16: "If Ye Are Not One Ye Are Not Mine" (Doctrine and Covenants 37–40)
“Pack up everything—we’re moving.” When you read those words, how do you feel? Are you excited? Or does your heart drop as you think of all the packing, cleaning, and organizing that moving entails? Maybe you feel a bit of both? Well in this week’s lesson, the early Saints are asked to do just that: pack everything up and move. While this move was challenging and full of hardship, it also came with many blessings. And as we dig into Doctrine and Covenants 37–40, we’ll learn how the Lord asks us to move spiritually and what blessings we receive as we obey.
Pack everything up, we're moving. Are you the type of person that loves moving? Have you done it so many times that that phrase, "We are moving" doesn't even faze you, or do those words totally terrify you because you're overwhelmed at the thought of going through all of your stuff, weeding out what you should keep, only to find out that you're kind of a hoarder, and tossing a match on everything seems like a way easier job than packing it all up. Based loosely on a true story. Well, Doctrine and Covenants, sections 37 through 40 all came as a result of the Lord's command to "Pack everything up. We're moving." And yes, many of the Saints had concerns.
Welcome to the "Sunday on Monday Study Group," a Deseret 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. Now if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure you know how to use this podcast so please follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come, Follow Me study just like my friend Mary L. Queen, who recently joined us and we're so glad you're studying with us. Hi, Mary! Now the best thing about our study group, and my favorite, is that each week we're joined by two of my friends so it's always going to be different. And today we've got Sharmaine Howell and our new friend, Ben Schilaty. Hi, guys!
Ben Schilaty 1:10
Yay! I'm so excited to have you both here. Now Shar, we know Shar, an OG from Minnesota. How you doing?
Good. So good. Good to see you, Tam.
Is it freezing right now?
It is so hot and sunny. It's like 40. [laughter] Perfect. I'm gonna go bathe out in the sun after this.
Uh-huh. I'm Sure you will. That's awesome. And then we have Ben, and Ben is the author of a book titled A Walk in My Shoes. And you can access that on Deseret Book PLUS+, and he's also a host of a podcast called "Questions from the Closet with Charlie Bird." So Ben, we're so happy you're here. Hi, friend!
Ben Schilaty 1:46
I'm thrilled to be here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Anything you want us to know?
Ben Schilaty 1:50
Well, I was born in Everett, Washington near Seattle. I have three degrees from BYU that I call my "Three Degrees of Glory." And I also have a PhD from the University of Arizona. I was a Spanish teacher for a long time and also a therapist. And now I work full-time at BYU and the Honor Code office.
Well, we kind of both joked when we were talking that we have each other's dream jobs. Because I was a seminary teacher but wanted to be a social worker, and you have your master's in social work—PhD, I should say, but you're a therapist.
Ben Schilaty 2:19
Well, my Master's in social work. My PhD is in second language acquisition and teaching.
I don't even know what that means.
Oh, very cool.
Ben Schilaty 2:23
That means I studied how people learn languages and how to teach language.
That is awesome!
Ben Schilaty 2:29
It is really fun. Yeah.
Yeah, that's awesome.
That is so cool.
Ben Schilaty 2:32
Yeah, we should switch some time. I'll be a seminary teacher for a couple years, you come do therapy, it'd be great.
Yeah. I don't think anyone needs my therapy. But—
They need Ben, for sure, for sure. Well, for those of you who want to know more about my guests, who I'm so excited to have on today, you can read their bios and see pictures of them in our show notes, which you can find at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Okay, now I know for a fact that both of you have experience with moving: What do you say, "Yay" or "Nay," a good thing or bad thing?
Ben Schilaty 2:59
It's the worst. I am a terrible organizer. And moving is all about organizing things to move them. So moving is my nightmare.
Yeah, I agree. I'm, actually I like to organize. And so in order to move, it takes me like a year to put everything in a box, right? Because I'm like, "Oh, this goes here. Gotta throw that away. This goes to Savers." It's takes way too long. And it's very hard. Are you moved in completely yet? There's boxes, there's boxes. It's too hard.
I agree. It's so hard. I remember in college one time I fit everything I owned into my car. And that was hard.
Ben Schilaty 3:36
Well, speaking of that, I'm single and have been single for quite a while. And I used to move roughly every year. And if it didn't fit in my car, it didn't come with me. So it was a good time to purge all the things I didn't use. I was like, "That's not coming with me. It does not fit in my car."
Yeah. Imagine if you only had a handcart.
I'd have to leave some kids. [laughter] "Sorry, you don't fit." Well, we're gonna jump into Section 37 because we're gonna find out one of the reasons the Lord commanded the Saints to move, or rather to gather. So this is gonna be so fun, our discussion today. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in. So here's an interesting story. When I moved from Utah to Missouri, I was in high school. And I remember sitting in one of my classes, and this guy in my English class behind me found out I was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And he reached forward and grabbed my head and started rubbing his hands all over my head. And I was like, I couldn't, I was trying to get away. I'm like, "What are you doing?" I barely even knew him. He's like, "Hold still!" And he kept rubbing my head, and I finally got away and I'm like, "Why are you touching my head?" And he said to me, "Where are your horns?" Like, "What are you talking about?" And he goes, "Well, I was told the Mormons have horns. So where are yours?" I was dumbfounded. It was the first time in my life that I had ever heard that, first of all, and then secondly, had someone look to see if I had horns. It was so bizarre. And I'm wondering, have either of you ever had an experience where you've been accosted or harrassed for being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
I honestly don't think I have, which I feel grateful for, because I probably would have been worried like, [gasp] "My horns haven't grown in yet?"
[laughter] I can see that, Shar.
No, I don't think I have been harassed or I don't know, I can't think of one off the top of my head.
Okay, what about you, Ben?
Ben Schilaty 5:19
I wouldn't say I've been like, like, harassed by a random stranger feeling my head. But people have told me that my beliefs are, if they're kind: "silly," or if they're being more honest and blunt: "abhorrent." And so I have had people say things like that to me. You know, my parents are both converts, and most of my relatives aren't members of the Church. And so I've had relatives, you know, tell me things like that and say that I'm pretty foolish for for staying in my church.
Okay, great. Thank you for sharing that. You know, that's what's going on right now. At the time that Doctrine and Covenants Section 37 through 41 is received. So I want you just to imagine if anyone has had an experience like that, compound it by like 100, because here's what's happening. Last week, we learned that Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge were investigating the Church. And while that was happening, there were severe persecutions of the Saints in New York, and it was increasing. There were even threats that were made against the lives of Church members and Church leaders, and the enemies, they were actually meeting in secret places to plot the destruction of the members of the Church. So near the end of December 1830, a few weeks after Sidney Rigdon and Edgar Partridge arrived in New York, Joseph Smith received a revelation. And in this revelation, the Lord commands the Saints to escape their enemies and move to Ohio. Now, here's what I want us to do. In your scriptures, go to the maps section, where the Church History maps are, because this really helped me out a lot at this point, because I needed to know where everything was. Because we are in New York, we're going to go to Ohio, and the Lord wants them to move. So go to map number three. And the map is titled, "The New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Area of the United States of America." Do you guys see that?
Are the maps at the end of the Book of Mormon?
Yes, very good question. So at the very end of the Book of Mormon, after the Doctrine and Covenants, after the Index, the very last thing we have are all of these Church History Maps.
So then we have Map 3, and on there locate Colesville. It should have a black number 2, that's where the Saints are. And that's where this revelation is being received, Doctrine and Covenants Section 37. And in this revelation, the Lord is going to tell them to move to Ohio. So find number 6. That journey is about 300 miles. So that's how far we're talking. And for me, I'm just a visual person. So I need to see like, "What exactly are we talking about? How far are these people gonna go?" So the section title for Doctrine and Covenants Section 37, is called "Church to Assemble in Ohio." And this is the command where the Lord tells them what they need to do. They need to pack up and they are moving. So we're going to start with the very first thing though. Before they can even move, the Lord gives some instruction in verse 1. And, Ben, will you read verse one for us, please?
Ben Schilaty 7:53
"Behold, I say unto you that it is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio, and this because of the enemy and for your sakes."
In that verse, highlight the word "translate." We're talking about the Bible. So Joseph Smith had been working on the translation of the Bible. He'd finished the Book of Mormon, and he felt like it was really important that he then go and start translating. So we actually have a Joseph Smith Translation of an Old Testament and New Testament. But the Lord in here is saying, "Nope. I want you to stop. I don't want you to do any of that until we get out of here and get into Ohio." And he'll actually continue the work on the revision of the Bible when he gets to Ohio, so I think that's pretty cool. And that's what that word "translate" means in verse 1. Okay, then we have some instruction. And I asked both of you to look for this. In verses 2 through 4, what instruction did the Lord give Joseph before he can even leave and go to Ohio?
That he'd have to preach the gospel and strengthen up the church in that part.
Especially in Colesville.
That is exactly what it is. What did you think as you read that, because you're like, "He tells us to leave, but then we still have to work?" What are your thoughts?
Ben Schilaty 8:59
As I thought about this, I thought, this is a tough journey, people are gonna have to be united, they're gonna have to work together. And so by strengthening the church, they're actually preparing for the journey.
Ah, perfect, Ben. You're absolutely right. I think that is an excellent answer. And so he tells them that, "Strengthen where you are now, and then you're going to leave." But what I thought was so interesting was verse 4. And, Ben, read that for us.
Ben Schilaty 9:24
"Behold, here is wisdom, and let every man choose for himself until I come. Even so. Amen."
What is he trying to teach us with this verse?
