DOCTRINE & COVENANTS - LESSON 5
SECTIONS 5-9; JS-HISTORY 1:66-67
- Introductory Comments.
- Thoughts from President Hinckley on our heritage.
- "It is good to look to the past to gain appreciation for the
present and perspective for the future. It is good to look upon the virtues
of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead.
It is good to reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained
so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well
nurtured, has come a great harvest of which we are the beneficiaries. Their
tremendous example can become a compelling motivation for us all, for each
of us is a pioneer in his own life, often in his own family, and many of
us pioneer daily in trying to establish a gospel foothold in distant parts
of the world." (Ensign, July 1984, p3)
- "Thanks be to those who remained true while walking through
those testing fires. What a price; what a terrible price they paid, of
which we are the beneficiaries. We had better never forget it."
(Ensign, November 1974, p99)
- Followup notes on the loss of the manuscript.
- Disposition of the manuscript.
- The testimonies of a Pomeroy Tucker and a Reverend Clark indicate that
Martin's wife snatched the manuscript while her husband slept.
- Mother Smith said this: "...There is no doubt but Mrs. Harris
took it from the drawer, with the view of retaining it until another translation
should be given, then to alter the original translation, for the purpose
of showing a discrepancy between them, and thus make the whole appear to
be a deception."
- The first edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830 contained
an account by the Prophet of the lost manuscript incident. No subsequent
editions carried that account.
- READ D&C 10:9-12. The wicked have altered the words of the translation.
- It is important to note in these verses we have been reading of the
battle of Satan to confound the work.
- It is vital for us to realize the reality of the battle Satan is waging
against us and the work of salvation.
- Much of this section discusses the efforts of Satan to destroy the
- As we continue through Church history, we will see ample evidence of
his attempt to stop the work of salvation. In fact, it would be interesting
to chronicle these events. We are engaged in a battle without parallel.
- Section 5.
- After receiving the revelation contained in Section 3 (July 1828),
the Prophet returned the Urim and Thummim and the plates to the angel Moroni.
- According to Joseph, "After the angel left me, I continued
my supplications to God, without cessation". (HJS, p135)
- I am sure this was a season of deep repentance and humility. Certainly
by this time, Joseph began to understand the importance and magnitude of
the work. How he must have grieved to realized how he had disappointed
- Considering all the trials the Prophet was subject to, still this must
have been one of the darkest periods of his life.
- On September 22, 1828, Moroni returned the interpreters and plates
- This was exactly one year after Joseph first received the plates.
- Moroni reassured Joseph that he was loved of the Lord for both his
faithfulness and humility. (HJS, p135)
- Joseph did not resume translation of the record immediately after receipt
of the plates and the Urim & Thummim. He says that he "went
to laboring with my hands upon a small farm which I had purchased of my
wife's father, in order to provide for my family." (DHC, pg 28)
- In February of 1829, Joseph's parents came to visit him and Emma in
Harmony. This was the first meeting between the Smiths and the Hales. Mother
Smith observed the Hales were "pleasantly situated and lived in good
style." (HJS, p136)
- Shortly after the visit of Joseph's parents, Martin Harris came to
visit. Since he had never seen the plates while serving as scribe, he desired
a witness from the Lord that Joseph had the golden record. Section 5 was
given in response to Martin's request. Part was directed to Martin &
part to Joseph.
- Section 5 was given in March 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania.
- Discussion of Section 5.
- In v3 the Prophet is reminded that the plates are not to be shown to
any other than who the Lord commands.
- READ V4. Translation first gift bestowed upon the Prophet.
- In v10 the Lord says "But this generation shall have my word
- A statement affirmation that Joseph is the Lord's mouthpiece or prophet.
- I wonder how Joseph felt to know that these were the Lord's plans for
- In v11-15 the Lord indicates that there will be three witnesses chosen
to support the testimony of Joseph regarding the plates.
- READ V24-25,28. Martin to see the plates if he humbles himself.
- WHAT DID MARTIN HARRIS HAVE TO DO SO HE COULD SEE THE GOLD PLATES?
- Humble himself in mighty prayer and faith and in the sincerity of his
- Acknowledge to the Lord the things which he has done wrong.
- Covenant with the Lord to keep his commandments and exercise faith.
- WHAT ARE SOME CHALLENGES TO OUR BECOMING MORE HUMBLE? HOW CAN WE OVERCOME
THESE CHALLENGES AND BECOME MORE HUMBLE?
- WHAT RESPONSIBILITY DID THE LORD SAY MARTIN HARRIS WOULD HAVE AFTER
SEEING THE BOOK OF MORMON PLATES?
- To testify of their truthfulness.
- WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT FOR MARTIN TO TESTIFY OF HIS WITNESS? WHY IS IT
IMPORTANT THAT WE BEAR TESTIMONY OF GOSPEL TRUTHS?
- In v34 the Lord said "Stop, and stand still until I command
thee, and I will provide means whereby thou mayest accomplish the thing
which I have commanded thee."
- WHAT DID THE LORD MEAN BY THIS STATEMENT?
- Although Joseph was anxious to continue the translation, the Lord told
him to be patient and wait. The means would be provided whereby he could
continue the work.
- Section 6.
- The Drama of the Restoration.
- This drama now unfolds with the addition of one of the most significant
characters of the Restoration.
- In this cast of important characters, we have thus far been introduced
to Joseph Smith, his supportive family (particularly his mother Lucy and
his father Joseph Sr.), and Martin Harris.
- We have also made brief mention of the Joseph Knight family who played
a significant role in the earliest days of the Restoration.
- During the winter of 1828-1829 a young man by the name of Oliver
Cowdery taught school in the Manchester school district.
- As part of the compensation for teaching school, the teacher would
board with the families of the children in school. Oliver did this and
had the opportunity to lodge with the Smith family.
- While he was there, the family related to him the manner in which Joseph
had received the plates from an angel and explained that he was in the
process of translating them.
- This account had a deep impact upon Oliver and he had the impression
that he should go to Harmony and assist Joseph in the work.
- Oliver said: "It worked on my very bones."
- Prior to going to Harmony Oliver met a young man from Fayette named
- The two men became friends and Oliver related to David the account
of Joseph getting the plates and translating them. David was skeptical.
- Oliver joined Samuel Smith on a trip to Harmony on the first of April
- On the way to Harmony, Samuel and Oliver, stopped at the Whitmer home
- Oliver promised David that as soon as he found out anything about the
plates, either truth or untruth, he would let him know.
- On April 5, 1829, Samuel Smith arrived in Harmony and introduced Oliver
to Joseph. Oliver began as Joseph's scribe on April 7, 1829, and continued
until the translation was finished.
- From April 7 through the month of May, Joseph and Oliver labored on
the translation with few interruptions.
- Since Joseph and Oliver were primarily concerned about the work of
translation, Joseph was unable to sufficiently provide for their temporal
- Fortunately, from time to time, Joseph Knight from Colesville, New
York, brought foodstuffs that enable Joseph and Oliver to continue the
- So poor were they, that Oliver had to scribe the translation on to
any paper which they could find. The first manuscript was an accumulation
of many different types of paper, literally what we would call scraps.
We cannot comprehend that type of poverty. It is nothing for us to go out
and buy a pad of paper or a package of notebook paper. They had to scrounge.
- Section 6.
- This revelation was directed to both Joseph and Oliver
- V6: "Now, as you have asked, behold, I say unto you, keep my
commandments, and seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion".
- In these early days, there were several who asked what the Lord would
have them do and this was the Lord's response, to "seek to bring
forth and establish the cause of Zion."
- Said the Prophet: "The building up of Zion is a cause that
has interested the people of God in every age; it is a theme upon which
prophets, priests and kings have dwelt with peculiar delight; they have
looked forward with joyful anticipation to the day in which we live; and
fired with heavenly and joyful anticipations they have sung and written
and prophesied of this our day; but they died without the sight; we are
the favored people that God has made choice of to bring about the Latter-day
glory; it is left for us to see, participate in and help to roll forward
the Latter-day glory". (DHC 4:609-610)
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "In the early days of the Church the
brethren came to the Prophet Joseph Smith asking what the Lord would have
them do. The answer given to them was 'to bring forth the cause of Zion.'
That is our work, to establish Zion, to build up the kingdom of God, to
preach the gospel to every creature in the world, that not one soul may
be overlooked where there is the possibility for us to present unto him
the truth." (CR, April 1951)
- 1997 will be a year in which we will see how so many sacrificed deeply
to establish the cause of Zion. As we view these events, we must ask ourselves
how we too can "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of
- In this year of commemoration of the Mormon trail, we may wish to consider
this thought and how we might honor the sacrifices of our pioneer predecessors.
- My own thoughts on projects. Take a moment for others to consider.
- V7: "Seek not for riches but for wisdom, and behold, the mysteries
of God shall be unfolded unto you, and then shall you be made rich. Behold,
he that hath eternal life is rich."
- WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
- READ V22-24. Oliver told by the Lord of the night the Lord spoke
peace to him.
