DC 113 Historical Background
January, 1838.-A new year dawned upon the Church in Kirtland in all the bitterness of the spirit of apostate mobocracy; which continued to rage and grow hotter and hotter, until Elder Rigdon and myself were obliged to flee from its deadly influence, as did the Apostles and Prophets of old, and as Jesus said, "when they persecute you in one city, flee to another." On the evening of the 12th of January, about ten o'clock, we left Kirtland, on horseback, to escape mob violence, which was about to burst upon us under the color of legal process to cover the hellish designs of our enemies, and to save themselves from the just judgment of the law.
We continued our travels during the night, and at eight o'clock on the morning of the 13th, arrived among the brethren in Norton Township, Medina county, Ohio, a distance of sixty miles from Kirtland. Here we tarried about thirty-six hours, when our families arrived; and on the 16th we pursued our journey with our families, in covered wagons towards the city of Far West, in Missouri. We passed through Dayton and Eaton, in Ohio, and Dublin, Indiana; in the latter place we tarried nine days, and refreshed ourselves.
...The weather was extremely cold, we were obliged to secret ourselves in our wagons, sometimes, to elude the grasp of our pursuers, who continued their pursuit of us more than two hundred miles from Kirtland, armed with pistols and guns, seeking our lives. They frequently crossed our track, twice they were in the houses where we stopped, once we tarried all night in the same house with them, with only a partition between us and them; and heard their oaths and imprecations, and threats concerning us, if they could catch us; and late in the evening they came in to our room and examined us, but decided we were not the men. At other times we passed them in the streets, and gazed upon them, and they on us, but they knew us not. One Lyons was one of our pursuers.
...When I had arrived within one hundred and twenty miles of Far West, the brethren met me with teams and money to help me forward, and when eight miles from the city, we were met by an escort, viz., Thomas B. Marsh and others, who received us with open arms; and on the 13th of March, with my family and some others I put up at Brother Barnard's for the night. Here we were met by another escort of the brethren from the town, who came to make us welcome to their little Zion.
On the 14th of March, as we were about entering Far West, many of the brethren came out to meet us, who also with open arms welcomed us to their bosoms. We were immediately received under the hospitable roof of Brother George W. Harris, who treated us with all possible kindness, and we refreshed ourselves with much satisfaction, after our long and tedious journey, the brethren bringing in such things as we had need of for our comfort and convenience. (History of the Church, 3:1-9)
DC 113 Introduction
We should be thankful to Elias Higbee and the unnamed questioner for asking good questions. In some cultures, good questions are valued more than good answers. After reading this section, we might have hoped for a thousand more questions about Isaiah's words. While we should be content with what we have, we could surely use more explanations.
Yet, Isaiah's veiled meanings should not be veiled to the latter-day saints (2 Ne. 25:4). These otherwise obscure passages come to life as the Prophet gives us the explanation. By way of introduction, the easiest way to look at the explanation of Isaiah 11 is as a description of the missions of two individuals: Christ and Joseph Smith.
DC 113:1 Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in... the 11th chapter of Isaiah.
The first 5 verses of Isaiah 11 read:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
The first illuminating doctrine comes from the insightful question which identifies "the stem of Jesse" as the subject of the next 4 verses. How did the questioner know that Isaiah 11:2-5 was talking about the stem of Jesse instead of the rod or the Branch? The questioner may well have been the Prophet Joseph. His natural scriptural insight could have identified the stem of Jesse as the focus for the next verses.
DC 113:2 Verily thus saith the Lord: it is Christ
Jesse was the father of king David. Christ was born in mortality through the lineage of David and Jesse-both of the tribe of Judah according to the prophecy that the Messiah should come through Judah (Gen. 49:10).
DC 113:3 What is the rod spoken of... that should come of the Stem of Jesse
The imagery here is that of a tree-with roots, stem, branch, and rod. A stem is a trunk or main branch. A rod would be a smaller offshoot of the branch. Sustenance for a tree would start with the roots, go through the stem, feed the branch, and finish in the fruit of the rod.
