DC 90 Historical Background
In general, the first few months of 1833 were a joyous time for the Kirtland Saints. Joseph completed his revised translation of the New Testament on 2 February 1833, but there had been some grumblings between the brethren in Kirtland and the brethren in Zion. Letters of reprimand were sent, first by the Prophet Joseph and second by Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, acting as representatives of a conference of high priests. (See History of the Church 1:316-321) The leadership in Zion, including Oliver Cowdery and William W. Phelps, responded in a conciliatory letter accepted by the Kirtland brethren. However, the trouble in Zion was not over.
At this early stage, the Church had been restored, but the organizational structure was still in its infancy. A quorum of High Priests had recently been established. The Quorum of the Twelve didn't even exist. The First Presidency had not yet fully taken shape. Bishops in Kirtland and Missouri were trying to administer temporal affairs according to the principles of the United Order. No one had more than 2 ½ years experience as a member of the church. We must remember that to go from sectarian Christianity to celestial obedience and organization in only a couple of years was a tall order, even for the great souls who were drawn to the Prophet.
"25 January 1832... at the Lord's direction Joseph Smith was sustained and ordained President of the High Priesthood of the Church (see note to History of the Church, 1:243). Six weeks later, on 8 March 1832, Sidney Rigdon and Jesse Gause were also called and ordained as counselors to Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the High Priesthood (see D&C 107:9, 21-22, 65-67,91-92). The Kirtland Revelation Book (10-11) contains the following brief statement of these events: 'March 8, 1832: Chose this day and ordained brother Jesse Gause and Brother Sidney to be my counselors of the ministry of the presidency of the high Priesthood.'
"President Jesse Gause was excommunicated from the Church on 3 December 1832. Consequently, on 5 January 1833, Frederick G. Williams, who had served as a clerk to the Presidency since 20 July 1832, was called to replace Brother Gause as a counselor. However, it does not appear that the Presidency was officially reorganized in the modern sense at that time. Exactly one year after Joseph had chosen his original counselors in the Presidency of the High Priesthood, he received on 8 March 1833 at Kirtland Doctrine and Covenants 90, which revelation confirmed the callings of Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams as counselors in the Presidency. Doctrine and Covenants 90 also further defined their duties as counselors to Joseph Smith and for the first time declared that the President's counselors were to be 'accounted as equal with [him] in holding the keys of this last kingdom' (v. 6). Ten days later, on 18 March 1833, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams were ordained counselors to Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the High Priesthood as defined in Doctrine and Covenants 90. Of this occasion, Joseph wrote, 'Elder Rigdon expressed a desire that himself and Brother Frederick G. Williams should be ordained to the offices to which they had been called, viz., those of Presidents of the High Priesthood, and to be equal in holding the keys of the kingdom with Brother Joseph Smith, Jun., according to the revelation given on the 9th of March, 1833.'
"This new Presidency of the High Priesthood, or First Presidency, as it later came to be known was different from the previous Presidency in that it was organized as a quorum with Joseph's counselors 'accounted as equal with [him] in holding the keys' (v. 6) while the President lived and while they were in harmony with him. Since 1833, the term 'Presidency of the High Priesthood' has been used synonymously with the term 'First Presidency of the Church.'" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 3:155-156)
Orson F. Whitney
The original offices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were elder, priest, teacher, and deacon; all, except elder, callings in the Aaronic Priesthood. Other offices, pertaining to the Priesthood of Melchizedek, were evolved as fast as they became necessary. For instance, the first bishops were ordained in 1831, nearly a year after the Church was organized. There was no First Presidency until 1832, and no stake organization until 1834. The twelve apostles were not chosen until 1835, nor the first quorums of seventy. But all these offices and callings were inherent in the Priesthood, conferred upon Joseph Smith before the Church had any organization at all. They who find fault with the Church,-as some who have left it do,-on the ground that the Lord organized it with elders, priests, teachers and deacons, and that men have added such titles and dignities as high priest, president, patriarch, etc., would be no more inconsistent were they to criticize a human being for not remaining a child, for growing up to manhood or womanhood and fulfiling their measure of creation. (Gospel Themes [Salt Lake City: n.p., 1914], 81 - 82.)
