27: "No Weapon That Is Formed against You Shall Prosper" (Doctrine and Covenants 71–75)
When a family member or friend leaves the Church, it can be a very heart-wrenching experience. It can also be difficult to know what to say or do in order to support them as they navigate life without the teachings of the gospel. This was the situation Joseph Smith faced throughout his life as close friends would sometimes leave and become antagonistic toward the Church. But in Doctrine and Covenants 71–75, we find invaluable counsel the Lord gives to Joseph Smith that can help us today as we seek to support and love those who have left the Church.
Joseph Smith Translation Background:
"While translating the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery found they held different views on the meaning of a passage in the Bible. They “mutually agreed to settle” the question “by the Urim and [Thummim].” As a result, Joseph received a revelation giving the translation of an account by the ancient disciple John, written on parchment but lost to history. This early experience seeking revelation that illuminated the text of a Bible passage was an important precedent. About a year later, during the summer of 1830, Joseph and Oliver received by revelation an account of visions experienced by Moses but not found in the Bible. This revelation marked the beginning of Joseph Smith’s efforts to prepare an inspired revision or translation of the Bible. For the next three years, Joseph worked on his “new translation of the Bible” with Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and other scribes, considering the project a “branch of [his] calling” as a prophet of God.1
"Joseph’s revisions fall into several categories. His early work on the translation resulted in long revealed passages that Joseph dictated to his scribes, much as he did when receiving the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants.2 These passages sometimes dramatically expanded the biblical text. The best-known example of this type of revision is found today in the book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. Joseph heavily revised some passages, such as Matthew 24, adding phrases, rearranging verses, and making other significant changes. He also made many smaller changes that improved grammar, clarified meaning, modernized language, corrected points of doctrine, or alleviated inconsistencies.
"Joseph proceeded from Genesis 1 through the Old Testament until a revelation in 1831 directed him to advance to the New Testament. Once finished with the New Testament, Joseph picked up where he left off in Genesis and completed his work on the entire project by July 1833. Joseph briefly considered translating the Apocrypha, a selection of books accepted as scripture by Catholic and Orthodox Christians but rejected by many Protestants. A revelation directed Joseph not to translate apocryphal writings.3
"Joseph Smith’s work on the Bible revision led to several revelations now contained in the Doctrine and Covenants. Perhaps the most dramatic of these occurred when Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon wondered how to interpret John 5:29, a passage mentioning the resurrection of the dead, and were blessed with a revelatory vision of the degrees of glory in the afterlife (D&C 76).4 Several similar episodes occurred during the process of revising the Bible, prompting revelations regarding Matthew 13; 1 Corinthians 7; and the Book of Revelation.5
"After Joseph Smith’s death, the Bible translation manuscripts remained with his wife Emma until she gave them to her son Joseph Smith III, who led the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Reorganized Church (now Community of Christ) published Joseph’s revisions in 1867 under the title The Holy Scriptures, Translated and Corrected by the Spirit of Revelation, but the volume quickly became known as the “Inspired Version of the Bible.”6 Brigham Young, then President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, expressed skepticism of the accuracy of the publication, having not had the chance to review the manuscript sources himself. Despite possessing a handwritten copy of some revision manuscripts, the Church under President Young’s direction, and for a century thereafter, did not publish an edition.7
"During the 1960s, RLDS scholar Richard P. Howard and LDS scholar Robert J. Matthews each studied the manuscripts to verify the accuracy of the published editions. The Reorganized Church granted The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints permission to publish excerpts as footnotes and endnotes in the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible. Continued research from this collaboration led to the publication of the complete Bible revision manuscripts in 2004 and again on the Joseph Smith Papers website.8 ("Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible," Church History Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Joseph Smith receiving section 76:
18 Now this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit.
Parable of the 10 Virgins:
- Footnote A: "JST Matt. 25:11 … Verily I say unto you, Ye know me not."
Hebrew: Kokaubeam = Star (see "Kokaubeam," Bible Dictionary, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
Title for Section 71: Special Missionary call to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon
Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon, at Hiram, Ohio, December 1, 1831. The Prophet had continued to translate the Bible with Sidney Rigdon as his scribe until this revelation was received, at which time it was temporarily laid aside so as to enable them to fulfill the instruction given herein. The brethren were to go forth to preach in order to allay the unfriendly feelings that had developed against the Church as a result of the publication of letters written by Ezra Booth, who had apostatized.
Quote: Ezra Booth wrote a ". . . series of letters, which, by their coloring, falsity, and vain calculations to overthrow the work of the Lord, exposed his [Booth’s] weakness, wickedness and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame, for the world to wonder at” (History of the Church, 1:216–17).
"Symonds Ryder, another disaffected member, gave copies of some of the revelations to another newspaper, attempting to discourage people from joining the Church" ("Lesson 75: Doctrine and Covenants 69–71," Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
The Lord calling Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on a mission:
1 Behold, thus saith the Lord unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in aproclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, expounding the bmysteries thereof out of the scriptures, according to that portion of Spirit and power which shall be given unto you, even as I will.
- People Sidney and Joseph were supposed to teach: The world and regions round about as well as members of the Church.
3 Verily this is a mission for a season, which I give unto you.
- "This was not a normal proselyting mission. It was a special call to improve public relations and build up the image of the Church in Ohio, which would last until the immediate problems were solved" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 71," Deseret Book).
4 Wherefore, alabor ye in my vineyard. Call upon the inhabitants of the earth, and bear record, and prepare the way for the commandments and revelations which are to come (Doctrine and Covenants 71:1–4).
Apostatized: "To abandon one's profession or church; to forsake principles or faith which one has professed; or the party to which one has been attached" (see Webster's 1828 Dictionary).
How Joseph and Sidney were to serve their mission (Exception to the Rule):
"It should be pointed out that this was not, and is not, the usual policy of the Church, and this course of action was undertaken at this time only under the explicit command of the Lord. Normally, there is no good reason to include or to invite the enemies of God to participate with us in the work of God. We are commanded to preach the gospel to the pure in heart—not to contend, argue, or debate with the impure in heart (see 3 Nephi 11:29–30).
"The Lord may, however, command exceptions as he will. In this case, it was the will of the Lord that Joseph and Sidney confront and confound those who were spreading ill will toward the Church" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 71," Deseret Book).
Wilderness v. Apostasy:
There are 348 references of the wilderness in scripture, 198 references of people going into the wilderness, and 39 references of going through the wilderness.
- Footnote B: JST Matt. 4:1 … to be with God.
Quote: “When we truly value and even love those who are ‘other’ in some way, God is there" (BYU psychology professor Brent Slife).
God is in charge:
Title for Section 72: Second Bishop; Stewardships
Background for section 72:
"After receiving a mission call on 1 December 1831, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 71, to preach the gospel and confound the enemies of the Church in Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith moved swiftly. "Knowing now the mind of the Lord, that the time had come that the Gospel should be proclaimed in power and demonstration to the world, from the Scriptures, reasoning with men as in days of old, I took a journey to Kirtland, in company with Elder Sidney Rigdon on the 3rd day of December, to fulfil the above revelation. On the 4th, several of the Elders and members assembled together to learn their duty, and for edification, and after some time had been spent in conversing about our temporal and spiritual welfare, I received the following"1 —Doctrine and Covenants 72.
"In Doctrine and Covenants 68:14, which had been received a month before this revelation, the Lord had indicated that "other bishops" besides Edward Partridge would be set apart in the future. The first eight verses of section 72 fulfill that promise by calling Newel K. Whitney to be the bishop of the Church in Kirtland. The second part of this revelation more fully explains the duties of the new bishop and also his relationship with the bishop in Zion. An early manuscript of section 72 in the handwriting of Joseph Smith and Frederick G. Williams indicates that verses 1–8 and 9–26 were revelations received separately on the same day and then joined together2" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 72," Deseret Book).
Calling of a second bishop (Verses 1–8):
- Vineyard = Ohio
8 And now, verily I say unto you, my servant Newel K. Whitney is the man who shall be appointed and ordained unto this power. This is the will of the Lord your God, your Redeemer. Even so. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 72:8).