The point of the imagery is to show the interconnectedness of the different parts. Jesse is represented as the ancestor of both Christ and the rod-servant. The stem is Christ. The branch is also Christ (Zech. 3:7-10; 6:12-13). Who then is the rod?
Before answering that question, let's now take a look at the poetic device at play in Isaiah 11:1. Parallelism is common in Isaiah's writing:
Isaiah 11:6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
And the leopard shall like down with the kid
Isaiah 11:15 The Lord shall... shake his hand over the river,
And smite it in the seven streams
However, Isaiah 11:1 is a case of inverted parallelism. In the second line, inverted parallelism simply reverses the order of ideas presented.
Isaiah 2:3 for out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
Isaiah 11:13 Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
And Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
Isaiah 63:2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel,
And thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?
Isaiah 11:1 a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
And a branch shall grow out of his roots.
Note that the concepts in blue match each other, as do the concepts in red. Now we can understand that the stem of Jesse and the Branch are the same individual-Christ. This Branch, then, will grow out of the roots of the rod. That is, the Branch and the rod come from the same ancestor, Jesse. Hereby they are connected. In fact, that is the whole point of the imagery to connect the dots between David's father by lineage with Christ and the rod-servant.
DC 113:4 it is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim
The rod-servant is Joseph Smith. His bloodline extends back through the ages to both Jesse and Ephraim, to both the tribes of Judah and Joseph. What proof do we have of this truth? The word of Isaiah and the latter-day prophets.
"The Book of Mormon contains an important prophecy about a descendant of the ancient Joseph who would also be named Joseph and who would do a great work of salvation among the Israelites to bring them to the knowledge of God's covenants in the last days. (2 Ne. 3:6-11, 14-15.) Joseph Smith, Jr., is this Joseph. His patriarchal blessing identifies him as the heir to the promises of Ephraim (son of the ancient Joseph), and he is called a pure Ephraimite by Brigham Young. (DS 3:250-54; WTP, pp. 125-27)
"There is not the same recorded evidence of Joseph Smith being a descendant of Jesse through the tribe of Judah. However, there were occasions in earlier Church history when a number of the brethren, including Joseph Smith, claimed that they shared lineage with Jesus in the tribe of Judah. (See Life of Heber C. Kimball , p. 185; JD 4:248; Journal of President Rudger Clawson, pp. 374-75; Ivins Journal, p. 21.)
"In short, Joseph Smith fulfills the requirements as a descendant of Joseph through his son Ephraim. He was also a descendant of Judah through Jesse, and he may have descended through the same lineage as Jesus." (Victor Ludow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, p. 172)
It was decreed in the counsels of eternity, long before the foundations of the earth were laid, that he, Joseph Smith, should be the man, in the last dispensation of this world, to bring forth the word of God to the people, and receive the fullness of the keys and power of the Priesthood of the Son of God. The Lord had his eyes upon him, and upon his father, and upon his father's father, and upon their progenitors clear back to Abraham, and from Abraham to the flood, from the flood to Enoch, and from Enoch to Adam. He has watched that family and that blood as it has circulated from its fountain to the birth of that man. He was fore-ordained in eternity to preside over this last dispensation. (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 108)
DC 113:5 what is the root of Jesse spoken of
Based on the tree of life imagery, one would expect the root of Jesse to precede Jesse, perhaps the ancestor of Jesse. Yet, the explanation is that the root is a descendant of Jesse. The inverted parallelism device teaches us that this root is the same as the rod-servant, i.e., Joseph Smith.
Now we are going to paraphrase Isaiah 11:1 so that there can be no misunderstanding:
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots
In other words:
And there shall come forth a man named Joseph Smith as a servant in the hands of Christ, and the Messiah shall come through his same lineage, i.e., the house of Jesse.
DC 113:6 it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom
Who fits this description better than the Prophet Joseph?
