DC 49 Historical Background: The Shakers
Joseph Fielding Smith
The Shakers, or "The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing," had their origin in England in a Quaker revival in 1747, of which Jane and James Wardley were the leaders, but it is due to the activity of Ann Lee that the society has been perpetuated. This organization is a celibate and communistic sect, which did not prohibit marriage but refused to accept it as a Christian principle. The Shakers believed in "a life of innocence and purity, according to the example of Jesus Christ and his first true followers, implying entire abstinence from all sensual and carnal gratifications."... There were in the days when this revelation was given, fifteen societies of Shakers in the United States...They claimed a membership in 1842 of six thousand.
Under the leadership of "Mother" Ann Lee a band of six men and two women came to America August 6, 1774. A group of Shakers came out of the Kentucky revival in 1800-02, and from this the branches in Kentucky and Ohio were formed. "The Shakers held that God was both male and female, that Adam, having been created in the image of God, had in him the nature of both sexes, that even angels and spirits are both male and female. Christ, they believe, was one of the superior spirits and appeared in Jesus, the son of a Jewish carpenter, representing the male principle. In Mother Ann, daughter of an English blacksmith, the female principle in Christ was manifested, and in her the promise of the second coming was fulfilled. Christ's kingdom on earth began with the establishment of the Shaker communities." (Ency. Brit., Art. Shakers.)... The Shakers "derive their name from the manner of worship, which is performed by singing, dancing, and clapping their hands in regular time, to a novel, but rather pleasant kind of music." (Hayward's Book of Religion.) (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 191.)
B. H. Roberts
"This sect of Christians... have, or think they have, revelations from heaven, or gifts from the Holy Spirit, which direct them in the choice of their leaders, and in other important concerns. Their dress and manners are similar to those of the society of Friends (Quakers); hence they are often called Shaking Quakers."-Hayward's Book of All Religions, pp. 84-85. "They assert, with the Quakers, that all external ordinances, especially baptism and the Lord's supper, ceased in the apostolic age; and that God had sent no one to preach since that time till they were raised up, to call in the elect in a new dispensation. They deny the doctrine of the Trinity and a vicarious atonement, as also the resurrection of the body."-Burder's History of All Religions, p. 502. (History of the Church, 1:167, footnote)
DC 49 Historical Background: Missionary Efforts
"It appears that immediately following the reception of the revelation, Elders Rigdon and Copley left Kirtland for North Union, arriving Saturday evening, 7 May 1831. They spent much of the evening discussing the doctrines of both faiths. Just before the Shaker meeting started Elder Pratt arrived and inquired if the Elders had delivered their message. It appears that the older missionaries were quietly waiting for an opportunity to deliver their message, but the young and vigorous Parley told them 'they had come with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, and they must hear [the revelation].' However, the missionaries went with the believers to their meeting and quietly waited for the opportunity to speak. After the services were dismissed Sidney Rigdon arose and told the still assembled congregation that they had a message from the Lord Jesus Christ and asked permission to read the revelation, which was granted. Elder Sidney Rigdon arose and read to the congregation of Shakers the entire contents of section 49. One can only imagine the reaction building in the minds of the Shakers as they heard a document read which the Mormon elders claimed to be from God-a revelation in which the Lord rejected their basic beliefs, one by one." (Keith W. Perkins, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants, ed. by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 212 - 213.)
Parley P. Pratt
We fulfilled this mission, as we were commanded, in a settlement of this strange people, near Cleveland, Ohio; but they utterly refused to hear or obey the gospel." (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 61)
DC 49:2 they desire to know the truth in part, but not all
On missions or elsewhere, many of us have been exposed to Christians who are good people-people who believe in Jesus, who honor him as their personal Savior-yet they reject modern revelation and the Book of Mormon. Often, we feel great compassion for them in their efforts to do what is right. We know they understand the truth at least in part, and we ask ourselves, "What does the Lord think of good people like this?"
The answer is "they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent." Their professors "draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof." (JS-Hist 1:19)
Neal A. Maxwell
If mortals accept only part of Jesus' glorious gospel, their deprivation and suffering are self-imposed. Yet God would have all mortals enjoy a fulness of fact as well as happiness. (Plain and Precious Things [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 37.)
