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“Strengthen the Church” (Doctrine and Covenants 23–26)

Episode #11 Published: March 3, 2021

Imagine giving up your home, your family, and, at times, your safety. Then imagine losing children, seeing loved ones beaten and imprisoned, and enduring unrelenting persecution. This is just a glimpse into the life one of the Restoration’s greatest heroes. And as we study Doctrine and Covenants 23–26, we’ll come to understand how sacred revelation given to this individual can be related to us as we go through our own trials and triumphs.

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Preorder First: The Life and Faith of Emma Smith here

From acting as a scribe for the translation of the Book of Mormon to founding the Relief Society, Emma Hale Smith was a key figure in the Restoration. She was also her husband's anchor and the love of his life. But how much do we really know about her role, teachings, and leadership?

Lamb of God

"This Easter, experience the power of the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal ministry as told through the widely celebrated and sacred oratorio, Lamb of God."

Find tickets and more information about the film at lambofgodmovie.com.

Show Notes: 

Tammy Uzelac Hall

Tamara Uzelac Hall grew up in Utah and Missouri fully intending to get married, raise her 12 children while putting her husband through medical school, God had other plans. She went to college and received both her bachelor's and master’s degrees from BYU. She served a mission in Fresno, California, and worked as a social worker until God steered her life in a completely different direction, becoming a full-time seminary and institute teacher instead. After buying a house and settling nicely into a family ward, she was set up on (another) blind date with a widower, which miraculously worked and catapulted her into married life and became an insta-mom to two little girls. Currently, she and her husband are the parents to four girls and live in Utah. She is a host for Time Out for Women, a featured speaker at Temple Square Youth Conferences, Retreat for Girls, girls’ camp, and has been a speaker at BYU Women’s Conference. She loves all things scripture and is a lifelong student of the Hebrew language. A good flash mob makes her cry, she is a (self-proclaimed) champion Oreo eater, and she believes that cheese is God’s way of saying, “Hey, everything is going to be OK.”

Chere Clarke

Chere Jones Clarke grew up in Utah and her teenage years in Arkansas, where her Dad was called to be a mission president. During that time she could relate to Laman and Lemuel having to follow their father into the wilderness, fortunately her heart was softened and she counts her time in Arkansas as the defining foundation of her testimony. One of her best decisions was marrying her best friend, Keith, after he returned home from his mission. They are the parents of four children (and three spouses) who live life to the fullest and always have a story to tell her. A breast cancer survivor, she enjoys volunteering and has worked with immigrants, single parents, and is currently a women’s history research specialist at the Church History Library. Her passion is learning something new and making memories with those she loves.

Jenny Reeder

Jenny Reeder is passionate about her work in women's history at the Church History Library in Salt Lake City. Some of her faves are Emma Smith, Eliza R. Snow, Amanda Barnes Smith, Zina Young, Jane Neyman, Drusilla Hendricks... never mind. There are way too many. She is the favorite aunt to 13 nephews and nieces, loves to quilt, read, watch movies, and travel, and used to run marathons but now is just content to be alive. Her new book about Emma Smith, First: The Life and Faith of Emma Smith, will be available at Deseret Book and on deseretbook.com in March 2021.

Tammy's favorite Doctrine and Covenants resources

  • Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price Journal Edition

    Deseret Book's journal edition versions contain the full text of The Doctrine and Covenants and The Pearl of Great Price alongside wide margins that can help with both your daily study and your journaling efforts. This larger canvas provides space to express your thoughts, document insights you’ve received, or create your own visual art, illuminations, or calligraphy, enhancing your daily study and creating a record that will endure.

    Learn More

  • Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants

    Coming to know the individuals mentioned in the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants, their specific stories and circumstances, will shed greater light on how we can apply those revelations to ourselves.
    This "Who’s Who" was written by Susan Easton Black, an award-winning professor, and writer, who is truly an expert on Church history and the Doctrine and Covenants.
    This book will be a cherished reference for gospel teachers and students alike.