Quote: “Newel K. Whitney, staggering under the weight of the responsibility that was about to be placed upon him, said to the Prophet: ‘Brother Joseph, I can’t see a Bishop in myself.’
“No, but God could see it in him, He was a natural Bishop—a first class man of affairs. Probably no other incumbent of that important office, the Presiding Bishopric, to which he eventually attained, has been better qualified for it than Newel K Whitney. But he could not see it, and he shrank from the responsibility, The Prophet said: ‘Go and ask the Lord about it,” And Newel did ask the Lord, and he heard a voice from heaven say: ‘Thy strength is in me.’ That was enough. He accepted the office and served in it faithfully to the end of his days—a period of eighteen years.” (Orson F. Whitney, in Conference Report, June 1919, 47-48. “The Aaronic Priesthood,” Contributor, Jan. 1885, 126).
Duties of a bishop (Verses 9–26):
- Keep the Lord's storehouse and funds (10)
- Give certificates of membership as a bishop or judge (17)
- Take an account of the elders (11)
11 To take an account of the elders as before has been commanded; and to aadminister to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay; (Doctrine and Covenants 72:11).
"The bishop interviews individual stewards and functions as an accountant or administrator in keeping track of their surpluses or their shortfalls. While the primary focus in this verse is financial, bishops properly monitor and note the progress, successes, and failures of their ward members in matters both temporal and spiritual" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 72," Deseret Book).
Other duties of bishops:
"An organization through which the Saints in the early days of the restored Church sought to live the law of consecration. Individuals shared property, goods, and profits, receiving these things according to their wants and needs (D&C 51:3; 78:1–15; 104)" ("United Order," Guide to the Scriptures, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
Law of Consecration:
"To dedicate, to make holy, or to become righteous. The law of consecration is a divine principle whereby men and women voluntarily dedicate their time, talents, and material wealth to the establishment and building up of God’s kingdom" ("Consecrate, Law of Consecration," Guide to the Scriptures, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
"Early in the Restoration, the Lord revealed the law of consecration and commanded the Saints to be united in all things—doctrinally, spiritually, socially, and economically. This law, they were told, would help them establish Zion upon the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom. The united order was instituted to help implement the principles of the law of consecration
"Within three years, however, the Lord chastened the Church for transgression and withdrew the practice of the united order from the Saints. (See D&C 105:2–6, 9–13, 27–37.) Although the united order was suspended, some aspects of the law of consecration remained.
"Aspects of the law of consecration that are active today were mentioned by President Marion G. Romney in general conference: “Full implementation of the united order must, according to the revelation, await the redemption of Zion. (See D&C 105:34.) In the meantime—while we are being more perfectly taught and are gaining experience—we should be strictly living the principles of the united order insofar as they are embodied in present Church requirements, such as tithing, fast offerings, welfare projects, storehouses, and other principles and practices. Through these programs we should, as individuals, implement in our own lives the bases of the united order.” (Ensign, May 1977, pp. 94–95.)
"Although the united order was placed in abeyance, it is part of the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. The principle is clear in the scriptures: The Lord is everlasting and eternal; hence, everything he commands is everlasting and eternal, although a particular commandment may not be practiced all the time, but only for the period the Lord wills. So it is with the united order—it will be lived in full when the Lord commands. It is his law, which is everlasting" (Stephen K. Iba, "Why does D&C 104:1 say that the united order was an everlasting order until the Lord comes, yet it is not practiced today?" June 1986 Ensign).
Title for Section 73: Effective Use of Time
Background for section 73:
"The earliest known manuscript of section 73 contains the following notation in the handwriting of Sidney Rigdon: "A Revelation to Joseph and Sidney. The word of the Lord unto them concerning the Elders of the church of the Living God established in the last days, making known the will of the Lord unto the Elders—what they shall do until conference."3 The conference referred to above was held on 25 January 1832 in Amherst, Ohio, about fifty miles west of Kirtland4" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 73," Deseret Book).
What Sidney and Joseph did at the end of their mission:
4 And, inasmuch as it is practicable, to preach in the regions round about until conference; and after that it is expedient to continue the work of atranslation until it be finished (Doctrine and Covenants 73:3–4).
Title of Section 74:Salvation of Children; Marriage within the Church
Background for section 74:
"Joseph described his activities of these two weeks as follows: "Upon the reception of the foregoing word of the Lord [D&C 73], I recommenced the translation of the Scriptures, and labored diligently until just before the conference, which was to convene on the 25th of January. During this period, I also received the following [D&C 74], as an explanation of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 7th chapter, 14th verse."1 Therefore, Doctrine and Covenants 74 was received sometime between 11–22 January 1832 at the Johnson farm in Hiram, Ohio" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 74," Deseret Book).
1 Corinthians 7:14:
Doctrine and Covenants 74:1:
1 For the aunbelieving bhusband is csanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean, but now are they holy (Doctrine and Covenants 74:1).
"Doctrine and Covenants 74:1 is an exact quotation of 1 Corinthians 7:14 in the King James Bible. It will be helpful to remember that the setting of this passage in 1 Corinthians is a discussion of part-member families and of the circumstances that would justify the Saints in dissolving marriages to nonmembers. Paul's advice, which remains Church policy today, was that such marriages should be continued if the nonmember would tolerate his or her spouse's activity in the Church (see 1 Corinthians 7:12–13). A second condition for preserving a part-member marriage, implicit in the King James version text and clarified by D&C 74, is that the children of such unions should be reared in the Church as Christians and not in the synagogue as Jews—or today, by extension, in non-Latter-day Saint churches" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 74," Deseret Book).
Verses 2–7: The Law of Moses is done away
5 Wherefore, for this cause the apostle wrote unto the church, giving unto them a commandment, not of the Lord, but of himself, that a believer should not be aunited to an bunbeliever; except the claw of Moses should be done away among them, (Doctrine and Covenants 74:5).
"If this refers to what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 7:14, then the present New Testament text has become corrupted, for there is no mention there now of the concerns discussed in Doctrine and Covenants 74:5–6. It is possible that Paul wrote about these things in his earlier, lost letter to the Corinthians2 and this phrase merely refers to those prior instructions. Thus, by revelation to Joseph Smith, this knowledge was restored" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 74," Deseret Book).
Title for Section 75: Duties of Missionaries
Background for section 75:
"On 10 January 1832, Joseph Smith had received instructions that the elders of the Church were to continue in their various labors for the two weeks remaining until a priesthood conference was held, when they would receive their mission calls and instructions (see D&C 73:1–2). Joseph and Sidney were also told to return home where they translated, preached, and prepared for the coming conference.
"This conference was held in Amherst, Ohio, on 25 January 1832 and was a great success. Amherst was the home of Gideon Carter, Sylvester Smith,1 and others. One reason for holding conferences away from Kirtland or Hiram was to proselytize outlying areas, and Joseph Smith related that "at this conference much harmony prevailed, and considerable business was done to advance the kingdom, and promulgate the Gospel to the inhabitants of the surrounding country."2
"Joseph Smith's own account of receiving this revelation states that "the Elders seemed anxious for me to inquire of the Lord that they might know His will, or learn what would be most pleasing to Him for them to do, in order to bring men to a sense of their condition; for, as it was written, all men have gone out of the way, so that none doeth good, no, not one. I inquired and received the following"5 —Doctrine and Covenants 75" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 75," Deseret Book).
"Revelation given through Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Amherst, Ohio, January 25, 1832. This section comprises two separate revelations (the first in verses 1 through 22 and the second in verses 23 through 36) given on the same day. The occasion was a conference at which Joseph Smith was sustained and ordained President of the High Priesthood. Certain elders desired to learn more about their immediate duties. These revelations followed."
