"Once the Prophet moved to Kirtland, Ohio, he acted swiftly to set the Church in order. Under direction from the Lord, he appointed the first bishop of the church, put an end to a false system of having all things in common (see D&C 41), and defined many policies and procedures. Several problems developed as other members from New York began flooding into Kirtland. This place was already an area of rapid growth for the Church, because many of the people there had been prepared by Sidney Rigdon to embrace the truth.
"The Prophet had been told that the Lord would reveal his law to the Saints once they had moved to Ohio (see D&C 38:32); however, after Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland, the Lord added one further stipulation: the elders had to agree upon the word of the Lord and were to unite in a prayer of faith. Only then would they receive the law designated to help the Saints live peaceably together (see D&C 41:2-3)." (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1981], 82)
"On 9 February 1831, Joseph Smith, in the presence of twelve elders who had prepared themselves according to the Lord's command, received the law of the Church. With the exception of a short deleted portion, this revelation is currently published as verses 1-72 of section 42. The remainder of section 42 (D&C 42:73-77 and D&C 42:78-93), is a compilation of two other revelations received on 23 February 1831 and added to the law by Joseph Smith when he prepared it for publication in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants." (Robert J. Woodford, "How the Revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants Were Received and Compiled," Ensign, Jan. 1985, 28-29)
Introduction: It was received in the presence of twelve elders
"Research into the historical background of the Doctrine and Covenants shows that Joseph Smith did not receive all his revelations in the privacy of his own room or in the seclusion of a wilderness setting. On several occasions there were witnesses present-some of whom recorded in detail what they saw and heard as the Prophet revealed the word of the Lord. At other times, persons close to Joseph Smith actually participated with him in receiving revelations." (Robert J. Woodford, "How the Revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants Were Received and Compiled," Ensign, Jan. 1985, 27)
Those who were acquainted with him knew when the spirit of revelation was upon him, for his countenance wore an expression peculiar to himself while under that influence. He preached by the spirit of revelation, and taught in his council by it, and those who were acquainted with him could discover it at once, for at such times there was a peculiar clearness and transparency in his face. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 35.)
I heard the Prophet discourse upon the grandest of subjects. At times he was filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking as with the voice of an archangel and filled with the power of God. His whole person shone, and his face was lightened until it appeared as the whiteness of the driven snow. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 34.)
DC 42:2 hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you
The Ten Commandments have been the foundation of all Judeo-Christian societies for over 3000 years. With all the judgments and statutes revealed by Moses, the Israelites did not initially appreciate the greatness of those 15 verses in Exodus (Ex. 20:3-17). Over the many ensuing years, with the shifting moorings of an ever increasingly secular society, their importance has only increased.
And what of the law given to the latter-day saints? Have we made a regular study of the Law of the Church as revealed in D&C 42? Have we displayed ornate plaques listing the commandments we have been asked to keep? Have they become the foundation of our discipleship? The Lord's command echoes from a previous dispensation:
Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes.
And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates:
That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children (Deut 11:18-21)
Perhaps if we are to "hearken and hear and obey" this law, we should list them all-write them down-even commit them to memory. They should be the object of serious reflection, careful study, and regular repetition.
We suggest they be referred to as The Fifteen Commandments.
|The Fifteen Commandments||
Thou shalt not kill...
Thou shalt not steal...
Thou shalt not lie...
Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart...
Thou shalt not commit adultery...
24-26, 74-76, 80-81
Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor...
Thou wilt remember the poor...
Thou shalt not be proud in thy heart...
Let all things be done in cleanliness before me
Thou shalt not be idle...
Thou shalt nourish the sick with all tenderness...
Thou shalt live together in love...
Thou shalt stand in the place of thy stewardship
Thou shalt pay for that which which thou shalt receive of thy brother...
Thou shalt teach my scriptures unto all men...and receive them to be a law to govern my church
George Albert Smith
A good man who was a counselor to President Brigham Young said upon one occasion, "There is a line of demarcation well defined. On one side of the line is the Lord's territory, and on the other side of the line is the devil's territory. If you will stay on the Lord's side of the line the devil cannot come over there to tempt you or to annoy or distress you. If you go onto the devil's side of the line just one inch you are in his territory, you are in his power, and he will seek to draw you just as far from that line of demarcation, that division line, as he can, knowing that if he can keep you in his territory he has you in his power."
Those who disobey these Ten Commandments of our Heavenly Father, no matter in how small a degree it may be, have gone into the devil's territory, and it is time that we as members of this Church, living in this day and age of the world, should understand that. No man can do that which is wrong and stay on the Lord's side of the line. No man can violate the Word of Wisdom and be on the Lord's side of the line. We choose where we will be. God has given us our agency. He will not take it from us, and if I do that which is wrong and get into the devil's territory, I do it because I have the will and power to do it. I cannot blame anybody else, and if I determine to keep the commandments of God and live as I ought to live and stay on the Lord's side of the line I do it because I ought to do it, and I will receive my blessing for it. (Conference Report, October 1932, First Day-Morning Meeting 26.)
DC 42:6 go forth in the power of my Spirit
Carlos E. Asay
The power of a missionary is not determined by his or her height, weight, or physical prowess. Nor is it determined by his or her smoothness of tongue or cleverness of mind. It is, however, determined by his or her receptivity to the Spirit and willingness to heed its promptings.
To go forth in the power of the Spirit means that a missionary must be taught and led by the Spirit and must teach by the Spirit. Therefore, the conscientious missionary courts the Holy Spirit every day of his mission. Such courting involves the exercise of faith, prayer, study, work, and righteous living. All of this is done with these promises in mind: (1) "The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith" (D&C 42:14) and (2) "If ye will . . . receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do" (2 Ne. 32:5). There is also the instruction that "if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach" (D&C 42:14).
Missionaries must bear in mind that the Spirit or Holy Ghost enables a missionary to speak persuasively with "the tongue of angels" (2 Ne. 32:2). It serves as a conduit, if you will, through which the message passes from a missionary's heart to the heart of the listener. It is the power that converts. (The Seven M's of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 4)
DC 42:6 preaching my gospel, two by two
Carlos E. Asay
Anyone who knows the concept of synergism appreciates the wisdom of sending missionaries into the world two by two.
In another place I have written:
Synergism, it is said, is an old Christian doctrine. It purports that the grace of God combined with the good works of mortals results in full salvation. In our time, synergism is defined as "the simultaneous action of separate agencies which, together, have greater total effect than the sum of their individual effects" (Webster's New World Dictionary, p. 1444).
This principle may be illustrated as follows:
A 2 x 4 eight feet long, standing on end, can bear a weight of 615 pounds. If a second 2 x 4 eight feet long is nailed to the first, together they can bear not 1,230 pounds (double 615 pounds) but rather 2,400 pounds. . . Two are not simply twice as strong as one. Two are four times as strong as one [when they are united in the Lord's work]! This is synergism. (Carlos E. Asay, In the Lord's Service [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], pp. 90-91.)
Reasons for serving with others are many and quite apparent. They include the following:
- The need for two or more witnesses. The Lord has declared more than once, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (2 Cor. 13:1; see also Deut. 17:6; Matt. 18:16; Ether 5:4; D&C 6:28, 128:3). People serving together teach and bear witness of the work they share. Each testifies of what the other says. Moreover, each witnesses in behalf of the other, refuting the words of false accusers or others who would defile the truth.
- Support in teaching. Alma and Amulek constituted a powerful companionship. According to the account in the Book of Mormon, Alma "began to speak . . . and to establish the words of Amulek, and to explain things beyond, or to unfold the scriptures beyond that which Amulek had done" (Alma 12:1). Two minds are, generally speaking, better than one. When both are concentrated upon the same task or purpose, mutual support may be enjoyed.
- Protection. The preacher said: "Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. . . . And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him." (Eccl. 4:9-10, 12.)
- Strengthen one another. There are many scriptures that explain the need to strengthen those with whom we serve. I shall cite four: (quotes Luke 22:31-32, D&C 84:106, Rom. 15:1-2, and D&C 108:7)
- Counsel. One of the greatest benefits of serving with others relates to counsel. Those older or more experienced share what they have learned; those younger or less experienced provide fresh insights and new enthusiasm. All have something valuable to contribute. (The Seven M's of Missionary Service: Proclaiming the Gospel as a Member or Full-time Missionary [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], chap. 4)
DC 42:8-9 ye shall go forth into the regions westward
"This indicated that still further 'to the west' would be the center of future empire and another objective point towards which the movements of the Church would be directed... Events proved that 'the Ohio,' with Kirtland as a center of operations was, from the first, only designed as a way station at which to gather strength for carrying out the policy of continuing 'to flee to the west;' for, as early as September 11th, 1831, the Lord declared through his Seer, that it was His 'will to retain a stronghold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years,' and after that He would 'not hold any guilty that shall go with an open heart up to the land of Zion.' (D&C 64:21-22) (James A. Little, From Kirtland to Salt Lake City [Salt Lake City: James A. Little, Publisher, 1890], 13.)
