10: "The Rise of the Church of Christ" (Doctrine and Covenants 20–22)
Do you remember a day in your life that was simply the greatest? A day that was so perfect, you will always remember it? Well April 6, 1830—the day the Church was organized in the last dispensation—was unforgettable for early Latter-day Saints. This week as we study Doctrine and Covenants 20–22, we’ll discover important truths about the organization of the Church and how it blesses our lives today.
Title for Section 20: Church Organization and Government
President Howard W. Hunter on the day the Church was organized: "What they did, however, ranks among the most important events ever to have transpired since the death of Jesus and his Apostles in the meridian of time" (President Howard W. Hunter, "The Sixth Day of April, 1830," April 1991 general conference).
Doctrine and Covenants Section 20 Heading:
Revelation on Church organization and government, given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at or near Fayette, New York. Portions of this revelation may have been given as early as summer 1829. The complete revelation, known at the time as the Articles and Covenants, was likely recorded soon after April 6, 1830 (the day the Church was organized). The Prophet wrote, “We obtained of Him [Jesus Christ] the following, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to His will and commandment, we should proceed to organize His Church once more here upon the earth.”
"Many have taken this reference to be a literal count of the years from the birth of Jesus to the organization of the Church. On 6 April 1833, the third anniversary of that organization, Joseph Smith himself wrote, 'The day was spent in a very agreeable manner, in giving and receiving knowledge which appertained to this last kingdom—it being just 1800 years since the Savior laid down his life that men might have everlasting life, and only three years since the Church had come out of the wilderness, preparatory for the last dispensation.'9
"On the other hand, several writers, including some modern apostles and prophets, have urged caution in interpreting Doctrine and Covenants 20:1 as an exact count of years. Among these are Hyrum M. Smith, J. Reuben Clark Jr., and Bruce R. McConkie.10
"It is possible that the 'one thousand eight hundred and thirty years' is just an elaborate way of referring to the year 1830 without being intended as an actual count of years.11 Elder McConkie's summation is helpful, 'We do not believe it is possible with the present state of our knowledge—including that which is known both in and out of the Church—to state with finality when [i.e., in which year] the natal day of the Lord Jesus actually occurred.'"12 (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 20," Deseret Book).
1 The arise of the bChurch of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the ccoming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly dorganized and established agreeable to the elaws of our country, by the will and commandments of God, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April (Doctrine and Covenants 20:1).
The name of Church:
1830: The Church of Christ
1834: The Church of Latter-day Saints
1838: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Since the Presidency of Harold B. Lee, "The" was capitalized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 20," Deseret Book).
Laws of the Land:
"This likely refers in particular to an 1813 New York statute entitled 'an act to provide for the incorporation of Religious Societies,' which stated that between three and nine individuals must be listed as members and responsible parties in the foundation documents of any religious organization.13 In this verse, and again in Doctrine and Covenants 44:4–5 and 58:22, the Lord explicitly instructs the Church to observe the laws of the land" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 20," Deseret Book).
Quote: "These humble, ordinary men gathered because one of them, Joseph Smith, Jr., a very young man, had set forth a most remarkable claim. He declared to them and all others who would listen that he had received profound and repeated heavenly communications, including an open vision of God the Father and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ…the Lord had commanded this young man, by now only twenty-four years of age, to reinstitute the Church that had existed in New Testament times and that in its restored purity should again be designated by the name of its chief cornerstone and eternal head, the Lord Jesus Christ himself" (President Howard W. Hunter, "The Sixth Day of April, 1830," April 1991 general conference).
Creed: "A brief summary of the articles of Christian faith; a symbol; as the Apostolic creed" ("Creed," websters1828dictionary.com).
April 6, 1980: "What Hath God Wrought through His Servant Joseph!”
October 1, 1995: "The Family: A Proclamation to the World"
Doctrine and Covenants 20: 5–36—Recap of Joseph Smith's Story
Quote: “In the twentieth section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord devotes several verses to summarizing the vital truths which the Book of Mormon teaches. It speaks of God, the creation of man, the Fall, the Atonement, the ascension of Christ into heaven, prophets, faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, endurance, prayer, justification and sanctification through grace, and loving and serving God” (President Ezra Taft Benson, "New Witness for Christ," November 1984 Ensign).
17 By these things we aknow that there is a bGod in heaven, who is infinite and ceternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same dunchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them; (Doctrine and Covenants 20:17).
- "We know that" is repeated in verses 17, 29, 30, 31, 35
17 By these things we aknow that there is a bGod in heaven, who is infinite and ceternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same dunchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them; (Doctrine and Covenants 20:17).
35 And we know that these things are true and according to the revelations of John, neither aadding to, nor diminishing from the prophecy of his book, the holy scriptures, or the revelations of God which shall come hereafter by the gift and power of the Holy Ghost, the bvoice of God, or the ministering of angels (Doctrine and Covenants 20:35).
Perseverance of the Saints:
"Christians who follow the teachings of John Calvin deny the possibility of 'falling from grace,' insisting instead on the 'perseverance of the Saints' (once saved always saved)" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 20," Deseret Book).
Quote: “Justification and sanctification are at the center of God’s gracious plan of salvation and are the essence of our witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. While justification and sanctification may be viewed as distinct topics, in reality I believe they are elements of a single divine process that qualifies us to live in the presence of God the Father and Jesus Christ" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "Justification and Sanctification," June 2001 Ensign).
- Cross reference: 3 Nephi 27:16, 2 Nephi 2
- Hebrew: tsadak = Righteousness, to be cleared or pardoned
- Hebrew: naqiy (naw-kee) or naqah = free, exempt, innocent
Quote: "Pardon comes by the grace of Him who has satisfied the demands of justice by His own suffering, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). Christ removes our condemnation without removing the law. We are pardoned and placed in a condition of righteousness with Him. We become, like Him, without sin. We are sustained and protected by the law, by justice. We are, in a word, justified. Removes the punishment of past sins.” “Thus, we may appropriately speak of one who is justified as pardoned, without sin, or guiltless" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "Justification and Sanctification," June 2001 Ensign).
Quote: "A rough analogy is that of a felon who goes to prison for his crime. When he is released, he has fully met the demands of the law (he is justified), but he still has the taint of being an ex-convict. He somehow must reestablish the status (or relationship) he had before his crime" (Gerald N. Lund, "Sanctification and Justification Are Just and True," Sperry Symposium 2006).
31 And we know also, that asanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who blove and serve God with all their cmights, minds, and strength (Doctrine and Covenants 20:31).
- Cross reference: Moroni 10:33, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2
- Hebrew: Kodesh/Kadash = to set apart or separate for the work of God.
Quote: "To be sanctified through the blood of Christ is to become clean, pure, and holy. If justification removes the punishment for past sin, then sanctification removes the stain or effects of sin" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "Justification and Sanctification," June 2001 Ensign).
31 And we know also, that asanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true, to all those who blove and serve God with all their cmights, minds, and strength (Doctrine and Covenants 20:31).
- Cross reference: 2 Nephi 25:23
- 23 For we labor diligently to write, to apersuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by bgrace that we are saved, after all we can cdo.
- Hebrew: as we do all we can do
Quote: "This personal persistence in the path of obedience is something different than achieving perfection in mortality. Perfection is not, as some suppose, a prerequisite for justification and sanctification. It is just the opposite: justification (being pardoned) and sanctification (being purified) are the prerequisites for perfection. We only become perfect “in Christ” (see Moro. 10:32), not independently of Him" (Elder D. Todd Christofferson, "Justification and Sanctification," June 2001 Ensign).
42 And to teach, expound, exhort, baptize, and watch over the church; (Doctrine and Covenants 20:42).
55 And see that the church meet together often, and also see that all the members do their duty (Doctrine and Covenants 20:53–55).
59 They are, however, to warn, expound, exhort, and teach, and invite all to come unto Christ (Doctrine and Covenants 20:59).
Quote: "The purpose of priesthood authority is to give, to serve, to lift, to inspire" (Elder Richard G. Scott, "Honor the Priesthood and Use It Well," November 2008 Ensign).
Quote: "Men hold the priesthood, with a sacred duty to use it for the blessing of all of the children of God" (President Dallin H. Oaks, "The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood," April 2014).
20 And again, what do we hear? Glad tidings from aCumorah! bMoroni, an angel from heaven, declaring the fulfilment of the prophets—the cbook to be revealed. A voice of the Lord in the wilderness of Fayette, Seneca county, declaring the three witnesses to dbear record of the book! The voice of eMichael on the banks of the Susquehanna, detecting the fdevil when he appeared as an angel of glight! The voice of hPeter, James, and John in the wilderness between Harmony, Susquehanna county, and Colesville, Broome county, on the Susquehanna river, declaring themselves as possessing the ikeys of the kingdom, and of the dispensation of the fulness of times! (Doctrine and Covenants 128:20).