DC 90:3 the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you
George Q. Cannon
Now we may come to this conclusion; that God, having once bestowed the keys of the holy Priesthood on man here on the earth for the upbuilding of His Church, will never take them from the man or men who hold them and authorize others to bestow them. If you will read the history of the Church from the beginning, you will find that Joseph was visited by various angelic beings, but not one of them professed to give him the keys until John the Baptist came to him. Moroni, who held the keys of the record of the stick of Ephraim, visited Joseph; he had doubtless, also, visits from Nephi and it may be from Alma and others, but though they came and had authority, holding the authority of the Priesthood, we have no account of their ordaining him, neither did Joseph ever profess, because of the ministration of these angels, to have authority to administer in any of the ordinances of the Kingdom of God. He never baptized anybody, nor attempted to lay on hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost; and, in fact, he never attempted, that we have any account of, to exercise any of the functions of the holy Priesthood. He was a prophet, it is true, but a man may be a prophet and yet not have authority to administer in the Priesthood. (Journal of Discourses, 12/5/1869, vol. 13:47)
DC 90:3 neither in the world to come
This verse indicates that Joseph Smith and his counselors retain the keys of the presidency in the next world as well. The Prophet did not give up these keys when he was martyred; he took them with him into the spirit world. Evidence for this is found in a Wilford Woodruff quote. Elder Woodruff admitted that he had seen the Prophet Joseph several times in vision. In the world of spirits, the Prophet, it seemed, was always quite busy exercising the keys he held as President of the High Priesthood in this the last dispensation.
Joseph Smith continued visiting myself and others up to a certain time, and then it stopped. The last time I saw him was in heaven. In the night vision I saw him at the door of the temple in heaven. He came and spoke to me. He said he could not stop to talk with me because he was in a hurry. The next man I met was Father Smith; he could not talk with me because he was in a hurry. I met half a dozen brethren who had held high positions on earth, and none of them could stop to talk with me because they were in a hurry. I was much astonished. By and by I saw the Prophet again, and I got the privilege to ask him a question. "Now," said I, "I want to know why you are in a hurry. I have been in a hurry all through my life; but I expected my hurry would be over when I got into the kingdom of heaven, if I ever did." Joseph said: "I will tell you, Brother Woodruff. Every dispensation that has had the Priesthood on the earth and has gone into the celestial kingdom, has had a certain amount of work to do to prepare to go to the earth with the Savior when He goes to reign on the earth. Each dispensation has had ample time to do this work. We have not. We are the last dispensation, and so much work has to be done, and we need to be in a hurry in order to accomplish it." Of course, that was satisfactory to me, but it was new doctrine to me. (Brian H. Stuy, ed., Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], 5: October 19, 1896.)
William H. Smart
Brethren and sisters, if we observe the laws of God we can understand that the oracles of God were given unto the Prophet Joseph, and that, while he still holds the keys behind the veil, those same keys were given unto his successors. If we do not understand this, then we are liable to be overthrown when the rains descend and the winds blow, etc. Let us endeavor to keep our hearts attuned and our eyes open, that we may be impressionable to the Spirit of God, and be united with His servants upon the earth, that when, in the "times of refreshing," the Lord comes we may be counted among His jewels. I ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen. (Conference Report, Oct. 1907, 85)
DC 90:4 Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another
"The Lord revealed to Joseph Smith in 1832 that the keys of the kingdom 'belong always unto the Presidency of the High Priesthood' (D&C 81:2). A year later the Lord further revealed that the counselors in the First Presidency 'are accounted as equal with [Joseph Smith] in holding the keys of this last kingdom' (D&C 90:6). Two years later the Lord stated that these 'three Presiding High Priests ... form a quorum of the Presidency of the Church' (D&C 107:22). 10 Despite these revelations, there seems to have been very little known by the Church about succession in the presidency in these early years. But in his wisdom, the Lord continued to organize the Church, reveal essential doctrines of salvation, and lay the foundational principles of succession that would be needed in subsequent years." (Brent L. Top and Lawrence R. Flake, " 'The Kingdom of God Will Roll On': Succession in the Presidency," Ensign, Aug. 1996, 26-27)
"Two and one-half weeks after the Prophet's death, President Young, while visiting a member in Peterboro, Massachusetts, heard the awful news. Normally a master of his emotions, he recalled that after learning of Joseph Smith's death, he experienced such a severe headache that tears came to his eyes. With Joseph and Hyrum Smith gone, he remembered asking himself, 'Is the priesthood taken from the Earth?' In the next few moments, the organization of the Church passed through President Young's mind, and then the forceful thought came to him 'like a clap': 'The keys of the kingdom are right here with the Church.'
