25: "The Lord Requireth the Heart and a Willing Mind" (Doctrine and Covenants 64–66)
Panning for gold isn’t what most people think it is. It takes time. It takes patience. And the payoff usually isn’t a large gold nugget. More often, it’s just a few tiny flecks of gold for hours and hours of work. But over time, those tiny flecks add up to something of great value. The same is true of studying Doctrine and Covenants 64–66. In these sections, the Lord is asking the Saints to be patient, to offer Him a willing heart and mind, and to work for these flecks of gold in their lives. The value of the Saints' determination and sacrifice was beyond measure to them, and it can be for us as well when we take the time to dig into these verses.
So there's a story about a man who, in 1829, left Boston to go to California because he wanted to join the California Gold Rush. He had heard that there were just rivers filled with gold nuggets and fortune.
When he arrived after several weeks of panning for gold, all he found was a river full of just dumb, old rocks with flecks of gold inside. And so super frustrated, he just yelled, "I'm leaving! There's no gold. I'm going home."
Well, this old man heard him say that and he walked up to him and he said, "Son, you just need to know where to look, and you need to change your expectations." And the young man was just furious, and he said, "I'm looking for golden nuggets like the ones in your pouch, not dumb flecks."
Well, the old prospector opened what appeared to be a very big pouch filled with very big gold nuggets, and he poured it out in his hand and they were all tiny little flecks of gold. And this prospector said, "Son, it seems to me you are so busy looking for large nuggets that you're missing out on filling your pouch with these precious flecks of gold. The patient accumulation of these little flecks has brought me great wealth."
Well, today's discussion of Doctrine and Covenants section 64 through 66 is all about these precious flecks of gold, our flecks of gold, and what the Lord is encouraging us to do with them.
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.
Okay, so if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast. So follow the link in our description and it's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study like my friend, Laura Laubber, who listens and I love the insights that she shares with me. So hi, Laura!
Now another really great thing about this study group is each week we're joined by two friends so it's always going to be different. And today's the most different. We have John Heywood and Josh Haywood—we have a father-son combo! Hi, guys!
Okay, I'm super excited because John and I taught Seminary together and boy, did we have a good time! The stories—
Yes, we did.
We would tease each other incessantly. Remember when I got your driver's license? I took a Sharpie and drew a moustache on it. [laughter]
I have no doubt that you did that. Actually, I do remember that now. How did you get my driver's license?
You left your little wallet on your desk.
With my door unlocked, probably.
Oh yeah, you didn't lock anything.
Well, and by the way, Josh is John's oldest son. And the first cute baby I ever fell in love with because I didn't have any siblings that had kids yet. And John had that baby and oh, Josh, we loved you so much.
I'm so glad.
We have three boys. Josh is adopted. All three of our boys are adopted.
And I was first so I'm the best, apparently. [laughter]
But I've never seen two parents love their child more. When you came into their lives, it was the most beautiful moment. I'll never forget it. And your dad was so proud. I mean, he brought you to work for crying out loud. He left a note for your mom and took you to Seminary at six in the morning.
It was a risk.
I love it. I love it.
So, Josh, you have some exciting news, though. This is what's so cool. I have a father-son duo, but Josh is the youngest guest we've ever had on. What's going on in your life right now, Josh?
Well, this is officially my last week of high school. Next week I'll be graduating and then on July 20, I'll be leaving to the Mexico MTC, hopefully, to go out and serve the Lord on a mission down in Mexico. Going to Veracruz. So right on the coast, six hours away from Mexico City.
Oh, I'm so excited for you!
Well, if you want to know more about my guests and read their bios and see their pictures, you can find that information at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Okay, so I want you to grab a journal or a piece of paper. And at the top of your page, I want you to write in big letters "Flecks of Gold." And throughout this lesson, we are going to talk about these and I want you to write them down as well as the flecks of gold that the Spirit points out to you because this discussion is going to be so cool. I have a seasoned Seminary teacher, John, and then we have his son Josh with such a young perspective. And I just think it's gonna be really fun to discuss these chapters. So friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in.
Have you guys ever been ministering companions? Or do you have any good stories about ministering?
You mean ministering companions together?
Yeah, were you ever assigned to serve together?
No, we never have.
Huh, I thought they assigned like sons and dads together, no? Sometimes?
My younger brother got that assignment. I never did.
Okay. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. [laughter]
Yeah, so I am teamed up with Jake, my second son, and we've had plenty of experiences. Josh has had experiences as well.
So there's an older couple that live up on a hill over by our house. And the wife is active and goes to church but the husband does not. He's inactive, but when me and my ministering companion, we'd go up to their house, he was always warm and welcome. He always wanted us to come. And we would always be like, "Is it okay if we offered prayer?" And he'd be like, "Of course, of course." He always was totally receptive to us, you could just see that he was so excited when we would come over. We haven't had anything great or marvelous happen, you know, he hasn't come back. But you can definitely see that he feels something. And it's just really cool to see that.
I know who he's talking about and he is an amazing man. He and his wife love Josh because of his love for them.
That's really cool, Josh. And I like how you just said nothing major has happened, but you're doing your assignment. I agree he feels something. Thanks for sharing that.
You know, it's kind of cool because it sets up perfectly for section 64. This section is about ministering in so many ways, especially the first beginning part of it. But it's a different type of ministering than what we're used to talking about.
So here's what I want us to do: We're going to cross reference verses one through seven. To the outside of those verses, I want you to put 2 Corinthians 5:18–20. As John reads this, listen for what we are being taught about the type of ministry work in this these verses.
"18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
"19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
"20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God."
In verse 18, what is the ministry we're called to? The ministry of what?
Reconciliation. That word is used all throughout here.
Isn't that cool? That word means forgiveness, the ministry of forgiveness.
And so the Lord is calling us to this ministry. And he's calling the men to this ministry in Doctrine and Covenants section 64, verses one through seven. So let's go back to Section 64. So, Josh, will you read verses two and three for us, in section 64?
"2 For verily I say unto you, I will that ye should overcome the world; wherefore I will have compassion upon you.
"3 There are those among you who have sinned; but verily I say, for this once, for mine own glory, and for the salvation of souls, I have forgiven you your sins."
There's something so interesting that I learned about this. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for forgiveness is "Salach," and you guys, it is a divine forgiveness. And all the examples of forgiveness in the Old Testament are from God to man, and that is powerful.
So basically, God spends the whole Old Testament showing us how to forgive. And then in the New Testament, the Savior comes and asks us to follow the example. I thought about this a lot for the week because, man, forgiveness for God is a full time job, right? It's just nonstop.
So what are some of God's divine attributes that allow Him to forgive?
Three almost makes me laugh, where it says, "There are those among you who have sinned." All of you, right? [laughter]
But then the tenderness of, ". . . and for the salvation of souls," your soul, "I have forgiven you your sins. I will be merciful unto you."
That word "reconcile," I'm kind of a nerd. And sometimes I use that old Webster's 1828 Dictionary.
Oh, for sure.
And it means, "To call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated." And literally, we alienate ourselves from God when we sin, and forgiveness is restoring those friendships bringing us back to Jesus Christ.
I love that, John, becoming his friend again. That is such a great definition. Thank you for sharing that.
How do you think the word "reconcile" connects to these verses in section 64, verses two through four?
You know, when I make a mistake, I do kind of feel that way. Like I pushed away a friend. But when I kneel back down, and I reconcile myself to God. I've made this mistake, will you please accept me again? It's always that overwhelming feeling of having that friend back again, wrapping his arms around you and just holding you close. And, you know, he does that every time. He's always willing to turn and hold us and keep us close.
Oh that was beautiful, Josh. The imagery of him holding us and putting his arms around us. As so great. Thank you.
John, what about you?
I'm a lot older, and so I've sinned a lot more. I'm more experienced in it then he is. [laughter]
But I am so impressed by his willingness to forgive. President Nelson has helped us so much with repenting daily and to look at repentance as a blessing, as a positive thing. Not as the negative thing; that negative thing already happened.