Ben Schilaty 9:32
When you move, there's a lot of things that you can do. You know, when are you going to leave? How are you going to get there? What are you going to take? Who's coming with you? And the Lord isn't telling them exactly what to do. He's saying to let every man choose for himself. And he's given them a lot of freedom to make the choices that make the most sense to them. And you know, I don't know when he says, "Let everyone choose for himself until I come," I don't know if he's talking about the Second Coming, or when he comes through the Comforter, or the Holy Ghost, to tell us what to do. I think oftentimes, God will inspire us and give us specific directions on what to do. But we're commanded to do what seems best to us according to our wisdom until we receive inspiration.
I like that. I also like that he's giving this revelation to the Church as a whole. But it kind of comes to each of us individually and almost differently, right? We can feel the Spirit differently, and we respond to the Spirit differently, but we're all going to the same place in the end. So kind of like, "Here's the wisdom that I'm giving you as members of my Church to strengthen up. And then you need to follow it in the way that the Spirit's telling you to follow it."
For sure. And it's so unique about this verse, because when he says, "Let every man choose for himself until I come," what's so cool about, for me is the broadness of that. Meaning at that moment he gives it and for all eternity, it's like for everyone who's ever gonna be a member of the Church, "I'm gonna let you choose for yourself until I come again." Just like you said, Ben, I don't know if he means Second Coming or what. But for me, I'm thinking, this is one of the first real lessons we get in the Doctrine and Covenants about agency, because there were a lot of members of the Church who were like, "Are you sure? I really think, this is a big ask. I have to leave my farm. I'm going to leave so much. And so a lot of people didn't want to go, a 300-mile journey? This is crazy. And so I love how he's giving us like, I'm gonna still give you your agency, though, some of, you can stay, if you want to stay, you don't have to go. I'm gonna let you choose for yourself until I come. Kind of a message for all of us in our agency.
Ben Schilaty 11:30
You know, since we're talking about moving, I've moved more than a dozen times in my adulthood. And I've always prayed to know where to go. Very rarely have I known exactly what to do. But there have been specific times where God has inspired me and said, you know, "This is the place to be." And I think that in a lot of ways, God gives us the freedom to choose the things that sound best to us. And he'll let us figure it out. But then there are other times when it's incredibly important that we be in a very specific place.
In regards to that, Ben, it seems like throughout time, the Lord asks people to move. He commands them, like Nephi, and Noah, and the brother of Jared, and he asks them to move, but all of them have moved in different ways. I just think it's really interesting that the Lord doesn't want us just to be still and to be stagnant, and to just have comfort our whole life. He wants us to move, which means progress. So I just love that thought of the Lord asks us to be moving constantly. And until he comes, we have that agency and we have that choice of "Are we going to be moving forward today? or Are we going to just be standing still?"
Okay, well, how much do I love that, Shar? Oh my gosh, that was so good. I love that we just took this idea of moving from New York to Ohio, to actually being about, how is our testimony, in what direction is our testimony moving? That was awesome. And using our agency to have it move. So thank you so much for sharing those thoughts. Okay, so Joseph and the Saints, they're given a warning to leave New York and go to Ohio. But in the next segment, we're going to study the revelation given to Joseph and the Saints that came at the request of those who just needed a little bit more information about moving 300 miles away.
Okay, so going back to the moving question, I just want to know, what was the best thing about moving? Or the worst? Do you have anything like that?
Ben Schilaty 13:22
One of the biggest things I've learned from moving is that even if I've like seen a place in pictures before I've been there, it's always different than I expected. Like, there's always something that's different. And you know, when I think about the future, sometimes we can feel anxiety or fear about what it's going to be. And the future is never what I think it's going to be. The places I go that haven't been are never what I expect. And they've always ended up being really beautiful, wonderful places for me.
I always think that the worst part of moving is definitely getting to know a new grocery store. It is so frustrating. Like, "Where in the heck is this thing?" if you can get to know a new grocery store, you're good to go. It's just gold. I think the best part of moving is knowing that you can show up at church or show up on the zoom call, wherever it's gonna be nowadays, and there's this instant family and I just, I honestly have loved that about moving here to Minnesota. We've only been here six months and I feel like I have instant best friends. I never would have thought that, and I just love those wards that are just open arms, welcoming you in. And I think that's my favorite part about moving.
Ben Schilaty 14:31
Definitely. And you know, I'm single so I often have roommates. And sometimes I'll move in with people I don't know very well or don't know at all. And when I meet them, I think these people are going to become my family in the next couple of weeks. And it's just kind of cool to know that you can show up with strangers or people you don't know very well and these people are going to end up being family.
Okay, I think this idea is going to stick with me throughout this episode. Gosh, that was so good, you two. Thank you. Thinking about this idea of the Lord asking us to move, whatever that looks like, if we're moving spiritually, or literally physically, Doctrine and Covenants, Section 38 was given as a result of the Saints asking, "Can we have a little more information about what this means for us?" Like, "What exactly are we talking about? And is this going to be hard?" And right out of the gates, I love how in verses 1 through 7, the Lord is going to give us some information about Him. It's kind of a reminder of who He is and who these people are dealing with, which is what I love. Before he even addresses their questions, he says, "Let me tell you about me first. And let me remind you of something." And so I asked you guys to read verses 1 through 7 and tell me what stood out to you when it comes to how the Lord reminds us of who He is. Some of the wording that He uses is just beautiful in these verses, and I want to know what you guys marked.
Ben Schilaty 15:43
The verse that really stood out to me was verse 4. And it says, "I am the same which have taken the Zion of Enoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have believed in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the blood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them." And looking at the timing of all this, this revelation was received in January of 1831. And Moses, chapter 7 was translated in the month previous. And so the saints are commanded to build Zion, and then just the month before, they learn about the Zion of Enoch. And then the Savior says to them, you know, "I've taken that, the Zion of Enoch, into my bosom." And you might think of like being brought into the bosom of the Savior, I just think of like being embraced and being hugged. And just that imagery of the Savior pulling us into his bosom and giving us that warm embrace.
You know, Ben, I love that you pointed that out. Let's mark that in verse 4: "into my own bosom." It's actually kind of a cool Hebrew idiom. And what this means is, it is a symbol for a very close and favored relationship. And the meaning of this is that back in the day, in Old Testament time, the robes that people wore back then would have a belt around it that would tie it really tight, leaving the top of the belt [robe] loose and kind of open. And people would carry things in that loose part, like a child or maybe a lamb. They'd put it inside that loose part of the robe and hold it close to them and walk with that child or lamb close to their bosom. And that's what it means, Ben, when he talks about "into mine own bosom," He'll carry us. So you were totally onto something, Ben, like with this verse and the imagery? Is there a time in your life where you ever felt like you were in the Lord's bosom? That He carried you? That you were close to Him?
Ben Schilaty 17:24
When I was 30—I'm gay—and I was really wondering if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the right place for me. And like in all the depictions of the iron rod in art, the iron rod has always kind of at waist level and easy to grab onto. For me, it felt like the iron rod was 10 feet in the air, and I was just like hanging from it, and just dangling. And my hands hurt, and my arms ached, I just wasn't sure if I could hold on anymore. I was talking to my parents about this, like, "Can I stay in the church as a gay person? Is this really the right place for me?" And my mom told me that if I needed to leave the church and marry a man, that he and I would always be part of our family, that she was going to honor my agency and that she was with me 100%. And so I spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out "Well, what do I want to do? Where am I supposed to be?" And I remember reading in Matthew 26, where Christ is in the Garden of Gethsemane, and he says the same prayer three times. He says, "Father, if thou be willing, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." And so that kind of took away like the pain I was feeling, just put me in a place of, "Okay, the Savior didn't wanna do something hard. I feel like I'm being asked to do something hard. But what is it that God wants me to do?" And so I spent a lot of time praying, and just trying to figure out what God wanted me to do. As I pointed my life to Christ, I felt him point me to be in his Church. And that was a time when I was just feeling so much pain and hurt and just feeling a lot of rejection and a lack of belonging, but just really feeling like Christ was embracing me, and that we had this common connection of being asked to do something that was pretty hard.
Well, Ben, I love that story. Thank you so much. I can see why verse 4 meant so much to you. That's pretty awesome. Thank you for sharing that. What I loved about it is that it just kind of brings us all back to what we've been talking about. How, Ben, you felt this need to move, and spiritually you were moving. And what that looked like for you. And you even mention the word "agency," and how, I love your parents' reaction. I just love the way that they responded to you, how beautiful that was, and how God-like that was. I really feel like they mirrored exactly what God was saying, that he would absolutely honor your agency. And I do believe that.
Ben Schilaty 19:25
You know, as I thought about what Zion is, like, I always thought of like building buildings and roads and temples, like Zion was these physical things. But really Zion is people, like Zion is a group of people that's dedicated to God and dedicated to each other. And you know, when we do that, when we dedicate our lives to God and to those around us, that's really when Christ pulls us in.
And talking about Zion as people made me think that sometimes we're pulled into Christ's bosom by other people. I don't know if that one makes sense, but I felt like the gospel so often to me is through people. And I feel Christ's love through other people. I mean, just really quick, the scriptures that I loved from these seven verses was 2 and 7. Because he says, "The same which—" He's talking about himself, he's "the same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes." So he can see everything. And then 7, "But behold, verily, verily, I say unto you that mine eyes are upon you. I am in your midst and ye cannot see me." So he's saying, "I can see everything. But my eyes are on you." And I just loved those two verses connected together. And I think sometimes I can't see the Savior in my life and in a hard trial, and I can't see exactly what's going on, but he can see me. And I feel like other people are brought into my life to help me see him. They pull me closer to him by coming in and giving me a hug, and sitting next to me when I'm sad and saying nothing even. But they bring me closer to him. And I had an experience with that where I had a really hard day and my mom had just gotten out of surgery. And she came and sat on the couch next to me, and she couldn't move because she was post-surgery. But she sat on the couch next to me, and she brought me closer because I knew she was there trying to share the Savior's love with me.
