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Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 60-62, May 31—Jun 6) – 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, Section 60 through sixty two.
So for today, let’s begin with a quick overview. You have this group of people, lots of missionaries, who by revelation were commanded to go to independence and they were commanded to take various routes to get there. Some of them were even told to go by way of Detroit, a much longer route. And the whole idea being to preach the gospel along the way. Brothers and sisters, this is a this is a journey of somewhere over a hundred miles, roughly fourteen hundred kilometers to much longer, depending on how far they spread out.
This is a long journey. And the reality is you have your destination. But if we’re not careful, we put so much effort on the destination that we forget the lessons that God has to teach us along the journey. And that’s what he’s that’s what he’s put the focus on with this group, is make sure you’re preaching the gospel and spreading out along the way. Don’t just run as fast as you can to get to Independence, Missouri. As we go through section sixty, sixty one and sixty two, we learned some interesting things because now these sections are given beginning in independence as we now turn our attention to go back to Kirtland, another journey, a very long journey awaits us and God is giving some directions.
So it begins on August 8th of eighteen thirty one with Section 60 in independence. Taylor, you’re from the Midwest. What is early August like weather-wise?
It is hot and humid and there are a ton of mosquitoes. I grew up in Minnesota. In fact, we jokingly would say the mosquitoes are the state bird of Minnesota and it’s just tough. And I actually was small world. I was born in Jackson County, Missouri, not far from independence. And it’s a very lovely place. The trees are green, but I am very grateful to live in the latter days when there’s air conditioning. It’s one of the greatest blessings I think, that I’ve ever experienced in my life.
And these people don’t have an interstate system. The roads at the time aren’t paved. There’s there’s no air conditioning. This is this is a tough journey. It’s not sometimes we read sections like this. We read stories like this, and we forget the fact that, wait, they they were paddling in canoes down the Missouri River to get from Kansas City Independence area today all the way over to St. Louis, where they would then be able to take the Mississippi and then the Ohio River up to Cincinnati.
And then there they’re going to be out on the water, in the heat with mosquitoes and other bugs and storms and struggles. And they don’t have a hotel to check into every night. They don’t have somebody to provide them with breakfast, lunch and dinner, all of the physical needs. They have to take care of them out here in the wilds to provide for for their safety and their their travel. This is a very difficult journey going either direction and the word journey actually comes from the word day, right?
It’s day by day and every day here, actually, you see some interesting experiences where we were talking about this before that. How many of you have ever been on a family adventure, a family vacation or a family outing? And there was some conflict or disagreement. And you got to realize that these men have been gone from their families. Now, they left, what, June, July they’ve been gone for? They’ve been gone for a couple of months.
They’re out in the howling wilderness. I mean, this is basically the exceedingly exciting frontier of the American West. And there are just no physical comforts. And there’s all this concern about what do we do? And we’ll see. It creates some conflict that God has to intervene with some revelation to give them some perspective about the day to day experience of life, about pursuing your journey, staying focused on God, and finding a way to overcome with humility your own personal weaknesses, the fact that we’re all human nature.
I look at these guys and I think, you know, I’ve been on long trips before with a nice air conditioned car and I can pull over and get food whenever I want all the water I want. And I just don’t know how well I would have done.
Now, this is this is a difficult setting. So with that foundation, let’s jump in. We’re in independence. It’s August 8th. Some of these missionaries that have made this journey, they’re getting restless. They want to get home. They want to return to their family. And so Section 60 is given to this group. Now, the caveat is there’s an entire other group of elders who have not yet arrived in Independence, Hiram’s group that went north, further north into Detroit and then down days.
They still haven’t come. They’re not here. And partly because they’ve actually been preaching the gospel and taking a longer route to get there. And partly because John Murdoch got sick and maybe some other sickness along the way delayed them, but they haven’t yet gotten here. So the group we’re talking about here is a group that came fairly quickly to independence. And remember, they were told to preach the gospel along the way, spread out. Look at our section 60, verse one, behold the CSA Lord onto the elders of his church who are to return speedily to the land from whence they came.
Behold, it pleases me that you have come up hither. So there are some that he wants to return speedily. And we’ll talk about that a little later. Sidney Gilberts and W.W. Phelps for some specific reasons, as well as Joseph Smith, Sidney Rechtin and Oliver Cowdrey. Welcome first to. But with some I am not well pleased for they will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them because of the fear of man and into such, for my anger is kindled against them brothers and sisters.
