D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 28
D&C 93-96

  1. Introductory Comments.
    1. 150 Years Ago Today in Church History.
  2. Section 93.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. Section 93 was given to the Prophet on May 6, 1933.
        1. On the most part, the months leading up to this revelation were a fairly quiet period of Church History.
      2. On March 18, 1833 the First Presidency of the Church was organized with Joseph Smith as President and Sidney Rigdon & Frederick G. Williams as counselors.
      3. On March 23, 1833 a council of elders was called for the purpose of appointing a committee to purchase lands in Kirtland upon which to build a stake of Zion.
      4. In April 1833 the first gathering of a mob in Jackson County took place. A group of about 300 men came together to devise a plan to remove the Mormons from Jackson County. No action was taken by the mob at this time.
      5. On May 4, at a conference of High Priests a committee was appointed to obtain subscriptions for the building of a house for the School of the Prophets.
    2. The Origin & Destiny of Man.
      1. Many of the thoughts on this section are based on an article by LaMar E. Garrard in Studies in Scripture, Volume 1, pages 365-378.
      2. Thoughtful men from all ages have asked the following questions:
        1. What is man?
        2. Where did he come from?
        3. Why is he here on earth?
        4. Where is he going?
      3. The Prophet Joseph said: "All men know that they must die. And it is important that we should understand the reasons and causes of our exposure to the vicissitudes of life and death, and the designs and purposes of God in our coming into the world, our sufferings here, and our departure hence. What is the object of our coming into existence, then dying and falling away, to be here no more? It is but reasonable to suppose that God would reveal something in reference to the matter, and it is a subject we ought to study more than any other. We ought to study it day and night, for the world is ignorant in reference to their true condition and relation. If we have any claim on our Heavenly Father for anything, it is for knowledge on this important subject." (TPJS, p.324)
      4. Section 93 is one of the great revelations which teaches us about the origin and destiny of man.
    3. In the Beginning With The Father.
      1. Section 93 teaches us about ourselves. How?
        1. By first teaching us about Christ.
        2. It then shows us what our relationship is to Him.
      2. V21 reads: "I was in the beginning with the Father, and am the Firstborn".
        1. WHAT IS INSTRUCTIVE ABOUT THIS VERSE?
          1. We know that this verse does not apply to the Lord's birth and life here on earth since the scriptures teach that Christ was the Only Begotten of the Father.
          2. Therefore, it must apply to a premortal state wherein Christ was with the Father.
          3. Consequently, if He is the Firstborn of the Father, there must be a family of Spirit children belonging to Heavenly Father.
      3. V23 says that we "were also in the beginning with the Father".
        1. V29 confirms it further: "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father;".
        2. The word beginning in these verses has reference then to our premortal existence.
        3. V23 & V29 confirm that we were with the Father and Christ in the "beginning" or this premortal spirit life.
        4. Section 76:24 teaches that "the worlds are and were created, and the inhabitants thereof are begotten sons and daughters unto God."
          1. Since we were not begotten of the Father in this life, this is a reference to the "beginning" or premortal life and the fact that we are spirit children of our Heavenly Father.
          2. The Prophet referred to Heavenly Father as the "Father of our spirits". (TPJS, p48)
        5. Joseph Fielding Smith on v29: "From this we gather that the intelligence in man was not created, but the Prophet taught very clearly that man is in very deed the offspring of God, and that the spirits of men were born in the spirit world the children of God." (in TPJS, Footnote #5, p.158)
      4. In understanding this principle it is important to emphasize the fact that Christ is our elder brother - we are part of his spirit/eternal family.
      5. This revelation confirms the misunderstood teachings of the Bible regarding the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
        1. In Acts 17:28-29 Paul taught that we are "the offspring of God".
        2. Hebrews 12:9 speaks of the "Father of spirits".
        3. Colossians 1:15 calls Christ "the firstborn of every creature".
        4. In Hebrews 2 we men are referred to as Christ's "brethren".
        5. WHY IS IT THAT THE REST OF THE CHRISTIAN WORLD DOES NOT UNDERSTAND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE VERSES?
      6. WHAT DOES A PREMORTAL SPIRIT LOOK LIKE? HOW DO WE KNOW THAT?
        1. If we are the spiritual brethren of Christ then the incident where the brother of Jared saw the premortal Christ would teach what we look like:
          1.  READ ETHER 3:15-16: "And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image. "Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh."