I had the opportunity to serve as a bishop, I think three years ago I was released. And I was not expecting the overflowing love and respect and excitement, like all right, let's work on this! And I had to be careful, almost, because I didn't want to look excited that they were miserable. But I was so excited that they were willing to wanting to reconcile themselves to their Savior.
That is a great example, John.
You know what, and what is so great about what you taught us, John, is now the Lord is going to teach us how to do that in the next segment.
With what we just talked about, do you kind of feel like the Lord is setting us up here? I love the way the Lord works. He's like, listen, I'm going to show you how I did it. And then I'm going to ask you to do it. Am I right?
And when you pointed this out, John, how you liked verse three, I mean, it was so great when the Lord's like, "I say this for this once." And he's just so quick to forgive. And that's what he's asking us to do in this ministry of reconciliation.
So the title section for section 64, for those of you writing the titles, it is called: "Forgiving Others, More about Zion." because the men at this time were wanting to know what their duty was in Zion. And isn't this interesting that the Lord's like, well, you want to know what to do in Zion? Let's start with this. How about start with a ministry of reconciliation. Let's start by forgiving people.
And so we're gonna jump in and Mark some of these starting in verse eight. This is a unique one, because the Lord is saying that, "My disciples in days of old sought occasion against me." I'm gonna put in the show notes, there are several references where the Lord is saying, there are times when my disciples would not forgive each other. And they were fighting. And you can find references throughout the scriptures in Mark, Acts, 2 Corinthians. So I'll put those in the show notes for you can read those stories because they're great, but he's using this as an example. Look, even the apostle struggled with forgiving, so I know how hard this is going to be, but I think you can do it.
And so now we're going to read verses nine through 10. And so, John, will you read these verses for us? And here's what I want us to do. After we read these two verses, I want you to tell me what these two verses specifically teach you. So here we go, verses nine and 10.
"9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
"10 I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men."
Ah, this is so hard! I mean, have you ever had an experience where you had to forgive someone and you couldn't? Or it took some time?
I can think of one in particular right now. I won't go into any detail, but it was really, really difficult, really difficult.
It wasn't an offense against me, it was offense against a family member. I felt like I could forgive somebody if they offend me, but if you offend one of my little ones, it was a lot more difficult.
I remember calling my stake president and just unloading on him just laying it out there. I was emotional, and I didn't know what to do and how to proceed. And I honestly don't remember what he said, but I hung up the phone thinking, "Everything is fine. Everything will be okay." And I know that that was from the Lord, that we can do it. You go to 1 Nephi 3:7 and we learn that God doesn't give us commandments unless he provides a way. And so if he commands us to forgive, then we automatically know that there's a way to do it.
What about you, Josh?
No specific instances come to mind. But I've had those occasions, with brothers and friends, where it's really hard to forgive, like it really, really is. And sometimes it does take a definitely more than a week, or sometimes a month. And sometimes, you know, it's just a continual process.
Josh, thank you. As you were talking about that, I want to ask both of you this question: In your experience with having to forgive people, is there one clear thing that helped you to forgive or is there one thing that you feel like this helps me when I have to forgive people?
This sounds dumb, but it honestly takes work to hold a grudge. Naturally, over time, those feelings start to fade and the fire goes out. It actually takes effort to rekindle that, which means your thought processes have to continue to be negative. You often look for more reasons to hate that person or justify your lack of forgiveness.
I found this quote from Winston Churchill once. It's actually just in my notes here. He said, "If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future." And I think keeping those quarrels alive and living and refusing to forgive, we lose the future. Because we spend our energy and thoughts on the past, something that happened in the past.
That's a great quote by Winston Churchill, I'm glad you have that.
I remember a couple of years ago, it was almost a full-time job for me, the grudge I was holding. I mean, it consumed everything. And I felt validated in my hate fire for this human being. I've never hated anyone more. And I know I shouldn't hate.
I remember, I'm like, "How do I get over this?" It was really hard because I wanted to be like Nephi, I wanted to frankly forgive. And for a long time, I thought frankly, meant immediately. And then I looked up "frankly," and it just means liberally or freely. So I was like, "Okay, that'll give me some time. Maybe I can liberally or freely forgive this person in some time."
And I can't remember the talk I read by a general authority. I looked for everywhere, but it came across my desk. And I think it was divine providence, where the person said that they had a hard time forgiving someone and the only thing they could counsel or give advice to do was to pray to love them. And I loved this person in the talk said they prayed for months before they even felt a slight twinge of I like this person. And it took years before they loved them. And I was like, "Ah, it's gonna be a process for me to forgive." But I feel like if we're on the path of forgiveness, that's a good place to be. That's where the Lord wants us to be. And it might take a little while and I think that's okay.
I know the principle that's taught, I can't remember the scripture. We're forgiven from God according to our own willingness to forgive the others in our life.
Oh, it's Matthew. It's Matthew 6:14 and 15. Cross reference that next to verse 10.
It was but I wanted to test you and see if you like remembered. [laughter]
Only because I have it written in.
Where is it? Matthew?
Matthew chapter six, at the part of the Beatitudes, verses 14 and 15.
"14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
"15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
That's pretty straightforward. And I think we need to remember that if we're having a hard time feeling forgiven. You know, we sometimes teach repentance and we're like, step one, we go through all these steps. How often do we ever talk about forgiving others? But it's clear that the Lord will forgive us, but he does require us to forgive others.
And if we're following the pattern of our Heavenly Father, someday we'll be the Old Testament, where we're just going to forgive, forgive, forgive. That's the whole purpose of us forgiving in this life is so we can become really good at it. It's going to become a full-time job for us, if we truly believe we're going to be like Heavenly Father. We're gonna have to just be able to go, "You bet. Now get in here you."
And like Josh said, just give you a big old hug and probably a noggie on your head. I love that.
Here's a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley. I appreciate this because it validates the way I feel about when it's hard to forgive. And, Josh, will you read this quote for us?
“I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. … It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come” (President Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, 5).
Amen. There's actually really great talk by Elder Holland about the ministry of reconciliation. And I love this quote that is in his talk. So, John, will you read what Elder Holland has to say about forgiveness?
Elder Holland says: “With the apostolic authority granted me by the Savior of the world, I testify of the tranquility to the soul that reconciliation with God and each other will bring if we are meek and courageous enough to pursue it…My beloved friends, in our shared ministry of reconciliation, I ask us to be peacemakers—to love peace, to seek peace, to create peace, to cherish peace. I make that appeal in the name of the Prince of Peace, who knows everything about being “wounded in the house of [His] friends” (D&C 45:52) but who still found the strength to forgive and forget—and to heal—and be happy. For that I pray, for you and for me, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Ministry of Reconciliation," October 2018 general conference).
I really like that. And happy part, that is another motivator for me. I wish I could say I'm obedient. Or I repent or I forgive because I love God and I love my neighbor. But until that is true, fully, I hate how I feel when I lose the Apirit. I hate who I am, who I become. I hate how I feel when I'm holding a grudge. I'm on the edge of everything. "For there remaineth in him the greater sin," the greater consequences, however you want to say that. It's tearing you up more than it's tearing the other person up.
John, I'm so glad you said that because that was the motivator for me to finally forgive this person, was I hated the way it made me feel. It was years of feeling dark, it was years of hatred. And I was like, "I gotta get over this." I would like to say that if I met this person today on the street, I would say hello. I mean, before I was like, "I wouldn't even throw this personal life preserver," that is how, just how mad I was. I felt like my hatred for him was somehow making him feel bad. I don't know, am I explaining that right? Like sometimes when we are angry at someone, we think that I want them to feel as bad as I do, and they don't.
So right there, flecks of gold. And I like that the flecks of gold come in a rock because it takes work to get those flecks of gold to break those rocks. And to do that, and it's gonna take work, but it'll be totally worth it in the end. You'll have this beautiful pouch filled with so much gold.
So what I love about this now is that the Lord is going to give us very clear examples of actually who he's had to forgive in this section. And we are going to talk about who those people are in the next segment.
