26: "Worth … the Riches of the Whole Earth" (Doctrine and Covenants 67–70)
Have you ever thought, “Oh, I could do that so much better”? Maybe it was something as important as a job or as trivial as a party invitation, but you just knew that your effort would’ve been superior than the person who actually did it. Well, in Doctrine and Covenants 67–70, we are going to learn about a few men who were so convinced that they could write revelation better than Joseph Smith, they even tried it. So grab your scriptures, and let’s find out what the result was and what it can teach us about how God operates today.
Have you ever thought or even said out loud, "Oh, I could do it so much better"? No, is that just me? Yeah, it's probably just me, because I have something in common with a few of the men who were present for Doctrine and Covenants Sections 67 through 70. And I will show you what they thought they could do better. And if they in fact, did do it better.
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 just want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast, so follow the link in our description that will explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my friend, Mary Nelson who listens. Hi, Mary. Thanks for listening.
Now, the best thing about our study group is that each week we're joined by two of my friends, so it's always a little bit different. And today we have an oldie but a goodie: Jalyn Peterson! She's a regular. Hi, Jalyn.
Hey,Tam. How you doing? Glad to be back.
It's good to see your face. I've missed you.
Yeah, you too.
And we have a new guest today. Nikki Sue Baldwin Larkin, who I have known for such a long time and I'm so happy you agreed to join us, Nikki. How you doing?
Nikki Sue 1:11
I'm great. Glad to be here.
Ah, well, I was so excited to have you here. We knew each other back in the singles ward, long time ago, wondering if we'd ever get married! And joyfully we both did, so there you go. Your roommate at the time was Camille and I loved Camille. She's a Home-Ec teacher up at Brighton High School. Turns out later on in my wedding, she shows up. I didn't invite her but Jim did because Jim was best friends with her in college. And so she was so happy to see that I had married Jim.
Nikki Sue 1:42
Oh my gosh, that is so funny. Small world.
I know. I love that. But Nikki Sue and Jalyn do not know each other. So this is going to be fun.
Nikki Sue 1:50
I'm excited, it'll be great.
Yeah, it'll be really good. You guys have any questions for each other? Anything you want to know?
Nikki Sue 1:56
Jalyn, married? Children?
No marriage. No children, but a fur baby. I'm one of those weird people that my dog's gonna be like, my kid.
Nikki Sue 2:06
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. What kind of dog, really quick?
I don't know. He was supposed to be a halfanese, (laughter) he's not a halfanese. I don't know what he is. But he's cute. And I love him.
He's the cutest. Will you put your puppy's picture in your bio?
Yeah, for sure.
Okay, good, good. Well, for those of you who want to learn more about my friends and read their bios, you can find those in our show notes which are at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Okay, so I want to know, you two. Have you ever had that thought, "I could do it so much better"?
Phh, whoa, ho,ho. So many times.
Nikki Sue 2:39
All the time.
It's not just me. (laughter) Did you do it better? Be honest. Did you have the chance to do it? And then you did it better, or not? Any good stories?
So mine was the first trial I did by myself.
Oh, yeah. Because you were a lawyer for a while.
And my supervising attorney came, my boss came. He basically in the middle just kind of took over. It was so embarrassing. And he was late for a meeting so he had to run. And then he called me and he was like, "So that was your first, right?" And I was like, "Yeah," and he was like, "Hmm, yeah, that showed." (laughing) SO embarrassing! So, yeah. I would like to think I did them better after that time, though. Yeah, I won a couple. So that's fine. That's good.
That IS good. What about you, Nikki Sue?
Nikki Sue 3:27
I have several different experiences. I think it's funny that we always think we can do it better when we're not in charge. Even at church, you know, the teacher, or you have to plan something, you go to a party or an event and you're like, "I would do it better this way and this way and this way."
And for my job, I get to plan different events. And like Jalyn, same things. First couple that I did I thought, "I can do it this way, this way, this way." And they fell, completely flopped! (laughter)
Okay, well, I'm so glad to know I'm not the only person who's thought that or tried to execute it. Because in today's discussion, that is exactly what happened. Several of the men were like, "Oh, we could do this so much better." So I can't wait to find out how these sections apply to us. So friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in.
For this first segment, here's what I want you guys to do. For those of you listening, if you're in a place where you can do this, I want everyone to just sit back and relax and close your eyes. Okay? So do that. Jalyn, Nikki, just sit back, close your eyes, take a big deep breath, okay? Now, I want you to think back to a time in your life when you were really struggling or going through a very difficult time. And maybe you're doing that right now. And I'm going to read out loud the first two verses of Section 67. And as I do, I want you to listen to these words, and tell me how they're personally speaking to you.
"1 Behold and hearken . . . those who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me.
"2 Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give."
Okay, you can open your eyes now, you can even look at those verses if you want. But how do those verses personally speak to you?
Whoo, those hit me right in the feels. The minute you were saying that, the Spirit bore the truthfulness of what you were saying to me.
Nikki Sue 5:23
I love that verse when he talks about, ". . . whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know. And whose desires have come up before me." All the prayers we constantly give, they really are heard. And he knows our hearts, of where they're coming from.
It's kind of interesting in these two verses how it starts out with the word, "behold." Mark that. The meaning of this word in Hebrew is "hinneh." The use of this word, "behold," is supposed to be like, whatever our slang is for the day to get someone's attention, like, "Dude, you're not gonna believe this," or "Yo, whoa, you gotta pay attention!" When we were teenagers, what would we say? Did we say dude? We'd be like, "Oh, dude."
We didn't say dude in the 70s.
What did we say? I do remember saying, "Can you dig it?" I totally said that one. "Catch this, oh, catch this." Whatever it is, whatever phrase you would use.
Oh, yeah, yeah, "Get this!" So now look at this, "Get this," or, "Dude, you're not gonna believe this!" And then He's talking to us. I have heard your prayers. I know your hearts. He's trying to get our attention. That's how important these verses are to us in our lives.
Nikki Sue 6:32
So I was 29 when I got married, I was very late in my life to get married. And my whole desire had been growing up is to get married, have children and just be a mom. And again, the Lord has different timetable for all of us. And after getting married at 29, find an amazing husband. And we'd been married for 15 months, and then had a 6-week-old daughter, my husband was killed in a car accident. And I remember at the time, my thought was, "You already knew my desires. So why would you let this happen, Heavenly Father?" And, "You knew all my prayers for so many years, and you knew my heart." I began to understand that He did hear all of my prayers, and He knew my heart. And he knew my desires.
I remember when that happened, Nikki Sue, and we were devastated for you. I think we all thought the same thing, like, "What? Fifteen months?" It was so hard. And I would always follow up on how you're doing with your friends that I knew, like our friend Camille that we have in common. And I remember it was so hard for you to date people because you were sealed to someone. It's amazing to me how you got through that, and everything that you did, and raising that sweet daughter of yours.
Nikki Sue 7:53
And people ask, "How did you get through?" I don't know. But the Lord knows your heart like, we have to do our part to come to Him. But if we do like this scripture is saying, He will be there, like, that is the promise He's given us.
Well, and even in the end of that verse where it says, ". . . the riches of eternity are mine to give." For you, that must have been so, "Well, He did know my heart." And I'm thinking, "Well, how did that give her peace?" Just because He knew her heart, like, He knew it, but you know, He still took your husband. But I think it's the whole thing too of just because he knows your heart and He knows your desires, He's not Santa Claus. He's not just going to grant every wish that you want. He knew your heart and your desires, which means He knew how to comfort you exactly through that.
Nikki Sue 8:37
And I like what you brought that last verse, ". . . the riches of eternity," really in the end, that's really what he's trying to give us.
Whatever that looks like, and whatever path or plan he has for us. Well, and in verse 2, when He says, ". . . the heavens and the earth are in mine hands." I'm in charge. Wow, we're only 10 minutes in we're already sobbing. Thank you, thank you for sharing that.
What's so interesting about this section is the background and all that we're gonna study today. That's why I didn't start out with saying, "Oh, ye elders of my church," because I just wanted all of us to know, even though it was to these elders of the church, these verses are for us.
So in the next segment, we're going to read what these men thought they could do better than Joseph Smith, and, what God had them do because of it.
Segment 1 9:27
So Jalyn, you kind of shared this at the beginning, but I do have this question for both of you. I want to know if you've ever worked on a project only to have it redlined or completely destroyed, or told that it just wasn't good enough? And I want to know how it made you feel when that happened. Like your attorney experience, how did that make you feel?
Oh, like about two feet tall. And you already have enough doubts about yourself just as a human being, so when you do something hard and it's kind of like, "Oh, there it is, there's the proof. There is the proof that you were not good enough to do that. I don't even know why you tried." You beat yourself up in your head, because that's just what the human brain does.