- Sheaves: "The proselyting mission of the Church is often compared allegorically to the planting, tending, or harvesting of food crops (compare D&C 4:4; 31:5; 86:5–7). The term sheaves, bundles of cut stalks with the grain still on them, is used four times in the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 31:5; 33:9; 75:5; 79:3), always in connection with missionary work. Some people may plant the seeds but never see the harvest. Some may water, weed, and tend the fields. Some may gather in what others have planted and nurtured. But all who have shared in the work will be "laden with . . . sheaves" in the day of the harvest" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 2, "Doctrine and Covenants 75," Deseret Book).
The Israelites in the Wilderness:
- Hebrew: The number 40 represents until it was done.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall aknow my breach of promise (Numbers 14:33–34).
Quote: “Let us follow the Savior’s path and increase our compassion, diminish our tendency to judge, and stop being the inspectors of the spirituality of others. Listening with love is one of the greatest gifts we can offer, and we may be able to help carry or lift the heavy clouds that suffocate our loved ones and friends so that, through our love, they can once again feel the Holy Ghost and perceive the light that emanates from Jesus Christ.” (Sister Reyna Aburto, “Thru Cloud and Sunshine, Lord, Abide with Me!” October 2019 general conference).
Quote: "From before the world was, a loving Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son loved and worked with those who They knew would wander. God will love them forever" (President Henry B. Eyring, “To My Grandchildren,” Nov. 2013 Ensign, 71, 72.)
Quote: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end" (John Lennon).
As I was preparing for this week's episode, I had a really interesting experience. I was sitting in a waiting room while my husband was having surgery. And I was reading these short sections that at first kind of seemed like odd sections of the Doctrine and Covenants, because you know, they're short, they just kind of seem out of place. I'm not really sure what the message is or the story—I've taught them before. But as I was sitting in that hospital waiting room, I had some time. And so I read them again. And after reading them a second time, I sat and I wondered if these sections meant as much to the Saints back then as I think they will to us today. Or as they specifically did to me, waiting in that waiting room.
Doctrine and Covenants sections 71 through 75 have turned out to be so timely and, once again, God is so good, because the guests have a very personal knowledge on the topics that we're discussing, and I cannot wait to get started.
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, 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, oh my good friend, Holly Burnett, and her cute niece Krista Scott, who study together. Hi, ladies.
Now another really incredible thing, my favorite thing about this study group, is each week we're joined by two of my friends and so it's always a little bit different. And so today, I'm super excited to announce that we have Aliah Hall. And we know Aliah, our resident therapist. And then we have a new friend and her name is Sheradon Orton. And she's in Dubai. Hi, Sheradon.
This is fun because it's nighttime for her. So thank you. Did you already put your kids to bed for this?
No. It's my husband's job tonight.
Right on, super nice. She lives in Dubai, which I think is so cool. And then Sheradon, just tell us the cool fact about Dubai that I just learned about the church over there.
Okay, so in Dubai the Sabbath is celebrated on Fridays. So today's our Sabbath actually, because we're recording on Friday,
I had no idea. But I like how you said instead of fast Sunday, you call it fast Friday?
And this is hardly work Tammy.
This is like the best thing to do on the Sabbath.
Yeah, talk about scriptures. Actually, yeah.
It's probably better than what I normally do. (laughter)
You're totally right. If I think about the time I waste on Sunday, yeah, this actually is a worthwhile thing.
Do I ever sit there for two hours and discuss the gospel on Sundays with adult humans? (laughter) No, oh, I know, it never happens. I'm like, "Jesus wouldn't want you to put peas up your nose."
"Jesus would want you to have a snarky attitude, so go ahead and repent of that and I'll see you tomorrow." I love it.
Well, if you want to learn more about my friends, you can read their bios and see their pictures, which are in our show notes and you can find those at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Okay, so Aliah, I texted you from the waiting room of the hospital. That's where I was.
Oh, I didn't know that!
Yes. Right after I read it, the Spirit was like, "This is what you're talking about." And I immediately texted you and said, "What do you think about this?" And I love your response. Your immediate response was, "This is my favorite thing to talk about."
This IS one of my favorite things to talk about.
And Sheradon, what were YOUR thoughts when I texted you?
Oh, man, gosh, at first, I seriously was like, "Do I have anything to contribute?" But then after thinking about it I was like, "Okay, yeah, I need to talk about this."
I think as a culture, we really struggle with this topic in a lot of different ways.
Well, now everybody's just dying to know. So. okay friends, grab your scriptures, and let's dig in and find out what we're talking about today.
A few weeks ago, we had renowned historian Heidi Swinton on our podcast, and I asked her to teach me about the Joseph Smith translation because here's the deal: If you've ever been in a class or heards a teacher say, "in the Joseph Smith Translation," or sometimes they'll go, "in the JST," have you guys ever had that experience? What are your thoughts about the Joseph Smith Translation, or what do you know about it?
Oh, man, I don't even know. I've always wondered like, why did that change?
Yeah, why do we have a JST?
WelI and I always wondered, because I know that Joseph Smith was supposed to translate the whole Bible again, so we just have little pieces of it? I know it's because he was martyred but it's like, why these pieces?
I totally thought the same thing. I remember in college the first time a professor said, "in the Joseph Smith Translation," I really thought, "Oh, so the Book of Mormon—is that what we're talking about?" I didn't even know a Joseph Smith Translation of anything. Again, but I didn't know Christ came to America until I was 21. So, I didn't know what this meant.
And so I had Heidi clear all of this up for me and for all of our listeners. Rather than having me teach it to you, we're just going to play what she recorded for us. Because I think it is so perfect and she knows so much about this topic. So let's listen to what Heidi has to say about the Joseph Smith Translation, because has everything to do with what we're discussing today.
Heidi Swinton 5:22
The Joseph Smith Translation is such an important part of Joseph's ministry. And so important for all of us today. In translating the Book of Mormon, it was clear that there were what we call many "plain and precious parts"—that's quoted in the Book of Mormon—of the Bible had been lost. And so in the summer of 1830, Joseph Smith began a new translation of the Bible. He got a big Bible, you know, like a pulpit Bible. And he got it from the EB Grand & Company, who had just finished printing the Book of Mormon. So this is just months after the Book of Mormon had come out.
Rather than like other translation processes where they've got the Hebrew, and they've got the Greek, and they've got the Lexicon—which is the dictionary that gives you the other words in other languages, he just used the Holy Ghost. He just turned to the Lord, opened up the book, and started going through it. And as he was reading, he would make a correction. Now at first, they wrote everything down. But at times, they just wrote right there in that actual Bible what the changes were. He was so concerned about restoring through revelation the important truths that had been left out, that he spent nearly three years of his focus in working on the translation of the Bible.
Now some of us look at it and we see a footnote here and a footnote there. And those footnotes weren't put into the scriptures until the scriptures were redone in the 1970s. And you had on that committee, President Monson, Elder Packer and Elder McConkie. And then some really amazing scholars from BYU. One of them was Robert Matthews, who had done an enormous amount of work on the Joseph Smith Translation. Prior to that, the church had never really published the translation in a format where it could be used.
So you've got Joseph Smith in 1830 and he receives the revelation that he describes as the Vision of Moses. This is what we have now as the chapter of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price. And it just opens up his mind to realize how much we have lost from the Bible. Is it complete? Probably not. There were a lot of things had Joseph had more time, he might have gone on and done more with it. But he focused originally, on the Old Testament, working with those chapters in Moses, and then going to Genesis.
But then in 1831, he gets a revelation from the Lord. And the Lord says, "Go to the New Testament." So he sets aside the work that he's doing on the Old Testament, and he goes to work on the New Testament. And he's reading long in the New Testament, and this is my favorite part of the Joseph Smith Translation, because he's in John 5, verse 29. And Sidney Rigdon is acting as his scribe; the Lord has commissioned Sidney Rigdon with that responsibility. There were others who did that: Frederick G. Williams did that, Emma had a part in that, but for the most part, it was Sidney.