We're going to start in Doctrine and Covenants section 64, verse 15. And I want you guys to tell me, who are the men that he had to forgive—or eventually would forgive—in these verses?
Fifteen, Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley.
Verse 17, Edward Partridge. In verse 18, Sidney Gilbert.
Now, we don't know anything about Isaac's or Edward's specific sins, if you're trying to go People Magazine there. We don't know what they did. [laughter]
But we know a little bit about Ezra Booth. And we learned about him from Heidi Swinton last week, which was so awesome. And he did some pretty bad things. I mean, he really went rogue and did everything he could to just destroy the Church.
And so we have these men. But isn't that interesting that the Lord says that he is going to just forgive them? Tell me what you marked, John.
You've got Ezra Booth, he's an extreme on one end. If I'm going to righteously judge him, he's a bad dude. I mean, he's the one that published all the anti-Mormon literature and led to so much more persecution and violence against Joseph Smith and the Saints.
And then you have Edward Partridge amongst the list, who was amazing.
But the reality is, Edward Partridge, whatever his sin was, repented. Ezra Booth, my assumption is he did not. And we have Ezra Booth going one direction and Edward Partridge, the Lord continues to use him and bless him because of his willingness to repent.
I had one little thought.
Yeah, go a head, Josh.
Just going along with Edward Partridge, how he was this great guy. And the line in 17, it goes, ". . . and also my servant, Edward Partridge, behold, he had sinned, and Satan seekth to destroy his soul."
Oh, why did you mark that?
I think it's cool to see how this great guy in the Church, did a lot of great things for the Church, and Satan is actively seeking to destroy his soul. So, of course, we're all gonna sin and make mistakes, but it's what we do with those sins and mistakes, right? Do we keep living in that sin and mistake? Or do we move forward? It's just cool to point that out that Satan actively sought out his soul and Edward was just like, "No, Satan, get out." You know? And went down this path of righteousness.
Well, Josh, I love that you brought that up because I want to know when it says right there about a bishop, Satan seekth to destroy his soul. What does that say to you, personally?
Satan, he hates everyone that follows Christ. And Satan hates the plan of happiness, and he fights to destroy it, but he will never win. When we have the armor of God, we can just fend off the fiery darts of the adversary.
I love that Josh, you know, I'm curious to know, as you were preparing to go on your mission, did you feel this was relevant in your life? Did you feel like Satan was seeking to destroy your soul as you were prepping?
Very much so. I always told myself, "I'm going on a mission." But over the past year leading up to my mission call, there was definitely months, days, weeks, where I would be like, "I don't want to serve a mission." During those months, those days, those weeks, Satan himself definitely got into my head just through little mistakes that I did. And really pushed me away from the Lord and basically made me feel, is this what I'm supposed to do?
But as I turned to the Lord and actually sought after him and was like, "Hey, is this what I'm supposed to do?" It was an overwhelming peace. And then when I opened my mission call, it was the most peace I've felt in 18 years of living on this earth. I started crying and I don't cry. I'm not a crier, but I started crying because it was just this amazing feeling.
Oh, Josh, here's another question I have for you, a follow up question, because you said you had to seek the Lord and you had to turn to the Lord. What did that look like for you? What did you do, specifically?
Well, it was definitely turning to the scriptures, the Book of Mormon, especially. And also turning to my bishop.
He does this with us missionaries, as we are called to serve. He meets with us every two weeks or more often if we need it. But he just sits and counsels with us and we just talk. It's not like we're going in and confessing every little sin. It's just we're friends. He ministers to me. And that's been my greatest blessing is having my judge in Israel, just talk to me. That plus the Book of Mormon and then prayer, have been my three greatest friends coming to this point in my life.
Wow, that is such great advice to anyone who's listening right now. How to overcome Satan, I love that, that you just said prayer, reading your scriptures and talking to your bishop. I can't think of three better answers.
Did you know, he's going through that, John?
No, I didn't know that he had questioned his mission. That's the kind of father I am. [laughter]
A normal father.
Josh actually is the kid, and this is unique, Josh is, "Josh, put your scriptures away. Put your journal away. You've got to go to bed." Every night. How many journals do you have?
Seven or eight, somewhere around there.
Right? And his prayers, he's a pray-er. He knows his Heavenly Father. And so those things already in place, I think that's what I'm taking from this. We don't wait until Satan is actively destroying our soul to then do those things. I mean, those things were in place. So he talked about the armor of God, it's in place already. And you take some blows, and you find out where your armor is weak. And so there was a battle, but he knew how to win it. And he knew he wasn't going to be destroyed. And so I think that's my takeaway from what Josh shared.
Thank you, both of you for sharing what you shared. It's so perfect. I'm so glad you pointed that out in that verse, Josh. That was powerful.
In fact, as you both were speaking, just that good, peaceful feeling that you mentioned, Josh. And you said that was the most peace you've ever felt in your life. What I love is that just a good happy feeling that I have right now is the Spirit saying what they said is true. And I absolutely believe that what you just told us was true.
So going back into section 64. Then Isaac Morley was asked to sell his 80-acre farm, Frederick G. Williams was not because the Lord wanted to keep a stronghold in Ohio. And the Saints at this time were so anxious to get to Missouri, everybody wanted to pack up and leave because they thought that the Lord would come and destroy all the wicked people in Ohio. And then they could all live in happiness ever after in Missouri.
But the Lord assured them that listen, in fact, he says in verse 21, he says, ". . . for the space of five years, in which I will not overthrow the wicked." So he's like, listen, it's gonna be about five years before everybody's finally Missouri. So just calm down. It's okay, stay in Ohio. Then the Kirtland temple was going to be dedicated at the end of that five years.
And so in verse 22, I really like this because this is how the Lord calms their fears about this. And so, Josh, will you read verse 22 for us?
"22 And after that day, I, the Lord, will not hold any guilty that shall go with an open heart up to the land of Zion; for I, the Lord, require the hearts of the children of men."
Let's highlight that in verse 22; what the Lord requires. He requires the hearts of the children of men. And we'll talk more about that in a bit. But, John, will you please read verse 23?
"23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming."
I think that that final line is probably way misunderstood, by myself included. And we kind of use it almost jokingly that gotta pay your tithing. You don't want to be burned at the second coming, right? As if that's all you'd have to do.
I think one of the mistakes we make in scriptures is isolating verses of scriptures. Like John 3:16, oh, believe in Jesus, you have everlasting life. Well, that's like saying about the flour in your cookie recipe, "Oh, two cups of flour. Now I got cookies." It's one of the many ingredients. We can't just say, "Oh, if I pay tithing, I won't burn to the second coming. That means I'll be righteous, everything will be fine."
But as I did a little bit of studying on this, I think it was section 119 or 117, where the Lord actually starts talking about tithing as a tenth.
Yeah, I'm so glad you brought that up because at this point, it was not. You're absolutely right. It was not a percentage yet.
This is consecration and sacrifice. When he says, "For he that is tithed," he might as well have said, "He that will sacrifice and consecrate won't be burned is coming." And you could probably fit almost every commandment under sacrifice or consecration. And so it's much bigger than paying a tenth of our increase.
That is so true, John. And, in fact, it goes back to verse 22. When you look at verse 22, the Lord says, "All I require is the hearts of the children of men." And then you then apply that to sacrifice. What are your thoughts of what is the hearts of children of men have to do a sacrifice?
I just really think sacrifice and consecration isn't something we do as much as it's who we are, somebody we become. If we bring the Savior into this, did he sacrifice? Yes. Did he consecrate? Yes, was it so that he would go to heaven? No, it's who Jesus Christ is. And who are we trying to become like? And if we want to be eternal, if we want to live eternal lives, we have to become like Him. And so He requires our hearts, everything, our real emotions, who we really are, not just going through some steps because I've been asked to do it, but really becoming like the Savior.
John, I love what you just said because it's interesting at the end of verse 24, the Lord says, ". . . for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not spare any that remain in Babylon." The symbolism of that is so powerful because that word "Babylon" is a symbolism for the world and worldly lusts and worldly desires and the natural man. Everything you guys just talked about is perfect. And I love the idea of having the hearts of the children or men and the sacrifice and not staying in Babylon.