But it's very instructive in how you want to help other people, your children, or anyone else around you, because I had other experiences with different kinds of supervisors and people that were doing the redlining. And it can make such a huge difference in a person's life as to how you go about doing that redlining. There's other people who, giving me their feedback was such a teaching moment, and I didn't feel two feet tall. I felt like "Oh, I'm just going to grow through this, like, this is amazing. Like, share your wisdom with me, this is awesome."
Yeah, that's good. Thank you. What about you, Nikki?
Nikki Sue 10:48
I liked what Jalyn said, too. When you're taking that negative feedback, it's being humble enough to understand, is this going to help me be better and do better? Rather than saying, "Well, they, that was stupid, I'm not going to take what they said." But again, maybe there's some validity in what they're talking about, and learning and growing from the experience. And knowing you're not going to please all the people all the time, right?
Oh, right, yeah, yeah. Oh, I liked that you said that because I think that all of the feelings that you just shared is how Joseph Smith is feeling at this time in Section 67. Because here they are at a conference of the church. And they're presenting the Doctrine and Covenants, and the men at the conference were like, "Yeah, Joseph, uh, we might want to fix some of these, they're not that good. We might want to fix some of the wording." Because the men who were there were very bright, they were very smart.
Joseph, though, he had another idea in mind. He decided, You know what? I just want us all to agree that these are good so we can get a written testimony from all of you witnesses, like we did with the Book of Mormon; we have the three and the eight witnesses. And so the Lord promised these men something in verse 3, so that they could be these witnesses. So Jalyn, will you read verse 3 for us.
"3 Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you that there were fears in your hears, and verily, this is the reason that ye did not receive."
Now highlight "that ye should receive the blessing." They were promised something, we don't know what it is. Some scholars allude to it being verse 10, and actually having the veil wrent, and they were going to see the Savior. There's nothing in Church history that tells us what the blessing was. But there was something big that was going to happen for these men so that they could be a witness that the Doctrine and Covenants was real.
Now, what is so great about this is verses 4 through 8. So basically, the Lord says in these verses, listen, since you feared, I've got something else we're going to do. I have an alternative plan for these men to get a testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants. And I really like verse 4. Nikki Sue, read verse 4. This is the Lord's testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Nikki Sue 12:45
"4 And now I, the Lord, given unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you."
So here's the Lord bearing witness like, hey, these commandments are absolutely true. But the men are still kind of like, but I think we could do better. And so the Lord gives them this chance. Jalyn, you're shaking your head. Tell me about it.
I love the Lord's response here. (laughter) Look, I'm bearing testimony. But if y'all think you're so smart, let's take the worst one of these out of the whole Book of Commandments, okay? We'll take the one that doesn't even mean anything, and let's see one of YOU try it. And if one of you can come up with something better, and you can bear record that that's true, then go ahead. Knock yourself out.
That's exactly what happened! Yeah, in verse 6, where it says ". . . even the least that is among them," the word "least" means the least well-written. You're totally right, Jalyn, and let's see if you can do it. And so William McLellin tries.
Oh, he did? I didn't know that part. Oh that's hilarious.
Isn't that so fun? So William McLellin's like, "I'll give 'er a shot." He tries to write better, write a commandment and he failed. He couldn't do it. And the men are like, no, no, no, that's not right, that's not gonna work. And they realized, you know wha? We can't do this. And so the section title for Section 67 is "Scripture Language and Revelations". They couldn't do it. And so they then agreed, Okay, you know what? These are true.
Nikki Sue 14:10
The Lord shows that he allows us agency, you know what I mean? Rather than just saying, you're gonna do it this way, this way, this way. He's like, all right. I promised that you can use your agency on the earth. So all right, we're gonna let you do it. Anyway, I thought that was interesting.
Oh, it's so interesting, that He gets us.
Nikki Sue 14:27
Yeah, he does. All right. Try it.
It's so instructive, because what Nikki Sue said earlier, we all do that little judging thing. You show up at a party and go, "Oh, I wouldn't have done that, like, she's put that there?" You know, like, here these men, they're doing the same thing. And it just kind of shows we get so critical about how the Church operates now, things the Church does, how the government operates.
And you think, here's just this little group of men who the Lord has just told them it's true and you still got someone going, "Yeah, I think I could do it," which I love that. I would probably be like, "I'll give it a shot, let's see." I mean, you think about the writers of the Constitution even trying to get a law together, where you have these big bodies of people who are all trying to agree on one thing, and here you have just this little group of men going, "I think we could do it better. Let's try it." And the Lord already said they're true. Good luck.
And they're Joseph's friends.
And they're older than him, right?
Many are older. And if I were Joseph, I would have totally said, "You're just a bunch of jerks, and I'm leaving." I totally would been so offended, like, "You don't even know what you're doing, jeez." Joseph's just like, well, let's see what the Lord has to say about this. And I wonder if Joseph was like, I didn't see it going that way. But let 'em try and write a commandment. That's fine.
Okay, so let's see what happened as a result of this. Turn to the introduction of the Doctrine and Covenants, and then scan until you see "Testimony of the 12 Apostles of the truth of the Doctrine and Covenants." So I think it's really cool they did; they wrote this, they all wrote their signatures and testified that the Doctrine and Covenants was true. I want you guys to look at the paragraphs before the witnesses' signatures and just tell me what stood out to you.
I mean, it's exactly what you said. So they recognized here that the Lord was the helper and it was through the grace of God, and write their name on that.
And then there it is, there's William McLellin's name, he was there. Yep, that's so good. Take some time to read that, those of you who are listening. It's a great testimony about the Doctrine and Covenants. We don't have time to read it today, so I would recommend you read it.
But I want us to go to the chronological order of contents, so we can kind of have a place for Section 67. So just turn the page if you have your own scriptures, and go to November of 1831. So find 1831, scroll your finger down to November, and then look over at the revelations that were received in November. We're studying those today. But what's a unique one?
Nikki Sue 16:56
Section 1, right? Goes along with 67, 8, and 9.
So in historical timing, where we are right now in 1831, is when they decided to canonize the Doctrine and Covenants, and then the Lord's Preface was also given at this conference. Once they decided, okay, we are all going to agree that these are the Doctrine and Covenants, then Joseph Smith received Section 1 that they're going to put at the very beginning.
So I just kind of wanted us to see where we are in this historical timing. Because you guys, the section we're studying right now marks halfway through the Doctrine and Covenants. We're at the halfway mark, which I think is so cool. And so what I wanted to know from you guys, is, you've been studying this now for half of a year and tell me what has been your witness of the Doctrine and Covenants?
First of all, I'll admit, I've been a little too random in my study of the Doctrine and Covenants this year. I just haven't been as diligent as I needed to be. So when you asked us that question, I kind of went back and I looked through all of the lessons and I just kind of wrote down in the "Come, Follow Me," like, all the headings of what it really was.
The thing that so stood out to me was, the Doctrine and Covenants actually answers the whole question of why organized religion, why a church had to be organized on the earth. And that is what the whole Doctrine and Covenants does, is it lays out those ordinances, and it lays out those covenants that we are making with our Heavenly Father. And I'd never like, in my head gone, "Oh duh. It's literally the covenants." Like, this is the whole reason as to why it needed to be organized, and why we still have Church organization on the earth today, is for those covenants.
You know, Jalyn, I love that. I've never once considered that either, like, a testimony for organized religion. Thank you for pointing that out. That is so cool. Yeah, I like that.
Nikki Sue 18:47
Yeah, I liked what Jalyn said, too. I thought along the same thoughts that Doctrine and Covenants is constitution of the Church, as they talk about the doctrine and practices of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation. And it is given for us right now, because we're living in this dispensation, of how the Church operates and how it works.
I think the other thing that I've really enjoyed about Doctrine and Covenants is, to me, it speaks my language It's easy for me to understand and relate. Maybe it's because we're closer to that dispensation. You know, the 1800s weren't that long ago, but that I can really relate, understand what the Lord is saying to the Saints, and to watch these Saints struggle. I've questioned myself several times, "Would I keep going?" You know what I mean? Like, "Oh, I don't know, if I'd be done. I'm out, I can't do this anymore." And they just keep, you know, that faith. Wow, they had so much faith to keep going.
Yeah. And the doctrine remains the same, you know. And the covenants you make, and you're right Nikki Sue, in that if you write down all those headings, it's exactly for our time, like, what we need to do. It very much testifies that there's going to be evil in the world. It talks about how you handle that, it talks about how you are entitled to personal revelation yourself. It really is an amazing book.
