DC 52 Historical Background: The June 1831 Conference
One of the most remarkable conferences in church history occurred between June 3rd and 6th, 1831 (conferences were not held semi-annually as they are today). The conference became a duel of spiritual manifestations in which the young Prophet would dispel Satan's attacks on some of the Brethren. The months previous had been full of spiritual manifestations-most of which were false, and many of the saints had been deceived thereby. Recently, the Prophet had received a revelation which helped the elders discern between true and false spirits (see D&C 50). During this conference, the Prophet demonstrated to the elders not only that he had the spirit of discernment but that he also had power to cast out devils.
Levi W. Hancock
On the 4th of June, 1831, we all met in Kirtland, in a school house built of logs. Here the Elders were seated on slab benches, and the meeting was opened as usual.
Joseph Smith began to speak. He said that the kingdom that Christ spoke of, that was like a grain of mustard seed, was now before him, and some should see it put forth its branches, just as the Savior had said.
He looked at Lyman Wight and said, "You shall see the Lord and meet him near the corner of the house."
The Prophet laid his hands upon him and blessed him with the visions of heaven.
Joseph Smith then stepped out on the floor and said, "I now see God, and Jesus Christ at his right hand. Let them kill me; I should not feel death as I am now."
Joseph put his hands upon Harvey Whitlock and ordained him to the office of high priest in the High Priesthood. He turned as black as Lyman was white. His fingers were set like claws. He went around the room and showed his hands and tried to speak. His eyes were in the shape of oval O's.
Hyrum Smith said, "Joseph, that is not of God."
...Joseph bowed his head, and in a short time got up and commanded Satan to leave Harvey, laying his hands upon his head at the same time.
At that very instant an old man said to weigh two hundred and fourteen pounds, sitting in the window, turned a complete summersault in the house and came down with his back across a bench, and lay helpless.
Joseph told Lyman to cast Satan out. He did. The man's name was Leman Copley, formerly a Quaker.
The evil spirit left him, and as quick as lightning Harvey Green fell bound and screamed like a panther. Satan was cast out of him, but immediately entered someone else. This continued all day and the greater part of the night.
But to return to the meeting, Joseph said, "Now if you elders have sinned, it will do you no good to preach, if you have not repented. Heman Basset, you sit still. The devil wants to sift you."
He then ordained Jacob Scott and some others to the High Priesthood. He came to Zebedee Coltrin and myself, and told us that we had another calling as high as any man in the house. [They were made members of the First Council of Seventy in 1835.] I was glad for that, for I was so scared I would not stir without his liberty, for all the world. I knew the things I had seen were not made.
Joseph Smith called Lyman Wight to lay his hands on his head and say what God should tell him to say. He did, and the blessing was so long I cannot write it.
After this we went down to the house and heard Harvey Whitlock say that when Hyrum Smith said it was not of God, he disdained him in his heart (i.e. the influence of the evil spirit was such that Brother Whitlock was angry with Hyrum), and when the devil was cast out he was convinced it was Satan that was in him, and then he knew it. I also heard Harvey Green say that he could not describe the awful feeling he experienced while in the hands of Satan.
On June the fifth we all assembled on the hill, in a field where there was a large concourse of people collected. The Prophet Joseph said that from that time on the Elders would have large congregations to speak to, and they must soon take their departure into the regions west. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 18.)
June 3, 1831, a general conference was called, and a blessing promised, if the elders were faithful, and humble before him... The Lord made manifest to Joseph that it was necessary that such of the elders as were considered worthy, should be ordained to the High Priesthood.
The spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph in an unusual manner. And prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the ten tribes of Israel who had been led away by Salmanasar King of Assyria, to prepare them for their return, from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers. He prophesied many more things that I have not written. After he had prophesied he laid his hands upon Lyman Wight [ordained him] to the High Priesthood after the Holy Order of God. And the spirit fell upon Lyman, and he prophesied, concerning the coming of Christ...
He saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the Father. Making intercession for his brethren, the Saints. He said that God would work a work in these last days that tongue cannot express, and the mind is not capable to conceive. The glory of the Lord shone around.
