D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 29
D&C 97-100; 134
- Introductory Comments.
- 150 Years Ago Today In Church History.
- Section 97.
- Historical Background.
- On July 20, 1831, the Prophet Joseph received Section 57 wherein the
Lord declared that Independence, Missouri is the place for the building
of the city of Zion.
- From this time on, the Church began to grow in Zion.
- This can sometimes be a confusing period in Church history due to the
fact that the Church is now focused in two centers, western Missouri and
- In May 1832, Bishop Edward Partridge, bishop in Zion, dedicated the
printing office run by W.W. Phelps. The first publication of the Church,
the Evening and Morning Star, came of the press in June 1832.
- It was here that Phelps began the task of printing 3,000 copies of
the Book of Commandments (the earliest version of the D&C). Oliver
Cowdery, John Whitmer, and W.W. Phelps reviewed and prepared the revelations
- The Saints in Zion were bound by the law of consecration - they consecrated
their money & possessions toward the purchase of land.
- This consecration was not compulsory, yet failure to comply erased
the offenders' names from the records of the Church.
- Growth in Zion:
- In 1832 (according to the Star) their were 830 souls in the new settlements.
- Migration during the spring of 1833 raised the total to near 1200.
- During the summer of 1833 the ten settlements in Zion were organized
into branches with a president over each.
- The Saints & their Missouri neighbors:
- When the Saints first arrived in Jackson County they didn't warrant
much attention from their neighbors. They were just a few more immigrants.
- As the Saints began to increase in number, their Missouri neighbors
were concerned about the beliefs of the Church and their increasing political
- The concept of "Zion" was a major factor in arousing the
Missourians against them.
- Discord among the Saints.
- Many were striving toward the ideal of Zion, but still discord entered
in among some of the Saints.
- Some were disappointed the Prophet had not moved to Zion and began
to criticize him.
- There were those who were jealous of those who remained in Kirtland
to live near the Prophet.
- Some elders and high priests ignored the authority of those in charge
and took it upon themselves to set the branches in order.
- Almost every branch had problems:
- One branch was disrupted by the teachings of the Hulet brothers who
taught that "the devil and his angels and the sons of perdition should
- In the Colesville branch, Newel Knight's aunt contradicted a revelation
for the temporal welfare of Zion. Discord rocked this branch before priesthood
leaders were successful in rebuking this spirit.
- Joseph wrote a letter reproving the saints: "Our hearts our
greatly grieved at the spirit,...the very spirit which is wasting the strength
of Zion like a pestilence. ... If Zion will not purify herself, so as to
be approved in all things, in His sight, He will seek another people; for
His work will go on until Israel is gathered. Wo unto them that are at
ease in Zion."
- A council of high priests in Kirtland appointed Hyrum Smith and Orson
Hyde to write another letter of reproof: "Repent, repent, or Zion
must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her."
- This letter was read to the members in all the branches and had some
- A solemn assembly was called at which sincere and humble repentance
was manifested. A letter was sent to the authorities in Kirtland expressing
the Saints' repentance and determination to keep God's commandments in
- 90:34:"I say unto you that your brethren in Zion begin to repent,
and the angels rejoice over them."
- All was not entirely well. Continuing on in Section 90:35-36: "Nevertheless,
I am not well pleased with many things; and I am not well pleased with
my servant William E. McLellin, neither with my servant Sidney Gilbert;
and the bishop also, and others have many things to repent of. "But
verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead
with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean
- Tribulations in Zion.
- In April 1833 a mob of 300 men met in Independence to consult on ways
to expel the Mormons from Jackson County.
- Church leaders gathered and prayed. The mob could not agree upon any
scheme. The mob became drunk and broke up in "a regular Missouri row."
- On July 1, 1833 the Reverend Benton Pixley penned a slanderous tract
entitled "Beware of False Prophets".
- He read this to the residents of each house in Jackson County "to
incense the inhabitants against the Church, to mob them and drive them
- Others joined Pixley in a published statement: "The Mormons
are the common enemies of mankind and ought to be destroyed."
- By the middle of July the Saints became aware of "The secret constitution".
This document was signed by many notables in Jackson County.
- It declared that the Mormons had become so obnoxious to the old settlers
that civil law was insufficient to deal against this evil.
- The signers intended to rid themselves of these objectionable persons
"peaceably if we can, forcibly if we must."