Nikki Sue 20:11
I had marked in my scriptures, I don't know why, in Institute class, whatever, but the Prophet Joseph Smith had said, "We should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth." And I was like, wow, you know. The Book of Mormon, yes, we know. But again, I think because it's for our day, that's what the Doctrine and Covenants is for us.
Nikki Sue, I love you just said that. It's actually in the section heading of section 70. It actually says that these revelations were worth to the church, the riches of the whole earth. There it is. And it's in "History of the Church" also. On page 235, "History of the Church, Volume One," page 235 is where he says that. It is worth, "the riches of the whole earth."
And as both of you were talking, I love your witnesses of the Doctrine and Covenants and what it has meant to you as you've studied. To me, the Doctrine and Covenants is proof that God is a God of second and third and fifth and 10th chances, and how many times he calls people out for their sins, and you're like, "Ouch." But then he always follows it up with, "But nevertheless, I'll forgive you," or, you know, work out your salvation, figure it out.
Because I always say, "You're God's favorite" at the end of the episode, but I think for me, Doctrine and Covenants is proof of that. He just loves you so much. He is a God of so many chances. And so even with William McLellin. Boy, go read his history. That's a man of many chances. And so I love this. So, thank you. Thank you for sharing that.
Well, what I like is that the Lord says in Section 67, verse 14, "Let not your minds turn back." And I just love that He's like saying, look. Yet again, the God of second and third chances, he's like, don't dwell on this opportunity that was lost, I got this. Remember, at the beginning, I said, the heavens and the earth are in my hands. So we're just going to move forward, and we're going to get to work. And so in the next segment, He is going to tell four men what they specifically can do to get to work.
Segment 3 21:55
Okay, so in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 68 has so much good stuff in it. I didn't even know where to start. So here's what we're gonna do. I asked our guests to just start with verses 1 through 24 and just share with me what it is that you guys marked in these verses that you liked, because this section is given to Orson Hyde. And it's kind of cool in verse 1, I'll just point this out. Verse 1, it says, "My servant, Orson Hyde," by the way, Orson Hyde is buried in the Spring City Cemetery here in Utah. And if anybody wants a cool day trip, if you live in Utah, or if you want to come to Utah, make that a place you're going to go to, is Spring City, and go to the cemetery. It's so cool.
So look how awesome this is, because it says, ". . . Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the everlasting gospel, by the Spirit of the Living God, from people to people, from land to land." He will literally fulfill that; he will do a mission in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, England, Germany, Cairo, and then Jerusalem. And he will dedicate the land in Jerusalem for the gathering of Israel in the last days. It's so awesome. So I really like that what it says in verse 1. Okay, so turn the page and tell me what you guys marked in the rest of these verses, in verses 1 through 24.
Nikki Sue 23:18
I picked out verse 3 and 4, can I just read those?
"3 And this is the ensample" (or I would say, example) "unto them that they shall speak as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
"4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation."
Why'd you pick those?
Nikki Sue 23:44
I served a mission to Korea, and learning a foreign language, especially Korean, is very, very difficult. I mean, it's still 10 months into my mission and I'm still like, nodding my head that I, "Yeah, I understand what you're talking about. Uh, huh. I have no idea what they're saying." But I can tell you this happened again and again, as I began to learn that language.
Not only learning the language, but learning how to teach a discussion or have a gospel discussion, that there would be words come into my mind, and I would say them and then go, "Where did that come from? What, what?" And I knew it was through the Holy Ghost. I think not only a mission, but there have been times in my life to talking to my kids or a friend or giving a church talk or something that, again, the will of the Lord of what He wants you, you're the mouthpiece, of what the Holy Ghost talks through you of what he'd want to hear.
Well, Nikki Sue, I'm so glad you brought that up. Because I was thinking, I wonder if she's ever had this experience post mission. And you just perfectly said that, that how many times of our lives have we had that happen? We've had thoughts come into our head that we're supposed to share and in verse 4 where it says, ". . . when moved upon by the Holy Ghost shall be scripture," highlight that. What it means is, "shall be the Word of God." And so there's many times where we're given thoughts and impressions and ideas, that it is what God would say, and what He's trying to say to the person. So, oh, I like that.
Have you ever had that experience, Jalyn? Where you've been given the Word of God?
Yeah, absolutely. But what I was thinking more when I first read that, I was like, dang, that is a lot of pressure. Like everything I say, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost, and how many times do we doubt whether or not we were moved upon by the Holy Ghost, right? And I was thinking, men in the priesthood and having to give blessings and go out into the world and do that. And like, everything you say shall be scripture? I'm like, Whoa-oh-oh! You know, and then you think of things that people have said to you, or you hear stories in the church that you're like, "Yeah, I don't think that was coming from the Holy Ghost or of scripture." You know what I mean? But it's come across as that.
But then it says in 6, "Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord, am with you, and will stand by you." It's the whole thing of not fearing that we talked about in the section before. You were going to receive this blessing but you feared. And how many times does fear get in the way of that not trusting that it's the Holy Ghost, or that we're blocking ourselves from actually hearing the spirit because we fear? That's where faith comes in, is where you just have to be like, God's with me., and I will practice and know when I am moved upon by the Holy Ghost to say those things.
Oh, Jalyn, I like that you brought up verse 6. And that part that stands out to me is when He says, ". . . and will stand by you." Like, I'm not very cognizant of that. And I probably should be. I should be more aware of the times when the Lord is really standing by me. He's not saying, I'll be close, or, let me know if you need anything. Like he's really, ". . . and I will stand by you." Because, ". . . and ye shall bear record of me." That is so good. I love that you pointed out that verse. Good stuff, any other verses?
The other thing too, is, you know, He's telling them to go out and preach the gospel. And He says, in verses 8 through 10, ". . . if you believe you shall be blessed with signs following, even as it is written, and we know that we've been given sign of the times and sign of the Coming of Man." But even before that, I mean, it's just the period. It says, ". . . if you're baptized, and you believe, you shall be blest with signs following, even as it is written."
So I think you have your own personal signs in your life, that you're doing God's work, you're moved upon by the Holy Ghost. We're entitled to that in our life, to have those signs and miracles happen in our life. I think heaven is always trying to talk to us and let us know that they're there. I think it's when the Lord says He's standing right by you, I think He's literally standing right by you. And I think that we have to tune in to that, so we know, like, heaven is standing by us in our mission and doing those things. But then Tam, the rest of the stuff, I just got a lot of questions.
I know. How many of you read that and you're like, I'm not even touching that.
I mean, it's like, Is there somebody right now who's just been like, "Excuse me, I'm a literal descendant. I'll go ahead and take my place."
I'm so glad you asked. Okay, let's mark these verses. So we have verses 15 through 21. And these are the verses that I marked because I really love this kind of stuff. I love the whole tribe of Israel. I love patriarchal blessings, all this fun stuff. So verses 15 all the way through 21, the Lord is teaching us something about this calling in our church that we refer to as the presiding bishop. And He teaches us in verse 16.
"16 If they be a literal descendant of Aaron, they have a legal right to this bishopric."
And we're talking about the presiding bishop so today in our church, the Presiding Bishop is Gerald Causse. And then his first counselor is Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, and the second counselor is Bishop L. Todd budge.
Here's what the purpose is of the presiding bishopric. When they're not traveling, these men counsel with other church leaders regarding the Young Man's program, the temporal matters, such as things in fast offerings, welfare programs, humanitarian service, building projects, and so much more. That's what they do today.
But let's look at where this literal descendant of Aaron came from. Okay, so here's what we need to know about Aaron. So he's the older brother of Moses. He's the spokesman for Moses. Remember the story we talked about faith or emunah? Aaron's the one who held up Moses' arms with Hur when they were in the fight, and they won because they held Moses' arms up. Okay, so that's who Aaron was.
And there's a story found in Numbers chapter 17, verse 8. Again, Old Testament, I can't wait. This is the chapter in the Old Testament, where Aaron's rod blossoms. Basically what you need to know is, there's some children of Israel from the tribe of Levi, who were basically saying to Moses in the wilderness, "Hey, we can do it better. And we think we should be the leaders of this Levitical Priesthood." And the Lord comes to Moses and says, you know what, I'm gonna choose the leader. So here's what I want everyone to do. And he tells Moses: tell a member from all of the 12 tribes to bring a staff or a rod to the tabernacle, and in the morning whoever's rod or staff or stick blossoms, that's who the leader is. And they wake up the next day and guess who's rod had blossomed? Aaron's. And so the Lord is choosing Aaron to be the leader, he is then going to lead out with the Levitical Priesthood because he's from the tribe of Levi. And that's where we get the name Aaronic priesthood, is from this man named Aaron.