So you've got February 1832. You've got them working through the Gospel of John and they come to a passage that mentions the resurrection of the dead. That passage led to Joseph going to the Lord and asking about it, and we get from that, section 76. The thing I love about that is, I love that in section 76, you know, he says, ". . . this caused us to marvel, for it was given unto us of the Spirit. And while we meditated upon these things." So Joseph's giving us a teaching there that is so important, that if we want to draw the Lord into our study and our understanding of the scriptures, we need to meditate on them. So he and Sidney are meditating upon these things. "And the Lord touched the eyes of our understandings, and they were opened and the glory of the Lord shown round about out." That just gives me pause because then you have this incredible experience, where, ". . . we beheld the glory of the son on the right hand of the Father, and received this fullness."
Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, in a remote part of Ohio, asking the Lord Jesus Christ about what is this, that we have just read? And the Lord answers him, and answers him with what he needed to know right then, for this moment, not only in his experience in the fulfilling of the Restoration—his part in it—but for all of those Saints at that time. And it came from the Joseph Smith Translation.
The power of the translation was that it was a significant influence on the early Church because it allowed Joseph to ask questions of the Lord. And more than half of the Doctrine and Covenants comes as a result of questions that Joseph asked of the Lord, as he's working on that translation of the Bible. So he received those revelations, and they're connected to the Joseph Smith Translation in a way that you just cannot set aside. That when you go down in a footnote, and you see Joseph Smith Translation, or Joseph Smith—Matthew, it gives you a glimpse of what Joseph was experiencing at the moment.
I used this once before, but I think it's a great example of how Joseph in his translation of the Bible taught us so much about Jesus Christ. Because he's translating in Matthew 25, and he's doing the 10 virgins, and it gets to the very end of the experience, and the door is closed. And the Bible says that Jesus recounts, "I never knew you." But Joseph comes to the translation of that and he changes that, and you read down at the bottom of the page, And this is why it's so important to watch the footnotes and to study the footnotes as you study the scriptures. Because you can't take it at face value. You've got to take it at where you're being pointed here and there. But down in the footnotes, it says, no, Jesus Christ, said, "You never knew me." Those people didn't know Jesus Christ because they had never taken the time to get to know him.
And so when you begin to understand the Joseph Smith Translation, you realize there are little pieces that make a huge difference in your life and in your understanding, just like it did for the early Saints because so many revelations came from Joseph asking those questions. You realize that it's also for you, and this restoration is ongoing. And you're a part of those footnotes. They're right there, and they're there for you.
That is great insight into the Joseph Smith Translation. It is so important. I've learned that as I've been studying the scriptures, and I have some questions. So Joseph Smith, he did not complete the translation. Is that right? He didn't translate the entire Old Testament and New Testament.
Heidi Swinton 13:37
He did not. And I think if he had had more time, he probably would have had more opportunity. But at the same time, what he did complete was enough.
Yes, I agree.
Heidi Swinton 13:50
It was in the Lord's hands, the Lord could have made it possible. And if he needed more translation, then he could have made it possible. But if we're not taking advantage of what we have right now, then maybe the Lord would say, well, you know, I gave you what you needed. And take advantage of that. And come to know the Book of Moses in a way that the rest of the world doesn't. I love Moses.
Oh I love it. All you have to do is read Moses, chapter 1 and 2 to go, "Yeah, there's a clear disconnect." Why do we not have this information about Moses casting out Satan? I mean, it just blows my mind.
Heidi Swinton 14:27
Yeah, here's my funny story about the book of Moses. I don't know if you should use this.
Oh, we will. (laughs)
Heidi Swinton 14:33
But I haven't always had a grasp of the gospel that I have now. And I love it. I would rather read the scriptures than read anything because I always find something I didn't know. But I didn't always have that. And when I first got married, I was pretty familiar with the Book of Mormon, as familiar as I could have been at that time. But I was teaching Relief Society, and I was going to read a scripture from the Book of Moses, and so I opened up my Holy Bible, and went to the Book of Moses. But it wasn't there. And I went to the table of contents, and it wasn't there. And I thought, "Can you believe it? Deseret Book published my Holy Bible, my Old Testament, without the book of Moses? What are they thinking?"
So I called up my mother. And I said, "Mother, you won't believe this. You know what I just found? I was trying to quote from the Book of Moses in the Bible, and it's not in there. They left it out of my Bible, how could they have done that?" And my mother, very calmly said, "Well, sweetheart, it's because it's in the Pearl of Great Price." (laughter)
That's so good! (laughing)
Heidi Swinton 15:45
I've never forgotten that. What it taught me was that you got to start sooner than later. And I learned at that moment, that the Lord had higher expectations for me than I had had for myself. Then my mother's very calm comment, said, "Heidi, get a grip. You need to be reading the scriptures and why don't you start in the Pearl of Great Price? Obviously, you're not familiar with it."
Rookie mistake, you know what, I think a lot of us have made that mistake.
Heidi Swinton 16:17
I know. But it changed my life.
I bet it did.
Heidi Swinton 16:20
Because now I laugh every time I quote the book of Moses, I think, "Moses! I know where you are!" Okay, I'm done, sorry.
No, I'm so glad you shared that, I like that story.
Now, in our scriptures, we don't have all that Joseph Smith translated, we just have excerpts in our scriptures. But you can actually go and purchase the translation of the New Testament, the translation of the Old Testament, as far as he translated. You can purchase those, I purchased them at Deseret Book, go and get them. They're great to have on your bookshelf, and they're fun to read. I have loved looking at them, and seeing the differences.
And like we said, it just changes the way you read it. Like I've always said Hebrew, it's changed my life. And Hebrew changes the way I read my scriptures, and so does the Joseph Smith Translation. And that's what blows my mind, too. It's, here is this uneducated man who is using in the Pearl of Great Price, Hebrew words.
Heidi Swinton 17:11
When we talk about in the Book of Abraham, "kokaubeam," how he calls that stars. And then in Hebrew, I learned that oh, that is what stars is in Hebrew. It's the Hebrew word, "kokaubeam." And I just thought, "How does he know this?" It's amazing to me. So much cool Hebrew in there. So go buy those if you're interested, buy the translations and use them as you study the scriptures.
I like how you said, Heidi, "God could have had the whole thing redone if He wanted to. But what we got is what we need." And I agree.
Heidi Swinton 17:39
You can also find pieces of this with the Joseph Smith Papers.
Heidi Swinton 17:44
Of course, it's with Joseph Smith, and that's online. So it just enlarges the way you look at the scriptures. It extends your understanding and it asks of you to put yourself in the place of those people who were receiving from Joseph these revelations all the time. You feel at one with them, you don't feel so far distant from them.
Oh, it's so great. Thank you. Thank you, Heidi, for teaching us about that. We definitely need that insight as we begin to study sections 71 through 75. So thank you, and I can't wait to study section 76 in light of what you've taught us about the translation and the book of John. So, that was awesome. Thank you, friend. I love you.
Heidi Swinton 18:27
Love you, bye-bye.
Great day! Okay, don't you just love Heidi? Seriously, she's so amazing. I'm just really happy that she was able to help us better understand this, because we're going to need to know it as we continue to study the Doctrine and Covenants. But especially as we move on into sections 71 through 75 that we're going to be studying today, it's going to be pretty relevant. And that's why I wanted us to be able to understand a little bit more about it. So thanks, Heidi. And we're going to study more of that in the next segment.
Segment 2 18:53
Let's just read the section heading to Doctrine and Covenants section 71. So Aliah, will read that for us?
"Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon at Hiram, Ohio, December 1, 1831. The Prophet had continued to translate the Bible with Sidney Rigdon as his tribe until this revelation was received, at which time it was temporarily laid aside so as to enable them to fulfill the instructions given herein. The brethren were to go forth to preach in order to allay the unfriendly feelings that had developed against to church as a result of some newspaper articles written by Ezra Booth, who had apostatized."
Thank you, Aliah. The last two weeks our guests have talked alot about Ezra Booth. And so here's one quote that I found that Joseph Smith said about Ezra Booth and his writings and this is what he said, quote, ". . . a series of letters which by their coloring, falsity and vain calculations to overthrow the word have the Lord exposed his, Ezra Booth's weakness, wickedness, and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame for the world to wonder at."
