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- Doctrine and Covenants 14:2 — 𝚃𝚑𝚎 𝚠𝚘𝚛𝚍 𝚘𝚏 𝙶𝚘𝚍 𝚒𝚜 “𝚚𝚞𝚒𝚌𝚔 𝚊𝚗𝚍 𝚙𝚘𝚠𝚎𝚛𝚏𝚞𝚕.”
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- This week’s LDS Coloring Pages free digital download: Come, Follow Me Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 11: March 8–14 “Strengthen the Church” Doctrine and Covenants 23–26
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Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 58-59, May 24-30) – powered by Happy Scribe
I’m Taylor and I’m Taylor, and I’m Alex Bar. This is Book of Mormon Centrals Come, Follow Me insights today, Doctrine and Covenants sections fifty eight and fifty nine.
And we are so grateful to have Alex join us again. I’ll just say that of all the people I know, I don’t think there’s anyone alive on this Earth who knows more about the Missouri era of the history of our church than than Alex Moss. So this is a treat. Thank you for coming. Coming back and joining us again.
Well, thank you. It’s an honor to be with you.
All right. Let’s begin with a little question. Has there ever been a time in your life when you had huge anticipation for something where where you had built up this expectation for either a particular event or a location, a destination, you going to or a relationship, somebody we’re going to meet or something where expectation is really high. And then that day comes when you when you arrive at whatever it was that you were expecting. And there’s a serious feeling of letdown.
You look around and say, really, this is what I was. So this is what I was looking forward to. This isn’t exactly what I want. How does that relate to section fifty eight and fifty seven before that?
It actually that’s a great analogy. Tyler. I think you can take the whole Jackson County experience of the Latter day Saints between eighteen thirty one and eighteen thirty three and say high expectations. Things did not work out any way, shape or form that they anticipated. I think the Lord really refined and polished these people in ways that he’s building, not only trying to help them build Zion, but not only that, but to build a Zion person of one heart and one mind.
And this will this will be a great schoolmaster for the Latter day Saints.
That’s an interesting point, because sometimes it’s really it’s really easy for us sitting in the comfort and the ease of the twenty first century, looking back through the corner of time and space and distance that these people and reading their stories and seeing what what’s going on, it’s really simple for us to make fun of them or mock them or look down our nose at them when they struggle, when in reality, I don’t know anybody who’d want to trade places with any of these people in Jackson County in eighteen thirty one, three thirty three.
And what they what tribulation they have in front of them and what they’re going to go through. So when some of them struggle, I think we should have a little bit of historical compassion and say, you know what, let the Lord be their final judge. Let’s learn what we can from there and their example. But at the end of the day, not have it be an exercise in judgment and condemnation.
It’s really well said. These these people are on the edge of the American frontier. This is not New York City. This is not Ohio. This is rough conditions. Plus, not only environment, but again, the people they’re associating with are a different mindset, different values, different culture, different backgrounds, this is going this is going to be a real, real struggle for Latter day Saints to I kind of like to compare it with oil and water.
Just it’s it’s not a real good mix. And yet, in spite of that, they have to admire them for what they tried to do and really laying the foundation of Zion and trying to establish it as the Lord tried to direct through the revelations for them to do.
That’s a good point, because today in our church, we’re still benefiting from and building more upon that foundation, which they laid in Jackson County in eighteen thirty one, three thirty three still to this day or benefiting and continuing to build Zion in many ways across the world in all of the stakes of the church, not just in the center place in western Missouri, but across the world, we’re benefiting from some of the tribulations that they endured.
And the most interesting thing I think today is we’re actually back in Jackson County. We have the church is very strong there. We have kind of planted ourselves again in that area. We have a temple there. The Lord’s preparing that place. It is not to be moved out of its place. And there’s no other place for the city of the new Jerusalem save independence. So although they didn’t establish it, we are still, in a sense, as Latter day Saints helping to prepare the way for the full how do I say it?
Development of the City of Zion for the return of the Savior.
OK, now let’s let’s get ready to dove in here. So before we launch into section fifty eight, give us give us a quick overview. Bring us back up to speed from section fifty seven and the journey westward.
I think that’s important. You got to lay the groundwork for this, this early period of Jackson County, the Saints. So what happens here is of course in section fifty two, Joseph Smith has this conference in Kirtland and during that conference in Section 52, it’s actually 14 companionships or twenty eight elders are called to journey to Missouri. We have the branches from New York are all there now. And we’re going to now call the opportunity for elders to go down and actually begin that process of establishing Zion.
And then in the next succeeding chapters, sections, I should say, we have others added to that group. We have a Sydney Gilbert. We’ll just call him Sidney Gilbert, section fifty three, section fifty four. The Colesville branch has asked all of them to go down and establish Zion because of some problems there with Lehman Copley, which you’ve talked about. Yes. And then in section fifty five we have now between Phelps and he’s arrived, is going to be baptized.
He’s a printer and they’re saying, well, we’re if we’re going to establish Zion, let’s have a printing company down there. And Phelps is the perfect one. And then insects and fifty six for Thomas B. Morris has got a problem with his campaign. You can’t go. So the Lord gives him another companion, Stella Griffin. And so we have that companionship worked out. But Stella Griffin’s companion was Newel Knight and Newell Nights now going to lead the Colesville Brandt.
So we’ve got everybody now kind of lined up and all total. Thirty individuals are now going to go to Missouri during the month of June, July, August. Now there’s twenty nine men and one woman. Sidney Gilbert’s wife goes with him. And on June 19th, eighteen thirty one Joseph Smith and seven others in his party make their way to Zion, to Missouri. They arrive on July 14. And Joseph’s now surveying the area going, OK, this is it.
And he comes to independents. We know that, by the way, this would have been a wonderful reunion with Joseph and Oliver. He hadn’t seen him for nine months. Peter Wittmer, Junior, Ziba Peterson, and he meets Frederick G. Williams, who joined that missionary to delaminate contingent. And so he’s becoming familiar with the area. And then, of course, here come section fifty seven. Joseph has seen the little small development community settlement community of independence.
There’s a two story brick court. House in the public square and not surprising, that’s the kind of focal point of the community. And so what does the Lord tell Joseph Smith in Section 57? But the we’re going to come down here and this is the first time he really mentions Temple. And he says that the spot for a temple and Boy George is probably thinking Jerusalem and everything else is on a spot not far from the courthouse lying westward. You look at that today, it’s about a half a mile just down the Westport Road.
So and in that revelation, of course, there’s other directions. They’re supposed to purchase the land. And that’s one of the reasons partridges there. And also a Sydney Gilbert is to be the negotiators and get that land started to be purchased. We’ve got a little change of assignment. Phelps is actually called to be the printer and all of us to assist him. Initially, it was Oliver and William to assist him. But definitely Phelps is the better of the two.