- On July 20, five hundred men met at the courthouse . A committee was
formed and they drafted a report. It declared five restrictions on the
- No Mormon in the future could move and settle in the county.
- The Mormons already in the county should pledge to move out of the
county as soon as they can sell their property and conclude business. They
would be left unmolested if they did so.
- That the editor of the Evening and Morning Star discontinue publication
and close his office. All other Mormon business in Jackson County were
to discontinue business. If they failed to comply, measures would be resorted
to in order to close those businesses.
- Mormon leaders were to use their influence to stop further migration
and encourage the Saints to comply with the above items.
- Those who failed to respond were to be severely dealt with.
- The crowd at the courthouse approved of these restrictions and appointed
a committee of twelve to visit the Mormon leaders.
- The committee was authorized to tell the Mormons that the mob would
adopt rigid means of forcing the Mormons to leave the county.
- The elders (W.W. Phelps, Edward Partridge, A. Sidney Gilbert, John
Corrill, Isaac Morley, John Whitmer) asked for 3 months to consider the
proposition and consult with leaders in Ohio. This was no small request.
- Ten days were asked for and that was denied.
- They were granted 15 minutes to make a decision.
- The committee returned to the courthouse and a resolution was passed
that the Star printing office should be razed to the ground and the type
and press secured.
- The mob then proceeding to the printing office and house of William
- One among the mob slipped out and warned the Phelps of the mobs approach.
- He hitched a team to a wagon and assisted her and her sick baby into
the seat. He encouraged them to get as far away, as fast as possible.
- Phelps also escaped and hid.
- The mob entered the living quarters of the Phelps and threw their furniture
in the yard.
- They rushed upstairs and threw the press out the window, destroyed
the type, and burned most of the written revelations, bookwork, and papers.
- They then demolished the brick structure.
- John Taylor risked his life to retrieve some unbound copies of the
Book of Commandments from a stable where they had been dumped.
- Two teenage girls also saved a few copies from a pile of papers that
were to be burned. These two girls rushed out, filled their aprons with
the books, and fled to a corn field nearby. Some of the mob saw them and
yelled for them to halt. One of the girls wrote: "...But we ran
as fast as we could. Two of them started after us. Seeing a gap in a fence,
we entered into a large cornfield, laid the papers on the ground, and hid
them with our persons. The corn was from five to six feet high, and very
thick; they hunted around considerable, and came very near to us but did
not find us." (Joseph Smith & The Restoration, p.251)
- The mob then destroyed the store of Gilbert, Whitney, and company.
The mob stopped when Gilbert assured the mob that the goods would be packed
by July 23.
- They then broke into the houses of the Saints, searching for the leading
elders. They caught Bishop Partridge and Charles Allen and dragged them
a half mile to the public square where they were given two alternatives:
deny the Book of Mormon or consent to leave the county. They would consent
- Bishop Partridge and Allen were stripped and then tarred and feathered.
- Partridge and Allen endured this indignity with such resignation and
meekness that the mob seemed to become ashamed and they permitted them
to retire in silence.
- One of those encouraging and supporting the mob secretly was the lieutenant
governor, Lilburn W. Boggs.
- Oliver Cowdery was dispatched immediately back to Ohio to inform the
Prophet and secure his counsel. Oliver arrived in Kirtland on August 21.
- Section 97 was given on August 2, 1833. This revelation was given
19 days before Oliver arrived in Kirtland with details of the tribulations
- Discussion of Section 97.
- READ 97:3-5. The school in Zion.
- In the summer 1833, a "school of Elders" began in Zion with
Parley P. Pratt as its teacher. Its major purpose was to prepare the brethren
to go forth as missionaries during the coming winter.
- This might have been the first Missionary Training Center.
- Parley wrote: "This class, to the number of about sixty, met
for instruction once a week. The place of meeting was in the open air,
under some tall trees, in a retired place in the wilderness, where we prayed,
preached and prophesied, and exercised ourselves in the gifts of the Holy
Spirit. Here great things were manifested and taught."
- Parley continues: "To attend this school I had to travel on
foot, and sometimes with bare feet at that, about six miles. This I did
once a week, besides visiting and preaching in five or six branches a week."
- HOW CAN SUNDAY SCHOOL FULFILL A SIMILAR PURPOSE IN OUR LIVES?
- Can advanced study & preparation enhance the value of Sunday School?
