Section 36

DC 36 Biographical Sketch: Edward Partridge

Few saints can be compared to Edward Partridge in purity and integrity; he would be a "pattern of piety" unto the end. Unlike so many of the early Brethren, Edward would not falter. He would not buckle under the pressure of bitter persecutions. He would not let pride and bitterness separate him from the saints of God. He was certainly one of the great heroes of the Restoration. He received a great compliment directly from the Lord who declared, "he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile" (D&C 41:11). But he would not live to see his 47th birthday. He died shortly after contracting an illness in Nauvoo in the spring of 1840. In January of the next year, the Prophet would receive a revelation declaring that Edward Partridge had been received of the Lord and was "with [him] at this time." (D&C 124:19)

"Birth: 27 August 1793, Pittsfield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Son of William Partridge and Jemima Bidwell.

"Death: 27 May 1840, Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.

"Edward Partridge learned the hatter's trade as an apprentice in a hat shop near his hometown of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. By age twenty he had completed four years of apprenticeship and was a journeyman hatter in New York. By 1830 he was the proprietor of his own hat shop and owned two lots adjoining the public square in Painesville, Ohio.

"Desirous to teach his family Christianity, Edward expressed interest in Universalism and Unitarianism, while his wife, Lydia, expressed faith in the Campbellite church. Their religious allegiances changed in the fall of 1830 as they listened to Mormon missionaries. Edward's initial opinion was negative; however, he sent an employee to obtain a Book of Mormon for him. He cautiously accepted its truth but refused to be baptized.

"In the winter of 1830 he traveled with Sidney Rigdon to meet the Prophet Joseph Smith in New York. After listening to a discourse by the Prophet he stated that he believed and was ready to be baptized, 'if Brother Joseph will baptize me.' He was baptized the next day, 11 December 1830, by the Prophet. He asked the Prophet to seek the Lord's will concerning him. The answer received was, 'You are blessed, and your sins are forgiven you, and you are called to preach my gospel as with the voice of a trump' (D&C 36:1)." (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 213-214.)

DC 36 Historical Background

The mission of Parley Pratt, Oliver Cowdery, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and Ziba Peterson took them through the area of Kirtland Ohio. In that region they preached to many, including Edward Partridge.

"Shortly after the missionaries left Kirtland, Sidney Rigdon and a close associate, Edward Partridge, decided to go to New York 'to inquire further' into the origins of the restored gospel that had just been introduced to them. Lydia Partridge wrote, 'My husband partly believed, but he had to take a journey to New York State and see the Prophet' before he could be satisfied. According to Philo Dibble, Partridge also went in behalf of others. He was told by a neighbor, 'We have sent a man down to York State to find out the truth of this work, and he is a man who will not lie.'

"Arriving in Manchester, New York, in December 1830, Sidney and Edward learned that Joseph was living with the Whitmers in Fayette township, twenty miles away. Upon inquiring among the neighbors concerning the Smith family, they found that their reputation had been impeccable until Joseph had made known his discovery of the Book of Mormon. They also noted the good order and evident industry of the family farm. Edward and Sidney found the Prophet at his parents' place in Waterloo, where Edward asked Joseph Smith to baptize him." (Church History in the Fulness of Times, Institute Manual, [Salt Lake City: 1989], p. 82)

Lucy Mack Smith

In December of the same year, Joseph appointed a meeting at our house. While he was preaching, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came in and seated themselves in the congregation. When Joseph had finished his discourse, he gave all who had any remarks to make, the privilege of speaking. Upon this, Mr. Partridge arose, and stated that he had been to Manchester, with the view of obtaining further information respecting the doctrine which we preached; but, not finding us, he had made some inquiry of our neighbors concerning our characters... and having heard that our veracity was not questioned upon any other point than that of our religion, he believed our testimony, and was ready to be baptized, "if," said he, "Brother Joseph will baptize me."

"You are now," replied Joseph, "much fatigued, brother Partridge, and you had better rest to-day, and be baptized tomorrow."

"Just as Brother Joseph thinks best," replied Mr. Partridge, "I am ready at any time."

He was accordingly baptized the next day. (History of Joseph Smith by His Mother [Salt Lake City: Stevens & Wallis, Inc., 1945], 192.)

DC 36:2 I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Ridgon

Herein the Lord declares that when Sidney Rigdon layed his hands upon the head of Edward Partridge, it was the same as if the Lord himself ordained him. We know the scripture, "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same" (DC 1:38). This passage teaches an interesting corollary, for the Lord is saying, "whether by mine own hand or by the hand of my servants, it is the same."

Gene R. Cook

The scriptures are literal. They really do mean what they say. In D&C 36:2, for example, the Lord says to Edward Partridge, "I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon, and you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom."