He’s more experienced. And so now they’re there. And the Latter day Saints who are supposed to be there are starting to come. And so on July twenty sixth, the first group of coming from coal from the Colesville settlement arrive, they don’t arrive in independence. They arrive a little west, come up the they’re actually on us on a boat or steamboat. They come up the Blue River and they come and settle right there at the home of Joshua Lewis.
And this is the I think he’s an important figure.
He’s he’s one that most probably haven’t heard of. But we should have heard of him.
Yes. And Joshua Lewis is a convert of the mission to the missionaries, to the laminitis. And he owns twenty eight acres and his property will become the resettlement part of that. And so they come here and now Joseph goes, well, we have enough people here. Let’s see what we need to be doing. And and four days later, five days later, we have the August one revelation section. Fifty eight. Well, now it’s going to this revelation is going to instruct them.
What do we need to do now that we’re starting to assemble in Jackson County?
Yeah, there’s one other there’s one other event that’s taking place, or this underlying historical interaction between Joseph Smith, who has arrived in July, and the bishop, Edward Partridge, whose job it is to take care of the Saints, to build up the temple needs and the affairs and all the consecrated united order efforts. And he’s what’s he feeling about independence?
This is partridges, just kind of flabbergasted. This is, again, a highly undeveloped area. He is not impressed at all with this area. Now, he’s again, he’s been very successful as a Paintsville hatter. He’s had come from a nice, nice area of the the community and the civilized world world of New York. And he comes down there and he goes, I just don’t see this. And Joseph has a greater vision of this. It may look not not very promising to you, but it’s quite a rebuke.
And I’ve kind of felt sorry for Partridge because he’s such a stalwart tiler in section forty one. He’s told that he is a man without guile. That’s that’s without hypocrisy, without deception. He is one genuine individual. And this this you can see this here. I mean, it’s it’s a very stern rebuke in the work of God. We’re dealing with human beings, all of which you have agency, they have their own preferences, we have our own experience, our own view, our own outlook on life, our own persuasions.
And even though at times you might get what’s going on here, which is a pretty sharp this isn’t just a small disagreement between the Lord’s bishop and the Lord’s prophet regarding building up the Land of Zion here. Section 58 is going to help work that out. But my point is this. Don’t be shocked in your church service or your church experience, if you run into situations where things don’t just move forward like a well oiled machine, where everybody agrees with everybody on every point and every decision that’s made in a council meeting, sometimes there are these struggles that happen and somehow God’s OK with it.
His work still moves forward in spite of our mortal imperfections.
They’ve worked it out. And again, there was Partridge’s said he felt like Joseph had an abusive power. I mean, he was just abusing that. And yet at the same time, again, Joseph had this much different vision than than Edward Partridge’s for this area. I think a good example of how he really Partridge’s came in line was that when all of this, this episode and June, July, August of their experience together, Joseph goes back, Partridge’s stays there and he doesn’t go back to get his family, even though he’s commanded to bring his family to Missouri.
He’s so dedicated to doing what now Joseph expects him to do and what he thinks the Lord is expecting of him, that he is just he stays there. He’ll he’ll stay through the winter. He doesn’t go back. He sends for his wife and family and really Tylor for the next really through the entire Missouri period. He is a leading player, if not many times the leading player in trying to develop and the concept of Zion and and to do as the Lord directed in the revelations.
This shows in a real quick repentance and, and a determination to OK, I know what I, I know what the Lord expects of me. I’m going to do my very best. And he does. He’s an absolutely marvelous figure. I just love Edward Partridge in his example. The Latter-Day Saints may have a disagreement, but once he once he he realized, OK, I was probably in error, I apologize. I’m going to do what the Lord expects and what Joseph Smith expects of me.
There are a lot of lessons that we can learn from stories like this, one of the many for me is the fact that when God calls prophets, he he places these prophets in a different position than what the scriptures often refer to as the rescue of the people or the rest of humanity. They have this this elevated position. They’re watchmen on a tower. They see things that maybe you and I don’t have the perspective to see a long way off. So in my mind, one of the ways to look at the situation with Sidney Gilbert and Joseph Smith is Joseph’s not looking at independence or at western Missouri as, wow, this is the greatest land ever.
That’s what that’s what you and I could see. That’s what our perspective would be limited to, is really this this isn’t this isn’t great, Joseph. There’s there are a lot of other places we could go to build up Zion. That would be way better than this. But God called a prophet as a watchman on tower, who sees the long vision and says this is the place. And by the way, this isn’t the first time that that’s happened when when Brigham Young comes into the Great Salt Lake Valley, I don’t imagine that many people in that Vanguard Company are saying, wow, we’ve arrived in the Garden of Eden.
I think many of them were thinking, really here we’re going to build up Zion here. And possibly in the biblical context, there are parts of the Holy Land that probably many of those Israelites would have said similar things to God’s prophet. But that’s why I think we should be more grateful to actually stand and say we think the oh, God, for a prophet to guide us in these latter days, some people would accuse us as members of the church of being blind followers of the prophet.
Brothers and sisters, I follow God’s prophet. Not blindly. But I recognize that in many ways I am blind, and so I follow God’s prophet because I recognize my own limitations and my own blindness, but I don’t blindly follow him. I follow God’s prophet because I recognize that he can see some things down the road and in the past and in the present that that I just I’m not aware of and what a privilege it is to be led by prophets, singers and regulators in the latter days.
Now let’s dove in the section fifty eight, starting in verse one Hakin. Oh ye elders of my church and give here to my word and learn of me what I will concerning you and also concerning this land and to which I. Have sent you I love that Joseph didn’t bring you here, I brought you here look a verse to four Verilli I sent you blessed is he that keeps my commandments, whether in life or in death. And he that is faithful in tribulation.
The reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. You might want to mark or at least pay close attention to this idea of tribulation. This group’s going to hear a lot about tribulation.
It’s mentioned three times in those first four or five verses. And I think that the great thing about that is who gets the greatest glory, those who endure tribulation. Those are the ones who really paid the price for testimony, for their faith and so on. It says, who is faithful in tribulation? The reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven. It’s the who gets the greatest degree, those who can endure tribulation, for Christ’s sake.
So if that’s true, it makes me wonder. The scriptures are this, this repository for the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good news, and yet tribulation doesn’t feel like good news. If you’re wearing mortal blinders, tribulation isn’t good news, it’s terrible, but the blessing of the gospel of Jesus Christ is this eternal perspective. And verse two takes off those mortal blinders and says that you’re going to have tribulation in this life. But look at the look at the greatest of all, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And he he is the embodiment, he’s he’s the pattern, he’s the model for us to try to become more like it doesn’t mean that you should now be scared if you try to become a disciple of Christ. Know what? Bad, horrible things are going to happen. Mortality, bad things are going to happen to us regardless, but as we get on the covenant path and move forward, it then puts those tribulations into perspective to say, oh, these are refining opportunities for me where God can now actually consume my DROs in my soul and help me to become a better person.