David O. McKay
They went forth preaching the Gospel of salvation, comparing its principles and truths with the principles taught by men, emphasizing the doctrines of the Church, but leaving men to judge for themselves whether the message they gave was true and therefore for the good of humanity, or whether it was evil. Through the inspiration of God, thousands recognized the saving principles taught by those humble Elders. Hundreds gathered, soon thousands, and they began to build up the Church. Follow them from Kirtland, through the state of Missouri. Read the early history of the Church, as we were admonished this morning, and see how the barren places of the west-for it was western country then-were made fruitful; how cities sprang up where there had been nothing but desolation. Follow them from those homes, as they were driven by the bayonet. See them camping in a marsh in Illinois, and there, in a miraculously short time, build the city of Nauvoo, the pride of the west. Builders? Yes-benefactors to humanity. Aside from their doctrines-the doctrines of Christ, absolutely proved from the Scriptures-take the people as citizens, as men mingling with fellow men, and you find them benefactors in every sense of the word. But notwithstanding their good works, not many years passed before they were again without homes-their farms unattended, the grain going back to the ground because there were no harvesters; the walks leading to their houses becoming grass-grown, because no feet were there to tread them; the hearth cold, because no hands were there to light the fire. Where were they? Again in the wilderness of the west; one thousands miles ahead of them nothing but buffalo, Indians, barrenness, sterility. (Conference Report, April 1909, Afternoon Session. 64 - 65.)
DC 42:11 it shall not be given to any one to go forth to preach my gospel... except he be ordained by some one who has authority
"All who have been ordained to the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have received it through a chain that links them to Joseph Smith's ordinations under the hands of God's heavenly servants. Individuals are called through the spirit of revelation by those possessing priesthood keys, and they are ordained and set apart by them. They, in turn, become the Lord's authorized servants, and their works are valid and acknowledged of God." (Kent P. Jackson, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Feb. 1995, 62-63)
James E. Faust
From the beginning some from both inside and outside of the Church have sought to persuade members of the Church against following the inspired declarations of those who hold the keys of the kingdom of God on earth. Some of those seeking to mislead have done so claiming special endowments of intelligence or inspiration beyond the established order of the Church. As a warning against those so claiming special authority, the Lord made it clear "that it shall not be given to any one ... to preach my gospel, or to build up my church, except he be ordained by some one who has authority, and it is known to the church that he has authority and has been regularly ordained by the heads of the church."
In the early days of the Restoration, Oliver Cowdery became the second elder of the Church and participated with Joseph in the marvelous Restoration experiences. He was ordained with the Prophet Joseph in 1829 under the hands of a heavenly messenger when the priesthood was restored to the earth. Oliver served as a scribe, writing down the translation of the Book of Mormon as it poured forth from the mouth of the Prophet Joseph. He shared with the Prophet Joseph the great visions manifested in the Kirtland Temple in 1836 and witnessed the bestowal of the keys by Moses, Elias, and Elijah.
In an early revelation the Lord warned Oliver: "Behold, thou art blessed, and art under no condemnation. But beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation." Oliver had great intellect and enjoyed marvelous spiritual blessings. However, over time he forgot the Lord's warning, and pride entered into his heart. Brigham Young later said of this pride: "I have seen men who belonged to this kingdom, and who really thought that if they were not associated with it, it could not progress. One man especially, whom I now think of, ... was peculiarly gifted in self-reliance and general ability. He said as much to the Prophet Joseph a number of times as to say that if he left this kingdom, it could not progress any further. I speak of Oliver Cowdery. He forsook it, and it still rolled on, and still triumphed over every opposing foe, and bore off safely all those who clung to it."
In October 1848, 10 years after leaving the Church, Oliver Cowdery visited the Church headquarters in Iowa and humbly petitioned to be received again into the Church through baptism. Describing this memorable event, George A. Smith wrote of Oliver: "He bore testimony in the most positive terms ... and told the people if they wanted to follow the right path, to keep [in] the main channel of the stream-where the body of the Church goes, there is the authority." ("The Prophetic Voice," Ensign, May 1996, 5-6)
DC 42:11 and it is known to the church that he has authority
Boyd K. Packer
[An individual] must be called by those who have the proper authority, and sustained, or voted on, in an appropriate meeting, and ordained or set apart by one who has the authority. This is called "common consent," or the voice of the people. (See D&C 41:9.) This follows the instructions given in revelation: (quotes D&C 42:11.)
Notice that there are two requirements: First, we must receive authority from someone who has it and has been ordained by the heads of the Church. Next, it must be known in the Church that he has the authority.
The sustaining in the priesthood and the setting apart to office is done openly where it can be known to the Church who has authority, as the scriptures require.
There is great safety to the Church in having the names of those called to offices in the Church presented in the proper meeting. (See D&C 20:65.) Anyone who is a pretender or a deceiver will be recognized. If someone claims to have been secretly ordained to a special calling or higher order of the priesthood, you may know immediately that the claim is false! ("What Every Elder Should Know-and Every Sister as Well: A Primer on Principles of Priesthood Government," Ensign, Feb. 1993, 11-12)
Neal A. Maxwell
The very process of Church government... ensures that we do not have secret leaders. ("Behold, the Enemy Is Combined," Ensign, May 1993, 78)
Boyd K. Packer
There are some among us now who have not been regularly ordained by the heads of the Church and who tell of impending political and economic chaos, the end of the world-something of the "sky is falling, chicken licken" of the fables. They are misleading members to gather to colonies or cults.
Those deceivers say that the Brethren do not know what is going on in the world or that the Brethren approve of their teaching but do not wish to speak of it over the pulpit. Neither is true. The Brethren, by virtue of traveling constantly everywhere on earth, certainly know what is going on, and by virtue of prophetic insight are able to read the signs of the times.
Do not be deceived by them-those deceivers. If there is to be any gathering, it will be announced by those who have been regularly ordained and who are known to the Church to have authority. ("To Be Learned Is Good If ... ," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 73)
DC 42:12 teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel
Hartman Rector, Jr.
Here the Lord specifically spells out what he wants preached and taught-the principles of the gospel-and further what he wants his servants to use as source materials-the standard works of the Church. He did not mention the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price, possibly because they were not in existence in February of 1831 when this statement was received from the Lord.
From this it is plain that we are not called to preach the philosophies of men mingled with scripture or our own ideas or the mysteries of the kingdom, nor are we called to bring forth new doctrine. The president of the Church will do that. But we are to stick to the basic fundamental principles of the gospel. ("You Shall Receive the Spirit," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 105)
Dallin H. Oaks
Teachers who are commanded to teach "the principles of [the] gospel" and "the doctrine of the kingdom" (D&C 88:77) should generally forgo teaching specific rules or applications. For example, they would not teach any rules for determining what is a full tithing, and they would not provide a list of dos and don'ts for keeping the Sabbath day holy. Once a teacher has taught the doctrine and the associated principles from the scriptures and the living prophets, such specific applications or rules are generally the responsibility of individuals and families.
Well-taught doctrines and principles have a more powerful influence on behavior than rules. When we teach gospel doctrine and principles, we can qualify for the witness and guidance of the Spirit to reinforce our teaching, and we enlist the faith of our students in seeking the guidance of that same Spirit in applying those teachings in their personal lives. ("Gospel Teaching," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 79-80)
DC 42:12 teach the principles of my gospel which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon
"The Lord specified to the Prophet Joseph Smith in 1831 that the elders and teachers of the Church 'shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fulness of the gospel.' (D&C 42:12.) This command has been in force in the Church continually since that time and is conspicuous in the procedures of the Church in missionary work, in Sunday worship, and in the curriculum of Church schools.
"Every LDS missionary studies and teaches from the Bible regularly. The missionary lessons make repeated use of the Bible in teaching the doctrines of Jesus Christ.