John Taylor made this remarkable statement: "Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer of the Lord, has done more, save Jesus only , for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man that ever lived in it." (D&C 135:3) The skeptic might argue that any individual so important would be spoken of in the Bible. To this claim, we would agree wholeheartedly. We would call upon the writings of Isaiah to demonstrate that Joseph Smith was spoken about in the 11th chapter of Isaiah. We would remind them that the Book of Mormon is spoken of in Isaiah 29 and Ezekiel 37. We could go on and on but that is not the point. The point is that Joseph Smith's ministry was tied to Christ's ministry by the writing of Isaiah. Christ would not come a second time until Joseph had performed his mission to restore the priesthood, keys, and ordinances that would keep the world from being destroyed at the Second Coming.
Bruce R. McConkie
Are we amiss in saying that the prophet here mentioned is Joseph Smith, to whom the priesthood came, who received the keys of the kingdom, and who raised the ensign for the gathering of the Lord's people in our dispensation? And is he not also the "servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power"? (D&C 113:4-6.) Those whose ears are attuned to the whisperings of the Infinite will know the meaning of these things. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 340)
Bruce R. McConkie
When Moroni came to Joseph Smith on September 21, 1823, that holy messenger "quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled." (JS-H 1:40) (Ensign, Oct. 1973, 81)
DC 113:6 for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days
Now if the Prophet Joseph Smith was that chosen vessel out of the loins of Joseph, it may be asked by some, what evidence have we of this lineage? I answer, the testimony of God, the best of all testimony, for no record kept by mortal man can be equal to it... And even if we had the lineage of the fathers, it would not be as sure and certain to us as the word of the Lord. For he has had his eye upon the chosen spirits that have come upon the earth in the various ages from the beginning of the world up to this time; and as he said to Abraham, speaking of the multitudes of spirits that were shown unto him in heavenly vision, you see that some are more noble than others? Yes. Then you may know there were some others still more noble than they; and he speaks in the same manner of the multitude of the heavenly bodies; and said he to Abraham, thou art one of those noble ones whom I have chosen to be my rulers. The Lord has sent those noble spirits into the world to perform a special work, and appointed their times; and they have always fulfilled the mission given them, and their future glory and exaltation is secured unto them; and that is what I understand by the doctrine of election spoken of by the Apostle Paul and other sacred writers: "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." Such were called and chosen and elected of God to perform a certain work at a certain time of the world's history and in due time he fitted them for that work...
Now the same spirit of revelation that sought out the Prophet Joseph from the loins of Joseph who was sold into Egypt, and that raised him up in this dispensation to receive the keys of the Priesthood and to lay the foundation of this great work in the earth, has also called the children of Abraham from among the kingdoms and countries of the earth to first hear and then embrace the everlasting Gospel; and the remnants of the seed of Ephraim who were scattered from Palestine and who colonized the shores of the Caspian Sea and thence made their way into the north of Europe, western Scandinavia and northern Germany, penetrating Scotland and England, and conquering those nations and reigning as monarchs of Great Britain, and mingling their seed with the Anglo-Saxon race, and spreading over the waters a fruitful vine, as predicted by Jacob, whose branches should run over the wall. Their blood has permeated European society, and it coursed in the veins of the early colonists of America. And when the books shall be opened and the lineage of all men is known, it will be found that they have been first and foremost in everything noble among men in the various nations in breaking off the shackles of kingcraft and priestcraft and oppression of every kind, and the foremost among men in upholding and maintaining the principles of liberty and freedom upon this continent and establishing a representative government, and thus preparing the way for the coming forth of the fullness of the everlasting Gospel. And it is the foremost of those spirits whom the Lord has prepared to receive the Gospel when it was presented to them, and who did not wait for the Elders to hunt them from the hills and corners of the earth, but they were hunting for the Elders, impelled by a spirit which then they could not understand; and for this reason were they among the first Elders of the Church; they and the fathers having been watched over from the days that God promised those blessings upon Isaac and Jacob and Joseph and Ephraim. And these are they that will be found in the front ranks of all that is noble and good in their day and time, and who will be found among those whose efforts are directed in establishing upon the earth those heaven-born principles which tend directly to blessing and salvation, to ameliorating the condition of their fellow men, and elevating them in the scale of their being; and among those also who receive the fullness of the Everlasting Gospel, and the keys of Priesthood in the last days, through whom God determined to gather up again unto himself a peculiar people, a holy nation, a pure seed that shall stand upon Mount Zion as saviors, not only to the house of Israel but also to the house of Esau. (Journal of Discourses, 23:185)
Gordon B. Hinckley
My brethren and sisters, the priesthood is upon the earth, the power of God given to men to act in His name and for His purposes. It carries with it "the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering" of the people of the Lord in the last days. (D&C 113:6.)