    Learn More

  • A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1

    This first volume of a comprehensive four-volume series, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, by Stephen E. Robinson and H. Dean Garrett, answers historical and doctrinal questions about the Doctrine and Covenants. Volume 1 covers, verse by verse, the first 40 sections of the Doctrine and Covenants.
    Doctrinal points may be clearer if we know the historical context. In this informative volume, the authors introduce each section of the Doctrine and Covenants in its historical setting. Suddenly, we see familiar verses in a new light and with new insights.
    The authors have drawn from countless sources — original diaries, journals, maps and atlases — to bring to life the history and doctrine of the Doctrine and Covenants in an easy-to-read format. Throughout the detailed studies, in-depth analysis, and perceptive commentary contained in this remarkable book, the authors' love for the Doctrine and Covenants shines forth.
    All 4 volumes in this series are available on Bookshelf PLUS+

    Learn More

  • Saints, Vol. 1: The Standard of Truth, 1815-1846

    In 1820, a young farm boy in search of truth has a vision of God the Father and Jesus Christ. Three years later, an angel guides him to an ancient record buried in a hill near his home. With God's help, he translates the record and organized the Savior's church in the latter days. Soon others join him, accepting the invitation to become Saints through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
    But opposition and violence follow those who defy old traditions to embrace restored truths. The women and men who join the church must choose whether or not they will stay true to their covenants, establish Zion, and proclaim the gospel to a troubled world.
    The Standard of Truth is the first book in Saints, a new, four-volume narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Fast-paced and meticulously researched, Saints recounts true stories of Latter-day Saints across the globe and answers the Lord's call to write history "for the good of the church, and for the rising generations" (Doctrine and Covenants 69:0). 699 total pages including notes and maps.

    Learn More

  • Repicturing the Restoration

    While existing artwork that portrays the Restoration is rich and beautiful, until now many key events in Latter-day Saint history have surprisingly never been depicted to accurately represent the historical record. The purpose of this volume is to produce paintings of some of the underrepresented events in order to expand our understanding of the Restoration. Each image includes a richly researched historical background, some artistic insights into the painting's composition, an application section providing one way this history may inform our present faith, and an analysis section offering potent questions that can be considered for further discussion. Through these new paintings, artist, author, and professor Anthony Sweat takes readers through a timeline history of pivotal events and revelations of the early Restoration. This book is not just a wonderful art book; it is also a pedagogical book using art as a launching pad to learn, evaluate, apply, and discuss important aspects of Latter-day Saint history and doctrine as readers repicture the Restoration.

    Learn More

Doctrine and Covenants Section Titles

The Doctrine and Covenants section titles were created by Leaun G. Otten and C. Max Cadwell and can be found in their books Sacred Truths of the Doctrine and Covenants volumes one and two.

Segment 1:

Title of Section 23: Specific Duties

Section 23 Heading:

A series of five revelations given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Manchester, New York, April 1830, to Oliver Cowdery, Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Joseph Smith Sr., and Joseph Knight Sr. As the result of earnest desire on the part of the five persons named to know of their respective duties, the Prophet inquired of the Lord and received a revelation for each person.

"Thou art under no condemnation" repeated in verses 1, 3, 4, and 5 to Oliver, Hyrum, Samuel, Joseph Smith, Sr., but not to Joseph Knight, Sr.

Behold, I manifest unto you, Joseph Knight, by these words, that you must take up your across, in the which you must bpray cvocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places (Doctrine and Covenants 23:6).

What does it mean to take up your cross?

18 But, behold, the arighteous, the bsaints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the ccrosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall dinherit the ekingdom of God, which was prepared for them ffrom the foundation of the world, and their gjoy shall be full hforever (2 Nephi 9:18).

Quote: "If all misfortunes were laid in one common heap whence everyone must take an equal portion, most people would be contented to take their own and depart" —Socrates

Story of Newel Knight:

History of the Church

Joseph Smith Papers

Segment 2:

Background of sections 24, 25, and 26:

"Immediately after conference I returned to my own house, and from thence, accompanied by my wife, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer and David Whitmer, went again on a visit to Mr. Knight, of Colesville, Broome county. We found a number in the neighborhood still believing, and now anxious to be baptized. We appointed a meeting for the Sabbath, and on the afternoon of Saturday we erected a dam across a stream of water, which was convenient, for the purpose of there attending to the ordinance of baptism; but during the night a mob collected and tore down our dam, which hindered us from attending to the baptism on the Sabbath. We after ward found out that this mob had been instigated to this act of molestation by certain sectarian priests of the neighborhood, who began to consider their craft in danger, and took this plan to stop the progress of the truth; and the sequel will show how determinedly they prosecuted their opposition, as well as to how little purpose in the end. The Sabbath arrived, and we held our meeting. Oliver Cowdery preached, and others of us bore testimony to the truth of the Book of Mormon, the doctrine of repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, and laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, etc. Amongst our audience were those who had torn down our dam, and who seemed desirous to give us trouble, but did not until after the meeting was dismissed, when they immediately commenced talking to those whom they considered our friends, and tried to turn them against us and our doctrines" (History of the Church Volume 1: Chapter 9, pg. 86). 


"Before the baptizing was entirely finished, the mob began again to collect, and shortly after we had retired, they amounted to about fifty men. They surrounded the house of Mr. Knight—whither we had retired—raging with anger, and apparently determined to commit violence upon us. Some asked us questions, others threatened us, so that we thought it wisdom to leave and go to the house of Newel Knight. There also they followed us, and it was only by the exercise of great prudence on our part, and reliance in our heavenly Father, that they were kept from laying violent hands upon us; and so long as they chose to stay, we were obliged to answer them various unprofitable questions, and bear with insults and threatenings without number.

The Prophet Arrested.

"We had appointed a meeting for this evening, for the purpose of attending to the confirmation of those who had been the same morning baptized. The time appointed had arrived and our friends had nearly all collected together, when to my surprise, I was visited by a constable, and arrested by him on a warrant, on the charge of being a disorderly person, of setting the country in an uproar by preaching the Book of Mormon, etc. The constable informed me, soon after I had been arrested, that the plan of those who had got out the warrant was to get me into the hands of the mob, who were now lying in ambush for me; but that he was determined to save me from them, as he had found me to be a different sort of person from what I had been represented to him. I soon found that he had told me the truth in this matter, for not far from Mr. Knight’s house, the wagon in which we had set out was surrounded by a mob, who seemed only to await some signal from the constable; but to their great disappointment, he gave the horse the whip, and drove me out of their reach" (History of the Church Volume 1, Chapter 9, pg. 88).

Daughters of Mr. Stoal as Witnesses; The Acquittal.

. . .  Several other attempts were made to prove something against me, and even circumstances which were alleged to have taken place in Broome county, were brought forward, but these my lawyers would not admit of as testimony against me; in consequence of which my persecutors managed to detain the court until they had succeeded in obtaining a warrant from Broome county, which warrant they served upon me at the very moment that I was acquitted by this court (History of the Church Volume 1, Chapter 9, pg. 90).

Newel Knight vs. Lawyer Seymour.

In this frivolous and vexatious manner did they proceed for a considerable time, when, finally, Newel Knight was called up and examined by Lawyer Seymour, who had been especially sent for on this occasion. One Lawyer Burch, also, was on the side of the prosecution; but Mr. Seymour seemed to be a more zealous Presbyterian, and appeared very anxious and determined that the people should not be deluded by any one professing the power of godliness, and not “denying the power thereof.”

Mr. Knight was sworn, and Mr. Seymour interrogated him as follows:

“Did the prisoner, Joseph Smith, Jun., cast the devil out of you?”

“No, sir.”

“Why, have not you had the devil cast out of you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And had not Joe Smith some hand in its being done?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And did not he cast him out of you?”

“No, sir; it was done by the power of God, and Joseph Smith was the instrument in the hands of God, on the occasion. He commanded him to come out of me in the name of Jesus Christ.”

“And are you sure that it was the devil?”

[Page 93]

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you see him after he was cast out of you?”

“Yes sir! I saw him.”

“Pray, what did he look like?”

[Here one of my lawyers informed the witness that he need not answer the question.] The witness replied:

“I believe I need not answer your last question, but I will do it, provided I be allowed to ask you one question first, and you answer me, viz., Do you, Mr. Seymour, understand the things of the spirit?

“No,” answered Mr. Seymour, “I do not pretend to such big things.”