Thank you, Shar. As both of you have been talking right now, during all of this, like, I just have to help recognize just the feelings that I have, that the Spirit is witnessing, that what both of you have said is true. I am completely a witness of those verses, Shar, because when you said "God knoweth all things, and all things are present before his eyes," and then for him to say, but "mine eyes are upon you." I think how true that is of all of us, like "But I see you. I see you, Ben. I see you, Shar," and how comforting to know that he sees us and he sees us moving. And as comfortable as that movement may be, this move had to be so uncomfortable for these Saints. And the movement we are making today. Oh gosh, it's an uncomfortable time of movement for us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And it's supposed to be. That's what's so great about the movement, I think. There's such a cool quote by Jeffrey R. Holland. I want to share this. It's a little bit long, but it's worth the share. Because a lot of times, the thoughts are, "Well, I don't want to move!" And, "Why?" And, "What's the purpose? Because it just would seem so much easier if we didn't have to go through this." Ben, will you read this for us, please?
Ben Schilaty 22:32
"Yes, God can provide miracles instantaneously, but sooner or later we learn that the times and seasons of our mortal journey are His and His alone to direct. He administers that calendar to every one of us individually. For every infirm man healed instantly as he waits to enter the Pool of Bethesda, someone else will spend 40 years in the desert waiting to enter the promised land. For every Nephi and Lehi divinely protected by an encircling flame of fire for their faith, we have an Abinadi burned at a stake of flaming fire for his. And we remember that the same Elijah who in an instant called down fire from heaven to bear witness against the priests of Baal is the same Elijah who endured a period when there was no rain for years and who, for a time, was fed only by the skimpy sustenance that could be carried in their raven's claw. By my estimation, that can't have been anything we would call a "happy meal." The point? The point is that faith means trusting God in good times and bad, even if that includes some suffering until we see His arm revealed in our behalf. That can be difficult in our modern world when many have come to believe that the highest good in life is to avoid all suffering, that no one should ever anguish over anything. But that belief will never lead us to "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." The path to holiness and happiness here and hereafter is a long and sometimes rocky one. It takes time and tenacity to walk it. But, of course, the reward for doing so is monumental."
Ben Schilaty 23:56
The thing that really stood out to me is when he said "that the highest good in life is to avoid all suffering." That's what people think. But that's just not the case. That suffering is part of our mortal journey. And I've actually been struggling with this lately because my mom has Alzheimer's and she was recently moved to a care facility. It's been hard on her. It's been hard on my dad. And my parents are just such good people. I just like wonder like, "Why do they have to go through this when they're just so good? And when they just deserve to have like a happy, you know, retirement." But you know, my mom is forgetting who she is. My dad is lonely and sad. And and you know, I don't have the answer for that. Like, I don't know why things are so hard. But I do know that God is there along the way.
Absolutely. I'm sorry, Ben. That's hard to watch your mom go through that, and your dad.
Ben Schilaty 24:41
Makes me think just of the People of Jared and in the boats. There's a scripture in Ether. I think it's in Ether 12 and he talks about how they were in the waves and the waves were crashing on them in the boats and they were going down deep like a whale and the winds never did cease to blow, right? And I just, makes me think that, you know, the winds are the trial for Jared, like it's blowing them all over the place. But it's also the thing that's getting them to the promised land. It makes me think that sometimes I pray that the winds will stop. And I don't want to be crashed down into the ocean and very deep. And I've had moments in my life where I've seen that. And I've felt that and I've had either my husband going through things or my family members, and it's tough in those moments, but I want the winds to keep blowing, I guess, because I don't want to sit in the middle of the ocean and just stay there. Right?
Yeah, goes back to the idea of just, we just need to keep moving in the direction of Christ.
Ben Schilaty 25:44
As I've been pondering on this a little more, you know, he's quoted that verse that says, you know "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ," and Christ became who he was and what he needed to be for us through His suffering. So I think a question that I want to ask myself more often is, you know, how has my suffering made me the person that I need to be? How can my suffering lead me to be the kind of person that can help save the fallen world, just as Christ's suffering helped him save the fallen world?
It's a great question, Ben. I love that you just posed that. That gives a lot to think about, like, how can my suffering help others? So thank you. Thanks for both of you for sharing that. That was awesome. So in this, Section 38, The Lord tells us who He is. And those words were intentional. And we were reminded of that just now with this powerful discussion. So in the next segment, he's going to use some more intentional words to point out who we are. And as a result, what He will do for us in our suffering. I love this. Thanks, guys, for that discussion.
Okay, Shar, you know all of my kids, and you know one of my daughters, she has mild cerebral palsy, and she's in college right now. And she's taking a class, which I think is the greatest class ever. It's how to do job interviews and write your resume. And I'm thinking, where was that class when I was in college? Because that's awesome. And as we've gone through this assignment together, and I'm trying to help her, one of the questions that it asks when she goes in for an interview is "Tell us about yourself." And it's been really fun to discuss this with her because she's very literal person. And so when she saw that question, she asked me, she's like, "Do they want to know how tall I am? How much I weigh? What my eye color is? Like, what exactly am I telling them?" And so we've had a great discussion, thinking about the things she could say in a job interview when someone says, "Tell me about yourself." So when I was reading this section, it made me think of this situation with my daughter, and it made me want to ask you guys this question. So tell me about yourself.
Well, let's start at the beginning, Tam. There's a lot to talk about. [laughter] No, I would say, currently, I'm a mom. I have five kids. I'm married and live in Minnesota. I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I love doing outdoor things. I feel like I'm on Miss Congeniality now that I'm saying all this stuff. [laughter] And I like to wear sweaters when it's cool outside.
No, just kidding.
Yeah. That's a great summation. Yeah.
I think I would say that, and I love the gospel, and I love the joy that the gospel brings into my life.
Excellent answer. Ben, tell me who you are. Tell us about yourself.
Ben Schilaty 28:26
Yeah, I would say I'm a man of faith. You know, I'm a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I'm also an administrator at BYU. I'm an author. I'm a podcaster. I'm also a brother and a son and an uncle. I'm also gay and and really open and glad to be accepting of that reality now, that I didn't for so long. And so as I think about like—and I also love Cinnabons. They're my favorite food. I love saguaro cacti more than anyone ever should.
Ben Schilaty 28:56
The cactus that kind of have their arms up like this.
Down in Tucson. Yeah.
Yeah. Oh, okay.
Ben Schilaty 29:01
Yeah, they're gorgeous. They're my favorite plants. So I think about like, how I would describe myself, my faith, my occupation, my relationship to other people, the things I like to do, my orientation. I think all those things are ingredients who make up who I am.
Great answers, both of you, and I love who you are. Thank you for sharing that. So let's jump into Doctrine and Covenants, Section 38, because there's some beautiful words. After the Lord describes who he is to us, then he kind of humbles us a little bit and gives us some ideas of maybe who we are to him. While it might be hard to read, there is absolutely purpose in why he's saying this to the Saints at this time. And why he's saying this to all of us. So I want us to look over these specific verses, verses 10 through 16. And tell me, "What did you notice? What is God saying about us as human beings here?"
In 10 he says, "Ye are clean, but not all; and there is none else with whom I am well pleased" and the "flesh is corrupted before me; and the powers of darkness prevail upon the earth, among the children of men." And so he's saying, you know, there's evil on the earth and there's sin and there's people who aren't perfect, and we make mistakes. And then in 14, he says—
Oh, read verse 14 for us. It' so good.
Okay. "But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are guilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your weakness. And I like 15. It says, "Therefore, be ye strong from henceforth; fear not, for the kingdom is yours." So to me, he's saying, "You aren't perfect. You are going to sin. We have weakness, but you can still be strong. You can be made strong, right? And don't worry about it. Fear not, you can do this."
Yeah. Tell me your thoughts on verse 14, because then I saw you perk up, "but I will be merciful unto your weakness."
Ben Schilaty 30:47
I think this kind of speaks to perfectionistic tendencies. God is saying very clearly, "You're not perfect, and I'm going to be merciful. And yet, I'm calling you to be better." And so this reality that we don't have to be perfect to receive the blessings that God has for us now, to receive His mercy and His guidance and compassion now. And yet, there's always opportunities for us to be better. And so when I think about the times that I slip up, or do things I shouldn't do, that God's still gonna be merciful. He's still with me. I haven't lost blessings. But I'm still being called to be better.
Perfect, perfect. Thank you. So let's go to verse 16 then because I want to mark this up. I love this verse. Verse 16, says, and I'll read this one: "And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment..." Now mark that word. That commandment is a reminder of the idea He wants us to move. He wants them to move to Ohio. But we've discovered for us it means, "I want you to move." "... I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your prayers..." I just love that! Like he's hearing everything we're praying during this moment of movement, as hard as it may be for many of us. "...and the poor have complained before me." We just have to mark the word "complained" because we read that and we immediately think, "Well, of course they're complaining because they're hungry," or at least I would. But word "complained," there's so much more to this. And the word "complained," it is an expression of grief or pain. You can cross-reference it with Job, chapter 7, verse 11. In Job he says, "I will complain in the bitterness of my spirit." So then if you look up the word "complain" in Hebrew, which I think is beautiful, it means "to muse upon or meditate." And it kind of just changes this idea that the poor have, they haven't really complained, but they're meditating. It's an expression of their grief or pain before the Lord. And then he says, "...and the rich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no respecter of persons," which we talked about in our Lectures on Faith episode. How important it is to remember that God is no respecter of persons. You have any thoughts about that verse 16 in context of our own lives?