For me, the essence of who is tied into some things that the tailor has emphasized multiple times in the past, this covenant obligation that’s given to us from God. It’s rooted in here in verse to this idea that God gives us all of these amazing promises and blessings that flow from establishing that covenant with him. If we’re his people and he’s our God, he gives us land, he gives us priesthood power, he gives us posterity, he gives us possessions.
And with all of those things that he’s given us and all of that knowledge comes a responsibility. He doesn’t want us to have all of that and then selfishly hide it and keep it to yourself.
I love this, Kim. Have I done any good before I caught some of it. Let’s consider this that what God is asking us to do in this case, he wanted people to open their mouth to preach the gospel. I think a larger principle that any ability you have to bless someone else’s life and to do good for them, you shouldn’t hide that. You shouldn’t keep it back. And so this him have I done any good in the world today?
Have I helped anyone in need? Have I cheered up a sad and made someone feel glad? If not, I have failed indeed. Has anyone’s burden been lighter today because I was willing to share have the second the one even helped on their way when they needed my help? Was I there then wake up and do something more. The dream of your mansion above doing good is a pleasure. A joy beyond measure, a blessing of duty and love.
So when I read verse two of section 60, that’s what comes to mind, is that these beautiful words of this him to remind me that it is not my job to save everybody in the world. That’s God’s job. But it is an invitation for me on a daily basis to see how I can share God’s love with others and any talent or time or ability that I have to lift others and to help their lives be better. I shouldn’t hold back and I should offer freely what God has given to me, and that is God’s expectation.
He gives to us freely that we might do the same to others.
So now and keep in mind, this group that hurried many of them didn’t pause to open their mouths or to share. And so that’s specifically in this target audience here. But we can apply it to us today that we we share that that light and goodness that God has given to us for three. And it shall come to pass if they are not more faithful and to me it shall be taken away even that which they have. So there’s a consequence that he attaches to this idea of if we selfishly hold on and don’t share it with others, he says it’s going to be taken away.
And then he makes it very clear his authority to do that. Verse four for I, the Lord rule in the heavens above and among the armies of the earth. And in the day when I shall make up my jewels, all men shall know what it is that we speak with the power of God. Now we shift. Look at verse five. This is a beautiful concept that’s going to repeat three times in the lesson today. But verily I will speak to you concerning your journey onto the land from which you came for from whence you came.
Let there be a craft made or bought, as seems you. Good. It matters not unto me. And take your journey speedily for the place which is called St. Louis. So the Mississippi River is over here, running north south by St. Louis and the Missouri River running just north of Independence is going to make its way over to then dump into the Mississippi. And so the Lord’s telling them you can work your way all the way across the state of Missouri whether you go and buy a watercraft or whether you make a watercraft.
It matters not unto me. Let me give you an example that my state, President Clinton, Mortensen uses frequently, and I’ve shared it before, but it’s worth repeating here. He he draws our stake or our area here in Springville on the board, and then he draws the temple. That we go to the Provos City Center temple and he asks people how they drive to the temple and different people drive different routes to get to the temple. And then he asks the profound question, which one is the right way, which which is the right way to go to the temple?
And the obvious answer is there isn’t a right way. It’s just get to the temple. I think that might be the essence of what God is saying here in verse five. It doesn’t matter whether you go and purchase a watercraft or whether you take a little bit of time and make a watercraft that matters. Not to me. Just get a watercraft and get on the journey, get down the road or down the river. In this case, sometimes brothers and sisters, if we’re not careful, we will put less emphasis on what we’re trying to accomplish and we will turn the how into doctrine as if there’s only one right way to do things.
This is how you have to do it. And I think the Lord’s making it clear in section sixty, sixty one or sixty two he’s going to repeat this phrase. It matters not unto me. Just figure it out, part of the beauty of life and agency is this freedom to explore the how as we try to discover what God wants us to do. And in this case, we know what the journey it is, get home, but figure out the best way to make that happen.
You know, the first time I really paid attention to this lesson that, God, it mattered not to him. How we make our journey, unless he explicitly tells us, is years ago when I was an undergraduate, I was roommates with one of my best friends is my cousin, Joel Bolstad. And still to this day, he inspires me. He’s very thoughtful and he learns through through his mind and through his spirit. And I remember even as an undergraduate, just watching all the different ways that he was learning things.
And I was impressed with his spirit, his ability to have the spirit guide him in a lot of ways, where one day he came home from classes and he said, you know, I learned a really interesting lesson today. And he’s somebody who always has a prayer in his heart. And he said, I was kind of praying. I was I was biking to the campus like, where should I park my bike? And when I got closer, God, like, it doesn’t matter.
