, that group needs to repent and that person needs to change and they need to repent. He’s saying all our sin. Everyone needs to repent. Verse nine, wherefore I sang to you that I have sent unto you my everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning, and he’s made all these promises to the Earth, look at verse 11. Wherefore I given to you a commandment that you go among these people and saying to them, like, undermine apostle of old, whose name was Peter, verse 12, believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is on the earth and has come the beginning and the end repent be baptized.
Are you seeing the pattern here? Believe this is the essence of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and verse twelve repentance baptism. Verse fourteen who so do it. This shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. There are your principles and ordinances, the Gospel, instead of putting all of our focus on things that don’t matter, that we have no control over, rather put them on the things that we do. Then he gets into the specific doctrines.
The Shakers believe that maybe need some clarification. Verse fifteen again. Verily I said you the whoso it to Mary is not ordained of God for marriage is ordained of God and to man wherefore it is lawful that he should have one wife and they shall be one flesh and all this that the earth might answer the ends of its creation. Very important to note that at this age of the church, this is the Lord’s law of marriage, your great cross reference here would be to take you back to Jacob Chapter two in the Book of Mormon, where we get the Lord’s Law of Marriage taught to the Nephites by Jacob in chapter two, verse twenty seven, where for my brother to hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord, in other words, Jacob saying, This isn’t just Jacob, this isn’t Brother Jacob’s doctrine.
He’s speaking with divine investiture of authority. He’s speaking for the Lord. He’s saying, hearken unto me to the word of the Lord, hear me and hearken to the word of the Lord. Here’s the law, for there shall not any man among you have slave it be one wife and concubines. He shall have none, which then would cause some people to say, well, wait a minute then why did Joseph Smith teach the doctrine of plural marriage a little bit later?
Look at verse thirty four. If you could circle the word if they’re in verse thirty, if I will say is the Lord of hosts. Are you notice noticing Jacob speaking for the Lord directly for if I will say, is the Lord of hosts raise up seed unto me. I will command my people, otherwise they shall haken under these things. So you get the law of marriage, one man, one wife, and then this exception that will come when the Lord commands it and that’s it.
It is not up to mankind to determine when those times are going to be. So that sets the stage for for that doctrine being taught a little bit later. Notice verse 18 and Whoso for bidis, or you notice in the footnote it says Bidis, because if if you read verse 18, the way it is sounds like a double negative, but verse 19 clarifies that it’s not a double negative in this context. Whoso bidis to abstain from meet’s. That man should not eat.
The same is not ordained of God. Why for behold the beasts of the field in the foul’s of the air and that which comes of the earth is ordained for the use of man, for food and for Raymont that he might have in abundance. Now the qualifier verse 20. But it is not given that one man should possess that which is above another. Where for the world liasing sin. Quick clarification. It’s important that we note that God doesn’t tell you it’s evil to choose not to eat meat.
You’ll notice the qualifier here. Is that your preaching or your setting this up as a as a requirement or a doctrine for others. People have agency. You can eat whatever you would like or not eat whatever you would like according to the principles that we’re going to learn in Section eighty nine from the word of wisdom. But it’s when we undertake to make that a central focus of the gospel or a litmus test, if you will, for our discipleship that we’re no longer ordained of God.
Bottom of verse eighteen. So what you do personally is one thing. What you try and get other people to do is an entirely different matter.
Let’s let’s focus on this word abundance. God created the world for it to be fruitful, bountiful and abundant. And he wants to give us of that abundance. That is one of his purposes in life. He wants us to have abundance, but I love this qualifier in verse 20. It is not given this abundance that God has provided is not given that anyone should possess that which is above another. He’s basically saying, I don’t want inequality, we’ve said this before.
I think it’s worthwhile to say, again, the word inequality. Actually is the same word. As iniquity, if you look up the root of both these words, they actually come from the same word. They’re actually just variants of the same word iniquity. Derives inequality and inequality leads to inequity. God has given in abundance, but when we separate that abundance out, this is the consequence, and so we have things in the church to help with that.
We’ve all been given Coleen’s. We all get to serve and share of our own personal wealth in the terms of our time and talents to bless the lives of others. There’s tithing, there’s fast offerings. What God is not commanded is for us to live the united order. At this point, though, he has commanded us to be consecrated to consecrate our lives to him and to our fellow brothers and sisters. And this is a hard one. I think we all struggle with this.
I live in the world like the rest of you. I deal with this. I often think more. I’d like to have more in abundance. And when I get more of that abundance, I’m like, boy, I’m really grateful to have that abundance. And I think, well. What should I do with it and but I just want you to focus again that God is willing to give in abundance. He wants you to have flourishing lives. And then the invitation is for you to act like God and to give others in abundance that they might also have flourishing lives.
Now, look at the the the follow up to this whole conversation about the eating of meat and the beasts and the fowls and. The the possession of things in the world walkovers twenty one whoa, beyond the man that shed his blood or that waste is flesh and has no need. Life is sacred, life is special, and it’s to be treated with dignity and respect and not wastefully or wantonly destroyed. Then he shifts gears, look for 20 to again, Verlie, I send to you that the son of man comes not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth where for be not deceived but continuant steadfastness, looking forth for the heavens to be shaken and the earth to tremble into real to and fro as a drunken man.
And he goes on to describe more and more of those signs that will be granted.
And what’s interesting is that this revelation is given to the shaker’s gods, like the real shaking you should look for is the shaking in the heavens and the earth that that he’ll bring for. I just think it’s kind of a little connection.
Yeah, it is. Especially because they think that Jesus has already returned in the form of an Lehi and the Lord is making it very clear, don’t be deceived, nobody will need to to try to convince you that Jesus has returned. The scriptures in other places are very clear that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess. When he comes in the clouds of glory. Nobody will need to to. Nudge you in the ribs and say, hey, I think that’s Jesus will, we’ll all collectively bend the knee, confess with our mouth that he is Lord and has returned and it will be very clear to everyone.
Then he finishes with this promise of Zion flourishing in verse twenty five, Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains and shall be assembled together under the place which I have appointed. Behold, I see, and you go forth as I have commanded, you repent of all your sins, ask and you shall receive, knock on door shall be opened unto you. And then verse twenty eight. Behold, I am Jesus Christ and I come quickly.
Even so, amen.
And let’s look at this one word here in verse twenty seven Rear Rear Warde. Now, many of us are in words and the word ward actually means protection. So he’s protecting us from the rear, which means we shouldn’t be retreating, we shouldn’t be looking back because he’s got our back literally is like press forward. I am your protection. And I want you to think that if you are in a ward that is a form of protection, particularly if you are consecrating yourself to serving others, that neutrally through the power of God, you’re experiencing this protection in the covenant of God.
Wonderful. Now, at the conclusion of sharing this revelation with the Shakers on that Sabbath day, keep in mind they received this revelation on a Saturday and Leamon immediately left with Sydney to go to to this settlement in North Union. And they they had this long interaction with Bill Kitchell, the leader of that group, that evening, and he wasn’t convinced by what they had shared with him about their doctrinal differences. But the next morning, Sunday, he invited them to join in there in the Shakers worship service.
By this time, Parly Pratt has now arrived. And so the three of them go in. And towards the end of that service, Parly stands up and says, hey, we’ve got a revelation. And Sydney, they read this revelation to the group assembled there. And the leader, again, Ishbel says he’s he doesn’t agree with it and he doesn’t accept it. And they say, what about the others? And he ashbolt lets them all give their word as well, because they feel like each individual can speak for the Lord separately and they all agree with their leader, at which point party Pratts.
Fiery, he he dusts off his coat tails as a symbol of that New Testament practice of shaking the dust off to show the responsibilities on your head, at which point the leader, Bill, he he was not impressed and he was a bit angry and.
Basically tried to put them in their place and they left the party left immediately and went went back to Kirtland. Brothers and sisters, there wasn’t a lot of gain from that particular mission that was called in Section forty nine, and so we would be we would be left here in our day saying, why did God send them? Because God knew that none of these shakers were going to accept it. And no worldly gain would come from it as far as converts are increased to the kingdom of God in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints.
So why would he send them? I love the fact that God honors and respects agency, just because somebody isn’t going to accept the gospel is not a good reason to not share the gospel with them because of agency. We give people every invitation, every opportunity that is reasonable to to be able to learn and respond to the message of the gospel, which is to have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, get baptized, get the gifts the Holy Ghost endure to the end on that covenant path we give.