Quote: The priesthood is, “the power of God delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family" (Joseph Fielding Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. (1939), 139).
Baptism: Doctrine and Covenants 20: 68–69
Baptismal Prayer: Doctrine and Covenants 20: 71–73
69 And the members shall manifest before the church, and also before the elders, by a agodly walk and conversation, that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and bfaith agreeable to the holy scriptures—walking in choliness before the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 20:69).
- Cross reference: Mosiah 18:8–10
Quote: "In the early days of this Church there were certain persons, belonging to the Baptist denomination, very moral and no doubt as good people as you could find anywhere, who came, saying they believed in the Book of Mormon, and that they had been baptized into the Baptist Church, and they wished to come into our Church. The Prophet Joseph had not, at that time, particularly inquired in relation to this matter, but he did inquire, and received a revelation from the Lord. . . . These Baptists had to be re-baptized: there was no other way to get into this Church" (Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, 16:293–94).
Title of Section 22: Dead Works
1 Behold, I say unto you that all aold covenants have I caused to be done away in this thing; and this is a bnew and an everlasting ccovenant, even that which was from the beginning (Doctrine and Covenants 22:1).
- Cross reference: Doctrine and Covenants 66:2
3 For it is because of your dead works that I have caused this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me, even as in days of old (Doctrine and Covenants 22:3).
70 Every member of the church of Christ having achildren is to bring them unto the elders before the church, who are to lay their bhands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ, and bless them in his name (Doctrine and Covenants 20:70).
Quote: When parents give their children baby blessings it, “Manifests their faith in the sight of their brethren and sisters, in God’s word and in his promises, as well as their thankfulness to him for increasing their posterity and for the safe delivery of his handmaiden. The child is also benefited by the united faith and responsive prayers of the assembled Saints" (President John Taylor, Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75).
Sacrament Prayers: Doctrine and Covenants 20: 75–79
77 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this abread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and bwitness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him and keep his ccommandments which he has given them; that they may always have his dSpirit to be with them. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 20:77).
Title for Section 21: When My Prophet Speaks
Quote: “If Joseph is truly a prophet, holding the keys of the ancient apostleship, if he truly spoke for God, then when Joseph spoke in his prophetic capacity, his voice was God’s voice. Such a conviction requires faith in God and in the Restoration, patience at times with the imperfect mortal who wears the prophetic mantle” (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 21," Deseret Book).
1 Behold, there shall be a arecord kept among you; and in it thou shalt be called a bseer, a translator, a prophet, an capostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ, (Doctrine and Covenants 21:4–5).
- Hebrew: Seer = Ra'ah or one who sees (1 Samuel 9:9). Or chazah, (khazaw) one who sees a vision.
Quote: "A careful study of the etymology of the word and of the lives, works and character of the prophets of old makes clear the fact that a prophet was, and is, one called to act as God's messenger. He is to teach men the character of God, and define and make known to the people, his will. He is to denounce sin, and declare the punishment of transgression. He is to be above all else a preacher of righteousness, and when the people depart from the path which he has marked out for them to follow, is to call them back to the true faith. He is an interpreter of the scripture, and declares its meaning and application. When future events are to be declared he predicts them, but his direct, and most important calling is to be a forth- teller, or director of present policy, rather than a foreteller of that which is to come" (Elder Anthony W. Ivins, Conference Report, October 1925, 20).
[00:00:00] Tammy Hall: Is there a day in your life that was just the greatest, your best day ever? I actually have a ranking list in my head that I add to when amazing things happen in my life. You'd better believe that being on Romper Room Circa 1979 ranks among one of the best. Thanks mom for making that magical moment happen. Well, today's discussion of Doctrine and Covenants section 20 through 21, according to President Howard W. Hunter, "Ranks among the most important events ever to have transpired since the death of Jesus and his apostles in the meridian of time." Now that's saying something, actually, it's saying everything.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Desert Bookshelf plus original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come, Follow Me lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. If you're new to our study group, we just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast so please follow the link in our description. That will explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come, Follow Me study just like my friend Noreen Noble, and all of her friends that she is convinced to listen to our podcast. Hi, friends of Noreen. Hi Noreen.
Now here's my favorite thing about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends and so it's always a little bit different. Today, we have an original Sharmaine Howell coming to us from Minnesota and Becky Alder. Hi ladies.
[00:01:21] Sharmaine Howell: Hi.
[00:01:21] Becky Alder: Hi.
[00:01:22] Tammy: Becky is in Draper, Utah. Sorry, I should have said, "Coming to you from Draper, Utah in her closet."
Let's all talk about how we know each other.
[00:01:31] Becky: Well, up till about what? four or five months ago we were all in the same ward.
[00:0139] Sharmaine: I remember, Becky. I think the first time I met you, I'm not sure if it was the first, I have a foggy memory, but one of them was you were standing up talking about gardening in Relief Society. You are probably a pro gardener, I don't know, maybe close to Jim Hall, Tam, maybe close.
[00:01:56] Tammy: For sure. [crosstalk]
[00:02:00] Sharmaine: I was so inspired by you, Becky, and by Jim, that I started a garden last year. Then we moved and left all the harvest. I didn't get to eat it.
[00:02:09] Becky: You did?
[00:02:09] Sharmaine: I was like, "There goes.”
[00:02:12] Becky: That's very sad.
[00:02:13] Sharmaine: Gardening is not my thing, but I'm so happy it's yours because you are amazing at it.
[00:02:19] Tammy: I had the chance to serve with Becky several times in different things. She's my favorite person to serve with because listen, there's only a few people I'd put on my wagon train if we have to walk back to Nauvoo, and Becky's on that train. She is in large and in charge. She's going to get things done. She's one of the most efficient people you're ever going to meet. I've always chosen her to serve with me for things because she's a doer.
[00:02:40] Sharmaine: I would be running behind the wagon train, being like, "Wait up for me, guys." [crosstalk]
[00:02:46] Becky: Don't worry, you don't have to run behind. We'll give you a seat.
[00:02:50] Tammy: We will. "Hold up everybody here comes Shar. Whatever, Shar, give me a break." That's hilarious. Well, it's been so much fun to be friends. We felt a void when Shar left. This is really cool to have Shar back and the three of us to sit here and talk about scripture. For those of you listening, if you'd like to know more about my guests and see pictures of them or their cute family, you can find all their information in our show notes which are at ldsliving.com/sundayonmonday.
All right. Joseph Smith is only 24 years old. Can we just think about that for a minute? I think after we study these sections today, we're going to see why President Hunter said what he did about this experience. I realized ladies, it was a lot, wasn't it?
[00:03:32] Sharmaine: This is a big [inaudible 00:03:33], all of them. They're so good.
[00:03:36] Becky: There's a lot of good info in there.
[00:03:38] Tammy: So much good info. I can't wait to study this with you guys. Friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. You guys, I want to know, because I started out with one of my greatest moments of my life. Do you guys have a list of greatest moments or anything that stands out?
[00:03:53] Sharmaine: Right off the top of my head would have to be going to Disneyland with just my husband but without my kids. That's one of the greatest moments of my life. [laughs]
[00:04:02] Tammy: Yes, it really is the happiest place on earth when you're without your kids.
[00:04:05] Sharmaine: When you're without your kids. That was fun. [crosstalk]
[00:04:07] Tammy: I did it with Jim one time, it's so fun.
[00:04:10] Becky: One of my greatest moments is I was able to go to Jerusalem when I was 19. Then we went to Egypt and we went up inside the biggest pyramid. Just being able to see those monuments and the places in those old, old, old cities, that was probably top of my favorite things that I've done. It's not Romper Room.
[00:04:35] Tammy: Romper Room was pretty special. Some of you don't know, go and look it up. It's a classic kid show in the '70s.
[00:04:43] Sharmaine: I don't know that, so I’m like, “What?” l'll have to look that up, Tammy because that may be dates you a little.
[00:04:51] Tammy: It does now everybody knows how old I am. Oh my gosh. Becky, I have to say your greatest moment is at the top of my bucket list. That is the one thing I have to do in my lifetime is get there. I'm so jealous.
[00:05:02] Sharmaine: Yes, you do.
[00:05:03] Tammy: I want to know, would you guys agree with President Hunter? What do you think he's referring to when he says, "one of the greatest, most important moments,"?
[00:05:12] Sharmaine: I'm just guessing it's talking about the reorganization of the church. That day when the church was brought back together, organized, back on the earth.
[00:05:21] Tammy: Perfect answer. In fact, let's look at section heading for Doctrine and Covenants section 20. Shar, will you just read the section heading for us of Doctrine and Covenants section 20. It's lengthy but it's worth reading.