Just park your bike and don’t be late to class. And Joel reminded me that some things just don’t matter that much. Now, if there was someone who truly needed some help, God likely would have inspired him to park his bike in a certain spot. For the most part, it just doesn’t matter whether you park in that spot or this spot or over here. And I remember just being impressed that God has sent us to this earth so we can practice our agency, we can choose, we can learn, we can grow.
And if God had to command us in all things, it actually would compromise our agency. There are times that God does need very specific things to happen and he wants us to then follow instructions. And that then usually is a very clear we have the scriptures of modern day prophets to provide that. And so in your own life, you might ask yourself, where is God been explicitly clear about things that I should be doing and then be joyfully happy that God has given your agency to go pursue good as you see fit.
Now, he gives some other directions to specifically Joseph and Oliver and Sidney Rigdon in verse six that they need to go on a faster track to get to Cincinnati, where he wants them to preach, repent repentance to that particular city. But the rest in verse eight. The rest you take their journey from St. Louis to buy to and preach the word along the way by land and take your time teaching the gospel along the way. Then he gives some instructions about money being given by Edward Partridge, the bishop, before they leave, and this is an interesting concept that this money has been consecrated to the church.
Edward Partridge’s, the bishop is in charge of of those temporal affairs, like our presiding bishopric today, to give certain amounts of money as needed. Look at the wording here. Let my servant Edward Partridge in part of the money which I have given him a portion onto my elders who are commanded to return. And he is able let him return it, by the way, of the agent. And he that is not of him. It is not required.
So the the counsel about what the amount is. There’s beautiful truth in this. That revelation is scattered among us that we counsel and we say, what do we think the needs are going to be? Can you give me that amount, maybe a little bit more in case there’s an unforeseen trouble along the way? And at the end, it’s not a use it or lose it principle here. It’s a I won’t spend it unless I need to. And when I get back to Kirtland, if there’s extra, I’ll give it to your agent, Sidney Gilbert, and that money will return back.
There’s a there’s a beautiful principle of of industry and and saving there rather than just squandering and spending it because I’ve got it that that would bless. The church has employed for decades and it’s been a huge blessing to us financially as a whole. Now look at verse twelve. He now speaks to this group who’s here about the group who has not yet arrived. And now I speak of the residents who are to come onto this land. Behold, they have been sent to preach my gospel among the congregations of the wicked.
Wherefore I give to them a commandment. Thus, thou shalt not idle away. They time neither shout thou berry. They tell that it may not be known. And then he tells them after they’ve come here. After they arrive. So this revelations given so. So Edward Partridge and others here have this revelation so that when they do arrive they can say, Oh, here’s what the Lord wanted you to do. They’re going to have a little conference and and celebrate coming to Zion.
And then they’re going to speedily return to Kirtland again, doing the same thing, spreading out, preaching the gospel along the way. So they got the revelation on the 8th of August to leave. So on the ninth of August, they launch a canoe in the the Missouri River and we’re off. So the first day it’s great. We’re paddling down the river. We’re making some good progress. And they in their journals, they even report having a lovely meal of wild turkey at night.
So that’s a good day. And then they sleep and the next day they go. So now this is the tenth and then the eleventh, it’s day three when things get really, really interesting because the Missouri River is known as the river destruction. In fact, when this revelation was first written down, it was recorded as taking place on the river destruction and then in parentheses or Missouri. It it’s a very perilous waterway with a lot of submerged trees called Sawyers that they’re stuck, they’ve floated down the river and now they’ve gotten lodged in the bottom.
And you can’t see them until you come over the top and it can capsize a canoe or ruin a steam boat paddle wheel or cause a lot of of destruction for people. That’s what they run into at a particular, particularly difficult bend in the river. There you can picture it. These are not people who have been raised in canoes or swimming or on waterways. They’re farmers for the most parts or printers or these these trades. They’re not probably the most skilled water craftsmen as far as guiding these this canoe.
So you can picture people saying, no, you’re doing it wrong. You need to paddle over on this side or you need to push off there. It’s your fault. No, if only you would have done this, we wouldn’t have hit this. You can see how these kinds of struggles begin where we think we haven’t figured out and other people don’t. And we want to tell them how to do the job so that it fixes the problem. Well, they end up on the 11th with some pretty serious discord and some some fighting.