At the conference these were ordained to the high priesthood, namely, Lyman Wight, Sidney Rigdon, John Murdock...[et al]
Joseph Smith, Jr., prophesied the day previous that the man of sin should be revealed. While the Lord poured out his spirit upon his servants, the devil took a notion, to make known his power, he bound Harvey Whitlock and John Murdock so that they could not speak, and others were affected but the Lord showed to Joseph the Seer, the design of the thing, he commanded the devil in the name of Christ and he departed to our joy and comfort. (The Book of John Whitmer, typescript, [Provo: BYU Archives and Manuscripts], chap. 7)
The conference... convened in Kirtland; and the Lord displayed His power to the most perfect satisfaction of the Saints. The man of sin was revealed, and the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood was manifested and conferred for the first time upon several of the Elders. It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required. Great harmony prevailed; several were ordained; faith was strengthened; and humility, so necessary for the blessing of God to follow prayer, characterized the Saints.
The next day, as a kind continuation of this great work of the last days, I received [section 52]. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 vols., introduction and notes by B. H. Roberts [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1932-1951], 1: 177.)
DC 52:2 the land which I will consecrate unto my people
"The Mormon communities in Ohio were scarcely in their infancy before Joseph Smith turned his attention farther west. In December, 1830, while in New York State, he had announced the revelation that a New Zion would be built somewhere in the West by the borders of the Lamanites. From that time he had been besieged with inquiries as to its exact location. In the spring of 1831, Parley P. Pratt arrived in Kirtland with a glowing report of the mission to the western border. The Indian mission had been brought to an abrupt close, but a small branch of the Church had been organized in Jackson County in the western part of Missouri. Elder Pratt's account of the country stirred the Prophet to make new inquiries of the Lord. During the conference of the Church at Kirtland in June, he received by revelation the following:
'I, the Lord will make known unto you what I will that ye shall do from this time until the next conference, which shall be held in Missouri, upon the land which I will consecrate unto my people, which are a remnant of Jacob and those who are heirs according to the covenant.
Wherefore, verily I say unto you, let my servants Joseph Smith, Jr., and Sidney Rigdon take their journey as soon as preparations can be made to leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri.' (D&C 52:2-3)
"In the same revelation, twenty-six other elders were called to start on missions to the West. They were to travel by twos, preaching the gospel on the way. All were to meet at Independence, Missouri, where the Lord would reveal the location of the New Zion.
"The idea that there would be a New Zion upon the earth in the latter days may be obtained from a reading of the Bible. It was not the study of ancient prophecies, however, which so fired the Saints with a zeal for Zion. To them God had spoken anew. Zion was to be realized." (William E. Berrett, The Restored Church, 7th ed. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1953], 118.)
DC 52:3 let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon... leave their homes, and journey to the land of Missouri
"Responding to a revelation that he and select associates 'journey to the land of Missouri,' Joseph Smith visited the state for the first time in July and August 1831. Traveling from his newly established home in Ohio, he concentrated his visit in western Missouri, south of the Missouri River, where several of his followers had arrived earlier. On 20 July 1831 he identified Missouri as the land God had 'appointed and consecrated for the gathering of the saints. Wherefore, this is the land of promise, and the place for the city of Zion' (D&C 57:1-2). Two days later ground was dedicated for the construction of a temple." (John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., By Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, 27 March 1990, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1990], 1: 155.)
DC 52:8 my servant John Murdock, and my servant Hyrum Smith
Loren C. Dunn
"[John Murdock] was in the first group to be ordained high priests by Joseph Smith. He was called on two of his missions by revelations which are in the Doctrine and Covenants. (See D&C 52:8; D&C 99:1.) [Later on] his wife died, leaving him twins only six hours old. These were the twins that the Prophet Joseph Smith received into his home to raise." ("Did Not Our Heart Burn Within Us?" Ensign, May 1977, 30)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Hyrum Smith was faithful to this mission and in the spirit of faith and humility made the journey. When we stop to consider that this journey was largely on foot and that it covered a distance almost as far as the pioneers traveled from the Missouri River to the Salt Lake Valley, and that too through a sparsely settled country, we begin to realize what the journey and this commandment meant to those faithful men. It was about the middle of July when these missionaries arrived in Jackson County. (Life of Joseph F. Smith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1969], 46.)