“Well, then,” replied Knight, “it would be of no use to tell you what the devil looked like, for it was a spiritual sight, and spiritually discerned; and of course you would not understand it were I to tell you of it.

The lawyer dropped his head, whilst the loud laugh of the audience proclaimed his discomfiture (History of the Church Volume 1, Chapter 9, pg. 92-93)

Title of Section 24: Magnify Thine Office

Behold, thou wast called and chosen to awrite the Book of Mormon, and to my ministry; and I have blifted thee up out of thine afflictions, and have counseled thee, that thou hast been delivered from all thine enemies, and thou hast been cdelivered from the powers of Satan and from ddarkness! (Doctrine and Covenants 24:1). 

aMagnify thine office; and after thou hast bsowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in cColesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall dsupport thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and etemporally; (Doctrine and Covenants 24:3).

And in temporal labors thou shalt not have strength, for this is not thy calling. Attend to thy acalling and thou shalt have wherewith to magnify thine office, and to expound all scriptures, and continue in laying on of the hands and bconfirming the churches (Doctrine and Covenants 24:9).

For thou shalt devote all thy aservice in Zion; and in this thou shalt have strength (Doctrine and Covenants 24:7).

13 Require not amiracles, except I shall bcommand you, except ccasting out ddevilsehealing the sick, and against fpoisonous serpents, and against deadly poisons; (Doctrine and Covenants 24:7).

Behold, I manifest unto you, Joseph Knight, by these words, that you must take up your across, in the which you must bpray cvocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places (Doctrine and Covenants 23:6).

Dusting of the Feet:

14 And these things ye shall not do, except it be required of you by them who adesire it, that the scriptures might be bfulfilled; for ye shall do according to that which is written.

15 And in whatsoever place ye shall aenter, and they receive you not in my name, ye shall leave a cursing instead of a blessing, by casting off the bdust of your feet against them as a testimony, and cleansing your feet by the wayside (Doctrine and Covenants 24:14–15). 

Quote: “. . . to ceremonially shake the dust from one's feet as a testimony against another was understood by the Jews to symbolize a cessation of fellowship and a renunciation of all responsibility for consequences that might follow. It became an ordinance of accusation and testimony by the Lord's instructions to his apostles… In the current dispensation, the Lord has similarly directed his authorized servants to so testify against those who willfully and maliciously oppose the truth when authoritatively presented (See D&C 24:15, 60:15, 75:20, 84:92, 99:4). The responsibility of testifying before the Lord by this accusing symbol is so great that the means may be employed only under unusual and extreme conditions, as the Spirit of the Lord may direct" (Elder James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, p. 321).

Title of Section 26: All Things by Common Consent

And all things shall be done by acommon consent in the bchurch, by much prayer and faith, for all things you shall receive by faith. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 26:2).

What the Lord said to Joseph after he was imprisoned for the first time:

Be apatient in bafflictions, for thou shalt have many; but cendure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the dend of thy days (Doctrine and Covenants 24:8). 

Quote: “My object is to let you know that I am right I should be like a fish out of water if I were out of persecution; perhaps my brethren think it requires all this to keep me humble. The Lord has constituted me so curiously that I glory in persecution; I am not near so humble as if I was not persecuted" ("History, 1838–1856, volume F-1 [1 May 1844–8 August 1844]," p. 58, The Joseph Smith Papers). 

Segment 3:

Title of Section 25: An Elect Lady

Emma's Early Life:

"Emma Hale, who had eight brothers and sisters, grew up in the untamed Susquehanna Valley in Pennsylvania. With her father, she enjoyed canoeing on the Susquehanna River and riding horses. Little did she know then that she would marry the great prophet of the Restoration" (Ryan Carr, "When Emma Met Joseph," New Era, October 2004). 

"As a child, Emma developed a deep sense of religious conviction and devotion to God. Methodism became popular in the Susquehanna region in the early 1800s, and Emma began attending with her mother at the age of seven. A family tradition suggests that Isaac Hale overheard his young daughter Emma praying for him in the woods near their home and that this contributed to his spiritual conversion. Emma most likely attended the female seminary in Great Bend Township, and she later taught school2" ("Emma Hale Smith," Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).