So Ezra Booth, it's unfortunate because he and another man by the name of Symonds Ryder, were in cahoots together, they had apastatized and left the Church and their goal was to destroy the name of the Church. That's all they wanted to do. And they were doing a pretty good job of it. And so the Lord says to Joseph and Sidney, okay, pause the translation; I want you guys to go on a little mission.
In section 71, verses 1 through 4, we can see that the Lord is telling Joseph Smith and Sidney to calm the unfriendly feelings that have resulted from Ezra Booth and Symond's work. But verse 2 really struck me. So let's do this. We're going to read verse 1 and then verse 2. When we get to verse 2, I want you to tell me who the Lord tells Joseph in Sidney that they are to teach. Sheradon, will you please read verse one?
"1 Behold, thus saith the LORD unto you my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, that the time has verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, expanding the mysteries thereof out of the scriptures, according to that portion of spirit and power which shall be given unto you, even as I will."
Thank you, Sheradon. Okay, so Aliah, will you please read verse 2 for us? And as you do, let's look for the two groups of people that Joseph and Sidney are supposed to teach.
"2 Verily I say unto you, proclaim unto the world in the regions round about, in the church also, for the space of a season, even until it shall be made known unto you."
Okay, who are they supposed to teach?
The world and the regions roundabout and to the Church?
What does that tell us if the Lord is saying, oh, and the Church also.
So, I have to go back to the first time you asked me to come on for the Doctrine and Covenants. I was like, "Oh, the Doctrine and Covenants." But I have been studying so that I can be more prepared.
Good job, yes!
And so I think you have to remember that the Church is really young. You know, it's really young, and it's really small. The members of the Church at that time did not have the foundation within the Church that we have now. Everybody was converts, everybody had just recently come from a different faith tradition. And so when there was disruptions like this dissemination of false information, it was important to go and tell the whole Church because there was people kind of living all over the place. And if you didn't kind of round them up, it was like herding cats. Things could get wild and things did get wild.
Perfect. Aliah that's exactly right. And so in that verse, in verse 2 where it says, ". . . for the space of a season," He's saying, look, this is not going to last that long. I like the way one scholar put it: it's a PR mission. It's strictly public relations, we're going to fix the way people view the church at this point. The title for Section 71 is "Special Missionary Call to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon."
I want to put myself in their shoes for a minute, in the shoes of Joseph and Sidney because these are their friends. I mean, they were in the trenches with Ezra and Symonds for some really important events. And here their friends have left the Church; not just left but become very hostile to it, and are doing everything they can to destroy it. Can either one of you relate to Joseph or Sidney at this moment? Have you ever had friends leave the church or become hostile to it?
Yeah, it's different, because I don't feel like I've had close friends that have done that necessarily. But friends that I have had, you know, I see them through social media and stuff, leaving the Church and posting things against the Church.
I didn't get married till my mid to late 30s. And so I think there was like a mass exodus of my friends in my late 20s. And then another mass exodus of my friends from the Church in our early 30s, where I had lots of friends leaving the Church. Most of them weren't hostile or anything like that. I don't think it would be really difficult to be hostile towards me. (laughter) I'm not like, get hostile in my presence, I don't think. So I wouldn't describe any of them as hostile but they had some valid concerns. Some of them I thought were like, a little less valid than some of other people's but there are big groups of my friends, people who I really loved, that I went to Church with that were my Relief Society presidents, were my mission companions, people that I not, DID love but people that I DO love very much who have left the Church.
I'm so glad both of you have experience with this. I do too, some dear friends. And not only that, but family members, a sister whom I love dearly. I really struggle with this.
And so for those of you who are wondering, this is our topic: What to do during a faith crisis, either yourself or someone you love, and what to do when people who you love leave the Church or are hostile towards it.
So I just have to ask ladies, when those family members and friends left, what did it feel like?
For me, it's just heartbreak. It just hurts. I feel like, you know, this is the reason for living. This is whole eternity, and they're going away from that and have this anger towards that. You're just like, "This hurts." You feel like it just hurts your heart.
That's a good description.
In the ones that were really close to me, it wasn't surprising. Like it wasn't like an all-of-a-sudden thing that I was like, oh, they came and they're like, "Guess what? I'm leaving the Church." It was kind of a slow process where it's like, "Oh, what about this? What about that?" Or feeling disgruntled about this thing or that thing. It was like a slow moving away. And so I think it was less shocking for me.
When I think about people leaving the Church, I think about my friends leaving the Church and not my family. But I'm probably the only active member in my family, even though my parents were converts and my siblings were all, and myself, were all raised in the Church.
But none of my siblings are active, but I never think of them as leaving the Church. I think my brother and my sister who probably are like the most naturally rebellious people, probably have gotten more people baptized than I did on my mission. And they're always like preaching the gospel. They're like, "This is a good thing and you should definitely do it. I mean, I'm not doing it, but you should do it." (laughter)
That's so interesting. Oh, my gosh.
When you said it like, "Oh, my family." I was like, "Oh, yeah, my family members too." But I never think of them as people who have left the Church. And I think that there's a difference there. I think we have to really kind of nuance what it means to leave the Church. And like how it says in the heading, "Ezra Booth who had apastatized." That's a really strong word and I don't know that we need to apply it to every case of somebody who is no longer participating in the Church, that these are different things.
Now I like that because you're right. I think sometimes we think when people leave the Church, they've apostatized. That's a pretty big word. And I don't know that my sibling has. I wouldn't put that on her, for sure. But yeah, I would say the feeling, it makes me very emotional because in my mind, I'm like, "But you know better; we were raised the same and I, I just want us to be able to be just one big happy family, okay?"
But I think the hardest part was when I had my own child have that experience, and how hard that was. Because there's all sorts of things mixed up in that, like, I didn't want to talk about it. I didn't want anyone to know, and I wanted to just maintain this perfect front that we all go to church. And guess what, we don't all go to church, actually. And there's a lot of contention in the home. That was hard as a parent to have a child make that decision when you know better as a parent. I'm like, "But I know what's best for you." And so it hurt my heart for sure. I liked it that you put that, Sheradon, it hurts your heart.
What does apostatize actually mean?
What a great question. I love that. So it means, "To abandon one's profession or church, to forsake the principles of faith, which one has professed, or the party to which one has been attached."
In the definition that you gave, I see how they live their life and I'm like, you haven't apostatozed. You're still living a portion of the Gospel.
I have friends who are LGBTQ and they will only date other people who were also members of the Church because they still want to live it.
Oh I love that.
I ask them, "Why?" And they're just like, "I want our home to have the Spirit." I mean, they've left the Church, but they won't date other people who aren't, weren't, members of the Church because they still want to have that Christ-centered home. This is not Ezra Booth. What I see my friends and my family doing is not apostacizing.
Oh, I really like that, because it helps us have perspective when you say, "So-and-so left the Church." Well, they didn't apostatize. I mean, they still believe in God and Jesus Christ.
Yeah, they didn't become evil. A portion of truth that stays with us when we leave the Church that still recognizes truth.
Ah, this is going to be good. We're going to talk about this a ton in the next segment and I'm so excited to get both your perspective on how we can manage this as members of the church and as children of Heavenly Parents.
Segment 3 30:05
So for those of you who have felt the weight of the responsibility to help those who have left the Church or who are hostile towards it, this section's for you. And I'm so honored to have Aliah and Sheradon with me.
Let's jump into section 71 because we're going to read verse 7 and 8. This was the Lord's instruction on how Joseph and Sidney were to handle the situation, how they were to go about this PR mission. And so, Aliah, will you read verses 7 and 8?
"7 Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest.
"8 Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord."
Okay. Now before you get all crazy and think that's the answer and the way you solve the problem, I want everyone to write, "Exception to the rule." That's what we need to know. And that's not just me, that is many religious scholars say these two verses are the exception to the rule, and Aliah's shaking her head yes.
This is the prophet. He can call people out in the streets. He can do what he wants to. I would not recommend that any of us start calling people out in the street.
