Section 10

Historical Background

Lovers of the Book of Mormon are easily fascinated by the idea of recovering the lost 116 pages. This “Book of Lehi” would have contained historical information not available in our current Book of Mormon. The question remains, what happened to the manuscript? Who took it? Where could it be?

While the particulars of these three questions can’t be conclusively answered, the historical record and the Lord’s revelation in section 10 tell us what happened. More importantly, we learn how Satan tries to destroy the kingdom of God. For a more comprehensive historical account, the reader is referred to the historical commentary for DC 3.

Lucy Mack Smith

I will now give you a sketch of the proceedings of Martin Harris during the time he was absent from Joseph.

After leaving Joseph, he arrived at home with the manuscript in safety. Soon after, he exhibited the manuscript to his wife and family. His wife was so pleased with it, that she gave him the privilege of locking it up in her own set of drawers, which was a special favor, for she had never before this allowed him even the privilege of looking into them. After he had shown the manuscript to those who had a right, according to his oath, to see it, he went with his wife to visit one of her relatives, who lived some ten or fifteen miles distant.

After remaining with them a short time, he returned home, but his wife declined accompanying him back. Soon after his return, a very particular friend of his made him a visit, to whom he related all that he knew concerning the Record. The man's curiosity was much excited, and, as might be expected, he earnestly desired to see the manuscript. Martin was so anxious to gratify his friend, that, although it was contrary to his obligation, he went to the drawer to get the manuscript, but the key was gone. He sought for it some time, but could not find it. Resolved, however, to carry his purpose into execution, he picked the lock, and, in so doing, considerably injured his wife's bureau. He then took out the manuscript, and, after showing it to this friend, he removed it to his own set of drawers, where he could have it at his command. Passing by his oath, he showed it to any good friend that happened to call on him.

When Mrs. Harris returned, and discovered the marred state of her bureau, her irascible temper was excited to the utmost pitch, and an intolerable storm ensued, which descended with the greatest violence upon the devoted head of her husband.

Having once made a sacrifice of his conscience, Mr. Harris no longer regarded its scruples; so he continued to exhibit the writings, until a short time before Joseph arrived, to any one whom he regarded as prudent enough to keep the secret, except our family, but we were not allowed to set our eyes upon them.

For a short time previous to Joseph's arrival, Mr. Harris had been otherwise engaged, and thought but little about the manuscript. When Joseph sent for him, he went immediately to the drawer where he had left it, but, behold it was gone! He asked his wife where it was. She solemnly averred that she did not know anything respecting it. He then made a faithful search throughout the house, as before related.

The manuscript has never been found; and there is no doubt but Mrs. Harris took it from the drawer, with the view of retaining it until another translation should be given, then to alter the original translation, for the purpose of showing a discrepancy between them, and thus make the whole appear to be a deception.

It seemed as though Martin Harris, for his transgression, suffered temporally as well as spiritually. The same day on which the foregoing circumstances took place, a dense fog spread itself over his fields, and blighted his wheat while in the blow, so that he lost about two-thirds of his crop, whilst those fields which lay only on the opposite side of the road, received no injury whatever.

I well remember that day of darkness, both within and without. To us, at least, the heavens seemed clothed with blackness, and the earth shrouded with gloom. I have often said within myself, that if a continual punishment, as severe as that which we experienced on that occasion, were to be inflicted upon the most wicked characters who ever stood upon the footstool of the Almighty—if even their punishment were no greater than that, I should feel to pity their condition. (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother [Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945], 130-132.)

DC 10: 4 do not run faster or labor more than you have strength

Neal A. Maxwell

A revelation was given to the Prophet Joseph Smith at a time when he must have been exceedingly anxious to finish the important and urgent translation of the Book of Mormon:

Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end” (D&C 10:4).

Thus, the Lord has given us what might be called the “wisdom and order” and “strength and means” tests. Unwisely, we often write checks against our time accounts as we never would dare do, comparably, against our bank accounts. Sometimes we make so many commitments that they become like the vines in the allegory of Jacob, threatening to “overcome the roots,” including the “roots” of family relationships, friendships, and relationships with God.