"Instructions sent from Church headquarters have asked every local bishop to place a copy of the Bible and the other standard works on the pulpits and in the libraries of every meetinghouse throughout the Church so they may be available for frequent use." (Robert J. Matthews, "I Have a Question," Ensign, July 1985, 19)
Ezra Taft Benson
The Prophet Joseph said that "the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book." (Book of Mormon, Introduction.) The Book of Mormon has not been, nor is it yet, the center of our personal study, family teaching, preaching, and missionary work. Of this we must repent. I do not know of a man living today who has been more true to the Book of Mormon than President Marion G. Romney. In a general conference address, he declared that the Book of Mormon was "the most effective piece of missionary literature we have." He quoted the Doctrine and Covenants, which states that "the Book of Mormon and the holy scriptures are given of me for your instruction" (D&C 33:16) and that "the elders, priests and teachers of this church shall teach the principles of my gospel, which are in the Bible and the Book of Mormon." (D&C 42:12.) President Romney added, "It is of course obvious that unless we read, study, and learn the principles which are in the Book of Mormon, we, the elders, priests, and teachers of this church, cannot comply with this direction to teach them.
"But there is another reason why we should read it," President Romney continued. "By doing so we will fill and refresh our minds with the constant flow of that 'water' which Jesus said would be in us-'a well of water springing up into everlasting life.' (John 4:14.) We must obtain a continuing supply of this water if we are to resist evil and retain the blessings of being born again. ...
"If we would avoid adopting the evils of the world, we must pursue a course which will daily feed our minds with and call them back to the things of the Spirit. I know of no better way to do this than by reading the Book of Mormon." ("Cleansing the Inner Vessel," Ensign, May 1986, 6)
DC 42:13 they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them
Hartman Rector, Jr.
The Lord next gives some specifics as to the conduct he expects of his authorized ministers:
"And they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them. ..." (D&C 42:13.)
Once again, these are very plain, clear instructions. He did not say it would be "nice" if we keep the commandments. He says "they shall observe the covenants and church articles to do them." Surely obedience is the first law of heaven. We are given to understand that there will be no disobedience in the celestial kingdom. It is therefore vitally important that we keep the commandments with exactness and not just "almost." ("You Shall Receive the Spirit," Ensign, Jan. 1974, 105)
DC 42:14 the Spirit shall be given unto by the prayer of faith
Marion G. Romney
We must teach by the Spirit... You who have been baptized have the right to it. Desire it. Pray for it. Work for it, and God will give it to you. ("Except a Man Be Born Again," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 15)
Henry B. Eyring
Just as pondering the scriptures invites the Holy Ghost, so does daily pleading in prayer. If we do not ask in prayer, He will rarely come, and without our petition He is not likely to linger. "And the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach" (D&C 42:14). Heartfelt, constant pleading for the companionship of the Holy Ghost, with the pure intent to nourish our Father's children, will surely bring blessings to us and to those we love and serve. ("Feed My Lambs," Ensign, Nov. 1997, 84)
L. Tom Perry
It is our privilege to have the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, as our constant companion, to edify and inspire us in our preparation as teachers. We should prepare ourselves through obedience to God's commandments, that our confidence will wax strong when we call upon the Lord, that His Spirit might magnify us as we teach. When we have the Spirit to direct us, we are capable of teaching with great power. ("Teach Them the Word of God with All Diligence," Ensign, May 1999, 8)
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Spirit of God speaking to the spirit of man has power to impart truth with greater effect and understanding than the truth can be imparted by personal contact even with heavenly beings. Through the Holy Ghost the truth is woven into the very fibre and sinews of the body so that it cannot be forgotten. (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 1:47-48)
Dallin H. Oaks
When we go out into the world to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ, many of the people we teach have much more formal education than we do. Every minister we encounter has more education in theology than we do. We have no professional clergy. We have no school of theology.... We cannot compete with the world on its terms. If we are to fulfill our calling, we must teach the Lord's way.
If we have the Spirit of the Lord to guide us, we can teach any person, no matter how well educated, any place in the world. The Lord knows more than any of us, and if we are his servants, acting under his Spirit, he can deliver his message of salvation to each and every soul. ("Teaching and Learning by the Spirit," Ensign, Mar. 1997, 7)
Boyd K. Packer
There is great power in this work, spiritual power. The ordinary member of the Church, like you, having received the gift of the Holy Ghost by confirmation, can do the work of the Lord.
Years ago a friend, who long since is gone, told this experience. He was seventeen-years-old and with his companion stopped at a cottage in the southern states. It was his first day in the mission field and was his first door. A gray-haired woman stood inside the screen and asked what they wanted. His companion nudged him to proceed. Frightened and somewhat tongue-tied, he finally blurted out, "As man is God once was, and as God is man may become."
Strangely enough, she was interested and asked where he got that. He answered, "It's in the Bible." She left the door for a moment, returned with her Bible. Commenting that she was a minister of a congregation, she handed it to him and said, "Here, show me."
He took the Bible and nervously thumbed back and forth through it. Finally he handed it back saying, "Here, I can't find it. I'm not even sure that it's in there, and even if it is, I couldn't find it. I'm just a poor farm boy from out in Cache Valley in Utah. I haven't had much training. But I come from a family where we live the gospel of Jesus Christ. And it's done so much for our family that I've accepted a call to come on a mission for two years, at my own expense, to tell people how I feel about it."
After half a century, he could not hold back the tears as he told me how she pushed open the door and said, "Come in, my boy, I'd like to hear what you have to say."
There is great power in this work, and the ordinary member of the Church, sustained by the Spirit, can do the work of the Lord. ("The Candle of the Lord," Ensign, Jan. 1983, 56)
DC 42:14 and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach
I would rather hear an Elder... speak only five words accompanied by the power of God, and they would do more good than to hear long sermons without the Spirit. That is true, and we know it. (Discourses of Brigham Young, selected and arranged by John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], 330.)
Jeffrey R. Holland
No eternal learning can take place without that quickening of the Spirit from heaven. So, parents, teachers, and leaders, we must face our tasks the way Moses faced the promised land. Knowing he could not succeed any other way, Moses said to Jehovah, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence."
That is what our members really want when they gather in a meeting or come into a classroom anyway. Most people don't come to church looking merely for a few new gospel facts or to see old friends, though all of that is important. They come seeking a spiritual experience. They want peace. They want their faith fortified and their hope renewed. They want, in short, to be nourished by the good word of God, to be strengthened by the powers of heaven. Those of us who are called upon to speak or teach or lead have an obligation to help provide that, as best we possibly can. We can only do that if we ourselves are striving to know God, if we ourselves are continually seeking the light of His Only Begotten Son. Then, if our hearts are right, if we are as clean as we can be, if we have prayed and wept and prepared and worried until we don't know what more we can do, God can say to us as He did to Alma and the sons of Mosiah: "Lift up thy head and rejoice. ... I will give unto you success." ("A Teacher Come from God," Ensign, May 1998,26)
DC 42:18 he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come
After the great king David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, he also had her husband Uriah killed. Uriah was a faithful soldier in David's army. David planned to kill him by commanding his captains to place Uriah in the front of the battle and then withdraw from him, allowing the enemy to kill him (2 Sam. 11:14-17). This sin was unforgivable. Hence the Lord said "in none of these things did he (David) sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife.; and therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation, and received his portion..." (D&C 132:39) In David's fall from exaltation, we might wonder how far he fell. With respect to this, the scriptures remain silent, but he could never be exalted. This, in part, is what is meant by the phrase, he "shall not have forgiveness in this world nor in the world to come."
David, the great prophet-king, the author of most of the prophetic psalms fell from his exaltation because he committed the sin of murder. This is one of the most tragic stories of scriptural history.
Spencer W. Kimball
For his dreadful crime, all his life afterward he sought forgiveness. Some of the Psalms portray the anguish of his soul, yet David is still paying for his sin. He did not receive the resurrection at the time of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter declared that his body was still in the tomb. (See Acts 2:29-34.)
President Joseph F. Smith made this comment on David's position:
But even David, though guilty of adultery and murder of Uriah, obtained the promise that his soul should not be left in hell, which means, as I understand it, that even he shall escape the second death.
The Prophet Joseph Smith underlined the seriousness of the sin of murder for David as for all men, and the fact that there is no forgiveness for it.
A murderer, for instance, one that sheds innocent blood, cannot have forgiveness. David sought repentance at the hand of God carefully with tears, for the murder of Uriah; but he could only get it through hell: he got a promise that his soul should not be left in hell.
Although David was a king, he never did obtain the spirit and power of Elijah and the fullness of the Priesthood; and the Priesthood that he received, and the throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.