My co-workers in this great cause and kingdom, you and I are weaving the grand design of that standard to the nations. It waves to all the world. It says to men and women everywhere: "Come, walk with us and learn of the ways of the Lord. Here is the priesthood given to men in these last days. Here are the great keys for the redemption of the dead. Here is the authority to carry the gospel to the nations of the earth."
We do not say it selfishly. We do not say it with egotism. We do not say it boastfully. We say it as those charged with a great and compelling responsibility. We say it with love in our hearts for the God of heaven and the risen Lord, and with love for the children of men everywhere.
To those of the Church, all within the sound of my voice, I give the challenge that while you are performing the part to which you have been called, never lose sight of the whole majestic and wonderful picture of the purpose of this, the dispensation of the fulness of times. Weave beautifully your small thread in the grand tapestry, the pattern for which was laid out for us by the God of heaven. Hold high the standard under which we walk. Be diligent, be true, be virtuous, be faithful, that there may be no flaw in that banner. ("An Ensign to the Nations," Ensign, Nov 1989, 51)
DC 113:7 Who was Elias Higbee?
"Soon after joining the Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, Elias Higbee moved his family to Jackson County, Missouri. Mobocracy in 1833 forced their removal to Clay County, where Elias was given his first of several leadership assignments in the Church. He was a high councilor in Clay County before serving as a clerk, historian, recorder, and high councilor in Far West. His only elected position in Missouri was that of judge of Caldwell County. In this capacity he ordered 'the sheriff of said county to call out the militia' to disperse the mobs and retake Mormon prisoners near Richmond. The Battle of Crooked River was a direct result of this official order.
"In March 1838 Elias asked the Prophet Joseph Smith to explain the meaning of several verses in Isa. 52:1. The answers given are contained in D&C 113:1. In 1838 he was driven from Missouri by mobbers and lost all that he had owned...
"On 7 June 1843 [the Prophet] wrote, 'Visited Elias Higbee, who was very sick.' He had been ill only five days from cholera morbus and inflammation when he died on 8 June 1843 at his home [in Nauvoo] at the age of forty-seven.
"The Prophet wrote, 'His loss will be universally lamented, not only by his family, but by a large circle of brethren who have long witnessed his integrity and uprightness, as well as a life of devotedness to the cause of truth.' (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 134-135)
DC 113:7 What is meant by the command... Put on thy strength, O Zion?
By 1838, the Missouri saints were pretty tired of being pushed around. Troubles in Jackson County were only a prelude to troubles in Far West. History suggests that many men were ready to fight rather than submit to any more oppression. Perhaps Elias Higbee felt the same way. Perhaps he wondered if "Put on thy strength, O Zion" was a call to arms. Did it mean the Lord would justify the saints in destroying the mobbers by force? His second question was "What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck"? Isn't it logical to assume that Elias Higbee was looking for a scriptural justification for the Missouri saints to take matters into their own hands? If Zion was to "loose herself" from the bands around her neck, maybe the saints would be justified in fighting their enemies.
