D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 21
D&C 71-75, 77
- Introductory Comments.
- 150 years ago on the Mormon Trail.
- Section 71.
- Historical Background.
- In early November Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer left for Missouri
with the revelations to be published. Joseph, assisted by Sidney Rigdon
as scribe, continued the retranslation of the Bible.
- This revelation was given on December 1 and directed to Joseph and
- Discussion of Section 71.
- READ V1. Joseph & Sidney commanded to preach the gospel.
- Joseph and Sidney were instructed to expound on the mysteries out of
the scriptures. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
- The restored gospel elaborated on and explained many Biblical truths
such as the gathering of Israel & the building of the city of Zion.
- READ V5-6. He that receives the truth shall be given more abundantly.
- READ V7-9. Confound your enemies.
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? DO THESE VERSES GIVE LICENSE TO BIBLE BASHING?
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Except under very unusual circumstances,
debates play no part in the approved system of presenting the message of
salvation to the world or of persuading members of the Church to accept
a particular doctrine or view. Almost always a debate entrenches each contestant
and his sympathizers more firmly in the views already held. 'Debates, envyings,
wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults' -- all these
Paul describes as evil. (2 Cor. 12:20; Rom. 1:29.)" (Mormon Doctrine,
- Ezra Booth, an apostate, had published a series of anti-Mormon letters
in an Ohio paper. It was for this reason that the Lord sent Joseph and
Sidney on a mission to present the actual position of the Church.
- Wrote the Prophet: "From this time [December 4th, 1831] until
the 8th or 10th of January, 1832, myself and Elder Rigdon continued to
preach in Shalersville, Ravenna, and other places, setting forth the truth,
vindicating the cause of our Redeemer: showing that the day of vengeance
was coming upon this generation like a thief in the night; that prejudice,
blindness and darkness filled the minds of many, and caused them to persecute
the true Church, and reject the true light; by which means we did much
towards allaying the excited feelings which were growing out of the scandalous
letters then being published in the Ohio Star, at Ravenna, by the before
mentioned Ezra Booth." (DHC 1:241)
- Joseph Fielding Smith: "Quite generally the Lord counsels his
servants not to engage in debates and arguments, but to preach in power
the fundamental principles of the Gospel. This was a condition that required
some action of this kind, and the Spirit of the Lord directed these brethren
to go forth and confound their enemies which they proceeded immediately
to do, as their enemies were unable to substantiate their falsehoods and
were surprised by this sudden challenge so boldly given. Much of the prejudice
was allayed and some friends made through this action." (CHMR
- Section 72.
- Historical Background.
- Revelation given at Kirtland on December 4, 1831. Several members and
elders had assembled to learn their duty.
- This revelation is a compilation of two revelations given the same
- Discussion of Section 72.
- In v1-23 Newel K. Whitney is appointed the bishop in Kirtland and his
duties are outlined.
- READ V3-4. Every steward must account for his stewardship.
- WHAT IS A STEWARDSHIP?
- Ezra Taft Benson: "Stewardship is a framework of responsibility
wherein the fulfillment of your duties must be accomplished. Put another
way (and this from an agriculturist), it is that each cow stays in its
own pasture. When one leaves the realm of his own responsibility (stewardship),
he not only frustrates his personal growth, but he becomes guilty of ignoring
the priorities of his own responsibility." (Teachings of Ezra
Taft Benson, p.380)
- WHAT STEWARDSHIPS MUST YOU FAITHFULLY FULFILL TO INHERIT THE MANSIONS
OF THE LORD?
- Brigham Young said: "We are trying to teach this people to
use their brains, that they may obtain knowledge and wisdom to sustain
themselves and to dictate for others; that they may be worthy to be made
Priests and Kings to God, which they never can be unless they learn, here
or somewhere else, to govern, manage, legislate, and sustain themselves,
their families, and friends, even to the making of nation after nation.
If they cannot attain to this they will have to be servants somewhere."
- Doctrine and Covenants Commentary: "This is the last of
thirty-seven Revelations given during the year 1831, the second of the
existence of the Church. The development was marvelous. During this
year the Prophet moved to Kirtland, and this city was shortly afterwards
designated as a gathering place of the Saints. The important office of
the Bishopric was instituted (Secs. 41 and 72); the Revelation on Church
government was given (Sec. 42); a Church Historian was appointed (47:4),
and missionaries were sent to Missouri (Sec. 52). Rules were given for
the United Order (Sec. 51), and High Priests were ordained; the Prophet
made a trip to Missouri, and shortly afterwards a Revelation was received
designating Independence, Jackson County, in that State, as the center
of the Land of Zion (Sec. 57); the foundations of Zion were then laid,
and the Temple ground dedicated, and at the same time it was predicted
that the "blessings" would come after "much tribulation";
that is, that the Saints would pass through many trials before Zion would
be redeemed. The vision of the Destroyer on the waters was received on
the return journey to Kirtland (Sec. 61); a press was bought for the printing
of a Church paper at Independence, The Evening and Morning Star, and arrangements
were made for the publication of the Book of Commandments and Revelations
at the same place." (P428-429)
- Section 73.
- This was the first of the revelation given in 1832. Given to the Prophet
and Sidney Rigdon at Hiram, Ohio, on January 10, 1832.