[00:05:32] Sharmaine: Revelation on Church organization and government, given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at or near Fayette, New York. Portions of this revelation may have been given as early as summer 1829. The complete revelation, known at the time as the Articles and Covenants, was likely recorded soon after April 6, 1830, the day the Church was organized. The Prophet wrote, "We obtained of Him [Jesus Christ] the following, by the spirit of prophecy and revelation; which not only gave us much information, but also pointed out to us the precise day upon which, according to His will and commandment, we should proceed to organize His Church once more here upon the earth."
[00:06:13] Tammy: Thank you. Here's a little history behind this. Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were beginning to formulate an expression of basic principles and practices for this church that they were about to organize. Joseph said to Oliver, "Why don't you go write something that we could probably read that is our beliefs?" Oliver went and prayed about it.
He came back to Joseph, and he said, "I think you need to actually receive a revelation on this." Joseph received revelations as to how the church was to work and the exact date they were to organize the church. You saw that in that section heading that you read, it said April 6th, 1830. Highlight that and let's just write the day it was. It was a Tuesday, which is fun. I always thought it was a Sunday. Of course, it started on a Sunday, but they organized the church on a Tuesday. Section 21 is revelation received at the meeting. When we get into section 21, and we study that, just know that while they're at the meeting, he receives another revelation in that section 21.
[00:07:08] Sharmaine: Quick question, do you think that it's not on a Sunday, on a Tuesday because of specifically the April 6th date? I've always wondered, why is everything seemed to happen on April 6.
[00:07:20] Tammy: That's such a good question, Shar. I love that question. Why did the Lord specifically say you have to organize the church on April 6? There's a lot of debate about this. I'm going to tell you a little bit about what we know is, according to Harold B. Lee and Spencer W. Kimball, they both taught and believed that April 6th is the actual birthday of the Savior. There are some who disagree. There you have it. I love that, I'm glad you asked that question.
We're going to give section 20 a title. Its title is Church Organization and Government. This is cool. A fun fact, the entire section, all 84 verses were read at the beginning of the June 9th, 1830 General Conference, and the September 26th conferences. The purpose of reading all of those verses was just to remind the members of the newly organized church, the many important gospel truths, and how it all works. What we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and read all 84 verses out loud. No, I'm just kidding.
Suddenly, you're like [snores], "Shh."
[00:08:14] Sharmaine: [laughs]
[00:08:19] Tammy: We're just actually going to look at verse one. That's all we want to look at. Becky, will you please read verse one for us?
[00:08:26] Becky: The rise of the Church of Christ in these last days being 1830 years since the coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established, agreeable to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.
[00:08:49] Tammy: Thank you. Here we go. Let's start at the very beginning. We're going to circle the word "rise". What does that word tell us about this church when you see "the rise of the church"?
[00:08:59] Becky: If something is rising, it's probably fallen previously.
[00:09:03] Sharmaine: It's getting bigger. If bread rises, it's getting bigger. It's going to keep growing.
[00:09:10] Tammy: It's going to be great. It's going to fill and be big. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect. Then it says, "the rise of the Church of Christ." Highlight that. That was the original name of the church.
[00:09:20] Sharmaine: Highlighted.
[00:09:21] Tammy: Isn't that fun? That was what we were first called. I'm going to give you some dates. In 1834, the name was changed to the Church of Latter-Day Saints, and then in 1838, and you can put this cross-referenced by that section 115 verse four, is where it says, "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." Now, since the presidency of Harold B. Lee, the word "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints," was capitalized, so anytime you write it out, it's a capital "The", which I thought was pretty cool. Then I really like this. Underline "organized and established, agreeable to the laws of our country." The reason why it says that in there is because in New York in 1813, there was a statute entitled, "An act to provide in the corporation of religious societies." In the state of New York, you were required to have between three and nine individuals present and listed as members who are responsible parties in the founding documents of any religious organization.
We had six people there, who were there to sanction, be responsible, and sign this form. The six people who did that were Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Hiram Smith, Peter Whitmer Jr, Samuel H. Smith, and David Whitmer. We'll have all of this in our show notes, so you can put that somewhere in your scriptures. I just think that's cool because it was organized and established agreeable to the laws of New York. Now, that's just verse one. Hello, any thoughts? Anything you're thinking?
[00:10:53] Sharmaine: I actually love it. I think it's great that they were saying, "We were following the laws, we were doing it the right way." I feel like that's even important these days with our prophet. They always are trying to follow exactly what the laws of the land are.
[00:11:08] Tammy: Oh, I like that.
[00:11:10] Becky: I was going to say the same thing, that it's not like they were creating a church in the basement of somebody's house and keeping it a secret. They were doing what they needed to do to follow the laws of the land. I think that it is important, that it's out in the open and they did what they needed to do.
[00:11:27] Tammy: Great insight. I appreciate both of that. Let's read this quote by President Howard W. Hunter, taken from the original quote I said at the very beginning. It's a talk he gave, which is called The Sixth Day of April. It's such a good talk. He gave it in 1991. Shar, will you read this quote for us?
[00:11:43] Sharmaine: These humble, ordinary men gathered because one of them, Joseph Smith Jr., a very young man, had set forth a most remarkable claim. He declared to them and all others who would listen that he had received profound and repeated heavenly communications, including an open vision of God the Father and his Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. The Lord had commanded this young man, by now only 24 years of age, to reinstitute the church that had existed in New Testament times and that in its restored purity should again be designated by the name of its chief cornerstone and eternal head, the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
[00:12:18] Tammy: Thank you. So young. 24.
[00:12:22] Becky: Yes, that was super young.
[00:12:24] Sharmaine: I'm almost 34, and I feel like I couldn't do that. What?
[00:12:31] Becky: I'm almost 44, and I couldn't do it either. It's a lot on a young father, husband. It's a lot.
[00:12:40] Tammy: It is a lot. It is so much. The thing that I think is so interesting about this section is before the Lord even teaches us about how He's going to organize the church and what it's going to look like, He first wants us to know about these foundational and important truths. It's interesting because what we're reading used to be called The Articles and Covenants. We're going to learn in the next segment, why it's given that name and what the Lord wants us to know.
I have a word for you and I want you to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say this word. What do you think of when you hear the word, [laughs] sorry, I'm going to say it like I'm on some kind of password show, "creed". The secret word is creed.
[00:13:26] Sharmaine: The first thing that popped in my head was that boxing show, but that's not the right answer.
[00:13:30] Becky: Rocky.
[00:13:30] Tammy: That's okay. It was in the '80s, so I thought, "Apollo Creed." For sure. Rocky. 100%. The word "creed", here's what we need to know about this word. It's a confession of faith. That's all it is. That's what section 20 is. It's called The Articles and Covenants, but it's basically the creed, the absolute confession of faith, and what they believe at this time.
This is truly the first creed our church or we call it today, a proclamation, which we've had a couple of them, which is so interesting, because, on April 6, 1980, 150 years later, another proclamation or creed was read to the world by Elder Gordon B. Hinckley, under the direction of President Spencer W. Kimball in the Whitmer Hall. We talked about that a couple of weeks ago. He read this creed or proclamation to the world, and then hello, last April 2020, President Nelson read another creed or proclamation, which was the restoration of the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We also have the proclamation of the family and the Living Christ. I just think it's so cool how we do this. We're reannouncing to the world, "Here we are. Here's what we believe." That is exactly what Joseph did on this day, "Here we are, and here's what we believe."
[00:14:41] Sharmaine: The thing that I love about what you just said is that in those 200 years, it hasn't changed. The things that President Nelson said last April are the same things. I love that. It's just amazing to me.
[00:14:54] Tammy: It has not changed. The principles and the doctrines are true, so thank you for pointing that out. Here's what you need to know. In section 20, verses five through 36, this is the recap. This is the Joseph Smith's story, the experience, how the Book of Mormon came to be. This is what President Benson had to say about these specific verses. Becky, will you read this quote for us?
[00:15:18] Becky: In the 20th section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord devotes several verses to summarizing the vital truths, which the Book of Mormon teaches. It speaks of God, the creation of man, the fall, the atonement, the ascension of Christ into heaven, prophets, faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, endurance, prayer, justification, and sanctification through grace and loving and serving God.
[00:15:49] Tammy: Just a few things are mentioned in these verses. Right?
[00:15:51] Becky: Yes.
We need endurance to read all of those.
[00:15:56] Tammy: [laughs] Nice, Becky. Absolutely. Let's go into these verses. I gave you guys an assignment before we met. I asked you to read all the way through verse 36. I wanted you just to mark some truths that were particularly meaningful to you. Will you guys share with me what you marked in all of these verses?