Glenn L. Pace
There are some of our members who practice selective obedience. A prophet is not one who displays a smorgasbord of truth from which we are free to pick and choose. However, some members become critical and suggest the prophet should change the menu. A prophet doesn't take a poll to see which way the wind of public opinion is blowing. He reveals the will of the Lord to us. The world is full of deteriorating churches who have succumbed to public opinion and have become more dedicated to tickling the ears of their members than obeying the laws of God.
In 1831, some converts wanted to bring a few of their previous beliefs into the Church with them. Our problem today is with members who seem very vulnerable to the trends in society (and the pointing fingers which attend them) and want the Church to change its position to accommodate them. The doctrinal grass on the other side of the fence looks very green to them.
The Lord's counsel in 1831 is relevant today: "Behold, I say unto you, that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent." (D&C 49:2.)
We need to accept the full truth-even all of it-"put on the whole armour of God" (Eph. 6:11), and get to work building up the kingdom. ("Follow the Prophet," Ensign, May 1989, 26-27)
Neal A. Maxwell
There are many people who wish to know some but not all of the truth. The Lord has said, "Behold, I say unto you, that they desire to know the truth in part, but not all, for they are not right before me and must needs repent." (D&C 49:2.) He has also said, "And your hearts are not satisfied. And ye obey not the truth, but have pleasure in unrighteousness." (D&C 56:15.) Sometimes we don't want to know all the truth because then we could not continue to have pleasure in unrighteousness, and the Lord will not suffer us "to take happiness in sin." (Mormon 2:13.) If we are double-minded, the straight and narrow way will be a special navigational challenge. (Things As They Really Are [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 59.)
DC 49:4 not according to that which he has received of them
"There is a remarkable lesson for us here. Leman Copley's missionary approach was not to be based upon what he had learned as a Shaker, but what he had learned as a Latter-day Saint. In short, his assignment was not to establish common ground and glory in similarities; rather, he was to be true to the truth, to declare with boldness what had been delivered to earth by revelation in this final dispensation of grace. By being true to the Restoration he would be prospered.
"A later incident in Church history further illustrates the power of this principle. Elder Parley P. Pratt writes of and occasion wherein the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon addressed a large congregation in the East:
"While visiting with brother Joseph in Philadelphia, a very large church was opened for him to preach in, and about three thousand people assembled to hear him. Brother Rigdon spoke first, and dwelt on the Gospel, illustrating his doctrine by the Bible. When he was through, brother Joseph arose like a lion about to roar; and being full of the Holy Ghost, spoke in great power, bearing testimony of the visions he had seen, the ministering of angels which he had enjoyed; and how he had found the plates of the Book of Mormon, and translated them by the gift and power of God. He commenced by saying: 'If nobody else had the courage to testify of so glorious a message from Heaven, and of the finding of so glorious a record, he felt to do it in justice to the people, and leave the event with God.'"
"This was no time to declare a message such as any other minister from any other church might deliver. This was no occasion for sharing and seeking to establish doctrine from the Bible. Joseph's work is a new and independent revelation, and his witness an independent witness. What was the result of Joseph Smith's sermon in Philadelphia? 'The entire congregation were astounded electrified, as it were, and overwhelmed with the sense of the truth and power by which he spoke, and the wonders which he related. A lasting impression was made; many souls were gathered into the fold. And I bear witness that he, by his faithful and powerful testimony, cleared his garments of their blood. Multitudes were baptized in Philadelphia and in the regions around.' (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, pp. 298-99.) (Joseph Fielding McConkie and Robert L. Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987-1992], 4: 379.)
DC 49:6 which time is nigh at hand
The First Presidency
Each passing year brings us nearer the date of the Lord's coming in power and glory. True, the hour and the day when this great event is to take place, no man knoweth; but all the promised signs indicate that it is not far distant. Meanwhile the duty of the Saints is to watch and work and pray, being valiant for truth, and abounding in good works. (HEBER J. GRANT, ANTHONY W. IVINS, CHARLES W. NIBLEY. James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 5: 256.)
Joseph B. Wirthlin
The Lord could not have been more plain when He said of His triumphal return to the earth, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." He taught this truth on the Mount of Olives and repeated it in modern revelation through the Prophet Joseph Smith with the words "the hour and the day no man knoweth."
Yes, the time will come when "Christ will reign personally upon the earth." Certainly we are closer to that time now than in 1831 when the Lord admonished the elders of the Church to "labor ... in my vineyard for the last time-for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth. ... For the great Millennium, of which I have spoken by the mouth of my servants, shall come."