When he returned to Nauvoo, a congregation, formally organized into various priesthood offices, sustained the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as the Church's presiding authority-an act that sustained Brigham Young, President of the Quorum, as the Church's leader. (Ronald W. Walker, "Brigham Young: Student of the Prophet," Ensign, Feb. 1998, 55)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Later in the year 1835, when the Twelve Apostles were chosen and their duties defined, the Lord declared that they were equal with the First Presidency as a quorum. That is, in case of the dissolution or destruction of the First Presidency of the Church, the Twelve should succeed to the presidency, and would thus act until such time and place as the Lord revealed that the First Presidency should again be organized. And whenever the First Presidency should be disorganized it would devolve upon the Apostles' quorum to set in order and direct the affairs of the Church. I quote from section 107:
And they [that is the Twelve] form a quorum, equal in authority and power to the three presidents previously mentioned.
The Seventy are also called to preach the gospel, and to be especial witnesses unto the Gentiles and in all the world-thus differing from other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.
And they form a quorum, equal in authority to that of the Twelve special witnesses or Apostles just named. (D&C 107:24-26.)
That is to say, when the First Presidency is disorganized, the Twelve Apostles become the presiding quorum of the Church until the presidency is again organized, and during that time they are virtually the presidency of the Church-the presiding quorum. If through some cause-which is not likely to arise-both these quorums should be destroyed, then it would devolve on the Seventies to set in order the Church and they would become the presiding quorum. This is the law that God has revealed, and it is the only law and order of the priesthood that he has revealed for the guidance of the Church in succession. ("Succession in the Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints," Pamphlets: Latter-Day Tracts)
DC 90:5 all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them
Sometimes the saints are much too flippant with the counsel of the Brethren. It is a very dangerous thing to disregard the counsel of the First Presidency. Elder Bruce R. McConkie reminded us: "Revelations given by God through his prophets are oracles. (Acts 7:38; Rom. 3:2; Heb. 5:12.) The First Presidency are appointed 'to receive the oracles for the whole church.' (D. & C. 124:126.) When these revelations or oracles are given to the people, the recipients are under solemn obligation to walk in the light thus manifest." (Mormon Doctrine, 547)
"The teachings of the Lord on this matter were given in Doctrine and Covenants 90:5 when Frederick G. Williams was sustained as a counselor in the First Presidency: 'And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house.'
"Are the storms here? I expect they are, and there will be more. How can we believe in this book and take statements of the prophet lightly? Elder Marvin J. Ashton warned: 'Any Church member not obedient to the leaders of this Church will not have the opportunity to be obedient to the promptings of the Lord.' We cannot afford to try to live our lives without the help and influence of the Lord if we expect to survive the temptations that surely will come.