- READ 97:6-7. The ax is laid at the root.
- WHAT DO THESE VERSES MEAN?
- Recall that often the Lord refers to his people as trees in a vineyard.
- In Jacob 5:66 the Lord says "the bad be hewn down and cast
into the fire, that they cumber not the ground of my vineyard; and thus
will I sweep away the bad out of my vineyard."
- Figuratively speaking, a tree which saw an ax laid at its root would
be motivated to change its ways and bring good fruit so as not to be cut
- Even as this revelation was give, the mobs were gathering for their
initial blow in Jackson County, yet the Saints who were bringing forth
unacceptable fruit or works, still refused to repent.
- READ 97:8-9.
- ACCORDING TO THESE VERSES WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE ACCEPTED BY THE LORD?
- We must be willing to observe our covenants by sacrifice.
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO OBSERVE OUR COVENANTS BY SACRIFICE?
- HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH WHAT WE ARE DOING NOW TO BE ACCEPTED BY
- IN V8-12 THE LORD ISSUES A SPECIFIC COMMAND AND SACRIFICE TO THE SAINTS
IN ZION. WHAT IS IT?
- To build a temple in Zion.
- To contribute by a tithing.
- To do it speedily.
- DID THE SAINTS COMPLY WITH THIS COMMAND?
- Writes Parley: "This revelation was not complied with by the
leaders of the Church in Missouri, as a whole.... Therefore, the threatened
judgment was poured out to the uttermost, as the history of the five following
years will show."
- WHAT IF THE SAINTS HAD COMPLIED WITH THIS COMMAND?
- Certainly it would have taken great faith. The Saints were faced with
expulsion. The mobs had already done damage and continued to threaten.
- IS IT ALWAYS, OR EVER, EASY TO OBEY, IN LIGHT OF CIRCUMSTANCES?
- 97:18-19: "And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall
prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very
terrible. "And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall
say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither
be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is
- The inhabitants of Zion did not comply, the "ax was laid at
the root", and the temple and city of Zion was not built.
- Joseph Smith: "We have been chastened by the hand of God heretofore
for not obeying His commands, although we never violated any human law,
or transgressed any human precept; yet we have treated lightly his commands,
and departed from his ordinances, and the Lord has chastened us sore, and
we have felt his arm and kissed the rod; let us be wise in time to come
and ever remember that 'to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken
than the fat of rams.'" (DHC 5:65)
- In 97:21 the Lord gives us another definition for the word Zion: "...for
this is Zion--THE PURE IN HEART".
- WHO ARE THE PURE IN HEART?
- Hyrum Smith said that Zion contained "the honest and pure in
heart that will harken to the everlasting covenant." (DHC 6:320)
- HOW CAN WE BECOME PURE IN HEART AND, THUS, PART OF ZION?
- Moroni 7:47-48: "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and
it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day,
it shall be well with him. "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto
the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this
love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son,
Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons of God; that when he shall appear
we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this
hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen."
- READ 97:22-26. A stern warning.
- D&C Commentary: "The Latter-day Saints, from this experience
in the Eastern States, learned the necessity of obedience to the Word of
the Lord. They followed their divinely-appointed leaders into the Valleys
of the Mountains, and, as a consequence, they have had blessings showered
upon them, as a people and as individuals. They did escape the scourge
of the Civil War." (P.614)
- Section 98.
- This section was given 4 days after Section 97, on August 6, 1833.
- The preface to this section says: "Although some news of the
problems in Missouri had no doubt reached the Prophet in Kirtland (nine
hundred miles away), the seriousness of the situation could have been known
to him at this date only by revelation."
- The Prophet wrote of this period: "July, which once dawned
upon the virtue and independence of the United States, now dawned upon
the savage barbarity and mobocracy of Missouri." (DHC 1:372)
- Discussion of Section 98.
- READ 98:1-3.
- WHAT COUNSEL DID THE LORD GIVE THESE SAINTS FOR DEALING WITH ADVERSITY?
- Fear not and let your hearts be comforted (1).
- In everything give thanks (1).
- The Lord hears your prayers (2).
- Your afflictions will work together for your own good (3).
- WHEN WE EXPERIENCE ADVERSITY, WHAT CAN WE DO TO FEEL THE SAVIOR'S STRENGTH
AND SUPPORT MORE FULLY?
- Continue in prayer, thanks, and obedience.