We do not know the precise time of the Second Coming of the Savior, but we do know that we are living in the latter days and are closer to the Second Coming than when the Savior lived his mortal life in the meridian of time. We should resolve to begin a new era of personal obedience to prepare for His return. Mortality is fleeting. We all have much to accomplish in preparation to meet Him. ("Cultivating Divine Attributes," Ensign, Nov. 1998, 25-26)
DC 49:7 the hour and the day no man knoweth...nor shall they know until he comes
The scriptures always speak of the hour and day of the Lord's Second Coming. However, the year and month of the Lord's coming can be known. In fact, they will be known by the prophets as the great and dreadful day draws closer.
It is not the design of the Almighty to come upon the earth and crush it and grind it to powder, but he will reveal it to His servants the prophets. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 286)
Jesus Christ never did reveal to any man the precise time that he would come. Go and read the Scriptures, and you cannot find anything that specifies the exact hour He would come; and all that say so are false teachers. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 341, italics added)
"There may be men that will know within a year-that will have revelation to say within one or two years when the Lord shall appear. I do not know that there is anything against this.
"But the great question is, brethren and sisters, Are we ready?-are we perfect enough for this day? Are we honest enough? and are we filled with integrity enough to be ready for the Saviour and his holy angels? Is there a sufficiency of union? Have we that firmness in our minds that we can stand in their presence-that we can look them in the eye and say that all is right?" (Journal of Discourses, 8: 49 - 50.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Those who treasure up his word will not be deceived as to the time of that glorious day, nor as to the events to precede and to attend it. (Jos. Smith 1:37.) The righteous will be able to read the signs of the times. To those in darkness he will come suddenly, unexpectedly, "as a thief in the night," but to "the children of light" who "are not of the night, nor of darkness," as Paul expressed it, that day will not overtake them "as a thief." They will recognize the signs as certainly as a woman in travail foreknows the approximate time of her child's birth. (1 Thess. 5:1-6.) (Mormon Doctrine, 2d ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], 688.)
DC 49:8 all are under sin, except those which I have reserved unto myself
Joseph Fielding Smith
The reference to the need of repentance by all men, except those which I have reserved unto myself, holy men that we know not of, may require some explanation. The Shakers felt that they were living lives approaching perfection, or at least, free from sin in their celibacy, etc. The Lord informs us that all men in their mortal state are subject to sin and all who have not repented and received the remission of their sins in baptism are subject to repentance and baptism for the remission of sin. The Shakers did not believe in baptism. "Holy men that ye know not of," who were without sin, and reserved unto the Lord, are translated persons such as John the Revelator and the Three Nephites, who do not belong to this generation and yet are in the flesh in the earth performing a special ministry until the coming of Jesus Christ. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 192.)
DC 49:10 the nations of the earth shall bow to it
"The knowledge that nations shall bow down to the gospel (v. 10) must have been interesting information to this small group of Saints living in Ohio and Missouri, but it is doubtful that they fully comprehended what we now know today to be reality." (Keith W. Perkins, Studies in Scripture, Vol. 1: The Doctrine and Covenants, ed. by Robert L. Millet and Kent P. Jackson, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1989], 217.)
"Upon the acceptance or rejection of the new dispensation of the Gospel and its social, economic, and political program hangs the fate of all nations and peoples in the latter days. By revelation to Joseph Smith, the Lord said: "I have sent unto you mine everlasting covenant [i.e., the Gospel and its related program], . . . and the nations of the earth shall bow to it; and, if not of themselves, they shall come down, for that which is now exalted of itself shall be laid low of power." No greater or more positive ultimatum has ever been issued than that given to the modern world through Joseph Smith in relation to the dispensation of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ." (Hyrum L. Andrus, God, Man, and the Universe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1968], 32.)
DC 49:11-14 go among this people, and say unto them, like...Peter: Believe on the name of the Lord...Repent and be baptized
Those who had witnessed the Day of Pentecost were amazed at the spiritual manifestation and asked Peter, saying "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" A more important and fundamental question could not have been asked. The answer is always the same, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." (Acts 2:37-38) This is the doctrine of Jesus Christ (3 Ne. 11:31-34).