And here’s some of what was recorded the morning after they left independence, the conduct of some of the elders displeased all over who uttered a malediction, something like as the Lord liveth, if you do not behave better, some accident will be follow you in the afternoon of the third day while negotiating some treacherous, treacherous waters, Joseph took command and issued some orders which were resented by the Brethren in one of the canoes, and they refused to obey. And in so doing, they became tangled in the brush and almost capsized.
This frightened Joseph, who ordered them all ashore while some of the brethren felt they should continue. Once unsure, tempers flared and words were exchanged. Joseph and Oliver were accused of being highly imperious and quite dictatorial. Joseph was also called a coward. After much emotional discussion, apologies were made and a reconciliation of sorts reached that. I grew up in the Midwest. About 15 minutes from where I grew up. There was a large river. In fact, it’s so large it’s a mile and a half wide at points.
Most people never even heard of this river unless you’re from the Midwest. It’s called the St. Croix and it flows into the Mississippi. I mean, these are mighty massive rivers. And if you don’t know how to swim, this is nothing to take lightly. And I totally understand. I mean, I’ve been on board canoe trips and I understand the conflict that can break out when a group of people who an hour before actually were all good friends. When there’s a little bit of stress going on and people’s lives might be in danger, things flare up.
But also love we’ll see here is that God is very merciful. He calls people to repentance. He asked them to be humble. But we’ll see several occasions where God says these things are forgiven. It’s amazing. These are just normal humans who are following nature on a day to day basis, make mistakes and forget that they should be seeking for higher things. And it may not treat their friends or family members properly, but God’s like, OK, you recognize you did something wrong, but I can forgive you.
So as part of this event on the afternoon of of the 11th, when all of this is taking place, they’ve pulled the canoes to the side. They’re now going to to have this struggle on the Bank of the river. W.W. Phelps at that point reports seeing the devil riding on the face of the water on this Missouri River. Nobody else saw in vision what W.W. Phelps did. Many of them reported hearing something going. And so then they they finally left.
The tempers calmed down. They they resolve the struggle and the concern. And the next morning on the 12th of August, the Lord gives section sixty one. So it was the day before when we had all that struggle on the river and now this beholden Hakin under the voice of him who has all power. That’s important to note, considering that the day before Phelps saw the devil. And if we’re not careful brothers and sisters, that will cause us to now fear the water.
God doesn’t want to increase your fear. He wants you to increase your faith and decrease your fear. If we’re spending too much time worrying about what Satan can do, we’re going to be spending less of our time and energy and effort focusing on what God does do, not just what he can do, but what he is doing in our life. So he has all power. He is from everlasting to everlasting, even Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
OK, look at verse to behold, verily, the sea of the Lord unto you or ye elders of my church who are assembled upon this spot whose sins are now forgiven you for I the Lord forgives sins and a merciful unto those who confess their sins with humble hearts. You’ll notice he didn’t say I’m merciful to those who never sin. I’m merciful to those who never mess up. I’m merciful to those who always say exactly the right thing in exactly the right spirit.
In the right tone. Because there was only one person who ever fits that description and none of us is Jesus that was he’s the only one who is perfect. So I love the fact that he’s merciful to us. If we’ll just confess our sins with humble hearts. Apparently, this group finally got to that point where they said, you’re right, that we got caught in the heat of the moment and the tension and the pressure of that experience. And that was poorly done.
Please forgive me and God does forgive them. Now, look at verse five. I, the Lord, have decreed in my anger many destructions upon the water, Jane, especially upon these waters. I, I don’t know all of the significance of this brothers and sisters, but the Missouri River is even even to Lewis and Clark, who navigated this river going the other direction to go clear up and even into Yellowstone and and far into the West. This was not a pleasant river for them.
The people who lived back then, they said the river was angry. It looked like it was roiling and ready to to destroy you. I don’t know how much time or effort or energy we should spend focusing on what God decreed about the Missouri River, specifically back in eighteen thirty one for today. But it was a big deal to them because it was a means of travel east and west. And he’s going to tell the saints that are going to be coming to independence that they can use the canals, but not to use these rivers for travel because it was dangerous.
And quite frankly, often there would be entire boats filled with people that would go down and lives would be lost. And and so the Lord’s warning them against that. How much does that apply in the twenty first century to us whenever questions like that come up? I would say, when is the last time you heard God’s prophets and apostles warning against that or teaching a doctrine about that or giving us more light and knowledge about that? And the fact is, Taylor, I can’t remember the last general conference where we were told to avoid the water.