How Emma Met Joseph:

"He [Josiah Stoal] had heard something of a silver mine having been opened by the Spaniards in Harmony, Susquahanah County, State of Pensylvania, and had previous to my hiring with him been digging in order if possible to discover the mine. After I went to live with <him> he took me among the rest of his hands to dig for the silver mine, at which I continued to work for nearly a month without success in our undertaking, and finally I prevailed with the old gentleman to cease digging after it. Hence arose the very prevalent story of my have <having> been a money digger.

"During the time that I was thus employed I was put to board with a Mr Isaac Hale of that place, ’Twas there that I first saw my wife, (his daughter) Emma Hale. On the eighteenth of January Eighteen hundred and twenty seven we were married while yet I was employed in the service of Mr Stoal" ("History, 1838–1856, volume A-1 [23 December 1805–30 August 1834]," p. 8, The Joseph Smith Papers). 

"Emma was 21 years old when she met 19-year-old Joseph Smith at the end of October 1825. Joseph had come southwest from New York seeking employment in the Susquehanna Valley. His lack of education and resources contrasted with Emma’s respectable situation, but she was immediately impressed with his character and morals. They courted for several months while Joseph worked to improve his financial situation. Isaac and Elizabeth Hale were opposed to the relationship, disapproving of Joseph’s religious pursuits and his work for Josiah Stowell, who had hired Joseph to help him dig for purported lost Spanish silver in the area. Emma and Joseph eloped on January 18, 1827, in South Bainbridge, New York, and then went to live with the Smith family. They returned to Pennsylvania in December 1827 to live near her family and work on the translation of the Book of Mormon" ("Emma Hale Smith," Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).

Emma's Trials:

"Emma delivered a baby son who died soon after birth on June 15, 1828, when she nearly died herself. In September 1830, she and Joseph moved to Fayette, New York, to live with the Whitmer family. Emma left the Susquehanna Valley and the Hale family for the last time, never to see her parents and many other relatives again. She would eventually bear nine children and adopt two others, four of whom died at birth or shortly after, and two who died as toddlers" ("Emma Hale Smith," Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).

10 Behold I say unto you that this thing shall ye teach—repentance and baptism unto those who are aaccountable and capable of committing sin; yea, teach parents that they must repent and be baptized, and humble themselves as their little bchildren, and they shall all be saved with their little children.

11 And their little achildren need no repentance, neither baptism. Behold, baptism is unto repentance to the fulfilling the commandments unto the bremission of sins.

12 But little achildren are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a brespecter to persons; for how many little children have died without baptism! (Moroni 8:10–12). 

Emma Sewing Clothes for Missionaries:

"As soon as this revelaton was received, Emma, and several other sisters, began to make preparations to furnish those, who were set [p. 189] apart for this ministry mision, with the necessary clothing; which was no easy task as the most of it, had to be manufactured out of the raw material. Emma’s health was at this time quite delicate; yet she did not favor herself on this account; but whatever her hands found to do, she did with her might, untill she went so far beyond her strength, that she brought upon herself a heavy fit of sickness, which lasted for weeks. And, although her strength was exhausted, still her spirits were the same; which in fact, was always the case with her under the most trying circu[m]stances: (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, p. 190, The Joseph Smith Papers). 

Quote: "I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has always done. ... She has been tossed upon the ocean of uncertainty; ... She has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, ... which have borne down almost any other woman" (Lucy Mack Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, p. 190, Joseph Smith Papers). 

Segment 4:

16 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my avoice unto all. Amen. (Doctrine and Covenants 25:16).

President Nelson's invitation to read section 25:

"So, I invite you to study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you. Your personal spiritual endeavor will bring you joy as you gain, understand, and use the power with which you have been endowed" (President Russell M. Nelson, "Spiritual Treasures," October 2019 general conference). 

Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who areceive my gospel are sons and daughters in my bkingdom (Doctrine and Covenants 25:1).

A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and awalk in the paths of bvirtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an cinheritance in Zion.

Behold, thy asins are forgiven thee, and thou art an belect clady, whom I have dcalled (Doctrine and Covenants 25:2–3).