DC 52:10 the laying on of the hands by the water's side
Based on instructions in section 20, it has been suggested that investigators receive further gospel instruction in between the time of their baptism and confirmation. "The duty of the members after they are received by baptism.-The elders or priests are to have a sufficient time to expound all things concerning the church of Christ to their understanding, previous to their partaking of the sacrament and being confirmed by the laying on of the hands of the elders, so that all things may be done in order." (D&C 20:68)
When the above principle is strictly enforced, the person being baptized must receive more discussions, and a certain time must elapse, before he can be confirmed. However, section 52 instructs the missionaries to baptize converts and then confirm them "by the water's side," indicating that the ordinance may be performed immediately after baptism. The principle, then, is that investigators must be adequately prepared-they must have an adequate understanding of "the church of Christ" before they make such an important commitment.
DC 52:12 let my servant Lyman Wight beware, for Satan desireth to sift him as chaff
"Chaff is the non-nutritious waste product of wheat and is separated from the grain by the wind when it is tossed into the air. This process is called sifting. Chaff is like a rudderless vessel that is driven at will by the wind. Satan desires to sift the Saints like chaff, to separate them from the soul-saving, nutritious grain of the gospel and carry them away in the winds of wickedness." (Hoyt W. Brewster, Jr., Doctrine and Covenants Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 520.)
"[Lyman Wight] had been ordained a High Priest at the Conference and had received a vision. He was a most zealous and successful missionary. He was fearless as a lion in the defense of the Saints, and he was a terror to the enemy. At the April Conference, 1841, he was appointed an Apostle. But, notwithstanding all, there was a flaw in his character which the Lord saw, and of which He warned him in this Revelation. In April, 1844, he was tried before the High Council at Far West for teaching false doctrine. He acknowledged his fault then and was forgiven. But, after the martyrdom of the Prophet. he declared that he would not turn his hand over to be one of the Twelve, and when the Saints went to the Rocky Mountains, as the Prophet Joseph had predicted they would do, he and George Miller led a small company to Texas. Wight died in that State, March 31, 1858." (Hyrum M. Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 305.)
DC 52:14 I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived
Marvin J. Ashton
What a happy circumstance and strength in our day to have the Lord's promise, "I will give unto you a pattern in all things, that ye may not be deceived; for Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving." (D&C 52:14.) I have always received courage, comfort, and direction from this powerful quotation.
A pattern is a guide for copying, a design, a plan, a diagram or model to be followed in making things, a composite of traits or features characteristic of an individual. It is also the ordered flight path for an aircraft about to land.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is God's pattern for righteous living and eternal life. It makes possible goal-setting and lofty priorities. Satan and his advocates will constantly try to deceive and entice us into following their patterns. If we are to achieve daily safety, exaltation, and eternal happiness, we need to live by the light and truth of our Savior's plan. All salvation revolves around our Savior.
...Part of his pattern is to help us use our gift of free agency, but his pattern does not condone sin. When we abuse our agency to choose a life-style contrary to revealed patterns, we must live with the consequences. Our unwillingness to follow the true and tested patterns given for our happiness causes the individual, family, and friends heartaches and ultimate disaster. ("A Pattern in All Things," Ensign, Nov. 1990, 20)
DC 52:14 Satan is abroad in the land, and he goeth forth deceiving the nations
Bruce R. McConkie
Satan is abroad in the land. He and his fellow demons rage in the hearts of men. He sits in high places and rules in organizations of all sorts. It is his world; he knows it, and he is in command. There is rejoicing in the courts of hell and laughter on the lips of its courtiers as they survey the shambles they have made of our modern social structure. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 549.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Satan is abroad in the land, deceiving the nations, and he will deceive us unless we are firmly grounded in the faith, unless we base our salvation on truth, unless we search for gospel knowledge. and understanding. The Lord has required of us, as he sets it forth in many of the revelations given to the Church, that we should search the, scriptures, and make ourselves familiar with the teachings they contain. If we will do this then, we will not be led astray by every wind of doctrine and foolish teaching of men in the world, but will have power to understand and discern between truth and error and choose the right, avoiding that which is wrong. Every member of this Church has it within his power to know the truth, so that he may not be deceived. This knowledge will come to us through our study, through faith, through perseverance, and through living in full accord with the ordinances of the gospel.