And that is our message to the world. Whether the world accepts it or not is entirely up to their agency. So if you’re a missionary or know a missionary who served and didn’t have a lot of baptisms, so to speak, those those earthly measures of success, I don’t know that that’s the way heaven is measuring success. Those three missionaries learned a great deal in the process. And keep in mind, they’re very young in the gospel and they’re learning and growing line upon line precept, one precept.
And I love the fact that God’s working with them. Which now brings us into another thing that this young, relatively young group of saints has to learn in Section 50. We’ve mentioned it before in other sections associated with with the Ohio area. But now it it kind of becomes central, this idea of people having these crazy manifestations of what they’re calling the spirit in their worship.
For some context here, what Joseph Smith recorded about what was happening at Kirtland soon after his arrival. And again, it’s a very young church and people are influenced in part by the Christian traditions they were familiar with, like the Shakers and Quakers and other traditions. Soon after the gospel was established in Kirtland and during the absence of the authorities of the church, Joseph Smith Records, many false spirits were introduced, many strange visions were seen and wild, enthusiastic notions were entertained.
Men ran out of doors under the influence of the spirit, and some of them got upon the stumps of trees and shouted, and all kinds of extravagances were entered into by them. One man pursued a ball that he said he saw flying in the air until he came to a precipice when he jumped into the top of a tree which saved his life. And many ridiculous things were entered into calculated to bring disgrace upon the Church of God, to cause the spirit of God to be withdrawn and to uproot and destroy those glorious principles which have been developed for the salvation of the human family.
So the spirit of God, like a fire, is burning. The spirit and gifts of God are with us for those who’ve chosen to follow God. But the question for this young church was how are those gifts to be manifested? And the key point in this section is the gifts of the spirit are meant to edify. The word edification means to build and not just to edify one person, but all. And that is the crux of this section is how do we use the gifts of the spirit to build the kingdom of God instead of distracting and destroying the spirit with overexuberant, non-spiritual gifts that people claim falsely are the just the spirit.
So it’s been just a bit of time here in the section looking at God’s revelation about how to engage better with the spirit and to detect what’s true and what isn’t. So after after his introduction verses in the section notice in verse eleven, he or actually verse ten, he he transitions where where the Lord now basically says to them something along the lines of pull up a chair, sit down with me, let’s have a direct conversation. Look at the way he says this first hand now comes, say the Lord, by the spirit under the elders of this church.
Let us reason together that ye may understand. Let us reason, even as a man reason us one with another face to face. So here’s Joseph, the Prophet, and he’s speaking this revelation very clearly, one phrase at a time so that anybody could dictate or write it down, describe it very clearly and he’s speaking to them. Look, a verse thirteen. We’re four. I the Lord asked you this question until what were ye ordained?
What did I call you to do and ordain you and authorize you to do verse 14 to preach my gospel by the spirit, even the comforter which was sent forth to teach the truth? He introduces this idea of teaching by the spirit, you could use that English phrase in a couple of ways to interpret it. You can say I’m teaching by the the power of the spirit in what I see another way that you could use it as in the preposition form of the word by.
I’m teaching by the spirit, he’s he’s beside me, he’s guiding me in what to say and what to do and what to teach and how to teach it. Look at verse.
Six, sorry, 17, verily, I say to you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the comforter in the spirit of truth, doth he preached by the spirit of truth or some other way? And if it be by some other way, it is not of God. He’s basically saying the ends don’t justify the means. You can’t say, well, I’m trying to bring souls to Christ so it doesn’t matter what techniques I use.
No, it does matter what techniques we use. We can’t use these these false spirits that will occasionally do good things or occasionally tell truths even in order to get you to tune your ear to them so that you will then trust them when they deliver the deceptions and the lies to get you to follow. Look at verse twenty two where for Tavor touched on this already. Wherefore he preaches and he receives understand one another and both are edified and rejoice together.
You know your teaching by the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the power of the Holy Ghost, teaching by the Spirit, when both are edified together. Notice 20 for that, which is of God is light, and he receives light and continues and God receives more light, and that light grows brighter and brighter until the perfect day. I love that analogy of this this growing illumination that can come from the power of the Holy Ghost. Look at verse twenty six.
He that is ordained of God and sent forth the same as appointed to be the greatest notwithstanding, he is the least and the servant of all. It’s fascinating because in the kingdoms of the world you have the king who is at the top and he has all of his servants and subjects and the people that are under him. And they all are layered in this way to to do things to serve him. Brothers and sisters, the kingdom of our God, as is an inverted kingdom.
He that is greatest of all, Jesus Christ. Is the servant of all its Jesus who serves everybody, it’s Jesus who upholds everybody. King Benjamin portrays this as a righteous king, a very unusual king in worldly standards when he tells his people, which, by the way, he calls them my brother, and he he puts himself on their level and he says, I have served you my whole life. You haven’t had to provide for me. I I’ve provided for you.
This is the inverted kingdom of our Lord. Look at verse twenty six again with if you’re ordained of God, you’re sent forth, whether you’re a bishop, a stake president, whether you’re one of the apostles or a member of the first presidency or any of the general authorities or general officers of the church. Whether you’re a mission president or a mission president’s wife, whether you are a daddy, a mommy, a primary teacher, it doesn’t matter whatever you’re ordained of God to do, you’re appointed to be the greatest in that realm.
But what does that mean? That means you have to be the servant, you don’t you don’t take the world’s approach of thinking, oh, I’ve got this new calling in the church, look at all the people who are now going to serve me. It’s oh, I’ve got this new calling in the church. Look at all these people who need my service or I’ve got this new calling in my family as a new father. Look at this new life that needs my service.
And the more we become like Jesus, the more we find joy in serving and turning outward, in lifting and sharing of the abundance that God has given us, whether, like Taylor said, whether it’s our time or our talent or our money, our energy, our gifts, all of our resources that are given to us, we simply now send them further up this inverted kingdom line whenever we’re called or appointed to anything ordained of God. Look, obviously, we know this.
It shall be given you what you shall ask, and as you were appointed to the head, the spirit shall be subject unto. He he makes it clear that there will be opposition, but if you turn to the Lord, he’ll guide you not just in answering your prayers and he’ll even guide you in what to pray for. What a beautiful thing it is when you when we can get beyond the the pseudo memorized version of our prayers, when we can kneel down or in our heart, elevate our thoughts and occasionally ask the question, Heavenly Father, what should I be asking for right now?
What are some things I should be thankful for that maybe I haven’t recognized, who are some people that I should be focusing on serving and how could I serve them? Bless me to know what to even ask for is kind of the message here, and he he assures us that it will be given to us. Was thirty one wherefore shall come to pass it, if you behold, a spirit manifested that you cannot understand and you receive not that spirit, you shall ask the father in the name of Jesus.
And if he give not unto you that spirit, then you may know that it is not of God. This brothers and sisters is not something that you can find a scientific instrument to measure. But God has given you revelatory instruments that far exceed anything invented by man given to us. By our. By our. Our God.
A mind and a heart to perceive what is right, what is wrong, and if you leave either your mind or your heart out of the conversation when seeking truth or when people are making claims or you’re trying to decide, is this have gotten this not is this a false spirit or a false claim or a false doctrine?
If you leave either revelatory instrument out of that conversation, you’re more likely to be deceived. You use all of the powers of the intellect to triangulate the data that you’re that you’re receiving, triangulated with other scriptures, other prophetic statements and quotes and doctrines and teachings of the Lord that comes through inspired sources and means you triangulate it here and does it taste good? Does it feel right? And both of those together. And we move forward in faith. And if it doesn’t line up verse thirty two, it shall be given unto you power over that spirit.
And you shall proclaim against the spirit with a loud voice that it is not of God and. To to conclude, let’s jump over to verse 40. Behold ye, our little children, you cannot Barel things now you must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth here. Not little children for you are mine. And I have overcome the world and you are of them that my father has given me, and none of them that my father has given me shall be lost.
Brothers and sisters know that God is in his heavens, Jesus is the Christ, and he will guide you along this covenant path to become more like him and to have power to discern the difference between right and wrong, truth and error, light and darkness as we move forward in faith. And we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Damien, know that your loved.
D&C 46: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to the Church, at Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1831. In this early time of the Church, a unified pattern for the conducting of Church services had not yet developed. However, a custom of admitting only members and earnest investigators to the sacrament meetings and other assemblies of the Church had become somewhat general. This revelation expresses the will of the Lord relative to governing and conducting meetings and His direction on seeking and discerning the gifts of the Spirit.