On my office wall is a quote from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: “My life cannot implement in action the demands of all the people to whom my heart responds.” For me, it is a needed reminder. A few years ago, already weary, I foolishly went late one afternoon to two different hospitals to give blessings to three individuals who were dying of cancer. Not only was I worn out, but worse, the last person really didn’t get much from me. Things had not been done in “wisdom and order.” I was running faster than my supply of strength and energy on that occasion. Those blessings would have been better given over two or three days, and I would have had more empathy and energy. (“Wisdom and Order,” Ensign, June 1994, 41)

Neal A. Maxwell

The scriptural advice, “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength” (D&C 10:4) suggests paced progress, much as God used seven creative periods in preparing man and this earth. There is a difference, therefore, between being “anxiously engaged” and being over-anxious and thus underengaged. (“Notwithstanding My Weakness,” Ensign, Nov. 1976, 12–13)

DC 10:5 Pray always

“Because prayer involves one’s feelings toward God, would not the command to ‘pray always’ involve a condition of feeling that one has for God? The apostle Paul wrote: ‘Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18) Could not a feeling of gratitude and love for Heavenly Father and a constant yearning to live to please him be considered a way to pray always? Amulek gave similar counsel when he said, ‘Let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you’ (Alma 34:27; emphasis added).” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 1981, p. 22)

Ezra Taft Benson

Prayer in the hour of need is a great boon. From simple trials to our Gethsemanes, prayer—persistent prayer—can put us in touch with God, our greatest source of comfort and counsel. “Pray always, that you may come off conqueror.” (D&C 10:5.) “Exerting all my powers to call upon God to deliver me” is how the young Joseph Smith describes the method that he used in the Sacred Grove to keep the adversary from destroying him. (JS—H 1:16.)” (“Do Not Despair,” Ensign, Oct. 1986, 2)

Marion G. Romney

No person has a stronger weapon against the power of evil than he who with unbroken regularity goes night and morning on bended knee before our Heavenly Father in sincere and humble secret prayer. (“Let Us Set in Order Our Own Houses,” Ensign, Jan. 1985, 5)

Bernard P. Brockbank

In our individual prayers we should sincerely ask our Father in heaven to help us meet and conquer the temptations of this life, and ask him to deliver us from evil. We have been commanded to ask.

Proper sincere prayer to a living Father in heaven, through a living Savior and Mediator, is essential for protection from the power and evil influence of the devil. It is very important for the Saints to know that during today’s perilous times when peace has been taken from the earth, and Satan has power over his own dominion and over all that will not hearken unto the voice of God, that the Lord gave these comforting words, “… The Lord shall have power over his saints, and shall reign in their midst, and shall come down in judgment upon … the world.” (D&C 1:36.) (“Hearken Unto the Voice of God,” Ensign, May 1974, 114-115) 

DC 10:5 that you may come off conqueror

Neal A. Maxwell

…the Lord has urged us to so live that we would “come off conqueror.” (D&C 10:5.) But we cannot “come off conqueror,” except we first “put off” the selfish, natural man! (“Put Off the Natural Man, and Come Off Conqueror,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 16)

DC 10:18-19 Therefore we will destroy him, and also the work

Would Satan’s plan have succeeded? What would have happened if Joseph had retranslated the 116 pages? We can only conclude that the result would have been devastating. The work would have floundered in Joseph’s generation (v. 32-33). Otherwise, the Lord would not have made provision for Satan’s plan. From then on, the Prophet’s integrity would have been in question. Every missionary of the church—even down to our day—would have to answer the question about why the 2nd translation was different. 

Think about how much resistance there is to the Book of Mormon without legitimate arguments! Satan had to fabricate his second best deterrent, that the Bible says there can be no more revelation. He had to fabricate the story that the Book of Mormon was taken from the Spaulding manuscript. Yet, neither the Bible nor the Spaulding manuscript support these arguments. Had the altered translation been published, enemies of the church would have something they have never had—a written document that raises serious questions about the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

DC 10:21 they love darkness rather than light…therefore they will not ask of me

Lynn A Mickelsen

If we do not receive the truth by His spirit, it is not His word. In a latter-day revelation the Lord speaks very strongly about those who get on the wrong side of the question:

   Verily, verily, I say unto you, that Satan has great hold upon their hearts; he stirreth them up to iniquity against that which is good; …

   And they love darkness rather than light, … therefore they will not ask of me. (D&C 10:20–21.)