[00:16:12] Becky: Something that I love, first in verse five, where it talks about Joseph Smith being entangled again in the vanities of the world and just knowing that a prophet could get tangled up in the vanities of the world makes me not feel so hard on myself. Then moving forward, some of the things that I underlined, in verse 17 it talks about how there is a God and He is unchangeable like Shar said earlier. Things do not change for God. He stays the same. Then in 21, it talks about how He gave His only begotten son, and it talks about Jesus Christ.
Knowing that God is there, and He's true and unchangeable, and knowing that Jesus Christ came and gave His life, those are just two amazing truths that if you know those, and believe those, you have an easier time centering yourself in the Gospel and in this faith, I believe.
[00:17:19] Tammy: Becky, I love that you just said, "When we know these things, and we believe them," you capitalized on that. Go to verse 17. I'm so glad that you focused on verse 17. When it says, "by these things, we know that," that phrase, "we know that," is repeated in verse 29, in verse 30, in verse 31, and verse 35. I just think it's great that here's this young 24-year-old Joseph Smith telling and declaring to all these people, they believe that there were close to 40 people at the organization of the church. Yes, six people put their names on that document, but there were about 40 people there, and he is declaring before them, "We know that--" and all these things that we know.
I love, Becky, that you said, "We know that there is a God in heaven," and then he continues on with the Savior, Jesus Christ, and everything, so I'm so glad that you pointed that out, the things that we know.
[00:18:09] Sharmaine: I love that so much, too, Becky. Actually similar to the things that really stood out to me was verse 12 and 17, and then verse 28. I highlighted those three together because it was, to me, those characteristics of who God is. Joseph Smith is saying, "Hey, I know that you guys might not realize who God actually is." He was very different to them back then. I know you've spoken on that in earlier episodes, Tammy, but God was so different to them then. He said, in 12, He is the same God yesterday, today, and forever. You just need to know that He's not going to change.
In 17, He's a God in heaven, He's infinite and eternal, unchangeable. I love this phrase at the end, "the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them."
[00:18:59] Tammy: Oh, what verse are you on, Shar?
[00:19:01] Sharmaine: Verse 17.
[00:19:02] Tammy: Okay.
[00:19:03] Sharmaine: I've never read that phrase, where He's called the framer of heaven and earth. I think that it just stuck out to me. I love it so much. My dad loves building houses and construction. When it says, "the framer," I can just picture him being like, "This is my baby. This is my project," because that's how my dad is. He starts remodeling a house and it's just like his baby. God is the framer of heaven and earth and all things which are in them. He just built all of this for us. He wanted it for us. I love that he describes God like that.
[00:19:40] Tammy: When you're saying, "the framer," I'm like, "It is hard to frame a house." I'm not even good with math, but I know if you're off by the smallest inch, it ruins everything. You have to be exact and precise. I'm the queen of "measure, never, move 100 times."
[laughter] I don't know how to read a ruler very well. When you're saying this, I'm like, "That's saying a ton. He is perfect and exact."
[00:20:10] Becky: When I read that, my husband builds houses too but I don't think of framing houses. When it goes on and says, "all things which are in them," when I'm out in my garden, I look at every single flower or a weed or a bug or just all of the things and I think, "God made all of these." I can't imagine creating every leaf and different kind of bush and different kind of cloud and everything that is in this world. It's just so amazing.
[00:20:46] Tammy: Yes. Oh, my gosh. I have loved this discussion because now my mind is swirling with that, the framer.
[00:20:55] Sharmaine: Once you get a house, all framed and up-- I did this with my dad, we framed our basement and there's so much work that goes into it. Then you put this drywall on and you can't see any of it. Someone comes in and they're like, "Oh, you've finished this room off." We're like, "Yes. It is nothing." I'm like, "That's so hard. It's so hard." There's so much more that God did that we don't know. We just look around, "There's the nature out there. That's good stuff." There's so much more to God that we don't know. I love how Joseph said, "These are the things we do know," and that's what we need to hold on to.
[00:21:36] Tammy: Absolutely. Well and I love how he ends in verse 35, "We know these things are true." Because he's saying, "We know, we know, we know," and then he's like, "We know these things are true." 100%. As you guys have been speaking, I'm like, "We believe this. This is true." That discussion was so awesome. I loved where it went. I loved everything you marked. Thank you so much for being prepared and reading and coming with the stuff that you marked.
In the next segment now, we're going to take a very careful look at two of these verses in this creed that are remarkable and it blew the lid off an aspect of religion that not only then but by all standards still today is blowing our minds.
[00:22:27] Tammy: I'm going to start with the question, what do you guys think about justification or sanctification? What's your understanding of those two words?
[00:22:34] Becky: I've wondered about these words so I looked them up. Justification, you think justify or justice. It said something about being pardoned for the punishment of our sins. Then the sanctification is all about becoming pure and clean and holy. I just think it's amazing that our Savior has paid the price and done the things that He did in His life and in His immortal ministry to help us to find justice in this life but then find purity and holiness and the afterlife.
[00:23:13] Tammy: Gosh, Becky, thank you. Thank you for looking up that word and studying it. That was awesome. I just want to take some time to really dig in to these two words so we can have a really good understanding. It was so much fun to study these words for this episode because in my past as teaching as a seminary teacher, I'm like, "I know what this means, justification and sanctification." Then I started studying, I'm like, "Do I really?"
Go to section 20, verses 30 and 31. That's the only place we're going to stay. Here's what we need to know when I said it blew the lid off of an aspect of religion. During Joseph Smith's time, the ideas of justification and sanctification were steeped in this Calvinistic idea that goes contrary to how the Lord wants us to understand this. In the Calvinistic articles of faith, it's declared that once God has predestined your soul for salvation, nothing that soul could do would ever change the inevitable outcome. This is known as the perseverance of the saints.
This doctrine is refuted in section 20 and 21 because salvation does come through the grace of Jesus Christ but we can also fall from that grace if we choose to depart from the living God. Elder Christofferson in 2001 gave such a good talk called Justification and Sanctification. I want us to read this quote that he starts his talk out by. Shar, will you read that for us?
[00:24:32] Sharmaine: Justification and sanctification are at the center of God's gracious plan of salvation and at the essence of our witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. While justification and sanctification may be viewed as distinct topics, in reality, I believe they are elements of a single divine process that qualifies us to live in the presence of God, the Father, and Jesus Christ.
[00:24:55] Tammy: Thank you. Let's start with the word "justification". There are some great cross-references you can put next to verse 30. I have 3 Nephi 27:16. That's 3 Nephi 27:16 and then just 2 Nephi 2, the whole chapter. 2 Nephi 2 sets up this idea that without law, there would be no God. It's really important to read that because here's the bottom line; there are laws that we are required to keep, and those are God's laws. When we break those laws or those commandments, and we're going to, Christ's atonement, His grace, I love to define grace as divine assistance, it removes the condemnation of breaking that law but it doesn't remove the law.
If you break the law, there is a punishment, a price that has to be paid that we will never be able to pay on our own. That's where justification comes in. The word "justification", of course, I had to look it up in Hebrew, there are two words that could describe this in Hebrew. The first word for righteousness or justification is Zadok, and this means to make ourselves righteous and it's to clear ourselves or save us, delivering us back to our lack of moral conduct from breaking God's laws. This is a word that pardons us. It declares us that we're no longer guilty of a certain sin or breaking a law.
This is not the same as the Hebrew word "naqi", which means to make free or innocent. Justification doesn't make us innocent of anything. We broke that law, justification is just going to pardon us and it's going to pay the price. Here's what Elder Christofferson said about the word justification in the talk. Shar, will you read this quote for us?
[00:26:37] Sharmaine: Pardon comes by the grace of Him who has satisfied the demands of justice by his own suffering, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God. Christ removes our condemnation without removing the law. We are pardoned and placed in a condition of righteousness with Him. We become like Him without sin. We are sustained and protected by the law by justice. We are in a word, justified, thus we may appropriately speak of one who is justified as pardoned without sin or guiltless.
[00:27:09] Tammy: I like that definition where he says, "guiltless," because we are guiltless but we're not innocent. We still did the bad thing. Another rough analogy of this, I like how Gerald Lund describes this, he says, "It's like a felon who goes to prison for his crime. When he's released, he's fully met the demands of the law, he's justified but he still has the taint of being an ex-convict. Somehow he must reestablish that status or that relationship he had before the crime. That's why we need Jesus Christ."
Here's where sanctification comes in. Go to verse 31. It says, "We know also that sanctification through the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is just and true." There's a great cross-reference for this. Let's put Moroni 10:33. I'll put these in our show notes so you can see them. There's two others in the New Testament. Second Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2 that talk about sanctification. In Hebrew, this word is kodesh or kadash. I love this description. It means to be set apart or separate something or someone for the work of God. Sanctification will do that for us. It will set us apart for His work. It'll make us holy. Elder Christofferson said this about sanctification. Becky, will you read this for us?
