DC 27 Historical Background
Early in the month of August Newel Knight and his wife paid us a visit at my place in Harmony, Pennsylvania; and as neither his wife nor mine had been as yet confirmed, it was proposed that we should confirm them, and partake together of the Sacrament, before he and his wife should leave us. In order to prepare for this I set out to procure some wine for the occasion, but had gone only a short distance when I was met by a heavenly messenger, and received the following revelation, the first four paragraphs (i.e. verses) of which were written at this time, and the remainder in the September following: (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1:106)
DC 27:2 it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament
"If there were such a place as Nowhere, it would be very close to Brevig Mission, Alaska. Brevig Mission, an Inupiat Eskimo village of 170 people, lies sixty miles north of Nome (yes, there is a north of Nome!), on the coast of the Bering Sea, about eighty miles south of the Arctic Circle.
"Temperatures range from a high of sixty-five degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to a low of one hundred degrees below zero (including windchill factor) in the winter. While the sun does dip below the horizon in the summer, the sky remains light twenty-four hours a day. On the shortest day of the year, the sun peeps above the southern horizon at about 1:00 P.M. and sets two hours later.
"...It is a great privilege to gather for our Sunday family worship service... We meet weekly in our living room, with permission of the Anchorage Alaska Bush District presidency...One of the first lessons that we learned came on our first Sunday in Brevig Mission. Expecting to find stocked shelves in the stores, we had not thought to bring bread we could use for the sacrament. We used instead a portion of a pancake made from the mix we had sent ahead from Salt Lake, but not until we first read from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 27, verse 2:
'For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory-remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.'
"I emphasized for our boys that we couldn't substitute something else for bread on a whim, but in this case, as we had no bread, we made an exception because of our great need for the blessings which can come through partaking of the sacrament worthily. This somewhat unusual sacrament service was a great spiritual experience for us all." (Douglas A. New, "At Home on the Tundra," Ensign, Aug. 1989, 59)
Joseph Fielding Smith
The knowledge that it matters not what we eat or drink, if we partake of the sacrament in the Spirit of the Lord and by divine authority, is the foundation for the present practice in the Church of using water instead of wine, for so the Lord has commanded. (Essentials in Church History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 99.)
David B. Haight
It took a number of years before the congregations of the Saints totally abolished the use of wine in the sacrament, but by the end of President Brigham Young's administration, the use of water for the sacrament was generally the practice. The point of the revelation was that the sacrament be partaken with an eye single to the glory of the Lord. ("Remembering the Savior's Atonement," Ensign, Apr. 1988, 11)
DC 27:2 remembering unto the Father my body...and my blood
Joseph Fielding Smith
Ingratitude is the most prevalent of all sins; it is also one of the greatest. Jesus Christ came into the world, not to do the will of man, but to...suffer and die, that he might bring to all men the resurrection, and eternal life to those who were willing to believe and obey his gospel.
In remembrance of this great act of infinite love, which has been the means of redeeming a fallen world, those who profess his name show their gratitude and likewise "the Lord's death till he come," by observing this holy ordinance.
But the ordinance means more than this. When we eat the bread and drink the water, we covenant that we will eat and drink in remembrance of the sacrifice which he made for us in the breaking of his body and the shedding of his blood; that we are willing to take upon us the name of the Son; that we will always remember him; that we will always keep his commandments which he has given us, In this act we witness to the Father, by solemn covenant in the name of the Son, that we will do all of these things. Through our faithfulness to these covenants, we are promised that we will always have the Spirit of the Lord to be with us to guide us in all truth and righteousness. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 339.)
DC 27:3 you shall not purchase wine or strong drink of your enemies
Poison in the wine? That's the oldest trick in the book. Kings used to have a servant ceremonially test the royal wine before indulging. Careful kings would wait a while to see how the servant fared. From the Book of Mormon, we know this ploy was frequently used. The Nephites used this on the Lamanites on more than one occasion, the wine "having been prepared in its strength." (Mosiah 22:7-10, Alma 55:8-14). The Lamanites, in turn, tried the same without success (Alma 55:30-33).