Look, obviously three I love verse three. You cannot behold with your natural eyes. Remember those Blinder’s those mortal mortal eyes only you can’t behold with your natural eyes for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation. He’s giving us this this heavenly perspective, saying, I see all things you can’t see it, you don’t understand it to me. Verse three is Jesus basically saying to these people, you have to trust me.
You have to have faith in me.
It reminded me of the verse and he mentions Isaiah. I have not seen or heard nor yet entered the heart of man, the things of God, the God has prepared for them that love him. And if you love him, you’ll be willing to suffer for his sake. And the eternal word is worth it. It’s it’s all worth it.
Absolutely. Now, to finish off that introduction, look at verse four four after much tribulation Mormons. That’s twice now that we’ve seen this after much tribulation at the bottom verse three and now again at the top of his four. After much tribulation come the blessings wear for the day cometh that you shall be crowned with much glory. The hour is not yet, but is night hand. So brothers and sisters, as we as we now embark into this into this Missouri era, it’s going to get heavy.
They’re going to be some terrible stories and and seeming tragedies that come out of this particular part of our church history. I think it’s helpful for us as we embark into this period of our church history to remember verse for the Lord is preparing them for much glory. That’s going to be given to them, lest we lest we start feeling like God didn’t love them or wasn’t powerful enough to protect them or didn’t have enough foresight to to prevent these things from happening.
And he he acknowledges that sacrifice when he says in verse six and seven. That you are the ones who are I’m really will be honored for laying the foundation. I don’t know about you, but there’s always been something in my heart that if I could be the first of something, the first to do something, but these are the first people to actually enter and locate and relocate, I guess you might say, in the Land of Zion. And I honor these people during this period of what we call the Jackson County period.
Eighteen, thirty one to thirty three. Twelve hundred Latter-Day Saints will gather and do the very best again. They weren’t perfect, as we will find out in Section one, two, one and one, two, three and others. But they tried and they did their best. And I honor them for their effort and to be the ones who at least tried their very best to establish Zion in the early eighteen thirties.
I love that. And you’ll notice that it’s not just focused on them, they’re at that time. Look at verse nine is a supper of the House of the Lord, well prepared unto which all nations shall be invited. These twelve hundred people you’re talking about, they, they form this core right there in Jackson County. But it wasn’t ever intended to just be for people there. It’s it’s going to culminate with this message that goes to all the nations and everybody’s invited.
I’d like to make just comment here. It kind of gives a little parable here in terms of, OK, how’s this going to happen? And he says it will begin first with the the rich, the nobles, that kind of thing, and then eventually to the to the poor. I think the analogy here, the Lord’s trying to illustrate is will establish the gospel in nations that are rather developed, the United States, Canada, Europe, and then get a pretty good base of of Latter day Saints of the church, a firm foundation of the church.
And with that prosperity, then we can take the gospel to the rest of the world. I mean, the church is in Kenya. There are sixty thousand members in Kenya, the churches in Zimbabwe. I think they have fifty four congregations. Zimbabwe now that couldn’t have happened in eighteen thirty, probably in the nineteenth century. But as the church grew and these more developed regions and areas of the world, this made it possible for us to now take the gospel to the more remote or less developed countries.
And that’s how we get the gospel out there. We start with a pretty good base and then go from there to the the other nations of the world. And I think you see that happening today. So this to me is an example of the Lord’s vision of how Zion will be developed, will begin in these other countries, but will eventually be able to take it to all the nations of the Earth and more to come as the church grows and is strengthened.
Now, watch what happens as the Lord transitions from a more general to a very specific audience in verse 14 and 15, and by the way, to me, this is the this is the embodiment of Edward Partridge being without guile, because, quite frankly, brothers and sisters, this is not an easy thing. To be sitting there knowing that you’ve had a serious disagreement, a serious contention with with Joseph over the very things that are being discussed here and then to sit there and have Joseph speaking directly for the Lord, and here comes your name now.
And your name is going to be put in this book of revelations that’s going to go to the whole world. This is a man without guile who didn’t let his pride or worldly ambitions get in the way. I love Edward Partridge for this. Listen to what the Lord tells him for 14 years for this cause. If I sent you here and have selected my servant Edward Partridge and appointed under him his mission in this land, but if he repent not of his sins, which are unbelief and blindness of heart, let him take heed lest he fall.
I’m just going to say it, if I’m in that situation, I’m going to be sorely tempted to let my pride sit me unbelief and blindness. Oh, yeah. What about you, Joseph? But he doesn’t do that. He doesn’t do that. He doesn’t take the let me tell you what’s wrong with you approach. He takes the Lord. Is it I approach brothers and sisters in your own relationships where there might be some contention. Have you noticed that every time you try to point out what’s wrong with somebody else that I don’t know, I could be wrong, but I guess it’s it’s high 90 percent of the time or more when those people don’t say, oh, thank you for pointing that out.
Thank you for telling me what my weakness is. I’m now going to say, you’re right. I’m wrong. Will you please forgive me? That isn’t usually how those conversations end, is it? But when you can take some time, go to the Lord and say, Lord, is it I because I can’t control what you do, I can’t control how you use your agency, but I can control how I use mine in those relationships. And I love this little section here, because to me, Edward Partridge had to have done that.
He had to have had that. Lord, I’m sorry, I yep. I’ll I’ll repent and get in line.
Kind of reminds me of the story of one time I think it was Brigham Young daughter that told the story that in Kirtland at one time, Joseph Smith just kind of really went after Brigham and just kind of laid into him. And Brigham stood up, I believe it was, and said, Joseph, what would you have me do? And I can see Partridge’s doing that. I see no other place in the rest of his life. He dies in Nabu, where Partridge ever faltered again.
Never. He was as committed and as dedicated as any person on planet Earth. And so I think he learned his lesson. He quickly said, OK, I’m going to catch the vision you have for this and I’ll move forward. And as I indicated earlier, he stays down there and his life is completely devoted to building Zion in Missouri all the way through. And when the Saints are leaving, he’s Missouri in eighteen, thirty eight, thirty nine.
He’s trying to wrap things up. He’s the first on the scene and he’s the last to go. And then he course ends up having an early death, you might say, in Nauvoo. But he is a wonderful, powerful figure of righteousness and obedience.
It’s a beautiful example for us to to learn from.