Perhaps one reason murder is so heinous is that man cannot restore life. Man's mortal life is given him in which to repent and prepare himself for eternity, and should one of his fellowmen terminate his life and thus limit his progress by making his repentance impossible, it would be a ghastly deed, a tremendous responsibility for which the murderer might not be able to atone in his lifetime. (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 128-129)
Spencer W. Kimball
Even unpardonable sins should be repented of. The murderer does not have eternal life abiding in him, but a merciful God will grant to every soul adequate rewards for every good deed he does. God is just. He will compensate for every effort to do good, to repent, to overcome sin. Even the murderer is justified in repenting and mending his ways and building up a credit balance in his favor.
Much better is it to avoid the steps which lead to unforgivable sin. Thus as a preventive measure against murder one should avoid anger and hatred, avarice and greed, and any of the other impulses which can spark the act. (The Miracle of Forgiveness [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969], 131.)
DC 42:19 he that killeth shall die
"Ancient scriptures indicate that capital punishment is an appropriate penalty for murder. God said to Noah, 'And whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for man shall not shed the blood of man' (JST Gen. 9:12). And to Moses the Lord said: 'He that killeth any man shall surely be put to death' (Lev. 24:17). Thus it is clear that when the civil and religious authorities were combined, as in the days of the Old Testament prophets, capital punishment was the directed result.
"In modern times with the separation of church and state, the power to take physical life is reserved to the state. Modern revelations do not oppose capital punishment, but they do not direct its imposition to civil government. In the same revelation where the Lord instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith, 'And again, I say, thou shall not kill; but he that killeth shall die,' the Lord made the application of capital punishment contingent on the laws of civil government: 'And it shall come to pass, that if any persons among you shall kill they shall be delivered up and dealt with according to the laws of the land...and it shall be proved according to the laws of the land' (D&C 42:19, 79)...
"In summary, capital punishment is viewed in the doctrines of the Church to be an appropriate penalty for murder, but that penalty is proper only after the offender has been found guilty in a lawful public trial by constitutionally authorized civil authorities." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 255.)
DC 42:20 Thou shalt not steal
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Thou shalt not steal. ... Thou shalt not covet" (Ex. 20:15, 17). These mandates are likewise among the commandments written by the finger of the Lord on the tablets of stone. I am always pained when I read in a newspaper of some who are members of this Church who have been involved in a scam operation designed to take from others through dishonest means that which they covet for themselves. ("Be Ye Clean," Ensign, May 1996, 49)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Thou shalt not steal." (Ex. 20:15.) Yet in high places and in low, in government office and in business, in everyday life, men have rationalized until consciences seem to have been seared in the matter of honesty. Yet here are bribery, fraud, deceit, theft, padding of expense accounts, tax evasion, installment buying beyond ability to pay, and gambling running into the billions.
The outlook is bleak, but the impending tragedy can be averted. But it can be only through a great repentance and transformation. (Conference Report, October 1961, Afternoon Meeting 33.)
DC 42:21 Thou shalt not lie
"The seriousness of lying is not measured only in injury or pain inflicted on the one deceived. Lying has a devastating effect also on the perpetrator. It robs the liar of self-respect, and deadens his ability to recognize the difference between truth and error. When a lie is told often enough, even the one who knowingly spread it may begin to believe it. This was the case with the antichrist Korihor in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 30:52-53)." (Robert J. Matthews, "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 56)
Gordon B. Hinckley
I believe that honesty is still the best policy. What a destructive thing is a little dishonesty. It has become a cankering disease in our society. Every insurance adjustor can tell you of the soaring costs of dishonest claims. Cheating in the payment of taxes robs the treasury of millions and places undue burdens on those who pay. Employee theft, padded expense accounts, and similar things bring tremendous losses to business institutions. The institution may be able to stand the loss of money, but the individual cannot afford the loss of self-respect. ("This I Believe," BYU 1991-92 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, March 1, 1992, p. 79.)
A letter and an old ash tray came to the office of the Presiding Bishop the other day. The letter reads: "Dear Sir, I stole the enclosed ash tray from your hotel in 1965. After these many years, I want to apologize to you and ask for your forgiveness for my wrong doing. I have enclosed a check that attempts to reimburse you for the ash tray."
The check was in the amount of $26.00, one dollar for each year he had kept the ash tray. I can imagine that during those twenty-six years, each time he tapped his cigarette on the rim of that tray he suffered a twinge of conscience. I do not know that the hotel ever missed the ash tray, but the man who took it missed his peace of mind for more than a quarter of a century and finally ended up paying far more for it than it was worth. Yes, my brethren and sisters, honesty is the best policy. (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 268-269.)
DC 42:22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart
Ezra Taft Benson
"Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else" (D&C 42:22). To my knowledge there is only one other thing in all scripture that we are commanded to love with all our hearts, and that is God Himself. Think what that means!
This kind of love can be shown for your wives in so many ways. First and foremost, nothing except God Himself takes priority over your wife in your life-not work, not recreation, not hobbies. Your wife is your precious, eternal helpmate-your companion.
What does it mean to love someone with all your heart? It means to love with all your emotional feelings and with all your devotion. Surely when you love your wife with all your heart, you cannot demean her, criticize her, find fault with her, or abuse her by words, sullen behavior, or actions. ("To the Fathers in Israel," Ensign, Nov. 1987, 50)
Russell M. Nelson
Marriage-especially temple marriage-and family ties involve covenant relationships. They cannot be regarded casually. With divorce rates escalating throughout the world today, it is apparent that many spouses are failing to endure to the end of their commitments to each other. And some temple marriages fail because a husband forgets that his highest and most important priesthood duty is to honor and sustain his wife. The best thing that a father can do for his children is to "love their mother."
President Gordon B. Hinckley made a statement recently that each Latter-day Saint husband should heed: "Magnify your [wife]," he said, "and in so doing you will magnify your priesthood." To his profound advice we might couple the timeless counsel of Paul, who said, "Let every one of you ... love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Enduring love provides enduring lift through life's trials. An enduring marriage results when both husband and wife regard their union as one of the two most important commitments they will ever make. ("Endure and Be Lifted Up," Ensign, May 1997, 71)
DC 42:22 cleave unto her and none else
Spencer W. Kimball
There are those married people who permit their eyes to wander and their hearts to become vagrant, who think it is not improper to flirt a little, to share their hearts and have desire for someone other than the wife or the husband. The Lord says in no uncertain terms: "Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else." (D&C 42:22.)
And, when the Lord says all thy heart, it allows for no sharing nor dividing nor depriving. And, to the woman it is paraphrased: "Thou shalt love thy husband with all thy heart and shalt cleave unto him and none else."
The words none else eliminate everyone and everything. The spouse then becomes preeminent in the life of the husband or wife, and neither social life nor occupational life nor political life nor any other interest nor person nor thing shall ever take precedence over the companion spouse. We sometimes find women who absorb and hover over the children at the expense of the husband, sometimes even estranging them from him.
The Lord says to them: "Thou shalt cleave unto him and none else."
Marriage presupposes total allegiance and total fidelity. Each spouse takes the partner with the understanding that he or she gives totally to the spouse all the heart, strength, loyalty, honor, and affection, with all dignity. Any divergence is sin; any sharing of the heart is transgression. (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 141-142.)
Marlin K. Jensen
None of us knows when we marry what life will bring in terms of health challenges, financial setbacks, or even transgressions. Giving ourselves to one another in an eternal marriage is an unconditional giving of the whole person for the whole journey.
Recently, I visited with a widower as he stood bravely at the side of his wife's casket, surrounded by several handsome and stalwart sons. This man and his wife had been married for fifty-three years, during the last six of which she had been seriously ill with a terminal kidney disease. He had provided the 24-hour care she required until his own health was in jeopardy. I expressed my admiration for him and the great love and care he had given his wife. I felt compelled to ask, "How did you do it?"
It was easy, he replied, when he remembered that fifty-three years earlier, he had knelt at an altar in the temple and made a covenant with the Lord and with his bride. "I wanted to keep it," he said.
In an eternal marriage, the thought of ending what began with a covenant between God and each other simply has little place. When challenges come and our individual weaknesses are revealed, the remedy is to repent, improve, and apologize, not to separate or divorce. When we make covenants with the Lord and our eternal companion, we should do everything in our power to honor the terms. ("A Union of Love and Understanding," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 51)
DC 42:23 he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith
Gordon B. Hinckley
I plead with you boys tonight to keep yourselves free from the stains of the world... You must not fool around with the Internet to find pornographic material. You must not dial a long-distance telephone number to listen to filth. You must not rent videos with pornography of any kind. This salacious stuff simply is not for you. Stay away from pornography as you would avoid a serious disease. It is as destructive. It can become habitual, and those who indulge in it get so they cannot leave it alone. It is addictive.