So that's why it's important in section 84 to know and understand that if you're a direct descendant of Aaron, that's what that wording means. And so through his line is the tribe of Levi, just that's where we get it. And that's why the tribe of Levi were the only ones allowed to participate in priesthood ordinances. And so right here in these verses, it says if you're from the tribe of Aaron, you get to be the presiding bishop of the church. Now, Jalyn, you asked, do we even know of anybody who is this today? Here's the way it works. Go to verse 20. It says:
"20 And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency." meaning the First Presidency.
So this will not come out in your patriarchal blessing. You will not be able to just say, I have proof right here, you know, and shake these papers. This revelation will come to the First Presidency of the church. And that is from Joseph Fielding Smith. He teaches that. Okay, so does that help clear those things up a little bit?
Nikki Sue 31:10
They're not talking about a bishop of a ward. They're talking about presiding bishop.
Yep, we are talking about the presiding bishopric.
Why can't we do it in the old days, like, they all go in and stick a stick in the ground? And if it blossoms - people got all the cool stuff? You know what I'm sayin'?
Such good stories, I know. And I just think this is kind of cool in here, like, oh, that's good to know. We haven't had it yet. But when it happens, and we'll learn more about that when we talk about the priesthood, coming up in Section 84, and Section 107, which we'll study later. This is kind of whetting our whistle a little bit with priesthood. And I really like that, because you just go, "Wow, a literal descendant of Aaron." That's pretty cool.
So I know they have to be appointed, obviously, by the First Presidency. Do you think the First Presidency's ever appointed someone? I'm like, man, yeah, he's, he's a literal descendant. I mean, would we know? "We found a literal descendant standin' here, he's worthy, here he is!" They're one of the questions I have, that, and who's cleaning the Holy of Holies? Do they send the prophet in with a rag? (laughter). These are the things, yeah.
These are things we want to know. Good question. We don't know the answers.
Nikki Sue 32:22
Can you imagine, though, after receiving this revelation, like, I wonder what the men in this room thought, you know, as they receive this. And were like, Oh, O.K.
Looking around at each other. Is it you?
Yeah, McLellin's, like, "it's me."
Nikki Sue 32:35
Yeah, I just didn't want to tell you, but
Can you imagine later with Joseph walking around and one of them nudges, "Is it me? Come on, could it be me?" (laughter)
Nikki Sue 32:45
Yeah, that's true, I like that. That's so funny.
Well, what I like so much about these verses is that it still holds true. We still believe in these verses. This isn't something, oh, they did clear back then. We have prophets and apostles still speaking about these verses of scripture. I think that's kind of cool.
So there are those verses that were like, "Yeah, I don't know if—" I like how you guys, I'm not sure if I want to touch these, so that we could discuss them. Okay, so in the next segment, we are going to study verses 25 through 31, which are all about parenting. And guess what, you don't even have to be a parent to appreciate these next verses.
Segment 4 33:17
Okay, so this segment is going to start out a little bit different than we normally do. I've asked some neighborhood kids to help me answer a question. And the question I asked them was: What's something you've learned from your parents?
Child 1 33:36
Things that I've learned from my parents are to treat people the way you want to be treated, and to love pickles.
Child 2 33:44
My parents have told me to be kind to each other and love each other and do the right things.
Is your family a little crazy?
Child 2 33:54
What makes your family crazy?
Child 2 33:58
When somebody says a joke, and I'm just like, "That's not funny." (eye roll)
Child 3 34:07
Something my parents have taught me is how to be patient because my mom's always on calls and is really busy. So when I say, "Mom," or, "I need something." I have to wait until she's done. So I've learned patience for my mom.
That's a good answer. Anything else?
Child 4 34:25
Umm, how to beat everybody in the game Skull King?
Child 5 34:29
My parents have taught me to be nice to others, and to not be annoying playing soccer.
Alright, now I'm going to ask you two, Jalyn, Nikki Sue. What's the best thing you ever learned from your parents?
My dad always said like, if we asked him a question like that, how do I blah, blah, blah. He would be like, "Have you looked it up? If you'd read, you'd know."
Ooh, that's a good one.
I think he just didn't want to read the instruction manual, and so he'd know how to do it but so he'd be like, "If you'd read, you'd know. Just go read and figure it out." (laughter)
Great thing, I like that. Okay, Nikki Su,
Nikki Sue 35:03
I think there's one thing my parents taught me is that people are more important than things. And taking time for people is more important than anything else you have to do. My mom was always, always said if someone invited you to a party, a wedding reception, a baby shower, you need to attend because they took the time to invite you or to think about you, so that you need to do the exact same to them.
Wow! That's really a good lesson.
That is a good lesson, one I don't follow, so—
I don't either. I'm like, "Oh, now I have guilt," Nikki Sue.
Nikki Sue 35:40
I didn't make THAT baby shower. (laughter)
Nikki Sue 35:46
I think too, we just get so busy with our lives that again, I've really had to think people do really matter, like they are important. People matter rather than getting all these things done in our lives. Really, it's taking the time to make people feel that they matter.
Well, that's all we have really when we leave, is the relationships we have with people.
Nikki Sue 36:05
Those were great, great examples. I love your parents.
My parents, it was tithing. I can always remember the tithing check being pinned to the corkboard, maybe waiting till some money was in the account. I don't know. I didn't ask questions. No, I'm just kidding. I just always remember it was being pinned there. That was always a vivid visual example to me that my parents paid their tithing so I will pay my tithing.
I love that President Joy D. Jones said in April 2017 conference, "Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate." Yeah, they did. I hope I'm doing a decent job.
Well, here comes the parental guilt verses.
Yep, here we go. Yep, so let's talk about these. Section 68 verses 25 through 31. It's the only parenting guide that we have from God that He's given to His children.
Nikki Sue, as an empty nester, would you please share your insights on these verses with us? I want to know what your thoughts are.
Nikki Sue 37:00
After my husband died, probably I think it was four years later, I remarried. I had the one child, he had five children. I said I would never marry anyone with more than three children. And so we blended this family.
So we were reading last night and we were kind of laughing because we were thinking, "Oh, you know, you have your natural family, you know, your own children. But now try blending two families together—a whole other story and topic."
In our situation, we have some children that have chosen to take different life paths in their lives. And sometimes you do feel that guilt, like what did we do? And we didn't do this and this. But I found this quote, can I share it with you? It's from President Kimball. Because this is what helped me in my life.
He says this: "I have sometimes seen children of good families rebel, resist, stray, sin, and even actually fight God. In this they bring sorrow to their parents, who have done their best to set in motion. But I have repeatedly seen many of these same children, after years of wandering, mellow, realize what they have been missing, repent, and make great contribution to the spiritual life of their community. The reason I believe this can take place is that despite all the adverse winds to which these people have been subjected, they have been influenced still more, and much more than they realized, by the current of life in their homes in which they were reared."
When I read that, it brings me some peace and comfort. But I've realized too, that all our job to do as a parent is to love, because Heavenly Father, He loves them 100 times more than we do.
In fact, there have been times when I have said, "Help me to love this child. Help me to love this child as much as you do. Help me to see the goodnes that you see in them, because I'm about to lose it!"
Well, in these verses, I think for me, these verses, I want to say, lowered the bar. It didn't really lower the bar, it just made it reachable. Because sometimes as a parent, you have this really high bar of everything you're going to teach your child and the Lord is pretty specific. He's like, "Nah, here's all you have to teach them." In fact, He says, here's what I'm holding you accountable for, are these teachings in 25 through 31. So just name it right now some of the teachings. What are things that you marked in there that we're supposed to teach our kids?
Teach them about repentance.
Nikki Sue 39:12
Understand the doctrine of repentance, have faith in the Christ, the Living God.
Verse 25 is the Article of Faith number 4. And that it should be done when you're eight years old. I love that.
Nikki Sue 39:23
I like in 28 that we teach them to pray and to walk uprightly before the Lord.
What does that mean?
Nikki Sue 39:29
I was thinking about that.
Well, with your head held high, you know, you're a decent citizen, you're living a decent life. You're being nice to people. You can stand before the Lord and say like, "Look, I didn't hurt people. I didn't, you know, commit crimes. I wasn't a horrible human being."
I like the connection it has with the verses ahead of it because it speaks a lot about repentance.
We talked about this a couple of weeks ago when our guest said that, "Repentance isn't part of the plan, it's the only plan." That is what we should be teaching is repentance. And that is what it looks like, to walk uprightly before the Lord, just to have a clear conscience. They're not going to be perfect. But you definitely are trying.
That's what I really think it is, is to teach your kids, especially now. Because I look at my nieces and their lives are so different than our lives were when we were in school. The pressures we put on those kids, just scholastically alone, is almost unbearable.
They can't believe when I tell them like, "I found out my grade when that little report card came in the mail. I didn't check it every night. My parents didn't see it every night. We could use whiteout and fake that thing easy. (Laughter)
Nikki Sue 40:38
Or go get the mail, right?