A few months ago, a friend came to our home under the pretext that he had some questions about the Church he needed help in answering. He said he had discovered the Book of Mormon was not the word of God and that Joseph Smith was not a prophet of God. He then proceeded to quote articles and books which were written by enemies of the Church. As he listed his sources, I replied that I also had read them and others, and they had only served to confirm my faith in the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph Smith. He was surprised that I could have read the same things he had read and not believe as he believed. I suggested that he devote at least equal time to the right side of the issue, but he had come with a decision, not a question. His mind was made up. He did not want to know. His heart was closed…

[Jesus] told the Pharisees and the Sadducees they were looking in the right places with the wrong objectives in mind when He said, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39.) They had obviously made a very careful study of the word that testified of Him and failed to find Him. Their foregone conclusions had not allowed the Spirit to guide them. 

The same conditions exist today: we must ask the right questions; we must seek in the right places and knock on the right doors. That sometimes is very difficult to do. (“What Is Truth?” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 27–28)

DC 10:22 Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction 

Joseph Fielding Smith

Today Satan is raging in the hearts of the children of men, and he has stirred them up to anger against that which is good. (2 Nephi 28:20.) From the very beginning he tried to stop or destroy this work, and no effort is left undone to bring to pass the destruction of the Church of Jesus Christ from within as well as from attacks without. Therefore all members of the Church should be constantly on their guard and prayerfully obedient to all covenants and commandments given them in the word of the Lord. We are commanded to “beware concerning ourselves, to give diligent heed to the words of eternal life. For you shall live by every word that proceedeth forth from the mouth of God.” (D&C 84:43.) Never before in the history of the world has Satan raged more determinedly in the hearts of the people than he is doing today. (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 1: 96.)

ElRay L. Christiansen

How does Satan operate? What are his tactics? Using his superior knowledge, his unique powers of persuasion, half-truths, and complete lies, the evil one uses the spirit children who followed him (which were many), plus mortal beings who have yielded to his evil ways, to wage war against Jehovah and his followers; and they will, if they can, influence us to become critical and to rebel against God and his work. Thus he destroys the souls of men.

The scriptures tell us: “Satan stirreth them up, that he may lead their souls to destruction.” (quotes D&C 10:22, 25-27.) 

Now, the adversary knows that a little sin will not stay little, and he welcomes any and all into his kingdom by first trying to get us to lie a little, then helping us to try to justify ourselves in so doing or to cheat or to steal. Some folks are indeed induced to desecrate the Sabbath day until it becomes habitual with them. Some people begin with the use of liquor just to “relax a bit.” Also, drug abuse, evil speaking, disobedience to parents, or deceiving one’s own companions—these are means he has of getting us to digress from the proper course. He knows full well that, if continued, such diversions soon result in regrets, sorrows, and losses, because they lead us into greater sinfulness. (“Power Over Satan,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 23-24)

DC 10:25 he flattereth them, and telleth them that it is no sin to lie

Marvin J. Ashton

How serious is lying? We have a clue when we read all through the scriptures that Satan is the father of lies. His method of teaching this evil practice is illustrated in the tenth section of the Doctrine and Covenants: “Yea, he [Satan] saith unto them: Deceive and lie … ; behold, this is no harm. And thus he … telleth them that it is no sin to lie. … And thus he … causeth them to catch themselves in their own snare.” (D&C 10:25–26.)

Yet we can’t hide behind the father of lies and say, “Satan made me do it.” All he does is tell us, “This is no harm,” and then he lets us catch ourselves in our own snare.