It is a five-billion-dollar business for those who produce it. They make it as titillating and attractive as they know how. It seduces and destroys its victims. It is everywhere. It is all about us. I plead with you young men not to get involved in its use. You simply cannot afford to. ("Living Worthy of the Girl You Will Someday Marry," Ensign, May 1998, 49)
Russell M. Nelson
I warn against pornography. It is degrading of women. It is evil. It is infectious, destructive, and addictive. The body has means by which it can cleanse itself from harmful effects of contaminated food or drink. But it cannot vomit back the poison of pornography. Once recorded, it always remains subject to recall, flashing its perverted images across your mind, with power to draw you away from the wholesome things in life. Avoid it like the plague! ("Our Sacred Duty to Honor Women," Ensign, May 1999, 39)
Ezra Taft Benson
The mind has been compared to a stage on which only one act at a time can be performed. From one side of the wings the Lord, who loves you, is trying to put on the stage of your mind that which will bless you. From the other side of the wings the devil, who hates you, is trying to put on the stage of your mind that which will curse you.
You are the stage manager-you are the one who decides which thought will occupy the stage. Remember, the Lord wants you to have a fulness of joy like His. The devil wants all men to be miserable like him. You are the one who must decide which thoughts you will accept. You are free to choose-but you are not free to alter the results of those choices. You will be what you think about-what you consistently allow to occupy the stage of your mind. ("Think on Christ," Ensign, Mar. 1989, 2, 4)
M. Russell Ballard
Not too long ago I was assigned by the First Presidency to interview a man who had been excommunicated from the Church for adultery. It had required eight years for him to work his way through the long and sometimes painful process of reinstatement in the Church. As he sat before me in an interview to determine his worthiness for a possible restoration of his priesthood and temple blessings, I asked him this simple question: "My dear brother, looking back on this traumatic time in your life, how did it happen?"
Tears began to flow freely down his cheeks as he tried to respond. At last he was able to speak. "Brother Ballard," he said, "it all started the day I picked up a pornographic magazine in the barbershop. It was the first time in my life I had ever seen anything like that, and it intrigued me. I wanted to see more and more. And then I wanted to see things that were progressively more explicit. And then it wasn't enough to just look at pictures-I wanted to actually participate in some of the activities I was looking at. Eventually I was untrue to my wife and my family, and unfaithful to covenants I had made with my Heavenly Father in His holy house."
The man continued through his tears: "I'm not trying to shift blame for the choices I made. I knew better than to do what I did, and I alone am responsible for my sins. But there's no question in my mind that exposure to pornography played a significant role in my spiritual decline."
And then he said: "When you talk to the brethren [and sisters] of the Church, please warn them. Please tell them to be careful about the things they read and watch." ("When Shall These Things Be?" Ensign, Dec. 1996, 58)
DC 42:24 Thou shalt not commit adultery
Harold B. Lee
Doctrine and Covenants 42:24 says: "Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out." This quotation defines the action that is to be taken in cases of adultery. One who is guilty of adultery and does not repent shall be excommunicated, which means "be cast out." If one has committed adultery and repents with all his heart and "doeth it no more," he shall be forgiven (D&C 42:25). This doesn't mean that he is forgiven of his sin. It means that he is forgiven of the penalty which otherwise would be affixed, namely, he would not be excommunicated; but if he does it again, he shall be cast out, or the penalty would not be forgiven. You must remember that God alone forgives the sin-man may only forgive penalties affixed to the sin. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 225.)
Spencer W. Kimball
Excommunication hangs over the head of the adulterer on a very tiny thread. (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], 272.)
DC 42:27 thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor
N. Eldon Tanner
It seems that we all have a great tendency to talk about our neighbors. In fact, it is human nature to do so. For some reason or other it seems to be much easier to talk about a person's faults than his virtues. We repeat some derogatory statements that we have heard regarding a neighbor, whether they be rumors or fact, and they, like weeds, seem to grow with the telling. It is, therefore, most important that we heed the words of the Lord on this subject.
If we want to be good neighbors, we should find out the truth and all the facts or refrain from making any statement lest we fail to observe the commandment, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Ex. 20:16.)
The following story gives us cause for reflection. A retired man who worked in his garden early each day noticed that a milkman began stopping regularly each morning at the home of his neighbor across the street. He arrived just after the husband left for work and stayed a half hour or so. The attractive young housewife was a Primary teacher and was almost always in attendance at sacrament meetings.
After this pattern continued for several weeks, the man began to call it to the attention of the neighbors, expressing concern for the children she taught and the effect of her example. By the time he felt it his duty to report the situation to the bishop, news of the situation was widespread in the ward.
The bishop was disturbed over the whole affair and called the manager of the dairy to get the name of the delivery man and to inquire into his character. The manager approached the milkman and said tactfully, "I notice you have a new customer out on Lincoln Avenue. How did you get the lead?"
"Lead?" said the milkman. "That's my daughter. She fixes breakfast for me every morning, and my wife and I tend her children for her every Friday night. How's that for a deal?"
This points out the importance of following the counsel of the Lord when he said, "Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness." (Ex. 23:1.) ("Nay, Speak No Ill," Ensign, Mar. 1973, 2)
DC 42:30 thou wilt remember the poor and consecrate of thy properties
"In principle, consecration means to give all we possess or may possess to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to administer to the poor and needy and to build Zion, the New Jerusalem (see v. 35). Only those who are willing to give everything to the Lord are worthy to receive everything from him. All Church members who have been to the temple have covenanted to live the law of consecration, though at present the institutional expectations of the Church require them to live only the law of tithing (see D&C 119) and to accept those demands on their resources that are made in their home wards and branches. Those who have difficulty living the law of tithing, which gives only 10 percent of our increase to the Lord, will undoubtedly have even greater difficulty living the law of consecration, which gives 100 percent to the Lord. Those individuals who have accepted the law of consecration by covenant yet will not observe the law of tithing or make other sacrifices of time or resources requested of them have broken their temple covenants.
"Consecration requires faith that the principle will work and unselfishness to give our possessions to help the poor or the cause of Zion. A Zion people eventually will not have any poor among them (see D&C 104:16; 4 Nephi 1:3; Moses 7:18), so implementing the law of consecration is necessary in order to establish Zion.
"The principle of consecration can be applied in several different ways. A possible application in the early Church was the system instituted in Ohio and Missouri between 1831 and 1833 (see D&C 51, 56, 72). Another was the united order (see D&C 78:3-12; 92:1; 104:53), and still another was the implementation of various united orders in the Salt Lake Great Basin. But when Zion is established in the last days, the principle of consecration might be applied differently than it has been earlier. The 'law of consecration' and the 'united order' are not necessarily synonymous terms, and one should recognize the difference between the principle of consecration itself and the many different possible systems under which the financial portions of that principle might be implemented." (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 2:21-22)
DC 42:32 a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration
Both the saints in the meridian of time and the Nephites after Christ's appearance "had all things common" (Acts 2:44, 4 Ne. 1:3). It was this idea-the idea of common property-which had attracted some to Sidney Rigdon's flock. They had been operating under a system called "common stock" wherein any thing that was your neighbors was considered yours as well. This idea had attracted some lazy and slothful individuals, who thought to glut themselves on the labor of others. Hence, the Lord had to give the specific instruction that "Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother." (v. 54)
The law of consecration, under the Lord's system, was to work quite differently. Anything an individual received was his stewardship. The property could be considered his, but as it was holy, having been consecrated, he could not use it to make money. Any excess was to be kept in the storehouse.
Men were to have their stewardships-to have possession of property-but they were to hold it as servants of God, not as their own property, particularly, but they were to be made stewards over that property, after they had consecrated to the Lord, and to receive according to their abilities, and manage according to the gifts of God that were within them in regard to temporal affairs. (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrines of the Kingdom [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973], 239.)
It was this law which doubtless led many to suppose that the Latter-day Saints sought to establish community of goods... But community of goods is not involved in the principles of consecration and stewardship as above set forth, or subsequently developed either in doctrine or practice. The principle underlying this doctrine of the church is recognition of the Lord as Creator, Proprietor and Owner of the earth and the fulness thereof, and man as but a steward in his possessions. The earth is the Lord's by proprietary right. His because he created it, and sustains it from age to age by his power, and makes it fruitful by his bounty. By the act of consecration, according to the above law, and as afterwards developed, a man visibly and actually recognized God as proprietor of the earth; and by receiving back from such consecration a stewardship from God's visible agency, the church, he acknowledged himself but a steward over that which he possesses, but he is accountable to God only for his management of that stewardship. (A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1930], 1: 246 - 247.)