D&C 47: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, March 8, 1831. John Whitmer, who had already served as a clerk to the Prophet, initially hesitated when he was asked to serve as the Church historian and recorder, replacing Oliver Cowdery. He wrote, “I would rather not do it but observed that the will of the Lord be done, and if he desires it, I desire that he would manifest it through Joseph the Seer.” After Joseph Smith received this revelation, John Whitmer accepted and served in his appointed office.
D&C 48: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Kirtland, Ohio, March 10, 1831. The Prophet had inquired of the Lord as to the mode of procedure in procuring lands for the settlement of the Saints. This was an important matter in view of the migration of members of the Church from the eastern United States, in obedience to the Lord’s command that they should assemble in Ohio (see sections 37:1–3; 45:64).
Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 46-48, May 3-9) – powered by Happy Scribe
VIDEO: Come, Follow Me Insights with Taylor and Tyler from Book of Mormon Central | Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 19: May 3–9 “Seek Ye Earnestly the Best Gifts” Doctrine and Covenants 46–48
I’m Taylor and I’m Taylor, and I’m Alex. This is Book of Mormon Centrals Come, Follow Me insights today, Doctrine and Covenants, sections forty six, forty seven, forty eight. And we’d like to welcome our friend Alex Barr from Church History and Doctrine of Brigham Young University. It’s a real delight to be with him today. And we look forward to talking and sharing with you these beautiful scriptures that God has revealed for us.
So to begin, Alex, what what do you think is important for us to understand about the setting, what’s going on, what happened the day before Section forty six, what’s going on with the church before we actually dove into the words?
Well, I think it’s important to remember Joseph Smith’s only been here a month. This is a new environment for him. We have individuals and members that have been joined the church as a result of the missionaries to the laminitis. Joseph, these are new people and they’re excited to have Joseph Smith with them and they are grateful to have and receive his revelatory direction. So this is the beginning, really. This is where some of the early revelations that begin now in the Ohio period to help us understand how to direct the church during this very much a change over time.
And we’re, of course, anticipating that the New York Saints will be arriving within a few months. So we’re kind of in a transition period here. And these individuals are former members of another church. They’re Carmelites, they’re Methodist, they’re Presbyterian. They’re bringing that that tradition and that doctrine and those those practices and beliefs with them.
Exactly. So they need guidance. They need direction. How do we even conduct church meetings? And Section forty six starts laying that out just a little bit Mary general, but at the same time helping them understand the most important thing is the role of the Holy Ghost. So so this is a very important revelation. And then of course we can go into the spiritual gifts as well. Joseph would like. To, of course, there. So just for for background information here, you’ll notice in verse five that it mentions them not casting any out of your sacrament meetings who are earnestly seeking the kingdom.
And then in her sixth sense and again, I send you concerning your confirmation meetings, what would you say about that SACKUR meetings, confirmation meetings to our church today? We would we can relate to verse five, but we read verse six and say, what is the confirmation meeting? Good point and a good question. In the early church, they would be received by baptism. And sometimes that was right after hearing a preacher preach one of the writing the date.
Right. Another Latter day Saints elders or the church elders speak and they would be baptized. And then in Section 20, it said that after they manifest a godly walk in conversation, they are to be received in terms of their to receive the Holy Ghost. So it wasn’t always the practice that they would be baptized and immediately receive the Holy Ghost. They would have a meeting in which now the individual has manifested this godly walk in conversation and they could now be receive the gift of the Holy Ghost in a formal confirmation.
And so one of the practices that had started to kind of creep in was an exclusionary effort to say if you’re not a member of the church, you can’t participate in this confirmation meeting, or if we think you’re unworthy, we’re going to kick you out of our sacrament meeting. And that caused some of the early church members to say, wait a minute, I’m reading in third Nephi. And Jesus says, don’t cast anybody out of your meetings. But he does say if you know they’re not worthy, don’t administer my sacrament to these people who who, you know, aren’t worthy, but don’t kick them out of your meeting.
And so there’s there’s this difference in practice compared to the doctrine in the in the Book of Mormon and and some confusion. Section forty six really answers all of those questions for these for these reasons. Yes.
They want the members to be there and Lord wants the members to be there. In fact he says, but notwithstanding those things is verse two which are written. It has always been given to the elders of my church from the beginning and ever shall be to conduct the meetings as they’re directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we are commanded never to cast doubt from you, from your public meetings which are held before the world. And again, you hit that right on the head, third Nephi 18.
I think that’s what they’re referring to. The Lord is referring to this has been written. You should know you’re never to cast anyone out who belongs to the church. Let him come to church. They need church. They need to worship with the Saints. Absolutely. Elder and Sister Greenland wrote a great book on the milk priesthood. And in there they talk about how to how to administer things in the church.
So for church leaders, whether it be a bishop or stake president or any any other calling in the church, they they use this beautiful analogy that I love, that my stake president Clint Mortenson has shared with us multiple times. That’s just really profound from that book.
The the Ranchlands shared this analogy of a plane boundary. Whether you’re talking about soccer or American football or basketball or volleyball, it doesn’t matter. There are going to be boundaries. And so they list one of the boundaries as the scriptures. So you look for how to administer the the meetings, the organization of the church, look to the scriptures and example. Thirty five, eighteen right here. There’s there’s a boundary there. It guides us. Then you have the words of the living prophets to help guide you and create a boundary.
You have the handbooks of instruction or in this case, it’s the handbook of instruction today that we have. And then you have the direction of local fire leaders that help govern the work. There you go. And then you have this big area that you can navigate with the help of the Holy Ghost.
It’s a really powerful model for for us to understand today in the twenty first century, this is easier than it is in eighteen thirty one. When the church isn’t even yet one year old. They have the scriptures, but they don’t have them electronically and they don’t have a lot of the resources that we do to look up in an instant. Where does it say this. And you search for keywords. They’ve got it, but it’s a little harder to access.
They’ve got living prophets, but they have less access to that living profit depending on where he is, the handbook that it’s starting to come together.
And as Alex was saying, those local leaders that have been called, they’ve still brought with them some some traditions and practices and doctrines that may not always be accurate. And so we’re we’re developing this.
So I love verse two that Alex already read that it really it really provides a beautiful foundation, not just for them in eighteen thirty one, but for us in the twenty first century that regardless of whatever else has been written, it’s it’s given to you as a leader in the church to govern the meetings as the spirit directs within within a certain boundary or border of limitations. You’ve got a lot of a lot of room to navigate here, you know.
So if you were in Kirtland and and they would probably say church will be held at the Isaac Mallie schoolhouse, be there at 10 a.m. and of course, they just had to kind of flow. They didn’t know who would show up if they didn’t have probably any guest speakers. They may be Joseph once in a while. But this was, again, a very spirit directed. We just didn’t have the protocols that we have today. So so just guided be guided by the spirit.
You’ll be fine.
You’ll be fine, you know. Now we jump in. Look at verse seven, you are commanded in all things to ask of God who giveth liberally and that which the spirit testifies unto you. Even so, I would the E should do in all holiness of heart, walking upright before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and Thanksgiving, that you may not be seduced by evil spirits or doctrines of devils or the commandments of men for some R of men and others are devils.
You’ll notice he gave you three things. They’re not be seduced by evil spirits, the doctrines of devils or the commandments of men. So you have what the Lord wants and the heaven direct and stuff. But then you’ve got these three sources of other opposition to what God wants. And and you’ve got to believe that the devil’s not giving these people a free pass right now. He’s that this church is starting to take root. And you’ve got to believe that he’s doing everything he can to try to thwart this work.
He’s he’s going to manifest some very deceptive kinds of spiritual manifestations to kind of throw off these members. Now, we’ll get more of this with Section fifty. But I think the Lord is giving Joseph and the church a little bit of a heads up that we’ve got to be cautious here about some of the things that might be manifest that were certainly not of me or not of God.
I love that. Alex, the idea that that we don’t need to feel fear, we don’t we don’t need to to sit back and feel like a spiritual victim of what the devil can do. Yes, he is going to fight against whatever good efforts we’re making as an individual, as a family, as a ward, as a state. Because a church is a community, as a nation, as a world, there’s going to be opposition. But don’t you love the fact that verse seven opened with a command to turn to God, to look up in faith rather than down in fear?
You know, human beings generally walk the direction they’re facing, and so if we if we put so much fearful attention downward, we’re probably going to gravitate that direction. If we spend more time searching the Internet for for the philosophies of men, the doctrines of men or the commandments of men, we’re going to start gravitating that direction and we’re going to tune our ears and our eyes to those sources and those people. And quite frankly, they’re they may not always be tuned in to the right source.
