D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 6
D&C 4;11-16; JS-HISTORY 1:68-75
- Introductory Comments.
- Accounts of the Pioneers.
- Brother Joseph Hovey wrote of illness in Iowa: "This morning
we moved out about two miles from camp with Brother Young. We stopped here
for about three days, and Father Kimball came and visited us and said we
should come over to his division, and they could nurse us better than we
could get with Brother Joseph Young, as Brother Young's family was also
sick. Accordingly, Brother James Smith drove me over to Father Kimball's
division. I spread my tent beside my wagon and got a bedstead and placed
my wife on an ordinary bed once more. She was very weak, and we could hardly
get her out of the wagon. With much difficulty we got her to bed. Father
Kimball got us a girl to help take care of our baby which was not well.
- "I nursed my wife as well as I could. Yea, I did stand by her
bed and did minister herbs and mild foods and prayed over her. I was sick
myself. I had a high fever and shook all over. My wife could not take any
food, only a little water. For nine days she took but very little of anything.
After considerable persuasion, I got her to take an ametick [emetic] of
Lobelia and this helped her. She said the ice water tasted good. Mother
Kimball and the other sisters came to see my wife, and she talked quite
freely with them. I did not think she would die, but she told some who
were there she could not live. This morning I ate a very hearty breakfast.
About 1O o'clock I was taken with a severe attack, the hardest I had ever
had. I vomited a great deal and lay prostrate upon the ground. I exercised
all the faith I could and I could not raise up. I did not know what was
going on around me, but I did hear them ask Martha what they should do
with the little babe, and she said, 'Let me have the dear little lamb,
and you see to my dear husband, as he is almost dead.' This is the last
time I heard Martha speak. I had such a fever I was out of my head for
- "About 10 o'clock in the evening Father Kimball came to the
tent door and asked how we were. I told him I was better and I thought
my wife was, for she was asleep. I went to sleep again. When I awoke later,
although I was very ill, the first thing I did was to go to the bed of
Martha to see how she was. She was partly uncovered and cold. I spoke to
her but she could not speak. I persevered, but she was so stopped up in
the throat she could not speak. She was unconscious and did not move. Her
eyes were half shut, and she breathed very hard. Her pulse was low, and
she was cold as death in her lower limbs. I concluded she was struck with
death. I could not do much for her, as she could not swallow.
- "I went for Father Kimball. He came and laid hands on her.
He asked her if she knew him, but she made no signs that she knew him.
I presume the dampness of the night and the bed clothes being partly off,
and not having anyone to watch and give her some warm drinks and keep her
warm, she took her death of cold.
- "Martha departed this life September 16, 1846, at about 11
o'clock. She was laid out in her robes to come forth in the morning of
the resurrection. She was full of faith and good works. She delighted in
the blessings of the Kingdom. It was her meat and drink to hear them spoken
of. She often spoke of the Glory of God and what a blessing it would be
to live and enjoy it. She did desire to live and gain more knowledge of
God and his plans. She died without a struggle or groan. I stopped beside
her bed until she drew her last breath and closed her eyes. She showed
in her countenance that she was at rest. A number spoke of her pleasant
countenance and peaceful corpse. If I am faithful, I anticipate meeting
her and embracing her when she comes forth in the morning of the resurrection.
I will behold her with a glorious body that cannot be diseased and afflicted,
and all tears will be wiped away. My daily prayer is that I may hold out
until the end and enjoy the glories of the Celestial Kingdom with her,
and reign with my brethren throughout all eternity." (Writings
of Early Latter-day Saints ChapJoseph Hovey Auto, BYU-SPg 41-43)
- Section 4.
- Historical Background.
- As discussed last week, in early 1829 Joseph was living in Harmony,
Pennsylvania. In February his mother and father came to visit.
- Section 4 was given through the Prophet to his father.
- In this section, the qualifications for the labor in the ministry is
- V1: "Now behold, a marvelous work is about to come forth among
the children of men."
- WHAT IS THIS MARVELOUS WORK THE LORD IS TELLING JOSEPH SR. THAT IS
ABOUT TO COME FORTH?
- Most certainly the Book of Mormon, which is son is translating.
- WHAT MAKES THE BOOK OF MORMON SUCH A MARVELOUS WORK?
- A history of an ancient people that has been brought across the ages.
