D&C 71-75, 77

  1. Introductory Comments.
    1. 150 years ago on the Mormon Trail.
  2. Section 71.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. 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.
      2. This revelation was given on December 1 and directed to Joseph and Sidney.
    2. Discussion of Section 71.
      1.  READ V1. Joseph & Sidney commanded to preach the gospel.
        1. Joseph and Sidney were instructed to expound on the mysteries out of the scriptures. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
          1. The restored gospel elaborated on and explained many Biblical truths such as the gathering of Israel & the building of the city of Zion.
      2.  READ V5-6. He that receives the truth shall be given more abundantly.
      3.  READ V7-9. Confound your enemies.
          1. 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, p.186)
        2. 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.
          1. 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)
        3. 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 2:40)
  3. Section 72.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. Revelation given at Kirtland on December 4, 1831. Several members and elders had assembled to learn their duty.
      2. This revelation is a compilation of two revelations given the same day.
    2. Discussion of Section 72.
      1. In v1-23 Newel K. Whitney is appointed the bishop in Kirtland and his duties are outlined.
      2.  READ V3-4. Every steward must account for his stewardship.
          1. 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)
          1. 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." (JD 11:328)
    3. 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)
  4. Section 73.
    1. This was the first of the revelation given in 1832. Given to the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon at Hiram, Ohio, on January 10, 1832.
    2. In this revelation, Joseph & Sidney were instructed to resume their translation of the Bible and continue preaching in the local region (v1,3).
      1. The Prophet said concerning the Bible:
        1. "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)
        2. "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)
        1. 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)
        1. The experience provided a systematic approach to learning gospel truths.
        2. 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)
  5. Section 74.
    1. Revelation given to Joseph Smith in Hiram, January 1832.
      1. 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)
    2. 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."
      1. 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)
      2. 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)
  6. Section 75.
    1. This revelation was given to the Prophet in January 1832 at the time of the Amherst, Ohio, conference.
      1. At this Conference the Prophet Joseph was ordained as President of the High Priesthood.
      2. Some who had difficulty in bringing men to an understanding of their message desired to learn more of their duties.
    2. Discussion of Section 75.
      1.  READ V3-5. Those that are faithful to be crowned with glory.
        1. 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.
      2. 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.
      3. V9-17: Several others called on missions.
      4. V18-22: General instructions to the Elders.
      5. V23-29: Instructions to the members regarding the families of those called.
      6. V30-36: Additional missionaries called.
  7. Section 77.
    1. This revelation was given to the Prophet in March 1832 at Hiram, Ohio.
      1. 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 brethren.
    2. The Prophet said concerning the Book of Revelation: "the book of Revelation is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written."
      1. 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)
      2. 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)
    3. A sample from Section 77.
      1. 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."
      2. 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)
  8. Continue Reading.
    1. Lesson 22: D&C 76, 137.