What is our message to the Shakers? What is our message to the Presbyterians, Methodists, and Catholics? What is our message to the world? What is it that we hope they will do? It is the same thing that it has always been: to exercise faith unto repentance, followed by baptism with water and the Spirit.
Spencer W. Kimball
Today, I think, I fear, it is the day of repentance-a day for people to take stock of their situations and to change their lives where that is necessary... I find that Peter the apostle constantly called upon the people to cleanse their lives and repent from their transgressions.
"Dearly beloved," he said, "I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
"Having your conversation [or your conduct] honest among the Gentiles: that whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Pet. 2:11-12.) ("Why Do We Continue to Tolerate Sin?" Ensign, May 1975, 109)
DC 49:15 marriage is ordained of God unto man
The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles
We...solemnly proclaim that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God and that the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children...
We further declare that God has commanded that the sacred powers of procreation are to be employed only between man and woman, lawfully wedded as husband and wife.
We declare the means by which mortal life is created to be divinely appointed. We affirm the sanctity of life and of its importance in God's eternal plan...
The Family is ordained of God...we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. (The Family: A Proclamation To The World)
Gordon B. Hinckley
President Joseph F. Smith once declared "that no man can be saved and exalted in the kingdom of God without the woman, and no woman can reach perfection and exaltation in the kingdom of God, alone. ... God instituted marriage in the beginning. He made man in His own image and likeness, male and female, and in their creation it was designed that they should be united together in sacred bonds of marriage, and one is not perfect without the other." (In Conference Report, April 1913, p. 118.)
Surely no one reading the scriptures, both ancient and modern, can doubt the divine concept of marriage. The sweetest feelings of life, the most generous and satisfying impulses of the human heart, find expression in a marriage that stands pure and unsullied above the evil of the world.
Such a marriage, I believe, is the desire-the hoped-for, the longed-for, the prayed-for desire-of men and women everywhere. ("What God Hath Joined Together," Ensign, May 1991, 71)
David O. McKay
Marriage is not something to be entered into lightly, terminated at pleasure, or ended at the first difficulty that might arise.
To the Latter-day Saint, marriage is a divine ordinance, and we look upon the home as the best security of civilization, and upon properly conducted homes in which intelligent parenthood directs, as the best means of the improvement of mankind. I think we make no exception. It is in such homes that the virtues that produce true manhood and beautiful womanhood are fostered...
Marriage, therefore, in the light of revelation is an institution with the stamp of divinity upon it, and no person and no state can deprecate that institution with impunity. When Jesus referred to marriage, he associated with it the eternal idea: "What God hath joined together let no man put asunder." (Steppingstones to an Abundant Life [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1971], 372 - 373.)
DC 49:16 it is lawful that he should have one wife
The Lord did not say that it is unlawful for a man to have more than one wife-He said that it is lawful for a man to have one wife. Without question, monogamy is the Lord's general rule, "For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none" (Jacob 2:27). Rare exceptions have been allowed by the Lord, "For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people [to practice polygamy]; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things" (Jacob 2:30).
Bruce R. McConkie
From the day of Adam to the present, and from this hour to the end of the peopling of the world, the law of God has been, is, and shall be that man should have one wife at a time and one wife only, except when God by revelation specifically directs otherwise. (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-1973], 3: 82.)
DC 49:16 all this that the earth might answer the end of its creation
There are multitudes of pure and holy spirits waiting to take tabernacles, now what is our duty?-To prepare tabernacles for them; to take a course that will not tend to drive those spirits into the families of the wicked, where they will be trained in wickedness, debauchery, and every species of crime. It is the duty of every righteous man and woman to prepare tabernacles for all the spirits they can. (Discourses of Brigham Young [Deseret Book Co., 1943], p. 197.)
DC 49:18-19 whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats...is not ordained of God
Note that the official footnote for the word "forbiddeth" says "biddeth". If you're reading online at LDS.org, you'll have to turn the footnote feature on.