[00:28:26] Becky: To be sanctified through the blood of Christ is to become clean, pure, and holy. If justification removes the punishment for past sin then sanctification removes the stain or effects of sin.
[00:28:41] Tammy: Thank you. Now there's so much that we just talked about. Are your brains swirling? Tell me what you're thinking. Give me some of your thoughts.
[00:28:49] Sharmaine: I'm thinking originally that I typically don't like to have conversations about these two words because I feel like there's just so much to think about, but I love the way that you both have described it actually because, I don't know, it's a little more simple. Justification means the punishment is gone and sanctification means the stain is gone.
We can make mistakes and life all about making mistakes, but that's okay. We can still get back to what God wants us to be and to where we want to be. We can do all of that through Christ. We don't have to be worried that "I'm going to be stained forever. I made that big, huge mistake. There's no chance for me now." Sanctification can take that stain away. I like thinking of it that way.
[00:29:35] Becky: I really liked that too. It makes me think that we are God's children so He's doing everything that He can to help us to return to Him. Him giving us our Savior, Jesus Christ was a huge help. We are going to falter and we are going to sin and we are going to make mistakes but there is a process that we can return to a more holy person and return to God someday.
[00:30:06] Sharmaine: It makes me think of Joseph Smith when he lost the manuscript, the 116 pages. He was like, "All is lost," and God said, "Thou were chosen. I had chosen you, and you are still chosen. I forgive you. I forgive you [inaudible 00:30:22] Let's move on." I like how sanctification that-- your Hebrew word, Tammy you said, it means to separate something for the work of God. It just makes me think of, "There's a work for me to do. It's some part of God's work and I want to be a part of that like Joseph was. He was chosen. He made a mistake, and he was still chosen." For me, I feel like God has chosen me to do some kind of work, and I do make mistakes along the way, but I can still be chosen through him.
[00:30:50] Tammy: Absolutely. Both of you are spot on. I've loved everything that you've said. This brings us then to how are we justified and sanctified? What's the only thing we have to do?
[00:31:01] Becky: Love and serve God with all our mind and strength.
[00:31:05] Sharmaine: I do love this verse and I hate this verse. It just gets to me. Every time I read it, I'm just like, "Oh, I am not doing it with all my heart, might, mind, and strength." That phrase is so hard for me to wrap my head around.
[00:31:20] Tammy: That's what's important for us to know because I put the scripture reference 2 Nephi 25:23 and we talked about this last year. I just want to bring it up again, to remind us. Let's turn to 2 Nephi 25:23, and read that. Beck, will you read that, please?
[00:31:37] Becky: For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children and also our brethren to believe in Christ and to be reconciled to God, for we know that it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do.
[00:31:53] Tammy: I think a better way to translate this verse is in a Hebrew translation, which would really say, "As we do all we can do."
[00:32:01] Becky: I love that.
[00:32:02] Tammy: In the doing, while we're doing, while we're repenting, while we're loving, while we're serving, we will receive His grace, His divine assistance to be justified and to be sanctified. Then in verse 34, "Yes, and even let those who are sanctified take heed, also." It's like saying, "Even if you've ever been sanctified, you're still going to have to be careful." This probably is my favorite quote from Elder Christofferson in his talk. I just want to read it and talk about it. Becky, will you read this quote from Elder Christofferson?
[00:32:34] Becky: Elder Christofferson pointed out this important truth in his talk. This personal persistence in the path of obedience is something different than achieving perfection in mortality. Perfection is not as some suppose a prerequisite for justification and sanctification. It is just the opposite. Justification being pardoned, and sanctification being purified are the prerequisites for perfection. We only become perfect in Christ, not independently of Him.
[00:33:08] Tammy: I had to read that quote, three or four different times because it is a paradigm shift for many of us, this idea that justification and sanctification are prerequisites for perfection, not the other way around. You don't have to be perfect to partake of those. We're only perfect in Christ, not independently of Him. We have to use the atonement so that we can become perfect. Tell me, how do you view becoming perfect in Christ?
[00:33:37] Sharmaine: I've thought a lot about these few verses as preparing for this episode. Actually, I had an experience last week, I was able to get my temple-recommend interview via Zoom, just to renew it because it had expired and I was on there with my Bishop. We just chatted for a minute and he started asking me the questions. He just asked me, that simple question, "Do you believe in God?" It made me instantly just tear up because I don't typically get asked so straightforward if I believe in Christ, if I believe in God, and if I believe in the Holy Ghost. I don't get asked that to my face very often and have to answer.
With the simple answer of just, "Yes, I believe," it was so hard to me. Then the following questions, there's a lot of them that include, "Do you strive to try and do this? Do you strive to keep the commandments? Do you strive?" It just struck me that God doesn't want us to be perfect right now. He wants us to strive to be. It was so meaningful to me because I had been just ripping on myself that week, "Oh, man, I'm so busy. I'm a terrible homeschooling mom. I'm terrible making dinner because I have to make lunch now too," everything.
I had really ripped myself a good one that week.
I hopped on this interview with him and at the end, and I hadn't expressed any of these feelings to him, he said, "Shar, I just feel really impressed. I want to tell you that there's two people I feel like I talk to frequently on these calls. The first group is people that they need their cages rattled. They need to be woken up and remember what we're doing here on earth." Then he says, "The second group is people that need to be reminded that you're doing it just right."
I think that that's so important for me. I sometimes get so caught up in all the things I should be doing and all the things that I could be doing better. In the end, it was just so simple as to answering those questions with a simple, "Yes, I believe that, and I am striving." That was it for me. I got off that call and my bucket was full. I was like, "Wow, I can do this. That's all right. I'll go make dinner someday, not today, but someday." I just love that fact, that we can strive to serve Him and love Him and pray with all of our heart, might, mind and strength. We don't have to be perfect at it.
[00:36:18] Becky: I think we just need to always remember how much we need Christ. I'm a very do-it-myself person and I'm very independent. If someone asks if I need something, I'm usually going to say no because I got this. There are times where I don't got this. There's been things in my life where I have needed so desperately to lay my burdens at His feet and just say, "You take this and-" I have all boys, "You take care of this boy," or, "You take care of this boy and the things that they're going through because I can't carry it and I can't fix it."
As soon as we realize how much we need Christ, not necessarily to be perfect because nobody's perfect, nobody's a perfect mother, nobody's a perfect wife or friend or anything, we just need to rely on Christ and lean on him over and over and over.
[00:37:22] Tammy: That was a tender section, more tender than I thought it would be. Thank you so much. Both of your stories and experiences were powerful. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. That was awesome. As both of you were speaking, I was reminded, I'm like, "You know what? That's right. Heavenly Father, He doesn't want us to be perfect. He just wants us to come to Him. That's all He wants us to do." I think sometimes I've gotten so caught up in trying to be perfect that I have forgotten that I need Jesus. He just wants us to come sit at his feet, listen, all of this. Thank you for that reminder. That was beautiful.
Now that we've shared those experiences, I feel like my foundation has totally been strengthened. We're just going to dig into section 20 and we're going to see what the Lord has to teach us now about His government and how He's organized His church.
[00:38:19] Tammy: Becky, you pointed out just a minute ago that you have all sons and Shar, you have three sons. I love all of your boys, just so we're clear and I know them all. I love them.
I'm so excited. I just love, again, how my father's like, "This is usually not on the episode," and then when I look to see what we're setting, I was like, "Oh, this will be great because we have moms with boys who get to help me talk about the priesthood." I don't have sons. I have a husband and I just think it's so different for moms with boys. I have a very loaded question for you. I want to know, do you feel a certain sense of responsibility to raise sons who will or are already ordained to a specific office in the priesthood?
[00:39:01] Becky: I think sometimes it is hard when you look at your 12-year-old deacon, and think, "Wow, how are we going to get from point A to point B with this kid that can't sit still?" All the humor that a 12-year-old boy has like, " Are we really going to grow up?" but they do. They do. If they have those examples, and that teaching in the home and in church and around them, I know that they step up and they get there.
[00:39:33] Sharmaine: My boys are 5, 7, and 13. We're still at the age of like, "We're never going to get there." Right?
[00:39:42] Tammy: Sure.
[00:39:43] Sharmaine: Last week, my 13-year-old, I was sitting on the couch reading a book and he just tackled me. We're still at tackling phases. That's how boys show their love though. You need to know that. I feel very loved then because he tackles me every 20 minutes.
[00:40:00] Becky: They don't braid hair and tickle your back. They hit each other and tackle. That's how they show love.
[00:40:07] Tammy: Well and Shar’s boys especially because I had them in nursery, boy, they were showing me love every Sunday.