Emma gathering women to pray for Joseph:

"We rode on till we came to the house of Hezekiah Peck, where a number of Mormon women had assembled, as I was informed, for the purpose of praying for the deliverance of the prophet of the Lord. The women came out to our waggon and Mrs. Smith among the rest. O my God, Sir, what were my feelings, when I saw that woman who had but a few days before given herself, heart and hand, to be a consort for life, and that so soon her crimson cheeks must be wet with tears that came streaming from her eyes; yes Sir, it seemed that her very heart strings would be broken with grief. My feelings Sir, were moved with pity and sorrow, for the afflicted; and on the other hand they were wrought up to the highest pitch of indignation against those fiends of hell who had thus caused the innocent to sufferr" (John S. Reed, "Some of the Remarks of John S. Reed, Esq., as Delivered before the State Convention," Times and Seasons 5, no. 11 (1 June 1844): 551.).

Emma's Dream:

"Sister Elizabeth Revel, Emma’s nurse, explained that a few days earlier Emma had told her that Joseph came to her in a vision and said, 'Emma, come with me, it is time for you to come with me.' 'As Emma related it, she said, ‘I put on my bonnet and my shawl and went with him; I did not think that it was anything unusual. I went with him into a mansion, and he showed me through the different apartments of that beautiful mansion.’ And one room was the nursery. In that nursery was a babe in the cradle. She said, ‘I knew my babe, my Don Carlos that was taken from me.’ She sprang forward, caught the child up in her arms, and wept with joy over the child. When Emma recovered herself sufficient she turned to Joseph and said, ‘Joseph, where are the rest of my children.’ He said to her, ‘Emma, be patient and you shall have all of your children.’ Then she saw standing by his side a personage of light, even the Lord Jesus Christ' (Gracia N. Jones, "My Great-Great-Grandmother, Emma Hale Smith," August 1992 Ensign).

Emma elected as the first Relief Society president:

"President Smith read the Revelation to Emma Smith, from the book of Doctrine and Covenants; and stated that she was ordain’d at the time, the Revelation was given, to expound the scriptures to all; and to teach the female part of community; and that not she alone, but others, may attain to the same blessings ("Minutes and Discourses, 17 March 1842," p. 8, The Joseph Smith Papers).

Emma and the Temple:

Emma was the first woman to receive temple ordinances; she then initiated other women in these sacred rituals ("Emma Hale Smith," Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).

Quote: "The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized" (Joseph Smith, quoted in Sarah Granger Kimball, “Auto-biography,” Woman’s Exponent, Sept. 1, 1883, p. 51).

Quote: "In the beginning God created man male and female and bestow’d upon man certain blessings peculiar to a man of God, of which woman partook, so that without the female all things cannot be restor’d to the earth it takes all to restore the Priesthood. It is the intent of the Society, by humility and faithfulness; in connexion with those husbands that are found worthy. Rejoice while contemplating the blessings which will be pour’d out on the heads of the saints. God has many precious things to bestow, even to our astonishment if we are faithful. I say again I rejoice in the prospect of what lays before. It becomes us to prepare by striving for union one with another, that we may be prepar’d for the day of choosing— man will not choose but God will say who is and who is not worthy" (Newel K. Whitney, "Nauvoo Relief Society Minute Book," p. [58], The Joseph Smith Papers). 

Hebrew: Joseph = he will increase; Hyrum = my brother is exalted; Emma= Ema or mommy

Link: Emma's Patriarchal Blessing on the Joseph Smith Papers website

Segment 5:

aMurmur not because of the bthings which thou hast not seen, for they are cwithheld from thee and from the world, which is wisdom in me in a time to come (Doctrine and Covenants 25:4).

Emma and the Plates:

“The plates often lay on the table without any attempt at concealment, wrapped in a small linen tablecloth, which I had given him to fold them in. I once felt of the plates as they thus lay on the table, tracing their outline and shape. They seemed to be pliable like thick paper, and would rustle with a metallic sound when the edges were moved by the thumb, as one does sometimes thumb the edges of a book.” (“Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, 1 Oct. 1879, p. 290; spelling modernized.)

