DC 100 Introduction
By October of 1833, some 3.5 years after the formation of the infant church, the Prophet had received enough revelations to produce 100 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants. These first 100 sections cover a time period of only 10 years of revelatory communication. What a dense dose of light and truth!
Consider the first 100 chapters of the Old Testament; they cover about 2800 years. Chronologically, the first 100 chapters of the Book of Mormon (including the Jaredite history) cover a period of 2000 years. Even with the life of Christ repeated by four gospel writers, the first 100 chapters of the New Testament cover a period of 44 years (Matt. 1 - Acts 11). By comparison, we should be amazed at the frequency and significance of divine direction in the Doctrine and Covenants.
DC 100 Historical Background
"Joseph Smith had first learned details concerning the mob activities in Missouri in mid-August 1833 and had almost immediately dispatched Brothers Orson Hyde and John Gould to Independence with advice and support for the Saints in Zion. Then about six weeks later, on 5 October 1833, Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, in company with Freeman Nickerson, who provided a team and transportation, began a month-long mission to upstate New York and Canada. By 12 October the missionaries had reached the home of Brother Nickerson in Perrysburg, New York, which had been an intermediate destination.
"It cannot have been easy for the Prophet to have undertaken a mission at this particular time. He was concerned about the persecutions in Missouri and the fate of Zion. He was concerned for Elders Hyde and Gould whom he had sent there, and he was concerned for the safety of his own family in Kirtland, where there were many enemies. Joseph kept a private journal during much of his adult life, and on the day he arrived at the Nickerson home in Perrysburg, he wrote in it, 'Saturday the12th [October 1833 to] the house of father Nicke[r]son I feel very well in my mind the Lord is with us but have much anxiety about my family.'" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 3:252)
George Q. Cannon
The Prophet felt that the field of souls was white for the harvest and that it was incumbent upon him to thrust in his sickle and gather the honest-in-heart. On the 5th day of October, 1833, he departed from Kirtland upon a missionary journey to Canada, in company with Sidney Rigdon and Freeman A. Nickerson. At various places on the road, they stopped and proclaimed the word of the Lord unto the inhabitants. In some villages they found God-fearing men and women who were praying for light and were willing to obey when the simple gospel was presented before the eyes of their understanding. On the 12th day of October they had arrived at Perrysburg, New York, where they halted for a little time. Here the Prophet received a revelation [Sec. 100]. (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 3: 352)
October 5.-I started on a journey to the east, and to Canada, in company with Elders Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson, and arrived the same day at Lamb's tavern, in Ashtabula; and the day following, the Sabbath, we arrived in Springfield, whilst the brethren were in meeting, and Elder Rigdon spoke to the congregation. A large and attentive congregation assembled at Brother Rudd's in the evening, to whom we bore our testimony. We continued at Springfield until the 8th of October, when we removed to Brother Roundy's at Elk Creek; and continuing our journey on the evening of the 9th, we arrived at a tavern, and on the 10th, at Brother Job Lewis,' in Westfield where we met the brethren according to previous appointment, and spoke to them as the Spirit gave utterance, greatly to their gratification.
...On the 11th of October, we left Westfield, and continuing our journey, staid that night with a man named Nash, an infidel, with whom we reasoned, but to no purpose. On the 12th, arrived at Father Nickerson's, at Perrysburg, New York, where I received the following revelation: [D&C 100]
On the day following (October 13th), Elder Rigdon preached to a large congregation, at Freeman Nickerson's, and I bore record while the Lord gave His Spirit in a remarkable manner (see Lydia Knight's eyewitness account under commentary for DC 100:10).