And so this is kind of cool because in the next segment, then we're going to read some verses of scripture about what to do if you're stuck, or what to do if you need help getting out of Babylon or giving up your heart or sacrificing.
Okay so, Josh, you just shared your really great story about how you came to make the decision to serve a mission, which thank you, that was so great. And I want to talk about making decisions and being asked to do things in the Church. And so I'm wondering, John, has there ever been a time where you were asked to do something that maybe was hard or a big decision you had to make?
I was thinking about when my wife and I were married seven years before Josh came. She had had two miscarriages, and was in the middle of a third miscarriage. I was in my office—
I remember this.
I was praying, I was at my desk, I had my head down, and I was praying for the health of my wife and the baby and that things would work out.
And as clear as could be, was: "You need to adopt."
And I was like, "Oh, excuse me, that that's not what I was praying for." But it was so clear. It was so direct and clear. I'm pretty carnal, sensual, and devilish so I don't often get those really clear, clear, "This is exactly what you need to do." I can remember that time. I remember one time in the temple. But they don't come really often that clear like that it did: "You need to adopt."
And we went through the process and started and everything just fell into place. Like miraculously fell into place. But it was fasting, which I'm not incredibly good at. I'm the guy that gets up on fast Sunday. And when I realize it's fast Sunday, like, "My head hurts. I need to eat. What if I pass out?"
Are you the one who loves nine o'clock church? Because then fast Sunday ends for you to 11?
Yeah, that's like over getting the Cheerios from the kids next to me.
But it was fasting. And it was prayer. And it was sincerity. Lord answered, it was just a huge blessing. I'll never forget that.
I do remember that. When I said how happy you were, when Josh came, we were all so happy. It was awesome.
What I love about that is anyone who's in the middle of a decision, or anyone who has a decision to make, or if you've been asked to do something you feel like, "I don't know if I can do this," and you're thinking about it. I love the Lord's instruction in section 64, verses 29 through 34. It's some of the best advice that a father could give to his children who are in the middle of stuff.
So tell me what you guys marked in these verses.
I think 29 really hits home for me: "Wherefore, as ye are agents."
And so he entrusts us to go about doing his work. And of course we'll make mistakes and he'll come down and correct us. But he loves us so much that He gives us that agency to do his work.
Excellent, great verse. Great verse. What about you, John?
I can't, when he read that verse, I can't get President Manson's story, or line, when he says, "If the Lord needs an errand run, then Tom Monson is the man to do it." I can't remember the quote. But I always remember President Monson telling that.
Being an agent for the Lord, running the Lord's errands, you're clueless a lot of the time, but it helps keep you humble. It helps you learn new things.
I remember I got released from being bishop and I got called to be on the trek committee. And I remember laying in bed thinking, "I will trade anybody, straight up. I will be bishop for the next six months and you can have my calling," because it was literally new and difficult, and not in my wheelhouse. And I was comfortable, more or less, in my calling that he'd allowed me to do for a number of years.
And I just think that's 33: ". . . be not weary in well doing." You're laying the foundation of a great work and out of small things proceeded that which is great.
And, you know, verse 31 landed on me. I loved this verse when I read it:
". . . I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail. . . "
I can remember when I went on my mission, I had that missionary name tag and that's what I had. And I just was like, "All right, here we go. And we're doing this now. God called me to this mission. And I do not think I can do this."
And there have been plenty of times where there have been callings given to me and I thought, "What am I doing? There's no way." But you know what, right there, those are his words, "and they shall not fail." All right, then he's not going to let me fail.
That's what kept me as a Seminary teacher because I almost left my first year as a Seminary teacher. Oh, that was so tough. And I just thought, "I've made the biggest mistake of my life." And just had that really spiritual experience, where, these are my words, and they shall not fail. You are right where you belong.
And then that verse , ". . . be not weary in well doing. . . " you are laying the foundation of a great work. Everyone in the kingdom of God is trying to lay the foundation of a great work in their own small and simple way.
I think it's easy for some to just sacrifice and do our calling and do what we're told. But when we have to have a lifestyle change, or God asks us to do something that we're not akin to, and this is not a commentary on earrings or piercings, and the Lord loves everybody. But I remember when President Hinckley spoke to the youth, I think it was a New Year's Eve—
It was the women's session of general conference before conference. And then two weeks later, he said the same thing at general conference.
Okay. But I just remember him saying, and women should have one pair of modesty earrings. And you came into work, and you hadn't heard it, right?
Oh, no, I heard it. I was in the building. I was in the tabernacle when he said it.
Oh, I thought you came in and you were like, "I gotta see this. I don't believe that." But you were actually there.
Thanks for thinking highly of me. Oh, I was there. Sure.
I've shared this story before, last year, but there I am in the tabernacle. Before the conference center was built. I'm looking down on President Hinckley's cute, bald head. And he sure enough says one modest pair of earrings.
And I was like, "Oh, I'm so glad I got my piercings before he said that. Because it means from here on out."
And you were like, "Hey, you got to take those out." And I'm like, "No, duh."
And then I had students who came to class, girls who had taken them out. And they were like, "Sister Uzelac, aren't you gonna take out your piercings?"
And I was like, "It's fine. I'm fine." And I went two weeks. I'm not taking those out. No way. And then then the prophet said that at general conference, I'm still not taking them out. And then do you remember what you did with your class?
Yeah, well, you reminded me and I had completely tried to block this from my memory.
I wrote, I don't know what number of verse, to "Follow the Prophet" using you and your situation and your name and had my class sing it to you. I complete forgot about that.
You came in and played a guitar song to my whole class about how I wasn't following the prophet. [laughter]
And I think it was so great because I think it was at that moment that I was like, "Ugh!"
And just to be clear, it was not mean spirited or passively directed at any of our students who were wearing more than one pair of earrings. You did it as just another prank to get me back. It was pretty funny. And you know, me drawing a mustache on your driver's license. But it was just a fun moment, maybe even a teaching opportunity for everybody. I liked it. It didn't hurt my feelings.
And so I did something about it. I'm like, "I'm going ask God. And if he tells me I have to take him out, I'm taking him out. Otherwise, forget it. I don't even care anymore." I said that all the Seminary teachers like, "You're a big fat jerk."
So I went up to the mountains, and I took my scriptures. And I started reading them. And then I started praying, and I was like, "Alright, Heavenly Father, what's the deal? Do I really need to take out these piercings? Because it seems like the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my whole life."
And I sat there and I waited and waited and the Spirit, the voice just said, "Take them out." And then I was like, "But, why!?" And I just love the answer that I got. And it was what I needed to hear. And I took them out and I came to school the next day, but it is verse 34. Josh read verse 34. It's so good.
"34 Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind; and the willing and obedient shall eat the good of the land of Zion in these last days."
I love that verse for me because it's not about the piercings. It's not about the tattoos, those aren't going to keep you out of the kingdom of God, at all.
It's the willing heart, willing mind, and being obedient. Obedience is the first law of heaven, John, we teach that all the time as Seminary teachers. And that's the thing we've been sent down here to become, is obedient.
And so that's what I was required to do. I took those piercings out to be obedient. That's all this is about. And everyone has their own obedient story, everybody's got something that they're trying to be more obedient with, these little flecks of gold. And for two weeks, I pounded on that rock. And it's funny, because I'm a pretty obedient person. This is probably my greatest form of rebellion that I can think of, I mean, I've done stupid things, but I was outright like, "I am not doing it and no one's gonna make me," and I was 31 years old. I think like a 10 year old. [laughter]
I honestly want to tell you, though, that I've only remembered the good of that story and used it dozens of times over the years to show obedience and a willingness to things you didn't want to do. I was impressed by that, that was something that was meaningful to you. And something you didn't want to do, which I think makes it all the more impressive. You just wanted to be obedient. And I just thought that was cool.
Well, thank you, John.
You went to the mountains with your scriptures, of course, you got that answer. [laughter]
Actively sought out the Lord.