- Even though Oliver was convinced of the validity of the work he was
involved in, he must have still doubted. The Lord witnessed to him through
- Wrote Joseph: "After we had received this revelation, Oliver
Cowdery stated to me that after he had gone to my father's to board, and
after the family had communicated to him concerning my having obtained
the plates, that one night after he had retired to bed he called upon the
Lord to know if these things were so, and the Lord manifested to him that
they were true, but he had kept the circumstance entirely secret, and had
mentioned it to no one; so that after this revelation was given, he knew
that the work was true, because no being living knew of the thing alluded
to in the revelation, but God and himself." (DHC 1:35)
- IS NOT THIS ONE MEANS OF RECEIVING REVELATION, "DID I NOT SPEAK
PEACE TO YOUR MIND CONCERNING THE MATTER?
- HOW MANY HAVE ENJOYED THIS EXPERIENCE?
- In v25 Oliver was granted the gift to translate, if he desired, even
- Section 8.
- Wrote the Prophet: "Whilst continuing the work of translation,
during the month of April, Oliver Cowdery became exceedingly anxious to
have the power bestowed upon him, and in relation to this desire the following
revelations were obtained" (Sections 8 & 9). (DHC 1:36)
- Discussion of Section 8.
- READ V2-3. The Lord explains the spirit of revelation.
- Revelation is rarely a dramatic moment, put the quiet prompting of
- If one listens to the Brethren talk of revelation, this is what they
- READ V4. The Lord instructs Oliver to apply himself to his gift.
- It was Oliver Cowdery's special gift to understand the "still
small voice" of the Spirit, and if he would follow it, he would be
delivered from the hand of the enemy.
- THE LORD INSTRUCTS OLIVER TO "APPLY" HIMSELF TO THIS GIFT.
WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD MEANT?
- Revelation does not just happen. It is given after one has attempted
to resolve or struggle with an issue. It involves prayer and the exercise
- V10: "Remember that without faith you can do nothing; therefore
ask in faith."
- Section 9.
- Points of Discussion.
- In Section 9 the Lord tells Oliver that since he did not translate,
the privilege was taken from him. It was the will of the Lord that Oliver
continue to scribe for the Prophet.
- READ V7-10. The Lord explains the process of translation & revelation
- HAVE YOU HAD THIS EXPERIENCE? WHAT A WONDERFUL EXPLANATION OF THE PROCESS
- Return from my mission and desire to go to the Grand Canyon to work.
- V9: "Behold, it was expedient when you commenced; but you feared,
and the time is past, and it is not expedient now".
- HAVE YOU HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF RECEIVING INSPIRATION OR AN ASSIGNMENT?
THE FEAR WAS GREAT AND SO YOU POSTPONED IT UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE?
- What if Lehi had procrastinated the time for leaving Jerusalem out
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "It seems probable that Oliver Cowdery
desired to translate out of curiosity, and the Lord taught him his place
by showing him that translating was not the easy thing he had thought it
to be. In a subsequent revelation (Sec. 9), the explanation was made that
Oliver's failure came because he did not continue as he commenced, and
the task being a difficult one his faith deserted him. The lesson he learned
was very necessary for he was shown that his place was to act as scribe
for Joseph Smith and that it was the latter who was called and appointed
by command of the Lord to do the translating. There must have been some
desire on the part of Oliver Cowdery to be equal with the Prophet and some
impatience in having to sit and act as scribe, but when he failed to master
the gift of translating, he was then willing to accept the will of the
Lord". (CHMR 1:47)
- Brigham Young makes the following statement: "When Joseph got
the plates, the angel instructed him to carry them back to the hill Cumorah,
which he did. Oliver says that when Joseph and Oliver went there, the hill
opened, and they walked into a cave, in which there was a large and spacious
room. He says he did not think, at the time, whether they had the light
of the sun, or artificial light; but it was as light as day. They laid
the plates on a table; it was a large table that stood in the room. Under
this table there was a pile of plates as much as two feet high, and there
were altogether in this room more plates than, probably, many wagon loads;
they were piled up in the corners and along the walls. The first time they
went there, the sword of Laban hung upon the wall; but when they went again,
it had been taken down and laid upon the table across the gold plates;
it was unsheathed, and on it were written these words, 'This sword will
never be sheathed again until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom
of our God and His Christ.' I take the liberty of referring to those things
so that they will not be forgotten and lost. Carlos Smith was a young man
of as much veracity as any young man we had, and he was a witness to these
things. Samuel Smith saw some things, and Hyrum saw a good many things,
but Joseph was the leader." (JD 19:38)
- Through this point we begin to see the work of the restoration unfolding.
Joseph goes through a refining process due to the lost manuscript. Oliver
Cowdery receives important instructions concerning the process of revelation.
- Application: Stay true to that which we know is right and we
will be supported. Revelation is a two way process: it comes only after
making efforts on our own and studying it out in our minds.
- Next Week.
- Lesson 6: D&C 11-16 & JS-History 1:68-75.
- Lesson 7: D&C 17-19.