Monday, 14.-Continued our journey towards Canada, and arrived at Lodi, where we had an appointment, and preached in the evening to a small assembly, and made an appointment for Tuesday, the 15th, at 10 o'clock a. m., to be in the Presbyterian meeting house. When the hour arrived, the keeper of the house refused to open the doors, and the meeting was thus prevented. We came immediately away, leaving the people in great confusion, and continued our journey till Friday, the 18th, when we arrived at the house of Freeman A. Nickerson, in Upper Canada, having passed through a fine and well-cultivated country, after entering the province, and having had many peculiar feelings in relation to both the country and people. We were kindly received by Freeman A. Nickerson, who lived at Mount Pleasant, which was near Brantford, the county seat of Brant county. (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: 419-421)
Thomas S. Monson
Joseph Smith not only inspired men to volunteer for missions, he not only took his own coat and handed it to John Page as he went on his mission, but he also taught the importance of missionary work-by example. ("The Prophet Joseph Smith: Teacher by Example," Ensign, June 1994, 5-6)
DC 100:1 your families are well; they are in my hands
"'Let your hearts be comforted.' (D&C 100:1-2, 15.) On an earlier mission to New York, Joseph wrote a letter to Emma, describing his marvelous experiences in the big city. He carefully described the impressive buildings and the great inventions. His real longing, however, was not to see the wonders of the world, but to be at home. 'After beholding all that I had any desire to behold I returned to my room to meditate and calm my mind and behold, the thoughts of home of Emma and Julia rushes upon my mind like a flood and I could wish for a moment to be with them. My breast is filled with all the feelings and tenderness of a parent and husband.' (The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, comp. Dean C. Jessee, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1984, p. 253.)
"Joseph was most sad and lonely when he was separated from his family for any length of time. How distressed he must have been to so frequently have to hide or live in seclusion for fear mobocrats would take his life. On one occasion, his friends were transferring him to another hiding place when Joseph insisted that they drive past his home. Upon seeing that there were no enemies nearby, Joseph rushed into the house, knelt beside the beds of his children, and uttered a brief prayer for them. He kissed each child and his beloved Emma, then rushed out the door on his way to a new hiding place. (E. Cecil McGavin, The Family of Joseph Smith, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963, p. 138.)
"It was during another period of hiding from those who sought his life that Joseph recorded one of the most touching expressions of love any man could utter. He must have longed to be free to associate with his wife and family, but until the persecutions ceased, he could see them only secretly and momentarily. After such a visit by Emma, he recorded:
"'What unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled in my bosom, when I took by the hand, on that night, my beloved Emma-she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth, and the choice of my heart. Many were the reverberations of my mind when I contemplated for a moment the many scenes we had been called to pass through, the fatigues and the toils, the sorrows and sufferings, and the joys and consolations, from time to time, which had strewed our paths and crowned our board. Oh what a commingling of thought filled my mind for the moment, again she is here, even in the seventh trouble-undaunted, firm, and unwavering-unchangeable, affectionate Emma!' (History of the Church, 5:107.)
"Whether in hiding from the mob or imprisoned in filthy dungeons, his love for Emma and his children consoled him and gave him strength to endure hardships and return to them. His love was no doubt intensified by these trying periods of separation. But when he was able to associate freely with his family, Joseph was the happiest he could be. (Brent L. Top, " 'I Was with My Family': Joseph Smith-Devoted Husband, Father, Son, and Brother," Ensign, Aug. 1991, 27)
DC 100:3 I have much people in this place, in the regions round about
The language in this verse mirrors the word of the Lord to Paul in Corinth, "no man shall... hurt thee: for I have much people in this city" (Acts 18:10). The Prophet was quite successful on this short mission as his own journal reveals:
Thursday, 24.-At the house of Mr. Beman, in Colburn, whence we left for Waterford, where we spoke to a small congregation; thence to Mount Pleasant, and preached to a large congregation the same evening, when Freeman A. Nickerson and his wife declared their belief in the work, and offered themselves for baptism. Great excitement prevailed in every place we visited.
Saturday, 26.-Preached at Mount Pleasant; the people were very tender and inquiring.
Sunday, 27.-Preached to a large congregation at Mount Pleasant, after which I baptized twelve, and others were deeply impressed, and desired another meeting, which I appointed for the day following.
Monday, 28.-In the evening, we broke bread, and laid on hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and for confirmation, having baptized two more. The Spirit was given in great power to some, and peace to others.
Tuesday, 29.-After preaching at 10 o'clock a. m., I baptized two, and Confirmed them at the water's side. Last evening we ordained F. A. Nickerson an Elder; and one of the sisters received the gift of tongues, which made the Saints rejoice exceedingly. Tuesday, the 29th of October, also we took our departure from Mount Pleasant, on our return to Kirtland, and arrived at Buffalo, New York, on the 31st.