Ben Schilaty 32:50
Yeah, I think this kind of ties into a verse later on in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord teaches that the poor shall be exalted, and that the rich will be made low. And here the Lord's saying, "No, I made the rich." And you know, later on, they learn the doctrine of the Law of Consecration, this idea that when God blesses us with something, when he gives us a talent, or material means, that is really meant to bless other people. In the end, everything that God has, that he has given us, is not really just ours, but it belongs to everybody.
And there's such a level of equality in verse 16. There's nobody better, no one rich, no one poor, we're all the same. And we need to know that before he issues another statement to us later on in this section, which is going to be so important. So he's really trying to get us all to understand who we really need, and who we really should be relying on and how imperfect all of us are, which is okay. It's important for us to know that.
And that none of us have the excuse that we shouldn't have to move. "I hear the poors' prayers and their grief and their pain. I see the rich. No one has an easy out."
Oh, I like that, Shar.
Ben Schilaty 33:57
And this reminds me of what happens later on in Church History to Nauvoo, when they're getting ready to go West. Everyone makes a covenant in the Nauvoo Temple that they will make sure that anyone who wants to go will be able to come.
Perfect. In fact, going off of that then, from what both of you said, this is so cool, because in Section 38, verses 17 through 21 are the blessings that come from keeping the commandment. And they might not see them right now in this life, like the Lord is speaking in an overall tone to all of us by saying, "I have made the earth rich, and behold it is my footstool, wherefore, again I will stand upon it." And I love verse 18. Shar, will you read verse 18 for us?
"And I hold forth and deign to give unto you greater riches, even a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh."
Mark that "milk and honey" part. We see that a lot in scripture. When it says a land flowing with milk and honey, what that means, and this is so cool, is that if you have a land with milk, that means you have cows that are able to eat grass, which means you're not living during a time of drought or famine. And if you have a land with honey, that means you have bees that are able to go pollinate flowers. And so when you read "a land of milk and honey," we're talking about just Garden of Eden kind of stuff. Like it's just so beautiful and green and lush, and you don't have to worry about anything. There's going to be plenty of food, which I think is fantastic. And so that sounds like a pretty great blessing for gathering or, as we talked in the very beginning, exercising our agency until He comes, until we see Him again, which I think is so cool. So this land will be so awesome and great that then He comes in verse 21 and 22. Ben, will you read verses 21 and 22, because I love how he ends the blessing.
Ben Schilaty 35:40
"But, verily I say unto you that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler, for I will be your king and watch over you. Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?"
Thank you. And they probably didn't see, all of them probably didn't see that in fruition. What's he talking about here?
Is he talking about like persecution that they're all under? And the laws? Is that what he's talking about? I'm not sure.
Well, I think many of the Saints heard that and thought, "Yes, we'll be free, and He will be our ruler!" But that won't happen. So now what I love about this is when we read this today, many of us read that and we will think he's trying to say to us, "You will be free, and He will be our ruler." And how awesome to think that when He comes, He will be our law giver. And so it's kind of like Abraham, he didn't see any of the promises that he was blessed. He didn't see a land of inheritance. But his posterity will. And so I kind of feel like that's the blessing for all of us reading that, like you might not see in this life, but I promise it's gonna happen.
Ben Schilaty 36:47
You know, it sounds like he's talking about this millennial day, when Christ will literally rule on the earth. I've tried to make this more personal, you know, if I am following God's commands for me, I will be a free person, I will be free of sin, I will be free of that weight and the shackles of Satan. You know, even though we might not have Christ to be our literal king and ruler on earth right now, I can make sure that Christ is the ruler of my life as I do my best to follow the commandments.
I like that!
Perfect. I like how you just said, "the ruler of my life." The only ruler that matters. Wow, Ben, thank you.
Yeah, I love that because it says, "hear my voice, and follow me, and you shall be a free people." And so it's like, if he's saying that to me, he's saying, "Hear me and follow me and you will be free." I love that. That's so cool.
And the key in verse 21, when he says, "I say unto you that in time," I circled that. It might not be now, but "in time," and so. There's just so much beauty in those verses. So the cool thing about all of this is that we've just now studied these verses, and they're all preparatory for what I think is like the meat, the "Aah!" of Doctrine and Covenants, Section 38. So in the next segment, I'm going to show you what the "Aah" is. It's so fun.
So these next few verses in Doctrine and Covenants, section 38 are familiar to most of us. But of course, as you know, Hebrew is going to change, or maybe add an extra layer of what the Lord is trying to teach us here. So I just want to dive right into these verses. We're gonna read Doctrine and Covenants, section 38, verses 24 and 25. Shar, will you please read these verses for us?
"And let every man esteem his brother as himself, and practice virtue and holiness before me. And again I say unto you, let every man esteem his brother as himself."
Highlight those, bold, big, make them the most important thing.
It's gotta be a big deal if it's said two times, right?
"Wait a minute, wait a minute, just remember, I just said this. Don't forget it."
And again, just in case, I'm going to say it again. Yeah, perfect. We know that anytime something's repeated, it is so important. We're just gonna talk about these two verses. That's it right now. And so I want to know, how big of a role does this play in our ability to do what the Lord has asked? And Ben, I specifically asked you to give us kind of your take on these verses. Because when you first read it, and again, "let every man esteem his brother as himself," I'm kind of like, it's the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others... but I think it's so much deeper than that. But the idea here, "every man esteem his brother as himself." That's the bigger part of this verse, I think. So, Ben, kind of tell us your thoughts as a social worker, a therapist?
Ben Schilaty 39:29
Yeah, as I've thought about this, you know, I thought, what does it mean to esteem someone as ourselves like, what do we want our lives that we would want for someone else? There's this theory called the "interpersonal theory of suicide." This is a suicidal ideation occurs in the presence of two factors or increases in the presence of two factors. And that is thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness. So when someone feels like they don't belong, or is explicitly told they don't belong, that can lead to feelings of depression. When someone feels like they're a burden, either to their family or their society, that also increases feelings of suicidal ideation. So if we want to increase hope, if we want to have joy in our lives, we need to know that we belong, and know that we're not a burden, but that we're a gift. And so I think that's what most people want to feel, they want to feel like they belong, and they want to know they're a gift. And so if we're going to esteem our brother as ourself, you know, we want them to know that they belong. They belong in our lives, they belong in our families, they belong in our communities. And that they're a gift. That they have unique talents and gifts, and that their very presence brings more joy into our lives. And you know, I think what you said is exactly right, like this is basically the golden rule. But I think a lot of us might have feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth. So if I don't like myself, how can I like this person around me? But if we think about what we do want for our own lives, then we can help other people have that in their lives as well.
Yes. Ben, I love everything that you just shared, because those two facts are very important. When I was reading this again, the thought came to me, the only way to bring out the divine image within any human being is to see it in ourselves first. The Lord reminded us of who He is, and how much He loves us, and what He's going to do for us and that it's okay, if we're weak, it's okay. He's going to give us mercy unto our weakness. It's incredible, I want to just kind of discover this or maybe unpack it together. All of this wording leading up to these verses like, the Lord, what does he want us to know? And how important is this for us?
Well, and I like what you've just said, Tammy. He starts by describing who He is. And he even says, "I am no respecter of persons. I love all of you." And then he talks about us. He's telling us, he sees us. And we can do that to others. We can look at someone else's life and at what they're going through. And we might not even understand it all. We might not know what they're going through. But he's saying, "Hey, I see each of you individually. You all have your own weaknesses, and you're all different. But that's okay. And I love you. And I accept you for that." Right? And then he tells us to do the same.
Ben Schilaty 42:06
And if we want to be no respecter of persons, who are we including in our lives? Is it just the pretty people, or just the smart people, or just the fun people?
Usually. Yeah. Definitely. Just kidding. [laughter]
You totally described Shar.
Ben Schilaty 42:18
Which is why we're all together for this. We're the beautiful, smart, intelligent people. [laughter]
Ben Schilaty 42:25
You know, everyone has a gift to give, everyone has goodness to share and light to share. And if we are just looking at the people who might seem more successful or fun, then we are really missing out on all the beauty that Zion has to offer, all the beauty of the children of God around us.
Oh, absolutely. I'm curious to know from either one of you, is there a time where you felt like someone esteemed you as themselves, or someone reached out and brought you in, or you felt like you belonged?
Ben Schilaty 42:54
In November 2015, the Church released a policy that was pretty hard for a lot of people. And it was, it was hard for me too. I didn't tell anyone that I was having a tough day and struggling with it. But about two dozen people reached out to me: phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, just to like check in and see how I was doing. And one of those people was a good friend of mine who lived in a different state who I hadn't been, who I hadn't seen in person for a couple of years. And she just told me that she loved me. And she said, "Ben, I really wish we lived close to each other so that we could be in each other's lives more." And that really meant the world to me. And we actually now live in the same city. And we go to a tap class together every Tuesday night.
I love that!
Ben Schilaty 43:34
Yeah, it's super fun. And as fun as it is to have her as my friend, like at that moment, I just needed someone to reach out to me and say, "I love you. I want you in my life. And I claim you."
That's so cool.
Those are three very powerful words. I love you. I want you in my life. And I claim you. Wow, I love that.
That's really cool.
Hold, please. I'm writing that down.
Go ahead, Shar.
By the way, I love tap dance. I took a tap dance class once, too. But besides the point.
Ben Schilaty 44:03
It's super fun.