And actually it can turn into some funny or perhaps some embarrassing situations. I grew up in Minnesota. Almost all my friends were not members of the church, but they were very we were great friends. They actually respected that. I was a member of the church. And I remember I was about to head off on my mission and we’re golfing. And we were talking about me being on a mission. And they’d heard some rule that missionaries couldn’t swim. And they’re like, oh, tell us more about that.
I mean, these are good, smart teenagers. They’re just curious about what it means to be a missionary. And I said some wild thing like Satan controls the waters. Luckily for me, I had friends that knew me well enough that they were willing to put up with a couple of weird comments like that. Satan does not control the waters. God is control. He has our power. If if Satan was really in control of the water, as I erroneously thought, why would we ever baptize people in water or partake of the water of the sacrament or ever shower or bathe, for that matter.
So this again, is what happens when we look at verses that sometimes in isolation and we start creating grand theologies far beyond what God intended. And way back in eighteen, thirty one, this was the main highway to get back and forth from one end of Missouri to the other. And God saying, I don’t need a bunch of my saints dying on the river. So I just want you to be careful. So you might consider going another way and it’s what a wise God would do.
And in our day we have modern day prophets who provide us guidance so that we also will not be disrupted by the destruction that is around us, so that we can pursue on the journey, pressing forward and helping to spread the gospel.
Now, one of the the ironies of this is it was W.W. Phelps who on the 11th saw the destroyer on the water. And there are two people who are going to be commanding, commanded by God to continue their journey speedily on that very river all the way down to St. Louis. Everybody else has to get out and walk. But two people, W.W. Phelps, the guy who saw the devil, and Sydney Gilberts, who they need to get back to come very quickly for specific reasons and purposes.
Notice first, 10 brothers and sisters in as much as they are faithful, they shall be preserved and I the Lord will be with them. It doesn’t matter if all of the hosts of hell are riding on the Missouri River. If you have the Lord with them, they’re going to be OK and they were OK and they went quickly on their journey.
And I see it as God wanting to build the faith of W.W. Phelps. Like, OK, you had this vision of the destroyer. Well, let me show you who I am. And he spends I don’t know how many days on the river, which is a pretty called the mighty wide Missouri. And I it’d be interesting to go back in his journals and find out did he feel like his faith and confidence in God the father was increased because of his salvation.
That experience on that journey.
Beautiful. Now look at verse 18. Now I give one to you, a commandment that what I say and to one I say into all these shall forewarn your brother concerning these waters that they come not in, journeying upon them less their faith fail and they are caught in snares. So that’s what we’ve been talking about, is he’s saying we’re going to forewarn everybody else, don’t come on these these particular waters. There are other water systems you can use.
But just in the eighteen thirties, don’t come west on the Missouri River. Look at verse 19 and 20. I, the Lord have decreed and the destroyer right is upon the face thereof and I revoke not the decree. I the Lord was angry with you yesterday, but today my is turned away. Huh, this isn’t the first time the Lord Jesus Christ has said. Similar things like that, if you if you turn back to Isaiah Chapter fifty four or in your Book of Mormon, look at Jesus himself delivering the words of Isaiah.
Fifty four in thirty five. Twenty two, he says verse seven for a small moment, have I forsaken thee? But with a great Merce’s will I gather the in a little wrath. I hid my face from the for a moment but with everlasting kindness. Will I have mercy on the sea as the Lord thy Redeemer? I love that. I love that concept that I’m not going to hold you hostage for the rest of your life to those negative experiences on August 11th.
August 11th is not going to define you and me and our relationship, he says. I’ve turned away my anger. You can now move forward on your journey, brothers and sisters. This is this is an object lesson in story form of the covenant path of the first principles and ordinances, the gospel trusting, having faith in Christ, repenting of our sins, acknowledging with humility that we aren’t who we need to be yet. And the Lord forgiving us that that renewal of those baptism covenant covenants where he turns away his anger and we are allowed to move forward with the help of the Holy Ghost as we endure to the end.
Now, look at verse twenty one. We’re for those concerning whom I have spoken, that should take their journey in haste. Again, I sense you let them take their journey in haste. So be quick. Don’t don’t hesitate. Twenty two, and it matter if not to me after a little if it’s so B that they fill their mission, whether they go by water or by land, let this be as it is made known unto them according to their judgments.
Hereafter, he doesn’t say, I’m going to have to compel you in every teeny tiny step you take along the way. He’s saying it matters, not under me. This is a no to use your agency when you go by land or whether you go by water, your command to get there quickly. This group don’t don’t hesitate along the way. Now jump down to verse twenty five or twenty four, behold, I, the Lord of A pointed a way for the journey of my saints.