- We have discussed the amazing evidences surround the Book of Mormon.
- Most importantly: It brings men to the truth and greater righteousness.
- This marvelous work also has reference to "all that pertains
to the restoration in Dispensation of the Fulness of Times." (DCC,
- V2: "Therefore, O ye that embark in the service of God, see
that ye serve him with all your heart, might, mind and strength, that ye
may stand blameless before God at the last day."
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
- D&C Student Manual: "This is a way of saying that a person
must be totally committed to the work and have no reservation. This commitment
involves the emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical energy of
the person. Other ways of saying the same thing are 'with an eye single
to the glory God' (D&C 4:5) and 'not man can serve two masters' (Matthew
- IN ANY WORK YOU ARE PERFORMING, WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DO IT HALF-HEARTED
OR DIVIDE YOUR EFFORTS? WHY SHOULD THE LORD'S WORK BE ANY DIFFERENT?
- President John Taylor: "If you do not magnify your callings,
God will hold you responsible for those whom you might have saved had you
done your duty."
- V3: "Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called
to the work."
- WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS VERSE?
- Obviously there are those who are formally called to the missionary
work. And yet, we all have a place in participating in the harvest.
- President George Albert Smith: "It is not necessary for you
to be called to go into the mission field in order to proclaim the truth.
Begin on the man who lives next door by inspiring confidence in him , by
inspiring love in him for you because of your righteousness, and your missionary
work has already begun." (CR, Oct. 1916)
- V4: "For behold the field is white already to harvest; and
lo, he that thrusteth in his sickle with his might, the same layeth up
in store that he perisheth not, but bringeth salvation to his soul;"
- This revelation was given in 1829, nearly 170 years ago. In the early
years of the Church, magnificent harvests were forth coming. Whole congregations
were joining in England.
- IS THIS STILL TRUE TODAY?
- While I was serving my mission in 1971 to 1973, the Church passed the
3 million mark. It is now on the verge of passing the 10 million mark,
more than triple.
- More people now join the Church in one year than joined the Church
in the first several decades.
- At the Prophet's death it is estimated there were 26,000 to 27,000
members of the Church.
- V5-7: "And faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single
to the glory of God, qualify him for the work. "Remember faith, virtue,
knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity,
humility, diligence. "Ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you. Amen."
- HOW IMPORTANT ARE THESE ATTRIBUTES TO BEING SUCCESSFUL IN THE WORK?
HOW CAN WE DEVELOP THESE ATTRIBUTES?
- Section 11.
- Historical background:
- During the month of May 1829, the Prophet's brothers came to visit
him in Harmony. While there, the revelation known as Section 11 was given
through the Urim & Thummim to Joseph for his brother Hyrum.
- This revelation, although addressed to Hyrum, speaks to all of us about
- 11:7: "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."
- The Smith's were a poor family and I am sure that Hyrum longed to have
things better. The Lord gives him this instruction about setting priorities.
- WHAT ARE OUR PRIORITIES? DO WE SEEK AFTER RICHES, COMFORT, OR THE WISDOM
OF THE ETERNITIES?
- V15: "Behold, I command you that you need not suppose that
you are called to preach until you are called."
- WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THIS VERSE AND VERSE 3 IN SECTION 4 WHERE
IT SAYS THAT IF YOU HAVE DESIRES YOU ARE CALLED TO THE WORK?
- It would seem that this has a more specific reference to the actual
ministry, rather than the work of sharing the gospel in general.
- READ V21-22. Wait to preach until you obtain the word.
- V25: "Deny not the spirit of revelation, nor the spirit of
prophecy, for wo unto him that denieth these things;"
- Joseph Fielding Smith commenting on these verses: "This is
good counsel for all of us today. There are some members of the Church
who seemingly complain because the Lord is not giving revelations to be
placed in the Doctrine and Covenants as in the beginning and they ask why
revelation has ceased in the Church. Usually it is the case that these
critics are not faithfully keeping the commandments the Lord has already
given and their eyes are blind to the fact that revelation and the guidance
of the Lord is being meted out to the Church constantly. No one with the
spirit of discernment can fail to see that the hand of the Lord has guided
this people from the beginning and this guidance is manifest today as in
other times to all who are humble and have a contrite spirit."
- Section 12.
