D&C 46-50

  1. Introductory Comments.
    1. Quotes from General Conference.
  2. Section 46.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. This revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland, Ohio, on March 8, 1831.
      2. Prior to this time, unbelievers had been excluded from general church meetings. This revelation was given part in response to that practice.
      3. This revelation was also given to describe the true gifts of the spirit so that the Saints might know the difference between other supposed gifts, the source of which is Satan.
    2. Discussion of Section 46.
      1.  READ V1-2. Meetings to be directed by the Spirit.
        1. D&C Commentary on Section 46:1-3: "From the preceding verses it is learned that the meetings of the Saints are conducted as the Elders 'are directed by the Holy Spirit.' The selection of hymns, the prayers, the choice of speakers, all must be according as the Spirit shall prompt. There must be no set, stereotyped forms limiting and hindering the free operation of the Spirit of God. Those who preside, those who speak, pray, sing, and those who listen must all be under the sacred Influence. In this verse a commandment is added that none is to be refused admittance to the public meetings of the Saints, All must be given a chance to hear the Gospel." (P271)
      2.  READ V3-5. Not to cast any from your meetings.
      3.  READ V8-12. Instructions on gifts of the Spirit.
          1. To avoid deception.
          2. To benefit those who love the Lord and keep his commandments.
        2. Orson Pratt: "...whenever the Holy Ghost takes up its residence in a person, it not only cleanses, sanctifies, and purifies him, in proportion as he yields himself to its influence, but also imparts to him some gift, intended for the benefit of himself and others. No one who has been born of the Spirit and who remains sufficiently faithful, is left destitute of a spiritual gift. A person who is without a spiritual gift has not the Spirit of God dwelling in him, in a sufficient degree, to save him; he cannot be called a Saint, or a child of God; for all Saints who constitute the Church of Christ, are baptized into the same Spirit; and each one, without any exception, is made a partaker of some spiritual gift.... "Each member does not receive all of these gifts; but they are distributed through the whole body [of the Church], according to the will and wisdom of the Spirit.... Some may have all these gifts bestowed upon them, so as to understand them all, and be prepared to detect any spurious gifts, and to preside over the whole body of the Church, that all may be benefited. These spiritual gifts are distributed among the members of the Church, according to their faithfulness, circumstances, natural abilities, duties, callings; that the whole may be properly instructed, confirmed, perfected, and saved." (Masterful Discourses, pp539-541)
        3. Truman Madsen in his discourse on the Joseph Smith says that the Prophet had all the gifts of the Spirit.
      4. WHAT ARE SOME OF THESE GIFTS? (see v13-25)
        1. V13: To know that Jesus is the Christ.
        2. V14: To believe on their words and thus gain eternal life (to believe on the testimony of others).
        3. V15: To know the differences of administration (to know the different duties and responsibilities of the priesthood).
        4. V16: To know the diversities of operations (to know whether an influence is from the Holy Spirit or from another source).
        5. V17: Word of wisdom (an endowment of wisdom).
        6. V18: Word of knowledge (a knowledge of the things of God obtained by revelation).
        7. V19: Faith to be healed.
        8. V20: Faith to heal.
        9. V21: Working of miracles.
        10. V22: Prophesy.
        11. V23: Discerning of spirits.
        12. V24: Speak with tongues.
        13. V25: Interpretation of tongues.
      5. HOW DO WE OBTAIN & DISCOVER THESE GIFTS? (see v28&33)
        1. Dallin H. Oakes: "I saw that principle [of seeking spiritual gifts] in action in the home in which I was raised. Having lost her husband, my widowed mother was incomplete. How she prayed for what she needed to fulfill her responsibility to raise her three small children! She was seeking, she was worthy, and she was blessed! Her prayers were answered in many ways, including the receipt of spiritual gifts. She had many, but the ones that stand out in my memory are the gifts of faith, testimony, and wisdom. She was a mighty woman in Zion, a great example of a scripture she loved to quote--Lehi's promise to his son Jacob that God 'shall consecrate thine afflictions for they gain' (2 Ne. 2:2)." (Ensign, Sep. 1986, p72)
        2. George Q. Cannon: "If any of us are imperfect, it is our duty to pray for the gift that will make us perfect. Have I imperfections? I am full of them. What is my duty? To pray to God to give me the gifts that will correct these imperfections. If I am an angry man, it is my duty to pray for charity, which suffereth long and is kind. Am I an envious man? It is my duty to seek for charity, which envieth not. So with all the gifts of the Gospel. They are intended for this purpose. No man ought to say, 'Oh, I cannot help this; it is my nature.' He is not justified in it, for the reason that God has promised to give strength to correct these things, and to give gifts that will eradicate them." ( Millennial Star, 23 Apr 1894, p260)
  3. Section 47.
    1. Historical Notes.
      1. Prior to this time Oliver Cowdery ad been acting as the historian and recorder for the Church. It was suggested that John Whitmer be appointed to this position.
      2. John Whitmer indicated that he wished to know the Lord's will on this matter. This revelation was given in response to John's request. John Whitmer was designated as Church historian.
      3. Whitmer's history was a brief sketch of events between 1831 and 1838, which included many of the revelations given to the Prophet.
