D&C/CHURCH HISTORY - LESSON 32
D&C 106-108

  1. Introductory Comments.
    1. 150 Years Ago Today In Church History.
  2. Section 106.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. In the previous lesson we concluded with a discussion on Zion's Camp.
      2. After arriving in Missouri, Zion's camp was disbanded without an attempt to retake Zion.
        1. THE LORD HAD IN MIND A GREATER PURPOSE. WHAT WAS THAT PURPOSE?
          1. The Lord was schooling leaders to lead his work.
      3. While still in Missouri, on July 3, 1834, the Prophet organized a high council in Clay County and set the affairs of the Church in order.
        1. David Whitmer was chosen as president of the Saints in Missouri.
      4. While Zion's Camp was on the march to Missouri, Oliver Cowdery and Sidney Rigdon directed labor on the temple in Kirtland.
        1. Upon his return from Missouri, the Prophet found that progress had been made on the temple.
      5. The Prophet went on a trip for the purpose of gathering strength for the Lord's house.
        1. On his journey he came to the City of Freedom, N.Y., where he was hosted by Warren A. Cowdery, a brother to Oliver Cowdery.
          1. He held several meetings there. There were a number of converts and a branch was organized.
        2. Section 106 was given through the Prophet in Kirtland on November 25, 1834.
          1. Warren A. Cowdery is called to the office of presiding High Priest over the Branch in Freedom and vicinity.
    2. Discussion of Section 106.
      1.  READ 106:4-5. The coming of the Lord draws near.
        1. HOW CAN AN EVENT LIKE THE SECOND COMING COME AS A SURPRISE?
          1. The people of the world are the ones who will be surprised at the sudden coming of the Lord. They have not prepared for or even believe in this great event.
        2. HOW SHOULD WE ANTICIPATE THE SECOND COMING?
          1. We should be prepared, expectant, and joyful.
          2. As it says in v5, we should "gird up our loins", which means to prepare ourselves.
  3. Section 107.
    1. Historical Background.
      1. February 8, 1835 - the Prophet invited Brigham and Joseph Young to his home in Kirtland.
        1. At the Prophet's request, the Young brothers sang for him.
        2. While they sang the Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon them, and the Prophet related a vision he had received: "Brethren, I have seen those men who died of cholera in our camp; and the Lord knows, if I get a mansion as bright as theirs, I ask no more." (Joseph Smith and the Restored Gospel, p294)
        3. After relating this account the Prophet spoke to Brigham: "I wish to notify all the brethren living in the branches, within a reasonable distance from this place to meet at a General Conference on Saturday next. I shall then and there appoint twelve Special Witnesses, to open the door of the Gospel to foreign nations, and you [Brigham] will be one of them." (Ibid., p.295)
        4. After elaborating on the duties of the twelve, the Prophet turned to Joseph Young and said, "Brother Joseph, the Lord has made you President of the Seventies."
      2. February 14, 1835 - the following Saturday, the appointed conference was held in the new schoolhouse at Kirtland.
        1. In Section 18, given in 1829, the Three Witnesses were appointed the duty of selecting the first apostles. The time had come for this to be done. They called the Twelve in the following order:
          1. Lyman E. Johnson.
          2. Brigham Young.
          3. Heber C. Kimball.
          4. Orson Hyde.
          5. David W. Patten.
          6. Luke S. Johnson.
          7. William E. McLellin.
          8. John F. Boynton.
          9. Orson Pratt.
          10. William Smith.
          11. Thomas B. Marsh.
          12. Parley P. Pratt.
        2. The majority of the Twelve were chosen from among those who were part of Zion's Camp.
        3. The first quorum of 12 had been selected and ordained. Seniority in the original quorum was organized by age. Thomas B. Marsh, being the oldest, 35, was made President of the Quorum.
      3. This new quorum of the Twelve scarcely knew what their responsibilities should be. They determined that they would go out to preach the gospel.
        1. As they were about to leave, shortly after their original call, they wrote a letter to Joseph requesting a revelation regarding the Mind and will of the Lord concerning their duty. Wrote Orson Hyde & William E. McLellin: "...a great revelation, that will enlarge our hearts, comfort us in adversity, and brighten our hopes amidst the powers of darkness." (Studies In Scripture 1:404)
        2. The Prophet wrote: "In compliance with the above request, I inquired of the Lord, and received for answer the following." Then followed Section 107.