It is really fun! I love it. It made me think, when you were telling that story, of a friend that I now have here in Minnesota. We were moving in a pandemic, you know, everyone's gone through a pandemic. But I was a little worried about meeting people and making friends. And it was the week we were still in Utah, and we were about to move. And I got a text message from a girl I'd never met. And she just said, "Hey, I just heard you're moving into my ward. Do you have plans on the Sunday you get here?" And I'm like, "Of course I don't have plans. Nope, no plans." And she was like, "I just moved a year ago. I have four kids. I know exactly how you're feeling. I'd love for you guys to come and have Sunday dinner with us." And she, it was this huge, long text. She just said, "You're gonna be fine. You're gonna love it. It's gonna be okay. I'm here for you." And I've never met her, never spoken to her. She looked at me and esteemed me as how she would want to have been treated. She was like, I've been in that place. I would want someone to reach out to me. So I'm gonna do this to her. And she's one of my best friends here now. And it's just amazing when you can look at somebody else's life and say, "Hey, what would I want in that situation? Or how would I have wanted to be treated?" And that feeling like you mentioned earlier, Ben, to belong and to feel, you know, like you're not a burden, but you belong somewhere. It's exactly what she offered to me before I even moved here, which was really sweet.
Ben Schilaty 44:16
And, Shar, you know, that is an actual implementation of the Savior said, like, "I was hungry, and ye gave me meat." That's exactly what happened to you.
Yes. That's exactly what happened.
Ben Schilaty 45:40
And that happened to me, too. When I moved to Tucson, I didn't know anyone in the city. I just randomly moved in with this guy named Kevin. And the next day, on Sunday, he invited me to his family's house for dinner. And they invited me every Sunday for the next five years I was there. And I ended up introducing Kevin to his wife, who was a friend of mine from BYU. And so you know, when we do these things, like I wasn't trying to, like, return the favor by like, introducing, Kevin to his wife. But that's just like, naturally what happened, and when we are good to people in our lives, like goodness comes to us as well.
Absolutely. Well, everything that you guys just said, with exclamation points, is verse 27. Because that is what the Lord is prepping us to read now. Ben, read verse 26 and then 27, because it's so good.
Ben Schilaty 46:23
"For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am just? Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine."
Perfect. We have this parable. And it's pointing out that the Lord is truly no respecter of persons. That's the point of the parable. The 12 sons are a symbol of the 12 tribes. And so the Lord is speaking to all of us. This is for us, to all of his children. And then he encourages us to be one in the next verse. Now, this idea of being one is not new. In fact, this is so awesome, and I'm so excited to share this with you. Because I learned about this in Hebrew, and it just changed everything for me. It goes back to the creation and the original Hebrew. So let's cross reference this verse, and turn to Genesis, chapter 1, verse 4. That's where we want to go. Here's what it says. "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness." Now, Elder Hales teaches that is actually a really cool verse talking about when God separated Jesus Christ from Satan, when God separated the believers from the unbelievers. And I'll put that in our show notes, that quote. And it's important to know that because isn't it interesting that he says that the light was good, but not the darkness? So there's this separation in our pre-Earth life that now I want you to look at this verse. Look at verse five: "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning, they were the first day." Highlight "first day" because in Hebrew, that word "first," it's not first. The word for "first" is a completely different Hebrew word. But the Hebrew word used in verse 5 for "first" is actually "one." And so instead of having it say, "they were the first day," it actually says they were "day one," or in Hebrew, it would be "day of oneness." He teaches us to become one on day one. And I think that is so powerful.
After the Savior became our Savior up in our pre-Earth life, and Satan was then kicked out and all of his followers, we all became one. That is when we accepted Jesus Christ's plan and we all loved each other. And we were like, "We can do this! We got this!" Okay, so I'm imagining that I was probably like, "Okay, so we're just gonna go down, get a body, have some trials, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah, we'll end up back here, and it's all going to be great." And "I love everybody, and we all, and we're gonna just cheer each other on through this whole earth life thing, and we're all gonna have our own yuck. But we're gonna do this together."
Yeah. Patting each other on the backs, like, "You got this! See ya down there!"
Totally! Because we're one. And I just think it's so cool how, in here, he's not telling us something new. He's reminding us, saying, "You know what this is like, you've already been 'one.' Remember? Before we even came here, we were one. So I'm just reminding you be one. 'And if ye are not one ye are not mine.' Because you saw what happened to those other people who decided they didn't want to be one with me? They're no longer mine." Right?
They got divided.
Yes! I just think it's so cool how we already have been one. So let's just keep being one. Let's just keep embracing each other and saying, Ben, I just love this, saying to each other, "I love you. I want you in my life. I claim you." That is all Heavenly Father wants us to do right now in this life, to help navigate each other through all of this movement, do all the moving that we're experiencing that is sometimes yucky, and we don't want to move, right?
Ben Schilaty 49:57
As we've been talking about this parable of, if we clothe someone in robes, and then clothe someone in rags, are we being just? It reminded me of a story in Acts, chapter 15, where a number of Gentiles had joined the Church, but they weren't really sure what to do with all these Gentiles that they should live the law of Moses, as the previous church members had who'd all been Jewish. And so they're having this council in Jerusalem, and they're kind of arguing about what to do. And then Peter stands up. And he says this, in Acts 15, verse 10, he says, "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" And I just love the idea of, you know, why are we going to ask someone to do something that we ourselves wouldn't be willing to do? And just this idea of God is just, and He's going to require the same things of all of us?
And the fact that Tammy, you were saying, you know, we were all one before we came down here, because we chose the light. We didn't choose to all have the same life, we chose the light. I love that thought of like, we were cheering each other on to go have our own experiences and our own lives, and to keep choosing light. And we don't have to come down here and have the same experiences. We don't have to come down here, and "Oh, if I'm going to esteem you as myself, then that means we have to be the same." I'm going to esteem you as myself, because I love God, and you love God, and I want us to grow in our faith and love of God. We are one because we chose the light.
Yes, Shar. Oh my gosh. Okay, I have to have you read this quote, then. Will you please read this quote by Elder Cook?
"Unity is enhanced when people are treated with dignity and respect, even though they are different in outward characteristics. . . . With our all-inclusive doctrine, we can be an oasis of unity and celebrate diversity. Unity and diversity are not opposites. We can achieve greater unity as we foster an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for diversity." I love that unity and diversity are not opposites.
Why do you love it?
Because sometimes you think like, being you know, "united" means "the same," right? All on the same page, we're all doing the same thing. And I love that diversity is a different, it's in a different realm. We can all be unique. Diversity means unique and our own and individuals. And we can be united in that because we are united in our faith and our love of God.
Ben Schilaty 52:26
One of the things I often say is, since we're all part of the body of Christ, we're all not the same, like we all have different skills and abilities. And there are things that a single, gay man can do that a married, straight man can't. And I'm gonna try to do those things that only I can do.
Well, that is my favorite part of your book, is when you talk about how we're all the body of Christ. And if everyone was an ear, we'd all be able to hear, and no one could see the beauty. If everybody was an eye, we would never hear music. Like I loved you described how we need every single body part for the whole body of Christ to function. Oh, it was the best part of the book. Loved it.
That is so good. Just really fast. I know we're gonna move on. But I listened to your book. And then I told all my family members they needed to listen to it.
Ben Schilaty 53:05
And I have a brother who's almost 40, and he had a head injury when he's 11. And he was listening to my mom and dad just chat about it, and what they'd learned. And he called me, and he said, "Hey, Shar! I just heard this really cool thing about this book Mom just read." And I was like, "Really? Tell me about it." He's like, "I just feel exactly like he does! Exactly!" And I was like, "What do you mean?" And he was like, "My whole life I've felt like I was a mistake, and that I didn't have any purpose." And he said—and now I'm gonna cry, but you can cry. He just said, "I am not a mistake. I actually have a purpose in my life. And I love it!" And he said, "And I love my life and who I am. And now I know that I'm not a mistake." And it's just really cool that we can share that with each other, and that kind of message. Because that's what it's all about, right? We're all so different, like my brother with his head injury, and he's single and he can't drive. He can bring something to me and to other people that nobody else can bring. And it's so special. And it's so sweet.
Ben Schilaty 54:11
And thank you for sharing that. And, you know, I tried really hard not to write a book about being gay, even though that's kind of how it's advertised. Like, my book is about personal revelation and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. And I tried to put principles in there that would apply to anyone and then along the way, teach them what it's like to be me and how those principles have worked in the life of a gay person.
Yeah, well, it just struck a chord with my brother. And he was like, "Yes! I get it." You know, and it was really cool.
It's beautiful, Shar. Thank you for sharing that story, Shar. I just want to say, "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." Can we end right there?
I feel like we said everything we could say, I'm so good.
Let's pass out the brownies.
No kidding! Here's my treat and my handout. Okay. Gosh, that was great. Okay, guys, that's the end of Section 38. In the next segment, we're going to discuss a revelation that was given just three days after Section 38. And man, was Joseph Smith busy.
Okay, I want to know your immediate reaction or thoughts if someone said this to you, "I have looked upon your works and I know you."
Ben Schilaty 55:23
I'd be like, "Oh, you know too much!"
I guess it depends on the tone. It's kind of like a horror movie. "Hey, I've looked upon your works and I know you" or "I've looked upon your works and I know you."
The way you said that, I was like, "Hmm, I'm not sure."
What kind of music is playing behind me?
Ben Schilaty 55:40
Yeah, with the first, I'd be like, "Oh, thank you!" The other one's like, "Oh, geez."
Do you like me or not?