Friday, November 1.-I left Buffalo, New York, at 8 o'clock a. m., and arrived at my house in Kirtland on Monday, the 4th, 10 a. m. and found my family well, according to the promise of the Lord in the revelation of October 12th, for which I felt to thank my Heavenly Father. (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: 422-423)
DC 100:3 an effectual door shall be opened
Elsewhere [the Lord] gave a promise that has cheered the hearts of many weary missionaries: "Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land." (I don't know about you, but I had to look up effectual in the dictionary. It means "producing the desired result"-which certainly makes it the right word in this context!) Then the Lord instructs us to declare the gospel "in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things. And I give unto you this promise, that . . . the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say" (D&C 100:87-8; emphasis added).
We are all member-missionaries. We all represent the Church. We all are guardians of the light of the gospel-in our own lives, in the lives of our children, in the lives of our families and friends. Surely this is a promise that we want to claim-that in our contacts with loved ones, friends, and strangers we can open an effectual door and the Holy Ghost will be shed forth as we speak in meekness and conviction about our Savior. (Sanctuary [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 35 - 36)
DC 100:5 speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts
"Don't be afraid someone will disprove the Church; the Church is true. You may not know the immediate answer to every question thrown your way, but you can rest assured Heavenly Father knows the answer and has promised to tell you what he wants people to know in the very moment you need the answer. He said, 'Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man' (D&C 84:85; emphasis added). Another declaration by the Lord confirms this promise: 'Lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say' (D&C 100:5-6; emphasis added). From thousands of experiences, both my own and those reported to me by missionaries, I know these promises are true. Do yourself a favor and 'treasure up continually the words of life' and see if the Lord doesn't do the same for you." (Randy L. Bott, Prepare with Honor: Helps for Future Missionaries [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 81)
DC 100:6 it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment
Gene R. Cook
A year or two after my mission, I gave a talk in a sacrament meeting in a ward other than my own. I had always thought that I was a relatively good speaker-have you ever thought that about yourself? It depends on who is gauging it. When I finished that talk, a good friend of mine, an older man full of wisdom, came up to me and said, "Brother Cook, why don't you believe in speaking by the Spirit?" He shook my whole image of myself as a speaker! I said, "What do you mean when you say that I don't believe in speaking by the Spirit?" And then he read me a passage from the Doctrine and Covenants:
Neither take ye thought beforehand what ye shall say; but treasure up in your minds continually the words of life, and it shall be given you in the very hour that portion that shall be meted unto every man. (D&C 84:85.)
Then this good man said, "Now Brother Cook, I noticed that you developed an outline for your talk. You knew what you would talk about first and what story you would use to illustrate it, and so on. The Spirit may have wanted you to say something else but may have had a hard time getting through to you because you had already made up your mind about what you were going to say." Those words really burned. Then I thought, "But don't the general authorities read their talks in conference?" They do it so the translators can better follow what they are saying. I began thinking seriously about that after this man left. He was a great teacher because he left me with a great restlessness. Was he right? Did he really want me to walk up to the podium without notes or an outline? That was a big challenge to me. Searching in the scriptures, I found these words:
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men.
What a great promise! "If you speak my words you will never be confounded before men." Then he says:
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
He is saying that he will give you at the very moment what he wants the listeners to know-how exciting that is! Now here are some conditions:
But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
Then he gives a promise:
And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say. (D&C 100:5-8.)
I began to realize that instead of having thought out what I might say, that I should give the Lord a chance to put thoughts into my mind, and that I should exercise the faith that he would tell me what I should say. About two weeks after that experience with my friend, the bishop of my own ward came up to me and said, "Brother Cook, we would like to have you give a talk in sacrament meeting." I remember the sick feeling that crept into my heart, but I said that I would do it.
As he walked away, I said to myself, "Oh, no! Here is the challenge to see what your faith is made of."