So I love the fact that Verse seven gives us this gentle yet profound command to ask God and to look to him with holiness of heart, walking up rightly before him, considering the end of our salvation, doing all things with prayer and Thanksgiving. In my mind, it just creates this image of not just individuals, but a collective body of people who are saying, I get it, I understand it. We aren’t going to be able to do this on our own.
We need help. Lord, we’re here. Use this as an instrument to build up the kingdom according to the plan. And we’ll we’ll do our best. We’re not going to be perfect, but we’re going to do our best with holiness of heart. We move forward. And that’s what I see happening today with our current profits and and apostles and leaders of the church. Is them doing exactly what you see here in this first part of her seven?
And if we do that, there will no, you will not be deceived. And then, of course, he now brings in and I think this is where we need to go with this Tylor, but. Any God fearing Christian would have been very, very much acquainted with Paul’s teachings on the gifts of the spirit, and if they’ve read the Book of Mormon and read that last chapter, they’ll realize that Moroni Moroni had a lot to say about the gifts of the spirit, too.
So I think it’s wonderful that the Lord would tie in now at this point of this section that here’s some of the gifts of the spirit that you have to exercise in the church so that you are not deceived and that these are true manifestations of the gifts of the spirit that he’s talked about with by Paul, as mentioned by Paul and also by Moroni.
So let me just make this this simple list here. You’ve got the three places now, gifts of the Spirit are mentioned and they’re alluded to in many places throughout our scriptural canon. But these are the three sections, the three chapters where it actually goes into depth and gives you a list. Your shortest list by far is here in four Corinthians 12. And then you get some longer lists. But by my count, doctrine and covenants, forty six is kind of for me it’s the most complete list of the gifts of the spirit in a in a general overarching sense.
Now there there are lots of spiritual or lots of gifts, and we’ll talk about those in a moment. But this is a real gem, like you’re saying, for these people who are very familiar with these two or familiar, at least with these two passages, you get some clarification here.
Well, the gifts to the spirit are very important for the church to understand. And obviously, Lord wanted that understanding conveyed through the prophet Joseph Smith and these that that’s elucidated in Section 46. I count 13. But like you say, I think there’s a little more descriptive in many aspects than than in Moroni and also First Corinthians 12. So kind of an amplification of Paul and Moroni.
Very good. So now let’s pick up verse nine for verily I say sang to you.
They are given for the benefit of those who notice the qualifiers here, those who love me and keep all my commandments. Now let’s pause there.
How many of you were thinking, wait a minute, OK, maybe I’m disqualified.
Don’t you love the fact the next phrase is placed there and him that siecus so to do brothers and sisters.
I’ve I’ve highlighted very profoundly those words siecus so to do in the in the current temple recommend interview questions. I love the fact that we have the word strive. Do you strive. What’s your intent secret, so to do exactly that, you’re trying, you’re striving, you’re doing your very best. Certainly we’re all following falling short on that.
That gives us all hope that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts. God is not in the business of helping us put on magic shows to impress people or to try to build faith through through miraculous signs and wonders. This is this is a much deeper, much longer term process where these gifts are given to us on the Earth in order to help build up the savior’s kingdom in power and to bless the lives of others.
I think what’s important is in verse 10, kind of follow up on that. And again, verily I Santa and I would always should always remember and always retain in your minds what those gifts are that are given unto the church or all, not have every gift given under them where there are many gifts and to every man is given a gift by the spirit of God. I think just kind of breaking that down a little bit. It’s important to understand that God loves all of his children.
He is anxious for every one of them to return to him. And I think he’s what he’s saying here. I’ve given every single one of my children spiritual, a spiritual gift or spiritual gifts to help them come into the savior, to help them express faith and testimony, and to help his other children in their own spiritual development, in their own spiritual quest for eternal life. So what I’m trying to say is I think we can safely say that it’s given to everyone.
Someone everyone has spiritual gifts. And we can’t say that a person in Dallas, Texas, who loves the savior and believes in the Bible and has faith in God is not entitled to some of the outpourings of a of a spirit of spiritual quality. And and it’s not necessarily what I’m saying is not necessarily limited to the church itself, but to those who are seeking the savior and his gospel and his understanding and testament.
I love that because everybody everybody you interact with on this planet in the flesh, every one of those individuals has kept their first estate. They’ve they’ve done things in their pre mortal existence. And we don’t know how long we lived up there. Eons, who knows how long.
And it’s as if you could say that spirit that lived in the presence of our heavenly parents long before we were born here, who knows what what kinds of of opportunities for learning and growth we had in that in that realm that perhaps as as you’ve said, Alex, maybe it’s not just gifts of the spirit being a gift the Holy Ghost gives to you and a gift that he gives to Taylor and a gift he gives to me and to everybody else.
Perhaps one of the ways we could look at this is Heavenly Parents have given our spirits that now reside in tabernacles of clay and flesh that perhaps some of those gifts come with us as a gift of that spirit realm, kind of a special endowment or a special manifestation of God’s gift to us or an individual and to bless their lives again, but at the same time, for them to bless the lives of others in that, as we’re all seeking for righteousness, as you say, that it brings an image to mind, it’s this is not it.
Perhaps this is not terribly unlike the power of the priesthood, where if you’re giving if you’re given priesthood power at once, the last time you’re walking down the hallway in your church and you saw perhaps a high priest or an elder looking kind of sick and he leaned against the wall and he’s not feeling very well. And just a minute and he pulls out his consecrated oil and then thumps it on his head and. And then seals the anointing. OK, now I’m going to go about my day.
When’s the last time you saw that? Brothers and sisters, any priesthood power given to me. Wasn’t intended for me to consume it for myself, it’s intended to get me to turn outward, to bless, to lift, to build, to edify the whole kingdom of God. And in the process, what happens as we use that priesthood power to bless others? I’m I’m being a conduit for heaven’s power, for heaven’s goodness and light and faith to be established and grow.
Well, it has an effect on me, too. The hands are laid on my head, but I’m being blessed when I do that. Same thing with these gifts. If you have any one of these or any combination of these gifts as you use them to turn outward into lift and build people around you, yeah, they are going to be benefited.
But in the process, God is going to be changing you and me as the that that power flows through, you know, the gift benefits both the giver and the receiver.
It’s interesting to note there was a couple of things we were talking about beforehand that we like to share with the audience. But if you look again at verse eight, God gives these gifts so that we aren’t deceived. He gives these gifts to everybody has gifts possible, multiple or possibly multiple gifts so that you can know what the truth is, you can be guided in the truth and not be deceived. It’s a lot of deception in the world. And what I love about forty six is that it gives us a guide to not be deceived.
But you told us earlier about sometimes we misunderstand why God gave us gifts and how many gifts we might actually have.
You know, I think there’s certainly a satanic counterfeit those gifts. And during this period of time in an early church history and in America, there were a lot of people doing a lot of strange kinds of things that were, you know, certainly not of God, but that the Lord would clear try to make very clear here, Hayler, that there are satanic deceptions, counterfeits, but they’re also the true manifestations of the spirit.
And we’ll talk about this more. I’m sure you’ll talk about this more with Section 50. But he doesn’t want deception and needs to guard against that in the church because of some of these traditions and behaviors and activities of people who are supposedly Christians, who are manifesting behaviors that are kind of a little bit strange and not out of the certainly out of the ordinary.
Well, Alex, what about what would you say to somebody who says, I don’t know if I have a spiritual gift, that I know what God said here, that he’s given gifts to everybody, but he may have missed me and I don’t know how to find those gifts. Well, I think it’s important.
I think you said it quite well, actually, for all not have every gift given to them, for their many gifts and to every man is given a gift by the spirit of God would say women, children, young people. There’s we all have them. But how do we discover what they are? I think one way is through our own experiences in the church, as we as we grow in the gospel, we sit there and understand things more completely.
And I think one way I think we all know many, many times in our patriarchal blessings, those spiritual gifts are either mentioned or elucidated to. And I think there’s a purpose in that identification because the Lord wants us to grow in that gift, to share that gift, to expand that gift and to bless the lives of others. So I think there’s probably, you know, most church members can identify some of those spiritual gifts by the revelation God gives to them through their patriarch, a blessing of that specific gifts.
And that doesn’t mean if you don’t have one that you can’t develop. In fact, he says to Sikhi earnestly, the best gifts and the intent for which they’re given.