        3. The heading to Section 107 says: "Although portions of this section were received on the date named, the historical records affirm that various parts were received at sundry times, some as early as November 1831."
    2. Discussion of Section 107.
      1. Section 107 is a revelation on the Priesthood.
        1. John A. Widtsoe said of Section 107: "On that day the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints received a revelation which is one of the most remarkable documents in the possession of man. It stands absolutely unique; there is none like it.... It sets forth in plainness and simplicity, the organization of the quorums of the priesthood; the mutual relations of the quorums to one another; the judicial system of the Church is foreshadowed and outlined; and there is a wonderful picture of the early priesthood. I doubt whether any other such documents, of the same small extent, the same few number of words, lies at the foundation of any other great human institution.... It is so comprehensive in its brevity, so magnificent in its simplicity, that we have found no occasion, up to the present, to wish that it might have been more complete." (CR, Apr 1935)
        2. WHAT IS PRIESTHOOD?
          1. The divine authority to act for the Lord.
          2. Brigham Young said: "If anybody wants to know what the Priesthood of the Son of God is, it is the law by which the worlds are, were, and will continue forever and ever. It is that system which brings worlds into existence and peoples them--gives them their revolutions--their days, weeks, months, years, their season and times, and by which they are rolled up as a scroll, as it were, and go into a higher state of existence." (JD 15:127)
        3. HOW DOES OUR CONCEPT OF PRIESTHOOD DIFFER FROM THE REST OF THE WORLD?
          1. Catholic: They have made Priesthood a caste, a privileged class, a "hierarchy", with autocratic power over the faith and practice of their fellowmen.
          2. Protestants: They hold there are no priests in the Church of Christ. Jesus Christ is our only priest. Clergymen are only his ministers; not priests.
      2.  READ 107:1-6. There are two priesthood in the church.
        1. The Priesthood is greater than any of its offices.
          1. Bruce R. McConkie: "The priesthood is greater than any of its offices. No office adds any power, dignity, or authority to the priesthood. All offices derive their rights, prerogatives, graces, and powers from the priesthood. This principle may be diagramed by dividing a circle into segments. The priesthood is the circle; the segments of the circle are the callings or offices in the priesthood. Anyone who serves in a segment of the circle must possess the power of the whole circle. No one can hold an office in the priesthood with out first holding the priesthood. "Further, there is <no advancement> from one office to another within the Melchizedek Priesthood. Every elder holds as much priesthood as an apostle or as the President of the Church, though these latter officers hold greater administrative assignments in the kingdom. It follows, also, that any holder of the Melchizedek Priesthood could perform any priestly function he was appointed to do by the one holding the keys of the kingdom. Normally a priesthood bearer works in the particular segment of the priesthood circle in which his primary responsibility lies." (Mormon Doctrine, pp595-596)
      3. WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY OF THE MELCHIZEDEK PRIESTHOOD? (see v8-12,18-19)
        1. Holds the right of presidency. (8)
        2. The Presidency has the right to officiate in all offices in the church. (9)
        3. High Priests have a right to officiate in their own calling and also in the office of an Elder, Priest, Teacher, Deacon, or member. (10)
        4. An elder can officiate in the stead of a High Priest when there is none present. (11)
        5. The authority of High Priests and Elders is to administer in spiritual things.
          1. 107:18-19: "The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church-- "To have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant."
          2. President Kimball said regarding the Melchizedek Priesthood: "It is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. Without this priesthood power, men are lost."
      4. WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY OF THE AARONIC PRIESTHOOD? (see v13-17,20)
        1. Has the power to administer in outward ordinances, which includes baptism. (14,20)
        2. The bishopric is the presidency of this priesthood, and holds the keys. (15)
        3. Holds the keys of the ministering of angels. (20)
      5.  READ 107:22-28. The presiding quorums of the church.
        1. WHY ARE THESE VERSES SIGNIFICANT?
          1. It provides for order and continuity within the church. Look at the religions of the world that are organized differently.