DC 27:4 you shall partake of none except it is made new among you
In obedience to the above commandment, we prepared some wine of our own making, and held our meeting, consisting only of five, viz., Newel Knight and his wife, myself and my wife, and John Whitmer. We partook together of the Sacrament, after which we confirmed these two sisters into the Church, and spent the evening in a glorious manner. The Spirit of the Lord was poured out upon us, we praise the Lord God, and rejoiced exceedingly. (History of the Church, 1:108)
DC 27:5 I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth
We have met to partake of the sacrament of the Lord's supper, and we should endeavor to draw away our feelings and affections from things of time and sense. For in partaking of the sacrament we not only commemorate the death and sufferings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, but we also shadow forth the time when he will come again and when we shall meet and eat bread with him in the kingdom of God. When we are thus assembled together, we may expect to receive guidance and blessings from God. (The Gospel Kingdom: Selections from the Writings and Discourses of John Taylor, selected, arranged, and edited, with an introduction by G. Homer Durham [Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1941], 227.)
Bruce R. McConkie
"Marvel not, for the hour cometh that I will drink of the fruit of the vine with you on the earth." Having so announced, the Lord named others who would be present to partake of the blessed emblems in the great assemblage that is to come together at Adam-ondi-Ahman incident to the return of the Son of Man to rule and reign in righteousness among men on earth. Those named were: Moroni, Elias of the restoration, who is also identified as being Gabriel or Noah; John the Baptist, Elijah, Joseph who was sold into Egypt, Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Michael who is Adam, and Peter, James, and John. The New Testament promise was that Jesus would partake of the sacrament with the eleven who first ate the bread and drank the wine in the upper room. To all of this the latter-day word adds: "And also with all those whom my Father hath given me out of the world," which is to say that the righteous saints of all ages, from Adam down to that hour, will all assemble with the Lord Jesus in that great congregation just before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 4: 65.)
DC 27:5 the fulness of my everlasting gospel
The Book of Mormon speaks little of pre-mortality, the three degrees of glory, vicarious work for the dead, or celestial marriage. Obviously, the Book of Mormon does not contain the fullness of revealed religion. But neither the Book of Mormon prophets nor Joseph Smith ever made this claim. Some deeper doctrines are intentionally held back from the reader, because the Lord says, "I will try the faith of my people." (3 Ne. 26:11) Yet, it contains the "fulness of the everlasting gospel."
Russell M. Nelson
How did [the Lord] define the gospel? The resurrected Lord taught, "This is the gospel which I have given unto you-that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me."
Then He amplified that one-sentence definition: "My Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me." (3 Ne. 27:13-14)
This unique mortal mission of the Lord-the gospel as He defined it-we know as the Atonement. The fulness of the gospel, therefore, connotes a fuller comprehension of the Atonement. This we do not obtain from the Bible alone. The word atonement, in any of its forms, is mentioned only once in the King James Version of the New Testament. In the Book of Mormon, it appears 39 times! The Book of Mormon also contains more references to the Resurrection than does the Bible.
The Savior referred to the Book of Mormon as His "new covenant" with the house of Israel. It is a tangible sign of Christ's culminating covenant with mankind. The divine teachings of this book, as a third testament, clarify doctrine and unify the Old Testament with the New Testament. Scriptural covenants, testaments, and witnesses since the beginning of time relate to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, the central act of all human history. ("A Testimony of the Book of Mormon," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 70)
DC 27:5 Why does the scripture call the Book of Mormon "the stick of Ephraim" if Lehi descended from Manasseh?
Joseph Fielding Smith
It is true that Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3), but the Nephites were just as much the descendants of Ephraim, for we know that Ishmael, who was the other founder of the colony, was a descendant of Ephraim. This we learn from the Prophet Joseph Smith, but it is not so stated in the Book of Mormon. This information was contained in the 116 pages of lost manuscript which was not re-translated into the Book of Mormon.