Yeah, where's this going? Okay, I want you guys to think about that, because we're gonna see what those words have to do with Doctrine and Covenants, Section 39. So let's just read the section heading and, Shar, will you read that for us?
"Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to James Covel, at Fayette, New York, January 5, 1831. James Covel, who had been a Methodist minister for about forty years, covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any command that the Lord would give to him through Joseph the Prophet."
Perfect. Thank you. Okay. So the title for Doctrine and Covenants, Section 39 is "James Covel, My Gospel." So it's two things, "James Covel, My Gospel." And this is interesting, because in Section 39, for those of you who are, some people have asked this, but I have a recent edition of the Doctrine and Covenants, it was recently updated. So a lot of the section headings are going to look different than some of the ones you have. For instance, James Covel's name is spelled different. Here it's spelled C-o-v-e-l. But originally they thought it was C-o-v-i-l-l. So when you look at the section titles, I have it written C-o-v-i-l-l. So for those of you who have anything before 2013, you're gonna have that spelling, and you're gonna have different section headings, just FYI. Okay, so I asked Shar and Ben to kind of help me teach this, and I sent them some information about James. So what can you guys tell us about Mr. Covel? And then tell us some things the Lord said to him in this section?
Ben Schilaty 57:12
Yeah. So he was born in 1770. So around this time, he was about 60 years old. So he was much older than Joseph Smith.
That's important to know, for me it is. I love to know ages of people. So thank you.
So also, he had been a minister for about 40 years. And for seven of the years, he had been a traveling minister. And it said that he, it was under harsh circumstances. And it was very difficult, his ministry.
And it's important to know that's his livelihood. He's a Methodist minister. That's how he makes his money. And here he is saying to Joseph, "I'm going to covenant, I'm going to leave it all. And I'm going to follow you and follow your Church."
Ben Schilaty 57:48
In Section 39, the Lord commanded him to be baptized. And then he's commanded to go preach. And so here, he'd been a traveling minister before. Now God's saying, "Go do it again."
Yeah. So this is a big ask. And James Covel, so interesting, because now we have verse 7, which is how we started. "And now, behold, I say unto you, my servant James, I have looked upon thy works and I know thee." So tell me some of the things you marked. What did the Lord say to James in Section 39?
As I was reading it, it kind of felt a little bit like this was his, like, it could have been like a patriarchal blessing almost to him. In verse 10, is when he asks him to be baptized. He says, "Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known. And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work." And so he's just calling him to the work. He's saying, "Hey, this is what your life's gonna look like." Kind of like that patriarchal blessing feeling. And 12, I liked 12. It said, "And it shall come to pass that power shall rest upon thee; thou shalt have great faith, and I will be with thee and go before thy face." He's like, "This is the vision. This is what you can have if you take this call." I like that.
I love that you pointed those out, Shar. In fact, next to verses 10 through 12, just put the words "if" and "then." I love an if-and-then statement in the scriptures, and this is one of them. The Lord says to him, "If you do this in verse 10, and if you do this in verse 11, and then you see the blessings that come," which is what Shar pointed out. So thank you, Shar, for marking those and that was awesome. The blessings that come.
Ben Schilaty 59:26
And just before those verses, in verses eight and nine, right after the Lord says, "I've looked upon they works, and I know thee." He tells him, "You know, your heart is in the right place, right now." And he says, "Nevertheless, thou hast seen great sorrow, for thou hast rejected me many times because of pride and the cares of the world." I wonder what that'd be like to have the Lord say to me, "You've rejected me in the past, you've had a lot of sorrow, but right now your heart is in the right place."
Wow. Do you think he's ever said that to you, Ben?
Ben Schilaty 59:56
Not that directly, but I think so. You know, I think there are, I think there have been times when I have felt like I needed some course correction. And then other times in my life, I felt like I am doing precisely what the Lord wants me to be doing.
How does that feel? When you know you are?
Ben Schilaty 1:00:10
Ah, it's the best feeling in the world. I think the whole point of life is to be able to, not the whole point, but an important point of life is to learn how to receive personal revelation, and then act on that revelation. And I think that's where real joy comes from. And that's what President Nelson has been teaching us since he became the President of the Church. That we need to be able to receive personal revelation, and then act on it. And then we'll know that we are where God needs us to be. Now, there's actually this beautiful essay I read by Virginia Hinckley Pearce Cowley in a book called A Place to Belong. And in it, she says that the antidote for jealousy is personal revelation. Because if you are where you know you're supposed to be, then you won't look at someone, someone else's life and wish that you had their life because you'll know that you're living the life God wants you to live.
You're absolutely right, Ben. In fact, let's look at verses 14 and 15. Because the wording that the Lord uses in verse 15 is really interesting. So Ben, will you read those for us?
Ben Schilaty 1:01:05
"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou art not called to go into the eastern countries, but thou art called to go to the Ohio. And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves at the Ohio, I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men, and it shall be poured forth upon their heads. And from thence men shall go forth into all nations."
It's kind of neat, because in verse 15, so he's saying go to Ohio. Now James is in New York, he's been living there. And so the Lord is saying, "You're going to go to Ohio." But then the cool promise in verse 15, when he says, "I have kept in store a blessing such as is not known among the children of men." Highlight that, because that blessing is specifically talking about a forthcoming temple, and the sealing ordinances and receiving the anointing and the endowment. And we read last week, when we studied Doctrine and Covenants, Section 36, in verse 8, it's the first time He even talks about a temple when He says, "I will suddenly come to my temple," and the saints are like, "Wait, what? Wait, a temple?" Like they'd never heard of this before. And you're gonna see a lot of temple imagery throughout 37 and 38. And now here we have a really, like verse 15. He's saying, such as you've never known. It's true. No one's known this kind of blessing before, the blessing of sealings, the blessing of endowment. And, you know, I'm just kind of curious for both of you, how has that been a blessing for you in your life, knowing that you can go to the House of the Lord, or when you received your endowment?
Ben Schilaty 1:02:33
There used to be a rule that if you were a single man over 30, you couldn't be a temple worker. And after I turned 30, I wanted to be a temple worker and found that I couldn't. That was upsetting and disappointing to me. And then right before I moved back to Provo, when I was 33, they changed the rule. And so I was now allowed to be a temple worker. But I was starting a graduate program at BYU. I just wasn't sure if I was going to have time. So I called my dad, who had been a temple worker for a couple of years. And I said, "Dad, should I work in the temple? I don't know if I have time." I thought he would say, "Ben, you'll have time later in life." But this is what he said instead. He said, "God can make time elastic if he needs to. You don't have time to not work in the temple." And I worked on Tuesday nights, and almost every Tuesday, I would walk into the temple thinking, "I don't have time to do this. I need to quit." And then I would leave with my shoulders squared, like ready to face the world. And it's amazing how time spent in the House of the Lord can really fortify us and prepare us for what's to come.
Absolutely. Did your dad say God can make time elastic?
Ben Schilaty 1:03:31
Oh! Okay, that's so cool!
Yeah. That's what I was wondering, too. That is really neat. I love that.
Great example. What about you, Shar? Has there been a time in your life?
Well, I just think it's been interesting having a year of not being able to be in the temple, and just comparing that to when I was able to go to the temple. And it just feels like you know, something's a little bit missing. But at the same time, I know we can still have those experiences in our homes and in our own personal lives. But I do know that the times when I was able to go to the temple—I've never been a temple worker, and I hope that comes someday—but the times that I've been able to go, it's just a step out of this world and a step into perspective.
Well, it's so cool too, because in Section 39, verse 22, I really like how the Lord then says, "And he that receiveth these things receiveth me; and they shall be gathered unto me in time and in eternity." And again, some of that imagery right there is just so beautiful, and that idea of gathering. And the Saints are gathering in Ohio. And we've been asked by the prophet to gather today. To gather to become one, to bring everybody into the fold. That's the whole point and purpose of this whole gathering. And when he talks about letting God prevail, and how that looks in our lives, and you can apply that to every single section that we've talked about today, is that truly letting God prevail means everything: doing unto others and becoming one and viewing Him as who He is and choosing light. So I just, I've loved all of this and getting back into the temple. I can't wait until we can finally go back and do that. It's going to be awesome.
Yeah, me too.
So thank you, thank you for preparing and for sharing that. That was so great. So the story of James Covel is not over though. And it kind of, it's a little bit sad. So it goes back to the point that we made earlier about how God honors our agency and how we're constantly moving. And we should, because once you become stagnant, it's probably not a good thing. So I'm going to show you what we mean in the next segment.
So I have a fun question for you guys. Have either one of you ever had an experience where fear talked you out of doing something? Like going on a roller coaster? Or maybe not eating something based on a dare?
Ben Schilaty 1:05:40
Most definitely, I have definitely let fear control me far too many times.
Is there one instance in particular?
Ben Schilaty 1:05:46
When fear guided me the most was when I was really struggling with my orientation and just need to share what was going on in my life, but being so afraid of letting anyone in. And I remember the first time I came out to my two best friends when I was 23, I just knew I had to tell them, but I was ready to chicken out. But I had ended up in this like quiet park with my two best friends on an August evening. And as I was chickening out, the Spirit told me, "I made this situation so that you would have a place to tell them." That moment really changed and shaped my life. And so I think the moments where I've been most guided by fear is when I'm afraid of how people are gonna respond to the things that I need to tell them.
Wow, that's a great story, Ben. Great experience. Thanks for sharing that.