But if they really understand you do not have to be perfect. There is a Savior who atoned for you. His grace makes up any that you lack. It doesn't matter if you do something bad—there's repentance. And I think as a parent, the one thing you want your kids to do is come to you and talk to you about that stuff. You want to have that open relationship with them that they know, not only can they go to the Lord, but they can go to you and that you're just a human being doing it too. And you need repentance.
Because you've shared your story.
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.
You were once a kid. Your parents were trying to teach you these things. Yeah.
Nikki Sue 41:25
I think too, like, letting them know, even now, I still make mistakes as a parent. There's been many times I've had to go apologize to my children and say, "You know what, I was wrong. I was wrong in how I reacted or what I said, and I'm human. I make mistakes."
It helps them have grace for others., too. I mean in this day of social media, it helps them have grace for other people.
Well, this conversation, it struck me when I read verse 30 because I wonder if that's what it's talking about. That the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their labors. I wonder if that's part of it, remembering the stupid stuff we do, acknowledging like, "I wasn't great today as a parent, I apologize. I probably could have done this better." Or sharing your stories throughout the day remembering your labors. I think, maybe that's part of it, more so than just work hard. But just remembering what you do, and how you're doing it and being that example for your kids.
I like to work hard part too, because it seems like, you're gonna mess up but we just keep going. And it goes back to that other verse in 67, where it says don't look back, we're going forward. We made a mistake, this happened. Nice try McLellin. You messed up, but now let's go forward. And I think that really applies to parents. Because I know so many moms, especially, that have so much parental guilt.
Nikki Sue 42:47
And I think it's really difficult, too in our day and age, you know, social media. "My family's doing this, and we're doing this." Then you start getting the guilt, like, "Oh, my gosh, I should have done this or why I'm not doing this." It's in your face more.
You know, it was interesting to me as I was reading this, that of all the 10 commandments He could have included, the one He chose to include is in verse 29:
"And the inhabitants of Zion shall also observe to keep the Sabbath day holy."
He could have chosen any one of the 10, but that's the one that He's saying, make sure your kids know how to keep the Sabbath day holy because I think that, again, puts that focus on God and walking uprightly before him and remembering our labors. Thinking about what you did throughout the week, and then on Sunday, let's just get rid of it. Like you said, Jalyn, with William McLellin. Let's move on now. Give repentance, take the sacrament, and let's move on. And he perfectly sums us up in verse 31, all of us. I love this verse. Nikki Sue, will you read verse 31?
Nikki Sue 43:37
"31 Now, I, the Lord, am not well pleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are idlers among them; and their children are also growing up in wickedness; they also seek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of greediness.
If you just nail us with that one.
Yeah. Again, God's not Santa Claus here to grant your every wish and desire. He's here to help you get to eternity. And that's what we need to be focusing on and laboring towards.
Well, and I said moving into this episode, that you don't have to be a parent to appreciate these verses. And I thought of you specifically, Jalyn, just like you shared. You have a lot of nieces and nephews, and I asked you this question earlier. Is there a specific story where you were able to teach any of these principles to a niece or a nephew?
It's funny, so the minute you asked me that, I texted them all. And I was like, "Huh? Have I ever shared the doctrine with you?" And they're like, "Oh, yeah, yeah, all the time." And I'm like, "Well, did it help? What did I do?" And they're like, "Well, we don't remember, but it always helped." (laughter)
I can remember talking to them about different doctrinal things, especially like things with the Word of Wisdom. Something came up in one of my niece's Seminary classes that I was kind of like, "Hmm, I don't really think that's what the Doctrine and Covenants is saying.
But looking back, I don't know that any one of them, the nieces that I was most involved with, I don't know that any one of them really consider themselves members of the church anymore. They're kind of like, Nikki Sue has kids that, you know, kind have done a different path. But they are the kindest, most decent human beings that are so loving and so accepting of other people, that even though they do have problems with organized religion, they do walk uprightly before the Lord.
So your job as the parent is to, and influencers in their life, is to plant the seeds. But everybody's on their own mission. Everybody has their own purpose. And your job is to just support and love exactly what Nikki Sue said. But know it's their journey and it's in God's hands.
And I love that you just applied all of this to planting seeds, because if you look at those verses, I think each verse is an important seed. There's not that many. I think sometimes we get overwhelmed thinking, If we don't plan a full-fledged, full-blown garden by the time they're eight, we have failed as parents. And the Lord's like, nope, you just need these little seeds right here. That's what I'm holding you accountable for and just do that. I just love these verses.
Well, great discussion. Well, thank you so much, ladies. Thank you.
So moving on to Section 69, which is so short and interesting, in that at first read, you may wonder why would they even include this section. But I'm going to tell you from personal experience that there is some wisdom in the Lord's advice to the two men that Section 69 was given to. And I cannot wait to tell you the story that happened to me 15 years ago.
Segment 5 46:42
True story. Fifteen years ago, I was in charge of a HUGE annual fundraiser for the homeless here in Salt Lake. Over 1,000 people attended this, it's called the big annual Chili Affair. And the event was very successful. They also had a huge auction as well as a silent auction—just the who's who of Utah would donate things, so it's a very big deal.
And the next day after the event was over, we cleaned everything up, I got a phone call from the director of the homeless shelter, asking where the bag of donations and money and receipts was. And I was like, "Excuse me, come again?" He's like, "Yeah, we can't find the bag that you were supposed to be in charge of."
I did not know where the bag was! Talk about a panic attack! I got in my car, I drove down to the homeless shelter, and I started going through boxes and everything and it never was found. We could not find it. I mean, they had to reach out to everybody who had donated and say, "Cancel your checks, cancel credit cards. Are you willing to re-donate? Do you remember how much you donated?" I mean, it was a huge fiasco. And I, yeah, I was sick.
Here's an interesting part of the story is that last year, the shelter closed, and it was demolished. And I got a phone call saying, "Hey, come on down. We're gonna just say goodbye to the shelter and you were a big part of the shelter. So are you willing to come to this goodbye meeting?" I'm like, "You bet. I'll swallow my pride even though I think everyone hates me."
And so I went to that event. And as I walked in the door, one of the older directors met me, who was with me during the Chili Affair, and she says, "You're not going to believe what we found. They found the bag in a box full of memorabilia, where it had no business being. I mean, I must have looked like I saw a ghost. I was freaking out.
Vindicated after all these years! (laughter)
Nikki Sue 48:33
I was like, "I knew I wasn't a thief!" (laughter)
But you know what? Section 69 is all about making sure you have someone to have your back. If I had had a second a person in charge of this bag? That's the whole purpose of Section 69. That's what this is all about.
Oliver Cowdery was in charge of taking all of the revelations, the manuscript they've agreed on for the Doctrine and Covenants, as well as money for the printing. And he was supposed to take that with him to Missouri. And so the Lord's like, you know what, we'd better have someone go with him. There's safety in numbers. And I think we even see that in the church today, we're like, why do we have to have two-deep leadership? Section 69. And so we have verses 1 and 2 where the Lord just states this right here. I could have used verses 1 and 2 fifteen years ago. Jalyn, will you read that for me?
"1 Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servant Oliver Cowdery's sake. It is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the monies which he shall carry unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who will be true and faithful.
"2 Wherefore, I, the Lord will that my servant, John Whitmer, should go with my servant Oliver Cowdery;
And He's not saying that Oliver Cowdery's sketchy,
But I wonder if Oliver Cowdery thought that. What are you saying? You need someone to be true and faithful, like I'm not true and faithful?
I think he's saying, let's choose another man that we can trust, because we're trusting Oliver Cowdery to take these sacred things. So who's someone else that can join him? I feel like that's the whole purpose of Section 69 is to just teach us that principle. So when we complain about having two-deep leadership, well, there's wisdom in that, for sure.
Oh, I just think there's wisdom of that in life. Say you're running a shelter event. You know what I mean, like, so the Lord directed Whitmer, John Whitmer, to travel and collect historical materials as the church historian, like, where are those? Can I just find those on the interwebs now? Where's that?
Great question. You can find them in <i>The Joseph Smith Papers<i>. In fact, there are several things that we have read in John Whitmer's written history that can't be found anywhere else. And we have cited some of those in a couple of revelations we've discussed. So that's a great question. Yeah, we actually have them. You can find them in <i>The History of the Church<i>, and then you can find them in <i>Joseph Smith Papers<i>.
Okay. Do we have a church historian now?
That's a great question, Jalyn. Let's Google it. Look it up right now. Who's our church historian today? I don't know that we have one main one.
Elder LeGrand Curtis, Jr. was appointed in 2019, previously filled by Elder Stephen E. Snow of the 70.