Again, from hindsight, we can see there’s going to be problems, and I think it’s interesting that, again, that Latter day Saints will be persecuted, there’ll be a lot of political friction, a lot of friction between Missourians and Latter day Saints. But he warns them and counsels them. Keep the laws. Let no man break the laws of the land. I mean, you don’t really have a right to go after them. We’ll try to be a law abiding citizens here in this area.
That’s going to be very difficult because of persecution. So that’s why I just be subject to the powers that be until I rein whose reign it is to be. But in the meantime, do your best to keep the laws of the land here in Missouri.
Very good. Now we we jump down to verse twenty six and twenty seven where God introduces this incredible concept that is rooted in agency. Which which is so interesting, because this is that that concept, that gift of God given to us in the pre mortal realm that we’re taught in the Book of Moses that Satan sought to destroy the agency of man is the way it works, that he he Satan is doing everything he can to attack this. Notice what God does to empower this to unfold more opportunities for us to use agency was twenty six for behold, it is not meat that I should command in all things, for he that is compelled in all things the same as a slothful and not a wise servant.
Wherefore he receives no reward. It’s this idea of of a person saying, Lord, here I am, I’m your instrument, I’m your servant. I’ll do whatever you tell me to do. Whatever you tell me to do, I’ll do it. I’m waiting, I’m waiting, and we don’t move. Why do you think, Alex, that he used the word slothful? Why why that word?
Well, you look up the definition, it means the slow. And boy, I just have to think about of us about an actual slot. There’s various how do I say it breeds there’s a two clode slot in the three o’clock slot, but three tode. But they move slowly, 90 percent of the time they’re motionless, 90 percent. I just kind of wonder what their function is in in terms of the creation creation story you put. They can’t quite crawl on the ground very well.
It takes them a minute to go nine feet. And I’ve just joked with my students at times that I think the Lord created the slot just so he could use it in Section fifty eight. It’s such an example of a creature that is just doesn’t do a lot in terms of his motion and his activity. And so I think again, he mentioned slot slots for a couple of times the variation of the word there. So I think it’s highly descriptive of saying, take action, move.
Let’s let’s make things happen and use your agency. I don’t have to tell you everything takes some initiative on your own.
It’s it’s interesting if you look at it from this perspective of a member of the church who maybe sits and waits for God to give them revelation or inspiration, to go and visit that person or to make a ministering visit to this family or to make a meal for that family versus the saint who verse twenty seven. Verily, I say men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause and do many things of their own free will and bring to pass much righteousness.
There will be times now we need to be careful here that we don’t demonize either side. There will be times when you’ll be going through life and the Lord will inspire you. He will give you directions. Go that person need your help or this situation needs your attention. And that’s wonderful. And we act on that. I think the essence of verse twenty six and twenty seven is don’t have those be the only times when you’re going out and doing good things for people.
In other words, there may be times when you decide to go and make a ministry visit without having felt inspired or prompted at all. You just think I’m going to go visit so-and-so and you might end up standing on somebody’s front porch, knocking on a door, saying to yourself, I don’t have a clue what I’m going to say here. But you know what, I’m it’s a good thing to do, or you might take some nice gift or a meal or some treat to somebody, not because you had this revelation that they’re struggling, they need it, but because that’s a nice thing to do.
Or you might sit down and talk to somebody, not because you were inspired that they’re in the depths of despair, but because it’s a nice thing to do to build them up. Some of my most memorably powerful experiences with people in ministering have come when I was just trying to be a good person, not because I had had some big grand revelation telling me I needed to go and do it. But because I just go out and I try to be good and I try to do good things.
Reminds me of the wonderful LDM. Have I done any good in the world today if I helped anyone in need just for fun? Some of you have probably heard that old story that goes way back. The guy who every morning on his exercise routine would would walk clear down to the train station to be able to sit there and watch the train come in and then depart at five thirty a.m. every day from the train station. And the station master finally one day said, why do you come down here this early in the morning every day?
And he said, it’s because I want to see something move without me having to push it before I begin my day at work. It’s just nice to see something happen without me having to make it happen. Silly story with, I think, a pretty profound lesson that the Lord doesn’t want us to have to be compelled. He doesn’t want to have to push us in everything as we become more like him. We just start inherently and naturally doing more of what he would do, which is turning out or serving people.
Whether we get that push or not, we just do it.
And that’s where true happiness comes. I’m impressed with Section fifty eight. The Lord would mention again, Martin Harris. This is the first time Martin kind of comes up. Yeah, our after some of the problems associated with the loss. One hundred sixteen pages and he’s on the trip and you might ask the question, why is Martin going along. Well Martin, he’s our person who has the means. And in section twenty fifty eight he mentions here that Martin needs to consecrate, lets you be the first to show everybody what you need to do.
But we need to have you do so that they may follow your example. And I think it’s very impressive, Tyler, that we have good record that Martin Harris gave twelve hundred dollars to help now purchase the land, begin to purchase the land in Zion. And I just I just sit there and take my hat off to him. He’s finance The Book of Mormon now. He’s going to finance to the beginning of the purchases of the land purchases of the church.
So we need him and he comes through again, which is fascinating because before we even get to his name, look at the look at the description here in verse twenty eight for power is in them in they are agents unto themselves and in as much as men do good, they shall in no ways lose their reward. I think if we were to talk to Martin Harris today, I don’t think he would say, Oh man, I wish I would have held on to more of my money.
Think of all the worldly possessions I could have purchased for me. I don’t I don’t think he’d say that. Versus the opposite look versus twenty nine, but he does not say anything until he is commanded and receive the commitment with a doubtful heart and keep, as it was, slothfulness the same as damed. Who am I that made man? Says the Lord, that will hold him guiltless. That obeys. Not my commandments. Brothers and sisters, he’s showing us here this this the difference between it’s kind of a good, better, best.
It’s good to keep a commandment, it’s better to keep it, you know, kind of and it’s best to keep it with this full perspective of of I love the Lord and I’ll give everything and anything that that is required. Look at verse 30 to. I command and obey, not I revoke and they receive not the blessing. What the Lord seems to be saying here is if you choose not to obey, then I will occasionally have to revoke that blessing that was promised.
What will sometimes happen is people will point a finger of accusation or scorn at Joseph Smith or or at subsequent profits in the restoration and say he can’t be a prophet because he said this would happen and it didn’t happen. If you look really closely at verse thirty two, he says, I command and men obey, not I revoke and they receive not the blessing. Some of those things that that are promised, not all of them, because there are some that are independent of anything we do or don’t do.