- READ 98:4-10.
- With the injustice and violation of the Constitution in the treatment
of the Saints, certainly there must have been the temptation fight back
outside of the law. The Lord has reminded the Saints here that they should
befriend the law and obey it.
- Joseph Smith said: "... the Constitution of the United States
is a glorious standard; it is founded in the wisdom of God. It is a heavenly
banner; it is to all those who are privileged with the sweets of its liberty,
like the cooling shades and refreshing waters of a great rock in a thirsty
and weary land. It is like a great tree under whose branches men from every
clime can be shielded from the burning rays of the sun." (HC 3:304.)
- ACCORDING TO V4-10 WHAT IS OUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY TOWARDS THE
LAWS OF THE LAND?
- V4: Keep the commandments of God.
- V5: Keep the law of the land which is constitutional.
- WHAT IF THE LAW OF THE LAND CONFLICTS WITH THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD?
- A JOB INTERVIEW INCIDENT WITH IRS: ASKED WHAT IF A PRONOUNCEMENT FROM
PRESIDENT KIMBALL CONFLICTED WITH MY DUTIES AS A FEDERAL AGENT.
- Article of Faith 12: We believe in being subject to kings, presidents,
rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.
- V6: Befriend that law which is the constitutional law of the land.
- WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BEFRIEND THE LAW (CONSTITUTIONAL LAW OF THE LAND?
- Obey, study, participate, defend.
- We talk a lot about the constitution, but how many of us truly understand
- V10: Honest & wise men should be sought to administer the law.
- WHAT MUST WE DO TO ACCOMPLISH THIS END?
- D&C Commentary: "Honest, wise, and good men are needed
in these branches of government. Men of an opposite character will endanger
the liberty guaranteed by the Constitution." (P618)
- In 98:19-22 the Lord chastises many in Kirtland for failing to keep
- The Lord had not singled out the Saints in Zion - although the establishment
of the city and land of Zion was a great work and it could not be established
except by a righteous and pure people.
- The Law of Retaliation (98:23-32).
- V23 - If you or your family are offended by men and bear it patiently
and seek not revenge, you will be rewarded.
- V25 - If it is repeated and you bear it patiently, your reward will
be a hundredfold.
- V26,27 - If it is repeated and you bear it patiently, your reward will
be multiplied four fold and the Lord will judge the offender.
- V31 - If he still persists, he must be solemnly warned and if he does
not heed the warning, the victim is justified in "rewarding him
according to his works".
- V30 - If the wronged party spares the offender, the reward for his
righteousness will surely come.
- WHAT IF WE ALL WOULD ABIDE BY THIS LAW.
- The Law of War (98:33-38).
- The law as outlined:
- Not to go out against any nation save commanded by the Lord.
- If war declared against them, first lift the standard of peace.
- After 3 times of suing for peace, then justified in going out to battle.
- D&C Commentary: "War is justifiable when God commands it,
but that such commandments cannot be expected, until the nation attacked
has done all in its power to preserve peace." (P624)
- V16: "...renounce war and proclaim peace".
- DO WE GLORIFY WAR?
- The Law of Forgiveness (98:39-48).
- The Saints are taught to forgive an enemy as often as he repents of
- If he continues his evil doing and does not repent the case is to be
brought before the Lord.
- If he repents, he is to be forgiven, if not, the case is to be left
entirely in the hands of the Lord.
- D&C Commentary: "It is one of the proofs of divine origin
of the Revelation in this volume that they inculcate forgiveness at a time
when the flames of persecution were about to break out over the Saints.
Those who reject the gospel as proclaimed by the Prophet Joseph, also reject
the divine principle of forgiveness which is an essential part of it--the
principle which Jesus exemplified on the cross, when He prayed, 'Father,
forgive them'." (P626)
- Section 99.
- Brief Summary.
- This revelation was given in August 1833, at Hyrum, Ohio.
- In this revelation, John Murdock is called to go on a mission to the
- Section 100.
- Brief Summary.
- Given on October 12, 1833 in Perrysburg, New York, to Joseph Smith
and Sidney Rigdon.
- the Lord comforts Joseph and Sidney regarding their families, encourages
them to continue their missionary labors, instructs them concerning their
special gifts, and comforts them concerning Zion.
- Section 134.
- Section 134 is a declaration (not a revelation) prepared by Oliver
Cowdery and read at a General Assembly of the Church, August 17, 1835.