Think of what he is saying. A bishop might place his hands upon the head of a member and say, "I now lay my hands upon you, John, as your bishop, to set you apart"-and at the same time, it would be as if Jesus Christ were saying, "It will be as if I laid my own hands upon your head. I will do it through my servant, the bishop."

Does this scripture really mean that? It really means that. If you're a priesthood holder, then, and you're giving someone a blessing, you are standing in the stead of the Lord in putting your hands on his or her head. Your hands are very literally representing the hands of the Lord.

And if you're receiving that blessing, what a great thing it is to know that the person who is officiating is standing in for the Lord.

The scriptures are literal. We must always remember that. (Searching the Scriptures: Bringing Power to Your Personal and Family Study [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 79.)

Harold B. Lee

Do you see what He is saying-that whenever you perform a service by the authority of your priesthood it is as though the Lord were placing His hand on that person by your hand in order for you to bestow the blessings of life, of health, of priesthood, or whatever it may be. And whenever we exercise our priesthood, we are doing it as though the Lord were there with us, and through us, helping us to perform that ordinance. (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 488.)

DC 36:2 you shall receive my Spirit, the Holy Ghost

When the Savior speaks of his Spirit, there are a couple of ways to interpret that, either as the Spirit of Christ or the Holy Ghost. In this passage, the Lord defines what is meant by the term, "my Spirit," and it means the Holy Ghost.

The distinction is important because certain ill-fated scholars spent too much time trying to ferret out the differences between the Spirit of Christ and the Holy Ghost. For members of the church who have received the gift of the Holy Ghost, the differences between the two are purely academic.

"Why does the Lord Jesus Christ refer to the Holy Ghost as 'my Spirit' in D&C 36:2?

"God the Father has given all things relative to our probationary experience into the hands of his Son (see John 3:35; Heb. 1:2-3; D&C 93:16-17). Even the Holy Ghost is to reveal the light and truth of that which Christ has received (see D&C 93:8-11, 26; Luke 10:22; JST, Luke 10:23). In this sense, Christ can call the Holy Ghost 'my Spirit'-the agent or medium whereby the Savior reveals his Father's truth to mankind, for Christ is the chosen spokesman, 'the Word, even the messenger of salvation' (D&C 93:8), whose 'words ... are spirit' (John 6:63).

"Since the fall of Adam, revelation received by prophets and Saints through prayer to the Father in Jesus' name has come through the administration of Christ (see D&C 84:1). This intelligence is conveyed through the 'power of the Holy Ghost' (Moro. 10:4-5; D&C 90:11), which power 'carries a conviction of the truth into the heart of the hearer' (LDS Bible Dictionary, s.v. "Holy Ghost"; cf. 2 Ne. 33:1)." (Joseph C. Lundwall, "I Have a Question," Ensign, Sept. 1996, 60)

DC 36:2 the Comforter...shall teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom

L. Aldin Porter

I fear that we have become so enamored with recreation, with fame and fortune, with videos, with television, and with what money can buy that we have little time for eternal things. We cannot take the time to obtain a knowledge of the doctrines of eternity-for that requires sacrifice, effort, and struggle. Furthermore, we have learned to live in a world of clamor and noise and haste and hurry to the extent that we have often become immune to the Spirit of the Lord and the "peaceable things of the kingdom."

How do we prepare ourselves to be in harmony with the First Presidency and the Council of the Twelve?

On one occasion during the Savior's mortal ministry, he was challenged by those who were opposing him. They wondered how a person could speak with such certainty without the education of the world.

"Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."

We must learn the will of our Father in Heaven by earnest study. Next, we must act upon it. Study alone is not sufficient; we must act upon the words of revelation before we know of a surety of the truthfulness of the doctrines. ("The Revelations of Heaven," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 64)

L. Lionel Kendrick

The most frequent confirmation of the Spirit comes to us as peaceful feelings. The Spirit indeed "showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom" (D&C 39:6; see also D&C 36:2; D&C 42:61; D&C 111:8).

President Brigham Young quoted these words of the Prophet Joseph Smith: "They can tell the Spirit of the Lord from all other spirits-it will whisper peace and joy to their souls."

Feelings of peace are promptings and proof that the Spirit is bearing witness to us in response to our petitions. The Lord said to Oliver Cowdery through the Prophet Joseph Smith: "Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?" (D&C 6:23). ("Personal Revelation," Ensign, Sept. 1999, 13)

Harold B. Lee

In modern revelation the true Church has been defined as the Church having the authority to confer the Holy Ghost, even the gift of the Holy Ghost which gives to those who make themselves worthy, the right to have all peaceable things of the kingdom revealed to them. This makes clear the meaning of the explanation made by the Prophet Joseph when asked by a President of the United States, "How is your church different from all the other churches?" The Prophet Joseph Smith answered in one significant statement, "We are different from all other churches because we have the Holy Ghost" (see DHC 4, 42); in other words, meaning that the principle of continuous revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost is a prime requisite for the true Church. (Conference Report, October 1963, Third Day-Morning Meeting 105.)