It is a sin to lie. It is a tragedy to be the victim of lies. Being trapped in the snares of dishonesty and misrepresentation does not happen instantaneously. One little lie or dishonest act leads to another until the perpetrator is caught in the web of deceit. As Samuel Johnson wrote, “The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.” (The International Dictionary of Thoughts, comp. John P. Bradley, Leo F. Daniels, Thomas C. Jones, Chicago: J. G. Ferguson Publishing Co., 1969, p. 348.) Those who become victims of this entrapment often struggle through life bearing their heavy burden because they are unwilling to acknowledge their problem and make the effort to change. Many are unwilling to pay the price to be free from the chains of lies. Some individuals may be very aware of the value of honesty and yet be unable to come up with the down payment. (“This Is No Harm,” Ensign, May 1982, 9–10)

DC 10:27 he goeth up and down… seeking to destroy the souls of men

Harold B. Lee

You are living in a pleasure-mad world that seems to become more so as the final test of Satan's earthly power over the souls of men draws near. His methods of conquest have not been greatly different than those he employed with our first parents in the Garden of Eden…

In like manner since that time, Satan has been “going to and fro in the earth and walking up and down in it,” (Job 1:7.) “to deceive and to blind men and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken” unto the voice of the Lord, (Moses 4:4) nor to his servants, the prophets of the Lord. He is the master of deceit, adulteration and counterfeit. There is hardly a human appetite that he has not prostituted to his own evil designs; virtue he betrays into vice; and things invented and designed as benefactors to mankind he diverts to his own ends. No palace of art or temple of music was ever more glamorously decorated than the hell-holes of Satan that are labeled saloons, bars, road houses and gambling clubs. With blazing neon signs and lighted ‘white ways,’ the cheap and the tawdry are dressed in tinseled garb and with sensuous music from the nether regions issuing forth from such places, the passersby are enticed to partake…All of these are sold to eager patrons under the false label of “Happiness.” (Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 155.)

DC 10:28 wo be unto him that lieth to deceive because he supposeth that another lieth to deceive

“Lack of integrity often manifests itself as rationalization. The most common rationalization for questionable business behavior is ‘That’s just business.’ In other words, questionable business practices must be okay as long as they are commonplace or viewed as infractions of no real consequence (see 2 Ne. 28:8; D&C 10:25–26).

President Spencer W. Kimball defined integrity as ‘a quality of being complete … and unimpaired [in] purity and moral soundness.’ He went on to say: ‘Practically all dishonesty owes its existence and growth to this inward distortion we call self-justification. It is the first, the worst, and most insidious and damaging form of cheating—to cheat oneself’ (in Conference Report, Mexico and Central America Area Conference 1972, 27).” (Alan V. Funk, “The Business of Honesty,” Ensign, July 1996, 36)

DC 10:37 you cannot always…tell the wicked from the righteous

Hugh Nibley

If our greatest prophet, with his admittedly uncanny knowledge of human nature (his worst enemies grant him that), could not always tell the wicked from the righteous, who are we to set up human targets? Being full of evil ourselves, we are in no position to judge: “Where is the man that is free from vanity?” said the Prophet Joseph…This awareness of our universal weakness is basic to an understanding of how to deal with the enemy…Nothing can frustrate the operation of the grace of God like self-righteousness. (Brother Brigham Challenges the Saints, edited by Don E. Norton and Shirley S. Ricks [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1994], 219.)

Neal A. Maxwell

Wheat and tares can look so much alike to the untutored and undiscerning eye. (Men and Women of Christ [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 76.)

DC 10:43 I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work

Gordon B. Hinckley

Temple building and the dedication of temples have gone on at such a pace in the last few years that some pay little attention and feel it is of small significance.

But the adversary has not been unmindful of it. The building and dedication of these sacred edifices have been accompanied by a surge of opposition from a few enemies of the Church as well as criticism from a few within. This has brought to mind a statement of Brigham Young in 1861 while the Salt Lake Temple was under construction. Evidently when someone with previous experience was asked to work on the Salt Lake Temple, he responded, “I do not like to do it, for we never began to build a Temple without the bells of hell beginning to ring.”

To which Brigham Young replied, “I want to hear them ring again. All the tribes of hell will be on the move, if we uncover the walls of this Temple. But what do you think it will amount to? You have all the time seen what it has amounted to.” (In Journal of Discourses, 8:355–56.)