...So I didn't plan anything for my talk. I just read the scriptures. It was all I could do to keep from thinking during the sacrament, "Now listen, you crazy guy, you have got to settle on something. At least think of a topic and a few ideas-a couple of stories or something. You have only five more minutes and you are on!" It took tremendous discipline not to do it. I will never forget walking up to that podium, knowing that my mind was empty. I was really exercising my faith, and I prayed, "Heavenly Father, if you don't come through on this one I am done!" I really prayed with all of my heart.
Then as I stood up there I felt something come over me that just carried me away, and I spoke by the Spirit of the Lord. To this day, I do not know what that talk was about, but it was a great spiritual witness to me that the Lord will work with us if we let him. I felt good about that talk because I felt that the Lord had given me what to say, and after the talk a number of people were moved to repent by the Spirit, who worked through me in that instance. Several people said, "Brother Cook, what happened to you? I felt something that has caused me literally to change. I will never be the same." It was a great witness to me that if we exercise our faith in the Lord, he will honor his words. (Living by the Power of Faith [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 83-85)
DC 100:7 declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness
Pulpit-pounding preachers are rare among Mormons. The delivery of our message is direct, honest, and humble-or at least it is supposed to be. Sometimes, our message might sound unexciting or even monotone. On the contrary, the lack of theatrics allows the Spirit to do the speaking. More demonstrative delivery detracts from the message.
"When bearing my testimony, I do not want to come across as condescending, or as someone who feels he is more spiritual and righteous than the other person. The Lord tells us to preach (testify) 'in mildness and in meekness.' (D&C 38:41.) I have been tempted at times to be dramatic, to speak in a 'spiritual' tone of voice, to gesture with my hands, to lean closer to the other person, and so on. That kind of behavior sometimes makes people feel uneasy.
"We are promised that if we testify sincerely and in meekness, 'the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever [we] shall say.' (D&C 100:8.) I seem to be most effective when I trust this promise while sharing in a natural style and voice my feelings about the Church." (Steve F. Gilliland, "I Have a Question," Ensign, June 1993, 62)
A rare insight into the missionary preaching style of the Prophet Joseph Smith exemplifies this principle. After he had returned from this mission to the East, he took time to write to one of his proselytes, Moses C. Nickerson, of Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada. Notice his style of testimony-his manner of communication as recorded in this letter.
You remember the testimony which I bore in the name of the Lord Jesus, concerning the great work which He has brought forth in the last days. You know my manner of communication, how that in weakness and simplicity, I declared to you what the Lord had brought forth by the ministering of His holy angels to me for this generation. I pray that the Lord may enable you to treasure these things in your mind, for I know that His Spirit will bear testimony to all who seek diligently after knowledge from Him. I hope you will search the Scriptures to see whether these things are not also consistent with those things which the ancient Prophets and Apostles have written.
I remember Brother Freeman and wife, Ransom also, and Sister Lydia, and little Charles, with all the brethren and sisters. I entreat for an interest in all your prayers before the throne of mercy, in the name of Jesus. I hope the Lord will grant that I may see you all again, and above all that we may overcome, and sit down together in the kingdom of our Father.
Your brother, etc.,
Joseph Smith. (History of the Church, 1:442-443)
DC 100:8 the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say
"Some people think they need to use eloquent words when sharing their testimonies. But simple words prompted by the Holy Ghost and offered in faith and humility often contain great spiritual power. D&C 100:5-6 assures us that when we 'speak the thoughts that I [the Lord] shall put into your hearts, ... you shall not be confounded before men; for it shall be given you in the ... very moment, what ye shall say' (see also D&C 100:6-8). Sister Anne Osborn Poelman tells of her conversion to the Church. As she met with the missionaries, the most powerful testimony was unexpectedly borne by a young elder who had been a missionary just one week. Though he was nervous and inexperienced, his convincing words were not to be confounded. Sister Poelman relates that when she challenged his statement that he knew the gospel was true, 'he paused and gulped. `Well, Sister Osborn,' he finally said as he looked me straight in the eye, `I guess I just believe it so hard I know it's true!' How can anyone argue with such an earnest, deeply felt testimony? I really couldn't" (The Simeon Solution, 1995, 59). ("A Witness at All Times and in All Places," Ensign, Aug. 1996, 68)
Boyd K. Packer
It is not unusual to have a missionary say, "How can I bear testimony until I get one? How can I testify that God lives, that Jesus is the Christ, and that the gospel is true? If I do not have such a testimony, would that not be dishonest?"