You are aware of the fact that the sons of Lehi married the daughters of Ishmael.
Ezekiel 37:9 reads as follows:
Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and they shall be one in mine hand.
Now if you will carefully analyze this verse, you will discover that it positively states that this "stick" which is the "stick of Joseph," thus covering both tribes, is "in the hand of Ephraim." The record, after its presentation to the Prophet Joseph Smith, was placed in the hand of Ephraim, for Joseph Smith was of Ephraim.
...The Book of Mormon is as much the stick of Ephraim as it is of Manasseh, because both Ephraim and Manasseh were the sons of Joseph. The record of Joseph is now in the hand of Ephraim. So far as the fulfilment of the prophecy is concerned, it becomes the record of Ephraim, for the Latter-day Saints are, in the main, of Ephraim. (Answers to Gospel Questions, 5 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957-1966], 3: 198.)
DC 27:6-7 Elias, to whom I have committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things
The term Elias can be quite confusing. The reader should read the Bible Dictionary definition of Elias in order to understand the background of this term and calling. In brief, "Elias" is a title applied to many prophets who have specific assignments to restore that which was lost. Joseph Smith explained that in the ancient days, "there were Eliases," who sought to bring the people into the presence of God. They yearned for a righteous city and a righteous people. "Moses sought to bring the children of Israel into the presence of God, through the power of the Priesthood, but he could not. In the first ages of the world they tried to establish the same thing; and there were Eliases raised up who tried to restore these very glories, but did not obtain them; but they prophesied of a day when this glory would be revealed." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 159)
Our Old Testament does not contain the prophecies of these Eliases, but they were known to the Jews of Jesus' day. The priests and Levites specifically asked John the Baptist if he was the restorational Elias saying, "Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." (John 1:21) Peter knew of this doctrine as well, and he looked forward to "the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21)
The reference to Elias in DC 26:6-7 becomes a key to understanding this doctrine. We know from verse 7 that this Elias was the angel Gabriel who appeared to Zacharias to declare the birth of his son John. Joseph Smith explained that the angel Gabriel is Noah (Teachings, 157). Therefore, Noah is the prophet to whom has been committed the keys of bringing to pass the restoration of all things. Joseph Smith explained the Priesthood which Noah held saying, "The Priesthood was first given to Adam...Then to Noah, who is Gabriel: he stands next in authority to Adam in the Priesthood; he was called of God to this office, and was the father of all living in this day, and to him was given the dominion. These men held keys first on earth, and then in heaven." (Teachings, 157)
While Noah, or Gabriel, is not the only restorational Elias (see Rev. 10; D&C 77:9), he is the prototypical one, and it is helpful to understand that he is the prophet referenced in this verse.
DC 27:7 John...should be filled with the spirit of Elias
The term Elias can also be used referring to a preparatory work-see Bible Dictionary. Of all preparatory Eliases, John the Baptist is the prototype.
The spirit of Elias is to prepare the way for a greater revelation of God, which is the Priesthood of Elias, or the Priesthood that Aaron was ordained unto. And when God sends a man into the world to prepare for a greater work, holding the keys of the power of Elias, it was called the doctrine of Elias even from the early ages of the world. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 335-336)
DC 27:9 Elijah, unto whom I have committed the keys of the power of turning the hearts...
The spirit, power, and calling of Elijah is, that ye have power to hold the key of the revelations, ordinances, oracles, powers and endowments of the fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood and of the kingdom of God on the earth; and to receive, obtain, and perform all the ordinances belonging to the kingdom of God, even unto the turning of the hearts of the fathers unto the children, and the hearts of the children unto the fathers, even those who are in heaven.
...What is this office and work of Elijah? It is one of the greatest and most important subjects that God has revealed. He should send Elijah to seal the children to the fathers, and the fathers to the children. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 337.)