Yes, in these recent times we have felt much of opposition, but we have also noted the frustration of those who have tried to stop this work. We have been strengthened, and we have moved forward under the promise of the Lord, who said: “I will not suffer that they [the enemy] shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” (D&C 10:4) (“Rejoice in This Great Era of Temple Building,” Ensign, Nov. 1985, 54.)’

DC 10:43 I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil

The small plates of Nephi were designed by God to replace the lost 116 pages, which were Mormon’s abridgement of the large plates of Nephi. About 589 BC, Nephi, having arrived on the promised land, was commanded to make plates of ore (1 Ne. 19:1-2). These were the large plates of Nephi, which contained the record of Lehi and the historical record of the people.

Twenty years later, in 569 BC, Nephi was given a second commandment, to make the small plates of Nephi,

   Make other plates; and thou shalt engraven many things upon them which are good in my sight, for the profit of thy people.

   Wherefore, I, Nephi, to be obedient to the commandments of the Lord, went and made these plates upon which I have engraven these things.

   And I engraved that which is pleasing unto God. And if my people are pleased with the things of God they will be pleased with mine engravings which are upon these plates.

   And if my people desire to know the more particular part of the history of my people they must search mine other plates (2 Ne 5:30-32).

Therefore, the Lord had made provision for Martin’s loss of the manuscript 2397 years before it happened! Nephi wasn’t told why at the time, “I, Nephi, received a commandment that the ministry and the prophecies, the more plain and precious parts of them, should be written upon these plates; and that the things which were written should be kept for the instruction of my people, who should possess the land, and for other wise purposes, which purposes are known unto the Lord” (1 Ne. 19:3, italics added).

The wise purposes of the Lord are truly amazing. The Lord’s foreknowledge and careful planning are remarkable to mortal minds. Yet, should we be surprised that God made provision to save the integrity of the Book of Mormon and the prophetic mission of Joseph Smith? Hasn’t he made provision, thousands of years in advance, to save our souls? Hasn’t he seen our Martin-like blunders millennia before they ever occurred? Hasn’t he provided a Savior for us for the same reason? With respect to our salvation he declares, “I will not suffer that [Satan] shall destroy my work” (v. 43) “and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). At the last day, the Lord will show unto the wicked that he had made ample provision to save our souls, “yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.”

DC 10:45 the plates of Nephi…do throw greater views upon my gospel

Jeffrey R. Holland

As the Lord instructs Joseph Smith on the procedure for translating and inserting the material from the small plates into what had been begun as the translation of the abridged large plates, he says, “Behold, there are many things engraven upon the [small] plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel” (emphasis added).

So clearly this was not a quid pro quo in the development of the final Book of Mormon product. It was not tit for tat, this for that—116 pages of manuscript for 142 pages of printed text. Not so. We got back more than we lost. And it was known from the beginning that it would be so. We do not know exactly what we have missed in the lost 116 pages, but we do know that what we received on the small plates was the personal declarations of three great witnesses (Nephi, Jacob, Isaiah), three of the great doctrinal voices of the Book of Mormon, testifying that Jesus is the Christ. (“For a Wise Purpose,” Ensign, Jan. 1996, 13–14)

DC 10:46 all the remainder of this work does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets…desired…should come forth

“The remainder of this work,” as spoken of by the Lord, refers to the section of the Book of Mormon from Mosiah to Moroni. We often say that the Book of Mormon contains “the fulness of the gospel” (1 Ne. 10:14; 1 Ne. 15:13; DC 20:9), meaning that the Book of Mormon contains all the doctrines relative to the salvation of man and the atonement of Jesus Christ which are needed for salvation. There may be doctrines, such as celestial marriage and the three degrees of glory, which are not taught within the text, but the principles regarding how to live to obtain these blessings are completely covered (DC 42:12). These are the things that the holy prophets wanted us to understand.