"Again, in Doctrine and Covenants 112:20-which, incidentally, was given to Thomas B. Marsh-we read: 'Whosoever receiveth my word receiveth me, and whosoever receiveth me, receiveth those, the First Presidency, whom I have sent, whom I have made counselors for my name's sake unto you.' Marion G. Romney said this about the importance of the First Presidency, 'What they say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here in person.'" (A. Gary Anderson, The Heavens are Opened: 1992 Sidney Sperry Symposium on the Doctrine & Covenants and Church History, 44)
The plea of many in this day is, that we have no right to receive revelations; but if we do not get revelations, we do not have the oracles of God; and if they have not the oracles of God, they are not the people of God. But say you, What will become of the world, or the various professors of religion who do not believe in revelation and the oracles of God as continued to His Church in all ages of the world, when He has a people on earth? I tell you, in the name of Jesus Christ, they will be damned; and when you get into the eternal world, you will find it will be so, they cannot escape the damnation of hell. (The Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 272)
DC 90:7-9 the school of the prophets... that thereby they may be perfected in their ministry
"The school has been represented as an early adult education effort, but the name 'the School of the Prophets' indicated a higher purpose. By alluding to the band of prophets who received instruction under Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha, it implied preparation for a holy work. Missionaries had been going into the field without instruction; in the school, they were to teach one another 'the doctrines of the kingdom,' and virtually everything else-'things both in heaven, and in earth, and under the earth; things which have been; things which are; things which must shortly come to pass.' They were to study 'languages, tongues and people' and 'wars and the perplexities of the nations.' There seems to have been no limit on the knowledge needed to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth...
"They met at the Whitney store early in the morning and continued until late in the afternoon, often fasting through the day. New members were added to the original class of fourteen until the number rose as high as twenty-five. In the school's first term in the winter of 1833, English grammar, taught by Orson Hyde, was the chief subject under discussion, a reflection on the educations of the pupils. Joseph was told to 'become acquainted with all good books and with languages, tongues and people,' and the curriculum of the school doubtless was to follow along the same lines. It was to provide all the training needed for the immense task of conveying the Gospel to the world...
"The School of the Prophets was a huge success, in spite of the occasional arguments during the meetings. When the members finally dispersed in April 1833 to attend to spring work, the two dozen students had received their first training in preaching the Gospel. Earlier missionaries had taught from their own experience, 'full of notions & whims,' as David Witmer put it. No one had summarized the message or defined the key doctrines. After listening to Joseph and comparing notes for three months, the missionaries must have come closer to a unified message." (Richard Lyman Bushman, Rough Stone Rolling [New York: Random House, 2005], 210-215)
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Prophet writes: "Great joy and satisfaction continually beamed in the countenances of the School of the Prophets and the saints, on account of the things revealed, and the progress in the knowledge of God. The high priests assembled in the school room of the Prophets, and were organized according to revelation." It was here on this occasion that the First Presidency was organized. (Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:155)
DC 90:11 every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language
As of 2008, The Church website had information available in 81 different languages. "Since its initial printing in English in 1830, the Book of Mormon has been translated into 72 languages, beginning with Danish in 1851. Selections of it have been printed in an additional 32 languages. (Ensign, Sept. 2004, 75)
Update - as of September 2014, the Church website has 105 languages represented. The online store allows you to select among 76 languages when ordering The Book of Mormon.
Dean L. Larsen
The Lord declared to Joseph Smith in March 1833, "For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language. ..." (D&C 90:11.) To a remarkable degree this promise is being fulfilled, for in each of these area conferences, through a system of simultaneous translation, every participant is able to hear the spoken word in his native tongue.
The challenges of a worldwide Church reach beyond the administrative level. As in the time of the Apostle Paul, the members of the Church are faced with the need to develop a spirit of international brotherhood and sisterhood...
There is no room in today's far-flung Church membership for narrow local interests and provincialism. Racial and cultural differences must give way to an overriding view of the brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God. The segmenting biases that worked such a destructive influence in the church of Paul's day cannot be allowed to take root in this dispensation. ("The Challenges of Administering a Worldwide Church," Ensign, July 1974, 22)
DC 90:13 when you have finished the translation of the prophets
By the time of this revelation, the New Testament translation had just been completed. Interestingly, the Lord doesn't refer to the Old Testament directly. Instead, he refers to the Old Testament as "the prophets." Joseph Smith did spend more time working on the portions of the Old Testament that dealt with the ancient prophets and the prophetic section from Isaiah to Malachi.