May the Lord bless and guide us, I pray, in all things, that we may be steadfast in the truth in these days of peril, these days when there are so many false doctrines prevailing in the world and men are striving to destroy the fundamental teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Conference Report, April 1928, Second Day-Morning Meeting 68.)
DC 52:15-16 the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances
By obeying the ordinances of God, mankind glorify God, but if they do not obey him, they do not detract one particle from his glory and power. The commandments of God are given to us expressly for our benefit, and if we live in obedience to them we shall live so as to understand the mind and will of God for ourselves, and concerning ourselves as individuals.
How shall we know that we obey him? There is but one method by which we can know it, and that is by the inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord witnessing unto our spirit that we are his, that we love him, and that he loves us. It is by the spirit of revelation we know this. We have no witness to ourselves internally, without the spirit of revelation. We have no witness outwardly, only by obedience to the ordinances. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 224.)
Neal A. Maxwell
Ordinances mark the path of our rigorous, personal journey. The periodic repetition of certain ordinances is needed to remind us of who we are and where we should be going... In some ways, each ordinance is a marker, suggesting where we are or should be, at least approximately, on the pathway of our personal development. Let us be careful, therefore, not to look "beyond the mark" (Jacob 4:14).
Ordinances thus blend faith and works. They are not, however, rituals which save all by themselves, that is, if unaided by the righteous life. Covenants must be kept before blessings flow. On the other hand, random goodness, unaccompanied by divine ordinances, is not of full salvational effect either: "Wherefore he that prayeth, whose spirit is contrite, the same is accepted of me if he obey mine ordinances" (D&C 52:15)... More than we realize, ordinances comprise defining moments of record! (Lord, Increase Our Faith [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1994], 77.)
DC 52:17 he that trembleth under my power shall be made strong
Ezra Taft Benson
"If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men." It matters not what is our lack or our weakness or our insufficiency. His gifts and powers are sufficient to overcome them all.
Moroni continues with the words of the Lord: "My grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." (Ether 12:27; italics added.)
What a promise from the Lord! The very source of our troubles can be changed, molded, and formed into a strength and a source of power. This promise is repeated in one form or another in many other scriptures. Isaiah said, "He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength." (Isa. 40:29.) Paul was told by the Lord, "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9.) In the Doctrine and Covenants we read, "He that trembleth under my power shall be made strong, and shall bring forth fruits of praise and wisdom." (D&C 52:17; see also 1 Ne. 17:3; 2 Ne. 3:13; D&C 1:28; 133:58-59.)
Brothers and sisters, we must take our sins to the Lord in humble and sorrowful repentance. We must plead with Him for power to overcome them. The promises are sure. He will come to our aid. We will find the power to change our lives. ("A Mighty Change of Heart," Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4-5)
DC 52:19 by this pattern ye shall know the spirits in all cases
"In the Lord's pattern, He provided a description of a person whose actions and attributes are acceptable to Him. This pattern includes the following: (See D&C 52:15-21)
- He is one who prays
- He is one whose spirit is contrite, or humble
- He is one who receives the Lord's ordinances and obeys the requirements thereof
- He is one whose language is meek and uplifting
- He is one who receives and recognizes the Lord's power
- He is one whose works and teachings will reflect truths given by revelation from the Lord
"There are two major concepts that need to be emphasized:
- If we will learn and remember this pattern, we need never be deceived by anyone who is not in harmony with the Lord. We can recognize such disharmony if such a person is not endeavoring to meet the standards established in the Lord's pattern.
- We will never deceive ourselves nor will we become a source of deception to others if we will so order our lives as to be in harmony with the Lord's pattern in all things." (L. G. Otten and C. M. Caldwell, Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982-1983], 1: 258.)
DC 52:22 let my servant Thomas B. Marsh and my servant Ezra Thayre take their journey
"Thomas B. Marsh had been assigned to go to Missouri during the conference held in Kirtland in June, 1831. His traveling companion was to be Ezra Thayre of Thompson. Thomas Marsh quickly put his affairs in order in preparation for the journey. Ezra Thayre, however, dallied. Part of the reason was because of his concern for his land holdings which he no longer wished to share with the Saints at Thompson. As the time grew long, Marsh became impatient and sought direction from Joseph Smith, and a revelation was received. (see Section 56)
"The revelation had special warning to Ezra Thayre (D&C 56:8), for he lost temporarily the privilege of going to Missouri. Thayre seems to have taken to heart momentarily the warning, for he later became a member of Zion's Camp and not long after was chosen among those worthy to be ordained to the office of Seventy. His devotion, however, did not last and he later apostatized." (Richard D. Draper, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants, ed. by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 232.)