What I love about this is God’s invitation, as you’re talking about, to seek out the best gifts so we can look to our patriarchal blessings. And that’s a good starting point. And then talk to God and say, Lord, here’s my righteous desires. Will you magnify those righteous desires for me to serve and lift? And so we invite you wherever you’re at. Look for the gifts or gifts that God has given you and then ask yourself, what’s one thing I could do today or this week to share that gift with others, to magnify God’s kingdom and bring beauty to other people’s lives.
So now let’s dove into the actual list the savior gives to us in this section, starting in verse 13. To some, it is given notice the qualifier by the Holy Ghost. So in this case, we know for sure this is a gift that the Holy Ghost is delivering to us. He’s granting it, bestowing it upon us. It is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he was crucified for the.
Sins of the world. This is this is your very first gift mentions of all of them to know that Jesus is the Christ, that he was crucified for the sins of the world, that that starts us off. I want to I want to address this from from the perspective of a fast and testimony meeting in the church, so just picture sitting in a in a pew on on Sunday listening to a group of of saints get up and bear their testimony.
Picture in your mind’s eye, a little seven year old girl standing up and she has to climb up on a little box there and pull the microphone down. And in this cute, sweet little voice says, I know that Jesus is the Christ. I know the church is true. I know families are forever and that God loves me. And she finishes in the name of Jesus Christ and sits down. And right after that. An eighty nine year old woman in your congregation feebly gets up and and with a walker walks down to the front and then with some help, climbs up on the podium and comes over and leans on that podium and in a very shaky voice, as brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I know that Jesus is the Christ that this church’s true.
The families are forever and that God loves me and he loves you, and then she finishes in the name of Jesus Christ minutes and and goes down. Did you notice that the seven year old and the eighty nine year olds said the exact same words, but there’s something powerful that goes on here. So I wanted to point this out. One of my favorite quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. years and years ago, he said, I would not give a fig for simplicity on this side of complexity.
But he said, I would give my life for simplicity on the far side of complexity. Now, what do I mean by that? I mean that we can we can make some pretty simple statements and they’re pretty simple. It’s simple simplicity or through the course of a lifetime, filled with opposition and struggle and temptation and setback and disease and loss. We can we can work our way through the complexities of mortality until we get to that far side where we can say pretty simple things yet again.
But all of the power that comes with that kind of simplicity, we live in a world today that is is struggling religiously, doctrinally, scripturally of working through this middle complexity to get to the simplicity over there. We get partway through and it gets muddy, it gets messy, it gets it’s a struggle and people give up. Now, the reason I wanted to point this out is because of this one. It is given to some, not to all to know that Jesus is the Christ that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
And as you work through life and the more experience you have. The very same phrase back here can now be used over here. And it carries with it intense power and depth and meaning, here’s the problem, there are some in the audience who maybe don’t have that spiritual gift. They don’t know for themselves or they’re working through the process or they’re listening to the little seven year old saying she doesn’t really know. She’s saying that because she’s been trained to say that.
But she doesn’t really know.
And I don’t really know. And there can be this question of why can’t I be as certain as that? Eighty nine year old woman, why can’t I be as certain as all these other people who are who are bearing strong testimony?
Look at verse 14 and this really ties in. I see where you’re going with this. Byler to others is given to believe on their words that that they might also they might have eternal life if they continue faithful. That that has great application to what you’re saying here. There’s those who know and then those who have testimony can believe in the testimony of others. We live in a world that that really looks down on this. They think if you don’t know it, if you if you’re not absolutely 100 percent certain, then you can’t trust it.
And I think the Lord is saying to certain people, it’s actually a gift. It’s it’s a gift, OK, to believe to be able to believe. And you don’t have to know with 100 percent certainty it’s OK to be able to get up and say, brothers and sisters, I believe that Jesus is the Christ, that he was crucified for the sins of the world. I believe what other people have shared, what they what they know for for with 100 percent certainty, I believe them.
That’s a gift to be able to do that.
That’s interesting. Neither one of these two verses are in Moroni or infer strength in First Corinthians. So obviously Lord’s trying to bring out a deeper dimension to these spiritual gifts that he’s elucidated here. I love this conversation because many of us aspire to know Christ. And I know in my own life I’ve some times felt discouraged that I didn’t have, like, the perfect witness Wolf. Another perfect witness. Can I be a perfect follower of Jesus? And I’ve kind of just oversold myself like God asks us to begin here, a belief and I take comfort in the fact that even somebody is illustrious.
As the prophet David Mackay went through a similar experience that most of us go through of believing and working our way up to knowledge. And that is all part of the process of that that gift. Let me share this, David, on, as you know, was the ninth president of the church. He was a young man. He was herding cattle and he was out there alone. And he he wanted to know Jesus. He thought other prophets have prayed in earnestness.
And we see these grand manifestations all do the same. So he says he knelt and prayed fervently and sincerely with as much faith as a young boy could muster. At the conclusion of the prayer, he got up onto his horse again and he said, no spiritual manifestation has come to me. He confessed. If I am true to myself, I must say I am just the same old boy that I was before I prayed. So years went on, he was a missionary and actually had some remarkable spiritual experiences that confirmed to him that Jesus is the Christ and later in his life.
Here’s what President David on the case said about the development of his testimony, the development of the gift of believing, and that eventually coming to know, coming to know Jesus came as a natural consequence to the performance of duty. Wherever you’re at in your life, just keep pressing forward. If you cast your mind back to first Nephi Chapter eight and holding the rod of iron, when you first start that path, you believe you’re going to get to the tree.
You’re not at the tree. It’s the same thing we believe that we will get to the tree of Jesus Christ, and as you perform your duty and hold on tightly to that rod of iron, you will have the gift of the fruit of the tree of life, which is to know Jesus, Christ. Now that that reminds me of the experience of elder Holland, at one time he was talking with a young man and a young man said, I believe, but I just don’t know.
And he said, I just wanted to give that young man a big bear hug and say, that’s all that’s all you need right now. Don’t worry about it. Just keep believing and and you’ll be OK. So belief is enough. Certainly we want to strive for more, but belief is the main the main element here. Now we will shift into verse 15 and 16, which kind of go they seem to kind of go together 15, he says.
Again, to some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know the differences of administration as it will be pleasing under the same Lord, according to the Lord Will. And then 16, he says again, it is given by the Holy Ghost to some to know the diversities of operations, whether they be of God, that the manifestations of the spirit may be given to every man to profit with all. What would you say to those two verses?
I think you made a good point. I think these kind of tie together, I think what the Lord’s trying to tell the Saints and us today in verse 15 is that there are different ways the spiritual gifts will be manifest. And it’s not necessarily wrong to have diversity in that manifestation. The only thing I can think of right off the top of my head is a person, for example, who may have a desire to bear testimony, and Ghana may do it in a very different way than someone in Provo, Utah.
We have different ways to manifest those spiritual gifts within us. And that’s that’s nothing wrong with that. And you’ll be able to tell that it’s OK that’s there. That’s the way they can express themselves or that’s the way they manifest their spiritual gift. And it’s OK. It may be different than the way you would, but it’s all right. It’s acceptable to God. I think the inverse 16, this one is where the Lord warns us just a little bit that you need to know that there are those deceptions.
Those are there are counterfeits. And and if you have this gift, you’ll be able to determine and understand which ones are of God and which ones are are counterfeits.
Then he then he shifts into another couplet that kind of goes together 17 and 18, and at least in my mind, again, Verlie, I send you to some is given by the spirit of God, the word of wisdom, and to another is given the word of knowledge that all may be taught to be wise and to have knowledge. What’s the difference between wisdom and knowledge? So I think the key word in this, these two passages is the word of wisdom, meaning word that you’re able to convey wisdom to another individual or to someone.
And I like to think of these people or the type of people who may have this gift to those who are able to counsel with people, are able to give them direction. They’re able to listen and say, you know, here’s maybe what you should do. Here’s maybe here’s my thought on things that would guide a person in their own spiritual development or in their own lives, and that they have to be able to convey they could have all the wisdom in the world, but they have the power through the word to convey that wisdom to others.
Beautiful. You know, it reminds me of of the ancient wisdom literature. It’s all rooted in helping you make a wise choice, not a foolish choice. It’s rooted in Deuteronomy, Chapter 11, verse twenty six and twenty seven. It’s so simple. It’s it’s one of those. When people hear it, they’re like, well obviously DA but it’s really profound. Verse twenty six. Behold I said before you this day, a blessing and a curse.