- In this revelation, Joseph & Sidney were instructed to resume their
translation of the Bible and continue preaching in the local region (v1,3).
- The Prophet said concerning the Bible:
- "I believe the Bible as it read when it came from the pen of
the original writers. Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing
and corrupt priests have committed many errors." (TPJS, p327)
- "From sundry revelations which had been received, it was apparent
that many important points touching the salvation of man, had been taken
from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled." (TPJS, p9)
- WHAT IS THE JOSEPH SMITH TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE?
- Robert J. Matthews: "In the case of the Bible translation,
the manuscript source was the King James Version. This suggested certain
ideas, but the spirit apparently suggested many enlargements, backgrounds,
and additional concepts not found on the page. Thus the term 'translation,'
when referring to Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible differs somewhat
from that normally used when one things of translating languages. To a
prophet, a revelation is a more vital and dependable source than a written
test." (Studies in Scripture: The Pearl of Great Price, p37)
- SEVENTY-SEVEN OF THE REVELATIONS IN THE DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS WERE
RECEIVED DURING THE THREE-YEAR PERIOD WHEN THE PROPHET WAS TRANSLATING
THE BIBLE. HOW MIGHT THE TRANSLATING EXPERIENCE HAVE HELPED JOSEPH SMITH
IN HIS CALLING AS PROPHET?
- The experience provided a systematic approach to learning gospel truths.
- Robert J. Matthews: "It was Joseph Smith's study and translation
of the Bible that set the stage for the reception of many revelations on
the doctrines of the gospel." (Studies in Scripture: The Pearl
of Great Price, p256)
- Section 74.
- Revelation given to Joseph Smith in Hiram, January 1832.
- Wrote the Prophet: "Upon the reception of the foregoing word
[Section 73] of the Lord, I recommenced the translation of the Scriptures,
and labored diligently until just before the conference, which was to convene
on the 25th of January. During this period, I also received the following,
as an explanation of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 7th chapter,
14th verse: ..." (DHC 1:242)
- 1 Cor. 7:14: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by
the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were
your children unclean; but now are they holy."
- D&C Commentary: "The central thought expressed here is
found in the first and last verses, and may be stated thus: Little children,
sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ, are holy. "Two conclusions
follow from this proposition. The first, fully set forth in this Revelation,
is, that little children do not need circumcision to become sanctified,
as taught by the adherents of the Mosaic faith. The second is equally important,
that is, little children are holy being sanctified through the atonement
of Jesus Christ." (p432)
- D&C Commentary: "In the Corinthian Church, some evidently
held that when the husband, or wife, had been converted, he, or she, ought
to abandon the unconverted partner as unclean and contaminating. Not at
all! St. Paul says, in substance, that the conversion of one of the partners
has brought a sanctifying influence into the family." (p432)
- Section 75.
- This revelation was given to the Prophet in January 1832 at the time
of the Amherst, Ohio, conference.
- At this Conference the Prophet Joseph was ordained as President of
the High Priesthood.
- Some who had difficulty in bringing men to an understanding of their
message desired to learn more of their duties.
- Discussion of Section 75.
- READ V3-5. Those that are faithful to be crowned with glory.
- I think that it is important to note that the Lord doesn't say that
one must be successful in converting a certain number of individuals, simply,
that if he his faithful in his duties he will receive the reward.
- V6-8: Wm E. M'Lellin had his mission call to the east revoked. He evidently
had failed to obey the call and the Lord "chastened" him for
the murmings of his heart. Subsequently called to the south.
- V9-17: Several others called on missions.
- V18-22: General instructions to the Elders.
- V23-29: Instructions to the members regarding the families of those
- V30-36: Additional missionaries called.
- Section 77.
- This revelation was given to the Prophet in March 1832 at Hiram, Ohio.
- As the Prophet continued the translation, question were raised about
the figurative and symbolic writings in the Book of Revelation. This revelation
was given in response to the questions that were raised by some of the
- The Prophet said concerning the Book of Revelation: "the book
of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written."
- Joseph also said: "We cannot comprehend the things of God and
of heaven, but by revelation. We may spiritualize and express opinions
on all eternity; but that is no authority." (TPJS, p292)
- The D&C Commentary stated: "The Book of Revelation is one
of the grandest books in sacred literature, and the Lord clearly designs
that the Saints should become familiar with it. Else, why this Revelation
in the Doctrine and Covenants? "But this Revelation is not a complete
interpretation of the book. It is a key. A key is a very small part of
the house. It unlocks the door through which an entrance may be gained,
but after the key has been turned, the searcher for treasure must find
it for himself. It is like entering a museum in which the students must
find out for themselves what they desire to know. The sources of information
are there." (P478)
- A sample from Section 77.
- V15: "Q. What is to be understood by the two witnesses, in
the eleventh chapter of Revelation? "A. They are two prophets that
are to be raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days, at the time
of the restoration, and to prophesy to the Jews after they are gathered
and have built the city of Jerusalem in the land of their fathers."
- Bruce R. McConkie: "Who will these witnesses be? We do not
know, except that they will be followers of Joseph Smith; they will hold
the holy Melchizedek Priesthood; they will be members of The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is reasonable to suppose, knowing
how the Lord has always dealt with his people in all ages, that they will
be two members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency
of the Church." (The Millennial Messiah, p.390)
- Continue Reading.
- Lesson 22: D&C 76, 137.