I did, I really wanted to know that if he really cared about earrings. It wasn't so much the earring, he cared about me. Because there's a lot of people, like I have friends who have multiple piercings. I know that sometimes you can be pierced to get rid of migraines. And so sometimes in our culture, we can be a little bit judgey about things like that.
I just think for me, in that moment, it was teaching me I need you to be obedient. And that's what this is about. I'm like, "All right, I'll take them out. You bet." I don't like it. I'm gonna make that clear. But it was a very, very cool moment, and just feeling the Spirit and being guided by the Spirit.
And I think that that obedience is what has helped me make decisions throughout the rest of my life. That level of obedience is what allows for the Spirit to guide. I've seen that in my life. So thank you, thank you, both of you for having that discussion and creating an atmosphere where we could really apply these verses of scripture.
So that's the end. Now, in this next section, we are going to study section 65. And what I find so interesting is that, according to some scholars, it is one of the few sections that we know very little about when it comes to the background. But what we do know is powerful. As we read this section, I'm going to show you what that is next segment.
Let's turn to Matthew, chapter six, verse 10. While you guys are turning there, you need to know there isn't much by way of history behind section 65 except for this: All we know is that William McLellin wrote in his manuscript, in his journal, that Joseph was studying Matthew, chapter six, verse 10, at the time that this revelation was received. So that's why we're going to put Matthew, chapter six, verse 10.
Let's read this verse of scripture and that will give us some context for this section 65. And so, John, will you read that for us?
"10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
So Joseph Smith is reading this, and he's thinking about it. And then he gets this revelation, six verses.
So the title for section 65 is "Kingdom of God." And this section is set up pretty cool. It has a very unique structure. So here's I want to have you do: Grab your highlighter or your scripture pen. I'm gonna have us mark the structure of this.
So I want you to bracket verses one and two. And we're going to highlight in verse one, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight," and put a little number one next to it. That's the first time it said in section 65.
And then you're going to bracket verses three through six. And here's the second time this is said, put a number two and highlight in verse three, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord, prepare ye the supper of the Lamb."
There's two "prepare ye" in this verse. The first "prepare ye" comes from Mark, chapter one, verses three through four, where John the Baptist says these exact words. And this first prepare, he is talking about the Savior's first earthly coming, which is his birth and then the beginning of his ministry.
And then we have the second "prepare ye" in verse three, and I thought this was so cool. This is talking about the second earthly coming that the Lord will attend to where he will come and we'll all be invited to partake at this wonderful supper.
And so in my show notes I'll put all the scripture references that you can cross reference with these two things, but we have this unique structure. The first coming, His second earthly coming, and then he gives us instructions in serses five through six.
And I asked my guests to read verses five through six. And I asked you guys to look and tell me what role we can specifically play in helping to fulfill verses five through six. So let's read these verses and then have you guys kind of just tell us what you marked.
So, Josh, can we start with you read verse five, and then, John, verse six.
"5 Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven, clothed in the brightness of his glory, to meet the kingdom of God which is set up on the earth.
6 Wherefore, may the kingdom of God go forth, that the kingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be glorified in heaven so on earth, that thine enemies may be subdued; for thine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen."
Thank you, tell me what you guys thought about these verses.
Well, in verse five, it says, "Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth." So we must call out to the Lord. That, to me is a reference to prayer, the direct connection to Him. We have to call to Him, that His kingdom may go forth upon the earth. Call for missionaries to go out.
And then it goes, ". . . that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in which the Son of Man shall come down in heaven." And so to me, this gives us as, we are children on this earth, that we must call to Him. Call to our Father. Call out and pray for the gospel, the light of Christ, to be spread to all of His children.
Yeah, I totally thought of you, Josh. I was like, that's totally you. And as you're reading all these verses, I thought, "These are the coolest verses for a future missionary." Everything applied to you, and this idea that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, boy, you're gonna be hoping for that a ton on your mission, that's what you're doing right? But that you connected it to praying call upon the Lord. That's the first approach that you make to having people receive the gospel.
And, to go back to a mission, the mission is to go out and serve the people you're called to serve. I'm called to serve the people in Veracruz, Mexico. But more importantly, I'm called to go refine myself.
I'm gonna uproot myself from the life I know and love. I don't want to lose my family. I don't want to leave my friends in the situations that I'm in and growing up. But to uproot myself, and then go drop me in a tropical climate with a language I have no idea how to speak. And a people that I know hardly about. And for me to just rely on the Lord solely, the mission is first for me and second for other people because you can't help someone come into God if you're not coming to God yourself.
And Josh is gonna be a loss to the family. He is the, "Hey, could you?" "Yes, I'll do it."
I can tell.
Jake and Joey are awesome, too. If they ever hear this podcast, they're amazing too.
My thoughts were on the reality. Sometimes I have to remind myself that Jesus Christ really is coming down from heaven, clothed in the brightness of His glory, to meet this kingdom that we're trying to set up. He really is coming. And the Doctrine Covenants is filled with, this is from 51, "Verily, I say unto you, I am Jesus Christ, who come up quickly."
We talked about that in one of my classes today, what the heck we think that means? We've got to be prepared, like it says back in 64. But I think we're all gonna be, "Oh my goodness, He's really here. Wait, this is really is an event. Jesus Christ is really here."
Sometimes I have to remind myself that there will be a day when we talk about His Second Coming in the past tense. Like we talked about His first coming in the past tense. "Remember what it was like before He came? Do you remember that day that He came?" Compared to what it's like now, to what it was like.
And what does He ask us to do? Prepare the way, do what we can to build the kingdom. So when he comes to meet that kingdom of God, which is set up on the earth, it's prepared, it's ready, and then He can take the reigns and rule and reign the way that only He can.
Ah, John, I just had an "Aha!" I love that you just said sometimes we talk about it in past tense, because the structure of this section, verses one through two, are past tense. Like look at verse two, "The keys of the kingdom are committed unto man." When Christ came and began His ministry, that's what He did. The keys of the kingdom had been committed and then He restored them to Joseph Smith. And then we have the second "prepare ye," which is future.
That is so cool you just saw that because when we were teaching together and Bliss Roberts was our principal, we had an assembly for all of the kids. It was a welcome to seminary assembly at the beginning of the year. And he ended every assembly with his testimony. And we had heard it so many times. And we're just like, "It's now seventh period, we're ready to go," you know. "Let's tap out, the bell's about ring."
But he changed his testimony this day, and I have never forgotten it. He paused for a minute. And then he said, "Jesus Christ is coming." And that hit me like a ton of bricks. For the first time in my life, I was like, "That's real. He's really coming." And then I got scared. And then I got a little bit excited because I thought He really is coming.
So when you just share that, that's powerful. I think you're totally right that we think of it that way. So good.
The idea of how He comes in an hour that we know not, just to connect it to something that we can understand it to, but like the coronavirus pandemic. It came out of the blue and it shut down the world. And I think it's crazy to see how fast, within a year and a half, the world can go from having a normal life to being completely shut down. Locked in your house to being we're back to opening up a little bit, how fast the world can change.
And I think as the world wraps up getting closer to the Second Coming, it's going to change that fast. What, it took three months from when coronavirus got to the United States to shutting down. And I think the world's just at that point where when it's His time to come, it will come speedily. We will not have time to hesitate, we'll have to already have decisions. And I hate the coronavirus, but in that sense, like, the world can change with the snap of fingers. And I think those final wrapping up scenes, they'll come like a freight train that will be unstoppable. And they'll be fast. And then they'll be gone. And then the Savior will be there. And if we're not prepared, it's gonna hit us hard.
Well, Josh, how cool when you just talked about that because when the Lord says, "I come quickly," that's exactly what the word quickly means in its context. A lot of the Saints heard that and thought, "Oh, He's coming tomorrow. That's what it means, He's coming soon." But that word "quickly" means what you just said, it's going to happen fast. And it's happening. It's going to happen. Oh, that was so good. Josh. So good.
I think we're all going to be a little bit like, "Wait, He's really here?" But if we're not prepared, it doesn't matter. We won't be prepared. We won't have time to prepare.