And behold, this is the way that after they leave the canal, they shall journey by land. And as much as they are commanded to journey and go up to the Land of Zion, and they shall do like unto the children of Israel pitching their tents along the way. Or by the way, can you see the connection here? They’re going to take some canals and then by land, they’re going to be doing like the ancient Israelites pitching their tents in the wilderness.
Along the way, the Lord uses ancient prophets and ancient stories of Israel and the gathering of Israel into a promised land. And he’s going to bring to their mind today memories of that from these ancient stories and ancient scriptures to say you’re on a symbolic journey as well to a promised land and you’re going to be like Israel of old sleeping in tents along the way. And it gives us this feeling of connectedness to these people in these prophets through the quarter of time as as we do our best to gather Israel and to gather to the promised land in the stakes of Zion, verse twenty seven, nevertheless, unto whom is given power to command the waters under him.
It is given by the spirit to know all his ways. So he does give power for those who are going to be on the water. You don’t need to be afraid. You don’t need to fear. Now, look at verse thirty six now, verily, I sang to you and what I sang to when I sang to all be of good cheer little children for I am in your midst and I have not forsaken you. Keep keep this in its context.
We’re still sitting in this same spot on the river as the day before all these bad things happened. And he says, I’m in your midst and he just called them little children. Is that to say that the Lord is being derogatory towards them? Is he making fun of them or is it possible that he’s saying, I love little children and little children may be immature in some ways underdeveloped? In some ways they haven’t fully reached their capacity, their potential?
I love the fact that he’s speaking to them in this way, where he’s working with little children so they can then learn and grow and become who they were intended to become and reach their potential. And he tells them in verse three seven, inasmuch as you have humbled yourselves before me, the blessings of the kingdom are yours. I think he just put on a silver platter for us. One of the the secrets, so to speak, of the gospel is you don’t have to be perfect and get it right all the time.
Just be humble, be like a little child who is willing to submit to whatever the parent sees fit to instruct that child with. And you’ll grow. You’re going to get the blessings of the kingdom. So verse thirty eight, gird up your loins, be watchful, be sober, look forward for the coming of the son of man free cometh in an hour that you think not. It’s this idea of you’ve still got a long journey ahead of you little children.
So what do you do. Take one more step, put one more foot in front of another, put another paddle in the water and take another stroke if that’s the way you’re going. And I’m with you. And by the way, was thirty nine Prae always. That you enter not into temptation. I don’t know that God is commanding us every five minutes, kneel down and offer for prayer. I think what he’s saying is, can you just have your life become increasingly more connected with me?
Have your thoughts and your hearts drawn more heavenward and and focused on what you can do to help build my kingdom. And I’ll guide you. I’ll leave you alone. Which now leads us to the 13th of August, which is the next day. So they got this revelation on the 12th at the what is called McKelvey’s Bend, what they’re referring to. And then on the 13th, they get a little further down the river and not on the river, but walking and they run into a particular group of people.
So if you look back at section fifty two, there was a church conference and missionaries are called out, including Hiram Smith with John Murdock and David Wittmer eventually became companions with Harvey Whitlock. And it just so happens that as they were making their way down into Zion to independence, they bump into Joseph Smith and his group coming back. Imagine the joyous reunion. You haven’t seen your brother and other members of the church for months, and you meet him out here in the wilderness and you get this beautiful experience.
And I also love that Hiram gets another section delivered directly to him Section sixty two. And it’s interesting that we haven’t heard from him for a while. Section 11 was in some ways a bit of a patriarchal blessing. And we have this joyous reunion and we hear some interesting principles that we can think about. How do they apply to our lives today? And I’ll just point out, one, I love that God says again, your sins are forgiven.
Again, I think we’re talking about the the power of journeying and not to be fixated on destinations and that many of us have been on journeys. And often conflict arises. And God understands that in the process we’re going to hit up against and have friction moments. And he has to then guide us and teach us that, yes, you can repent and I will forgive you. I just love it. He’s had to say that multiple times. Your sins are forgiven, so keep pressing forward.
I take heart and soul is for all of us in our journey back to God’s presence that he has said to us multiple times, your sins are forgiven. In fact, that is the promise that you get every single week when you partake of the sacrament. He says to you that your sins are forgiven, just like we see in verse three of section sixty two.