They’re going to happen. But some of the prophecies, some of the commands are conditional. It requires our agency and the type of agency because you can lawfully keep a commandment and not receive the same blessings or benefits as promised as those who keep it with full purpose of heart, with an eye signal to God’s glory. So sometimes it would be like somebody going to a garden store and buying the best possible seeds for a particular variety of plant that they want to grow a particular vegetable.
You could buy the very best seeds. You could go out into the very best plot of land and plant those seeds and then walk away in March. Brothers and sisters, you can’t expect to come back in August and pick the very best fruits or vegetables off of that plant, if you haven’t nourished and nurtured and taken care of and weeded and and provided the best environment for that plant to grow. Same thing with many of God’s promises and commitments and prophecies is we have to use our agency to carry forth that work in our own little realm in order to produce fruit.
We can’t just say, oh, God’s prophet made a promise, so we’ll just plant that seed in our heart and say, done. And then months later, when the fruit isn’t produced, we can’t blame God’s prophet and we can’t blame God. But I can look in the mirror and say, what, lacka, yet where did I fall short? Because God’s prophets, their words will be upheld, but if they’re conditional, that’s on me. I got to do my part.
And then when they don’t get the blessing, what do they do say? And then they say in their hearts, this is not the work of the Lord. I didn’t get the blessing. Well, you didn’t follow through. You didn’t keep the commandment to begin with. So.
So what would you say to somebody who’s watching who maybe who maybe feels a little bit discouraged right now listening to this segment, thinking. Yeah, I received a patriarchal blessing, and in that blessing, I got all of these promises given to me, but I haven’t realized some of them and I don’t feel like I’ve been a wicked person or. I haven’t I haven’t done terrible things. What would you say?
Well, as long as they keep on the covenant path, those blessings will be fulfilled, maybe in ways they don’t recognize at the time or even understand. So interesting you’d say that. I just got an email a few days ago from a young man whose grandfather was my patriarchal boss, who gave me my patriarchal blessing, and he mentioned how his mother was the first one to get a patriarchal blessing from his grandfather. And it was about a half a page.
And she was rather disappointed and said, here’s my own father giving me my patriarchal blessing as a young woman. And then he said in there that years later is now and now she’s an older woman. Every promise in there was fulfilled, even though it was short. And I had full confidence in the fact that it was totally inspired and that the Lord came through may have not been the longest patriarchal blessing, but every promise was given a beautiful, beautiful soul.
So we move forward. We move forward in faith. We don’t define ourselves by by past struggles, but by future blessings and benefits. One other concept that that I wanted us to cover here in this section before we shift over to section fifty nine is found in verse forty two and forty three. This concept is profound. Behold, he who has repented of his sins. The same is forgiven. And I, the Lord, remember them no more. Brothers and sisters, that’s pretty profound, coming from a God with infinite knowledge, infinite power, infinite glory.
And not bound by time, I, the Lord, remember them no more, it’s not that it’s not that he gets amnesia. It’s not that all of a sudden it never happened because you just can’t remember it. It’s that he chooses not to remember it, not to focus on it. He’s not defining us by it. Brothers and sisters, if a God with perfect capacity has the ability to not remember your low points of life anymore. Then what about us with each other or us with that person staring at you in the mirror?
It’s a beautiful thing when you can let go of those past wrongs. The worst thing in the world is if you let your present self be held hostage to your past self when you were 17 or twenty five or whatever age when when maybe you weren’t as wise or as capable or in an Edward Partridge’s situation. Isn’t it great that he’s able to leave that struggle with Joseph behind and not focus on it and and remember it enough to know I’m not going to make that mistake again, but I’m going to move forward and be defined by who I can become, not by that moment of struggle and weakness.
I am sure Joseph put that behind them. I don’t see any friction between Partridge and Joseph Smith ever again. Another example that is actually, again, Phelps there, who is the one being reproved. And as we as you know, if you know your church history, you know that in eighteen thirty eight he causes some problems in northern Missouri, is finally excommunicated, goes back to Dayton and then decides, you know, maybe it’s time to rejoin the Saints.
So he writes Joseph and says, I’d kind of like to come back. Could you forgive me? And of course, the famous line come on, dear brother, for the war is passed for friends first, our friends again at last. And I think what’s significant about that is Joseph put it behind him and who’s going to speak at Joseph Smith funeral felt Joseph is a perfect example of the Lord. No, that was it’s not there anymore. Don’t worry about it.
Let’s move on. Not surprising at the death of Joseph Smith. Phelps was so honored to even be associated with Joseph Smith that he writes the famous we call it the praise to the man. It was called Joseph the Prophet. The original poem that it appeared in the first issue of the August, eighteen, forty four times and seasons. And truly, there was a great relationship, even though even with Partridge and also with Phelps, it was strained a little bit.
But Joseph put it behind him.
So brothers and sisters in your own personal relationships with family members or neighbors or ward members. Don’t be afraid of having to occasionally work through some some long periods of disagreement or struggle and even at times contention, it’s OK, you can you can work through those. And by this, you may know if a man repentance of his sins behold, he will confess them and forsake them. We acknowledge I was wrong and we forsake it. We don’t keep holding on to it.
We let it go, we forsake it and we move on.
So before we transition to Section fifty nine, I want to just share a humorous story about Sloss. I was traveling with my wife at one point and we went to an animal sanctuary and they actually had a sloth. My wife was holding the slot and somebody got a picture and the comment was she has swapped one sloth for another. So maybe I should have been paying attention to the Lord’s revelations and DNC. Fifty eight actually were still happily married. He said if it was wondering, I’d like to just share a perspective with you on another way.
You could look at section fifty eight and fifty nine and what’s going on here in church history. And let me give you just a brief backdrop. So I spent a lot of years in biblical studies and in that study I learned that recently scholars when I said recent was about back in the nineteen thirties or so scholars discovered a covenantal pattern that shows up throughout the Bible and it centers on God’s covenant with the Israelites where he takes them out of civilization in Egypt.
It brings him to the howling wilderness of Sinai. And I’ve been there now. That is not a place you’d want to really set down roots. And I think about the modern Israelites, early saints leading civilization and they to going into the wilderness. And the pattern is that God takes his people to the wilderness and there he establishes Zion or he promises them Zion and he wants to give them land. And what he will do is lay out his expectations for how they should be covenant faithful to him so that they can prosper in the land that he wants to offer them.
And this is his pattern that other people offer them a promised land, put them there and that land have them build a temple and they will be blessed as they keep the commandments. Now, I’ve written this pattern out that scholars have found in the Bible, and as I was reading it, I was actually really struck to see in this pattern. It actually shows up for the doctrine covenants, even though it actually seems to originate with God way back in the Old Testament.