"The double negative phrase "forbiddeth to abstain" as found in D&C 49:18 can be confusing and syntactically challenging for readers. While some have argued that the phrase should be read and undestood literally, the Doctrine and Covenants of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints indicates that a literal reading is not correct. In this article (see http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/whoso-forbiddeth-to-abstain-from-meats/) I demonstrate that the phrase "forbid to abstain" was an accepted Engflish idiom prior to and for a few decades following the receipt of D&C 49, even though it has vanished from contemporary usage completely. The meaning of this idiomatic expression was "command to abstain," in opposition to its literal meaning. The probable origin of this expression is the Greek text of 1 Timothy 4:3, which in English partially reads "commanding to abstain from meats." However, in Greek the phrase "commanding to abstain" would be rendered more correctly as "forbidding to abstain." I conclude that the proper reading of "forbiddeth to abstain in D&C 49:18 is the idiomatic rather than the literal one and that it should be understood as "commandeth to abstain." (Loren Blake Spendlove, http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/whoso-forbiddeth-to-abstain-from-meats/)
"Some 10 million Americans today (2005) consider themselves to be practicing vegetarians, according to a Time poll... an additional 20 million have flirted with vegetarianism sometime in their past.
"Vegetarianism resolves a conscientious person's inner turf war by providing an edible complex of good-deed-doing: to go veggie is to be more humane. Give up meat, and save lives!
"...So, how about it? Should we all become vegetarians? Not just teens but also infants, oldsters, athletes-everyone? Will it help us live longer, healthier lives? Does it work for people of every age and level of work activity?" (http://www.indolink.com/Living/America/a55.php)
If Vegetarianism is not enough for you, then you can become a vegan. A vegan won't use any animal products at all.
"A vegan (pronounced VEE-gun) is someone who, for various reasons, chooses to avoid using or consuming animal products. While vegetarians choose not to use flesh foods, vegans also avoid dairy and eggs, as well as fur, leather, wool, down, and cosmetics or chemical products tested on animals.
"Why VEGAN? Veganism, the natural extension of vegetarianism, is an integral component of a cruelty-free lifestyle. Living vegan provides numerous benefits to animals' lives, to the environment, and to our own health-through a healthy diet and lifestyle." (http://www.vegan.org/about_veganism/index.html)
Some animal lovers ascribe all human emotions to animals whether they are capable of them or not. This can sometimes lead them to ascribe the same value to animal life as they do to human life. But such individuals don't seem to understand that the beasts and the fowls, not to mention the fishes, are ordained for the use of man. God gave them to us to use with wisdom and judgment. Man is the supreme creation who has been given dominion over all the earth.
What else is a cow for anyway? Consider this one animal. It is an amazing creature! A cow can take grass and turn it into beef, milk, leather, and butter. In fact, a cow doesn't do a whole lot more than turn grass into beef, milk, leather, and butter. Obviously, the Lord has given them to us for our benefit.
DC 49:20 it is not given that a man should possess that which is above another
God may have created all men equal, but men create inequality by exalting themselves above their neighbors. Money, material possessions, prestige, and power are the perpetual pursuits of man's greedy nature. As Elder Maxwell noted, "This ought to remind us of the role that economic disparity plays in causing and maintaining sin, in the grand and tragic sense of the word, because of the envy, the strife, and the greed with all their train of consequences." ("For the Power is in Them...", p. 56)
Matthias F. Cowley
The Lord revealed to them how they should live. He said it was not pleasing to Him that one man should possess that which was above another. He declared that the earth was full of His bounties, and He designed that all should have enough. He asked them to consecrate all that they had to the establishment and beautifying of Zion, and that every man and woman should be made responsible for the stewardship which their gifts and capacities fitted them for. They should have all that they needed to eat, to wear, to house themselves, and to educate and bring up their children in the ways of the Lord; but all the surplus should be consecrated for the redemption of Zion. This was the principle revealed at that time, and we shall yet have to come to that. (Conference Report, April 1901, Afternoon Session 16.)
Neal A. Maxwell
The Lord's cure for poverty is the only real cure available, but to be completely effective, it must be done in His own way. The world's way is the equivalent of using Band-Aids for arthritis. Of this world's resources, the Lord has said, "There is enough and to spare." The scarcity lies not in material resources, but in the love of men toward their fellowmen and in our lack of justice and mercy. (Even As I Am [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 106.)
Harold B. Lee
While the world today is groping for a solution (and some of our people, I am afraid, have the mistaken notion that they must look to some development of the philosophies of men in this nation or from nations abroad to solve present problems), the Latter-day Saints should never lose sight of the fact that for over one hundred years the Lord has given us the way and the plan by which might come the solution of all the economic problems of this day. (Stand Ye in Holy Places [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1974], 279.)