And then after, after promising them that their sins are forgiven, given them, he tells them to continue going west to independence, have have this meeting, have this conference with your group and then verse five, then you may return to bear record you even all together or two by two as seems you. Good. It matters not unto me. There’s the third time, section sixty sixty one now sixty two, using this exact phrase, it matters not unto me, brothers and sisters, I think the Lord really is trying to get their attention and by default, what he says and what he says and all he’s saying to us.
Part of wisdom is figuring out what I absolutely need to be guided on versus what I shouldn’t sit and wait for a revelation, but I should simply move forward and do the best I can. A wise person will be able to distinguish the difference between those two and move forward. The Lord loves effort. He rewards effort. We’ve heard that from our profits and apostles. It’s it’s really hard to steer a car that’s in park. It’s really hard to guide a boat with its rudder when it’s not moving.
When a boat or a car is moving forward, then the Lord can help guide us. Some of the most amazing experiences of life come when I’m not sure what I’m doing or or how I’m even doing it, but I’m doing the best I can and I move forward. And then when needs are manifest and the Lord has a specific thing that needs to be accomplished, then the revelation comes. It’s easy to move in those directions when you’re already moving forward on the covenant path.
Notice his the conclusion to verse five, only be faithful and declare declared glad tidings under the inhabitants of the Earth or among the congregations of the wicked. But whether you do that by two, by two or as a whole group, it matters not to me. Just make sure that you’re accomplishing what I want you to accomplish, which is to declare these glad tidings, the good news of the gospel as you go. And he he promises them verse seven.
I, the Lord, I’m willing, if any among you desire to write upon horses or upon mules or in chariots. Are you noticing he’s leaving? He could have said it again, but he didn’t. It matters, not under me. He shall receive this blessing if he receive it from the hand of the Lord with a thankful heart in all things. And then he finishes with Behold the kingdom is yours and behold in law. I am with the faithful always even so.
And now let me pause here. Do you think it would be possible for this group that has taken the long journey and taken their time doing what they were commanded to do back in Section fifty two? Do you think it would be easy for them to throw a pity party and say, well, we did what we were supposed to do? Now, granted, they were delayed a week because of some sickness with John Murdoch. But still, could they say we missed out on all of the exciting reveal and the foundation stone of the temple being laid and the the land of of Zion being dedicated.
And we missed out on all of it because we were doing what we were asked to do. I love the fact that Hiram never seems to to wallow in that mire from from what we can see moving forward. They simply part ways. Joseph’s group and those who are with him continue. E and Hiram and his group continue West and fulfill that assignment. Now. Let me finish with a. With a personal story, let me tell you about Grace.
Some of you think I’m going to talk about the doctrine called Grace, and that will absolutely be a part of this, but I want to tell you about Grace, who happens to be my mother. She was named Grace. My mother gave birth to nine children. I was number seven of the nine, that group of nine kids, and she and my father, they raised us to the best of their ability. And it’s really easy for a younger generation to notice the flaws in an older generation right above them and to point out what they’re doing wrong or where they messed up or where they could have done better.
My mother, she started to experience some things and I don’t know at what point in her life they started to happen because I was born later in the family. She was starting to treat people in a way that even at a young age, I could tell wasn’t wasn’t normal or wasn’t healthy. It wasn’t right. It was later on that she was diagnosed with a personality disorder. And this particular personality disorder meant that she would push people away from her.
She would say things that were really, really mean. She would treat people in ways that would cause them to say, whoa, I’m not I’m not going I’m going to avoid her in the future. And so what happened is her circle of friends and her circle of loved ones got pushed out away from her. This was painful because I watched her get more upset and more angry and more bitter at everybody. And she thought that she was the only one who was still sane and everybody else was going crazy.
It was painful. Because this woman had given her life to raising us and she had served so many people. I can’t tell you how many times we would be ready to eat Sunday dinner and she’d say, no, we’re not eating until you deliver this food to a widower or a widow or somebody who was sick in the neighborhood or in the water, in the steak. But now the older she got, the more those kinds of things went away and bitterness was setting in.
And it confused me and I was frustrated. Then her physical body started to to have more struggles, and my brother and sister in law in Colorado took my mother in for quite a few months, and then we had to bring her out to to Utah again and put her in a care facility. Brothers and sisters, my mother got dementia and we watched her brain capacity decrease in her memory and her ability to think and to communicate decrease. And most people, when they talk about dementia, they talk about what you lose and how sad and how tragic it is to see somebody lose that capacity mentally.