Good job, Jalyn. I love that.
What do they do?
Well, here's what they were supposed to do in verse 8. This is kind of cool. Go back to Section 69, verse 8, and go and ahead that Nikki Sue.
Nikki Sue 51:15
"8 Preaching and expounding, writing, copying, selecting, and obtaining all things which shall be for the good of the church, and for the rising generations that shall grow up on the land of Zion, to possess it from generation to generation, forever and ever. Amen."
Amen. I like that, for the rising generations, that's us! We are benefiting from it.
That's awesome. Which I thought was interesting when we read these sections. The saints, like, they voted to publish the Book of Commandments, but the people sitting there didn't really have the benefit of them. It makes total sense of like, here they are this fledgling church, and they don't even really have this piece of it.
And we do. And then the witnesses we shared. Look how much good has come from this and studying it this year.
Nikki Sue 52:03
To me and my life, I thought, "I have got to do better doing a journal." You know what I mean? And just, you know, some of your journals, you'd say, I might burn this little bit.
I have friends on stand-by.
Nikki Sue 52:18
But I think that, you know, our younger generation, and even our posterity, need to see the hard things we went through. I love reading journals of my ancestors. And I wish there were more. Yeah, I wish we had more stories of what they went through. So maybe the Lord is telling us again in here, the benefits.
Oh, I'm sure, yeah.
Well I like what you just said, Nikki Sue, about writing a journal. And I like in verse 3, how it says ". . . all the important things, which ye shall observe," and I'm thinking, boy, I probably should write a journal of all the important things. I wish I'd known better how to write a journal when I was writing journals. Because mostly, they're just complaining journals. And, uh, I could work on that.
The title for Section 69 is "A sacred trust and records." So you can write that, the sacred trust they got for the records that they were taking. And I think that's pretty cool. So thank you, great discussion. Love that. Here's this section 69 and you're like, why is this in here? And look how applicable it was, good stuff.
Okay, so in the last segment, we're going to discuss a word that can be both a blessing and a burden. It just depends on us.
Segment 6 53:29
Here's a pretty common word in our religion: stewardship. Now, what exactly does this mean to you? What comes to mind? What do you think when you hear stewardship?
I mean, instantly, where much has been given, much is expected, like we have been blessed with stuff and we need to be righteous and taking care of that.
Nikki Sue 53:50
Responsibility. You know, I love what Jalyn said.
This is a fun definition; it's from lds.org. And when you look up the word stewardship, I like this. Nikki Sue will you read this for us?
Nikki Sue 54:01
"Stewardship in the church is the responsibility to administer or attend to the assignments one receives in a calling, or to take care of those things with which we are blessed from God, including families, neighbors, and even temporal blessings."
Perfect. So you guys summed up that definition excellently. That was really, really good. So did you notice how many times that word was said in Section 70, stewardship? In fact, the title for Section 70 is "Stewardships." It's kind of a fun word to say, stewardships, stewardships. Here we go.
So we're going to be introduced to one of the first stewardships that's mentioned in the Doctrine and Covenants. And the people who are a part of this stewardship is found in verse 1. Let's just highlight the names of all these men. We have Joseph Smith, Martin Harris, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, and also W.W. Phelps.
And let's look at what their stewardship was. Verse 3 and 4, we have that the Lord is appointed unto them to be stewards over the revelations and the commandments, and that they have to give an account of this stewardship. But when it says these revelations and commandments, what this really means is that it's the first scripture committee of the church. And the name they gave themselves was the Literary Firm. How cool is that? So I just wrote next to the outside of that, Literary Firm.
Now, in 1972, this is a long time ago. I mean, I was like one. I found this talk by our Prophet, he was Elder at the time, Elder Nelson, but he gave a talk in an Area Conference in Manchester, England, titled "The Five A's of Stewardship."
Here are the five A's: Acknowledge, Author, Accomplishment, Accountability, and Approbation. I'm gonna say those again for you. Just go ahead and just write them down. They are acknowledge author, accomplishment, accountability, and approbation.
And I really liked this talk as I was reading Section 70 because I found examples of each one of these words in this section. And I want to show it to you, it's so cool. I found the first two words just in verses 1 through 3, this is so cool. By reading these three verses, we can acknowledge that it's the Lord who's speaking, and that we are His children. And then in verse 3, he literally says, "I the LORD," making him the author, this is so cool.
So I've written the words, "Acknowledge," and "Author" to the outside of verses 1 through 3.
So to me instead of author, like, He's the one appointing them.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, Jalyn, I'm so glad you asked that. I love that you pointed that out. That's good.
The next word is Accomplishment. So bracket off verses 5 through 14, and write the word, "Accomplishment" to the outside. Now in these verses, the Lord is giving instruction to the men about what they need to know and how they're going to accomplish this stewardship.
And then we have the next word, which is "Accountability." And that's verse 4 and, Jalyn, will you read verse 4 for us?
"4 And an account of the stewardship will I require of them in the day of judgment."
And that is the truth for all of us; He will require, meaning he will ask us to explain or talk about what we did with our stewardship while we were here on earth.
So then we have the, "Approbation," which is the reward for faithful stewardship. And you can mark verses 12 through 15. But I love 15 the most; this is the reward for the accomplishment of our stewardship. I'll read that.
"15 Now, this commandment I give into my servants for their benefit while they remain, for a manifestation of my blessings upon their heads and for a reward of their diligence and for their security;"
I think that's great, just the blessings on our heads and the things we'll receive for fulfilling our stewardship.
Here's what Elder Cook had to say about stewardship. I want us to think about this in our own lives, like what does stewardship look like for each of us. And Jalyn, will you read this quote by Elder Cook?
"We live in perilous times when many believe we are not accountable to God and that we do not have personal responsibility or stewardship for ourselves or others. Many in the world are focused on self-gratification, put themselves first and the pleasure more than they love righteousness. They do not believe they are their brother's keeper. In the church. However, we believe that these stewardships are a sacred trust. In the church stewardship is not limited to temporal trust or responsibility. President Spencer W. Kimball taught, 'We are stewards over our bodies, minds, families and properties.' A faithful steward is one who exercises righteous dominion, cares for his own, and looks to the poor and needy."
So tell me about this quote then and your experience with stewardship.
Nikki Sue 58:39
I think what I like about this too, it's just having our eyes open to anyone that needs not only temporal help, but a spiritual help, friendship. And that can be anyone that we come in contact with, our neighbors who may not be members of our church, or the people that we work with. But it's always keeping in mind of how we can help them feel the love of God in their lives.
I think too, when our society you know, we're kind of individualistic, but we're not just responsible for ourselves. We are our brother's keeper. The fact that we've been blessed with our body, our minds, our families, and our properties, like, that's a huge responsibility that these are all gifts from God and not just your God-given right because you landed here on the planet. Like, we're gonna have to answer for what we did and for how we acted.
Nikki Sue 59:41
I think too, Jalyn, is what you're talking about is we are very blessed. We've been blessed so it's being able to give what we've been blessed with to someone else. Because we're all different circumstances.
And I wanted to take this back to how we began, when I asked you to think about a difficult time in your life, or maybe it's currently. Whatever it is. And I wanted to know, were you a benefactor of somebody else's stewardship during that time? And what did that look like for you?
Nikki Sue 1:00:10
I think that it is so easy. Well, not easy. It's easier to give than receive. But I've also thought part of stewardship is being able to be served. Because we're always like, "Oh, I'm fine, I don't need anything, I'm okay, I'll figure it out." But really, it's the benefit of you being able to be humble enough to be able to be served and to be the recipient of a stewardship.
Nikki, is there a specific one that you remember when you lost your husband?
Nikki Sue 1:00:39
Yeah, I lost my husband and people just want to help. You know, they don't know what to say, but they just want to help because they feel so bad. And even with my daughter, like, childcare. "Can I come get your daughter?" "No, I'm fine, I can take care of it."
I just remember this little older lady that was in our ward. And she rang my doorbell. And I went to the door, I opened the door, and she was standing there with some funeral potatoes. And she just said, "I didn't know what else I could do. I know how to cook. And I just felt like I could just give you something to eat." And it was just so sweet and generous. She just wanted to help. But I kind of had to swallow my pride just a little bit to no, I'll take it. I can do it. I don't need about it, but I'll take it. You know what I mean? Just thinking you're so strong. But yeah.
Oh, that sweet lady.
To me, like, what a gift you gave to her, especially as women and especially as mothers, you're so used to taking care of everybody, right? And when your kids leave the house and go, you kind of want to mother people and like, she was doing it in the best way she could. And it's such a gift to let another woman mother you. That is amazing.