I think it's like the authority. We don't really have the line of authority to call people out like that.
You're totally right. So let's all be aware of that.
Okay, so here's what I want to know, though. And I really do want to know this, because I am not good at this, I really struggle with it. When it comes to this topic, how should we as members react to family or friends who leave the Church?
So for me, I've had a couple family members leave. And, I think at the beginning, we tried to send Ensign articles or talks from conference and scriptures and things like that. That wasn't helpful at all.
We're thinking, "Okay, what could help them?" And, "We want to do this to help them." But if that hasn't been the conversation before the cut-off, then that shouldn't be the conversation in that moment.
So for my brother who has left, it was a very sudden thing. We found some stuff out, and he was gone. We didn't talk to him for a long time, the situation was very chaotic. And so when we did start talking, it was, "Okay, here's this and this and this. Read this. Let's talk about this."
Let's reconvert you.
Yeah, he had never brought up the fact that he was having doubts or anything about that. And so to have that be the starting conversation again, after that whole situation, I think it was just the wrong way to go about it.
Then I had my sister-in-law leave the Church and I feel like some of the family did do that a little bit. But I kind of learned from my brother not to push it. Because I don't think that it's helpful at all. Maybe it is for some people, but in the situations that I've had, it wasn't helpful.
That is so wise. There's so much wisdom in what you just said, Sheradon.
And I think that that's pretty common. That's how people react to what we call like a family member or a friend having a "faith crisis." We think they're having a faith crisis. And so we're like, rush into the rescue.
We want a full court press, everything we can thinking that's going to help them. And Sheradon, there's so much wisdom in what you just said. So thank you. Thank you for sharing that. What about you, Aliah?
I think words matter. I mean, we know that words matter. Like, "In the beginning, there was the word" (John 1:1). And I think when we call what's happening to people, they're apostatizing or that they're having a faith crisis, we are setting ourselves and them up for failure. And I think that there's a better example of what's happening or a better analogy that we can take from scripture about what's happening to people than a faith crisis.
And so, in the scriptures, there are 348 references to the wilderness. There are 194 references of going into the wilderness. And there are 39 references of going through the wilderness. And when you look at these, so you have Exodus, you have Alma the elder taking his people through the wilderness, you have Lehi taking his family through the wilderness and then over an ocean. When our Heavenly Father wants us to grow, he says, like, hey, you over there, you need to come over here with me. And you have to pass through a wilderness.
So I think sometimes with some of our friends and our family, they're not having a faith crisis, they're passing through the wilderness.
Oh, I love that.
I do, too
And then, what's in the wilderness? It's dark in the wilderness, there's wild animals in the wilderness, you may not make it through the wilderness, you may starve. All these kinds of negative things that we think are happening to our families. And it really is scary, because that's what happens in the wilderness. But if we think it's not a faith crisis, they haven't jumped off a cliff. They haven't lost their knowledge of the gospel: they are traveling through a wilderness.
And what we can do is continue to shine a light and continue to be a friend and continue to be a sibling. We could throw food, you know, when it's needed, which is like, love and compassion, and invitations to be human with us. So not just Church members, but to be human like, to truly be my brother, to truly be my sister, to truly be my friend in this other way that's not attached to the Church. That I really do care about you, wherever you are, not just when you're here with me, but when you're traveling through the wilderness, I am also there with you. When it's scary, and it's hard, then I'm not gonna abandon you when you're doing scary, hard things.
Aliah, I love your application of the word, "wilderness," because it then drew me to the Savior's experience in His wilderness, where He fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. There was wilderness in that. In the description, that word is used, and how incredibly awesome to think that the Savior gets it. He really does. He understands people when they're in their faith crisis, which is such a buzzword of our day. And I think the equivalent of it in scripture is "trial of faith." There's like a positive spin to that, that it's the negative spin to faith crisis. But it's the same thing. Whatever you want to call it, the Savior understands it. And He's going to be there for you, just like you said, Aliah.
Whether we ever question the Church or leave the Church, we all will go through, you know, a trial of our faith, we all will go through the wilderness.
And I remember when that happened to me. I had just got out of high school, I hadn't decided to go on a mission. And, I'm a Black woman. I'm like coming into my Black womanness, and I'm in this very white Church. And I'm like, I believe; I have never willingly missed church ever in my life. I have never been inactive. But I would sit in the pews every Sunday, and I'm like, I don't know how to fit my experience into this story. I don't know how to make this work for me.
How did you do it?
I think I'm still in the wilderness sometimes. I'm not having a faith crisis, and I don't think I'm even having a trial of my faith. Now I'm married in the temple, I have kids, we do Sacrament, we do all the things. But our outward performance is not always a mirror of our inward journey. And sometimes we judge our family and our friends by their outward performance, and don't ever question or ask them about their inward journey. We're more concerned about what they're doing, than what they're going through.
How do you ask someone on that question?
"What are you going through?"
Just like that.
Just like that.
"Tell me what you're going through."
Correct. "Tell me about that."
When I was doing visiting teaching in Australia, I grew a lot in Australia because I was very shy; I didn't really talk to people. And it was hard for me to open up to people. But I remember feeling like, "Okay, if I want to be a good visiting teacher, a good minister, I want to know what I should pray for, for these sisters." And so I was like, "Well, I should ask: What are the hard things that you're going through?"
The first time I did it, I was like, stumbling over my words. And she's like, "That's a really weird question, why would you ask that?" I'm like, "I don't know. I just wanted to know what I should pray for you?" It was really hard, but I think I've gotten better at asking. And I think it's important to like, get into that nitty gritty of people's lives instead of just the surface of what's going on.
And I think it could be, it can be as easy as saying what we always say, "How are you?" And then asking, "No, really? I really want to know, how are you?"
I think this is such an important aspect of this experience that we have with people. Because that's a scary question to ask. And just like both of you said, you just want to look at what they're not doing, as opposed to understanding how they're feeling inside. That for me was a very clear, "Aha," because sometimes I don't want to know. I just want you to do what's right. I don't know if I want to help you carry that burden, because it just seems like a lot.
Well I think that's what makes us so afraid of wilderness for our friends and our family. Not that we're afraid that they'll get lost, but we're afraid that their experience will overwhelm us.
What we have to try to flip in our mind is that Christ already knows. He's already done the work. You don't have to hold it for them. You don't have to do anything about it.
You can say, "How are you, really?" And they're like, "Oh, my gosh, it's so terrible, this and that and that and this, all the things." And then just like Sheradon said, then you go home and you're like, "Please help them." You don't have to do anything. You don't have to become overwhelmed by their questions. You don't have to be overwhelmed by their choices, you don't have to take that on. That's Christ's job. He is the Savior. He is the Redeemer. You don't have to do anything about it. But you get to be the voice to ask the question, "How are you, really? How are you doing, really?"
I really like that. I found this cool quote by a professor from a BYU professor of psychology. And he said, "When we truly love those who are other, in some way, God is there." I just think that is true. The only thing we have to do is love them.
I just really love how in section 71, verses 9 through 11 are for us. And they just support what you said, Aliah. Sheradon, can you read 9 through 11?
"9 Verily, thus saith the LORD unto you,—there is no weapon that is formed against you shall prosper;
"10 And if any man lift his voice against you he shall be confounded in mine own due time.
"11 Wherefore, keep my commandments; they are true and faithful. Even so. Amen."
Now, you need to read those verses with the idea of a loving Heavenly Father. Those aren't angry verses. Those aren't the Lord saying, I'm gonna stick it to them. He's just saying, like, It's not your job. I'm in charge. You just have to love and ask. It's everything that you guys just said. That's all we have to do. He's in charge, He's got this, He's gonna take care of them.
And he really will. No matter how much we love our loved ones—I have children and it boggles my mind—no matter how much I love my children, He loves them more. I don't even know how that is possible. But they are also His children.
So whether it's your friends, your family, your brother, your sister, your mom, your dad, they are Heavenly Father's children. He loves them, too. He knows what they're going through. He's already sent His Son to reconcile. Whatever happens in the wilderness has already been taken care of.