In our family, we look at them and a little differently now because dementia on my mom’s journey of life. Actually cured her personality disorder for the last year of her life. She passed away in July of twenty nineteen, but for the last year and a couple of months of her life, when we had her in a care facility really near our home close by. My wife and my children and I were able to visit her on almost a daily basis, almost every day we were there and when we came into the facility.
She would smile. She would she would get excited to see us things that we had never experienced before as a family. She she was a different person with dementia to the point where now she would hug my wife, she would hug my children. She would she would be delighted to see them rather than angry and upset. Now, what’s the point? Brothers and sisters, I told you at the beginning of sharing this story that I wanted to talk to you about Grace.
And I’ve just told you one little portion of the life of Grace Griffin. But in the process, what I’ve really been telling you is about the grace and the goodness of God as it’s manifest not just in the life of my mother and my relationship with her and my wife and my children’s capacity to be able to have this relationship with her. It’s this idea that for decades it was a difficult journey for my mom and she recognized that and there were times when I thought, is it worth it where I was tempted to just say, I’m done, I’m done interacting.
But it was the grace of God who granted me a a small view of something that made all the difference I saw in the midst of a really difficult, painful journey, wondering, should I should I keep trying to be a dutiful son or should I just do whatever a lot of other people have done and and just leave her? I saw my mother and my father in a more eternal role and a more eternal setting. And I saw a look on my mom’s face, a look of normal mental and psychological and physical abilities.
And she and my father were just sitting there smiling and she had a glow about her. She had a look about her. That was Grace. That vision in my mind made it so that I could keep going for more than a decade at that point, moving forward in difficult circumstances on this journey, holding on to the fact that these struggles that my mom was facing were not eternal. They were part of a mortal trial of faith, not just for my mom, but for all of us.
There are. A million different struggles, physical, mental, emotional, psychological identity crisis that people are going through at different phases of their life that manifest themselves in different ways, and this could be for you. This could be for your parents like it was in my situation. It could be for a spouse. It could be for a child who’s struggling with something. It could be with a grandparent, a sibling, a coworker, colleague. All kinds of different people are affected with different elements, brothers and sisters.
Among the million problems that are out there. There’s only one solution, and as we look to God, we recognize that there are some things that he empowers us to be able to fix. But brothers and sisters, there are some things that we can’t fix in this life. We have to drop those burdens at the feet of the Lord and say, help, help me to do whatever I can to make the situation as manageable as possible, not just for that individual, but for other people around that individual and in their own time and in my own way.
And that grace will be sufficient to make right everything that that currently is wrong. So as you move forward with your own relationships recognized, there will be times with with family members or even children or grandchildren where you can’t fix it, all you can do is love. And you can turn to the Lord and say, make me an instrument to do whatever I possibly can to help them feel whatever degree of of heavenly love that they need to feel to move forward and accomplish their life’s mission along their life.
Journey, brothers and sisters. Our message today is the grace of God is real. And he will guide you if you keep moving forward, doing the best you can to fulfill the commandments and the covenants that he has made with you. His promises are sure there will be a day when he’ll wipe away all tears, when he’ll clean up every skinned knee and bruised elbow and patch everything up for mortality in perfected states in eternity when we don’t have to deal with all these tests of mortality forever.
So may the Lord bless each of us on our journeys as we move forward to recognize His grace. It was a it was a sacred occasion. Brothers and sisters, when family was able to gather as we were with my mother and as we brushed up close to that veil. To send her peacefully onto the other side and to be able to genuinely look at many of those family members and feel a genuine love and charity for her, that God feels for her, that she wasn’t defined by that personality disorder, that thanks to the grace of God, we were able to recognize that she was defined by her eternal identity.
God lives. He knows what you’re going through. And we leave that with you in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and know that your loved.
D&C 60: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, in Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, August 8, 1831. On this occasion the elders who had traveled to Jackson County and participated in the dedication of the land and the temple site desired to know what they were to do.
D&C 61: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River, McIlwaine’s Bend, August 12, 1831. On their return trip to Kirtland, the Prophet and ten elders had traveled down the Missouri River in canoes. On the third day of the journey, many dangers were experienced. Elder William W. Phelps, in a daylight vision, saw the destroyer riding in power upon the face of the waters.
D&C 62: Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, on the bank of the Missouri River at Chariton, Missouri, August 13, 1831. On this day the Prophet and his group, who were on their way from Independence to Kirtland, met several elders who were on their way to the land of Zion, and, after joyful salutations, received this revelation.
- Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families (lesson materials at ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
- Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School (lesson materials at ChurchofJesusChrist.org)