Totally great. The experience that I thought of was when I was in high school. I love music, and I love playing the piano and I love singing in choirs, but I do not love singing solos. And in our choir, we were required to sing two solos a year in front of the whole 150-person choir. It totally freaked me out. And I'd practice and practice and practice as hard as I could, and my sister was helping me and then I got up there to sing. Just fear overwhelms me, all over. I couldn't sing. I just couldn't do it. And I just started crying in front of—I was in high school, people. This is terrible. My choir teacher looks at me as like, "Why don't you turn around? Don't look at any of us, and just turn around." So I turned around, she was like, "Why don't you sing with your back to all of us?" I like squeaked out a couple lines. And then I started crying, and then I left the room. And I was like, "Not doing it." So I let fear chicken me out. And now I don't sing solos in front of people. [laughter] Maybe one day. I'll say that.
That's such a sad story. Sure, you will. Wow. Okay. Well, thank you, both of you, for sharing your story about how letting fear, either way how it did rule or could rule because that is exactly what Doctrine and Covenants Section 40 is all about. The title for Section 40 is "James Covel: Cares of the World." So go ahead and put that down, "Cares of the World." And let's look at section 40, verses 2 through 3. Actually, we just have to read all three verses because that's all it is. It's three verses long. So, Ben, will you please read verses 1 through 3?
Ben Schilaty 1:08:04
You know, my middle name is James. So you could technically call me James.
That's cool. Ben James Schilaty, will you please read section, all of Section 40?
Ben Schilaty 1:08:11
I will. "Behold, verily I say unto you, that the heart of my servant James Covel was right before me, for he covenanted with me that he would obey my word. And he received the word with gladness, but straightway Satan tempted him; and the fear of persecution and the cares of the world caused him to reject the word. Wherefore he broke my covenant, and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good. Amen."
Ohh. Wow. So let's look at that, at all three of those verses. I mean, of course, what did you mark in those verses when you read it? And what stood out to you as you read this section?
Ben Schilaty 1:08:47
You know, the thing that really stood out to me was how Satan got him and tempted him. It was fear of persecution, and the cares of the world. And I honestly felt a lot of sympathy for James Covel. You know, I don't want to look at him as like this, this tragic figure who, I think he was just being a person, being afraid of persecution and being afraid, you know, the cares of world like moving and traveling and preaching and rejection. Like that's scary stuff. And I think it's a very human thing to let those kinds of fears guide us.
Well, especially because he was a minister of 40 years. The cares of the world in my mind, I'm like, he's probably thinking, "Well, how will I provide for myself?" That's a pretty real fear. That would take a great deal of strength to then just move and say, "Let's hope for the best."
For me personally, after I receive some kind of revelation, it's easy for me to let Satan tempt me with thoughts of, "Oh, this is gonna be too hard." And, "What are people gonna think of me?" And, "Do I actually really want to change this habit in my life that I've just been told I should change?" or whatever it is. But I think it's interesting that they even included these two sections in the Doctrine and Covenants, because it was like this really awesome revelation given to somebody Then he's like, "Nah, no thanks." I agree it's human for someone to be like, "That is hard."
You know, going back to how we started. And I still just love this idea of movement that you guys brought up at the very beginning. James Covel, he's being asked to move both physically and spiritually. And I just wondered for myself, like, "Where am I in my movement? Am I scared to move? Have I let fears prevent me from being where God needs me to be?" And I thought, "Yeah, you know what? I actually have. In fact, it's what kept me from even repenting for so long, I was so afraid." And I'm just curious to know, like, what are your thoughts on this idea?
Ben Schilaty 1:10:35
Yeah, I was thinking about, you know, the time when I felt like when I went to the temple and received my endowment, and, you know, I felt like my heart was the Lord. I think the Lord would have said that, like, "Your heart was right with me, Ben." And yet there were times when, because of fear, I felt that maybe keeping those covenants I had made in the temple wasn't the best thing for me. Or maybe the course I wanted to take. And so you know, I have a lot of sympathy for James Covel. And yet, I want to be the kind of person where my heart is always right with the Lord. And that when I've made a promise that I'm going to keep it.
Absolutely, I really liked that. Mark that in your scriptures: the fear of persecution and the cares of the world, because what are some of the cares of the world that might prevent us from following the Lord?
Ben Schilaty 1:11:18
In my case, the thing that made me want to walk away from the covenants I'd made was fear of loneliness, like fear of being single. And if I stayed in the Church as a gay person, I just going to be lonely and sad for the rest of my life. And that had not been the case like, even though I'm single, I don't, I feel like I'm one of the least alone people I know. And yet, when I talk to younger LGBTQ folks all the time, they have that exact same fear. And what I always tell them is, "You don't have to be alone. I will be on this journey with you." And there will be other people who will be on the journey with you. And if you want to come to church, there's always room for you on the pew next to me. You could always come with me, if you don't want to go alone.
Thank you for pointing that out, Ben, because that's a very real fear for a lot of people, the fear of being alone. So thank you for sharing that.
Yeah. I think another one is just the fear of "What are people gonna think of me? And am I doing it the right way?" And just doubting what you're doing. We've talked about this before, but faith is taking those leaps, and not knowing for sure, and then being uncomfortable. So I think another care of the world is comfort, and having that life of you know, it's easy. I can just do this and it'll be easier, and not, it won't be uncomfortable. But I think, personally, I've definitely felt that the fear of "What are people going to think of me if I do this? Or don't do this?" And doing things out of fear of "Oh, what if I didn't do it?" And I'm not, that's not necessarily the right way to do it.
Well, and let's look at verse 3, because I want to end with this. I want to know what your thoughts are when He says, "and it remaineth with me to do with him as seemeth me good." Translate that. What is He exactly saying there? To those of us who are maybe peering out of the side of our eye with a look of like, Hmm. What is He really saying?
Ben Schilaty 1:13:03
I don't think the Lord is saying, "I'm gonna get him for this."
Ben Schilaty 1:13:07
You know, I think the Lord is saying, you know, "I still love my son, James Covel. And I'm gonna do what I can to bring good into his life."
Yep. It makes me visualize the woman taken in adultery that Christ said, you know, "Any of you without sin, let you cast the first stone," right? And he's like, "I'm gonna deal with her how I need to deal with her. And let me take care of that. And I know her heart. You don't know her heart." And I feel like he's saying that about James. He's saying, "I'll deal with James. I know his heart. You can do what you do with yourself. You take care of your life, and I'll take care of James."
I totally agree with both of you. Oh, my gosh! I appreciate everything you just said. Thank you so much. For those of you that are listening, if you've heard something today, or in this episode, that maybe you've been afraid to do as God has called you to move, as he's called you to, in this moment of movement, we challenge you to listen, we challenge you to recognize that the Lord sees you, and that he is calling every one of us to move and maybe be uncomfortable and maybe be a little bit lonely in some of those moments. And to recognize that that is okay. It's absolutely where God wants you to be. Right? So that's it. That's the end of our episode, you guys. You have any last thoughts you want to just kind of tack on the end there?
Ben Schilaty 1:14:29
You know, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was kind of asking for a way out. If there was another way he was going to do that. And I think it's a very human thing to not want to do the hard thing, but it's a Christlike thing to follow the will of God, even when it's tough. I've just found in my life as I've sought out God's will and tried to do it, that is when the most joy has come into my life, when I have seen miracles happen. And I know it's hard but I know that when we seek revelation, that God will guide us.
Amen, Ben. Amen.
I love that.
Okay, friends. Well that's it. That's the end of our episode. That was so great. Oh my gosh, I loved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Ben, it was awesome having you on as a new voice in our family.
Ben Schilaty 1:15:12
Pleasure to be here.
Yeah. So good, Ben.
Ah, so okay, guys, just take a couple minutes and think about what was your takeaway from today? What's something that you've learned and that you're going to take with you?
I loved our conversation about esteeming our brother as ourself. It just was really awesome. And I loved what you said, Ben, about people are depressed when they don't feel like they belong, and they feel like they're a burden. And the opposite of that is unity and love. That's how we can be united in one with Christ. And I love that whole conversation we had about being one and being one in the light.
Ben Schilaty 1:15:49
My takeaway was actually very similar. I want to do a better job of not just spending time with the people who are easy for me to spend time with, who might seem like me, or have a similar sense of humor, or similar personality. I want to spend more time with the people in my ward, who I don't know yet.
Great takeaways, both of you. Awesome. Thank you. My takeaway was section 38, verse 2 and 7, when he says "All things are present before mine eyes," and then he says, "Mine eyes are upon you." And just that idea that He sees us. He sees us. And then to connect that with what you said, Ben, not only does He see us, but He loves us. He wants us in His life. And he claims us. I just think that that was an overall beautiful discussion, this whole episode. So thank you, both of you, for sharing what you said. It was great. Well, thank you.
Thank you for letting us share.
Ben Schilaty 1:16:38
I love you guys. Oh, that was so good.
I love you, too, Tammy.
Well, for those of you who are here, who've been listening, we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, and if you're not following us on Instagram, just go do it. It's a great place to ask questions as you study. I try to answer anything I can throughout the week. But it's so cool, because everybody answers everybody's questions. There's such an incredible community of oneness. Speaking of being one, you're going to find that in Facebook and Instagram. And every week, at the end of the week, on Sunday, we do a post for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson, and let me know what you've learned. I read all of them. And it is so cool. Everybody reads everyone's and I think we all just help build each other's faith. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we're going to have all of the references for what we use today as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion. So go check it out. The "Sunday on Monday Study Group" is a Deseret Bookshelf PLUS+ Original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our perfect study group participants were Sharmaine Howell and Ben James Schilaty, and you can find more information about these friends at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at Six Studios, and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember, He loves you. He wants you in His life. And He claims you because you are His favorite.