And let's be clear, that this life isn't the end.
No, it's like, you're over there. I need you over here.
If they don't figure it out here, it's okay.
Keep walking, keep going.
Yes, that God is a God of second and third and 10th chances. If there's anything we've learned this year in the Doctrine Covenants, that's what it is. And all we have to do is love.
So, oh, my gosh, that was such a good discussion. Thank you so much. And we're not even done discussing this topic. So we're just going to pause really quick because we've got to jump into section 72 and we're going to see what a bishop has to do with all of this change in the life of Joseph and Sidney on their mission. We'll do that in the next segment.
Segment 4 44:10
I love a good bishop story. My husband and I often laugh about these, like the one where, "He was out smoking a cigarette in the field and then he was a bishop the next day." You hear these crazy outlier bishop stories, right? So this section, section 72, has, I think, such a good bishop story. But I want to know, do any of you have a good bishop story?
I have like a spiritual bishop story. And then I have the good bishop story.
Alright, give it to us.
So I served kind of a funny mission. I was a welfare sister. I spent the bulk majority of my mission on these tiny islands off the coast of Panama with an indigenous tribe. And—
Yeah. Well, it was crazy. And there have been missionaries on the island for quite some time, so I don't know why this was happening. But, whenever it would rain, no one would come to church. And so we were like, "What is happening?" So we went to the bishop. And we're like, "Nobody's at church." And he's like, "Yeah, 'cuz it's raining." And we're like, "Oh."
Can we start that? (laughter)
We're like, "Umm, church does not get postponed because of rain. Also, you live on an island in the middle of the ocean. Also, our island is so small, that you can't walk in any direction for more than two minutes without hitting ocean. So like, you could probably run real fast and not have a raindrop hit you at all." (laughing)
Oh, my gosh. I can't even get over that.
And we were just like, "No." So he, the lovely man that he is, he went around to all of the members' homes, and had to convince them that, "No, the sisters said we still have to go to church if it's raining." He had to go on a PR campaign of his own to change this behavior of, "We don't go to church when it's raining."
Oh, my gosh, that's so amazing, a good story.
Isn't that funny?
Yes. That's so good. What's your other one?
This probably has more to do with what we're talking about than the other story. When I was at BYU, I got called to be the Relief Society president, of which I was not super thrilled about. Because, it's like, "Hmm, no, I don't want to do that."
But when the bishop called me in. He talked to me for about an hour, maybe more, about the difference between ministering and administering. He's like, "The bishop and the Relief Society, minister to the ward. Leave the administering to your counselors."
And that really touched me and struck my heart and it has stayed with me. When I'm talking to members, or counseling with members in my practice, or just dealing with people in general, I'm like, "Am I ministering the gospel? Or am I administering the gospel?" And I always try to stay on the side of ministry, and not administer. And my bishop taught me that.
What a wise bishop. I love that. Thank you, Aliah. What about you, Sheradon?
I feel like bishops were in so long when we were younger. My bishop that was my bishop when I first started in Young Womens, we went to girls' camp and the first, I don't know, like, two or three years in Young Women. Our ward was like, THE ward to be in at girls' camp. It was like, "Okay, the cool ward is our ward," because he went on a mission to Tonga, I think it was. So whenever we did ward calls at night, I don't know if you guys ever did that? Where it's like, "Okay, your ward, whatever, do your call." And we would do the Haka, which is like a chant, like a rally cry to get people riled up and teamwork. And, "Ka Mate! Ka Mate!" So we were just like, going for it, and he would yell so loud, and we're like, "Yeah!" I loved that, because I just felt so strong and powerful. And I was like, "Yeah, our ward!" But, you know, they probably shouldn't have, you know, done that compared to other wards.
And then my next bishop after that was a counselor, which I really needed because that's when I started having depression and anxiety. And so he was the one that I kind of went to often to just talk about everything. So it was really helpful to have him as bishop then.
Oh, neat. Well, ladies, thank you. That is a perfect way to set up section 72. Because the title for section 72 is "Second Bishop, Stewardships." We are going to get a second bishop for the Church in section 72.
So 4 days into the mission of Joseph and Sidney Rigdon, a bunch of the elders and members gathered to learn what their duty was in all of this, like, are we supposed to be take part in this PR mission? What can we do to help? And after discussing all of the different temporal and spiritual welfare of the members, Joseph received section 72. And the Lord was like, listen, here's what we're going to need, first and foremost. We have a bishop in Missouri, who is Bishop Partridge, but we don't have one in Ohio. And so that's what we're going to need.
Let's read verse 2 where He gives the revelation for a bishop and, Aliah, we're at you. Will you read verse 2, please?
"2 For verily thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me for a bishop to be appointed unto you, or of you, unto the church in this part of the Lord's vineyard."
Okay, highlight "in this part of the Lord's vineyard," and put "Ohio," and then draw a line and connect it down to verse 8, because that's where the name of the new bishop is, and, Sheradon, will you read verse 8 for us?
"8 And now, verily I say unto you my servant Newel K. Whitney is the man who shall be appointed and ordained unto this power. This is the will of the Lord your God, your Redeemer. Even so. Amen."
Thank you, and then draw a line right underneath in-between verse 8 and 9, underneath "Redeemer, Even so. Amen." That's the end of that revelation. There's two revelations in this section. So that is the end of that revelation like, you need a new bishop and it's Newel K. Whitney, and then the rest of the verses are, and here's everything that I need a bishop to do, all the duties of a bishop, which I just can't even imagine, is so overwhelming. We're gonna talk about that in a second, but this is a really cool story about Newel K. Whitney. And the wording in that verse when you read it, Sheradon, it says, "Newel K.Whitney is the man who shall be appointed." I just like that, "is the man." And here's why it says that. So this is such a fun story I want to share. This is from Orson F. Whitney, who's the grandson of Newel K. Whitney, and this is what his grandson had to say:
"Newel K. Whitney, staggering under the weight of the responsibility that was about to be placed upon him said to the Prophet, 'Brother Joseph, I can't see a bishop in myself.'" Can you imagine? I think almost every bishop thinks that. I just can't do this. And I love this response. "No, but God could see it in him. He was a natural Bishop, a first class man of affairs, probably no other incumbent of that important office, the Presiding Bishopric to which he eventually attained has ever been better qualified for it than Newel K. Whitney, but he could not see it. And he shrank from the responsibility. The Prophet said, 'Go and ask the Lord about it.' And Newell did ask the Lord and he heard a voice from heaven say, 'Thy strength is in me.' That was enough. He accepted the office and served it in faithfully to the end of his days, a period of 18 years."
Boy, we thought bishops served a long time when we were kids. Hello! But I really liked that like, Newell K.Whitney, he is the man. He was so nervous and didn't think he could do it. And as you read that story, ladies, I just want to know, like, what do you think it was that allowed Newell K. Whitney to accept this calling, or any man, for that matter.
I'd like to add "any woman," for that matter because I think every time I've gotten a calling, I have felt exactly I'm like, "What? No, no, I'm not, I can't do things." Even the first time. Even I think the first time you called me, Tammy, and you're like, "Do you want to be on? I was like, "No, no, I do not. I can't do things." You know.
Oh, you can.
And our good friend KaRyn was like,"No Aliah, you can do this, and you should pray about it." And KaRyn is like the queen of praying about things. This is one of the things that I love about her most is she prays about everything, like, "Should I bake bread this Sunday? Or should I make rolls or something?" And I'm like, "Really, KaRyn? I don't think the Lord cares." But when I have received a calling and I have prayed about it, or even, not even a calling. Like, "Should I take this job? Or should I move into this house? Or should I try to befriend this person?" My answer is always "No, no, I don't think that's a good idea." And the Lord is like, "Yeah, you can do it." The strength is in Him. It's not in me. I can't do things, but He can. He can always do things.
Oh, absolutely Aliah. Thank you. I like that you applied it to our lives today. That was excellent. Sheradon, do you have anything to jump in with, any thoughts?