DC 27:12 Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you
[Joseph Smith] said that at Colesville, New York, in 1829, he and Oliver were under arrest on a charge of deceiving the people. When they were at the justice's house for trial in the evening, all were waiting for Mr. Reid, Joseph's lawyer. While waiting, the justice asked Joseph some questions, among which was this: "What was the first miracle Jesus performed?"
Joseph replied, "He made this world, and what followed we are not told."
Mr. Reid came in and said he wanted to speak to his clients in private and that the law allowed him that privilege, he believed. The judge pointed to a door to a room in the back part of the house and told them to step in there. As soon as they got into the room, the lawyer said there was a mob outside in front of the house. "If they get hold of you they will perhaps do you bodily injury; and I think the best way for you to get out of this is to get right out there," pointing to the window and hoisting it.
They got into the woods in going a few rods from the house. It was night and they traveled through brush and water and mud, fell over logs, etc., until Oliver was exhausted. Then Joseph helped him along through the mud and water, almost carrying him.
They traveled all night, and just at the break of day Oliver gave out entirely and exclaimed, "Oh, Lord! Brother Joseph, how long have we got to endure this thing?"
They sat down on a log to rest, and Joseph said that at that very time Peter, James and John came to them and ordained them to the apostleship.
They had sixteen or seventeen miles to go to get back to Mr. Hale's, his father-in-law's, but Oliver did not complain any more of fatigue. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 15.)
DC 27:13 Unto whom I have committed the keys of my kingdom...for the last times
Does this passage have reference to Peter, James, and John? Or does it have reference to Joseph and Oliver? In August 1830, who held the keys of the last dispensation?
The Lord was declaring that Peter, James, and John had received the keys of the last dispensation. The language of DC 128 makes this point perfectly clear, "And again, what do we hear?...The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the keys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times!" (DC 128:20, italics added)
Presumably, Joseph and Oliver received the keys of the final dispensation in connection with the Melchizedek Priesthood and were also ordained as apostles at this time. Still, they would not have all the keys they needed until 1836, when they received other keys from Moses, Elias, and Elijah. Then the declaration was made, "Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors." (DC 110:16)
Perhaps it's important to understand that it was Peter, James, and John who were first given the keys of our dispensation. Hence, they are connected to us. They have held and still hold stewardship over us. The Lord specifically gave them an assignment which they were not to delegate to Joseph Smith or his successors. They were told they would be ministers for the heirs of salvation, and "unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I come" (DC 7:6-7). Note that the Lord didn't say, "unto you three I will give this power and the keys of this ministry until I raise up a prophet in the last days." It was their assignment to watch over us and teach us the things we need to know to become heirs of salvation. We can rest assured that they are faithfully fulfilling this assignment. (See commentary for DC 7:7.)
DC 27:13 I will gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth
"The question is, What was to be restored in this dispensation of the fulness of times? Elder David W. Patten, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, answered that question in July 1838: 'The dispensation of the fullness of times is made up of all the dispensations that ever have been given since the world began, until this time ... in the which all things shall be fulfilled that have been spoken of since the earth was made. ...
"...There are, however, some things to be accomplished in this dispensation that have not been done before, such as the building of the New Jerusalem, the gathering of Israel, the second coming of the Savior, the beginning of the Millennium, and the renewing of paradisiacal glory to the earth, restoring it as it was before the Fall.
"How many dispensations have there been? We often hear that there are seven: Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Joseph Smith. This list is far too shallow, however. The seven are only a few of the dispensations mentioned in the Bible. (What about Melchizedek, Elijah, and John the Baptist?) And the list completely ignores what we know about the gospel being among the Nephites, the Jaredites, and the Lost Tribes. There have been many dispensations. The dispensation of Adam was the first, and the dispensation of the fulness of times is a combination of them all." (Robert J. Matthews, "The Fulness of Times," Ensign, Dec. 1989, 49)
Spencer W. Kimball
Certainly gathering "together in one all things" is related to the apostle Peter's statement regarding the "times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21.) This very important prophecy refers especially to the return of those prophets of old who held the various priesthood keys of the kingdom.