A blessing if you will be the commandments of the Lord, your God, which I commend you this day. And then verse twenty eight and a curse if you will not obey the commandments. So everything you’re describing here to me is the embodiment of this, this ancient wisdom tradition brought into the latter day context to say there are a million voices out there, a million paths you can follow, but there’s only one that’s going to lead you. Right.
And it’s keep the commandments of God. Put your feet on the covenant path. Take hold of the iron rod, move forward. It’s a word of wisdom. The interesting corollary to that is verse eighteen to another is given the word of knowledge, there are a lot of things that are true that may not always be directly related to covenant pass progression or discipleship, but it’s important.
God, all things are spiritual. Under him there are scientific and social sciences and political and all these other fields of study that to some is given the gift of knowledge that may not be directly related to a covenant pass analogy. But it’s a gift of God. It’s a gift of the spirit. And I think we’re seeing that in our world today as God pours out knowledge not just upon the heads of the Saints, but upon the heads of all of his children who are seeking to make life better for the world.
I also like this phrase word of knowledge, because it implies that, again, they’re able to convey that knowledge to others. I like to use verse 18 is kind of the one who I think many, many teachers are blessed with. They have knowledge, but there’s a lot of people who have knowledge, but they can’t convey it very well because they don’t have that maybe a gift to convey the word. And so I’d like to think that maybe, perhaps Lord saying there’s people who gain knowledge and can convey that knowledge through the power of teaching or the word or written or or spoken, however, to others to benefit their lives and at the same time, bless their love it.
Now, the next one you’ll notice seems to come in another couplet, another pair of verse nineteen twenty. And again, to sum, it is given to have faith to be healed and to others it is given to have faith to heal. I love what you said earlier, Alex, that if you if you don’t recognize a particular gift having been given to you in the past, it doesn’t mean that you’re you’re now hopeless in that area. We seek earnestly if if somebody is struggling, we we fast, we pray, we plead, we seek to live our life in such a way to be able to be granted, for instance, a gift to be able to heal other people or a need a gift to be healed.
And this is a very real manifestation of the spirit in the in the old and the New Testaments, as well as in the book Mormon. And now he’s bringing it into our dispensation, saying that wasn’t just reserved for the for the ancient days.
I think it’s important to note, too, that in the early period of the church, they had very little medical knowledge that we have today. People are constantly sick. You read journals, they are just plagued with sickness and disease. They didn’t have the health practices and understanding we have today. And so over these. At this time to say there are those of you who can exercise faith to be healed and there are those of you who can exercise the faith to heal, this had to be very comforting to them.
Not that it isn’t just comforting to us today. It is medical knowledge is kind of taken as a real, you know, jump jump ahead kind of thing with a lot of Latter-Day Saints. I’ll be OK. I just need to go to the doctor. But at the same time, we know we can exercise faith beyond that of medical knowledge and others can exercise their faith to actually give the healing blessing beautiful. It’s important that he mentions in verse twenty one and again to some is given the working of miracles.
I think it’s in Moroni he’s working mighty miracles. We have minor miracles, but we have major miracles. I think there is a difference. We sometimes don’t necessarily see the minor miracles, and yet they’re probably very evident in our lives today. But there’s also the working of mighty miracles and things that you just can’t explain away. I think that’s a marvelous gift and I think it’s a marvelous gift to be able to recognize the fact that God is working miracles in your lives.
I oftentimes say to my students, are you exercising enough faith that miracles happen and can you identify those miracles in your lives? And again, that’s one of the gifts I really want to seek, is to see the hand of God in my life. And as I try to exercise my faith and my my own spiritual gifts in the lives of others. Yeah. Has the day of Miracles ceased? The answer here would be no reverse. Twenty two and twenty three to others, it is given to prophesy and to others the discerning of spirits.
So this ability to look down the road and see events or to prophesy of things to come, and then in the present, discerning of spirits, the right and the wrong. What would you what would you say about if somebody were to say what?
I’ve heard this phrase before, but what is it? What does it mean to be able to discern the spirits?
Now, you look in the dictionary, I didn’t look in the eighteen twenty eight Webster’s Dictionary, but I know discernment means basically the ability to judge. Can you judge things correctly? Can you see people’s motives? Can you see intent? Can you see this is a good thing. This is a bad thing. I think the spirit of discernment is very broad.
Just the power and ability to judge everyday human events or people or situations. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to be blessed with the power and gift of discernment lest we be deceived.
Right. And then the final two verse, twenty four point twenty five. Go clearly together again. It is given to some to speak with tongues and to another is given the interpretation of tongues.
And this is this is one of those gifts that in the first Corinthians time period, in the letter that Paul wrote to them, that particular gift was a big deal back then.
So today, I think the gift of tongues is most manifest in our missionary efforts to take the gospel to all the nations of the Earth. And I think Joseph clearly recognized this is probably the most important manifestation of that gift. He said one time, being so curious about tongues do not speak in tongues except there be an interpreter presence. So he is saying there is that manifestation. And in the early church, particularly through the 19th century, that sort of gift of tongues was exercised on quite a number of occasions.
But this is what he says. He goes on to say this The ultimate design of tongues is to speak to foreigners. And if a person and if persons are very anxious to display their intelligence, let them speak to such in their own tongues. The gifts of God are all useful in their place. But when they are applied to that which God does not intend, they prove an injury, a snare, a curse instead of a blessing. I think he’s saying really in our day, the best manifestation of the gift of tongues of those who can preach the gospel in their own and not their own native language, but have a way in power to convey it to others in their language.
And for those people who are hearing the gospel to have the interpretation of somebody who doesn’t have the vocabulary, the training to be able to communicate, I’m reminded of a member of my ward who mentioned he went to Germany on his mission and he had a very difficult time learning German. And on one occasion, while he was very, very still new in the mission field, his missionary companion asked him to bear his testimony. And he said it just came.
It came out and it came fluently. And he expressed himself just in a marvelous way. And his companion just kind of looked like, you’ve got to be kidding me. And he said and I afterwards, I didn’t even really know what I had said. And he said, I think from that I think I remember correctly. He said from that time on, I was able to comprehend the language and express it in a powerful way. After discussing all these spiritual gifts, I think the Lord summarizes the significance of of all of these gifts and why we why they were given verse 26 and all these gifts come from God or the benefit of the children of God.
And we’re all children of God. And what a wonderful blessing. I mean, this shows you the love God has for his children. I want you to have spiritual experiences. I want you to enjoy the blessings of knowing who my son is and and striving to keep his commandments. And if you’ll do that, you’ll enjoy some of these wonderful, marvelous spiritual gifts.
So who does he who does he give an extra portion of these gifts to in this revolution? Twenty seven. I would say that any man who has been a bishop in this church can say verse twenty seven. I’ve had that gift given to me during that time. And it simply says and under the bishop of the church and of course we would say bishops of the church and other church leaders who have the responsibility of an ecclesiastical assignment over award or steak or whatever.
And I would say to include in that in that second phrase and under the bishop of the church notice and unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church. So it’s it starts with the bishops. But like you said, this isn’t exclusive to them.
Mission President Ellen Gorm, president. And we really believe society praises the president’s young woman president, primary president to them. Of course they are to have it given under them to discern all those gifts. Let’s there shall be any among you prophesying or professing and yet not be of God. So in your young women’s classes, I think you can say the young women leaders are entitled to understand what spiritual gifts are being manifested and who has spiritual gifts that you can tap into the bless the lives of other people.
Beautiful. Let me let me expand on that by by introducing a concept taught by elder Marvin Gaye Asheton back in the nineteen eighties. He gave this incredible talk on the gifts of the spirit, and in that talk he he referenced what he called or what he referred to as the less conspicuous gifts, which would imply that in the scriptures, in those three major chapters, we get the conspicuous, the big obvious gifts of the spirit. And then he says, let us review some of these less conspicuous gifts.
Now listen to this list and see if it helps you understand this whole concept of a wide array of gifts that you’re your. Savir can give to you through the Holy Ghost the gift of asking, the gift of listening, the gift of hearing and using a still small voice, the gift of being able to keep, the gift of avoiding contention, the gift of being agreeable, the gift of avoiding vain repetition, the gift of seeking that which is righteous, the gift of not passing judgment.
The gift of looking to God for guidance. The gift of being a disciple. The gift of caring for others. The gift of being able to ponder the gift of offering prayer. The gift of bearing a mighty testimony. The gift of receiving the Holy Ghost. I hope what that does for you is opens your mind and heart upward to to be able to recognize not just in yourself but in in loved ones around you and in people all around you, the goodness of God, the gifts of God, the attributes of God.