        2. Joseph Smith taught: "In tracing the thing to the foundation, and looking at it philosophically, we shall find a very material difference between the body and the spirit; the body is supposed to be organized matter, and the spirit, by many, is thought to be immaterial, without substance. With this latter statement we should beg leave to differ, and state the spirit is a substance; that it is material, but that it is more pure, elastic and refined matter than the body; that it existed before the body, can exist in the body; and will exist separate from the body, when the body will be mouldering in the dust; and will in the resurrection, be again united with it." (TPJS, p.207)
    4. Grace For Grace.
      1. As we have learned from Section 93, man is a dual being:
        1. We are composed of a spirit (we are the offspring of God).
        2. That spirit is clothed in a physical body.
      2. WHAT IS GOD'S DESIGN OR PLAN FOR US? (To make men happy)
        1. As Lehi taught: "...men are, that they might have joy." (2 Ne 2:25)
        2. Joseph Smith said: "Happiness is the object and design of our existence." (TPJS, p.255)
      3. As spiritual children of our Heavenly Father, he knew that we could not have a fulness of joy or happiness without a physical body to cloth our spirit in.
        1. Joseph Smith: "We came to this earth that we might have a body and present it pure before God in the celestial kingdom. The great principle of happiness consists in having a body. The devil has no body, and herein is his punishment. He is pleased when he can obtain the tabernacle of man, and when cast out by the Savior he asked to go into the herd of swine, showing that he would prefer a swine's body to having none." (TPJS, p.181)
        2.  READ 93:33-35.
          1. We then cannot receive a fulness of joy until after the resurrection when the spirit and body are "inseparably connected".
      4. AN IMMORTAL BODY IS NECESSARY TO GAIN A FULNESS OF JOY, BUT THERE IS ANOTHER REQUIREMENT. WHAT IS IT? (to gain a fulness of light & truth)
        1.  READ 93:11-14.
          1. John tells us here that when Christ came to dwell on earth, he did not have a fulness.
          2. He received additional light & truth as he continually obeyed Heavenly Father even though subject to severe opposition in terms of trials and temptations.
            1. As it says in v13: "And he received not of the fulness at first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness;"
        2.  READ 93:16-17.
          1. It says here that Christ received a "fulness of the glory of the Father".
            1. WHAT IS THE "GLORY OF THE FATHER"?
              1. V36: "The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth."
          2. Christ then received a "fulness of joy" when these two elements, an immortal body and a fulness of light & truth, came together.
            1. When the resurrected Christ appeared to his Nephite Twelve after the resurrection he told them that "the Father hath given me fulness of joy". (3 Ne. 28:10)
      5. Section 93 goes on to tell us that we also can experience this "fulness of joy."
        1.  READ 93:26-28.
          1. HOW CAN WE RECEIVE THE "FULNESS OF JOY"?
            1. By keeping the commandments. Pretty simple, huh?
        2.  READ 93:19-20.
          1. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO RECEIVE "GRACE FOR GRACE"?
            1. Like the Savior, we don't gain the fulness in a moment, but as we progress forward we are given additional light and truth bit by bit, "grace by grace".
            2. HOW DOES THIS COME? (By obedience to the commandments)
            3. The Prophet said: "The Lord deals with this people as a tender parent with a child, communicating light and intelligence and the knowledge of his ways as the can bear it." (TPJS, p.305)
              1. We are able to bear more (grace to grace) as we are more diligent in keeping the commandments.
            4. The Prophet said another time: "We consider that God has created man with a mind capable of instruction, and a faculty which may be enlarged in proportion to the heed and diligence given to the light communicated from heaven to the intellect; and that the nearer man approaches perfection, the clearer are his views, and the greater his enjoyments." (TPJS, p.51)
          2. HOW HAVE YOU PROGRESSED FROM GRACE TO GRACE IN DEVELOPING YOUR TESTIMONY, UNDERSTANDING GOSPEL PRINCIPLES, OR GROWING SPIRITUALLY?
            1. Have you ever studied a gospel principle which you weren't sure you understood, but with the passage of time and diligent study it became perfectly clear. I think this is part of the "grace to grace" principle.
          3. HOW DOES KNOWING THAT THE SAVIOR "RECEIVED NOT OF THE FULNESS AT FIRST, BUT CONTINUED FROM GRACE TO GRACE" HELP YOU AS YOU STRIVE TO PROGRESS?
            1. We are his brothers & sisters. He is the example of the process. He was not above doing what the rest of us must do.
      6. We have the agency to choose light or darkness.
        1.  READ D&C 93:29-33.
        2. As previously mentioned, God's objective is our ultimate happiness. He has provided the plan and made it possible to achieve co-equal happiness with him. But we have the agency to choose that happiness.