Just a few months later, Caldwell County judge Elias Higbee would face this issue again, in the Battle of Crooked River. In October, 1838 the saints would try their hand at self-defense. It would seem they were yet unfamiliar with the word of the Lord, "I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil-I will fight your battles." (D&C 105:14) Their attempts at self-defense would result in the Battle of Crooked River, the Haun's Mill Massacre, and the Lilburn Boggs Extermination Order.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Battle of Crooked River.-Captain Bogart, although a member of the state militia, continued his depredations against the Saints. On the night of the 24th of October, 1838, this reverend captain with his force went to the home of Nathan Pinkham and took him and two other brethren prisoners, together with some horses and arms. The word reached Far West, and Judge Elias Higbee, the first judge of the County of Caldwell, ordered Lieutenant Colonel Hinkle, the highest officer in the militia at Far West, to send out a company to disperse the mobbers and release the prisoners. The trumpet sounded in the public square about midnight and the brethren assembled. Captain David W. Patten was given command of a company and ordered to go on horseback to the scene of the difficulty. The history of what occurred is given as follows:
"Fifteen of the company were detached from the main body while sixty continued their march till they arrived near the ford of Crooked River, where they dismounted, tied their horses and leaving four or five men to guard them, proceeded towards the ford, not knowing the location of the encampment. It was just at the dawning of light in the east, when they were marching quietly along the road, and near the top of the hill which descends to the river, that the report of a gun was heard, and young Patrick O'Banion reeled out of the ranks and fell mortally wounded. Thus the work of death commenced, when Captain Patten ordered a charge and rushed down the hill on a fast trot, and when within about fifty yards of the camp formed a line. The mob formed a line under the bank of the river, below their tents. It was yet so dark that little could be seen by looking at the west, while the mob looking towards the dawning light, could see Patten and his men, when they fired a broadside, and three or four of the brethren fell. Captain Patten ordered the fire returned, which was instantly obeyed, to great disadvantage in the darkness which yet continued. The fire was repeated by the mob, and returned by Captain Patten's company, who gave the watchword, 'God and Liberty.' Captain Patten then ordered a charge, which was instantly obeyed. The parties immediately came in contact, with their swords, and the mob were soon put to flight, crossing the river at the ford, and such places as they could get a chance. In the pursuit, one of the mob fled from behind a tree, wheeled and shot Captain Patten who instantly fell, mortally wounded, having received a large ball in his bowels.
"The ground was soon cleared, and the brethren gathered up a wagon or two, and making beds therein of tents, etc., took their wounded and retreated towards Far West. Three brethren were wounded in the bowels, one in the neck, one in the shoulder, one through the hips, one through both thighs, one in the arm, all by musket shot. One had his arm broken by a sword. Brother Gideon Carter was shot in the head, and left dead on the ground so defaced that the brethren did not know him. Bogart reported that he had lost one man. The three prisoners were released and returned with the brethren to Far West. Captain Patten was carried some of the way in a litter, but it caused so much distress that he begged to be left by the wayside. He was carried into Brother Winchester's, three miles from the city of Far West, where he died that night. Patrick O'Banion died soon after, and Brother Carter's body was also brought from Crooked River, when it was discovered who he was."
The result of this conflict brought sorrow to the Church at Far West. Joseph and Hyrum Smith and Lyman Wight met the brethren on their return, at Log Creek, where they did all that could be done for Captain Patten before his death. (Essentials in Church History [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 187-188)
Gerald N. Lund
The time was fall 1838. The place was Caldwell County, Missouri. Tensions were running high. In the previous two years, more than five thousand Latter-day Saints had moved into what had been a sparsely populated county. The old settlers were getting nervous. Too many Yankee Mormons were moving in. Missouri had entered the Union as a slave state, and it wanted to stay that way. The militia and mobs began to prowl. On the night of 24 October, a mob broke into an isolated settlement, burned the haystacks, torched the barns, and then kidnapped three Latter-day Saint men and threatened to take them back to Jackson County to execute them.
When word reached Joseph Smith in Far West, he called out the Mormon militia under the direction of David Patten, who was second senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve. He gathered a group of men to ride out and intercept that group.1 On the way, they stopped at James Hendricks' home and asked him to join them. While he prepared, his wife, Drusilla, filled with great fear but also faith, got his gun down from the fireplace and handed it to him. As he left she said, "Don't get shot in the back."