Ezra Taft Benson

…the Lord Himself has stated that the Book of Mormon contains the “fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.” (D&C 20:9.) That does not mean it contains every teaching, every doctrine ever revealed. Rather, it means that in the Book of Mormon we will find the fulness of those doctrines required for our salvation. And they are taught plainly and simply so that even children can learn the ways of salvation and exaltation. The Book of Mormon offers so much that broadens our understandings of the doctrines of salvation. Without it, much of what is taught in other scriptures would not be nearly so plain and precious. (A Witness and a Warning: A Modern-Day Prophet Testifies of the Book of Mormon [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1988], 18.)

DC 10:47 it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers

Rudger Clawson

From this it will be seen that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon was influenced by and in fact was in answer to the prayers of the Nephites, offered up 1400 years before and recorded in the celestial kingdom. In conclusion, I say to you, my brethren and sisters, that your prayers and my prayers, if they are offered up in faith with singleness to the glory of God, will be recorded in the celestial kingdom, and the precious offerings and supplications that go up from these conferences will be recorded and will be answered upon the heads of this people, as God lives, if we will do our duty. (Conference Report, April 1904, Open Air Meeting 97.)

Gene R. Cook

Think of all the prayers that were offered in the times of the Nephites and Lamanites to preserve the Book of Mormon record, as well as the prayers that were offered for the record to come forth. Hundreds of years later these prayers were answered. (quotes D&C 10:46-50)

Did not the Lord fulfill his promise and answer their prayers? Yes, but once again the answer did not come until hundreds of years had passed.

I say once more, the Lord will answer our prayers in his own time and in his own way, and his thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways. Thus, let us be very careful to never judge the Lord and say, “He did not answer my prayer.” (Receiving Answers to Our Prayers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996], 142.)

DC 10:48 this was their faith—that my gospel…might come unto their brethren the Lamanites

Dean L. Larsen

…it is interesting to observe how the Lord responds to faith and how miraculous powers are brought to bear as the Lord’s people exercise their faith in righteousness.

Again, a good example is found in the Book of Mormon, where the prophet Enos approached the Lord, at first because of his concern for his own spiritual welfare. In response to his beseeching, Enos received a manifestation from the Lord assuring him that his sins were forgiven. With that assurance, Enos renewed his petitions, but his concern was now for those whom he felt most sorely needed the Lord’s blessing—“my brethren, the Lamanites.”

The Lord answered him: “I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith. …

“And the Lord said unto me: Thy fathers have also required of me this thing; and it shall be done unto them according to their faith; for their faith was like unto thine.” (Enos 1:11–12, 18; italics added.)

The Doctrine and Covenants provides a sequel to Enos’s revelation. After the loss of the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, the gold plates were taken away for a time; when they were restored, the Lord said: (quotes D&C 10:46–50; italics added.)

Enos and other mighty prophets in the Book of Mormon were “door openers.” Their faith swung upon the doors of blessings, not only to their brethren but to all the later inheritors of the land of promise.

Is there not a great lesson taught to us in this brief reflection on scriptural history? Do we not have the same opportunities today which were available to Enos, the sons of Mosiah, and the sons of Helaman? Cannot our prayers of faith open the doors [of the nations to missionary work] that President Kimball identifies?

There are many different ways in which Latter-day Saints can assist in the intensified missionary effort. But there is one way in which we can all take part, all the time: All of us can offer up to the Lord our sincere prayers that the doors will not remain shut. Our hearts can reach out to the millions of our Father’s children who are now cut off from the message of the gospel.

When we can look outside ourselves with the same intensity of concern and desire that Enos did and offer up prayers of faith on behalf of brothers and sisters in nations now closed to us, then perhaps the doors will be opened—even by miraculous means, if necessary. (“Prayer: The Missionary Tool in Everyone’s Hands,” Ensign, Oct. 1977, 38)

Spencer W. Kimball

Now the prophets have always been concerned about [the Lamanites]. Moroni was the last of his people, the Nephites—the last one on this continent, all the rest of his race having been killed. This is what he wrote before he hid the records away in the hill: “… I write a few more things, that perhaps they may be of worth unto my brethren, the Lamanites, in some future day, according to the will of the Lord.” (Moro. 1:4.)