Nikki Sue 1:01:51
And I think too, to be willing to share with people that you are struggling and you know what I mean? Like, again, I come across of like, I'm fine. I don't need anything. But again, you don't know the blessings that you could be to somebody else by them being able to help you.
Yeah. Well, Jalyn, I want to know about you. Because if anyone's good at saying I'm fine, it's a single gal. Because we should be able to be fine. We have nothing to worry about. But I'm wondering, have you benefited from someone's stewardship?
That's so funny. I know, cuz even as Nikki's saying it, I'm like, well I don't. I'm horrible at that. And my mom's horrible at it. So, you know, we can learn to be horrible at it. But yeah, absolutely.
And I think it's typically from people who don't even know they're being a steward. It's just those little miracles and divine blessings that come through when people don't even know they're doing it. They're just being their natural human self. If someone will just text out of the blue, and at the beginning of COVID, when you invited me over to partake of the sacrament? Those little teeny tiny things, that if you are walking uprightly before God, you're going to be led to the people who need it. And it's just the little things of putting people first, as Nikki said, putting people first.
Thank you Jalyn for sharing that. And in this quote when President Kimball says, "We are stewards over our bodies, minds, families and properties." It just made me think, it made me go back to Section 67 where we started. He's heard your prayers, He knows your desires, and His eyes are upon you. And then guess what. He does. He has stewards. He's like, And you know what, I got people. I got people, I know a guy, and I'm going to help take care of you that way.
I think one of the most beautiful things about the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Restoration is the restoration of this knowledge about stewardships. That's one of the best things about this organized religion, Jalyn, going back to you comment, is that we have been organized into a ward family, a group of people who are going to have each other's backs. And that's how the Lord's going to answer people's prayers. That's how He's going to know our desires, and His eyes are upon us, and He's going to take care of us that way through each other. So, I think it's kind of cool how it started with that, and now we're ending with stewardships and what that looks like in our lives. So thank you. Thank you, both of you for your comments. So good.
Thanks for having us.
Nikki Sue 1:04:08
Thank you, great.
That's the end of our discussion today, so thank you, oh! So gather your thoughts and share with me what your takeaway was?
Nikki Sue 1:04:16
I'm just thinking how grateful I am to be part of the church and organized religion,who really, you know, their central focus is stewardship. I just had the story of my cousin and his wife, it's been probably six or seven years ago, went to Hawaii for their honeymoon. And they were there for a week. And their last stop was in a Oahu. Then they were going to the airport to fly home. So they got on their swimming suits. They put all their luggage in their car, because they were gonna jump in the ocean. So they get in, they swim around for an hour, they come out, car got broken into. Stole all their luggage, wallets, phones, everything was gone.
And they were like, "We don't know anyone here on this island. What to do?" My cousin found someone there. I don't know how, but anyway, he found a bishop in one of the wards and just called him and said, "This is our predicament." Because they'd lost like airline tickets, everything, they couldn't get home. And so the bishop helped them be able to get some clothes and get a ticket home.
Anyway, I thought, "Where would you do that? What a blessing it is to be part of this and knowing anywhere that you go that there's a steward over you." That's really what we're seeing the Doctrine and Covenants has continued to establish the church in this dispensation.
That's great takeaway, Nikki Sue, thank you.
You know, if that would have happened to me, I would have been like, "Oh, I'm saved! God has listened to my prayers. I'm meant to stay in Hawaii and sell flip flops on the beach. I'm DONE!"
Nikki Sue 1:05:47
Well, her wedding ring, even got stolen; their wedding rings. That was the other thing. Everything got stollen out of their car!
I'd have been like, "This is a sign. I'm supposed to live on the beach."
For sure. Yeah. God did hear my prayers.
He KNOWS the desires of my heart.
Nikki Sue 1:06:03
I won't have jump. Here, I have to do it!
Okay, so my takeaways, I have a couple. So the biggest one probably being, you said, Tamara, God is a God of second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth chances. We see these men who are just trying to figure it all out. And God is just guiding them through the process through the whole way. And how he is willing to work with us where we're at.
But then the second thing, it does come down to stewardship, because even before when I was preparing this and writing down all the headings, stewardship is a huge part of the Doctrine and Covenants and a repeated theme. And it really struck me that last quote, when it says, ". . . we're a steward of our bodies and our minds," and that we're going to have to answer for that. Especially in your mind, and how like, your mind can control and say nasty, evil things about yourself to you. We'll have to answer for those thoughts. And I could imagine a parent, or even a friend saying to you, like, "Why would you say those? Like, I would never talk about you that way." So standing before God and having him say, "That's not who I made. You cannot think that way."
Oh, that's good. Cuz I'm thinking you would never say those kinds of things to your friend that you were steward over. As a minister, you'd never say that to a woman you take care of. But, boy, you're relentless when it comes to yourself.
Nikki Sue 1:07:30
That's good. I like that. Well, that was good. That might be my takeaway.
I mean, and then I would have to say my for sure takeaway was when you guys shared with me your witness of the Doctrine and Covenants. Because as you were both speaking the spirit witnessed to me that what you were saying was true. And it was just a good feeling like, yeah, this is true, what they are saying is true. And I'm grateful for both of you having a witness of the Doctrine and Covenants in your own life and studying it. So thank you for sharing that. That was powerfu!
So thanks, ladies. I love you. What a great day. Well, 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 or following us on Instagram, just go do it. Seriously, it's so great, because then you can ask questions and see what other questions people are asking. Then at the end of the week, on Sunday, we do a call for what your big takeaway was, so comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson, and let us know what you learned. I read them all ,and it's my favorite part of Sunday.
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 have the links to all the references as well as a complete transcript of this entire discussion. So go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Desert Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall and today our really great study group participants were Nikki Sue Baldwin Larkin, and Jalyn Peterson. And you can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. Our podcast is produced by Katy 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, behold! Dude! Remember, you are God's favorite.
Wait, you guys are old enough. The minute you said rising generation, (sings) "We are the rising generation, risin' high, risin' high"!
Remember the balloons aloft?
Nikki Sue 1:09:29
I sang that the other day and my sisters were like, "What are you talking about?" I'm like, "You don't remember when we went to that field and we released the balloons and did the whole thing?"
Nikki Sue 1:09:39
Yep. Know what you mean.
Thank you. Thank you Nikki Sue.
Nikki Sue 1:09:42
I'm there with you. Young Women, I was there.
Janice Kapp Perry, all the way.
For sure. For sure.
Transcribed by Jenee Uzelac
- Hebrew: Behold = Listen up
Title for Section 67: "Scripture, Language of Revelations"
3 Ye endeavored to abelieve that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were bfears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive (Doctrine and Covenants 67:3).
- The Blessing: "It appears the Lord had promised a special experience to these elders in connection with the Book of Commandments that would be similar to the experiences granted the Three Witnesses and Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon (compare v. 10). Though they did not receive a special manifestation at this time, they would still be eligible in the future to have the veil parted and to see the Lord (see v. 13)" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 67," Deseret Book).
The Lord's Testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants:
The Lord's challenge to the Elders who thought they could write revelation better than Joseph Smith:
"Having failed to receive what was offered in order to make their testimonies of the revelations certain, the Lord proposed an alternative means for accomplishing this. The proposed experiment was simple: If human talent could make a revelation as convincing as one of Joseph's, then prove it. Make one. But if with all your education you can't do it, then testify there is more involved here than mere human talent.
When William McLellin, with the help of the others present, then failed to write anything that sounded convincingly like a revelation from God, the issue was settled. Unaided by the Spirit, not even the brightest among them could write a convincing revelation, even though they knew themselves to be much better writers than Joseph Smith (see v. 5). They could write the words, but they could not put the Spirit into them. Of this they could testify without a doubt" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 67," Deseret Book).
What happened as a result of the Lord's challenge and William McLellin's failed attempt (see the Introduction page of the Doctrine and Covenants):
TESTIMONY OF THE
TWELVE APOSTLES TO THE TRUTH OF THE
BOOK OF DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
The Testimony of the Witnesses to the Book of the Lord’s Commandments, which commandments He gave to His Church through Joseph Smith, Jun., who was appointed by the voice of the Church for this purpose:
We, therefore, feel willing to bear testimony to all the world of mankind, to every creature upon the face of the earth, that the Lord has borne record to our souls, through the Holy Ghost shed forth upon us, that these commandments were given by inspiration of God, and are profitable for all men and are verily true.
We give this testimony unto the world, the Lord being our helper; and it is through the grace of God the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ, that we are permitted to have this privilege of bearing this testimony unto the world, in the which we rejoice exceedingly, praying the Lord always that the children of men may be profited thereby.