DC 36:5 ordained and sent forth to preach

Not only did Edward Partridge need to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (v. 2), he also needed to be ordained an elder so that he could fulfill this calling to preach. The historical records indicate that Sidney Rigdon ordained him to the office of elder.

Orson F. Whitney

Preserved by the Partridge family as a relic of bygone times, is a little scrap of paper, yellow with age, upon the margin of one side of which is written the words, "Elder's license," and on the other side, in what would now be considered poor, though legible, penmanship, and altogether innocent of punctuation, the following:

This may certify that Edward Partridge has been received into the church of Christ which was organized on the 6th of April A. D. 1830 and ordained as an Elder under my hand Seneca county New York. SIDNEY RIGDON.

Dated Fayette this 15th day of December A. D. 1830. (Contributor, vol. 6 (October 1884-September 1885), Vol. Vi. October, 1884. No. I. p. 5.)

DC 36:6 come forth out of the fire, hating even the garments spotted with the flesh

"Garments spotted with the flesh: This expression is also found in Jude 23. The garment, a tunic worn next to the body, was thought of as polluted by indulgence in carnal sins, or defiled by the stains of diseases caused by transgression. The Elders of the Church were to cry repentance as the only means of salvation from the burning fires of the lusts of the flesh." (Smith and Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, p.192.)

Joseph Fielding Smith

Garments spotted with flesh are garments defiled by the practices of carnal desires and disobedience to the commandments of the Lord. We are commanded to keep our garments unspotted from all sin, from every practice that defiles. We are therefore commanded to come out of the world of wickedness and forsake the things of this world. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:162-163.)

DC 36:8 I will suddenly come to my temple

Speaking of this verse, one scholar noted, "This was the first entry in the Doctrine and Covenants indicating that temples were to be built in this dispensation, but Moroni had previously acquainted the Prophet with such matters." (William E. Berrett, Teachings of the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1956], 111 - 112.) In truth, the Lord was merely reiterating the prophesy of Malachi which declares that there must be a temple on the earth for him to return:

   Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

   But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:

   And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver... (Mal. 3:1-3, italics added)

The reader can tell from the above passage that this appearance has reference to the time of his Second Coming. But some ask, "Hasn't the Lord already come to his temple? Hasn't this prophecy already been fulfilled?" Perhaps partial fulfillment occurred at the Kirtland Temple in 1836:

"The dedication of the Kirtland temple on Sunday, March 27, was a consummation for all of the Saints...Visions, experienced in eight separate meetings, included one of the Father and Son, and the Savior himself appeared in the temple on five different occasions." (Susan Evans McCloud, Brigham Young, A Personal Portrait [American Fork, Ut.: Covenant Communications, 1996], chap. 5)

Furthermore, the Master has appeared in his temples since that day. In a solemn assembly in the Salt Lake Temple, Harold B. Lee said:

"This is the House of the Lord. This is where the Lord comes when he comes to see us on the earth. I imagine he has walked all the halls and every room. He is looking at us; maybe he is here today." (L. Brent Goates, Harold B. Lee: Prophet and Seer [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1985], 392.)

However, the prophecy in question will not be completely fulfilled until the Second Coming (see also D&C 133:2). Just prior to his coming, according to Orson Pratt, the Lord will appear to a group of faithful saints in his temple-both in the New Jerusalem and in the Old Jerusalem. As Elder McConkie noted: "he will come in due course to the temples in Jackson County and in Jerusalem." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 577.)

Jeffrey R. Holland

"Christ, who is the great 'messenger of the covenant,' did come to the first temple in this dispensation, in Kirtland, Ohio, on April 3, 1836.  He has, of course, come to other temples and will yet do so-particularly in Jerusalem and Jackson County, Missouri-as part of the culmination of his majestic second coming." (Christ And The New Covenant, p. 294)

Orson Pratt

"All of them who are pure in heart will behold the face of the Lord and that too before he comes in his glory in the clouds of heaven, for he will suddenly come to his Temple, and he will purify the sons of Moses and of Aaron, until they shall be prepared to offer in that Temple an offering that shall be acceptable in the sight of the Lord. In doing this, he will purify not only the minds of the Priesthood in that Temple, but he will purify their bodies until they shall be quickened, renewed and strengthened, and they will be partially changed, not to immortality, but changed in part that they can be filled with the power of God, and they can stand in the presence of Jesus, and behold his face in the midst of that Temple." (Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2000], 557 - 558.)