You won't have time to pack up your stuff and leave Babylon, right? You better be in Zion. Oh, good stuff.
Another little comment about past and present, when there was the war in heaven, and I can't remember the scripture. But it was we overcame Satan by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:7–11), which is the Atonement. But the Atonement had not happened. But because the Atonement is everlasting, going both directions, both backwards and forwards in time, it was like it had already happened. And we overcame Satan through that power. But yet, it in it of itself had not happened yet. And that's exactly how we're looking at the Second Coming. It has not happened yet. But we already know the outcome, we know that Christ will be the reigning champion.
Oh my gosh, you guys, that was an incredible discussion of section 65. For something we knew very little about, we sure did learn a lot. I love that section now. That was so good. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, so we're done with section 65. And in the next segment, we're going to go to section 66. And while we didn't know much about 65, what we do know about 66 is so incredible. I cannot wait for John to share the history about this section in the next segment.
I asked John, as a Seminary teacher, to give us the cool history behind section 66. Because I think this is so incredible.
Let me preface this with I know what I'm going to tell you because I read some things today that you too can read. A lot of great study helps the gospel library and other places.
But William E. McLellin, as I understand it, was lonely. He was sad. His wife and baby had died. Nothing seemed to fill that void. He was a school teacher and I can imagine him coming home at night to an empty home. And he was not doing well when he heard two missionaries preach. He was baptized and ordained an elder, I think even before he met the Prophet Joseph Smith.
And this next part is probably what we know him for. He had five questions that he wanted Joseph to answer in a revelation, but he didn't tell Joseph he had five questions. He just went on his knees to the Lord and said when I meet Joseph Smith, I'm going to ask him for a revelation. And here's the five questions. We actually don't know what the five questions are, but (section) 66 is the answer to those questions.
I'll just read this quote, here I have, "I went before the Lord in secret. And on my knees, I asked him to reveal the answer to five questions through His prophet, and that without his having any knowledge of my having made such requests." So Joseph Smith doesn't know he's prayed to his Heavenly Father asking for this.
He goes on to say, "I now testify in the fear of God that every question which I had this lodged in the ears of Sabbath were answered to my full and entire satisfaction. I desired it for a testimony of Joseph's inspiration, and I to this day consider it to be an evidence which I cannot refute."
He'll go on to be, I believe, one of the first 12 ordained apostles in 1835. Unfortunately, he doesn't stay in the Church. He's eventually excommunicated.
In fact, that quote that you read, John, William McLellin wrote that in his journal 10 years after he had been excommunicated from the Church. So just to give you some context for that, I mean, when he says, "I cannot refute it," he's been excommunicated for 10 years and he's still like, it was true. I'll never denied that experience. My questions were answered.
And so the section title for Doctrine and Covenants section 66 is "William E. McLellin; I, the Lord, Will Go with You." Those are the two things we're calling section 66, "William McLellin; I, the Lord, Will Go with You."
So we know that section 66 was given specifically for William McLellin, and for the five questions that he had. But how does it apply to us?
So we're gonna have some fun with this. I asked my guests to read it. And all three of us are just going to kind of mark and talk about things that stood out to us in this section, and we're going to look for some flecks of gold in Doctrine and Covenants section 66. So guys, what did you mark? Tell me some of the things.
I'll tell you what some of the teenagers have marked out there. And it's 66, verse six, because you know the phrase, "Send" or, "Send it," or, "Full send," that the youngins are using these days? [laguhter]
No, I never heard of that.
Josh, what's a full send?
Just when you commit yourself to do one thing completely, basically.
We would say, "Go for it." or "We're all in."
They're like, "Send it." Yeah, it's a cool thing. Tamara, you need to get on board.
It was one guy on Instagram.
Full send. I like that.
But verse six, "In as much as you can send, send." So I know some of the teenagers have that one marked out there. I had to bring that one up.
That's funny because I didn't think you were gonna go there. I thought you were gonna for sure do verse 10. Ah!
Yeah, I'm really grateful that those things are a little bit more quiet these days and they're not published. And my understanding they didn't use names originally, right, until they were dead.
Can you imagine your verse of scripture is this verse of scripture? There's something to learn there, though. "Forsake all unrighteousness. Commit not adultery."
I mean, first of all, God's gonna be straight up about things. But also even that very, very serious sin of adultery, with proper repentance and time, is forgivable. There's a lot of things taught in verse 10, but that has to be one of the things: that God is so, so merciful. I mean, this starts up in verse [three], "You are clean, but not all." [laughter]
Almost. ". . . repent, therefore, of those things which are not pleasing my sight." And then I love this line ". . . for the Lord will show them unto you."
I was grateful I had this quote here from President Eyring and he said, "One of the questions we must ask our Heavenly Father in private prayer is this, what have I done today are not done which displeases thee? If I can only know, I will repent with all my heart without delay. That humble prayer will be answered." And I love that President Eyring is teaching us the Lord will show them to you if you ask for them. And I think it's a little scary to ask for them. But as we humble ourselves and ask the Lord, he'll show us where we went wrong. And oftentimes, they'll show us to the moment. And so I love that teaching from verse three and also from President Eyring.
Let's go back to Ether 12:27. "And if men come on to me I will show it to them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
So the whole idea of showing him his weakness is nothing new. And also in D&C 66:11:
"11 Keep these sayings, for they are true and faithful; and thou shalt magnify thine office, and push many people to Zion with songs of everlasting joy upon their heads."
He's just saying continue to repent, repent of these unclean things as my dad's pointing out in verse three.
Absolutely, oh, that was good.
I like verse 12. And I'm thinking of William McLellin because, especially because, John, you said, here he is being called out. You're forgiven, but not all. You struggle with adultery. And I'm thinking of my own patriarchal blessing where the Lord's like, listen, you struggle with rationalization. I can rationalize anything, you guys. I'm really good at it. But I love verse 12.
You know that's not a spiritual gift, right? That's something you're supposed to be working on.
Uh huh. Uh huh. Yep. [laughter] The Lord is calling me out.
But I'm really good at it. It's what you said, John, that the Lord still loves you. And he's like, come here, you. Let's do this together. And so that's why I like verse 12.
"12 Continue in these things even unto the end, and you shall have a crown of eternal life at the right hand of my Father, who is full of grace and truth."
And that word, "truth," it's so big. You can cross reference that verse to John chapter one, verse 14, I love the word truth in Greek, because it doesn't just mean like, oh, somebody said something that's true. This type of truth that we're talking about in Greek, it means the truth of an idea, the reality, the sincerity, a moral sphere of truth.
That's awesome. I want it to be a fun study to see how often he follows these invitations, I'll say, to repent and to do his work. And to be prepared with the reminder that he's the one that's full of the grace.
As we go to the Bible Dictionary it defines it as, "an enabling power." So that grace, that power that enables us to do all these things comes from the one requesting us to do all those things. And then if it's not clear, then verse 13, which we often see in the Doctrine and Covenants, he reminds us whose words these are: "The Lord, your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ." In case you're a little slow, ". . . even Jesus Christ, amen." And I just love that.
He asked us to do all this. But back to 1 Nephi, three, seven, he also provides a way. It is His grace that enables us to be forgiven, to overcome serious sin, even. To push many people to Zion.
What you said, John, was so powerful. And as you were reading verse 13, this question popped into my mind that I want to ask both of you. When he says, "Verily, thus saith the Lord, your God, your Redeemer, even Jesus Christ." How do you know he is those things? How do you know Jesus?
I know Jesus is the Savior and Redeemer just through the simple testimonies and small lessons that we've shared at home through my 18 and a half years of being alive. Just growing up in that gospel centered home.
But also of myself. When you kneel down and pray, and if you truly seek him out, it's impossible to not know those things. Just through the little simple nudges of the Spirit, or through the bigger-ish manifestations of the Spirit where it's just a clear revelation to you, or a clear answer to a question, you know he's there. His Atonement is real and just through those daily prayers, those daily instances where the Spirit has been manifest in my life, the testimony is there that Christ lives. He is our Savior, and he is our Redeemer.