Thus, the keys of the divine patriarchal order which were held by the fathers anciently were restored, saying, in effect, that the time had finally come for Abraham's great lineage to be restored to the gospel and the priesthood. Through this priesthood "shall all the families of the earth be blessed" (Abr. 2:11)-meaning in part that the blessings of the gospel are brought to individuals and also that, through the priesthood's new and everlasting covenant of marriage, all the elect children of God who are gathered together out of the earth may be sealed together in family units into the lineage of Abraham, or, in other words, into the organized, eternal family of God. ("The Things of Eternity-Stand We in Jeopardy?" Ensign, Jan. 1977, 4)
Howard W. Hunter
Temples are sacred for the closest communion between the Lord and those receiving the highest and most sacred ordinances of the holy priesthood. It is in the temple that things of the earth are joined with the things of heaven. In a letter written by Paul to the Saints at Ephesus, he made a very significant statement about the day in which we live, that there would be a gathering of all things in Christ that are on earth and in heaven:
"Having made known unto us the mystery of his will ... That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth" (Eph. 1:9-10).
The doctrine that all creation will ultimately be united in Christ is the major theme of Paul's epistle. The things of earth will become one with the things of heaven. The great family of God will be united through the saving ordinances of the gospel. Vicarious work for the dead and ordinances for the living are the purposes of temples. ("The Great Symbol of Our Membership," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 2)
DC 27:14 those whom my Father hath given me out of the world
The doctrine of election is all but ignored by many latter-day saints. It is one of the hard but true doctrines. Of these doctrines, Neal A. Maxwell wrote, "When one decides whether or not to deal with hard doctrines, the tendency is to put them off or to be put off by them. Not only are they in some respects puzzling, but they may even offend our mortal pride." (All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979], 1.)
When the Lord refers to those whom the Father has given him, he is referring to the elect of God. Of this select group, none is lost but the son of perdition, Judas Iscariot (John 17:12). All the rest are saved according to the scriptures. This doctrine can offend those who worry that agency is somehow injured by the suggestion that these elect will all make it. Should it surprise us that the Lord's power can save these souls? Is his arm shortened that he cannot deliver? The Father has been in the salvation business a long time. We should not be surprised if he can correctly predict and foreordain those souls destined for greatness. Consider the following passages on the elect.
"And this is the Father's will...that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day" (John 6:39)
Jesus prayed: "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him." (John 17:2)
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand." (John 10:27-29)
"Ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me." (3 Ne. 15:24)
"Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost." (DC 50:41-42)
Bruce R. McConkie
"The concept of a chosen and favored people, a concept scarcely known in the world and but little understood even by the saints of God, is one of the most marvelous systems ever devised for administering salvation to all men in all nations in all ages...This is the doctrine of election. They were true and faithful in the premortal life, and they earned the right to be born as the Lord's people and to have the privilege, on a preferential basis, of believing and obeying the word of truth. Believing blood, the blood of Abraham, flows in their veins. They are the ones of whom Jesus said: 'My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.' (John 10:27-28.)" (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 182.)
DC 27:15 gird up your loins
"This figurative expression from the Old Testament means to belt the garment that is worn ungirded in the house or in times of relaxation. The reasons for girding one's garment are to prepare for work, travel, or battle. This phrase is found 11 times in the Doctrine and Covenants and is consistently used to motivate recipients of the revelations to be prepared. They were to prepare themselves so they would not yield to Satan's temptations, and they were to prepare themselves and others for the eventual return of the Savior to the earth." (Robert J. Woodford , "The Remarkable Doctrine and Covenants," Ensign, Jan. 1997, 46-47)
DC 27:15 take upon you my whole armor
"One summer some time after my divorce, I felt my children and I were sinking under the weight of many challenges. I was working as well as attending school full-time, and I studied late into the night after caring for my children. It was a struggle for me just to provide food and clothes and maintain the house and yard, but on top of that my five children, who at the time ranged in age from 9 to 18, seemed to have major problems of their own that required extra help and patience.