Oh, if I could teach you this one principle. A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it! Somewhere in your quest for spiritual knowledge, there is that "leap of faith," as the philosophers call it. It is the moment when you have gone to the edge of the light and stepped into the darkness to discover that the way is lighted ahead for just a footstep or two. "The spirit of man," is as the scripture says, indeed "the candle of the Lord." (Prov. 20:27.)
It is one thing to receive a witness from what you have read or what another has said; and that is a necessary beginning. It is quite another to have the Spirit confirm to you in your bosom that what you have testified is true. Can you not see that it will be supplied as you share it? As you give that which you have, there is a replacement, with increase!
...If you will speak with humility and honest intent, the Lord will not leave you alone. The scriptures promise that. Consider this one:
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall [note that it is future tense] put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall [again note the future tense] be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say. (D&C 100:5-8.)
The skeptic will say that to bear testimony when you may not know you possess one is to condition yourself; that the response is manufactured. Well, one thing for sure, the skeptic will never know, for he will not meet the requirement of faith, humility, and obedience to qualify him for the visitation of the Spirit.
Can you not see that that is where testimony is hidden, protected perfectly from the insincere, from the intellectual, from the mere experimenter, the arrogant, the faithless, the proud? It will not come to them. ("The Candle of the Lord," Ensign, Jan. 1983, 54-55)
DC 100:9 a spokesman unto my servant Joseph
The promises to Joseph's companions are striking. For a season, Oliver Cowdery is given opportunity to try and translate the Book of Mormon (D&C 8-9). Now, Sidney Rigdon also seems to be placed on equal footing with the Prophet. Note the reciprocity: Sidney is to be a spokesman for Joseph-mighty in expounding all scriptures; Joseph is to be a revelator to Sidney with power to be mighty in testimony. The Lord is very fair in his language. There is no indication from the word of the Lord that Sidney is inferior to Joseph in capacity or assignment. If we believe that Sidney was inferior to Joseph, it comes more from the history of his deeds than from the language of the Lord.
DC 100:10 I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony
The first time I saw Joseph Smith I was seventeen years of age. It was in the fall of 1831. He was going to hold a meeting in Hiram, Portage County, Ohio, about four miles from my father's home. Having heard many stories about him, my curiosity was considerably aroused and I thought I would take advantage of this opportunity to see and hear him.
...I made a critical examination as to his appearance, his dress, and his manner as I heard him speak. He was only twenty-five years of age and was not, at that time, what would be called a fluent speaker. His remarks were confined principally to his own experiences, especially the visitation of the angel, giving a strong and powerful testimony in regard to these marvelous manifestations. He simply bore his testimony to what the Lord had manifested to him, to the dispensation of the gospel which had been committed to him, and to the authority that he possessed.
At first he seemed a little diffident and spoke in rather a low voice. But as he proceeded, he became very strong and powerful and seemed to affect the whole audience with the feeling that he was honest and sincere. It certainly influenced me in this way, and it made impressions upon me that remain until the present day.
As I looked upon him and listened, I thought to myself that a man bearing such a wonderful testimony as he did, and having such a countenance as he possessed, could hardly be a false prophet...
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. Finally, I was convinced of the truth sufficiently to want to be baptized, to get a knowledge for myself of the testimony that Joseph Smith had seen God. After my baptism, everything that I had thought about in a religion was changed. Every part of my system became convinced, through the power of the Holy Ghost, that God is my Father, that Jesus Christ is my Elder Brother, and that Joseph Smith is His prophet. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 33-34)
Lydia Bailey Knight
One day in October, 1833, a wagonload of people stopped at the door of Freeman Nickerson's home. They had with them two strange men-Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. Although so remote from the States, rumors of a new prophet and a "golden bible" had reached Mount Pleasant, Brunt County, Ontario, Canada, and had been wondered over and commented upon.