DC 42:36 That my covenant people may be gathered in one...when I shall come to my temple
Malachi prophesied, "the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple" (Mal. 3:1). While some have thought this prophecy has already been fulfilled in the Savior's appearance in the Kirtland temple, other scriptures make clear that this appearance has not yet occurred. This appearance is to a group of saints who have gathered to the New Jerusalem temple. Perhaps, the visit will be much like the Savior's appearance to the Nephites at the temple in the land of Bountiful. After the destruction of the wicked, the righteous as a large group will welcome their Lord and Savior.
"According to an explanation made by Joseph Smith, the coming of the Lord to His temple is not an event associated with the restoration of the keys and powers of the priesthood upon the earth in this dispensation. His appearance in His temple during this period of time did not therefore fulfill the prediction of Malachi. Instead, the Lord's appearance, as predicted by Malachi, was said by the Prophet to be associated with the consummation of the work of the last days, in making those final preparations that are required before Christ can properly take the reins of government and of power in inaugurating His millennial rule in the earth." (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Commentary on the Pearl of Great Price [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1967], chap. 13, footnote 87)
All of them who are pure in heart will behold the face of the Lord and that too before he comes in his glory in the clouds of heaven, for he will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple and offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In doing this, he will purify not only the minds of the Priesthood in that Temple, but he will purify their bodies until they shall be quickened, renewed and strengthened, and they will be partially changed, not to immortality, but changed in part that they can be filled with the power of God, and they can stand in the presence of Jesus, and behold his face in the midst of that Temple. ((Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 15: 366.)
So it will be in the temple in Zion, for behold in the last days the Lord will rear up Zion upon the American continent, and he will also rear up Jerusalem on the eastern hemisphere. Zion on the western continent will be the place where the Lord will also purify and cleanse these two priesthoods,-the priesthood of Levi and the priesthood of Melchizedek-the lower and the higher priesthood,-and they will be filled with the glory of God upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 14: 275.)
DC 42:40 thou shalt not be proud in thy heart
If there are any among you who aspire after their own aggrandizement, and seek their own opulence, while their brethren are groaning in poverty, and are under sore trials and temptations, they cannot be benefited by the intercession of the Holy Spirit. (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 3:299)
Ezra Taft Benson
Pride does not look up to God and care about what is right. It looks sideways to man and argues who is right. Pride is manifest in the spirit of contention.
Was it not through pride that the devil became the devil? Christ wanted to serve. The devil wanted to rule. Christ wanted to bring men to where He was. The devil wanted to be above men.
Christ removed self as the force in His perfect life. It was not my will, but thine be done. ("Cleansing the Inner Vessel," Ensign, May 1986, 6)
DC 42:40 let all thy garments be plain...the work of thine own hands
George Albert Smith
Now, my brethren and sisters, I think that is worthy of our consideration. When discussing the high cost of living, examine your own household, and I am talking to myself while I talk to you. Am I increasing the cost of living by extravagance, or am I teaching my family to make the garments they wear? Are we using the materials that are at hand, or are we sending across the ocean to bring from the nations afar expensive things for the adornment of our persons? Right here in our own community there are those who prefer articles manufactured in distant lands, when right in our own neighborhood industries are struggling for existence, that would do well if we would patronize them, and employment would be furnished many hands now idle. Our factories can produce practically all the things that we need, and they should be sustained by us. That is self-preservation, for we would keep our money at home and employ our own people. (Conference Report, April 1915, Second Day-Morning Session 97 - 98.)
DC 42:42 thou shalt not be idle
Marion G. Romney
In this last dispensation, the Lord has again spoken plainly on the subject. "Thou shalt not be idle," he said. "For he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer." (D&C 42:42.) "And the idler shall not have place in the Church, except he repent and mend his ways." (D&C 75:29.)
In light of these scriptures, no member should desire or seek to voluntarily shift the responsibility for his own maintenance to another. Rather, each member, through work, should seek to find great satisfaction in personal achievement; and thus, he will be entitled to the fruits of his labors-both temporal and spiritual.
Furthermore, self-reliance, as we understand it, implies at least one additional thought-personal accountability. Abinadi tells us that in spiritual matters, we shall all be "brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to [our] works whether they be good or whether they be evil." (Mosiah 16:10.)
Just as each individual is accountable for his choices and actions in spiritual matters, so also is he accountable in temporal matters. If we have been frugal and saved for a rainy day, then we can more easily weather the financial storm. If we have lived beyond our means, then we pay the consequences of our own actions when the bills come. ("Principles of Temporal Salvation," Ensign, Apr. 1981, 4)
DC 42:42 he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer
After the above law or revelation was received, the elders went forth to proclaim repentance according to commandment, and there were members added to the Church. The Bishop Edward Partridge visited the Church in its several branches, there were some that would not receive the law. The time has not yet come that the law can be fully established, for the disciples live scattered abroad and are not organized, our numbers are small and the disciples untaught, consequently they understand not the things of the kingdom. There were some of the disciples who were flattered into the Church because they thought that all things were to be common, therefore they thought to glut themselves upon the labors of others. (The Book of John Whitmer, typescript, [Provo: BYU Archives and Manuscripts], Chap. 3)
DC 42:43 sick... shall be nourished with all tenderness, with herbs and mild food
"What would you say if you went to the doctor with a cold and he handed you a red pepper or mint leaf to treat it? It may sound strange, but the pioneers used seeds, blossoms, and other plant parts to try to cure their colds and ease their aches and pains.
"Since many pioneer homes were isolated, it usually fell upon the mother to care for the family when they got sick. She learned by trial and error which roots, seeds, and blossoms might help cure her family's ills. The medicines were usually made by dropping dried leaves or roots into boiling water and letting it stand for five minutes. When a pioneer mother discovered an effective remedy, she'd be sure to share it with the other sisters at church on Sunday.
"Hot peppers dried by the fire were made into a broth to treat colds. Pine needles were also boiled in water, and then the water was drunk for treating colds. Sagebrush dotted the brown valley when the pioneers arrived in Utah. It was used to treat ailments of the liver and the eyes. Many believed that sage helped a person have a long and healthy life. Dry mustard mixed with flour, or pine tar mixed with turpentine, was often spread on a cloth and placed on the chest to relieve congestion in the lungs...
"Some of the pioneer remedies are still used today, but most have been replaced by new and more effective medicines. There were no hospitals for early pioneer families. Mothers had to rely on Heavenly Father and the plants of the land to care for their families. (Rebecca Todd, "Home Remedies," Friend, Mar. 1997, 42-43)
DC 42:44 elders of the church... shall pray for and lay their hands upon them
Delbert L. Stapley
If we accept the Word of Wisdom and abide by it, can we not also accept the use of medicines and the professional services of doctors to good advantage? The power of man is limited; the power of God is unlimited. When man's capabilities fail, God's holy power through his faithful priesthood takes over and miracles often result... there can be a correlative effort between medical practice and priesthood administration, one aiding the other, and together forming an effective approach to the healing of the sick.
Yes, medical doctors are important. But it is through the priesthood that we receive that extra power by which miraculous cures and healings occur. ("Q&A: Questions and Answers," New Era, Mar. 1971, 36-37)
DC 42:45 thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die
Russell M. Nelson
Irrespective of age, we mourn for those loved and lost. Mourning is one of the deepest expressions of pure love. It is a natural response in complete accord with divine commandment: "Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die." (D&C 42:45.)
Moreover, we can't fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life. ("Doors of Death," Ensign, May 1992, 72)
DC 42:46 those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them
Joseph Fielding Smith
To some members of the Church the saying that those who die in the Lord shall not taste of death, has been a hard saying. They have seen good faithful men and women suffer days and at times for months before they were taken. But here the Lord does not say they shall not suffer pain of body but that they shall be free from the anguish and torment of soul which will be partaken of by the wicked, and although they may suffer in body, yet death to them will be sweet in that they will realize that they are worthy before the Lord. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 170.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
I have spoken at three different funerals of old friends in the past three weeks. I have had occasion to reflect on the fact and miracle of life, and the wonder and miracle of death.