        1. It consisted of 85 pages.
        2. When John was excommunicated from the Church in 1838, he refused to give up the history he had been recording. At John's death his nephew, John C. Whitmer, of Richmond, Missouri, took charge of the record. The Church obtained a copy of the record in 1893.
  4. Section 48.
    1. Historical Notes.
      1. This revelation, given in Kirtland in March 1831, gave instructions to the Saints about the obtaining of lands for those who were gathering to Ohio.
      2. John Whitmer wrote: "The time drew near for the brethren from the state of New York to arrive at Kirtland, Ohio. And some had supposed that it was the place of gathering, even the place of the New Jerusalem spoken of in the Book of Mormon, according to the visions and revelations received in the last days." ("Church History," Journal of History, Jan. 1908, p53)
        1. The Lord corrected this notion when he said in v5 that "The place is not yet to be revealed; but after your brethren come from the east there are to be certain men appointed, and to them it shall be given to know the place, or to them it shall be revealed."
  5. Section 49.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. In March of 1831, a man by the name of Leman Copley, joined the Church. He had been a member of the sect called the Shaking Quakers, also called the Shakers.
        1. After joining the Church he was desirous that missionaries be sent to the Shaker community near Cleveland, in hopes of bring some of them into the Church.
        2. This revelation, Section 49, was given through the Prophet to Sidney Rigdon, Parley P. Pratt, and Leman Copley. They are called by the Lord to go and preach the gospel to the Shakers.
      2. The Shakers:
        1. They called themselves "the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing".
        2. Their founder in America was Ann Lee.
          1. She taught that she was "Ann the Word," with "the blood of Christ running through [her] soul and body."
    2. Discussion of Section 49.
      1. V1-4: Sidney Rigdon, Parley Pratt, & Leman Copley commanded to go on a mission to the Shakers.
      2. In this revelation the Lord corrects some of the Shaker teachings. Isn't this what the scriptures do with all false teachings?
        1. The Shakers did not believe in baptism by water or in the sacrament.
          1.  READ V13. Commanded to repent and be baptized according to the holy commandment.
        2. The Shakers taught that only a "virgin life" was consistent with "purity of mind & body" and that the desire for offspring is the "root of human depravity".
          1.  READ V15-17. Marriage is ordained of God.
          2. These verses strike hard at modern society.
            1. How many avoid marriage and its commitments?
            2. How many avoid children because of how it may affect their careers or recreation opportunities?
        3. The Shakers taught that pork was forbidden and many of them refrained from eating any meat.
          1.  READ V18-19. The beasts ordained for the use of man.
          2. The Word of Wisdom, given a couple years later, sheds additional light on the use of meat.
        4. The Shakers taught that "in this Christ-order there is neither male nor female, in the fleshly generative sense." This originated the notion that our Savior might come as a woman just as well as a man. They believed that Christ's 2nd coming had already occurred and had appeared in the form of a woman, Ann Lee.
          1.  READ V22-23. Christ will not appear in the form of a woman.
        5. The Shaker communities were established primarily in NY, MA, NH, ME, & CT.
          1.  READ V24-25. Jacob to flourish in the wilderness.
            1. Jacob to flourish in the wilderness, upon the hills and mountains.
            2. This is also an intimation that the Saints would prosper in the western mountains.
            3. Lamanites to blossom as a rose: A remarkable prophecy at the time of its delivery. What would happen to the American Indians in the next 50 years? Who could imagine the work that would go forward in Central & South America?
      3. John Whitmer in his history of the Church says: "The above-named brethren went and proclaimed [the gospel] according to the Revelation given them, but the Shakers hearkened not to their words and received not the gospel at that time; for they are bound in tradition and priestcraft; and thus they are led away with foolish and vain imaginations".
  6. Section 50.
    1. Historical Background:
      1. Elder Parley P. Pratt, in his Autobiography, wrote: "As I went forth among the different branches," he says alluding to the branches in the vicinity of Kirtland, " some very strange spiritual operations were manifested, which were disgusting rather than edifying, some persons would seem to swoon away and make unseemly gestures, and be drawn or disfigured in their countenances. Others would fall into ecstasies and be drawn into contortions cramp, fits etc. Others would seem to have visions and revelations which were not edifying and which were not congenial to the doctrine and spirit of the Gospel. In short, a false and lying spirit seemed to be creeping into the Church All these things were new and strange to me and had originated in the Church during our absence, and previous to the arrival of President Joseph Smith from New York. Feeling our weakness and inexperience, and lest we should err in judgment concerning these spiritual phenomena, myself, John Murdock and several other Elders, went to Joseph smith and asked him to inquire of the Lord concerning these spirits or manifestations. After we had joined in prayer in his translating room, he dictated in our presence the following revelation." (DHC 1:170)
      2. Joseph Smith wrote: "During the month of April, I continued to translate the Scriptures as time would allow. In May, a number of Elders being present, and not understanding the different spirits abroad in the earth, I inquired and received from the Lord the following:" (DHC 1:170)
    2. Discussion of Section 50.
      1.  READ V2-4,9. The Lord refers to the false spirits.
        1.  READ V17-25. How to discern.
            1. V22: Preacher & receiver understand one another and are edified.
            2. V23: That which does not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
            3. V24: That which is of God is light.
      2.  READ V31-33. Additional instruction.
      3.  READ V40-42. We are little children.
  7. Next Week.
    1. Lesson 16: D&C 51-56.