Section 92

DC 92; Historical Background

Sidney Rigdon's congregation had both visionary and utopian ideals prior to their conversion to the Church.  When the early revelations spoke of taking care of the poor and the law of consecration, the new converts were ready to try it.  Called the firm or the order, the saints tried to live according to the commandment to "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).  Like the practice of polygamy a generation later, the most faithful and diligent of saints were the primary participants.  Apparently, when Frederick G. Williams was called to replace Jesse Gause to the Presidency of the High Priesthood, or First Presidency, he was not a member of the order. 

Certainly, a member of the First Presidency should be expected not only to live the law of consecration but to do so in an exemplary manner.  Thus, by command, Brother Williams was to participate in the United Order.  Soon thereafter, he would be a leader in the administration of properties and in Zion's camp.

DC 92 Biographical Sketch: Frederick G. Williams

"Frederick was serving as a justice of the peace in Kirtland when he met the missionaries sent to the Lamanites (see D&C 32). Rebecca readily received their message of the gospel and the Book of Mormon. Before Frederick was converted he carefully weighed the truthfulness of their preaching by comparing the Book of Mormon with the teachings of the Bible. In October 1830 he was baptized, confirmed, and ordained an elder. As the missionaries contemplated continuing their journey to the western frontier, they invited their new convert to join them. Frederick was acquainted with the frontier and his insights proved helpful on the journey. After a ten-month absence he returned to his family in Kirtland.

"In March 1832 the Lord called him to be a counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see D&C 81:1-3, 6). The love of the Prophet for his counselor is best illustrated by Joseph's naming his newborn son 'Frederick Granger Williams Smith.' The Prophet trusted him with myriad responsibilities. He was a personal scribe, an organizer of the printing firm F. G. Williams and Company, and an editor of the Northern Times. Joseph Smith penned:

"'Frederick G. Williams is one of those men in whom I place the greatest confidence and trust, for I have found him ever full of love and brotherly kindness. He is not a man of many words, but is ever winning, because of his constant mind. He shall ever have place in my heart... God grant that he may overcome all evil. Blessed be Brother Frederick, for he shall never want a friend; and his generation after him shall flourish.'

"In May 1834 Frederick deeded his farm to the Prophet and joined Zion's Camp with the hope of redeeming Zion. He served as paymaster of the camp until the men were discharged. Upon returning to Kirtland he continued to faithfully demonstrate his love of the gospel and the latter-day work. Perhaps because of his unwavering faith he was privileged to witness an angel enter the Kirtland Temple on the day of dedication. He testified that the angel sat 'between Father Smith and himself, and remained there during the prayer.' He further testified that 'the Savior, dressed in his vesture without seam, came into the stand and accepted of the dedication of the house, that he saw him, and gave a description of his clothing and all things pertaining to it.'" (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, [SLC: Deseret Book Co. 1997], 346-347)

DC 92:2  be a lively member

"'And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; ... for ye serve the Lord Christ.' (Col. 3:23-24.)

"With these words, Paul indicated the type of response the Lord expects from his children. The Lord has counseled the members of the Church 'not only to say, but also to do that which I have commanded' (D&C 84:57), and he has instructed 'the inhabitants of Zion' to 'remember their labors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the idler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord' (D&C 68:30).

"In the early days of the restored church, Frederick G. Williams was commanded to become 'a lively member' (D&C 92:2), a reminder that Peter spoke of the faithful members of the church as 'lively stones' (1 Pet. 2:5).

"'A lively member' himself, Paul warned the saints that they would be rewarded in kind. 'He which soweth sparingly shall reap sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, ... not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.' (2 Cor. 9:6-7.)" (Robert J. Matthews, "Searching the Scriptures: How to Magnify Our Callings," Ensign, Mar. 1973, 54)