"On 2 February 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio, the Prophet recorded in his journal: 'I completed the translation and review of the New Testament on the 2nd of February, 1833, and sealed it up, no more to be opened till it arrived in Zion.' (History of the Church, 1:324.) 'Zion' meant Independence, Missouri, where William W. Phelps had established the Church printing press. In April 1833, an inquiry was received from Brother Phelps as to whether he should print the new translation in the monthly issues of The Evening and the Morning Star. The Prophet's reply, dated 21 April 1833, reads:
It is not the will of the Lord to print any of the new Translation in the Star; but when it is published, it will all go to the world together, in a volume by itself; and the New Testament and the Book of Mormon will be printed together. (History of the Church, 1:341.)
"Having completed the New Testament, the Brethren then returned to the book of Genesis and continued with the translation of the Old Testament. On 8 March 1833, the Lord spoke to them about other duties that needed to be taken care of, but not until after they had 'finished the translation of the prophets.' (D&C 90:13.)
"Then on 6 May 1833, at Kirtland, Ohio, the Lord counseled the Prophet, 'It is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures.' (D&C 93:53.) On the same day another revelation was received in which the Lord gave instruction concerning a printing house to be built:
And again, verily I say unto you, the second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me for the building of a house unto me, for the work of the printing of the translation of my scriptures. (D&C 94:10.)
"These revelations suggest some urgency about completing the work and getting it printed.
"On 25 June 1833, the Prophet wrote again to Brother Phelps in Missouri: 'In regard to the printing of the New Translation: It cannot be done until we can attend to it ourselves, and this we will do as soon as the Lord permits.' (History of the Church, 1:365.)
"A week later, on 2 July 1833, in a letter to the brethren in Zion, the Prophet wrote that 'we are exceedingly fatigued, owing to a great press of business. We this day finished the translating of the Scriptures, for which we returned gratitude to our Heavenly Father.' (History of the Church, 1:368.) The words 'Finished on the 2nd day of July 1833' also occur in bold handwriting on the JST manuscript at the conclusion of the book of Malachi.
"Although the Prophet states that the translation activity was 'finished' on 2 July 1833, the manuscript was not ready to be given to a printer. During the remaining eleven years of his life he continued to revise and add to the text and to make other editorial refinements to prepare the document for printing." (Robert J. Matthews, "Joseph Smith's Efforts to Publish His Bible 'Translation,' " Ensign, Jan. 1983, 60-61)
DC 90:15 become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people
Joe J. Christensen
Commit to read good books throughout your life. Some people learn to read but don't read very much. A few years ago, a disturbing poll indicated that 56 percent of college graduates never read a book all the way through after their schooling. We might ask ourselves, Are we reading? Are we growing in wisdom?
The scriptural commandment to us is to "seek ... out of the best books words of wisdom" and "become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people" (D&C 88:118; D&C 90:15; emphasis added). What we choose to read will make a huge difference in the development of our minds and character.
We cannot justify mentally shifting into neutral and failing to exert our efforts to progress intellectually. In 1838 Sidney Rigdon, a member of the First Presidency, addressed a group of relatively new members of the Church, some of whom apparently thought all they had to do was be baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then just sit back and wait to receive the celestial glory. He said: "Vain are the hopes of those who embrace the gospel, and then suppose ... they have nothing more to do. ... The great God ... never thought of ... raising up a society of ignoramuses, but of men and women of intelligence ... as high as human nature was susceptible" (Elders' Journal, Aug. 1838, p. 53).
