Section 108

DC 108 Historical Background

"By late December 1835, nine months had passed in Kirtland since the great revelation on priesthood, now recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 107, had been received.  On the preceding 4 May 1835, the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, ordained the previous February, had departed on their first mission.  On 3 July of the same year, Mr. Michael Chandler had come to Kirtland with his Egyptian mummies and the two papyrus scrolls from which [came] the book of Abraham.  In mid-September the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, sustained by the Church the preceding 17 August, was delivered to Kirtland from the bindery in Cleveland, much to the joy of the Saints. And by Christmas of 1835, work on the Kirtland Temple was nearing completion.  In another three months, the Lord's house would be dedicated.  A second term of the School for the Elders had begun in Kirtland on 3 November 1835; it would be moved to the third floor of the temple in January and continue to meet there until the temple dedication." (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 2001] 4:34)

DC 108 Biographical Sketch: Lyman Sherman

"Anomalies in Church history are interesting and generally merit some attention. The story of Lyman Sherman seems to be a case in point. Sherman was chosen to fill a vacancy in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles but was never notified of his calling or ordained.

"Lyman Royal Sherman, son of Elkanah Sherman and Asenath Hulbert, was born 22 May 1804, in Monkton, Addison County, Vermont.  As early as 1829 he moved to Pomfret, Chautauqua County, New York, where he married Delcena Didamia Johnson, 16 January 1829.  Sherman, as well as others of his wife's family, was converted to the Church in Pomfret by Elders Joseph B. Brackenbury and Edmund Durfee in January 1832.  The Shermans moved to Kirtland, Ohio, probably in June 1833, with Mrs. Julia Johnson and family, where they resided until 1838.

"In 1834, Sherman joined Zion's Camp, and upon his return from Missouri was ordained a president of the original Quorum of Seventy, 28 February 1835. He was released from this position in April 1837...

"In April 1835, in a meeting called at Sherman's home in Kirtland, Ohio, for the purpose of giving patriarchal blessings to the members of the family, Church Patriarch Joseph Smith, Sr., told Lyman that he would help gather Israel and that since his father had passed away, 'and thou hast no father, God shall be thy father and he shall comfort thee.'

"The day after Christmas, 1835, Sherman approached the Prophet Joseph Smith in Kirtland and said, 'I have been wrought upon to make known to you my feelings and desires, and was promised that I should have a revelation which should make known my duty.' The Lord's promise was fulfilled to Sherman, for Joseph received a revelation for him that very hour. (D&C 108)...

"Shortly after receiving this revelation, Sherman participated with those of his quorum in several meetings in the Kirtland Temple in early 1836 wherein anointing and blessings were given to the brethren. On 8 January 1837, he met with others in the Kirtland Temple to worship. After the sacrament had been administered, 'Elder Sherman sung in the gift of tongues & proclaimed great & marvelous things while clothed upon by the power & spirit of God.'

"On 1 October 1837, Lyman Sherman was called to replace Jared Carter as a member of the high council in Kirtland, where he served until at least mid-November of that year. He was also included as a charter member of the Kirtland Safety Society, but there is no record of his ever holding any stock in that institution.

"After the Prophet's flight to Missouri in early 1838, dissenters in Kirtland sought to use the printing office and materials to 'bolster up a church organization opposed to the Prophet.' In an attempt to curtail such action, the printing office was set fire and destroyed. While Church leaders in Missouri presumed this act of arson to have been perpetrated by the 'Parrish party,' it was Lyman Sherman who started the fire to thwart Joseph's enemies. He then moved to Missouri sometime prior to October 1838 and was made a temporary member of the high council in Far West on 13 December 1838.

"Lyman Sherman's crowning call to become an apostle came while the Prophet and other were prisoners in Liberty Jail. On 16 January 1839, Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith wrote a letter to Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young instructing them to  'get the Twelve together, [and] ordain such as have not been ordained.' George A. Smith was chosen to replace Thomas B. Marsh, and Sherman was to replace Orson Hyde.

"Elder Smith learned of his call in late January 1839 from Don Carlos Smith, the Prophet's brother. Lyman Sherman, however, was never notified. While both Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young knew of Sherman's appointment well before his death, they chose not to tell him. Although no clear explanation was given for not disclosing this highly important information, it appears to be related to the fact that Sherman was suffering from his final illness when Brigham and Heber learned of his call.

"While he is not included with the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in any official listing of General Authorities of the Church, Lyman Royal Sherman is remembered for his faithfulness and testimony of the restored gospel. Benjamin F. Johnson said of Sherman: 'He was a man of great integrity, a powerful preacher and by revelation was called to the Apostleship but died before receiving his ordination.'  Lyman Sherman died in Far West, Missouri, in February 1839.  ("Lyman Sherman--Man of God, Would-Be Apostle," by Lyndon W. Cook, BYU Studies, vol. 19 (1978-1979), Number 1 - Fall 1978 124)

DC 108:2 let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing

"When I read Doctrine and Covenants, section 108, I think of the many times that the spirit of forgiveness might be felt in our lives. When Lyman Sherman was a high priest serving as one of the presidents of the Seventy, there arose some contention whether he or the Seventies had the most authority in the presidency. The Prophet decided to release him from his assignment in the seventies quorum and asked him to come see him. (Editors note:  this account is not chronologically in harmony with the biographical history given above.  Available information is inadequate to reconcile this inconsistency.  The principle taught, however, is worthy of review).  Brother Sherman felt disappointed and hurt but responded to the Prophet's call and went to his office. The Lord then gave him this blessing: 'Verily thus saith the Lord unto you, my servant Lyman: Your sins are forgiven you, because you have obeyed my voice in coming up hither this morning to receive counsel of him whom I have appointed' (D&C 108:1).