Thank you, Josh. That was powerful. And what you said is true. I believe that I felt that, don't you, John? How do you know?
My mind went to John 17:3: "3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
I mean, eternal life is knowing. This "know" here is an intimate knowledge and even relationship with Jesus Christ.
I remember, a quote Bruce R. McConkie said, "It's one thing to know about God. And it's another to know Him." That can only come through experiences with him, when you try to pattern your life after him. When you live worthy of the Holy Ghost, when you repent, when you fulfill your callings and obligations. When you open your mouth and speak the words he'd have you speak. We could go on and on and on.
He is there. He is with you. That light of Christ, his light, is everywhere. There's nowhere that it does not shine, whether we want it or not. He is our Lord. He is our God. He is our Redeemer. And when we understand those titles, it makes it a little easier to try to do things for him, to be on the Lord's errand, to go back to a previous scriptures there.
And I think it's cool how you talked about the intimate relationship, which is a close relationship to God. He is our Father. Jesus Christ is our Brother. They care about us more than I think we care about ourselves sometimes.
And I think it's key to realize that when we sit down and talk to our earthly father, and we just sit and talk, I think God loves that just as much. He's still our Father, and He wants us to relay our day to him. Not to say, we just tell him like, "Oh, I ate this for breakfast," but our daily struggles.
The Atonement isn't just for repenting and overcoming big major sins. It's for our sicknesses. It's for our small, internal conflicts. That's the whole point of the Atonement. It's the enabling power. And I think if we just pour our heart out to God, and we just tell him everything that's going on, we'll see the huge blessing of the Spirit and in our lives, and it will be everywhere. And we'll notice it so much more because God cares about those minute details. And that's why he's there. I think we overlook that sometimes.
You know, and Josh, as you were speaking, I learned something from you. When you said that God has time for us, and that he wants to hear about our day, and he wants us to talk to him, it made me go back to Section 66. I was like, yeah, William McLellin took five questions to him and he was an adulterer, allegedly. That's the beauty of Section 66. That's the lesson. I'm so thankful for William McClellan. I'm thankful that he was willing to ask those questions.
And I love that quote by Elder Holland, "No one falls beyond the scope of the divine pinnacles of the Atonement of Jesus Christ." No one. And that we all can claim that privilege of calling him Father, of having Heavenly Parents who love us, and go to him with whatever it is that we want to ask and whatever it is we want to know. And be crowned. I love that, everything you guys said. Thank you for sharing their testimonies of Jesus Christ. That was incredible. So thank you.
Well, that's the end. That's the end of our podcast. You guys, that was so awesome! Thank you for being on this. Josh. Wow, Mexico, here he comes. Get ready. It's gonna be so cool. I can't wait.
We'll see if he can do it another language.
Oh, that'd be great. Okay, well, just take a minute, gather your thoughts and tell me what your takeaway was.
Well, what I was able to take away today was just how eager the Lord is to forgive. He doesn't want us to be stranded. He wants to help us. But we have to turn to Him. And we have to be willing to forgive ourselves, and then forgive our neighbor, for us to really feel and be forgiven ourselves. That's just my takeaway from today's podcast.
That was cool.
I was just thinking about this in a different way than I had before. I mean, these are foundational revelations. So often, something revealed in these revelations is the first time we've heard them. And we've studied them our whole lives, they've always been here. But how foundational is this idea that I want you to do my work, I need you to do my work. And to build the kingdom of God, I need you to go out on missions, I need you to preach repentance, but I need you to be clean. I need you to repent, I need you to forgive others.
And time after time we see this. I think it would be an interesting and fun exercise to go through and see how often in these sections that he talks about this principle of repentance and that individual love he has for us.
I think some of this language we see that sounds condemning or harsh is a desperate and pleading God who not only knows we'll want to be with him, but in a very real way, he wants to be with us in the eternities. And one of the reasons he pleads for us to repent is not just so we can be with him, but his love is beyond our comprehension. That that always is a motivator for me to try to be better and repent so that I can be more like more like Jesus Christ.
Great takeaway. Thank you. Thank you.
You know, my takeaway, John, was when you told us what the meaning of the word "reconciliation" or "reconciled" is. And I just love the idea when you said brought into friendship from a state of disagreement or enmity. That was powerful when we think about that scripture where we are called to the ministry of reconciliation and people in my life where I've needed to do that with, but mostly that the Lord does that for us. That's what the message is, that we are to be reconciled with him. We are brought back into this friendship with him. And he is always there. He is the best friend any of us will ever have. So thank you for teaching us that. I thought it was really great. It was my takeaway for today. So thank you. Thank you.
Okay, guys, you're awesome. We're done. That was so great.
Seriously, mic drop. That was so good. You guys are great. Thank you guys. Thank you. That was fun.
Well we would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So please, please, please go and follow us on Instagram and Facebook so that you can just see what everybody shares and the comments throughout the week. And then on [Saturday], we do a post asking for what your big takeaway was, and comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson and let us know what you've learned. And I read them all and it is so much fun, and I hope you're reading other people's too. It's kind of like mini testimony meeting on Sunday when people just kind of bear their testimony about what they learned.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode on LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday and go there because that's where we have the links to all the references that we use today as well as a complete transcript of this entire discussion. So go check that out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our really great, fabulous study group participants were John and Josh Heywood. 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 6 Studios and our executive producer is Erin Hallstrom.
Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember, you are his friend and you are God's favorite.
We used to have the option to work summers. Josh, this is one of my favorite stories about your dad. Then one summer they came in and said you have to work all summer. Like it's no longer an option. And we were like what are we gonna do all summer? Didn't have a plan yet. There's no inservice. So the next day John comes in with a Rubik's Cube and a how to.
I have picture of you sitting with your back on the floor with your bag against the door working the Rubik's Cube. Did you know that there's actually like, a way to do it? Oh my gosh.
I have the book on this bookshelf.
In your office!?
Like I'm looking right now for it. I know it's up there somewhere.
And he held the Rubik's Cube up to all of us teachers. He goes, "You want to know what I'm doing this summer? This!" He broke the code. He learned special code to doing a Rubik's Cube.
Doesn't surprise me. He's a child, and he always has been. [laughter]
They are so much more productive today, you need to know that.
They do so many more things and it's so organized.
Video: "Flecks of Gold"
Ministry of Reconciliation:
- Cross reference with Doctrine and Covenants 64:1–7.
- Hebrew: Forgiveness = Selach, meaning divine forgiveness
Reconciliation: "To call back into union and friendship the affections which have been alienated; to restore to friendship or favor after estrangement" (see Webster's 1828 Dictionary).
Quote: "Too many people consider repentance as punishment—something to be avoided except in the most serious circumstances. But this feeling of being penalized is engendered by Satan. He tries to block us from looking to Jesus Christ,3 who stands with open arms,4 hoping and willing to heal, forgive, cleanse, strengthen, purify, and sanctify us" (President Russell M. Nelson, "We Can Do Better and Be Better," April 2019 general conference).
Title for Section 64: "Forgiving Others; More About Zion"
Background for Section 64:
"Joseph's own brief account of the setting of Doctrine and Covenants 64 reads as follows: 'The early part of September was spent in making preparations to remove to the town of Hiram, and renew our work on the translation of the Bible. The brethren who were commanded to go up to Zion were earnestly engaged in getting ready to start in the coming October. On the 11th of September I received the following'1" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 64," Deseret Book).
Why the Saints needed the ministry of reconciliation:
8 My disciples, in days of old, sought aoccasion against one another and forgave not one another in their hearts; and for this bevil they were cafflicted and sorely dchastened (Doctrine and Covenants 64:8).
- Cross reference: Here the Lord is referencing points of contention among the early Saints of the New Testament Mark 9:33-34, 10:41-42; Acts 15:24, 39; 2 Cor. 11:12-13.
9 Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to aforgive one another; for he that bforgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
Quote: "If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future" (Winston Churchill).