So the challenge is the same for us all-to continue learning throughout our lives, and especially learning more about the gospel. ("Resolutions," Ensign, Dec. 1994, 62)
Marion G. Romney
There are probably no people today who have made stronger commitments to learning than have the Latter-day Saints. Our commitments are sustained by the fact that the Lord has told us to "study and learn, and become acquainted with all good books, and with languages, tongues, and people." (D&C 90:15.) For, said he, "It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance" (D&C 131:6)-that is, in ignorance of the truth. "A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge," added the Prophet Joseph Smith. (History of the Church, 4:588.)
The Lord also said that "the glory of God is intelligence" (D&C 93:36) and, said the Prophet Joseph, "Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. ...
"If a person gains more knowledge and intelligence in this life through his diligence and obedience than another, he will have so much the advantage in the world to come." (D&C 130:18-19.)
And again, the Lord said, "Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should ... obtain knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion." (D&C 93:53.) ("Commitment and Dedication," Ensign, Mar. 1983, 3)
DC 90:19-23 Instructions to the Bishop on temporal matters
The Kirtland saints were trying to live as the New Testament saints, having "all things common." Often, extended families or more than one nuclear family would reside in the same dwelling. The Prophet's family lived in a few different homes during the Kirtland period, including Newel K. Whitney's and John Johnson's home in nearby Hiram. With the constant influx of converts, these "families" would change very frequently. The job of "giving an inheritance in Zion" devolved upon the Bishop. The Kirtland Bishop was Newel K. Whitney. Providing a residence for Frederick G. Williams, recommending that the Prophet's father and Sidney Rigdon remain in their current residences, and obtaining an agent to discharge the debt of the storehouse were all Bishop Whitney's responsibilities.
Today, a bishop would discharge his duties by the direction of the Spirit. However, in the early days of the Church, with the Seer Joseph so available, revelation often came through the Prophet. So rather than this instruction coming to Bishop Whitney through impressions of the Spirit, the Prophet Joseph receives it directly from the Lord. Throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, we see direction come from Jehovah to Joseph regarding matters of less than eternal significance. In a way, it represents a different pattern of revelation. Today, priesthood leaders receive divine direction through the power of the Holy Ghost. In the Prophet's day, Joseph received "the word of the Lord" from Jehovah. Another example of this pattern is seen in the manner in which Brethren would ask the Prophet to inquire about their duty in the new church (D&C 14-16; 33; 34; 36; 39-40, et al). These revelations can be compared to individual patriarchal blessings. However, the office and duties of a patriarch had not yet been completely revealed. Neither method of receiving revelation should be considered superior to the other-just different. One might argue that a patriarchal blessing given through the Spirit by a local patriarch is as desirable as a direct revelation from the Lord via the Prophet. Also, we should remember that acting as a priesthood leader with enough spiritual sensitivity to follow the Spirit correctly usually takes years of service to develop. The early Brethren were still learning some of these spiritual skills.
DC 90:24 search diligently
Joseph Fielding Smith
Now, what does the Lord expect of us when he says "Search diligently"? I think he wants us to seek his face, to call upon him while he is near, to turn our hearts to him. He wants us to seek the companionship of his Holy Spirit, to be born again, to cleanse and perfect our souls. He wants us to seek righteousness, to seek an inheritance in his kingdom, to desire the association of clean and upright people both now and forever.