"Early one Saturday evening, I retired to my bedroom with heavy feet and a bitter heart. I felt abandoned and alone, with no help or insight to give me hope that things could soon improve...I begrudgingly sat up and took the scriptures from my night table. I opened the pages at random to section 27 of the Doctrine and Covenants and began reading the first verse: 'Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Lord, your God, and your Redeemer, whose word is quick and powerful.'
"These words got my attention; I was being directly told to listen to the words of the Lord. Quickly scanning the rest of the section, however, I didn't see anything else that seemed to apply to my dilemma. I was about to turn to something else when I came to verse 15. As I read it, a warm feeling went from my head to my toes, the hair on my neck tingled, and my eyes filled with tears. 'Wherefore, lift up your hearts and rejoice, and gird up your loins, and take upon you my whole armor, that ye may be able to withstand the evil day, having done all, that ye may be able to stand.'
"This was my answer! By allowing despair to overcome me, I was not exercising my faith to clothe myself or my children in the whole spiritual armor of God.
"Just as a knight clothes himself in armor before a joust, I recognized that I needed to wear the armor of God to protect me in my spiritual battles with temptation and adversity (see D&C 27:16-18).
"I contemplated being covered head to foot with that armored protection. With the guidance of the Lord Jesus Christ and his Spirit, I was better able to focus my faith and battle with feelings of bitterness and despair or other fiery darts that assailed my spirit. Even today, I continue to find reassurance that we are not left alone to withstand the adversary. Through praying, finding guidance and answers for our day in the scriptures, striving to live the principles of the gospel, and putting our faith and trust in God and his Son, we can put on the whole armor of God and endure to the end with strength and power." (Thaya Eggleston Gilmore, "Take Upon You My Whole Armor," Ensign, Feb. 1998, 62)
Carlos E. Asay
Paul counseled: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (Eph. 6:13). With his prophetic powers, Paul could foresee the wicked conditions that would exist on the earth in our modern day...He knew that armor made of truth, righteousness, faith, spirit, and prayer would protect people from the "fiery darts" (Eph. 6:16) crafted and thrown by Satan and his henchmen.
There is, however, another piece of armor worthy of our consideration. It is the special underclothing known as the temple garment, or garment of the holy priesthood, worn by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have received their temple endowment. This garment, worn day and night, serves three important purposes: it is a reminder of the sacred covenants made with the Lord in His holy house, a protective covering for the body, and a symbol of the modesty of dress and living that should characterize the lives of all the humble followers of Christ. ("The Temple Garment: 'An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment,' " Ensign, Aug. 1997, 20)
DC 27:15 that ye may be able to withstand the evil day
Gordon B. Hinckley
The adversary is clever and subtle. He speaks in a seductive voice of fascinating and attractive things. We cannot afford to let down our guard. We cannot afford to drop the ball. We need not run the wrong way. The right way is simple. It means following the program of the Church, bringing into our lives the principles of the gospel, and never losing sight of what is expected of us as sons of God with a great inheritance and a marvelous and eternal potential. ("Don't Drop the Ball," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 48)
DC 27:16 Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth...
Harold B. Lee
Truth is to be the substance of which the girdle about your loins is to be formed, if your virtue and vital strength are to be safeguarded. You should all strive to keep yourselves worthy to enter into the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in the temple for time and all eternity.
Now what about the breastplate which will safeguard your heart, or your conduct in life? It shall be made of stuff called righteousness. The righteous man strives for self-improvement, knowing that he has daily need of repentance for his misdeeds or his neglect.
His body is not dissipated by the burdens imposed by the demands of riotous living; his judgment is not rendered faulty by the follies of youth; he is clear of vision, keen of intellect, and strong of body.
Your feet, which represent your goals or objectives in life, are to be shod with "the preparation of the gospel of peace." Preparedness is the way to victory, and "eternal vigilance is the price of safety." Whether in speech or in song, in physical or moral combat, the tide of victory rests with him who is prepared.