And let me just say it this way.
If you think of your heroes, the people that you most admire or that you you most want to emulate in life, if you stop for a moment and analyze, why is it that I look up to that person?
Why is it there so, so desirable for me to try to be more like them? What is it? I’ll bet if you peel back all the layers, it’s simply that you’re you’re recognizing gifts of God, attributes of Christ that that person has either been given or developed or worked on or a combination of all that through their life to the point where you’re recognizing.
The goodness of God in that person, the attributes of God in that person, and you want to be more like God, we’re like the savior Jesus Christ, as it’s manifested through the gifts that that person has has displayed or have embodied moving forward. So all of these gifts we’ve talked about today, they’re not random things that are out there. They’re actually. Attributes that are perfected in God, they’re attributes of Christ this this whole idea is an invitation for us to come and to Christ to become more like him.
Every one of these gifts, whether you take the conspicuous or the less conspicuous gifts, they’re all invitations to become more like the savior.
I like the word emulate. Yes, I have a again, a neighbor who emulates Christ every single Sunday. She takes a meal over to our neighbors across the street who are not Latter Day Saints who are in there. She’s 90 or husband’s a few years younger, and because of their situation and condition, she takes them dinner. I notice that she emulates Christ want a gift of compassion, of love, of neighborly concern, a gift of the spirit.
It’s what the savior would do in that setting. Emulating the savior. I recognize that it says verse 11 or all have not every gift given under them. Certainly you don’t get everything and we at least have one. But I think the president of the church is entitled to all the manifestations of the gifts of the spirit. And again, that’s so huge based upon our discussion. I think it’s very large. But it’s interesting. In verse twenty nine, it says that under some it may be given to have all those gifts that there may be ahead in order that every member may be profited thereby.
And then I look in the section one or seven, verse ninety, let’s start in verse ninety one and again the duty of the President of the Office of the High Priesthood President Church is to preside over the whole church and to be like under Moses. Behold, here is wisdom to be a sinner, a revelator, a translator and a prophet having all the gifts of God which he bestows upon the head of the church. I’ve always thought about putting together, at least for the life of Joseph Smith, an article or something on his manifestations of the gifts of the spirit.
I think he he prophesied he feels he’s healed. He’s done it all and probably more. But I think you look at our present prophet and look at all the prophets. They have that entitlement, if you will, to manifest those gifts under the church so that there may be ahead. And what a blessing it is.
It adds more more power when we say we think the oh, God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days to know that he has given some special powers and abilities and gifts to to those who lead us at those levels. It makes it makes it easier for us to move forward with faith in Christ. Now, to finish off our discussion of the gifts of the spirit, I thought it might be interesting to tie us back in to how Paul concluded his discussion of the gifts, the spirit back in First Corinthians twelve.
After discussing that list of those specific gifts, he then talks about the church as a body and he talks about the eye of the body, the ear, the hand, the foot and how a body is most successful is most most healthy and most capable when all of the members of the body are working and doing their job as they were appointed. I think that’s an interesting connection that Paul helps us make between our membership as a as a community of believers in the church and the gifts of the spirit that are given that we shouldn’t look around in comparison and say, well, I don’t have the gifts that she has and I don’t have the the gifts those brethren over there have in this group over here, and that families got all these other gifts and I don’t have a comparison in that context is the same thing as Paul uses of the I saying to the rest of the members of the body, I’m better than you or or maybe the hand saying, well, I’m not as good as the the foot because he has more power to govern where we go.
It’s this idea of don’t compare, be grateful for who you are in the family, in the church and be the best version of you that you can possibly be. And that’s good enough. God will carry forth his kingdom.
This body of Christ will move forward more beautifully if you if you accentuate the wonderful gifts. And work on seeking what are whatever gifts the Holy Ghost inspires you to seek and you move forward in faith.
That’s a great, great analogy. I think what’s interesting is just think in your own ward how many spiritual gifts are exercised or given to a community of award award community of 400 members. Think of a steak, think of the entire church and how all of those collectively can bless the lives of other people in and outside the church. What a difference a world is because of the collective gifts of the Latter day Saints.
Powerful. And isn’t it amazing that the Lord Jesus Christ chooses to build up his kingdom and to do his work and to perform his miracles and the marvelous work in The Wonder? Through imperfect instruments and tools like you and me and all of us together, that he gives us just enough just what we need to be able to build up that part of the kingdom and we just keep moving forward in faith trusting him. I love I love the fact that he’s giving us opportunities to learn and grow through these through these manifestations of the spirit in our life now.
We’ve got section forty seven and forty eight, section forty seven, in quick summary is John Witmer.
Whoo hoo! He goes way back that Witmer family. There they are with us from the beginning.
And Joseph comes to him because Oliver, who used to be the historian, is he’s kind of a long ways away.
A mission in Missouri. So Joseph comes to is his friend John Witmer and says, I want you to be the church historian now. And what was John’s response?
Well, maybe I could just give a little background. So here John Witmer is one of the Witmer clan. There’s the Christian Peter, John and David and of course, their father, Peter Witmer, senior Mary musclemen. We could talk about their wives. We even have Hyrum Paige, married to Catherine Wittmer. So this family is is very well closely connected to the early beginnings of the church. Joseph finishes the translation of the Book of Mormon at their home.
I think Joseph clearly saw the contributions John Witmer could make while living with the Witmer family. And almost immediately he begins to be used. John Witmer, as a scribe or a clerk or a recorder, as you mentioned, Tyler, in eighteen thirty October 1830, Oliver Coutry goes with the missionaries, the layman makes the connections and in Ohio and of course, moves on to Missouri. And John Witmer was used to write many of the revelations and and record for Joseph Smith.
And so in March, he comes to the John Dye and says, you know, I really need a little more help here. I like you as a recorder, but I need you as a historian.
And he’s he’s very ambivalent about he can do the recording. He doesn’t mind transcribing, but writing history is another thing. And he basically says, I don’t think I’ll do it. But if you can get a revelation on it, maybe that would help give me the confidence I need. And sure enough, Joseph did. And there it is, verse one, section 47. It is expedient in me that my servant John should write and keep a regular history.
And there is a Newt. That’s the new calling. And it’s just you, my sermon, Joseph, in transcribing all things which shall be given unto you until he is called to further duties. And again, very nice and to you that he can lift up his voice. You can preach, continue to preach. But the reason for this calling verse three and again, I say to you that it shall be appointed and to keep to keep the church record in history continually for all the records I have appointed to another office.
OK, so Oliver is further away, but Oliver is going to get a new colony. He’s going to get some more gets released from this front and sustained to a new calling, which happens all the time.
Sure. So the interesting thing here, I like the words, the phrase a regular history. And John, John did keep a history. Now he he doesn’t start it until a little bit later. A few months later, he backs up and talks about the missions and ammonites. But he actually got a book out, a bound book to write this history in. And at the very top, it says, History of John Wittmer kept by command. I think he may have met commandment, but he begins keeping this record.
But he did only so sporadically and by eighteen thirty eight he had only written eighty five pages. I have to give him credit for that.
There’s some wonderful, powerful, important material there.
But then he’s excommunicated. On March 10th, Joseph asks for the book back and for the book. We need your history. He didn’t give it to him. Obviously he’s a little bit put off. Yeah. What’s interesting is the church will move on to Nauvoo and after the martyrdom, he added some more three more chapters, 20 through 20 to another nine oh, excuse me, another eleven pages. And so that volume is only ninety six pages. And so is it complete.
Well, not really. Is it important. Absolutely. That book he retained that book in his possession until 1878. That’s when he dies. His wife Sarah gives that to David Wittmer down in Richmond, Missouri. And David Wittmer keeps it until eighteen eighty eight and he dies and he gives it to his son, David Jay Wittmer and David Jay Wittmer ended up passing. He passed and passed away in eighteen ninety five and then he gave it to George twice.
Who was David Whitmore’s grandson. And in 19 to George twice sold it to the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. Now the community of Christ. So we don’t have that record as in our collection. But the good thing is that record has since been transcripts of that have been published in various forms. But that’s part of the Joseph Smith papers. And they’re in their assigned histories volume. So we have access to it. We’ve had access to it, but now we have it in our own printed edition of the Joseph Smith papers.
So he didn’t quite keep a continual history, but we have to thank him for what he did.