DC 52:23 let my servant Isaac Morley and my servant Ezra Booth take their journey
Joseph Fielding Smith
Ezra Booth had accompanied Elder Isaac Morley to Missouri when the elders were appointed to go to that land, but his conduct at that time was not approved. It was not long after his return that he turned away and commenced to fight the Church. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 2: 9.)
About this time (September, 1831) Ezra Booth came out as an apostate. He came into the Church upon seeing a person healed of an infirmity of many years standing. He had been a Methodist priest for some time previous to his embracing the fulness of the Gospel, as developed in the Book of Mormon; and upon his admission into the Church he was ordained an Elder. As will be seen by the foregoing revelations, he went up to Missouri as a companion of Elder Morley; but when he actually learned that faith, humility, patience, and tribulation go before blessing, and that God brings low before He exalts; that instead of the "Savior's granting him power to smite men and make them believe," (as he said he wanted God to do in his own case)-when he found he must become all things to all men, that he might peradventure save some; and that, too, by all diligence, by perils by sea and land, as was the case in the days of Jesus-then he was disappointed. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1: 215 - 216.)
DC 52:24 let my servants Edward Partridge and Martin Harris take their journey
"Edward's departure for Missouri came when some of his children were just recovering from measles; and Eliza, suffering from a severe case of 'lung fever,' was so ill that her father had 'no expectations' of seeing her alive again (Emily, "Incidents," pp. 7-8).
"From Missouri Edward wrote to Lydia, explaining that he had been called to 'plant' himself in Jackson County and regretting that he would be unable to see her or bid farewell to his Ohio friends. He left the decision of coming to Missouri or remaining in Ohio to her, but warned her about 'many privations here which you and I have not been much used to for years' ("Family Record," p. 7).
"Undaunted, Lydia and the children left Kirtland that same year-late 1831-with Isaac Morley's family and others." (Dean Jessee, " 'Steadfastness and Patient Endurance': The Legacy of Edward Partridge," Ensign, June 1979, 42)
"Edward Partridge and Martin Harris... left Kirtland on the 19th of June and arrived at Independence, Jackson County, Missouri, about the middle of July. Here, in the month of August ensuing, in a revelation from the Lord, Bishop Partridge and his counselors, with others, were told that this was the 'land of their residence,' and they were instructed to bring their families there and settle. On the third of that month Bishop Partridge, with seven others, including the Prophet, were present at the dedication of the site of the future Temple, a spot a little west of Independence. Two days afterwards he wrote a letter to his wife in Painesville, Ohio, in which he says: 'I have a strong desire to return to Painesville this fall, but must not; you know I stand in an important station, and as I am occasionally chastened I sometimes feel as though I must fall; not to give up the cause, but to fear my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of my heavenly Father. I hope that you and I may so conduct ourselves as to at last land our souls in the haven of eternal rest. Pray for me that I may not fall. I might write more but will not. Farewell for the present.'" (Contributor, vol. 6 (October 1884-September 1885), Vol. Vi. October, 1884. No. I. 6.)