The names of the Twelve were:
- Thomas B. Marsh
- David W. Patten
- Brigham Young
- Heber C. Kimball
- Orson Hyde
- William E. McLellin
- Parley P. Pratt
- Luke S. Johnson
- William Smith
- Orson Pratt
- John F. Boynton
- Lyman E. Johnson
- Section 1 was received during this time and the Doctrine and Covenants were ratified.
Quote: "This Doctrine and Covenants contains the word of God to those who dwell here now. . . . More precious than gold, the Prophet says we should treasure it more than the riches of the whole earth. I wonder if we do? If we value it, understand it, and know what it contains, we will value it more than wealth; it is worth more to us than the riches of the earth” (Doctrines of Salvation, ed. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 3:199).
14 Let not your minds aturn back; and when ye are bworthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 67:14).
Title for Section 68: "How Scripture Is Made; Bishopric, Parents"
1 My servant, Orson Hyde, was called by his ordination to proclaim the aeverlasting gospel, by the bSpirit of the living God, from people to people, and from land to land, in the ccongregations of the wicked, in their dsynagogues, reasoning with and eexpounding all scriptures unto them (Doctrine and Covenants 68:1).
Orson Hyde's grave in Spring City, Utah
How Doctrine and Covenants 68:1 was fulfilled:
"The prophecy in this verse was literally fulfilled. Orson Hyde proclaimed the gospel ';from people to people, from land to land.' In 1832, he and Samuel H. Smith traveled in the States of New York, Massachusetts, Maine, and Rhode Island—two thousand miles—on foot. In 1835 he was ordained an apostle, and in 1837 he went on a mission to England. In 1840 he was sent on a mission to Jerusalem. He crossed the Ocean, traveled through England and Germany, visited Constantinople, Cairo, and Alexandria, and, finally, reached the Holy City. On October 24th, 1841, he went up on the Mount of Olives and offered a prayer, dedicating Palestine for the gathering of the Jews" (Smith and Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary, 409).
4 And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the aHoly Ghost shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the bpower of God unto salvation (Doctrine and Covenants 68:3–4).
- Scripture = Word of God
6 Wherefore, be of good acheer, and do not bfear, for I the Lord am with you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I cwas, that I am, and that I am to come (Doctrine and Covenants 68:6).
Presiding Bishop and Literal Descendant of Aaron:
- Bishopric = Presiding Bishop
Current Presiding Bishopric:
Presiding Bishop: Bishop Gérald Caussé
First Counselor: Bishop Christopher Waddell
Second Counselor: Bishop L. Todd Budge
Duties of a Presiding Bishopric:
"Like other General Authorities, members of the Presiding Bishopric travel frequently to meet with and teach members of the Church throughout the world. When they are not traveling, they counsel with other Church leaders regarding the Young Men program and temporal matters such as tithing and fast offerings, welfare programs, humanitarian service, building projects, and much more" ("Presiding Bishopric," ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
Who was Aaron?
Aaron was the older brother of Moses. He was Moses's spokesman and was given the Levitical priesthood (see "Aaron, Brother of Moses," ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
Hebrew: Emunah = The Hebrew word for faith. It means to be firm and steadfast. Its root is Aman, meaning to support.
12 But Moses’ hands awere heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur bstayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun (Exodus 17:12).
- Steady = Emunah
"It was the firm and steadfast support of Aaron and Hur who held Moses' arms, not the support of Moses, that allowed Israel to win the battle. When we say, "I have faith in God," maybe instead we could think about it this way, "I will do what I can to firmly support God." James taught that faith without works is dead, and so doing what God asks is what gives us our faith in Him (James 2:14-26). Now, it wasn’t so much my faith in God that is called into question, but my faith in a more divisive, complex, and uncertain being." —Tammy Uzelac Hall
Aaron and his descendants being chosen by the Lord for the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood:
8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds (Numbers 17:8).
How a descendant of Aaron could become a presiding bishop:
20 And a literal descendant of Aaron, also, must be designated by this Presidency, and found worthy, and aanointed, and ordained under the hands of this Presidency, otherwise they are not legally authorized to officiate in their priesthood (Doctrine and Covenants 68:20).
- Presidency = First Presidency
Quote: "Children are great imitators, so give them something great to imitate" (Sister Joy D. Jones, "Raising a Sin Resistant Generation," April 2017 general conference).
Doctrine and Covenants 68:25–31: Parental Advice Verses
Quote: "I have sometimes seen children of good families rebel, resist, stray, sin, and even eventually fight God. In this they bring sorrow to their parents, who have done their best to set in movement a current and to teach and live as examples. But I have repeatedly seen many of these same children, after years of wandering, mellow, realize what they have been missing, repent, and make great contribution to the spiritual life of their community. The reason I believe this can take place is that, despite all the adverse winds to which these people have been subjected, they have been influenced still more, and much more than they realized, by the current of life in the homes in which they were reared" (President Spencer W. Kimball, "Ocean Currents and Family Influences," January 1984 Ensign).
What God wants parents to teach their children:
25 And again, inasmuch as aparents have children in Zion, or in any of her bstakes which are organized, that cteach them not to understand the ddoctrine of repentance, faith in Christ the Son of the living God, and of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, when eeight years old, the fsin be upon the heads of the parents (Compare to Article of Faith 4) (Doctrine and Covenants 68:25).
30 And the inhabitants of Zion also shall remember their alabors, inasmuch as they are appointed to labor, in all faithfulness; for the bidler shall be had in remembrance before the Lord (Doctrine and Covenants 68:30).
31 Now, I, the Lord, am not well apleased with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are bidlers among them; and their cchildren are also growing up in dwickedness; they also eseek not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of fgreediness (Doctrine and Covenants 68:31).
Title for Section 69: "A Sacred Trust; Records"
Background for section 69:
"Sometime between 3–12 November 1831, during the series of special conferences and meetings held at the home of John Johnson in Hiram, Joseph also received Doctrine and Covenants 69, which directed John Whitmer to be a traveling companion for Oliver Cowdery. Joseph Smith stated, "The Book of Commandments and Revelations was to be dedicated by prayer to the service of Almighty God by me; and after I had done this, I inquired of the Lord concerning these things, and received the following"2 —Doctrine and Covenants 69" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 69," Deseret Book).
1 Hearken unto me, saith the Lord your God, for my servant Oliver Cowdery’s sake. It is not wisdom in me that he should be entrusted with the commandments and the moneys which he shall acarry unto the land of Zion, except one go with him who will be btrue and faithful.
2 Wherefore, I, the Lord, will that my servant, John Whitmer, should go with my servant Oliver Cowdery; (Doctrine and Covenants 69:1–2).
What John Whitmer was supposed to do on their journey:
7 Nevertheless, let my servant John Whitmer travel many times from place to place, and from church to church, that he may the more easily obtain knowledge—
8 Preaching and expounding, writing, copying, selecting, and obtaining all things which shall be for the good of the church, and for the rising generations that shall grow up on the land of Zion, to apossess it from generation to generation, forever and ever. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 69:7–8).
Current Church Historian: Elder Legrand Curtis Jr. of the Seventy
Title for Section 70: "Stewardships"
"Stewardship in the Church is the responsibility to administer or attend to the assignments one receives in a calling or to take care of those things with which we are blessed from God, including families, neighbors, and even temporal blessings" ("Stewardship," ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Who God called to a stewardship:
1 Behold, and hearken, O ye inhabitants of Zion, and all ye people of my church who are afar off, and ahear the word of the Lord which I give unto my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and also unto my servant Martin Harris, and also unto my servant Oliver Cowdery, and also unto my servant John Whitmer, and also unto my servant Sidney Rigdon, and also unto my servant bWilliam W. Phelps, by the way of commandment unto them (Doctrine and Covenants 70:1).
What this stewardship was:
3 I, the Lord, have appointed them, and ordained them to be astewards over the revelations and commandments which I have given unto them, and which I shall hereafter give unto them; (Doctrine and Covenants 70:3).
- Revelations and commandments = The first scripture committee known as the Literary Firm
The Five A's of Stewardship:
- Acknowledge: Verses 1–2
- Author: Verse 3
- Accomplishment: Verses 5–13
- Accountability: Verse 4
- Approbation 12–15
Quote: "We live in perilous times when many believe we are not accountable to God and that we do not have personal responsibility or stewardship for ourselves or others. Many in the world are focused on self-gratification, put themselves first, and love pleasure more than they love righteousness. They do not believe they are their brother’s keeper. In the Church, however, we believe that these stewardships are a sacred trust...In the Church, stewardship is not limited to a temporal trust or responsibility. President Spencer W. Kimball taught: “We are stewards over our bodies, minds, families, and properties. … A faithful steward is one who exercises righteous dominion, cares for his own, and looks to the poor and needy” (Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Stewardship—a Sacred Trust," October 2009 general conference).