That’s beautiful. So as we as we close this section, for me, one of the important takeaway lessons that applies to us in the twenty first century is that when we’re moving the kingdom of God forward, there’s a big difference between a leader of the church coming as a friend to somebody saying, hey, I got this calling, I want you to fill or this duty I need you to fulfill for me something very different about that versus prayerfully counseling as a presidency or whoever has that right and authority to receive revelation for that that level of the church organization to know through the power of the Holy Ghost what the savior wants done and then to come in the name of the Lord and extend that calling in behalf of the Lord.
And then. Hopefully good things happen. Hopefully I can fulfill that magnify that calling now the final section, just a few few moments on Section forty eight. What what would be the critical parts of Section forty eight for for people to understand.
So this is this is kind of historical. There is some good counsel and advice for all of us in this, and I think we can pick that out quite easily. But the point is we’re planning on having the New York Saints know that the church, the entire church has been asked and commanded by God in section thirty seven, thirty eight to move to the Ohio.
Well, they’re going to have to sell their property, this is ST’s and Colesville and Fayette OMYA in Manchester, but they’re anticipating they will they will come Josef’s in anticipation. They will come during the next couple of months, which they do. And by the first of June 18. Thirty one, these groups have come. There’s about 200 members and these members are all of a sudden inundating Kirtland and surrounding areas. And so there’s the big question mark. What do we do when they come?
And so the Lord indicates to them it’d be great if you Ohio Saints could welcome them and maybe you have land or you have room in your homes. Bring them to help us out, help them out. But at the same time, where is the goal? Joseph knows from Section twenty eight that the location of Zion is on the borders by the laminitis that’s in western Missouri. So the anticipation is once these New York Saints arrive, there will be they’re going to hold a conference which is held June 3rd through 6th, and then they’re going to go down to Missouri.
A small group are going actually over two dozen elders are going to go down to Missouri. And while they’re the lord would locate indicate to Joseph Smith where the location of Zion is. So he’s saying in the meantime, let’s help him. We can if you don’t, don’t worry about it. But the eastern branches could also use their own money to buy their property. But I love the verse. For this practical for all of us. Tyler, this is as applicable today as it ever was in eighteen thirty one and it’s just good common sense.
It must needs be necessary that you save all the money that you can and that you obtain all that you can in righteousness. Now, of course, the purpose of that is so that they can purchase an inheritance in Zion, in Missouri. But the application should be very open to all of us. We need to have reserves there. But just to let you know, the church did garner funds and moneys and through the agents of basically the church agent, which is Algernon’s in Gilbert and Bishop Edward Partridge during the next almost three years.
Eighteen, thirty one, two, three, thirty three. The church did buy land in Jackson County from funds generated by the Saints and Consecration, and they were able to purchase almost twenty one hundred acres of property over five thousand dollars. So that was considerable amounts of money. But what I try to emphasize to my students is that Edward Partridge’s, Joseph Smith, Algernon’s and Gilbert tried to fulfill the revelation as Lord commanded in Section forty eight. That’s beautiful.
So as we conclude this particular study of section forty six, forty seven, forty eight, we want to finish with reassurance that there is a God in heaven. He does know what he’s doing and he could have he could have made this unfolding restoration so much easier, so much simpler and with so many more heavenly manifestations. But he chose to do it with people in there, in with their gifts as well as their struggles and the opposition. And I love just watching this church as it keeps coming west and keeps growing and they keep solving all these problems.
I love looking for the hand of God, guiding them, shaping them for giving them, empowering them and brothers and sisters. It’s no different today than it was back then because this is just still I mean, we’re two hundred and some odd years old, but it’s still just the beginning of what God is going to do on the Earth with with his kingdom. And we get to be a part of it. And that’s a privilege. Know that he lives and know that he loves you.
And we leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
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.
Come, Follow Me
Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 17:
“My Law to Govern My Church”
Doctrine and Covenants 41–44
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 LDS Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) 27-28 (Mar 15-21) – Keys Please – powered by Happy Scribe
It’s September 1830 in Fayette, New York. The church is only six months old and Joseph is facing a crisis.
His good friend Hiram Page is using a seer stone and claiming to receive revelations for the fledgling church.
New members are wondering, can everyone take turns receiving revelations for the church like some religions do, or should there be only one spokesman for the Lord?
Now, her rampage was one of the eight witnesses of the golden plates and was married to the Whitmer daughter, Katherine. They lived in the Whitmer home when they heard and accepted the gospel.
But problems arose when he professed to receive revelations through the Seer Stone. He’d found a wait. Hold on. What is a seer stone? Well, a true seer stone is a divine instrument like the Urim and Thummim for receiving revelation from the Lord by someone called as a seer and revelator.
These stones have been used throughout time in both ancient Israel and ancient America.
Think of them kind of like reading messages on your cell stone, then your cell phone. Joseph often used a seer stone to receive revelations and to help with translating. Now, sometimes it was hard to read so similar to shading our cell phones in the sunlight so we can read them. He’d put the stone and a hat to more clearly view the messages. Unfortunately, Satan, the master deceiver, had twisted this practice to deceive and confuse these early church members with revelations that sounded real but were mixed with lies.
Many members, including Oliver Cowdery, believed Hiram Page’s revelations about the establishment of Zion and the organization of the church, even though they contradicted some things found in the New Testament and Joseph’s revelations. Now, remember, these brand new members came from diverse religious backgrounds and they were still figuring out right and wrong.
Understandably, a very concerned Joseph spent that night agonizing over what he should do.
And in Section twenty eight, the Lord gives his clear answer. Yes, even though we can and should each receive personal revelations for ourselves, our family and our callings, only his called prophet can receive revelations for his entire church.
Mercifully, then the law tells Oliver to take Hyrum aside and lovingly teach him that he’d been deceived. Yeah, not an easy conversation. And then a few days later, this group of new members gathered together in the Wittmer home for the second conference of the church. They discussed Hiram’s false revelations. And while it took some convincing, all, including Hyrum, agreed they were false. Crisis averted. The rest of the conference lasted three days, filled with peace, hope and charity.
The Lord taught them that everything in his church should be done in order and by common consent, through raising one’s hand. Now, think about it, several times a year at Warde stake and general conferences, we agree by common consent to sustain and support our profit apostle’s and local church leaders.
Now, we aren’t voting for or nominating them, but the Lord allows us to support or sustain his work and those he’s called to lead it. Is there any other organization in the whole world that could have the vast majority of its members fully sustain their leaders several times a year? Yeah, lots of governments, stockbrokers, businesses and boy bands who would probably fail quickly.
In Sections 27 and 28, the Lord further explained several of the keys necessary to run his kingdom on Earth. These crucial keys were given to Joseph by several ancient prophets who visited him.
So does our prophet carry around a really big key ring, you know, like a janitor and no priest. And keys aren’t physical keys you can hold in your hand, but our authority from the Lord to lead his work.
Think of it this way.
If you have a big, beautiful car sitting in your garage, it’s not much use to you unless you have the power keys provide.
I mean, you can’t drive it, roll down the window or listen to music without the keys. Hey, Dad, can I have the keys to the car? No, you’re only seven. The gospel is the same. You can’t confirm someone unless you have the keys or authority to confirm and you can’t receive revelation for the entire church unless you have those keys without proper priesthood keys. You’re just sitting in the car.
Great to look at, but no power.
Speaking of keys to confirm, although Emma Smith and Sally Knight were baptized in June, they weren’t confirmed members yet because of the intense persecution that kept disrupting the meetings.
Weeks later, when Sally and her husband Newell visited the Smiths and Harmony, they again tried to have a confirmation meeting. Joseph wanted to follow Christ’s example in the Book of Mormon of administering the sacrament before giving the gift of the Holy Ghost. So he prepared for a sacrament service by going out to buy wine for the meeting. I know what you’re thinking, but look, they didn’t have the word of wisdom yet. A short distance from his home, an angel stopped him and said, don’t buy any wine from your enemies.
There were definitely bad guys hanging out that wanted to harm them.
Mormons the angel also explained that what they ate or drank for the sacrament doesn’t really matter as long as it’s done with a proper authority and with an eye single to God’s glory.
So Joseph quickly returned home where they made some wine and the sacrament and confirmations finally took place.
Now, obviously, today we use water and some people use rice cakes or crackers instead of bread.
But what really matters is we all do it in remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice as we follow his example.
Well, tune in next time when a very heated discussion between six of the elders leads to a very eye opening revelation. Thanks for watching. If you feel like this video has helped you on your path towards truth and Christian discipleship, share it and subscribe to the channel and click on the little alarm bell to get notified when new videos come out.
Most importantly, go study the scriptures for yourself.