DC 52:25 Let my servants David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock also take their journey
William E. McClellin
[Paris, Illinois. July 18, 1831] This morning I heard very early that two men (who said they were traveling to Zion, which they said was in upper Missouri. They had also a book with them which they said was a Revelation from God, calling it the book of Mormon) were to preach 2 1/2 miles below Paris. . . . Their names were Harvey Whitlock and David Whitmer. The people were assembled in a beautiful sugartree grove. Mr. Whitlock arose and gave some particulars respecting the book and some reasons why he believes it to be a divine revelation. Spoke some of the signs of the times. Then he expounded the gospel with more plainness than I ever heard in my life, which astonished me. David Whitmer then arose and bore testimony to having seen an Holy Angel who had made known the truth of the record to him. All these strange things I pondered in my heart... And from the solemnity which attended these men in giving their testimony and the plainness of the truths which they declared I was induced to believe something in their mission. People seemed to be anxious for them to stay longer. They told me that Joseph Smith, the man who translated the book, and a number of others had gone to Jackson Co. Mo. and if I would go there I could see them. They said also that Smith was a prophet. Finally I told them if they would stay one week longer that I would go with them. They agreed to stay. Then Harvey Whitlock arose and spoke about three hours. I never heard such preaching in all my life. The glory of God seemed to encircle the man and the wisdom of God to be displayed in his discourse. Some of the people seemed to be much affected. The meeting was closed by a few observations of David Whitmer [who bore] a solemn testimony also of the truths which they had just heard. (Excerpts from Journal and Writings of William E. Mclellin, Early , LDS Church News, 1992, 10/24/92)
DC 52:26 let my servants Parley P. Pratt and Orson Pratt take their journey, and preach by the way
Parley P. Pratt
After...the business of the conference was over, myself and Orson Pratt were appointed by revelation to perform a mission together, through the Western States, and to meet the brethren I had left in Jackson County, Missouri; and many others also who were sent in a similar manner, two and two through the Western States, and who were all appointed to meet in Jackson County, Missouri, and hold the next conference.
Soon after the conference my brother and myself commenced our journey without any means to bear our expenses. We traveled through the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, in the midst of the heat of summer on foot, and faithfully preached the gospel in many parts of all these States. We suffered the hardships incident to a new and, in many places, unsettled country, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc. We arrived in upper Missouri in September, having baptized many people and organized branches of the Church in several parts of Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. On our arrival we found a considerable settlement of the brethren from Ohio, who had immigrated during the summer and taken up their residence in Jackson County. President Smith, and many of the Elders, had been there and held a conference, and, having organized a Stake of Zion, pointed out and consecrated certain grounds for a city and temple, they had again returned to the East. With them, the brethren whom I had left there the previous winter, had also returned.
I felt somewhat disappointed in not meeting with the brethren; but was consoled with the reflection that I had been diligent in preaching the gospel on my journey, while others had hurried through the country, perhaps, without tarrying to do much good. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 53-54.)
DC 52:28 Let my servants Edson Fuller and Jacob Scott also take their journey
"Edson Fuller, a carpenter by trade, was residing with his family in Chardon, Ohio, when he accepted baptism in 1831. He was called by revelation on 7 June 1831 to journey from Ohio to Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 52:28). Apparently he didn't go to Missouri but remained in Ohio. According to historian Josiah Jones, he claimed that visions had called him to preach the gospel in Ohio." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 93.)
"Jacob Scott attended the fourth general conference of the Church in June 1831 in a schoolhouse on Isaac Morley's farm in Kirtland. At the conference he became one of the first men in this dispensation to be ordained a high priest by the Prophet.
"One day after the conference Jacob was called by revelation to serve a mission: 'Let my servants Edson Fuller and Jacob Scott also take their journey' (D&C 52:28). However, Jacob Scott apostatized after receiving the command and refused to go.
"George A. Smith said that Jacob and his apostate friends 'became more violent, more cruel, and manifested a greater spirit of persecution than any other enemies.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 260 - 261.)
DC 52:29 Let my servants Levi W. Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin also take their journey
"Called with others to go on a mission to Missouri in 1831, Levi [Hancock] accepted unhesitatingly, though it meant walking hundreds of miles. He wrote, 'Although there were but a few of us, we did go to work and the Lord labored with us.' After hearing Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin preach in Indiana, one man testified, 'You are men sent to administer the words of eternal life to me and I want to be baptised.' They established two strong branches in the state. But they also suffered hardships on their journey. Levi fell ill because of an infection in his feet and had to spend time recuperating with a family who took him in while Zebedee went on without him. Later, in Missouri, he continued to struggle with illness and chafed at times because of his inability to do all he wanted. But grateful to serve, he wrote: 'I have to be honest before God and do all the good I can for this kingdom or woe is me. I care not for the world nor what they say. They have to meet my Testimony at the Judgement seat. I mean that my conduct shall be such that my words will be believed, the Lord being my helper.'