I think he wants us to come unto a knowledge of him and his laws, to search the scriptures, to learn to speak to the Lord and to hear the answers he sends us. We must learn to pray with all the energy of our souls, both in public and in private. We must live the doctrines of salvation. He wants us to gain wisdom out of the best books, to seek learning even by study and also by faith, to come to a knowledge of countries and kingdoms. He wants us to learn the mysteries of his kingdom, to have the spirit of revelation until eventually we know all things. ("President Joseph Fielding Smith Speaks on the New MIA Theme," New Era, Sept. 1971, 39-40)
DC 90:24 pray always and be believing, and all things shall work together for your good
Jeffrey R. Holland
I think of the disconsolate and downtrodden who feel life has passed them by, or now wish that it would pass them by. To all of these and so many more, I say: Cling to your faith. Hold on to your hope. "Pray always, and be believing." Indeed, as Paul wrote of Abraham, he "against [all] hope believed in hope" and "staggered not ... through unbelief." He was "strong in faith" and was "fully persuaded that, what [God] had promised, he was able ... to perform." (Rom. 4:18-21)
Even if you cannot always see that silver lining on your clouds, God can, for He is the very source of the light you seek. He does love you, and He knows your fears. He hears your prayers. He is your Heavenly Father, and surely He matches with His own the tears His children shed. ("An High Priest of Good Things to Come," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 36)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Now, if we shall search diligently, pray always, be believing, and walk uprightly, we have the Lord's promise that all things shall work together for our good. This is not a promise that we shall be free from the trials and problems of life, for this probationary state is designed to give us experience and difficult and conflicting situations.
Life never was intended to be easy, but the Lord has promised that he will cause all trials and difficulties to result in our good. He will give us strength and ability to overcome the world and to stand firm in the faith despite all opposition. It is a promise that we shall have peace in our hearts despite the tumults and troubles of the world. And above all, it is a promise that when this life is over, we shall qualify for eternal peace in the presence of Him whose face we have sought, whose laws we have kept, and whom we have chosen to serve.
Now I bear witness to you that the word of the Lord is true, that his promises are true. We have his word, and his promises have been made known to us. He is our God and we are his people. I am grateful beyond measure for the blessings brought into our lives because of the gospel. Through obedience to its laws, we shall have peace in this life and eternal life in the world to come. ("President Joseph Fielding Smith Speaks on the New MIA Theme," New Era, Sept. 1971, 40)
DC 90:25-26 Let your families be small
Mormons are famous for having large families, yet here the Lord suggests small families. What does He mean? As mentioned earlier, the term families was used to describe the groups of individuals and families that lived in one residence. When large groups lived in the same house, it often led to interpersonal conflict and covetousness. The Lord also seems concerned that some unworthy individuals might benefit from the generosity of the head of household. Theoretically, consecrated goods could be taken from the worthy saints "and given to those that are not worthy-"
"The term family had been used among Sidney Rigdon's Campbellite congregation to mean a cooperative group consisting of several conventional families.
"The practice had developed among the Saints to extend hospitality to the numerous visitors and newcomers arriving in Kirtland. Doctrine and Covenants 90:26 specifically warned them not to dissipate their goods on "those that are not worthy," who might take advantage of such hospitality." (Richard O. Cowan, Answers to Your Questions About the Doctrine and Covenants, 113)
DC 90:28 Biographical Sketch: Vienna Jacques
"Birth: 10 June 1787, Beverly, Essex County, Massachusetts. Daughter of Henry and Lucinda Jaques.
"Death: 7 February 1884, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah.
"Vienna Jacques (or Jaques) was described as possessing self-reliance, 'patient toil and strict economy.' It has been assumed that she worked as a nurse in the Boston area. She attended Methodist services at the Bromfield Street church in Boston until dissatisfaction with her religion led her to investigate other Christian denominations.
"Upon learning of the Book of Mormon, she sent for a copy. After glancing through it she laid it aside, until one evening she received a vision of the book, which convinced her to diligently search this new scripture. She did so until her mind was 'illuminated.' Convinced of its truth, forty-three-year-old Vienna traveled alone by canal boat and then by stagecoach to Kirtland to meet the Prophet. After being further instructed by him she accepted baptism.
"Vienna remained in Ohio about six weeks before returning to Boston, where she was instrumental in converting several family members. Then, again alone, she rejoined the Saints in Ohio. She brought with her precious valuables, including fourteen hundred dollars in savings. On 8 March 1833 the Prophet directed Vienna to consecrate her monies to the Church. In obedience, she gave all that she had.