        2.  READ 107:27-31.
      6. WHAT DID THE LORD REVEAL ABOUT HOW THE PRESIDING QUORUMS OF THE CHURCH ARE TO MAKE DECISIONS?
        1. They must be unanimous.
        2. The decision must be made when at least a majority of the quorum is present.
        3. Decisions to be made in "righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity;"
        4. Elder Rulon G. Craven: "The members of the Twelve strive to live according to the promptings of the Spirit. They speak their mind. However, they are also good listeners and speak when moved upon by the Holy Spirit. Their posture in quorum meetings is to listen and sense the directing power of the Spirit, which always leads to a unity of decision. I marveled as I watched the directing power of the Spirit touch the minds and hearts of the members of the Twelve, influencing the decision making process.... My witness from personal observation is that you can have unwavering faith in the united counsel of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve. They will lead you in the path of righteousness, happiness, and inner peace." (Ensign, May 1991, p.28)
          1. An experience told by Cleon Skousen.
        5. HOW CAN WE APPLY THESE PRINCIPLES AS WE MAKE DECISIONS AT HOME AND AT CHURCH?
      7.  READ 107:39. It is the duty of the Twelve to ordain evangelical ministers.
        1. WHAT ARE EVANGELICAL MINISTERS?
          1. Joseph Smith said: "An Evangelist is a Patriarch, even the oldest man of the blood of Joseph, or of the seed of Abraham. Wherever the Church of Christ is established in the Earth, there should be a Patriarch for the benefit of the posterity of the Saints, as it was with Jacob in giving his Patriarchal blessings unto his sons." (TPJS, p151)
      8.  READ 107:53-57. Meeting at Adam-Ondi-Ahman.
        1. A great family reunion & priesthood meeting.
          1. Seven generations represented.
          2. Adam was 927 years at this time.
          3. Gave a last blessing to his family.
          4. The Lord appeared and ministered to the comfort of Adam.
          5. Predicted what should befall his posterity to the latest generation.
          6. These things were recorded in the book of Enoch.
        2. Sometime prior to the second coming of the Savior, a similar meeting will again be held in the valley of Adam-ondi-Ahman. (See Sections 78, 116)
      9. The Bishop's Court.
        1. V73-74: The bishop to be a judge among the inhabitants of Zion.
        2. WHO IS TRIED IN A BISHOP'S DISCIPLINARY COUNCIL & WHO IS TRIED IN A HIGH COUNCIL DISCIPLINARY COUNCIL?
          1. D&C Commentary: "The Bishop's Court may, if deemed necessary, excommunicate a member who holds only the Aaronic Priesthood and disfellowship one who holds the Melchizedek Priesthood. The High Council can excommunicate any member." (p. 710)
        3. WHY ARE SUCH JUDGES NECESSARY IN THE CHURCH?
        4.  READ 107:78-81. APPEAL TO THE 1ST PRESIDENCY
      10. ORGANIZATION OF THE QUORUMS OF DEACONS, TEACHERS, PRIESTS, ELDERS, AND SEVENTIES OUTLINED. (85-98)
        1.  READ 107:99-100. Let every man learn his duty.
          1. HOW CAN WE LEARN OUR DUTIES?
          2. WHAT BLESSINGS COME AS WE LEARN AND PERFORM OUR DUTIES?
            1. See D&C 84:33-39.
  4. Section 108.
    1. Historical Notes.
      1. February 28, 1835: The organization of the first quorum of Seventy was begun in Kirtland.
      2. July 1835: Michael H. Chandler arrived at Kirtland to exhibit four Egyptian mummies and some rolls of papyrus containing hieroglyphs.
        1. Later Joseph did some translation. One of the writings was from Abraham, later published in the Pearl of Great Price.
      3. August 17, 1835: The Doctrine and Covenants was presented to an assembly of the Church and approved.
      4. December 26, 1835: Joseph Smith, with some of the other brethren, began studying the Hebrew language. A Joshua Seixas was later employed as their teacher.
      5. On this same date, Lyman Sherman went to the home of the Prophet, desiring the word of the Lord for him. The revelation that followed is now known as Section 108.
        1. Brother Sherman had been part of Zions Camp and had been selected as one of the presidents in the first quorum of Seventy.
    2. Discussion of Section 108.
      1. V3: "And arise up and be more careful henceforth in observing your vows, which you have made and do make, and you shall be blessed with exceeding great blessings."
        1. A good reminder for all of us.
      2. In v1&2 Brother Sherman is told that his sins are forgiven and that he can be assured of his spiritual standing.
        1. Brother Sherman was later "called to be a member of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, thus fulfilling the promise extended to him by the Lord in this revelation. He died before he could be ordained and therefore his name does not appear in the list of men who have served in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles." (Sacred Truths of the Doctrine & Covenants 2:236)
  5. Next Week.
    1. Lesson 33: D&C 109-110.