- Historical background:
- Section 12 is a revelation given through the Prophet to Joseph Knight.
- Joseph Knight was an older gentleman. He was interested in the work
of the Prophet and occasionally brought supplies so that Joseph and Oliver
could continue to work.
- In this section he is called by the Lord to keep the commandments and
to "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion."
- Section 13.
- Historical Background.
- Joseph and Oliver had begun the work of translation on April 7 and
continued almost non-stop. When they came to the instructions of the Savior
to the Nephites on the subject of baptism, Oliver says that it became apparent
to them that "none had authority from God to administer the ordinances
of the Gospel."
- As Joseph says in his history, "we on a certain day went into
the woods to pray and inquire of the Lord respecting baptism for the remission
of sins". (JS-History 1:68)
- Watch D&C Video, selection 2.
- According to Bruce R. McConkie, John did two things on this occasion.
- He conferred upon them the authority of the Aaronic Priesthood.
- He gave them the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood.
- The keys of presidency in the AP.
- The right to preside in the AP.
- The right to authorize either themselves or someone else to use the
- According to the Prophet, John said that the "Aaronic Priesthood
had not the power of laying on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost"
but would be conferred upon them at a later time. (JS-History 1:70)
- WHEN DID THE RESTORATION OF THE MELCHEZIDEK PRIESTHOOD OCCUR?
- In 1878, Orson Pratt and Joseph F. Smith visited David Whitmer in Missouri.
The first question they asked of David was the date the "Apostleship"
was bestowed upon Joseph. David responded, "I do not know, Joseph
never told me." (Studies in Scripture, 1:92)
- Joseph Smith, in the History of the Church, talks about ordination
to the office of an elder prior to the reception of Section 18 in June
1829. Therefore, the Melchizedek Priesthood was bestowed sometime between
May 15 and the end of June.
- More recent research provides evidence that it was bestowed prior to
the May 29.
- How Important Were These Revelations of The Priesthood?
- Do you suppose Joseph and Oliver had any real vision of what had truly
happened with the reception of the divine powers? What a awesome and sobering
responsibility, knowing that you were the only one's with the keys of eternal
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "There is no doubt about Satan having
great power and that he can appear as an angel of light. In this form he
appeared on the banks of the Susquehanna River to oppose the restoration
of keys, and was detected by Michael, and his plans were thwarted."
(Answers to Gospel Questions, 1:177)
- WHY WAS ADAM PRESENT ON THIS OCCASION?
- D&C 78:16 indicates that Adam holds "the keys of salvation"
under the direction of Jesus Christ.
- Documentary History of the Church Vol 3 : 26 : 386 : 1
- Joseph Smith: "The Priesthood is an everlasting principle,
and existed with God from eternity, and will to eternity, without beginning
of days or end of years. The keys have to be brought from heaven whenever
the Gospel is sent. When they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam's
authority." (DHC 3:386)
- The reception of the priesthood was no small event. We view it as a
quiet ministration on the banks of the Susquehanna. But this was an event
to shake the foundations of hell. Satan, evidently tried to intervene as
an angel of light. Adam, Michael the co-creator of this world, presided
over this event and detected the presence of the adversary.
- At every turn, Satan attempted to thwart the restoration.
- In the Sacred Grove.
- After Joseph received the plates. Many tried to steal the plates.
- The lost of the 116 page manuscript.
- And now, at the time the priesthood was restored.
- This is a real war with Satan. He is unrelenting. He is fighting his
eternal war at every corner. We can only bind him by our righteousness.
- Do we honor this magnificent gift and power we have been given?
- Sections 14-16.
- Historical Background.
- Joseph & Oliver continued the translation at Harmony, but as the
work continued many in neighborhood begin to gossip about what was going
- Some of the men in the village became aroused over the work and called
upon Joseph & Oliver. They threatened to mob them if they did not cease
- Joseph wrote: "And their intentions of mobbing us were only
counteracted by the influence of my wife's family (under Divine providence),
who had become very friendly with me, and who were opposed to mobs, and
were willing that I should be allowed to continue the work of translation
without interruption; and therefore offered and promised us protection
from all unlawful proceedings, as far as in them lay." (DHC 1:44)
- The persecutions continued and as Joseph was translating, according
to his mother, he received a commandment through the Urim & Thummim
to write David Whitmer and ask him to come immediately with his team and
covey them to his father's residence.