"Vienna was to receive needed funds from the Church for her journey to Missouri (see D&C 90:28). In a revelation the Lord promised her that for her consecration she would 'be rewarded in mine own due time... It is meet in mine eyes that she should... receive an inheritance from the hand of the bishop; that she may settle down in peace inasmuch as she is faithful, and not be idle in her days from thenceforth.' (D&C 90:29-31.)
"She intended to leave Kirtland immediately but was advised on 20 April 1833 that she should wait and journey with William Hobart. Once again, in obedience she waited until Hobart was ready to travel. On 2 July 1833 the Prophet wrote, 'We rejoiced greatly to hear of the safe arrival of Sister Vienna Jaques and Brother William Hobert, and thank our Heavenly Father that their lives have been spared them till their arrival.'
"She was given the inheritance she had been promised. Unfortunately, escalating persecution led Vienna to abandon her inheritance and flee to safety in northern Missouri. Near Fishing River she attended the sick in Zion's Camp. Heber C. Kimball penned, 'I received great kindness... from sister Vienna Jaques, who administered to my wants and also to my brethren-may the Lord reward [her] for [her] kindness.' On 4 September 1833 the Prophet wrote to Vienna:
I have often felt a whispering since I received your letter, like this: "Joseph, thou art indebted to thy God for the offering of thy Sister Vienna, which proved a savor of life as pertaining to thy pecuniary concerns. Therefore she should not be forgotten of thee, for the Lord hath done this, and thou shouldst remember her in all thy prayers and also by letter, for she oftentimes calleth on the Lord, saying, O Lord, inspire thy servant Joseph to communicate by letter some word to thine unworthy handmaiden."
"The Prophet then added that he had had a foreknowledge of the struggles she had endured, and he promised eternal blessings:
I was aware when you left Kirtland that the Lord would chasten you, but I prayed fervently in the name of Jesus that you might live to receive your inheritance...... I am not at all astonished at what has happened to you... Therefore let your heart be comforted; live in strict obedience to the commandments of God, and walk humbly before Him, and He will exalt thee in His own due time.
"Before being driven from Missouri, Vienna married Daniel Shearer, a widower who was a whipmaker and blacksmith by trade. Together they fled from further mobocracy to Illinois. By 1839 Vienna was residing in Nauvoo, where Joseph Smith III remembered her as 'a frequent visitor in our home' until religious persecution forced her to flee to the West... [She remained faithful, dying at the age of 96, in Salt Lake City]." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, [SLC: Deseret Book Co. 1997], 145-146)
DC 90:30 it is meet in mine eyes that she should go up to the land of Zion, and receive an inheritance
DC 90:31 That she may settle down in peace...
DC 90:35 I am not well pleased with my servant William E. McLellin, neither with my servant Sidney Gilbert
Both Brother McLellin and Brother Gilbert were leaders among the saints in Missouri. Sidney Gilbert had experience with Brother Newel Whitney's Kirtland store and was asked to establish a similar mercantile store in Jackson County. In conjunction with Elder William W. Phelps, he wrote an accusatory letter on December 10, 1832. In this instance, Brother McLellin's transgression is not so clear, but he was the one who previously had tried to write a revelation to match the Prophet's. He failed miserably, which prompted the Prophet to write, "William E. M'Lellin, as the wisest man, in his own estimation, having more learning than sense, endeavored to write a commandment like unto one of the least of the Lord's, but failed." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, [SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 191)
"A difficulty arose in Church circles over a letter Sidney wrote to Mormon leaders in Kirtland. Unfortunately, the letter is not extant and only the reaction of Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith, as recorded in a letter to the Saints, remains: 'Brother Gilbert's letter of December 10th, has been received and read attentively, and the low, dark, and blind insinuations, which were in it, were not received by us as from the fountain of light, though his claims and pretensions to holiness were great.'
"In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith on 8 March 1833 the Lord said, 'I am not well pleased with my servant Sidney Gilbert' (D&C 90:35). Although rebuked severely by both his brethren and the Lord, Sidney remained in the Church." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, [SLC: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 103)