- At the time Joseph and Frederick G. Williams were on a mission to Canada.
Upon the Prophet's return, he accepted the declaration and permitted its
- Historically the relationship between church and state has been one
of tension and great difficulty. This section contains the belief of the
church in regards to earthly governments and laws in general.
- Discussion of Section 134.
- SUPPORT OF SECULAR GOVERNMENTS (1, 3, 5-6, 8).
- V1: Governments instituted by God for the benefit of man.
- Government is a blessing. We all moan about the government and its
excesses. Certainly it is not perfect, but where would we be without it,
especially here in the united states.
- v1: God holds us accountable for our acts in relation to Government,
both for the making and administration of law.
- WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY THEN AS MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH AND AS CITIZENS?
- John Taylor counseled: "As we have progressed the mist has
been removed, and in relation to these matters, the Elders of Israel begin
to understand that they have something to do with the world politically
as well as religiously, that it is as much their duty to study correct
political principles as well as religious, and to seek to know and comprehend
the social and political interests of man, and to learn and be able to
teach that which would be best calculated to promote the interest of the
world." (The Gospel Kingdom, p297-298)
- President Benson said: "What about our citizenship responsibility--our
obligation to safeguard our freedom and preserve the Constitution?... The
enemy is amongst and upon us. Zion must awake and arouse herself. We, the
elders of Israel can be should be, the leaven in the loaf of freedom."
(CR, Apr. 1963)
- READ 134:5. Men are bound to sustain their government while protected
in their rights.
- HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS VERSE? IS THERE A TIME FOR REBELLION?
- Joseph F. Smith taught: "The Lord almighty requires this people
to observe the laws of the land, to be subject to 'the powers that be,'
so far as they abide by the fundamental principles of good government,
but He will hold them responsible if they will pass unconstitutional measures
and frame unjust and proscriptive laws. . . . If lawmakers have a mind
to violate their oath, break their covenants and their faith with the people,
and depart from the provisions of the Constitution, where is the law, human
or divine, which binds me as an individual, to outwardly and openly proclaim
my acceptance of their acts?" (Gospel Doctrine, p.406)
- V8: Crime should be punished according to the nature of the offense
by the laws of the government which has jurisdiction.
- All men should step forward in bringing offenders against "good
laws" to judgment.
- SUPPORT OF INHERENT RIGHTS & INDIVIDUAL FREEDOMS (2,5,11).
- READ 134:2. Protection of rights of conscience, property, life.
- V11: Men should appeal to civil law for redress of wrongs and grievances.
- Men justified in defending themselves, friends, property, and government
in times of "exigency, where immediate appeal cannot be made to
the laws, and relief afforded."
- HOW FAR DO WE HAVE A RIGHT TO GO IN OUR OWN DEFENSE AND WHEN MAY WE
TAKE THAT ACTION?
- SUPPORT OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (4,7,10,12).
- V4: Human law does not have a right to interfere in prescribing the
rules of worship "unless their religious opinions prompt them to
infringe upon the rights and liberties of others".
- V7: Government has a right to enact laws to protect religious belief.
- V10: Religious societies "have a right to deal with their members
for disorderly conduct, according to the rules and regulations of such
societies; provided that such dealings be for fellowship and good standing;".
- They do not have authority to deprive men of life or property.
- V12: Given the times, no right to interfere with bondservants (slaves).
- SUPPORT OF SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE (9).
- READ V9. Improper to mingle religious influence with civil government.
- WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? TO WHAT EXTENT DO WE AS CITIZENS UTILIZE OUR RELIGIOUS
INFLUENCE? WHAT ROLE CAN THE CHURCH TAKE IN POLITICAL MATTERS?
- The 1st Presidency stated at the 1907 Conference: "The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints hold to the doctrine of the separation
of church and state; the non-interference of church authority in political
matters; and the absolute freedom and independence of the individual in
the performance of his political duties. We declare that from principle
and policy, we favor: the absolute separation of church and state; no domination
of the state by the church; no church interference with the functions of
the state; no state interference with the functions of the church, or with
the free exercise of religion; the absolute freedom of the individual from
the domination of ecclesiastical authority in political affairs; the equality
of all churches before the law."
- Next Week.
- Lesson 30: Sections 101-102. Possibly Lesson 31: Sections 103 &