And the pattern is pretty brief, but it starts with God will introduce himself to the people. And if you go to Exodus Chapter 20, you’ll see that in verses one and two and then remind the people all the incredible things he’s done for them on their behalf. He wants them to know he is their God. They can entirely and fully trust him, and therefore they should be loyal to him as he’s been loyal to them in the Abrahamic covenant.
And what’s interesting is part three, God lays out commandments, instructions, stipulations, laws for how people can show their loyalty. And I still remember this day when I was reading this pattern and learn that the Ten Commandments are the stipulations, are the commandments, are the laws, are the instructions for how to be faithful to God. I always thought the Ten Commandments were just a nice, fancy list of things to do. I didn’t realize it was part of a larger covenantal pattern of a conditional covenant where God wants to give us peace and prosperity in a land, and we retain those blessings as we are faithful and as the covenant of pattern continues.
There are witnesses to the covenant, just like if you’re ever signing a contract, there’s always witnesses. God identifies the blessings and curses identified with whether you keep the commandments or not. If you do, here’s the blessings. If you don’t, here’s what’s going to happen. And then you record the covenant, put it in a sacred place. You might be familiar with the Ark of the Covenant. For the Israelites, this was in the Ark of the Covenant.
In fact, particularly this part here was written down on tablets and put into the Ark of the Covenant as a reminder, the Israelites, that this is God’s expectations. If you want the fullness of his blessings, then you show loyalty and faithfulness by keeping the commandments. So it struck me as incredible how God is consistent with how he teaches his people and uses covenants. I was reading some years ago and got the DNC section fifty nine and was struck by the repetition of many of the Ten Commandments.
No, before my life, when I read the Ten Commandments, those are very nice to read about. But this time I had seen and had been trained in the pattern of this conditional covenant type and I thought to myself, Wait a second, I know in the Old Testament, the Ten Commandments when they were given were simply the middle part of this conditional covenant. God was offering his people conditioned on their faithfulness. I wonder if something similar is going on in the doctrine and covenants.
And so I carefully looked at the historical context of the U.S.. Fifty seven. Fifty eight, fifty nine. Carefully read. And I propose that, yes, it’s the same pattern. We can see the same pattern going on here. And then what really I found to be spiritually mind blowing was that what’s the historical context? God has just revealed, Zion, this is Zion. I’m like, this is the pattern you should expect when God asked you to keep the commandments and lays out the Ten Commandments that land.
As promised, and that is the land upon which he will prosper you so I find it deeply compelling that God has covenantal patterns that he has used throughout his time with his people. And I also suggest you can find this pattern in other places. The Scriptures, just two quick examples. Consider the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is the new Moses who gets on a mountain and receives a law or commandments or instructions for covenant of faithfulness. And he says Moses taught you, here’s how to show covenant of faithfulness.
I say to you now do these things. And it actually essentially follows the same pattern. And it’s interesting that God sends prophets, including Jesus, who’s our savior, to at times update or expand or explain the instructions for covenant of faithfulness so that we can prosper in the land. And I might add, this tidbit here actually started, but it’s very crucial the summary statement for this entire covenant is found throughout the Book of Mormon and that phrases, if you keep the commandments, ye shall prosper in the land.
That summarizes all of that, one of the place you could look for this is actually in The Book of Mormon remember King Noah, very wicked. He tied his people not to keep the laws and commandments, he was not currently faithful and the Christians were going to follow and God sent a prophet to remind them, if you want to prosper in this land, you need to keep the commandments and look carefully. What does it mean that I do? What does he teach the people?
He actually reviews the Ten Commandments or the Ten instructions for how to be covenant will be faithful. In fact, his faith even shown with the same luster that Moses did when Moses was the Mt.. Sinai, admitted I looked like Moses when he was reviewing the Ten Commandments. So this is quite common that God will remind us review with us. The Commandments are instructions for faithfulness so that we can get all these blessings he’s promised. Let’s bring this home today.
Did you know that when you partake of the sacrament, that ritual or partaking of emblems of the body of Jesus and the blood of Jesus goes back to the Last Supper, which was a Passover meal, which celebrates in part this covenant. So every single week when you partake of the sacrament, it is your opportunity to say, Lord, I accept your invitation and your instructions for covenant of faithfulness so that I can receive all the blessings I am declaring my loyalty to you.
And that’s what this covenant is about, is for us to be loyal to God.
Know Taylor on this line. It’s interesting because I think there are there are many people today, and not just in the church, but in religions, in general, in spirituality in general, who feel like we live in an enlightened age, an age of freedom, and they feel bound down and limited and entrapped, if you will, by commandments and expectation.
Like there are limitations, like God is impinging upon my agency.
Why can’t I just do what I what I feel like? I want to do what you can, which you can. You have agency, but there are definite consequences attached to that agency. Look at verse, look at section fifty nine, verse three and four. In this context, you blessed are they whose feet stand upon the Land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel. They shall receive for their word the reward, the good things of the Earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.
I love that that promise of of not just eternal blessings, but the Earth itself will bring forth in its strength good rewards. If you keep this covenant, then look a verse for and they shall also be crowned with blessings from above. So you’re not just going to get earthly stuff, you’re going to get blessings from above Yae and with commandments, not a few. Wait a minute. So if I’m covenantal Lehi faithful to the to the commandments that God has given me, one of the blessings is God will give me commandments, not a few, which is a blessing from above.
And with revelations in their time, they that are faithful and diligent before me. So as I am faithful to the commitments that God has already given me, one of the blessings is he’ll give me the the blessings of this earth as well as from above. But part of that blessing from above is he’ll give me even more commandments. We live in a world that would say what you mean, you just got less freedom. Brothers and sisters, this is the grand irony in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In fact, there’s a beautiful talk given by elder detailed Kristofferson called Moral Agency. Where he says, if you want more freedom, if you in essence, if you want more agency, more capacity to live with power to act, then he said, here’s the formula. Learn as many of God’s laws as you can and keep them. It’s the total opposite of what the world would teach. And it’s a beautiful pattern that ties into what you’re teaching here.
So next time you feel like you’re constrained by a commandment. Just look upward and pause for a moment and thank God for giving us that commandment, because it’s simply an invitation for us to become more like him. It’s a blessing. The more commandments we get from God, the better.
Let me let me add to that. This this covenant is all about love. And I should have written that earlier. God has shown his love to the people. And he’s like, I want to be a relationship with you. I think about a marriage. It’s about love. And God as a bridegroom is saying, I’ve loved you. I want you in this marriage. Let me tell you how I experience love from you. These are the things if you did these things, I will feel love and tailers often done this model of this covenant relationship.
I will be your God and my people. Right.
So, well, OK. How do we show our love to God?