"Later, he recovered his health enough to use his building skills in constructing the Church's printing house in Jackson County, Missouri." ("It Is the Truth, I Can Feel It," Ensign, July 1999)
"Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana, situated near the Indiana-Ohio border, is located approximately 75 miles east of Indianapolis, and about 225 miles southwest of Kirtland, Ohio. The branch of the Church in Winchester, initially built up by Levi Hancock and Zebedee Coltrin during the months of June-September 1831, has been overlooked by nearly all historians. Several of the converts to Mormonism in Winchester gathered with the Saints in Missouri." (Donald Q. Cannon and Lyndon W. Cook, eds., Far West Record: Minutes of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830-1844 [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 1831 chapter, footnote 70)
DC 52:30 let my servants Reynolds Cahoon and Samuel H. Smith also take their journey
Lucy Mack Smith
About this time Joseph...received the revelation contained in the Times and Seasons, vol. v., p. 416, in which Samuel H. Smith and Reynolds Cahoon were appointed to go together to Missouri. They departed immediately on their mission...
On their route Samuel and Brother Cahoon suffered great privations, such as want of rest and food. At the time that they started for Missouri, near fifty others also set out for the same place, all taking different routes... And here, let me say, that Samuel was never censured by revelation, to my knowledge, for he always performed his missions faithfully, and his work was well approved. (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother [Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945], 210.)
DC 52:31 Let my servants Wheeler Baldwin and William Carter also take their journey
"William Carter refused the mission call, leaving Wheeler without a companion. Rather than serving the mission alone, he (Wheeler) remained in Kirtland, strengthening the local congregations." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 9.)
DC 52:32 let my servants Newel Knight and Selah J. Griffin ...take their journey
"Newel Knight was unable to fulfill the mission call and so Selah was given Thomas B. Marsh as a missionary companion (see D&C 56:5-6).
It appears that their initial missionary journey was successful in some respects as they traveled through Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, but it seemed to lack focus. 'Many believed our testimony,' wrote Elder Marsh, 'but we did not wait to baptize any.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 109 - 110.)
DC 52:36 declaring none other things than the prophets and apostles... have seen and heard
"The Lord has given the following warning concerning those who are to consider the message of the Apostles: 'The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, should be cut off from among the people' (D&C 1:14). Therefore, because of the special endowment associated with their teaching, the Lord has said that all who teach within the Church or as missionaries should use the instruction of the Apostles for their measure. The scriptures indicate that teachers should say 'none other things than that which the prophets and apostles have written,' even 'that which they have seen and heard and most assuredly believe' (D&C 52:9, 36)." (Edward J. Brandt, " 'And He Gave Some, Apostles' (Eph. 4:11)," Ensign, July 1999, 16-17)
DC 52:37 In consequence of transgression, let that which was bestowed upon Heman Basset be taken from him
"False spirits were detected among the new converts and 'many strange visions were seen.' According to local historian Josiah Jones, Heman Basset had a vision that called him to 'go into the world and preach.' Levi Hancock was one of the first to observe Heman as he taught: 'Bassett would behave like a baboon. He said he had a revelation he had received in Kirtland from the hand of an angel, he would read it and show pictures of a course of angels declared to be Gods, then would testify of the truth of the work and I believed it all, like a fool.'
"Not only was Levi deceived by Heman, but he was also robbed: 'While I was in the room at `Father Morley's` ... this same [Heman] Bassett came to me and took my watch out of my pocket and walked off as though it was his. I thought he would bring it back soon but was disappointed as he sold it. I asked him what he meant by selling my watch. `Oh, said he, I thought it was all in the family (the communal organization that existed among Sidney Rigdon's congregation prior to the establishment of the gospel).` I told him I did not like such family doing and I would not bear it.'
"Despite his shortcomings Heman was ordained an elder in the spring of 1831 [at the age of 17]. He attended the fourth general conference of the Church, held on 3 June 1831 in a schoolhouse on the Morley farm. At the conference he was sternly warned by the Prophet Joseph Smith, 'Heamon Basset you sit still the Devil wants to sift you.' He did not heed the warning, and three days after the conference a revelation was given instructing Symonds Ryder to receive the missionary calling once meant for Heman: 'In consequence of transgression, let that which was bestowed upon Heman Basset be taken from him, and placed upon the head of Simonds Ryder' (D&C 52:37).
"Heman Basset was among the first members of the Church to leave the fellowship of the Saints in Ohio. (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 11-13.)