          1. The Prophet said: "Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received." (TPJS, p255)
          2. As it says in v36: "the glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light & truth."
            1. Thus we attain more of the glory of God as we are obedient to the commandments and gain more light & truth.
            2. This process of learning began in our pre-existent life.
              1. John 1:1 (JST) reads: "In the beginning was the gospel preached through the Son."
                1. As previously mentioned, this beginning refers to the time prior to this earth.
              2. As taught in Abraham 3 some of the more obedient or noble spirits were chosen to be rulers in mortality (Abraham 3:22-23).
              3. According to Joseph F. Smith the intelligence or amount of light and truth we acquired in premortality affects our tendency to accept light and truth in mortality.
                1. As we know, that which we gain in this life will also put us that much further ahead in the next.
                2. 130:18-19: "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. "And if a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come."
      7. Summary of the "grace to grace" principle.
        1. Lamar E. Garrard: "We are led to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and if we are obedient and accept it, we will receive the Holy Ghost, and through the redemptive power of Christ we can continue to feast upon the words of Christ and receive additional light and truth. This process of obeying, receiving light and truth, then further obeying that which was revealed to us (going from grace to grace) will continue until sometime after the resurrection when we will receive a fulness of light and truth, becoming like Christ himself, possessing a fulness of the glory of the Father."
    5.  READ 93:38-40.
      1. WHAT DOES THE LORD TEACH ABOUT LITTLE CHILDREN?
        1. In their infant state they are innocent before God.
      2. HOW ARE LIGHT & TRUTH TAKEN AWAY FROM CHILDREN AS THEY GROW UP?
        1. V39 indicates that it occurs as a result of disobedience and is taken away by the "evil one".
      3. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BRING UP CHILDREN IN "LIGHT & TRUTH"?
        1. As a result of this discussion it means the teaching of the commandments of God and obedience to them.
      4. IN 93:41-50 THE LORD INSTRUCTED EARLY CHURCH LEADERS ABOUT TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN.
        1. THEY WERE TOLD:
          1. They had not taught their children light & truth (42).
          2. To set their house in order (43).
            1. WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE THIS MEANS?
          3. In v48 the Prophet was told: "Your family must needs repent and forsake some things, and give more earnest heed unto your sayings, or be removed out of their place."
          4. In 50 it says: "...see that they are more diligent and concerned at home, and pray always".
        2. HOW CAN THE INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN IN THESE VERSES HELP US TEACH CHILDREN?
          1. It is certainly a reminder of our awesome responsibility as parents to lead these children to truth & light.
  3. Section 94.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. In April 1833, the first meeting of citizens of Jackson County was convened for the purpose of determining a course of action for removal and destruction of the Church in the county.
      2. On May 4, 1833, a conference of high priests was held in which a committee was organized to obtain subscriptions for the building of a house for the School of the Prophets. The schoolhouse evolved into the plans for a temple.
      3. Section 94 was given on May 6, 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio.
    2. Discussion of Section 94.
      1. In v1 the Lord commands the Church to begin the foundation for a stake of Zion in Kirtland. This stake would begin at the Lord's "house".
      2. In v2 the Lord states that it must be done according to the pattern which he will reveal.
      3. V8: "And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there."
        1. It would seem that we find the roots for a temple recommend in this verse.
  4. Section 95.
    1. Section 95 was given on June 1 to the Prophet, in Kirtland.
    2. Discussion of Section 95.
      1. In this section the Lord reproved the Saints for neglecting the commandment to build a temple.
        1. V3: "For ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house;"
        2. The Lord prefaces this statement by saying in verse 1 that "whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven".
          1. Brigham Young: "At times I may to many of the brethren appear to be severe. I sometimes chasten them; but it is because I wish them to live so that the power of God, like a flame of fire, will dwell within them and be around about them. These are my feelings and desires." (DBY, p115)
      2. The Lord said in v8 that they were commanded to build a house because he was "to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high;"
        1. DON'T YOU THINK THE SAINTS WOULD HAVE BEEN MORE EAGER TO BUILD THE TEMPLE HAD THEY KNOWN THE GREAT BLESSINGS THAT WOULD COME FORTH FOLLOWING ITS DEDICATION?
        2. OUR WE SOMETIMES GUILTY, LIKE THESE EARLY SAINTS, OF NOT DOING THOSE THINGS WHICH WE SHOULD? WOULDN'T WE BE MORE EAGER IF WE KNEW THE BLESSINGS WE WOULD RECEIVE?
          1. I suppose this is what faith is all about.
  5. Section 96.
    1. This section was given in Kirtland on June 4, 1833.
    2. This section was given in response to a disagreement among the brethren as to who should manage a large piece of property in Kirtland.
      1. V2: Bishop Newel K. Whitney was to take charge of the matters regarding the property.
      2. John Johnson was to be admitted to the united order to assist the brethren in the work of the Lord.
  6. Next Week.
    1. Lesson 29: Read Sections 97-100; 134.