DC 49:21 wo be unto man that sheddeth blood or that wasteth flesh and hath no need
Hunters aren't particularly fond of this verse-especially if they don't like the taste of their own venison and elk meat. The Lord obviously abhors the indiscriminate killing of animals, especially killing for sport.
"During the Zion's Camp expedition in the summer of 1834, an incident occurred that allowed a practical application of concern for animal life. As related by the Prophet Joseph Smith in his history:
In pitching my tent we found three massasaugas or prairie rattlesnakes, which the brethren were about to kill, but I said, "Let them alone-don't hurt them! How will the serpent ever lose his venom, while the servants of God possess the same disposition, and continue to make war upon it? Men must become harmless, before the brute creation; and when men lose their vicious dispositions and cease to destroy the animal race, the lion and the lamb can dwell together, and the sucking child can play with the serpent in safety." The brethren took the serpents carefully on sticks and carried them across the creek. I exhorted the brethren not to kill a serpent, bird, or an animal of any kind during our journey unless it became necessary in order to preserve ourselves from hunger. (Documentary History of the Church, vol. 2, pp. 71-72.)
"That the brethren implemented the Prophet's teachings is indicated in two events that occurred about a month later on the trip: 'As Hyrum Stratton and his companion were taking up their blankets this morning, they discovered two prairie rattlesnakes quietly sleeping under them, which they carefully carried out of the camp.'
"And again, 'While the brethren were making their beds in Captain Brigham Young's tent, one of them discovered a very musical rattlesnake which they were about to kill. Captain Young told them not to hurt him but carry him out of the tent, whereupon Brother Carpenter took him in his hands, carried him beyond all danger, and left him to enjoy his liberty, telling him not to return.' (DHC, vol. 2, pp. 101-102.)" (Gerald E. Jones, "The Gospel and Animals," Ensign, Aug. 1972, 64)
DC 49:22 the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman
The word of the Lord is clear that when the Savior comes again, the event will be known by all. Isaiah states, "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all felsh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5).
Joseph Fielding Smith
Since the Shakers held that God was both male and female, it was easy for them to believe in "Mother" Ann Lee as "the female principle in Christ," and to believe that in her Christ had made his second appearance. The Lord corrects this foolish idea and says that the Son of Man cometh not in the form of a woman, neither of a man traveling on the earth, but when he shall appear it shall be as the Only Begotten Son of God, full of power, might and dominion who will put all enemies under his feet. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 1: 193.)
DC 49:23 looking...for the valleys to be exalted, and for the mountains to be made low
Parley P. Pratt
Just at the time when Jerusalem has been trodden down of the Gentiles long enough to have received, at the Lord's hands, double for all her sins, yea, when the warfare of Jerusalem is accomplished, and her iniquities pardoned. Then shall this proclamation be made (Isaiah 40:2) as it was before by John [the Baptist], yea, a second proclamation, to prepare the way of the Lord, for His second coming, and about that time every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and crooked shall be made straight, and rough places plain, and then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. . . .
Having restored the earth to the same glorious state in which it first existed-leveling the mountains, exalting the valleys, smoothing the rough plaes, making the deserts fruitful, and bringing all the continents and islands together, causing the curse to be taken off, that noxious weeds and thorns, and thistles shall no longer be produced, the next thing is to regulate and restore the brute creation to their former state of peace and glory, causing enmity to cease from off the earth. But this will never be done until there is a general destruction poured out upon man, which will entirely cleanse the earth, and sweep all wickedness from its face." (Roy W. Doxey, comp., Latter-day Prophets and the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1978], 2: 150-151.)
DC 49:24 Jacob shall flourish
The scripture says that Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness but that Zion "shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains" (v. 25). Is the Lord talking about the same thing? Is there a difference in meaning between Jacob flourishing and Zion flourishing? Hugh Nibley explains why the scripture uses the term Jacob in this context:
"Members of the Christian church and those pretending to be so have at all times called themselves Israel, but not Jacob. That name is reserved for the Jews, and the consultation of a good Bible commentary will show that it is bound intimately to Palestine, whereas Israel refers to the people of the later covenant wherever they are: Israel kata pneuma, the earliest Christians called themselves, 'spiritual Israel.' Jacob was Israel's name before he wrestled with the Lord and received his new covenant. Jacob flourishing in the wilderness is the Jews prospering in their desert places, of that there has never been any doubt in the minds of Latter-day Saints." (Hugh Nibley, The World and the Prophets, 3rd ed. [Salt Lake City and Provo: Deseret Book Co., Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987], 237 - 238.)