If you love me, keep my commandments. These are the instructions for how to be loving. And anybody in a relationship with friends or family or a marriage knows that everybody has different ways that they like to be shown love and loyalty. So really, let me just boil it down. Oh, God really wants from us is love and loyalty. And that is actually what this whole covenant that started at Sinai is all about. That gets repeated The Book of Mormon at Mount Sinai and surprising actually shouldn’t be surprising, incredibly right here when Zion is been announced in DC.
Fifty seven. And guess what day? I love you guys. I’ve done all those incredible things for you. I want you to show your love and loyalty back to me because that’s what a great relationship is. We mutually love and are loyal to one another and it’s right there. So it’s back to your thing of agency. God is not constrained stuff. You can choose not to show God love in the way he would like to be loved. You’re welcome to try other ways, but he’s been pretty explicit.
He’s like, I do have preferences for how I like to be loved. So you could choose to do a different way and you can try to convince them, but I think it’s going to work, but you can’t you can choose, but you can’t choose your consequence. Those are those are immutably laid down before the foundation of the world. Look at verse five. Taylor, wherefore for a given to them, a commandment saying thus, thou shalt love the Lord thy God, how with all my heart might mind and strength.
It’s not half hearted. It’s not slothful. It’s not begrudging. It’s I recognize who I am. I recognize who he is. And I am so grateful that he took the time to actually give me some directions on how to find peace and happiness, not just in this life, but eternal rewards in the world to come and then love thy neighbor as thyself is in verse six. It keeps coming back to this.
So the invitation is there’s many compelling ways to read section fifty nine, fifty seven and fifty eight for that matter as well. But we encourage you to consider this is one approach to look at it as a covenantal text for the latter days where God has once again started to gather his people and he wants us to join with him. And he’s laid out the instructions for how to be loving and loyal to him, faithful in that covenant so we can have all the blessings that he has offered Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
So we’ve offered Cardless covenantal perspective. But let’s actually step back into the history, like how did we get to section fifty nine? What happened from fifty seven to fifty eight that we would get to fifty nine would actually Joseph was even asking the question would lead to this revelation.
Thank you, that’s really a good, good procedure that we probably need to look at. We talked about Section fifty eight, which was given on August 1st and immediately now with these Latter day Saints assembling in Jackson County, Joseph moves forward to do and fulfill the obligation he feels and has for the establishment of Zion, and that’s to actually locate some of the most important places and do the most important things. So on August 2nd, just the day after Section fifty eight, Joseph Smith and this group of saints who’ve assembled over there near the Joshua Lewis property actually dedicate Zion.
And they did it symbolically. They had a log and 12 men, seven of whom were Colesville Brandt. The other was Joseph Sydney and others. And they symbolically laid the first log in Zion or the establishment of Zion. So it’s already been dedicated. And Sidney Rigdon dedicated the spot. So with Zion dedicated, the next thing Joseph does is the very next day on August 3rd, he and several other men went to the area of independence and there it was revealed to him where the temple should be built.
And he actually dedicates that. And so you see kind of, again, the covenant relationship. What can what can help you in that Covenant Temple blessing?
When God gathers his people, it’s build a temple and give them the covenants.
So that was that was dedicated on the 3rd and then on the 4th, they come back here to kind of have a culmination of back to the the Colesville property or the where the Colesville Saints are. And they have a conference and basically say, OK, we’ve established Zion and Joseph and the rest of the elders are going to return. Of course some are going to stay. So Joseph finds things that are essentially basically done. And then in section fifty nine, this is kind of his last the last culminating revelation before he leaves to try to give them instruction on them.
How do you build Zion? What do you have to do in that covenant relationship? And as you’ve so well indicated here, Taylor, it’s a matter of keeping the commandments and covenants that he’s he’s given them. So it’s not surprising that he elucidates insects and fifty nine, many of those reintroduces some of the Covenant relationship.
But you were talking about some of the focus of God saying, OK, this is a lot of days I keep keep the ancient commandments. But here are some things I want to focus on. What were some of the things that you had seen?
You definitely see in verse five to exactly what I think you cited it, that we have to love God and his son with all our heart, my mind and strength. And then here are some of those basic principles revealed to Moses and other prophets. Love thy neighbor, not steal, not commit adultery or kill, do anything like into it, and certainly have to offer appreciation and gratitude. But I think the at that point in time, he really looks into the heart.
And how do you how do you give your heart and to God? And the best way to do that, of course, is to have a broken heart. And there’s a whole lot of implication with that. And how do you do that? Well, the best time to do that is on the Sabbath day in which you can focus all of your thoughts and feelings and and energies on the worship of our Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, on the Sabbath day.
So it’s not surprising that he kind of outlines here’s some of the things you should do on the Sabbath day in terms of that covenant relationship and in worshiping him, which doesn’t show up in the law of Moses or he tells people to keep the Sabbath holy. But there’s interesting instructions here that we don’t find in the Old Testament. If you go back to four seven, there’s also an addition that you don’t get the original Ten Commandments. God says that I think the Lord, thy God and all things.
He’s basically updating like, here’s a way I’d like for you guys to show me that you love me, just express gratitude. Exactly how does that make you feel? Happy. But it shows that you actually are aware that you’re receiving the blessings that I’ve already laid out for you, for your covenantal faithfulness.
He goes on, of course, and says, now there’s one way you can really become a Zion person and keep yourself unspotted from the world. And that’s why Your Worship on the Sabbath day and he specifically says that thou shalt go to the House of Prayer. It’s nice to go up in the mountains and commune with God at times in nature. But we need to fellowship with the Saints. They need to feel of our spirits. They need to hear of our testimony, our conviction.
And you go to the House of Prayer. Now, they don’t have a house of prayer yet in Jackson County. They have a school house in Kirtland. But of course, this is something is vital to our worship today is to actually go to a physical meeting house and a place where we can worship together.
These are great insights, and we just hope you just feel the love that God has for us and just the love that we can fill in the scriptures, God’s care and concern for us. He’s not trying to limit our lives. He’s just saying, look, if you want to have a happy, prosperous life where the spirit is with you, do these things. And if you struggle or fall, guess what? Every week you can come back into my presence at the sacrament table and pledge again your desire to be loyal to me.
And I will not remember the past or maybe you have where you have fallen. And just every week we get that opportunity of renewal. I just find it so incredible. There’s nothing in this world that has that much staying power, that much power of forgiveness. I mean, I’ve been in lots of institutions, lots of organizations. I’ve been to lots of relationships. God is just above everything. I love how he just invites us again and again into his loving embrace.
I think it’s important on the Sabbath day to at least the commandment to keep the Sabbath day holy. And again, you would know this as well as anyone, Taylor, in giving the Sabbath to the Israelites. The idea, of course, was not only their personal sanctification, but at the same time it would be the way we worship God on the Sabbath day to the Israelites that would send the message that the Israelite God is God. And I think that’s the same way today.