Freeman had been told that his parents had joined the new church, and he was rather disgusted with the news. His father was indeed full of the gospel he had embraced, and was so anxious for the eternal welfare of his sons in Canada that he had hitched up his carriage, gone on a visit to Kirtland, Ohio, and prevailed upon the Prophet Joseph Smith and Elder Sidney Rigdon to accompany him on a visit to his sons, Moses and Freeman, in Mount Pleasant.
"Well, Father," said Freeman, when told who the two strangers were, "I will welcome them for your sake. But I would just about as soon you had brought a nest of vipers and turned them loose upon us."
Moses and Freeman were wealthy merchants and men of influence in Mount Pleasant. On the evening of the arrival, after the bustle of welcome and a warm supper were over, everyone was too tired to talk, so all retired to rest.
Next morning many were the curious glances that I cast at this strange man who dared to call himself a prophet. I saw a tall, well-built form, with the carriage of an Apollo; brown hair, handsome blue eyes, which seemed to dive down to the innermost thoughts with their sharp, penetrating gaze; a striking countenance, and with manners at once majestic yet gentle, dignified yet exceedingly pleasant.
Elder Rigdon was a middle-aged man of medium height, stout and quite good-looking, but without the noble grandeur that was so distinguishing a mark of the Prophet.
The Elders were very wise. They said nothing about their views or doctrines, but waited patiently until some one should express an interest.
As evening drew near, Mr. Nickerson became anxious to hear something of the newcomer's faith.
"Oh," said he to his wife, "just let him talk; I'll silence him, if he undertakes to talk about the Bible. I guess I know as much about the scriptures as he does."
As soon as supper was over, he invited his visitors and family to go upstairs to the parlor, where he said they would have some talk. "Now Mr. Smith," he said, "I wish you and Mr. Rigdon to speak freely. Say what you wish and tell us what you believe. We will listen."
Turning to his wife, he whispered, "Now you'll see how I shall shut him up."
The Prophet commenced by relating the scenes of his early life. He told how the angel visited him, of his finding the plates and the translation of them, and gave a short account of the matter contained in the Book of Mormon.
As the speaker continued his wonderful narrative, I was listening and watching him intently. I saw his face become white and a shining glow seemed to beam from every feature.
As his story progressed, he would often allude to passages of scripture. Then Mr. Nickerson would speak up and endeavor to confound him. But the attempt was soon acknowledged even by himself to be futile.
The Prophet bore a faithful testimony that the priesthood was again restored to the earth, and that God and His Son had conferred upon him the keys of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods. He stated that the last dispensation had come, and the words of Jesus were now in force: "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Elder Rigdon spoke after the Prophet ceased. He related some of his early experiences, and told those present that he had received a testimony for himself of the truth of what Joseph had said. "God," said Elder Rigdon, "is no respecter of persons, but will give to all that ask of Him a knowledge of the things Joseph Smith has declared unto you, whether they are true or false, of God or of man."
After both men were through speaking, many questions were asked by all present, for information. The listeners were honest-hearted people, and when truth is told to such they are constrained to accept and believe.
"And is this, then," said Mr. Nickerson, "the curious religion the newspapers tell so much about? Why, if what you have said is not good sound sense, then I don't know what sense is."
A feeling of agreeable disappointment was felt by Mr. Nickerson and family, that these strange men were so different from the various representations of them.
Next day, notice was sent out that there would be public preaching in the Nickerson Brothers' new store-house. A large and attentive audience was present. Elder Sidney Rigdon spoke to the people with great clarity on the first principles of the gospel, and closed with a strong testimony to the truth of so-called "Mormonism."
The Prophet then arose and poured forth a golden stream of words, many of which were verily pearls without price, setting forth the restoration of the gospel and the great work that had commenced on the earth. With power he exhorted everyone who was present to seek for the truth of his and his companion's words from the source of all light, all truth, and all religion, and a knowledge of the truth of the same should surely follow.
Great was the excitement among the peaceful dwellers in Mount Pleasant.