Um, I have one thing to say to you, Ben, Lacroix? I mean seriously, that's the drink you offer people? When I heard that I laughed out loud because I joke all the time: It's the worst drink ever created. And I have fallen prey. I have fallen victim to their cute little cans. I just think "Oh, it looks so delicious." And I drink it. Blech! I laughed out loud when you even acknowledged it doesn't. It doesn't matter which one you pick. They're so tasteless.
Ben Schilaty 1:18:37
Yes. Well, the thing is that anyone can drink it.
Ben Schilaty 1:18:40
Because there are no, there's no sugar in it, nothing that anyone could be allergic to. It's just nothing.
It's gluten free and dairy free. I mean, we're covering all the bases.
It's totally true. I laughed so hard when I heard that. That was awesome.
Title for Section 37: Church to Assemble in Ohio
Background for Section 37:
"Unknown to Joseph and Sidney, opposition to the Church in New York had reached the point where at least some of their enemies seem to have actually conspired to kill the Saints (see D&C 37:1; 38:13, 28–29). To save their lives, the Lord commanded Joseph and Sidney to stop the work of translating and to strengthen the branches of the Church in New York. Then they were to move the Church to Kirtland, Ohio, where there were at that time, due to the success of the Lamanite missionaries, almost three times as many Saints as in New York" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 37," Deseret Book).
1 Behold, I say unto you that it is not expedient in me that ye should atranslate any more until ye shall go to the Ohio, and this because of the enemy and for your sakes (Doctrine and Covenants 37:1).
- Translate: Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible.
Instruction the Lord gave Joseph:
2 And again, I say unto you that ye shall not go until ye have preached my gospel in those parts, and have astrengthened up the church whithersoever it is found, and more especially in bColesville; for, behold, they pray unto me in much faith.
Title for Section 38: The Great I AM—His Concern for His People
What the Lord wants us to know about Him:
1 Thus saith the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great aI Am, Alpha and Omega, the bbeginning and the end, the csame which looked upon the dwide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic ehosts of heaven, fbefore the world was gmade;
4 I am the same which have taken the aZion of bEnoch into mine own bosom; and verily, I say, even as many as have cbelieved in my name, for I am Christ, and in mine own name, by the virtue of the dblood which I have spilt, have I pleaded before the Father for them.
- Cross reference with Moses 7
- "To be 'in the bosom' of someone is a Hebrew idiom derived from the fact that anciently a man's clothing consisted of large flowing robes wrapped around his person and fastened with a sash, forming a spacious repository above the waist in which things, including children, were often carried. . . . So the phrase 'to be in the bosom of another' implied a very close and favored relationship (see 2 Samuel 12:8; Luke 16:22; John 1:18)" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 1, "Doctrine and Covenants 37," Deseret Book).
"'Yes, God can provide miracles instantaneously, but sooner or later we learn that the times and seasons of our mortal journey are His and His alone to direct.' He administers that calendar to every one of us individually. For every infirm man healed instantly as he waits to enter the Pool of Bethesda, someone else will spend 40 years in the desert waiting to enter the promised land. For every Nephi and Lehi divinely protected by an encircling flame of fire for their faith, we have an Abinadi burned at a stake of flaming fire for his. And we remember that the same Elijah who in an instant called down fire from heaven to bear witness against the priests of Baal is the same Elijah who endured a period when there was no rain for years and who, for a time, was fed only by the skimpy sustenance that could be carried in a raven’s claw. By my estimation, that can’t have been anything we would call a 'happy meal.'
"The point? The point is that faith means trusting God in good times and bad, even if that includes some suffering until we see His arm revealed in our behalf. That can be difficult in our modern world when many have come to believe that the highest good in life is to avoid all suffering, that no one should ever anguish over anything. But that belief will never lead us to 'the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.'
"The path to holiness and happiness here and hereafter is a long and sometimes rocky one. It takes time and tenacity to walk it. But, of course, the reward for doing so is monumental" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland “Waiting on the Lord” October 2020 general conference).
5 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be a afurious wind blow upon the face of the waters, btowards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
6 And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
7 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being atight like unto a dish, and also they were tight like unto the bark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
9 And they did asing praises unto the Lord; yea, the brother of Jared did sing praises unto the Lord, and he did bthank and praise the Lord all the day long; and when the night came, they did not cease to praise the Lord.
10 And thus they were driven forth; and no monster of the sea could break them, neither awhale that could mar them; and they did have light continually, whether it was above the water or under the water.
12 And they did aland upon the shore of the bpromised land. And when they had set their feet upon the shores of the promised land they bowed themselves down upon the face of the land, and did humble themselves before the Lord, and did shed tears of joy before the Lord, because of the multitude of his ctender mercies over them.
13 And it came to pass that they went forth upon the face of the land, and began to till the earth (Ether 6:5–13).
What is God saying to the Saints?
12 Which causeth asilence to reign, and all eternity is bpained, and the cangels are waiting the great command to dreap down the earth, to egather the ftares that they may be gburned; and, behold, the enemy is combined.
14 But now I tell it unto you, and ye are blessed, not because of your iniquity, neither your hearts of unbelief; for verily some of you are aguilty before me, but I will be merciful unto your bweakness.
16 And for your salvation I give unto you a commandment, for I have heard your aprayers, and the bpoor have complained before me, and the crich have I made, and all flesh is mine, and I am no drespecter of persons (Doctrine and Covenants 38: 10–16).
- Commandment = commandment to move
- Hebrew: Complain = To muse upon or meditate (see Job 7:11)
Blessings that will come from following the commandment to move:
- Milk = Land without famine or drought
- Honey = Bees that pollenate plants that grow and produce fruit
19 And I will give it unto you for the land of your inheritance, if you seek it with all your hearts.
20 And this shall be my covenant with you, ye shall have it for the land of your inheritance, and for the ainheritance of your children forever, while the earth shall stand, and ye shall possess it again in eternity, no more to pass away.
- In time: Might not be now, but it will happen
How God wants us to treat each other:
Interpersonal Theory of Suicided: Suicidal desires are caused by thwarted belongingness and perceived burdensomeness (Van Orden, K. A., Witte, T. K., Cukrowicz, K. C., Braithwaite, S. R., Selby, E. A., & Joiner, T. E., Jr (2010), "The interpersonal theory of suicide," Psychological review, 117(2), 575–600).
Parable of the 12 Sons:
26 For what man among you having twelve sons, and is no respecter of them, and they serve him obediently, and he saith unto the one: Be thou clothed in robes and sit thou here; and to the other: Be thou clothed in rags and sit thou there—and looketh upon his sons and saith I am ajust?
- 12 Sons = 12 tribes of Israel (all of us)
Quote: "The first teaching about light begins in the Bible, in the book of Genesis, where the creation of earth is recorded. God divided light from darkness. Also, the separation of light and darkness symbolizes the difference between the Light of Christ and the darkness that surrounds Satan and his followers. Satan is known as the prince of darkness" (Genesis 1:4).
- Hebrew: First = Ehad, or one. And the evening and morning were one or day of oneness.
- God teaches us to become one on day one.
Quote: "Unity is enhanced when people are treated with dignity and respect, even though they are different in outward characteristics. . . . With our all-inclusive doctrine, we can be an oasis of unity and celebrate diversity. Unity and diversity are not opposites. We can achieve greater unity as we foster an atmosphere of inclusion and respect for diversity" (Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Hearts Knit in Righteousness and Unity," October 2020 general conference).
Title for Section 39: James Covill—My Gospel
(In the 2013 print of the Doctrine and Covenants, Covill was changed to Covel)
Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet to James Covel, at Fayette, New York, January 5, 1831. James Covel, who had been a Methodist minister for about forty years, covenanted with the Lord that he would obey any command that the Lord would give to him through Joseph the Prophet.
Facts about James Covel:
- James was born in 1770 in Massachusetts.
- At the time of the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 39, James was about 60 years old and had been a Protestant minister for 40 years.
- He spent seven years as a traveling minister.
- In section 39, James was commanded to be baptized and preach the gospel.
- However, James chose not be baptized and join the Church.
The "if and then" given to James:
10 But, behold, the days of thy adeliverance are come, if thou wilt bhearken to my voice, which saith unto thee: Arise and be baptized, and cwash away your sins, calling on my name, and you shall receive my Spirit, and a blessing so great as you never have known (Doctrine and Covenants 39:10).
11 And if thou do this, I have prepared thee for a greater work. Thou shalt preach the afulness of my gospel, which I have sent forth in these last days, the bcovenant which I have sent forth to crecover my people, which are of the house of Israel.
Quote: "One of the great bonuses of receiving revelation by which we make life choices is that we are far less likely to look at the lives of others and envy them—or worse still, look at the lives of others and criticize their life choices. Sister Ruth Renlund taught, 'There’s no one way to be an LDS woman. Each has a right to personal revelation and is expected to use that. It should be personal, and we shouldn’t let other people’s comments shake our direction. I think women are particularly susceptible to that.'6 In a life path filled with ambiguity, in our insecurity about our own choices, we too often watch others with a measuring eye" (Virginia Pearce Cowley, "Ambiguity," A Place to Belong, Deseret Book).
14 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto thee, thou art not called to go into the eastern countries, but thou art called to go to the Ohio.
15 And inasmuch as my people shall assemble themselves at the Ohio, I have kept in store a ablessing such as is not known among the children of men, and it shall be poured forth upon their heads. And from thence men shall go forth into ball cnations (Doctrine and Covenants 39:14-15).
- Blessing = The temple
Title for Section 40: James Covill—Cares of the World
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and aprayed, saying, O my bFather, if it be possible, let this ccup pass from me: nevertheless not as I dwill, but as ethou fwilt (Matthew 26:39).