- His mother said: "...an evil-designing people were seeking
to take away his (Joseph's) life, in order to prevent the work of God from
going forth to the world." (HJS, p.147)
- At the time the letter was received David was cultivating his farm
and it seemed impossible to comply with this urgent demand.
- The morning after receiving the letter David took his team to plow
the field for planting and discovered that between 5 and 7 acres had been
plowed during the night. The plow had been left in the furrow just as though
he had done it himself.
- Later, while harrowing a field he had broadcast with wheat, he found
that he was able to accomplish more in a few hours than he could normally
accomplish in two days.
- David's father, Peter Sr., believed that an overruling Providence had
been responsible for these marvelous events. He advised David to leave
for Pennsylvania immediately after sowing his plaster of Paris.
- The next morning David went to the field to sow the plaster of Paris.
When he reached the home of his sister where a large amount of plaster
had been piled, he discovered it gone.
- He inquired about the missing plaster and was told by his sister that
three strangers had appeared on the field the previous day and had scattered
the lime with remarkable skill and rapidity. She and her children had watched
them in amazement.
- After all of this, David's father is reported to have said: "David,
you get down there and get Joseph and Oliver, and invite them to come here,
and tell them that their board and room will be free of charge."
(Joseph Smith & The Restoration, pp. 97-98)
- On the third day after his departure from Fayette, David drove into
Harmony and met Joseph and Oliver walking out to meet him. Later David
asked Oliver how they knew when to walk out and meet him. Oliver replied:
"Joseph told me when you left Fayette. He told me where you stayed
the first night, how you read the sign at the tavern, where you stopped
the second night and concluded by saying, 'David will be here tomorrow
before noon and we'll go out to meet him'." (Joseph Smith &
The Restoration, p.98)
- About the trip to Fayette David wrote: "When I was returning
to Fayette with Joseph and Oliver, all of us riding in the wagon, Oliver
and I on an old fashioned wooden spring seat and Joseph behind us, we were
suddenly approached by a very pleasant, nice looking old man...who saluted
us with 'Good morning, it is very warm,' at the same instant wiping his
face or forehead with his hand. We returned the salutation and by a sign
from Joseph I invited him to ride if he was going ou
- David learned from the Prophet that he was the angelic messenger who
had taken the plates prior to their departure from Harmony. (Joseph Smith
& The Restoration, pp.98-99)
- At Fayette the plates were returned to the Prophet by the angel, and
the translation proceeded uninterrupted.
- Here Joseph & Oliver found many people who, instead of opposing
them, were eager to listen to their testimonies.
- I THINK IT IS WORTH PONDERING HERE HOW THE HAND OF THE LORD BECOMES
EVIDENT WHEN THERE IS A WORK TO DO AND WE ARE DOING OUR PART. AS NEPHI
SAID: "I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded,
for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men,
save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing
which he commandeth them." (1 Nephi 3:7)
- The Prophet says that David, John, and Peter Jr. became good friends
and desired to know their respective duties and Joseph inquired of the
Lord in their behalf. Sections 14-16 are directed at those three.
- In these revelations all three were called to the missionary work.
- WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE THE LORD REPEATED HIS INSTRUCTIONS ON MISSIONARY
WORK SO MANY TIMES IN THESE EARLY REVELATIONS?
- President Kimball said: "Some may wonder why General Authorities
speak of the same things from conference to conference. As I study the
utterances of the prophets through the centuries, their pattern is very
clear. We seek, in the words of Alma, to teach people 'an everlasting'
hatred against sin and iniquity. We preach 'repentence and faith on the
Lord Jesus Christ'." (Ensign, May 1976, p.6)
- READ 15:6, 16:6. The thing of most worth.
- ARE THESE VERSES APPLICABLE TO US TODAY? WHAT CAN WE DO?
- Member missionaries.
- Prepare children for missions.
- Prepare ourselves to serve.
- Elder David B. Haight: "The goal of every physically able couple
in the Church, just as it is for every 19-year-old young man in the Church,
should be to serve a mission. No finer example can be given, no finer testimony
can be borne by parents to children or grandchildren, than through missionary
service in their mature years." (Ensign, May 1987, p.61)
- Next Week.
- Lesson 7: D&C 17-19. Consider how these revelations apply to your