DC 52:37 Simonds Ryder
"Simonds Ryder, mentioned in section 52, joined the Church soon after its organization. Shortly thereafter, he apostatized and eventually led the mob that wrenched Joseph Smith and Sydney Rigdon from their homes in winter for a brutal beating and tarring. His excuse for leaving the Church was the misspelling of his name in Church documents; he questioned the authenticity of inspired materials with typographical errors." (Dale S. Cox, "To Hear or Not to Hear," Ensign, Jan. 1993, 44-45)
DC 52:40 remember in all things the poor and the needy
Marion G. Romney
That one cannot be a true disciple of Christ without significant giving is dramatically emphasized in the revelation received by the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland, on June 7, 1831. In this revelation, the Lord directed twenty-eight of the elders to travel two by two from Kirtland to Jackson County, Missouri. They were to go by different routes, preaching the gospel as they went. You will recall that they were destitute in those days and had to travel through primitive country. Joseph Smith and his immediate companions "journeyed by wagon and stage and occasionally by canal boat to Cincinnati, Ohio," then to Louisville, Kentucky, and on to St. Louis by steamer. "From this city on the Mississippi, the Prophet of God walked across the entire state of Missouri to Independence, Jackson County, a distance of nearly three hundred miles as traveled." (George Q. Cannon, Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1958, p. 117.) I call these facts to your attention that you may have in mind the background against which the Lord said to these men as they started, "Remember in all things the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted, for he that doeth not these things, the same is not my disciple." (D&C 52:40.) Imagine that! These elders were nearly destitute and the Lord said, "Remember ... the poor and the needy." ("Living Welfare Principles," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 92)
Glenn L. Pace
Even though the missionaries were nearly destitute, the Lord said, "Remember ... the poor and the needy."
It is worthy to note to whom the commandments to take care of the poor were given. My review of the scriptures on this subject suggests to my mind that it is more of an individual responsibility than an institutional one. The Church gets involved to make it easier for the members to accomplish this objective. For example, bishops are called who receive sacred donations from members and, with the mantle of bishop, make judgments as to which members are in need. This does not or should not deprive any of us of the opportunity to help each other one-on-one. ("Infinite Needs and Finite Resources," Ensign, June 1993, 51)
Marion G. Romney
When discipleship is seen in light of this understanding of the gospel, we may, perhaps, understand something which I have believed for a long time: The living of the principles upon which the welfare program is built will be the final step, the capstone, of a Christian life. Living its principles leads one to the fulness of the stature of Christ. ("Welfare Services: The Savior's Program," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 93)
DC 52:41 let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge take with them a recommend from the Church
While it may seem strange that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were required to bring a recommend showing they were authentic representatives of the Church, we must remember that the small branch in Jackson County was only familiar with the missionaries who called upon them. Parley P. Pratt and his missionary companions had modest success among the Indian tribes in the West, but they had also had some success in Missouri and established a small branch in Jackson County. How were these new saints to know whether the visiting authorities represented the church they were baptized into? According to the revelation, "The elders are to receive their licences from other elders, by vote of the church to which they belong." (D&C 20:63) Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Edward Partridge, and Oliver Cowdery were not exempt from this injunction.
DC 52:43 I, the Lord, will hasten the city in its time
The accelerated growth of the Church is amazing. But the Lord has predicted it, "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." (D&C 88:73) This accelerated pace will continue such that the winding up scenes may produce a vortex with which we can barely keep up. This includes of course, the momentous task of building the New Jerusalem, which must occur prior to the Second Coming of Christ (D&C 49:24-25).
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Latter-day Saints are building temples and believe that the time will come when they will be called on to build the great temple which shall grace the New Jerusalem, or City of Zion, the capital city of God on this continent... The Latter-day Saints may be assured that when the time comes for the building of the house of the Lord, he will call upon his people who have remained true and have been faithful in the purposes of the Lord in bringing to pass the salvation of the living and of the dead...
When the Lord shall speak, the way shall be opened for the accomplishment of his purposes, and all opposition will melt like the hoar frost before the rising sun. "For thus saith the Lord, I will cut my work short in righteousness, for the days come that I will send forth judgment unto victory." "Behold, I will hasten my work in its time." (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 246-247.)