...In each case their passing has brought sorrow over the separation of friends. But in every case there have also been comfort and reassurance and certainty that death, though bitter to observe, is not the end, but is, rather, only another graduation from which we go on to a better life...
The other day as I stood at the bier of my classmate and reflected on the things of eternity, I had peace in my heart and gratitude. There were tears, yes, properly so. The Lord said: "Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.
"And it shall come to pass that those that die in me shall not taste of death, for it shall be sweet unto them" (D&C 42:45-46).
I am confident that for the friend of my high school days, death was a sweet experience with the assurance of a glorious resurrection.
Now absent is the pain of mortal life. Gone is the suffering of long sickness and much of loneliness. She is again in the association of loved ones, the parents who gave her mortal life and others of her family who loved her while they lived. Her spirit has gone to join theirs, and there will come that promised morning of the first resurrection, when they shall again take up their bodies and live in that sociality which bound them with the bonds of love while they were mortal beings. ("The Empty Tomb Bore Testimony," Ensign, May 1988, 65)
Robert D. Hales
A few months ago I had the opportunity of visiting a man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. As a devoted priesthood holder, he was confronted with the realities of mortality... Particularly touching were his questions, "Have I done all that I need to do to faithfully endure to the end?" "What will death be like?" "Will my family be prepared to stand in faith and be self-reliant when I am gone?"
We had the opportunity to discuss all three questions. They are clearly answered in the doctrine taught to us by our Savior. We discussed how he had spent his life striving to be faithful, to do what God asked of him, to be honest in his dealings with his fellowmen and all others, to care for and love his family. Isn't that what is meant by enduring to the end? We talked about what happens immediately after death, about what God has taught us about the world of spirits. It is a place of paradise and happiness for those who have lived righteous lives. It is not something to fear.
After our conversation, he called together his wife and the extended family-children and grandchildren-to teach them again the doctrine of the Atonement that all will be resurrected. Everyone came to understand that just as the Lord has said, while there will be mourning at the temporary separation, there is no sorrow for those who die in the Lord (see Rev. 14:13; D&C 42:46). His blessing promised him comfort and reassurance that all would be well, that he would not have pain, that he would have additional time to prepare his family for his departure-even that he would know the time of his departure. The family related to me that on the night before he passed away, he said he would go on the morrow. He passed away the next afternoon at peace, with all his family at his side. This is the solace and comfort that comes to us when we understand the gospel plan and know that families are forever. ("The Eternal Family," Ensign, Nov. 1996, 66)
DC 42:48 he that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed
Parley P. Pratt
About this time (May, 1831) a young lady, by the name of Chloe Smith, being a member of the Church, was lying very low with a lingering fever, with a family who occupied one of the houses on the farm of Isaac Morley, in Kirtland. Many of the Church had visited and prayed with her, but all to no effect; she seemed at the point of death, but would not consent to have a physician. This greatly enraged her relatives, who had cast her out because she belonged to the Church, and who, together with many of the people of the neighborhood, were greatly stirred up to anger, saying, "these wicked deceivers will let her lie and die without a physician, because of their superstitions; and if they do, we will prosecute them for so doing." Now these were daily watching for her last breath, with many threats.
Under these circumstances, President Smith and myself, with several other Elders called to see her. She was so low that no one had been allowed for some days previous to speak above a whisper, and even the door of the log dwelling was muffled with cloths to prevent a noise.
We kneeled down and prayed vocally all around, each in turn; after which President Smith arose, went to the bedside, took her by the hand, and said unto her with a loud voice, "in the name of Jesus Christ arise and walk!" She immediately arose, was dressed by a woman in attendance, when she walked to a chair before the fire, and was seated and joined in singing a hymn. The house was thronged with people in a few moments, and the young lady arose and shook hands with each as they came in; and from that minute she was perfectly restored to health. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 52.)
Malcolm S. Jeppsen
I soon learned in my medical practice that the ultimate healing process for an injured or sick body was already provided by our Heavenly Father. I also learned that a patient's attitude has much to do with healing. Those who would rely on Heavenly Father and exercise faith in the power of priesthood often enjoyed faster recoveries.
I have witnessed miracles! Many times when my medical training suggested a dismal prognosis, I have seen individuals fully recover. I have also witnessed others who relied with faith on the Lord and sought blessings with their prayers, which prayers were not answered in a way the person or loved one desired.
The Lord has given a condition for healing blessings: "He that hath faith in me to be healed, and is not appointed unto death, shall be healed" (D&C 42:48; emphasis added). Even when a person relies in faith on the Lord for blessings, if it is his or her appointed time to die, there will not be restoration of health. Indeed, "death [must come] upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator" (2 Ne. 9:6). President Spencer W. Kimball has written: "If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled. ... No man would have to live by faith. ... There would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life" (Faith Precedes the Miracle, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972, p. 97). ("A Divine Prescription for Spiritual Healing," Ensign, May 1994, 17)
DC 42:53 Thou shalt stand in the place of thy stewardship
Gordon B. Hinckley
We magnify our priesthood and enlarge our calling when we serve with diligence and enthusiasm in those responsibilities to which we are called by proper authority. I emphasize the words, "diligence" and "enthusiasm." This work has not reached its present stature through indifference on the part of those who have labored in its behalf. The Lord needs men, both young and old, who will carry the banners of His kingdom with positive strength and determined purpose. ("Magnify Your Calling," Ensign, May 1989, 48-49)
Thomas S. Monson
Through humble prayer, diligent preparation, and faithful service we can succeed in our sacred callings. Some priesthood bearers are gifted with the ability to reach out to the less active and renew the faith and rekindle the desire to once again return to the fold. Give such specially endowed brethren an assignment which will utilize this talent. Other brethren have the ability to work with youth, to win their respect, prompt their determination to overcome temptation, and lead with love these choice young spirits as they travel along that pathway which, when followed, provides eternal life. The Lord will hear your prayers and guide your decisions, for this is His work in which we are engaged.
I have frequently said that there is no feeling to surpass that feeling which engulfs us when we recognize that we have been on the Lord's errand and He has allowed us to help fulfill His purposes. ("Called to Serve," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 47)
Thomas S. Monson
"Whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies." I know this is true, and it gives me hope looking beyond my own inadequacies. I know that when we are on the Lord's errand, he will be with us, he will strengthen us, he will build our capacities. I have experienced it. I have felt his lifting Spirit. (Neil L. Andersen, "Whom the Lord Calls, the Lord Qualifies," Ensign, May 1993, 82)
DC 42:54 thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother
It was necessary for the Lord to give the saints this instruction because some of them felt that to have "all things common" entitled them to the property of their neighbor.
"Five days after Joseph Smith received the revelation calling Edward Partridge to serve as bishop, he received another revelation concerning a law of consecration and stewardship. One specific instruction was: 'Thou shalt not take thy brother's garment; thou shalt pay for that which thou shalt receive of thy brother.' (D&C 42:54.) As a result, the Prophet said that the plan of 'common stock' as practiced by 'the family' on the Morley farm was 'abandoned for the more perfect law of the Lord.'
"The law of consecration and stewardship, as practiced by the Church from 1831 to 1833, required that the Saints convey all of their real and personal property to the bishop. Each person was then given stewardship over whatever resources were needed for support of the individual's family, according to needs and circumstances. Surplus profits were returned to the bishop, which he distributed where they were needed. Later changes in the law permitted private ownership of property, with only the surplus deeded to the bishop.
"The law of consecration and stewardship was not an easy principle for many of the Saints to accept and live. Although the law was mainly practiced in Missouri, the first attempt to live it was near Kirtland in Thompson, Ohio. The difficulty in living the law is exemplified by events that took place when members of the Colesville Branch in New York arrived in the Kirtland area and went to live on Leman Copley's farm in Thompson.
"In May 1831, Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning how the members were to conduct their temporal affairs while in Thompson. They were told to consecrate their property to the Lord through Bishop Partridge, who would then 'appoint unto this people their portions, every man equal according to his family, according to his circumstances and his wants and needs.' (D&C 51:3.) When Bishop Partridge attempted to implement the law of consecration, however, conflicts arose. Though Leman Copley was willing at first to share his farm, within two months he rescinded his offer, leaving many of the Saints without a home." (Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith's Kirtland [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 131.)