Emma about transcribing the Book of Mormon:

"When my husband was translating the Book of Mormon, I wrote a part of it, as he dictated each sentence, word for word, and when he came to proper names he could not pronounce, or long words, he spelled them out, and while I was writing them, if I made any mistake in spelling, he would stop me and correct my spelling although it was impossible for him to see how I was writing them down at the time. Even the word Sarah he could not pronounce at first, but had to spell it, and I would pronounce it for him.

“When he stopped for any purpose at any time he would, when he commenced again, begin where he left off without any hesitation, and one time while he was translating he stopped suddenly, pale as a sheet, and said, ‘Emma, did Jerusalem have walls around it?’ When I answered, ‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘Oh! [I didn’t know.] I was afraid I had been deceived.’ He had such a limited knowledge of history at that time that he did not even know that Jerusalem was surrounded by walls.” (Edmund C. Briggs, “A Visit to Nauvoo in 1856,” Journal of History, Jan. 1916, p. 454.)

Quote: Emma said Joseph, "could neither write nor dictate a coherent and well-worded letter; let alone dictat[e] a book like the Book of Mormon. And, though I was an active participant in the scenes that transpired, … it is marvelous to me, ‘a marvel and a wonder'" (Emma Smith, “Last Testimony of Sister Emma,” Saints’ Herald, Oct. 1, 1879, 290). 

The Lord's instructions to Emma:

And the office of thy calling shall be for a acomfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy bhusband, in his cafflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of dmeekness (Doctrine and Covenants 25:5).

And thou shalt be aordained under his hand to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church, according as it shall be given thee by my bSpirit (Doctrine and Covenants 25:7).

  • Expound: To explain; to lay open the meaning; to clear of obscurity; to interpret; as, to expound a text of scripture; to expound a law (Webster's 1828 Dictionary). 
  • Exhort: To encourage, to embolden, to cheer, to advise (Webster's 1828 Dictionary). 

Quote: "As a righteous, endowed Latter-day Saint woman, you speak and teach with power and authority from God. Whether by exhortation or conversation, we need your voice teaching the doctrine of Christ. We need your input in family, ward, and stake councils. Your participation is essential and never ornamental!" (President Russell M. Nelson, "Spiritual Treasures," October 2019 general conference). 

Quote: Sarah Leavitt after her baptism, "I had some[thing] of more importance that was shut up like fire in my bones” (Sarah S. Leavitt, Autobiography, 1875, 10, 15, Juanita Leone Leavitt Pulsipher Brooks Papers, 1928–1981, Utah State Historical Society, Salt Lake City).

Link: Information about Anne Hutchinson

And the office of thy calling shall be for a acomfort unto my servant, Joseph Smith, Jun., thy bhusband, in his cafflictions, with consoling words, in the spirit of dmeekness (Doctrine and Covenants 25:5).

Relief Society Name:

"The first official meeting of the Nauvoo Relief Society demonstrated the authority given to female leaders. Men and women present discussed a proper title for the organization, debating between Benevolent Society and Relief Society. How are the two words—benevolent and relief—different? What does this teach us about speaking up? What does this teach us about the Relief Society’s connection to Jesus Christ?

"Emma Smith taught the women, “We are going to do something extraordinary . . . we expect extraordinary occasions and pressing calls.” Those relief efforts can be as simple as a smile or a kind note or a visit. How do you provide relief through ordinary actions? How have you received ordinary relief efforts? How do they become extraordinary? (“Something Extraordinary”: The Beginnings of the Relief Society," Church History, ChurchofJesusChrist.org)

Talk: Elder Boyd K. Packer, "'From Such, Turn Away,'" April 1985 general conference

Emma Called as Relief Society President: 

President Smith read the Revelation to Emma Smith, from the book of Doctrine and Covenants; and stated that she was ordain’d at the time, the Revelation was given, to expound the scriptures to all; and to teach the female part of community; and that not she alone, but others, may attain to the same blessings ("Minutes and Discourses, 17 March 1842," p. 8, The Joseph Smith Papers). 

10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the athings of this bworld, and cseek for the things of a dbetter (Doctrine and Covenants 25:10).

For he shall lay his ahands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.