They rode all that night. Just at morning they came upon a little place called Crooked River. They didn't realize at first that the mob was camped right across the river. The little band of Mormons was coming from the west, and the rising sun was in their eyes. The Saints couldn't see the mob as they began to cross the river. One of the Missouri picket guards first saw the brethren coming and opened fire. Patrick O'Bannion was hit immediately and died before noon. A fierce battle erupted. Another man, Gideon Carter, was shot in the face and killed instantly. As David Patten tried to fall back across the river, he was shot in the stomach. He died before nightfall, the first apostle martyred in this dispensation. And James Hendricks? As the furious fire erupted, he turned, ran for shelter, and caught a ball in the back of the neck. He fell to the ground paralyzed from the neck down.
On October 27, two days later, in Jefferson City, Missouri, Governor Lilburn W. Boggs received a wildly exaggerated account of what had happened at Crooked River. He was told that the whole Missouri militia had been massacred when actually they had lost only one man. The Mormons had lost three dead and seven wounded. In great anger, Governor Boggs issued an executive order that, among other things, read, "The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be exterminated or driven from the state."
About twelve miles west of Far West was a small settlement named Haun's Mill for its founder, Jacob Haun, who had built a grist mill there on Shoal Creek. October 30 was a beautiful Indian summer day. About four o'clock in the afternoon, the women were sitting on their porches shucking corn or doing other things to prepare for the winter. The men were out doing the last of the work in the fields, and the children were playing close by. Suddenly they heard a low rumble and looked up. Across the meadow and the trees, they saw about 240 men riding toward them. The captain of the Haun's Mill militia ran out, waving his hat and crying, "Peace! Peace!" Instead, the riders opened fire. The scene of tranquillity erupted in terror. Children screamed. Women ran to rescue their children. The invaders fired at everyone in sight. Fathers grabbed their sons and ran for the blacksmith's shop, the strongest building in the settlement. The mob showed no discrimination whatsoever. One woman, Mary Stedwell, darted across the road, headed for the millpond. Bullets pinged all around her as she ran across the millrace. Finally one bullet found its target: Mary was shot through the palm of her hand, and, fainting, fell behind a log. Later, the Saints dug out between fifteen and twenty bullets from the log that sheltered her.
Far more serious, the men and boys who had run into the blacksmith shop had made a terrible mistake. The heavy logs making up the walls had never been chinked, leaving great cracks all the way around the building. As the Saints barricaded the door, the mob dismounted, stepped up to the walls, put the muzzles through the cracks, and opened fire. In the deadly hail of bullets, most of the men were killed outright, and others were wounded. Finally the mob broke through the door and walked around, systematically shooting the survivors. Warren Smith had taken his two sons in with him for protection: Sardius was ten, and Alma was seven. In terror the boys dived beneath the blacksmith's bellows. They watched as a man put a gun to their father's head and pulled the trigger. A member of the mob heard them cry and looked underneath the bellows where he could see Sardius. He tried to pull the boy out, but when he couldn't, he simply put his rifle under the bellows, against Sardius' head, and pulled the trigger. Alma, whimpering in terror, burrowed deeper beneath the bellows. Another man reached in with his muzzle, couldn't quite reach Alma, but fired anyway, blowing away Alma's hip joint. Twenty minutes later, when the mob rode away with clothing and treasures they had looted from the cabins, they left seventeen dead and thirteen wounded. The Haun's Mill massacre became a tragic event in our history. (Dawn Anderson, Dlora Dalton, and Susette Green, eds., Every Good Thing: Talks from the 1997 BYU Women's Conference [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1998], 266 - 267)
DC 113:8 to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood
Franklin D. Richards
Here is Israel gathering together, being taught of the Lord, to learn of His ways and walk in His paths, that they may receive the blessing and be clothed upon with power, as the Prophet said: "Awake, awake; put, on thy strength, O Zion, put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem." What are these beautiful garments? These beautiful garments are the clothing upon with the authority and power of the Holy Priesthood. It is that which makes people beautiful; it is that which makes people useful; it is that which causes the Saints to sing: "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of Him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth." It is that excellence of the knowledge of God that makes men and women beautiful, and makes their acts delightful when they are performed in righteousness in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I rejoice when I look around and contemplate this precious privilege-that there is scarcely an individual that has come to years of judgment and understanding but is a partaker of some measure of the Priesthood, if no more than the office of a Deacon that can administer blessing by attending to the door, wait upon the tables, and also by attending to other temporal duties from time to time as they may occur.