…The point that impresses me is that all their prophets and all our prophets have been so concerned with the Lamanite people, and their prayers have gone up constantly through the long years that the Lord would bring it about so that these people who had fallen away would be brought back to enjoy all of the good things that they are entitled to have. (“Of Royal Blood,” Ensign, July 1971, 8)

DC 10:48 all that had become Lamanites because of their dissensions

Many Nephites survived the last battle because they had deserted over to the Lamanites (Moro. 9:24). The Book of Mormon prophets knew this would be the case and prayed that their Nephite descendants among the Lamanites would be restored to a knowledge of the truth. See commentary for DC 3:16-17.

DC 10:52 I do not bring it to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up

The Savior taught that he had not come to destroy the Law of Moses but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17). He wanted build upon what the people already knew. The message of Mormonism to modern Christianity is the same. The Lord doesn’t say to the Christian world, “forget what you know, let’s start over.” He wants to build upon what “they have received.”

Gordon B. Hinckley

We do not debate. We, in effect, simply say to others, “Bring all the good that you have and let us see if we can add to it.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Have You Been Saved?” Ensign, May 1998, 57)

DC 10:55 whosoever belongeth to my church need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven

Is it true that all those who belong to the church will inherit the kingdom of heaven? Can all the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rest assured that they are saved? That doesn’t sound right. The reader must remember that the date of the revelation given is the summer of 1828. The church has not even been organized yet. Therefore, the Lord is speaking of his church before it has been established. In verse 67, the Lord explains that the 1828 definition of his church are those who repent and come unto him, “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church” (v.67, italics added). It’s interesting that the Lord would define his church outside the confines of an established religious institution. Apparently, having one’s name written on the records of the church is not nearly as important as having one’s name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Furthermore, to be a member of the church is not the same as being a member of his church. The promise to those who repent and come unto him is that they “need not fear, for such shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

DC 10:59 Other sheep have I which are not of this fold

See commentary for John 10:16 and 3 Ne. 15:15-24.

DC 10:63 Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine

Russell M. Nelson

Divine doctrine of the Church is the prime target of attack by the spiritually contentious. Well do I remember a friend who would routinely sow seeds of contention in Church classes. His assaults would invariably be preceded by this predictable comment: “let me play the role of devil’s advocate.” Recently he passed away. One day he will stand before the Lord in judgment. Then, I wonder, will my friend’s predictable comment again be repeated?

…Dissecting doctrine in a controversial way in order to draw attention to oneself is not pleasing to the Lord. (“The Canker of Contention,” Ensign, May 1989, 70)

DC 10:67 whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church

Ezra Taft Benson

In the usual sense of the term, Church membership means that a person has his or her name officially recorded on the membership records of the Church. By that definition, we have more than six million members of the Church.

But the Lord defines a member of His kingdom in quite a different way. In 1828, through the Prophet Joseph Smith, He said, “Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.” (D&C 10:67; italics added.) To Him whose Church this is, membership involves far more than simply being a member of record. (“A Mighty Change of Heart,” Ensign, Oct. 1989, 2)

DC 10:68 whosoever declareth more or less than this…is not of me

Joseph Fielding Smith

Now, there are those who declare more or less than this. They will not repent of their sins. They will not accept Jesus as the Redeemer of the world. They will not believe that He spoke the truth when He declared unto the people that He was the Son of God, and that He came to fulfill the mission that was given to Him of His Father, to redeem the world from sin. They reject these things. They will not believe them; hence they remain in the bondage of sin, and cannot be redeemed, because they will not receive the principles by which salvation comes. There are many of this class that go around through the country, stirring up the hearts of the people against the truth, declaring that these things are not so, and that it is unnecessary for men to observe these principles, and ordinances that are declared in the scriptures to be essential to salvation. They are destroying the faith of the people wherever it is possible. But we should be strong in the faith; each one of us should be filled with a determination to serve the Lord and to keep His commandments, for we have received the light which shineth in darkness that comes from the Lord. We are not walking in darkness, but in the light of truth as it has been revealed. There is no occasion for the members of the Church to go astray, to disregard the principles of the Gospel, for they are so plain and have been set forth in such clearness, that none need stumble or be in doubt concerning them. (Conference Report, October 1913, Second Overflow Meeting. 72.)