And thou needest not fear, for thy ahusband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his bcalling, that all things might be crevealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith (Doctrine and Covenants 25:8–9).

Quote: "People wonder what we do for our women. I'll tell you what we do. We get out of their way and look with wonder at what they're accomplishing" (President Gordon B. Hinckley, National Press Club appearance, March 8, 2000). 

Segment 6:

12 For my soul adelighteth in the bsong of the cheart; yea, the dsong of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads (Doctrine and Covenants 25:12).

Amanda Barnes Smith:

During this time, the family was forbidden to pray vocally. Unable to bear this “Godless silence,” Amanda Smith hid in a cornfield and “prayed till her soul felt satisfied.” As she left the field, she heard the words:

That soul who on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I cannot—I will not desert to its foes.
That soul, ‘though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.19

Willard recalled, “From that moment Mother said she had no further fear of the mob, and she inspired us children with faith that if we conscientiously did right, the Lord would shelter us from harm" ("Blessings amidst Tragedy," Church History, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ). 

Elizabeth Anne Whitney:

"On September 14, 1835, Whitney gathered with many others, most likely in the partially completed Kirtland temple, to receive a patriarchal blessing from Joseph Smith Sr., the church’s patriarch. Whitney remembered the “great manifestations of power” at such meetings.7 Pratt commented that during this same time period “many persons were carried away in the visions of the Spirit and saw and heard unspeakable things; and many enjoyed the ministering of angels, and the gift of healing and of speaking in tongues.”8 In the blessing given to Whitney, Joseph Smith Sr. promised her “the gift of singing inspirationally.” Joseph Smith Jr. told her that she would never lose this gift if she used it wisely.9 After Whitney received her blessing, she stood and sang in tongues; her song was interpreted by Pratt. The words to Pratt’s interpretation of Whitney’s song were recorded by an unknown scribe. Whitney retained the original copy, and it was printed years later in the Woman’s Exponent" ( Kate Holbrook, Jennifer Reeder, "Adam-ondi-Ahman: Elizabeth Anne Whitney, Patriarchal Blessing Meeting House of the Lord, Kirtland, Ohio, September 14, 1835, At the Pulpit: 185 Years of Discourses by Latter-Day Saint Women, www.churchhistorianspress.org). 

Hymnbook Preface:

"In order to sing by the Spirit, and with the understanding, it is necessary that the church of the Latter Day Saints should have a collection of “Sacred Hymns,” adapted to their faith and belief in the gospel, and, as far as can be, holding forth the promises made to the fathers who died in the precious faith of a glorious resurrection, and a thousand years’ reign on earth with the Son of Man in his glory. Notwithstan [p. [iii]]ding the church, as it were, is still in its infancy, yet, as the song of the righteous is a prayer unto God, it is sincerely hoped that the following collection, selected with an eye single to his glory, may answer every purpose till more are composed, or till we are blessed with a copious variety of the songs of Zion ("Collection of Sacred Hymns, 1835," The Joseph Smith Papers).

The first hymnbooks in the U.S. and Manchester:

Link: Michael Hicks, "Emma Smith's 1841 Hymnbook," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Volume 21, Number 1Article 3).

What Joseph Smith said about Emma:

"On a Sunday, a beautiful day, Benjamin Johnson records, they were sitting in the dining room and in came two of his children 'as just from their mother, all so nice, bright and sweet.' Joseph said, 'Benjamin, look at these children. How could I help loving their mother; if necessary, I would go to hell for such a woman' (Benjamin F. Johnson Letter, p. 4, quoted by Richard L. Evans, "Joseph Smith Lecture 4: Joseph Smith and Trials," BYU Devotional, August 23, 1978). 

And thou shalt go with him at the time of his going, and be unto him for a scribe, while there is no one to be a scribe for him, that I may send my servant, Oliver Cowdery, whithersoever I will (Doctrine and Covenants 25:6).

Emma's last words: "Joseph! Joseph!" (Gracia N. Jones, "My Great-Great-Grandmother, Emma Hale Smith," August 1992 Ensign).

Brigham Young's last words: Joseph! Joseph! Joseph! ( D. Michael Quinn, "Brigham Young: Man of the Spirit," August 1977 Ensign).