Here let me say, that every officer in the Church, from the Deacon up to the Apostle, should realize that it is his duty to endeavor to administer blessings by the virtue of the calling of God which is upon him; he ought to feel thus, and every sister that is the wife of such an husband should feel, if she has received with him her blessings in the house of the Lord, that it is her privilege and duty to administer blessings, comfort and happiness to her husband, to her children, to her family and household. Every one in all the Church should be filled with a spirit of blessing. The authority of the Priesthood should cause a gushing forth from the fountain of the heart, a bubbling forth of streams of blessing, of consolation, of comfort and of rejoicing, each should try to help and benefit the other in every possible way. (Journal of Discourses, 26:100)
DC 113:8 the priesthood, which she, Zion, has a right to by lineage
"That restoration was not merely the return to the earth of the priesthood and its several keys, but the establishment of the patriarchal order on earth. This was to be accomplished through the ministry of those who had the legal right, by promise, to the priesthood in the last days. For this reason the revelation stated that the priesthood was to remain in and through the designated individuals and their descendants, who would bring about the restoration of all things." (Hyrum L. Andrus, Doctrines of the Kingdom [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973], 533)
DC 113:10 We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exhorted to return to the Lord
"Joseph Smith became a 'father of the faithful' to those of this dispensation, the means by which the chosen lineage could be identified, gathered, organized as family units, and sealed forevermore into the house of Israel to their God. The Patriarch in the days of the early Church, Joseph Smith Sr., blessed his son as follows: 'A marvelous work and a wonder has the Lord wrought by thy hand, even that which shall prepare the way for the remnants of his people to come in among the Gentiles, with their fulness, as the tribes of Israel are restored. I bless thee with the blessings of thy Fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; and even the blessings of thy father Joseph, the son of Jacob. Behold, he looked after his posterity in the last days, when they should be scattered and driven by the Gentiles.'" (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 266 - 267)
I will say to this congregation, Jew and Gentile, believer and unbeliever, that this is the great kingdom spoken of by Daniel, the commencement of the Zion of our God, which every prophet has spoken of who has referred to the Zion of the last days. The Lord has sworn by himself, because he could swear by no greater, that he will establish it in the latter days. But to do this he must get a people to work with him. It could not be done otherwise if the world stood for a million years, for it is by the agency which men hold that he accomplishes his purposes on the earth. The Lord prepared the way for this age and generation, and he has raised up some of the noblest spirits in this dispensation that ever dwelt in the flesh. He ordained Joseph Smith from before the foundation of the world, to come forth and lay the foundation of his kingdom. (Journal of Discourses, 11:246)
Bruce R. McConkie
The dispensation of the fulness of times is the greatest of all the dispensations. In it the gospel shall be preached to more people than in all previous dispensations combined. In it the saving ordinances will be performed for the endless hosts of men who lived without a true knowledge of Christ and his saving truths. In it Israel shall be gathered and a people prepared for our Lord's return. (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 117)
DC 113:10 The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her
Beautiful but sad imagery! Israel was bound as a slave before her master, but the shackles were self-inflicted. Moses explained exactly what would happen to his people if they would not keep their covenants. His prophecies were fulfilled to the last jot and tiniest tittle.
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field.
Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store.
Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep.
Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out.
The LORD shall send upon thee cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that thou settest thine hand unto for to do, until thou be destroyed, and until thou perish quickly; because of the wickedness of thy doings, whereby thou hast forsaken me.
... And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.
And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest: but the LORD shall give thee there a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: (Deut. 28:15-65)