[00:40:13] Sharmaine: I agree with you, Becky. I feel like there is a lot of pressure, I guess, to be like, man, there's a lot of work for you to do. There's a lot of responsibility when you hold the priesthood and this is a big thing. It's not something to be taken lightly, holding the priesthood and being authorized to do certain things. I think it's a really neat opportunity for boys at such a young age to start learning how to use it.
I know when my oldest, they changed the age where they could become a deacon when he was right then. He, all of a sudden, became a deacon when we weren't planning on him being. I was like [gasps], "You're going to get to hold the priesthood next week. You're going to get to go to the temple. Are you so excited, buddy? You're going to be a deacon. He walked in from school, and I basically said that all to him in five seconds. He looked at me and was like, "I have to speak in church now?
[00:41:10] Tammy: That's so awesome.
[00:41:11] Sharmaine: I was like, "No, you get a hold of priesthood," and he's like, "Oh, when do I have to speak?" I love that it's a learning responsibility and being a mom of boys, I'm also learning with that, too.
[00:41:26] Tammy: Thank you, both of you, for your comments about that, because it's amazing to me that here we have in section 20, the organization and the government of how this is going to work. We have a 24-year-old Joseph Smith and there's no way he came up with this on his own and it still works. That's, what's amazing to me. Go into section 20, and we are going to label the duties of elders, priests, teachers, and deacons. Here's where they're found. To the outside of verses 38, all the way through verse 45, and to the outside, I wrote, duties of elders.
You're going to read it. It's going to say also an apostle is an elder. Elder is a title that's given to all the holders of the Melchizedek priesthood. When it says right there, yes, the duties of an apostle duties of an elder, there's that overarching big name, elder. Then we have verses 46 through 52 are the duties of priests. I bracketed those off and wrote, to the outside duties of priests, 46 through 52. Then we have verses 53 through 59, bracket those off, and write, duties of teachers and deacons.
The three of us, I asked you guys to do this ahead of time. We read all of these verses and I just want to know what stood out to you with these respective duties that all three of them have. Is there anything that you're like, "Oh, wow, I didn't realize that that was one of their responsibilities."?
[00:42:45] Sharmaine: I definitely marked verse 47, the duties of the priest to visit the house of each member and exhort them to pray vocally and in secret and attend to all family duties. I don't know why I thought, I was like, "Wow, these priests are supposed to go into their house and remind them to pray. Wow."
[00:43:03] Becky: Part of that is about ministering. Priests and teachers are ministering brothers, but then the priests also get to go into the homes and bless the sacrament for people who can't attend church. That's huge.
[00:43:18] Sharmaine: I did it also like, 42 is talking about the elders and then it says that the priests get to do this as well. If there's not an elder there, but to teach expound, exhort, baptize and watch over the church. That's a big responsibility.
[00:43:34] Becky: In 53, it talks about the teachers and it says, to watch over the church, the same theme, and be with and strengthen them. Somewhere it says that, see that the church meets together and see that members do their duty.
[00:43:50] Tammy: In fact, Becky, verses 53, 54, and 55. I marked because I did not realize that this is what deacons and teachers was responsible for. Becky, go ahead and read all three of those.
[00:44:00] Becky: The teacher's duty is to watch over the church always and be with and strengthen them and see that there is no iniquity in the church, neither hardness with each other, neither lying backbiting nor evil speaking and see that the church meet together often and also see that all the members do their duty. Those are 14 and 15-year-olds right there.
[00:44:24] Tammy: I know. Isn't that amazing? I'm just imagining the 14-year-old I know going now, "Now, sister Hall, let's not talk bad about people, You know, patting me on the shoulder.
[00:44:35] Becky: No backbiting again.
[00:44:37] Tammy: Totally, and the deacons have the same thing in verse 59, they're to warn, expound, exhort, and teach and invite all to come unto Christ. Not just in what they do, passing the sacrament, but to verbally invite us to come to Christ. That's incredible. Any other things you marked in there?
[00:44:57] Sharmaine: I don't know if it was like they missed it on the other ones, but in that 59, it says, they are to warn. I didn't see that in the priests' and the elders' ones, but I was like, "Wow, why are the teachers warning?" I think that's interesting.
[00:45:15] Tammy: I'm circling that word because you're right. That is a great thing that you pointed out. Love it. Barbara Morgan Gardner has done such a great job on our episodes where she has talked about how the priesthood is God's power here on earth and that these young men are given this power to perform all saving ordinances for all of God's people. That's the whole purpose of this. There's two great quotes by elder Scott and elder Oaks. I want to read these about the priesthood and as we read these, I just want to know from both of you, have you seen this happen with your son or your husband? This is from elder Scott. Becky, will you read this?
[00:45:52] Becky: The purpose of priesthood authority is to give, to serve, to lift to inspire.
[00:45:59] Tammy: Then Shar, will you read the one by President Oaks?
[00:46:02] Sharmaine: Men hold the priesthood with a sacred duty to use it for the blessing of all of the children of God.
[00:46:08] Tammy: Thank you.
[00:46:09] Becky: My husband is a great server for people and he's done a lot of helping people claim their house.
[00:46:16] Tammy: Yeah, for sure.
[00:46:17] Becky: We would. Yes, sure, got all new carpet ones at their house. She was how many months pregnant, like eight. Very pregnant with number five, I believe. [crosstalk]
[00:46:32] Sharmaine: Your son and you, Becky, you guys were all there. You can't just say it was the boys.
[00:46:38] Becky: We were all there and help them move furniture back and then helped make beds because it was like 9:30 at night and all of her little kids were so late.
[00:46:48] Tammy: That's how we roll.
[00:46:50] Becky: I feel like he's just always been really good at serving other people that way.
[00:46:56] Tammy: Great example, thank you, Becky. I would agree your husband is, he's a doer like you.
[00:47:02] Becky: We moved into this ward five months ago and so we're pretty new. With COVID, we don't really know the majority of the ward, which is interesting and my husband got a ministry calling and met her once and she ended up calling him two weeks ago and it's just saying, "Hey, you're my ministering brother. Would you mind giving me a blessing?" It was really neat for my kids to see that because they were like, "What lady's coming over? Who is she? We don't know her. It so weird."
He was like, "This is a great opportunity. I minister to her, and she's having a difficult time right now. I'm going to be able to give her a blessing." They were like, "Oh, okay." They got to watch a movie in the basement, which they loved, but it was really neat for them to see we can serve anyone around us. It's not just like our best friends or our grandparents.
[00:47:53] Tammy: That was awesome. On May 15th, 1829, the Aaronic Priesthood was restored. Then we know shortly thereafter, Emma, Joseph, and Oliver, they went to go live with the Whitmers in Fayette. They moved around May 29th, probably May 30th of 1829. We don't know when the Melchizedek priesthood Catholic priesthood was restored, but we are assuming it was sometime in between those dates of the Aaronic Priesthood being restored and when they moved, because in Doctrine and Covenants 128:20, it says, "The voice of Peter, James, and John in the wilderness, or the woods, between Harmony, Susquehanna County, and Colesville on the banks of the Susquehanna River, God's power had been restored back to the earth." We believe that they had to have been still in harmony when they received the Melchizedek priesthood. I think that's cool, but we don't have an exact date that matches what some scholars also believe, and section 128 teaches.
President Joseph F. Smith described the priesthood as, "The power of God, delegated to man by which man can act in the earth for the salvation of the human family." I tell you all of this because we're going to see how all of it works in the next segment.
[00:49:11] Tammy: Do you guys remember how you felt the first time maybe your son did the sacrament or the first time a blessing was given or maybe his job is to bring the bread?
[00:49:20] Becky: When you're a deacon is up there for the first time passing. You're just like show him where to go with your finger-pointing. Then when they bless the sacrament, that is a little bit nerve-wracking, too. My two older boys have had the opportunity to do that. They sometimes mess up the word or/and they have to start it over and maybe they'll say it two or three times. Really it's hard to watch them. It's nervous to watch them, but they always catch on. Then it becomes a second nature for them.
[00:49:55] Sharmaine: When we started having sacrament at home, I loved the fact that I had a deacon in my house. I know there's many people that didn't have deacons. Tammy, you didn't have a son in your house. It was such a sweet thing for me to see. My son was able to pass the sacrament just to me and my little kids, my husband, and how, even then, he took it very seriously. It was just really sweet to watch him and to be like, "You know what, we don't have to be in front of a hundred people in the church for him to be reverent. He knew how important it was, and it was cool to see that.
[00:50:33] Tammy: Thank you, both of you. Let's jump into section 20, then because we're going to talk about now, the duties of the priesthood. The first thing we're going to talk about is baptism. Baptism is mentioned in verses 68 and 69, as well as verse 71 and 73. Go ahead and just bracket off those verses and write to the outside of them the word baptism. Verses 71 through 73 is information about baptisms. It's specifically the baptismal prayer and you can just put "baptismal prayer" next to verse 73. I want us to look at verse 69 because after we have been received into baptism, for all of us who have been baptized, I think verse 69 is so interesting. Shar, will you read that for us?