"I wonder if that same blessing will apply to us when our bishop requests us to come to tithing settlement. Certainly, I have always had a special experience with my bishop and left his office feeling at peace and blessed for the privilege. Maybe we have feelings against someone or there are difficulties in our relationship with our companions, and the bishop, discerning this, asks us to visit with him. If we comply and are prepared to hearken to the counsel given, the spirit of forgiveness will envelop our soul and wash away our hardness of heart. Our obedience to the calls of those whom the Lord has appointed may bring blessings that we had not thought of." (Gerald E. Melchin, "Thy Sins Are Forgiven," Ensign, Jan. 1995, 20)

Ezra Taft Benson

God will have a humble people. Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble. Alma said, "Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble." (Alma 32:16.)

Let us choose to be humble.

We can choose to humble ourselves by conquering enmity toward our brothers and sisters, esteeming them as ourselves, and lifting them as high or higher than we are. (See D&C 38:24; D&C 81:5; D&C 84:106.)

We can choose to humble ourselves by receiving counsel and chastisement. ("Beware of Pride," Ensign, May 1989, 6-7)

DC 108:2 resist no more my voice

Robert D. Hales

[The Bishop] is there to help you, guide you, listen to you, keep your confidences, and to strengthen you in your relationship with the Lord, who is also your friend. The bishop may simply need to reassure you and remind you of your goals and promises: to pray, read the scriptures, live the commandments, give service to others, and strengthen your testimony.

But as your friend, your counselor, and your judge, he may need to call you to repentance, in the same way that the Lord commands us to repent and reminds us of the consequences of sin. The bishop does this because he loves you, because he wants you to overcome your problems. It is an act of love, an opportunity to set things right. Once you go to the bishop, don't resist his counsel. The Lord will inspire and direct him so that he can help you find the answers you need.

"Receive counsel of him whom I have appointed," the Lord said. "... Resist no more my voice" (D&C 108:1-2). ("The Bishop," New Era, June 1986, 45)

DC 108:3 be more careful henceforth in observing your vows

Joseph L. Wirthlin

Some of our brethren who hold the priesthood and have within their grasp all of the blessings and privileges promised to the faithful have laid aside the opportunity of service and for some reason or another have become indifferent and thereby forgotten the covenants they made with the Lord when they received the priesthood. In the 108th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants, Verse 3, the Lord very implicitly reminds us of our priesthood covenants when he declared:

   And arise up and be more careful henceforth in observing your vows, which you have made and do make, and you shall be blessed with exceeding great blessings (D&C 108:3).

No individual who holds either the Aaronic or the Melchizedek Priesthood has received it but what they were asked the question as to whether or not they would be faithful and true and to keep themselves sweet and unspotted from the sins of the world, and to render whatever service may be required.

To those who are active in the priesthood, the Lord has admonished us in the 108th Section of the Doctrine & Covenants, the 7th Verse, as follows:

   Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings (D&C 108:7).

This places squarely upon the shoulders of all of us the responsibility to strengthen those who may be weak in the spirit of tolerance, patience, and love.

As I think of our inactive brethren, I feel that they are to some degree the "Forgotten Men." Might I ask you the question, "What have you done to encourage and stimulate the indifferent young men or older men to activity in the Church?" This should be the time to take an individual inventory of your attitude and my attitude toward our brethren. These men are not problem men, but they are men with a problem. Neither are they marked men, nor are they to be stigmatized, but rather your responsibility and mine is to find solutions to their problems. We must never forget that the Priesthood is a Divine Brotherhood, and the Divine Brotherhood of God should radiate love, good will and helpfulness to all.  (Conference Report, April 1954, pp. 3-9)

DC 108:4 you shall be remembered with the first of mine elders

"The revelation informed Sherman that he would receive an ordination in conjunction with the 'first of mine elders,' a term which referred to a chosen few who were to receive an 'endowment.' The Kirtland endowment was to consist of a rich outpouring of God's spirit upon the faithful elders. Preparation for the 'endowment' occupied much of the Church leaders' time during the early months of 1836. Brethren who had been selected to participate in this important event met regularly in the Kirtland Temple during January and February 1836." (Lyndon W. Cook, The Revelations of the Prophet Joseph Smith: A Historical and Biographical Commentary of the Doctrine and Covenants [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 216)

DC 108:7 strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers

Ted E. Brewerton

There is no place in this Church or in any of our families for pessimism or negativism. We should be incurable optimists.

Irrespective of the condition of a person, he who is a cynic, a pessimist, or negative has the least progress, happiness, and prosperity.

On the other hand, the Lord's way is that the optimist with faith, who is positive, elevating, and edifying, is the individual in or out of the Church who is the most progressive, happy, and prosperous. The Lord said:

"Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings." (D&C 108:7.)

We should-

  • enlighten
  • edify
  • lift
  • motivate
  • elevate
  • build and uplift in all of our conversations and doings. (Ensign, May 1983, 73)

Gordon B. Hinckley

We must continue even with greater effectiveness to strengthen and sustain one another.

The Lord has admonished us: "Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings." (D&C 108:7.)

We live in a society that feeds on criticism. Faultfinding is the substance of columnists and commentators, and there is too much of this among our own people. It is so easy to find fault, and to resist doing so requires much of discipline. But if as a people we will build and sustain one another, the Lord will bless us with the strength to weather every storm and continue to move forward through every adversity. The enemy of truth would divide us and cultivate within us attitudes of criticism which, if permitted to prevail, will only deter us in the pursuit of our great divinely given goal. We cannot afford to permit it to happen. We must close ranks and march shoulder to shoulder, the strong helping the weak, those with much assisting those with little. No power on earth can stop this work if we shall so conduct ourselves. (Ensign, May 1982, 46)