Now to the last piece of the prophet-teacher's armored dress. We will put "the helmet of salvation" upon our head. Our head or intellect is the controlling member of the body. It must be well protected against the enemy, for "as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." Salvation means the attainment of the eternal light to live in the presence of God the Father and the Son as a reward for a good life in mortality. With the goal of salvation ever in our mind's eye, as the ultimate to be achieved, our thinking and our decisions, which determine action, will always challenge all that would jeopardize that glorious future state.
Today is a wonderful time in which to be a young person. The fullness of the gospel is on the earth; all the blessings of the Lord are available to those willing to pay the price.
I realize that in the face of violence, immorality, uncleanliness, war, and other evils of modern life, there may be a tendency to become discouraged. I say to you, my young brothers and sisters, don't give up! The gospel of Jesus Christ has answers to all these problems, and you have the responsibility and charge to stand firm; so enjoy your youth, but "put on the whole armour of God" and resist those things of the world that will destroy your testimony and your chance to accomplish a great work here. May the Lord preserve you and bless you and give you strength to withstand temptation and a determination to make the most of your life so you will be able to reap blessings throughout eternity is my humble prayer, in Jesus' name. Amen. ("Message from the First Presidency," Ensign, Jan. 1971, 2)
DC 27:17 taking the shield of faith
Dallin H. Oaks
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ prepares you for whatever life brings. ("Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ," Ensign, May 1994, 100)
Boyd K. Packer
That shield of faith is not produced in a factory but at home in a cottage industry...our Father's plan requires that, like the generation of life itself, the shield of faith is to be made and fitted in the family. No two can be exactly alike. Each must be handcrafted to individual specifications.
The plan designed by the Father contemplates that man and woman, husband and wife, working together, fit each child individually with a shield of faith made to buckle on so firmly that it can neither be pulled off nor penetrated by those fiery darts.
It takes the steady strength of a father to hammer out the metal of it and the tender hands of a mother to polish and fit it on. Sometimes one parent is left to do it alone. It is difficult, but it can be done. ("The Shield of Faith," Ensign, May 1995, 8)
L. Tom Perry
We were dressed in our home each morning, not only with hats and raincoats and boots to protect us from physical storm, but even more carefully our parents dressed us each day in the armor of God. As we would kneel in family prayer and listen to our father, a bearer of the priesthood, pour out his soul to the Lord for the protection of his family against the fiery darts of the wicked, one more layer was added to our shield of faith. While our shield was being made strong, theirs was always available, for they were available and we knew it.
What a protection it was to travel through the journey of life knowing that a shield of faith is being carefully constructed for you by loving parents from our first moments on earth.
Let me just give you a small example of how that shield would work. One day I was made an attractive offer by a group of marines, buddies of mine, as we were about to go on liberty. It wasn't until after we were on our way that I discovered this was not the best of company to be in. It was then that I found out the reason they had invited me. It was because they knew of my standards. They knew that I would be sober when it was time to return to the base, and I could guide them back.
We found ourselves in Los Angeles on a streetcar headed toward a dance hall. They had already started to drink a little, and I was ready to part their company. It was here that that protective shield took over and I knew of the prayers of my parents for my welfare. The streetcar stopped and allowed new passengers to come aboard. The new passengers separated me from my buddies and pushed me to the back of the car. It was there that I discovered a nice group of young people standing and seated. Immediately upon finding me in their company, one spoke up and said, "Hi, Marine! We're Mormons. What do you know about our Church?"
I answered, "Plenty," and got off the streetcar with them and went to a ward social.
You see, the shield of faith was there. It was protecting me from the fiery darts of the wicked in order that in a proper time in my life I would be worthy to take an angel into the temple of the Lord and there at its altar be sealed together for time and all eternity.
I know by personal experience the value of having noble parents to build around their children a protective shield of faith of our Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ. I give you my witness that it works. Should not every child of God be given that opportunity in their lives-to start each day having their fathers blessing their home and giving them that protective shield of faith as they depart from the home to go about their every activity. ("Build Your Shield of Faith," Ensign, May 1974, 98-99)