[00:51:16] Sharmaine: The members shall manifest before the church and also before the elders by a godly walk and conversation that they are worthy of it, that there may be works and faith agreeable to the Holy Scriptures walking in holiness before the Lord.
[00:51:31] Tammy: Did anything strike you in that verse?
[00:51:34] Becky: I had underlined, "a godly walk and conversation".
[00:51:39] Tammy: What is this about?
[00:51:39] Becky: Is that just like your words and your deeds kind of thing, how you act and what you say?
[00:51:45] Tammy: I want to know what you think. I think that's awesome. That's a great example. "A godly walk and conversation." How do you view this? Have you seen people do this? I think that's a great definition, Becky. What about you, Shar?
[00:51:56] Sharmaine: I do think that once we get baptized we need to do and say the things that we believe. We can't just say it. We also have to do it.
[00:52:07] Tammy: Totally. It really struck me when I read that. I'm like, "A godly walk and conversation. Wow." What area of my life do I need to tweak a little bit? What is it that I'm like, "Oh, I could probably do that better to have a godly walk." I'm trying to think of people in my own life where I've seen this, who I seen walk a godly walk. What does that look like? How do they stand? How do they walk? Are they fast-paced? Are they slow? I don't even know. I'm still chewing on this godly walk and conversation that they are worthy of it, that they're worthy of the baptism that they just participated in. That's what's so cool about this. I don't know. It just has me thinking.
[00:52:48] Becky: Maybe it's just like, if they're worthy of it, then they are living up to their baptismal covenants about mourning with those that mourn and having Jesus in their thoughts and willing to do His will. I can't think of all of the baptismal covenants right off the top of my head.
[00:53:09] Tammy: I'm so glad you said that. Let's just put that cross-reference for baptismal covenants put Mosiah 18:8-10. That's a great cross-reference to put there. I love that idea, Becky. I'm going to ask people on social media this week what they think it means. Tell me what your idea of doing a godly walk in conversation is like? I think that'd be great to get people's responses and ideas because it's heavy. It just seems so much.
[00:53:35] Sharmaine: I had an experience come to mind. I had an experience with someone in my previous ward which was your ward.
[00:53:45] Tammy: Uh-oh.
[00:53:47] Sharmaine: She's probably one of my best friends there and she's an elderly woman and I used to play the organ. Luckily, I don't anymore.
[00:53:57] Tammy: Thanks a lot. Because now I'm doing it.
[00:54:01] Sharmaine: Right. After the first week or two of me playing, she took me aside and she was also an organist. She said, "Shar, I don't know you very well yet but I would love to help provide organ lessons for you." I was like, "Ooh, I'm not bad? She was with all sincerity of her heart. It actually brought me to tears. She said, "I have a little slush fund. I like to do things like this for other people, I like to help them out where I feel like I can." She says, "I have a great Oregon teacher. Can I pay for your lessons?" I just started crying. I was like, "Nobody ever has approached me and said, I would like to help you and take a lesson and I'll pay for it." "This is just me out of the goodness of my heart, helping you." It brought me to tears in the hallway of church when she was talking to me and I thought, "Why would you do that for me? First of all, you don't even know me, really." To me, that is having a godly walk and a godly conversation just looking out for the other with a pure heart.
[00:55:09] Tammy: That's a great example, Shar. Great example. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Next to these verses, I also want you to write Doctrine and Covenants section 22. We're just going to flip to 22 real fast. Here's the history behind section 22, sometime between Tuesday, April 6th, when the church was organized, and Sunday, April 11th. In those five days, there were several people who approached Joseph Smith at his family home. These people believe that the book of Mormon is true. They started talking to Joseph, and they said, "Look, we really want to become members of your church. We want to join this organization. What was interesting is Orson Pratt described this experience. He described these people. He said they belonged to the Baptist church. Then he said, "They were very moral and no doubt as good at people as you can find anywhere."
As these people were talking to Joseph, they said, "We've already been baptized, us. We don't need to be baptized again. We just want to come join your religion. Joseph had never considered that. He's like, "Huh, what do we do? Can people just come in with their own baptism? He asked the Lord and he received the revelation of section 22. This section title is called Dead Works. That's the name of it. Go ahead and put that next to section 22, Dead Works. The reason why is that section 22 will teach us, you absolutely have to be baptized with the correct authority and priesthood. Otherwise, as in verse three, it says, "For it is because of your dead works that I have caused that this last covenant and this church to be built up unto me." Dead works means without priesthood.
In verse one, he says, "You need this new and everlasting covenant which is the fullness of the gospel. In verse one, you can cross-reference section 66:2 with it describes new and everlasting covenant meaning the fullness of the gospel. He received this revelation. You know what, you have to be baptized by proper authority, by those who have the priesthood. That's what section 22 is all about. Now, let's go back to section 20 because we're going to talking about a couple more saving ordinances, and one, that's actually not a saving ordinance but we still do it. It's Doctrine and Covenants 20:70 and next to verse 70, the reason why we skipped that one is because this talks about a baby blessing. Our saving ordinance but something we still practice today. I really liked verse-- Becky, will you read verse 70 for us?
[00:57:22] Becky: Every member of the church of Christ having children is to bring them unto the elders before the church who are to lay their hands upon them in the name of Jesus Christ and bless them in his name.
[00:57:35] Tammy: Thank you. I love this quote by President John Taylor, about why we do baby blessings. I thought this was pretty cool. Becky, will you read this quote from him?
[00:57:44] Becky: When couples bless their babies in church, it manifests their faith in the sight of their brethren and sisters in God's word and in His promises as well as their thankfulness to Him for increasing their posterity and for the safe delivery of his handmaiden. The child is also benefited by the united faith and responsive prayers of the assembled saints. By baby blessings, I always think of the Lion King and after the blessing and they hold the baby up for the congregation to see, it's like my favorite part.
[00:58:20] Tammy: It is.
[00:58:21] Becky: I love the blessing but I always think of the Lion King and them holding Simba up for all the animals. In that quote, what it says is that it takes the faith of the assembly of the people there. They add their faith to that family for this child.
[00:58:40] Tammy: That's exactly what it does. Awesome. Thank you back. In the next part, we want to mark then is in Doctrine and Covenants section 20 bracket off verses 75 through 79. These are the Sacramental Prayers. This is the administration of the sacrament. As you read those, was there anything that stood out to you?
[00:59:01] Becky: Something that has come to me only since October conference, when President Nelson gave his talk about, "Let God prevail" in that talk, it talks about being willing and in the bread blessing not in the water but in the bread it says, "willing". That just jumped out to me just the last month while I've been studying this talk again of the prophets but we are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ and always remember Him.
[00:59:36] Sharmaine: It goes straight back to relating to that striving to be, right?
[00:59:41] Becky: Yes.
[00:59:41] Sharmaine: Doesn't say we have to be perfect and that we have to always do it the right way.
[00:59:46] Tammy: Great thought, thank you for sharing that. That was excellent. Those are our ordinances that are set forth here, in the church organization and government of the church. I love this. Like you said, Shar, at the beginning, it hasn't changed. We're still doing these things true truth and I just think that's so awesome. In our final segment, we're going to study Doctrine and Covenant section 21. The revelation that was received and recorded during the meeting, when the church was organized and you guys, according to some scholars, they called a specific verse in section 21, ''the most radical'' in the revelation.
[01:00:31] Tammy: Are you guys dying to know what versus the most radical?
[01:00:34] Sharmaine: Yes. I am [crosstalk].
[01:00:38] Tammy: It was so funny when I read it in my commentary. I'm like, "Radical, huh? Let's look and see what it is." It's in section 21 and it's verse 5 and here's what you need to know. This revelation is given at the organization of the church. Remember section 20 had been given beforehand and compiled to be read. This is received there at that moment. Look at verse four. This says, "Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shall give heed unto all his words and commandments." His, is Joseph Smith, so put that right there. "Which he shall give unto you as he received them walking in holiness before me." Here's the most radical verse, verse five. Shar, will you read that for us?
[01:01:20] Sharmaine: For his word, ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.
[01:01:27] Tammy: There it is. The reason why they believe this is the most radical is because this verse teaches about revelation. Modern-day revelation and it lays out what it means to be founded on the principle of living revelation, a living church. No other church at this point believes that you could receive divine revelation from God, that it just was scripture, end of story. Here he is opening up this like, "No, we're still receiving revelation and from mine own mouth, which is so amazing in that verse. There's a quote that I want us to read and I thought this was cool. Becky, will you read this quote for us?