DC 42:56-58 my scriptures...shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people
"Membership of the Church in the early 1830s didn't even make a ripple on the vast sea of humanity. By the end of 1831 there were only about 680 members out of an estimated 1 billion people in the world. But during that year, the Lord, at least four times, issued a charge that must have seemed so overwhelming to the infant Church: '...my scriptures shall be given as I have appointed...' the prophet Joseph Smith was told on Feb. 9, 1831. 'And I give unto you a commandment that then ye shall teach them unto all men; for they shall be taught unto all nations, kindreds, tongues and people.' (D&C 42:56,58)
"Six months later, on Aug. 1, 1831, the prophet was again commanded: 'For, verily, the sound must go forth from this place into all the world, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth-the gospel must be preached unto every creature...' (D&C 58:64)
"Twice in November of that year, the prophet again heard the clarion call from the Lord to preach the gospel throughout the world. (see D&C 68:8, 133:7)
"Why did the Lord repeat again and again this charge if He didn't feel it could be accomplished? The message seems clear: The gospel must be preached to the whole earth, and the Lord will provide the way to do it...
"Since the mandate to preach the gospel to every nation was first given in this dispensation, the world has grown in population to where it now numbers nearly 5 billion people. But because of technology, transportation and communications, the world has 'shrunk in size,' making members of the Church more visible than ever before.
"Each of us has a responsibility to live in such a way that the "window" we project to the people of the world is clearly the window that will enable them to see that this, indeed, is the Church of Jesus Christ.
And if each of us does this, then the work will roll forward at an even greater pace, and eventually will fill the whole earth." (The Gospel Rolls Forth, LDS Church News, 1988, 07/02/88)
DC 42:61 that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things
Chieko N. Okazaki
You know, the great thing about a beach is all the activity there. You can see people sunning themselves or playing volleyball or having barbecues. You can see crabs scuttling sideways on their fragile little legs and sea anemones blooming in tide pools. You can see gulls following the cresting waves to see if any fish become visible for a second. In other words, you can spend your whole life on the beach and it would always be beautiful and interesting and exciting because interesting, beautiful, and exciting things are going on all the time.
But the Savior wants us to pull for the deep, to launch into the deep water, because he has treasures for us that simply don't exist and can't exist in the sand, the froth, and the constant activity of the beach. The Savior says, "If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things-that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal" (D&C 42:61). And the experience of Peter, James, and John tells us that we need partners in pulling in this abundance.
But as Psalm 42:7 says, "deep calleth unto deep." The deeps are not just the deep knowledge of the gospel but also the deeps in you. I hope you have a beach part of your personality where there's a lot of scrambling and laughing and sunning. But I hope there's also a part of you that wants to leave the shallow, sandy self and go into the deep. And sometimes, even when we do not want to, powerful currents of mortality carry us into the deeps-into the deeps of sorrow and suffering and soul-searching. There in the deeps, we discover who we really are and who the Savior really is. ("A Living Network," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 95)
DC 42:64 flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth
"Here is a direct warning for the Latter-day Saints to move west that they might, in doing so, avert the coming Civil War that was so imminent. They recognized that through the spirit of prophecy the war would come unless the people repented. In Section 42 of the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord makes this statement:
"And even now, let him that goeth to the east teach them that shall be converted to flee to the west, and this in consequence of that which is coming on the earth, and of secret combinations. (D&C 42:64.)
"Here again you see a direct statement indicating that the Saints should move west in order not to be embroiled in the coming conflict that would ripen into civil war here on the American continent. Thus the Prophet Joseph's concept of the West is rather interesting. Wilford Woodruff tells us about his first meeting with the Prophet in the year 1834. The date was clear back there in 1834, when the Saints were scarcely settled in Kirtland. At that time the Prophet assembled some of the brethren, including Heber C. Kimball, Brother Woodruff, Brother Young, the brothers Pratt and others who were prominent, and this is what he taught them:
"This work will fill the Rocky Mountains with tens of thousands of Latter-day Saints, and there will be joined with them, the Lamanites who dwell in those mountains who will receive the gospel of Christ at the mouths of the elders of Israel, and they will be united with the Church and kingdom of God and bring forth much good. (Millennial Star, Vol. 54, p. 605.)
"To those individuals who knew the gospel and knew the program of the Lord and the light of the prophecy of the day, the Church was not to maintain itself in the East. For example, when the Saints were beginning the founding of the city of Nauvoo, there on the banks of the Mississippi River, Heber C. Kimball, along with Sidney Rigdon and others, was coming up the river. This is the first time Heber C. Kimball had seen the place. As the boat came around the bend and they could see the beautiful situation upon which the city was to be built, Heber C. Kimball made this comment. He said: 'It is a very pretty place but not long an abiding place for the Saints.' Sidney Rigdon heard this and became infuriated, and when Brother Heber and others were in the presence of the Prophet, Sidney Rigdon took occasion to bring it up and said, 'Brother Joseph, you tell Heber to quit prophesying evil about his people.' Brother Heber grinned at him and said, 'Brother Rigdon, I'll prophesy good about you all day long if you can get it.' This is the comment, but this idea that the Church was moving west, I think, is rather a prominent thing. We should keep it in mind, particularly in correlating it with this prophetic picture of the disintegration of civil order in American society and the coming of a period of conflict upon the American nation." (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrinal Themes of the Doctrine and Covenants [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1964], 89-90.)
DC 42:79-93 Church Discipline
N. Eldon Tanner
Every mission president, stake president, and bishop is directed and instructed how to investigate and handle all cases of transgression. A person who is guilty of a serious transgression cannot progress, and he is not happy while the guilt is upon him. Until he has confessed and repented he is in bondage. The transgressor who is dealt with as he should be, with love and with proper discipline, will later express his appreciation for your concern, your interest, and your leadership. As he is properly dealt with, he is in a position to repent and come back to full activity. But he must be dealt with.
Be aware of those who are not active in the Church, and if you feel that something is wrong or that someone is guilty of transgression, it is your responsibility to go to him with love and find out about it. He will appreciate it, and by moving promptly you may be able to prevent further transgression. Save the person who is having a problem and bring him back into the fold.
It has been reported to me that some bishops and even stake presidents have said that they never have excommunicated or disciplined anyone and that they do not intend to. This attitude is entirely wrong. Judges in Israel have the responsibility to sit in righteous judgment where it becomes necessary. Let me read from the twentieth section of the Doctrine and Covenants an important reminder to those who have the responsibility of judging: "Any member of the Church of Christ transgressing, or being overtaken in a fault, shall be dealt with as the scriptures direct." (D&C 20:80.)
Brethren, study the scriptures and the handbook and do as they direct and discipline the members of the Church when necessary. Remember that it is no kindness to a transgressor for his local authority to ignore or overlook or try to cover up his iniquity."
Let me read a quotation from President John Taylor wherein he discussed this subject: "Furthermore, I have heard of some Bishops who have been seeking to cover up the iniquities of men; I tell them, in the name of God, they will have to bear ... that iniquity, and if any of you want to partake of the sins of men, or uphold them, you will have to bear them. Do you hear it, you Bishops and you Presidents? God will require it at your hands. You are not placed in position to tamper with the principles of righteousness, nor to cover up the infamies and corruptions of men." (Conference Report, Apr. 1880, p. 78.)
These are very strong words, brethren, and they were spoken by a president of the Church, a prophet of God. Also, George Q. Cannon makes this significant statement: "The Spirit of God would undoubtedly be so grieved that it would forsake not only those who are guilty of these acts, but it would withdraw itself from those who would suffer them to be done in our midst unchecked and unrebuked." ("Our Responsibility to the Transgressor," Ensign, Nov. 1974, 78)
DC 42:88 if thy brother or sister offend thee...
"My two-year-old son, Brian, was playing in the sandbox with his friend Scotty. Suddenly, sand was thrown, feelings were hurt, and Scotty started crying. I started toward the sandbox to initiate a parent's perennial patching up, but before I had taken two steps, Brian reached out and hugged Scotty. Tears stopped as quickly as they began, hurt feelings were mended, and friends were reconciled. Then they both continued playing as before.
"'And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled.' (D&C 42:88.) We need to take the initiative by seeking reconciliation with the person who offended us. The best way to do so is to quietly take the person aside and openly discuss the situation." (Perry M. Christensen, "That Ye Not Be Offended," Ensign, Mar. 1991, 19)
DC 42:91 if any one offend openly, he or she shall be rebuked openly
Neal A. Maxwell
All sins are to be confessed to the Lord, some to a Church official, some to others, and some to all of these. A few may require public confession. Confessing aids forsaking. We cannot expect to sin publicly and extensively and then expect to be rescued privately and quickly, being beaten "with only a few stripes." (D&C 42:88-93.) ("Repentance," Ensign, Nov. 1991, 31)