The day following, a meeting was again held, and after it was over the Prophet baptized twelve persons, including myself, Mr. Nickerson and all of his household. (Hyrum L. Andrus and Helen Mae Andrus, comps., They Knew the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1974], 41-43)
DC 100:11 I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures
"Sidney Rigdon, was recognized as a speaker par excellence and was known for his many inspiring doctrinal sermons. Rigdon also helped Joseph Smith teach the 1834 Lectures on Faith to elders of the Church." (Bruce A. Van Orden in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint History: Ohio, ed. by Milton V. Backman, Jr. [Provo: BYU Department of Church History and Doctrine, 1990], 55 - 56.)
Brother Sidney is a man whom I love, but he is not capable of that pure and steadfast love for those who are his benefactors that should characterize a President of the Church of Christ. This, with some other little things, such as selfishness and independence of mind, which too often manifested destroy the confidence of those who would lay down their lives for him-these are his faults. But notwithstanding these things, he is a very great and good man; a man of great power of words, and can gain the friendship of his hearers very quickly. He is a man whom God will uphold, if he will continue faithful to his calling. O God, grant that he may, for the Lord's sake. Amen. (History of the Church, 1:443)
DC 100:13 Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season
Zion is the common designation of the Church established in the world: "the land of Zion" being "in other words, the city of Enoch." (D&C 78:3-4.) Even though the work is still in its preliminary stages, one is justified in saying, "this is the new chapel," when only the foundations are in. Thus the Church can be called Zion even though its work has barely begun: "My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory ... of Zion" (D&C 136:31), and if they are faithful "they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion" (D&C 105:37). The Saints are told not to despair: "Concern not yourselves about Zion, for I will deal mercifully with her" (D&C 111:6), and "Zion shall be redeemed in mine own due time" (D&C 136:18), "although she is chastened for a little season" (D&C 100:13). Brigham Young constantly reminded the Saints of the preparatory nature of the work in which they were engaged:
"We have commenced to organize, I will say partially, in the Holy Order that God has established for his people in all ages of the world when he has had a kingdom on the earth. We may call it the Order of Enoch, the Order of Joseph, the Order of Peter, or Abraham, or Moses, and then go back to Noah, and then step to our own position here, and say that we will organize as far as we have the privilege ... under the laws of the land. Many branches of industry have been organized here to help to sustain each other, to labor for the good of all, and to establish cooperation in the midst of the Church in this place." (JD, 17:113.)
In the years following the entrance into the Salt Lake Valley he placed the greatest emphasis on the theme of preparation and the uses of adversity:
"I never attributed the driving of the Saints from Jackson county to anything but that it was necessary to chasten them and prepare them to build up Zion." (JD, 13:148.)
"We are not yet prepared to go and establish the Centre Stake of Zion. The Lord tried this in the first place. ... He gave revelation after revelation; but the people could not abide them." (JD, 11:324.)
"Are we fit for Zion? ... Could we stay in Independence? No, we could not. ... Can the Saints see? No, or a few of them can." (JD, 15:3.)
"Then do not be too anxious for the Lord to hasten his work. Let our anxiety be centered upon this one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of events that are hastening upon us. This should be our concern, this should be our study, this should be our daily prayer, and not be in a hurry to see the overthrow of the wicked." (JD, 9:3.) ("A Strange Thing in the Land: The Return of the Book of Enoch, Part 12," Ensign, June 1977, 89)
DC 100:14 my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands
"In the fall of 1833 [John Gould] and Orson Hyde were sent with instructions from the Prophet to the Saints in Missouri. Of this assignment Orson Hyde wrote:
We started on foot with our valises on our backs, a distance of about one thousand miles. We travelled about forty miles per day through a sickly fever and ague country, swimming rivers, and pushing our clothes over on a log or raft before us. We arrived in Jackson County about the beginning of the Saints' troubles there [September 1833]. We delivered our letters and documents, and were sometimes surrounded by the mob, who threatened to wring our heads off from our shoulders. Several little skirmishes took place while there, and some few were killed and wounded.
On 12 October 1833 the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon received a revelation in Perrysburg, New York, acknowledging the Lord's awareness of the persecuted missionaries: 'Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved' (D&C 100:14). They returned unharmed to Kirtland on 25 November 1833. (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 105.)
Elders Orson Hyde and John Gould returned from Missouri to Kirtland on the 25th, and brought the melancholy intelligence of the mob in Jackson county persecuting the brethren. (History of the Church, 1:446)