If Latter day Saints would really live the law of the Sabbath, other people, other groups would say, boy, a Latter day Saints, God is God. They observe the Sabbath much, much differently. And I think most other Christian and other denominations worship on the Sabbath. I really distinguishes us as a people and should anyway. And of course, what does he say in there? Is that nevertheless, even though you’re worshiping on the Sabbath, nevertheless, like thou shall be offered up in righteousness on all days and at all times.
Just because you worship on the Sabbath doesn’t mean you forget the Lord during the rest of the week. So we have to continue that process of of offering our love and our devotion and our our commitment to the savior and to his gospel all the time. You’ve always heard the word, oh, they’re just Sunday Mormons or the phrase Sunday Mormons. And they go to church. But during the week, they kind of forget what he’s saying.
If you’re going to be a member of the church, it’s not just a Sunday activity. It’s every every day.
And of course, verse 12. But remember, on this, the Lord’s day, that shall offer thy obligations. If you want to look at obligations down there in the bottom of the footnote offerings, whether of time, talents or means in service of God in the fellow and our fellow man. And again, you can go to the New Testament quoted Christ do on the Sabbath. He healed people. He did things against their their traditional laws, but he went about doing good.
He was actually doing those very things. Yes, he was doing his obligations.
And then of course and I sacraments and of the most high, confessing my sins under thy brother and and before the Lord. And then of course, we certainly can worship around a table of food and and have I don’t know about you, but the best meals of the week are on Sunday when we get our family together and are able to worship together and rejoice together on the Sabbath day. And then, of course, we should fast occasionally on the Sabbath day.
And of course, the church now has given us the opportunity every once a month to offer up a fast and a generous fast offering.
And as a reminder, the word fast. It doesn’t mean quick, like I’m a fast runner. It actually comes from the word strong, just like a fastener. Make something strong and secure. So the word fast literally means to become strong. And by by controlling your body, you become strong. And God, that’s what fasting one of the purposes of fasting.
And look at the promise that they fasting may be perfect, or in other words, that they join me before. I don’t know about you, but I know in the times when I sincerely fasted, I have felt great peace and joy, knowing that I have forsaken my my physical needs. I put aside my physical needs and really focused on those things that are most important with my relationship with God or with others who I’m fasting for.
Right where I’ve had times where sometimes I feel like it’s an imposition and I don’t feel joy. But like you, the times are like the purpose of my fasting is to bring me to God. It is a joyful experience I’m not worried about. Oh man, I missed a meal. So it’s amazing how God invites us to do things that may be hard, but ultimately bring us a better life.
And I think I think oftentimes if we don’t fast with a purpose, all we’re really doing is going hungry. And so this is where, again, I think the joyful experience of fasting can can can be part of our our worship on the Sabbath. And then, of course, it’s a little different day on that day. We shouldn’t be doing some activities that probably would bring us a little more frivolous frivolity. And and as much as you do these things with Thanksgiving, with cheerful hearts and countenances, not with much laughter for this is sin, but with a glad heart and a cheerful countenance.
So it’s not it’s not the comedy day.
Right. I don’t know if you have to. We probably shouldn’t have a roaring game of pinnacle, you know what I mean? But but just do it with a sincere desire to to worship our heavenly father and his son. But the great thing is and again, you outline it very well here, is that if you’ll do these things, what can God give you? One of the blessings and. Tyler mentioned this as well. If you can worship God in the right way, why couldn’t he bestow on you all the blessings of the Earth that the Earth can bring forth for you and to gladden the heart to please the all of the wonderful things that Earth, that earth life has for us if we can worship him in the right manner, in the right spirit.
So I wanted to just tie a couple of of thoughts together here with what Alex and Taylor have shared with you, look again closely at verse 14 Verilli. This is fasting and prayer or in other words, rejoicing in prayer. It’s interesting to hear you two talking about fasting, how the physical body isn’t looking at the calendar saying, oh, good, this weekend is fast Sunday. No. No mortal flesh likes fast sun. It’s just not our favorite, but I love the fact that God takes fasting and prayer or in other words, rejoicing in prayer.
He just linked fasting with rejoicing. What a rejoicing thing when the spirit of of the Lord can inspire our spirits to put aside the needs of the flesh for a day appropriately. And it’s this rejoicing thing. It’s this empowering, this fascinating thing. It fastens us to God. Look now at verse twenty one and in nothing. Dustmen offend God or against Nonna’s his wrath. Kindles save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not as commandments.
Could it be possible that applies not just to all the blessings that I received, but also scriptures, prophets, covenants that I acknowledge the fact that wow, the God of the universe has given me all these things. And now all he’s asked in return with all that investment he’s made in me, the only thing he asks for me is Tyler, can you just trust me? Can you just obey the covenants or the commandments that I’ve given you? That’s a pretty small price tag to put on this this bounteous blessing of life and agency and the abundance of of mortality that he provides for us.
And then in verse twenty three. But learn that he has to do with the works of righteousness, shall receive his reward, even peace in this world and eternal life in the world to come. Brothers and sisters, he just gave you one side of a coin there. There is another side to that coin. There are people who are going to use their agency who choose to not follow his commandments or hearken to his voice, but who hearken to the voice of the adversary.
And in other places in scripture, we’re told basically if you do the work of the devil, you need to be prepared to receive the devil’s wages. And if you do the work of the Lord, then he is preparing you to receive his wages and he tells you what his wages are, peace in this world, an eternal life in the world to come. So, Alex and Taylor, as we finish this particular block of scriptures, I think it’s not saying too much or overemphasizing this fact to say what a blessing to have modern prophets and to have the blessing of ancient and and more recent prophets and the words of God given to us as the extensions of his love for us.
And now as we move forward to be able to just try a little harder to love God, more, love each other, work forward through all the struggles and the difficulties that we face, knowing that he’s in his heavens and he knows what he’s doing.
And I might add to that, of course, these scriptures are about Zion, and it did not happen the way these early saints anticipated it would, but the good ship Zion is still going and we’re part of it. And I think the message for me also today is how can I help to bring forth Zion in my own life, among my own family, among my own community, and hopefully that I’ll do my part so that someday, when that Zion is absolutely established definitively, when the savior will come to that great place in in Jackson County, Missouri, it will not be moved out of its place.
That I’ve done my part, that I contributed to building up the kingdom of God and hopefully that personally I became a Zion person, want a pure heart and mind. And I grateful for the opportunity to be with you today and discuss these marvelous, marvelous revelations and to pay tribute to those who tried to establish Zion in eighteen thirty one.
And we thank all of you for being with us today. And we encourage you to spread light and goodness wherever you go now that your loved.