"In less than 25 years, the actual development of Palestine, agriculturally, commercially and intellectually, is the marvel of history. The Jews in Palestine, as the Latter-day Saints in America, have, literally, turned a desert into a garden. They have brought money, knowledge, idealism, and the type of people settled there is the best human material available for the building up of a country. Of the 400,000 Jews in Palestine about 10,000 are said to be immigrants from America. They have contributed much, particularly through investments, toward development of the orange groves, shipping and commercial companies and industries. (George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955-1961], 1: 400.)
Judah must return, Jerusalem must be rebuilt, and the temple, and water come out from under the temple, and the waters of the Dead Sea be healed. It will take some time to rebuild the walls of the city and the temple, ... and all this must be done before the Son of Man will make His appearance. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 286)
DC 49:24 the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose
Gene R. Cook
My family and I are presently living in South America among the Lamanites-the children of Lehi, the people of the Book of Mormon, a people of great promise. For a number of years we have been witnesses to spiritual miracles among that people:
1. We have seen thousands converted to the Lord who had his law put into their minds and written in their hearts (see Heb. 8:10).
2. We have seen them organized into numerous stakes of Zion.
3. We have truly seen them "blossom as the rose" as prophecy has been fulfilled through them (see D&C 49:24).
4. We have literally seen the Lord perform miracles among them by their faith.
Why should that be so? Why are changes in that people occurring so dramatically? The title page of the record their ancestors gave to the world, entitled the Book of Mormon, indicates that the book was "written to the Lamanites, who are a remnant of the house of Israel." In the last chapter of the book, the prophet Moroni gives to the Lamanites farewell instructions, a portion of which contains the conditions on which individual testimonies of the truth may be obtained. The record is for all men, but from cover to cover the book is filled with prophecies concerning the Lamanites, indicating "that the promises of the Lord [would] be fulfilled, which he made to his people" (see D&C 3:18, 19).
...How the Lord has blessed his people, this remnant of the house of Jacob. His words have been fulfilled. Where there was once a barren field, today they stand strong and truly "blossom as the rose" (D&C 49:24).
What a miracle to behold! Only in part of the Lamanite world, in Latin America alone, there are over 600,000 members of the Church, with 7,000 baptized nearly every month; 181 stakes at present with almost 2,400 congregations of Saints and 2,500 Latin missionaries serving; thousands and thousands of priesthood holders-Regional Representatives, mission presidents, patriarchs, bishops-faithful sisters, and faithful children of a powerful generation yet to come. ("Miracles among the Lamanites," Ensign, Nov. 1980, 67-68)
Spencer W. Kimball
That is in direct fulfillment of the prophecies that were made, and it is a great change. A dozen years ago there was not a single Lamanite stake in the world. There were no Lamanite bishops; there were no Lamanite stake presidents. In a period of a few years all of this has come about. ("Of Royal Blood," Ensign, July 1971, 8-9)
DC 49:25 Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains
Since Zion is to be established on the American continent, the hills and mountains referred to are those of North and South America. The Prophet stated "The whole of America is Zion itself from north to south, and is described by the Prophets, who declare that it is the Zion where the mountain of the Lord should be, and that it should be in the center of the land." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 362)
DC 49:27 I will go before you...and you shall not be confounded
Neal A. Maxwell
He whose name this church bears has promised that He will be in our midst (see D&C 6:32), lead us along (see D&C 78:18), go before us (see D&C 49:27; D&C 84:88), and even fight our battles (see D&C 98:37). He has further counseled, "Be not afraid of your enemies, for I have decreed in my heart ... that I will prove you in all things, whether you will abide in my covenant, even unto death, that you may be found worthy" (D&C 98:14). So let us have patience and faith as did Lehi who saw pointing fingers of scorn directed at those who grasped the iron rod, which rod, ironically, some of those same fingers once grasped (see 1 Ne. 8:27, 33). But, said Lehi, "we heeded them not." So it should be with us! Brothers and sisters, being pointed in the right direction, we do not need to worry about being pointed at! ("From the Beginning," Ensign, Nov. 1993, 20)