[01:02:08] Becky: If Joseph is truly a prophet holding the keys of the ancient apostleship, if you truly spoke for God, then when Joseph spoke in his prophetic capacity, his voice was God's voice. Such a conviction requires faith in God and in the restoration. Patients at times with the imperfect mortal who wears the prophetic mantle.
[01:02:34] Tammy: Tell me your thoughts after you heard that statement.
[01:02:37] Becky: I've always been taught that the prophet's words are the words of God and he won't lead us astray. I think if you believe that you can have a firm testimony in prophets that they are really here doing the work of the Lord.
[01:02:58] Sharmaine: Then that quote said we have to have faith in the imperfect mortals here on earth. Can't remember the exact way he phrased it but it's just that, we can't expect our prophet to be perfect. He is imperfect and mortal just like we are. I love that God is willing to use us as his workpiece and his tool and the prophet who is called to do that is just like us but he is called as the prophet and he can be God's word for him.
[01:03:31] Tammy: You know what Shar, that is such great insight. Thank you for pointing that truth out. That was awesome. In fact, the title for section 21 is, "when my prophet speaks". Let's go into verse one and see the very first revelation at the organization of the church that the Lord wants us to understand about this prophet, this imperfect prophet. I love that quote and I love how he pointed that out, Shar. Shar, will you please read verse one?
[01:03:56] Sharmaine: Behold there shall be a record kept among you and in it that shall be called a seer, a translator, a prophet and apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God, the father and the grace of your Lord, Jesus Christ.
[01:04:10] Tammy: Go in there and I want you just to circle everything that Joseph Smith would become. Lots of titles for him. Thou shall be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, and apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God, the father. So many things there. Now I want to take a look at this word. Let's look at the word, seer. There's two words in Hebrew for a seer. The first one is, rōʾěh, and this means one who sees, and that word is used in 1 Samuel 9:9. It carries this idea of seeing something that's hidden to other people. I love that, the prophet can see things that are hidden to us, obviously. We've definitely seen that.
Then the other Hebrew word is kho-zeh', and this means one who sees a vision or has divine communication with God. I think that's pretty cool. Then we have the word, prophet and I just had to use this quote it's by Anthony W Ivans. He was an apostle in 1921 but it's one of the best quotes about a prophet. Shar, will you please read this for us?
[01:05:16] Sharmaine: A careful study of the etymology of the word and of the lives works and character of the prophets of old, makes clear the fact that a prophet was, and is one called to act as God's messenger. He is to teach men the character of God and define and make known to the people his will. He is to denounce sin and declare the punishment of transgression. He is to be above all else, a preacher of righteousness. When the people depart from the path which he has marked out for them to follow, he's to call them back to the true faith. He has an interpreter of the scripture and declares its meaning and application. When future events are to be declared, he predicts them but his direct and most important calling is to be a forth-teller or director of present policy, rather than a foreteller of that which is to come.
[01:06:09] Tammy: Thank you, Shar for sharing that. This is what's so cool. Today we have 15 men who have been ordained as prophets, seers, and revelators. In four weeks from today, we are going to have the opportunity to hear from them at the general conference. I want you to think about this quote because as we're listening, as we're preparing. It just struck me like, "At this general conference, am I going to be prepared to listen to them denounce sin, declare punishment, be a preacher of righteousness and help us who have departed from his path." Are we prepared to listen to them and will they help us know Christ better? This quote is packed with so much in it that I had to question my own self thinking, "Am I ready to hear everything that needs to be heard by this man who speaks for God?"
[01:06:58] Becky: What does it mean to be, where it says a forth-teller? Not a foreteller, but a forth-teller.
[01:07:07] Tammy: That is such a good question, Becky. Let's go back to that quote because at the very end it says, a forth-teller is directing future policy and a foreteller tells us things to come. Prophets, they can foretell the future. They can reveal some things that are in store for subsequent generations or us but more often the prophet speaks to meet-- I like how I saw this quote, the remedial needs of the people. Prophets speak forth with a pointed frankness. They're telling it like it is what we need to know. In fact, is there something recently that they have forth-told, something our prophets has forth told?
[01:07:43] Sharmaine: Home church. We couldn't see the need for home church but he forth-told told us and he wasn't saying, "This is what's going to happen in the future," but, "Hey, this is what we need to do right now to be prepared. Right?
[01:07:56] Tammy: Yes. President Nelson, look, he didn't foretell that we were going to have a pandemic but what's so cool is he forth-told the policy that we would need to get through the pandemic. The Lord guided him and directed him to what his people would need to make it through the tumultuous time. That is what it means to forth-tell, and I love that. Let's be honest. Come on, truth moment, when that was announced, the way that church was going to happen, were you just a little bit like, "Seriously, because I enjoyed that extra hour that they were taking care of my kids, or I don't want to be responsible for teaching now, come on. That's a ton of work." Honestly, what were you guys thinking when they changed it?
[01:08:37] Becky: We just jumped right in but I was like, "This is them saying you have the responsibility to teach your children and have I really, really loved it. I have studied more than I have studied probably ever. When we had to do home church, it wasn't a hard transition for our family because we were already implementing that and I have really, really loved it.
[01:09:05] Sharmaine: I don't know if I would say it's been really, really great like Becky has said. That's really awesome, you can say that. I do feel like for me, especially with little kids, it's more of this is responsibility placed on me but now I realize that it's for me to get into the scriptures more. Every time that I do get the chance to teach them, it's not every day, it doesn't happen as consistently as I'd like but every chance that I do get that chance to teach them, I'm like, "Oh, yes, I've been in the scriptures more often. I'm grateful that they're hearing this from me."
[01:09:41] Tammy: Thank you to both of you. I appreciate your answers. Going back to this idea then, that we will receive as if from mine own mouth in all patients and faith. That's what I love in that how he ends that in verse five, in all patients and faith. I think there is a level of patience for many of us when we receive new instructions or we receive guidance, that we have to be patient and have faith that this really is the will of God. Anytime we get something new or new information, just let it sit with you, even if it's uncomfortable, even if you don't really like it that much. Just have some patience, have some faith and let it play out, just knowing that it really is a rōʾěh or a kho-zeh', the words in Hebrew. He's seeing something hidden. He's knowing exactly what we need because when his prophet speaks, it is truth. That's what I have loved about studying all of this in section 21, and from day one, setting the record straight, this is how we're going to receive revelation. It will be from God, and we know this is true.
That's it. That's the end of our episode. That was fast. Take a minute to gather your thoughts. I'm just going to ask you what was your take-away from today.
[01:10:51] Becky: For me, just the word that I have kept in my head is the word "striving" that Shar brought up from her temple recommend interview recently, and how it's not a perfect word, it's not, "I'm doing all the things perfectly, and I'm checking all the boxes," but I think if we're striving to follow God, and to remember Jesus Christ, and to walk in his path, I think that we're doing a good job.
[01:11:29] Tammy: Amen. I agree. Great. Thank you.
[01:11:32] Sharmaine: Something new I think that I've learned this episode was the "justification sanctification", and I liked that conversation, and I liked talking about how our stains can be taken away and we can become pure and holy again. That was new, and I liked that a lot.
[01:11:49] Tammy: I did love that conversation. I agree, completely. Mine was Doctrine Covenant section 20:17 when you pointed out, Char, that he is the framer of the heavens and the earth and all things that are in them. It gives chills again. I know how hard it is to measure and frame things and I've never considered a title for Him is "the framer". I just think that's so powerful. I'm going to be thinking about that for a while. That was my take-away, thank you for sharing that, it was really good. Thank you, ladies, I love you both. [crosstalk]
[01:12:22] Becky: Thank you. This was so fun.
[01:12:24] Tammy: Shar, we miss you.
[01:12:26] Shar: I miss you more.
[01:12:27] Tammy: Minnesota is lucky to have you, and get back into Church so you can meet some friends. Find your people. Thank you. Oh, that was a great discussion. For those of you who are listening, we would love to hear what your big take-away was from this episode. If you have not joined our Facebook or Instagram group, again, I'm just going to keep on keeping on with this. You guys need to go and join because it's so much fun. People ask great questions and you can ask questions if you want, or send messages. Whatever you want to do. It's really awesome. At the end of every week, on social media, we ask for a post asking for you to share what your big take-away was from the week. Just comment on that post that relates to this lesson and just let us know what you've learned. It's really empowering. It builds our faith, it's just awesome.
I read every single one, it's my favorite part of Sunday, so go and do it. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes" for this episode on LDSliving.com/SundayonMonday. If you go there, too, you can find all of the links to the references that we used in this episode, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion, which is fun to read and follow along with. Go and check it out. The SundayonMonday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS original, and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our really great, such good fun friends, study group participants Becky Alder and Sharmaine Howell. You can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert, and me, Tammy Uzelac Hall. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At 6 Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here you guys, we'll see you next week and don't forget, you are God's favorite.