Quote: "I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. … It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come" (President Gordon B. Hinckley, "Of You It Is Required to Forgive," Ensign, June 1991, 5).
Quote: "With the apostolic authority granted me by the Savior of the world, I testify of the tranquility to the soul that reconciliation with God and each other will bring if we are meek and courageous enough to pursue it…My beloved friends, in our shared ministry of reconciliation, I ask us to be peacemakers—to love peace, to seek peace, to create peace, to cherish peace. I make that appeal in the name of the Prince of Peace, who knows everything about being “wounded in the house of [His] friends” (D&C 45:52) but who still found the strength to forgive and forget—and to heal—and be happy. For that I pray, for you and for me, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, amen" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Ministry of Reconciliation," October 2018 general conference).
Edward Partridge, Isaac Morley, Ezra Booth, Sidney Gilbert were all called to repentance in section 64
17 And also my servant aEdward Partridge, behold, he hath sinned, and bSatan seeketh to destroy his soul; but when these things are made known unto them, and they repent of the evil, they shall be forgiven (Doctrine and Covenants 64:17).
Isaac Morley's Farm
"The Morley farm was already in the hands of the Church when Isaac left for Missouri, and it was being managed by Titus Billings, who received the commandment to sell it. This was partially for the good of Brother Morley, who had some difficulty parting with it, as well as to finance the purchase of more land in Zion (see D&C 63:40)" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 64," Deseret Book).
Frederick G. Williams's Farm:
"Williams earlier had informally consecrated his farm to the Church, and several members were then living on it, but he still held legal title to it. In May 1834 he deeded this farm to the Church without remuneration" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 64," Deseret Book).
The Saints were not to move to Missouri immediately:
21 I will not that my servant Frederick G. Williams should sell his farm, for I, the Lord, will to retain a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years, in the which I will not overthrow the wicked, that thereby I may save some (Doctrine and Covenants 64:21).
What the Lord requires:
23 Behold, now it is called atoday until the bcoming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of csacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is dtithed shall not be eburned at his coming (Doctrine and Covenants 64:22–23).
- At the time, the Saints were not tithed a certain percentage. Only in Doctrine and Covenants section 119, seven years after section 64 was given, was tithing one-tenth of the Saints' increase.
- "This is the first mention of tithing in the Doctrine and Covenants. The burning of the last day will consume only the wicked or those who abide a telestial law (see D&C 76:98, 104–5). Those who are faithful tithe payers are living at least a terrestrial law, and if tithing is understood to mean freely giving of one's financial resources to the Lord, as it was in 1831, then full tithe payers are living the celestial law as well. And those living a terrestrial or celestial law will not be burned at the last day (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 64," Deseret Book).
24 For after today cometh the aburning—this is speaking after the manner of the Lord—for verily I say, tomorrow all the bproud and they that do wickedly shall be as cstubble; and I will burn them up, for I am the Lord of Hosts; and I will not dspare any that remain in eBabylon (Doctrine and Covenants 64:24).
- Babylon = The world
The Lord's advice to us:
29 Wherefore, as ye are agents, ye are on the Lord’s errand; and whatever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord’s business.
- Quote: "I always want the Lord to know that if He needs an errand run, Tom Monson will run that errand for Him" (President Thomas S. Monson, "Thomas S. Monson," BYU Speeches).
32 But all things must come to pass in their time.
Title for Section 65: "Kingdom of God"
Background for section 65:
"Very little is known of the circumstances surrounding the reception of Doctrine and Covenants 65 sometime in October 1831. Joseph and Emma Smith had been living with John and Alice Johnson in Hiram, Ohio, for about a month when this revelation was received, and Joseph's short account simply states: 'In the fore part of October, I received the following prayer through revelation.'1 Although Joseph later remembered this revelation as being received in early October, the Kirtland Revelation Book,2 The Evening and the Morning Star,3 and the William McLellan manuscript all list the date as 30 October 1831. The McLellan manuscript also adds that this revelation was received in connection with Joseph's study of Matthew 6:10, 'Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven'4" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 64," Deseret Book).
The First Mention of "Prepare Ye": The Savior's First Earthly Coming and Ministry (Past Tense)
1 Hearken, and lo, a voice as of one sent down from on high, who is mighty and powerful, whose going forth is unto the ends of the earth, yea, whose voice is unto men—aPrepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
2 The akeys of the bkingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the cgospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the dstone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has efilled the whole earth (Doctrine and Covenants 65:1–2).
- Cross reference with Mark 1:3-4: These are the words of John the Baptist. This is the first earthly coming of the Lord at His baptism. This began His ministry when the keys were committed unto man (Mount of Transfiguration).
- Cross reference Daniel 2:34, 45
The Second Mention of "Prepare Ye": The Second Coming and Supper of the Lamb (Future Tense)
5 Call upon the Lord, that his kingdom may go forth upon the earth, that the inhabitants thereof may receive it, and be prepared for the days to come, in the which the Son of Man shall acome down in heaven, bclothed in the brightness of his cglory, to meet the dkingdom of God which is set up on the earth.
6 Wherefore, may the akingdom of God go forth, that the bkingdom of heaven may come, that thou, O God, mayest be cglorified in heaven so on earth, that thine denemies may be subdued; for ethine is the honor, power and glory, forever and ever. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 65:3–6).
- Quickly = Suddenly, all at once
10 And I heard a loud avoice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and bstrength, and the kingdom of our God, and the cpower of his Christ: for the daccuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Title for Section 66: "William E. McLellin—I the Lord Will Go with You"
"William E. McLellin was first introduced to the gospel by David Whitmer and Harvey Whitlock in Paris, Illinois, as they traveled to Jackson County in July of 1831 (see D&C 52:25). William was so impressed by their message that he traveled to Independence hoping to see the Prophet Joseph Smith, but he arrived there too late. He was baptized in Jackson County by Hyrum Smith and was soon thereafter ordained an elder. William then traveled to Kirtland with Hyrum and finally met the Prophet at a conference of the Church in Orange, Ohio. During this conference, William McLellin was ordained a high priest, and when the conference was adjourned he accompanied the Prophet to Hiram, Ohio, staying with him there for three weeks.
"On 29 October Joseph Smith received Doctrine and Covenants 66 in Hiram, dictating it to William McLellin, who acted as scribe.1 McLellin's journal specifies that it was received on Saturday, 29 October, after McLellin and the Prophet had returned to Hiram from Orange.
"Writing of this experience on another occasion seventeen years later, William McLellin said: 'From this conference I went home with the Prophet, and on Saturday, the 29th, I received through him, and wrote from his mouth a revelation concerning myself. I had expected and believed that when I saw Bro. Joseph, I should receive one: and I went before the Lord in secret, and on my knees asked him to reveal the answer to five questions through his Prophet, and that too without his having any knowledge of my having made such request. I now testify in the fear of God, that every question which I had thus lodged in the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth, were answered to my full and entire satisfaction. I desired it for a testimony of Joseph's inspiration. And I to this day consider it to be an evidence which I cannot refute.'3 The fact that William McLellin wrote this account ten years after his excommunication from the Church lends credibility to its truth" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 66," Deseret Book).
Counsel to William E. McLellin:
3 Verily I say unto you, my servant William, that you are clean, but not aall; repent, therefore, of those things which are not pleasing in my sight, saith the Lord, for the Lord will bshow them unto you (Doctrine and Covenants 66:3).
27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them (Ether 12:27).
Quote: "One of the questions we must ask of our Heavenly Father in private prayer is this: 'What have I done today, or not done, which displeases Thee? If I can only know, I will repent with all my heart without delay.' That humble prayer will be answered" (President Henry B. Eyring, "Do Not Delay," October 1999 general conference).
- Cross reference John 1:14
- Grace: "This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts" (Bible Dictionary, "Grace," ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
- Cross reference 1 Nephi 3:7
Quote: ". . . however late you think you are, however many chances you think you have missed, however many mistakes you feel you have made or talents you think you don’t have, or however far from home and family and God you feel you have traveled, I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines" (Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "The Laborers in the Vineyard," April 2012 general conference).