Yeah. Once you know that God's got your back, when He's there to strengthen you. You can do it.
One-hundred percent. I totally agree. And it's scary, for sure. And I like the answer when he says, "Thy strength is in me." I think that applies to everything, especially what we've been talking about with family members who leave. The strength is in the Lord. He's got your back, He's going to help you. And we're going to talk a lot more about that in the next segment. But I think that is a very important thing to remind ourselves of: The strength is in me, Jesus Christ.
Okay, so let's jump into section 72, then, and looking at verses 9 to 26, I had my guests go ahead and look at these verses and just tell me what were some of the duties of a bishop. You can even bracket these and write to the outside "duties of a bishop."
And it's not all of them. So here's what you need to know. In the show notes, we included so many different references throughout the Doctrine and Covenants because there are other places where the Lord calls a bishop and says, "Here's what bishops are supposed to do." So go and look for those. That's a fun study. If you want a fun Sunday study, read all of the scriptures that I've included. But specifically in these, what stood out to you guys that the bishop is accountable for or does?
The Lord's storehouse, the funds of the Church, to account for the elders. And—
That's one I had a question about, what does it mean "to account for the elders"?
Ooh, great question. Let's look at that. That's in verse 1, right?
"11 To take an account of the elders as before has been commanded; and to administer to their wants, who shall pay for that which they receive, inasmuch as they have wherewith to pay."
What it means "to take an account of the elders as before" is to have interviews, and they were to monitor and note the successes and failures of the Church and of the elders of the Church. That's what that verse is.
I'm glad you asked that question. I only know that because I studied that verse myself and that's what I found. So I thought that was pretty cool. Which, if you think, a bishop does that today, takes an accounting of the success and failures temporally and spiritually for every member of the Church. In this verse, specifically, the elders, because I guess if they're doing well, when the elders are doing their job to overlook, and to administer, as you said, Aliah. So great question.
Okay. Anything else that you marked?
Well, I had a question. And I don't know in the Church history when they started or stopped doing the United Order, but it sounds like they start kind of setting the groundwork for it here, talking about people giving money to support other people and having as much as you need, but then giving the excess. And were the bishops supposed to start coordinating this?
Aliah, that is such a great question. And we are actually going to study this really in depth when we get to Section 82, which is about the United order. It's not the Law of Consecration; the United Order was what allowed for the Law of Consecration to work, it was a part of it.
And so it's really, your question's so good because the Saints really only lived the Law of Consecration, or tried to practice it for about three years, it was not for that long. And then when they get here to Utah, they're going to try and do it again. But it's just it's so hard to do, and the Saints weren't able to do it. And so we're kind of living in preparation for the Law of Consecration. Everything we do in the church right now is preparing us to live that higher law.
But I like this because what we do need to understand is that this groundwork that's being laid in the Doctrine and Covenants is what will be lived again when Christ comes and we live this United Order. That will be the bishops job, to manage the storehouse, to give us according to our needs and our wants. Isn't it kind of cool? Like, they tried it, it didn't work. But we're going to do all this again. And we thought a bishop's job was tough now. Whew, I am only imagining like, "Now, Brother Johnson, you know that's not everything you should be handing in." I don't know, I wonder if he'll call us out?
"Do you really need a Tesla?" (laughter)
"Is this everything? Are you holding some back?" I don't know. It's gonna be crazy. I hope we all have good hearts. So, I think those are great things that you guys marked, that was awesome.
For me, it stood out that he'll be a judge, in verse 17, a "certificate from the judge or bishop in this part of the vineyard." It's kind of what we call today, our membership records, that they would have to take your certificate signed by the bishop. And so now we have two bishops that can sign them. But I like how it says bishop or judge, meaning today it would be bishop slash judge, same thing. So great, great things.
Take some time to study all the different things a bishop does, and maybe take a moment to thank your bishop, because I think that is just a hard job. I wouldn't want it and I wouldn't want it for my husband because that's a hard job for the wife of the bishop, too. Oh, let's just take a moment and thank her. Maybe that's what we should do. Everybody thank your bishop's wife.
Okay. So after this revelation had been given, now this is kind of fun, because the Lord said that the mission that Sidney and Joseph are going on was for a short season. Yeah, 6 weeks. That was it. The mission lasted 6 weeks. And then we get section 73. And what you need to know about Section 73 is the section title is called 'Effective use of time'. And the Lord is going to tell them: Okay, your mission's over. And here's what I want you to do now. Let's look at verse 3, and, Aliah, just read verse 3 for us?
"3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again."
Great. And then at the end of verse 4, it says, ". . . it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished." And so after getting back into the swing of things again and translating, Joseph and Sidney will read a specific scripture in the New Testament, and then they're going to ask the Lord about it. And we're going to talk about that in the next segment.
Segment 5 59:30
Everyone in your scriptures, go to 1 Corinthians, chapter 7, verse 14. That is in the New Testament. And you can go (sings) Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and the Romans, First and Second Corinthians. That's how it goes.
So go to 1 Corinthians, chapter 7. And It's verse 14. This is where Joseph picked up on the translation process. And if you don't have 1 Corinthians 7:14, you can actually read it word for word in section 74 verse 1.
Sheradon, will you read verse 14 for us?
"14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else for your children unclean, but now are they holy."
Thank you. Wonderful.
So the title for this section is "Salvation of Children, Marriage within the Church." That's what we're talking about.
Okay, so let's look at verse 1 because there are some scholars who say that the word "unbelieving" means non-member. And it could, it can also mean more—just levels of different believing.
And then the rest of these scriptures, here's what you need to know. Verses 2 through 7, it deals with old Jewish law and raising children in the law of Moses when it was done away in Christ. So that's what you need to know about those verses.
And then it teaches that little children will be saved. And the tradition in verse 6 is that children are born in sin, and the Lord is trying to teach like, that's not true anymore. And verse 7, I love how He says little children are holy, being sanctified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, which has kind of been the theme for this like, Jesus has already done it. He's already taken care of it, for little children, but also for anyone in our family.
So I want to go back to verse 1 because I've been thinking a ton about this. And this idea of a mixed-faith marriage. And I just want to know: Can mixed-faith marriages work? Can a wife and husband be sanctified and can mixed faith marriages work?
I say yes. Yes, buzzer for me.
I think this is so interesting, because I think when we use that term and we say unbelieving is non-member, I think it gives it a very specific meaning. But when we keep it kind of bigger, being unbelieving has been claiming that there's even couples that have differing levels of believing for different levels of activity in the Church. And so I think that there's different ways that we can kind of apply this. But I believe that all of us sanctify our partners and sanctify our children. When we pray, when we read our scriptures, when we are practicing Christlike virtues or Christlike attributes, it sanctifies everyone around us.
It brings to mind this family on my mission. There were quite a few part-member families in Panama. And there was a, I can't remember their last name, but the father's name was, Jose Felix. His wife was a member, his children were members. He was not. He had gone through some ridiculous amount of missionaries, like 27 sets of missionaries or something.
Yeah. He had taken to this Baptist habit of like, whenever he'd see us walking up the road, he would just like, run to the back of the house and hide back there so that, you know, we wouldn't ask him questions or whatever. But his family were faithful. They came to church every week, they served in their callings his son left on a mission. They were just good, good people, but he was not a member.
And it wasn't until like one day, we walked up and he was sitting on the front porch. And he asked if he could shine our shoes. And we were like, what? So we let him shine our shoes and we came in the house. And he said, "I'm ready to get baptized!" And we hadn't taught him anything. And it wasn't because of anything we did. It was because of how his family lived and what his wife was doing and what his kids were doing that converted him. He had been through all these missionaries, and none of them can convince him, but it was his family. It's his family that did that.
So doing this, like studying for this and things, I had talked to a few friends. One of them, my Relief Society president here, her husband is not a member. She had been a member all her life. They dated for seven years. She wanted to marry him. It had ended up with her ward, her bishop, and all the members of her family and everybody fasting for her because she wanted to do what God wanted her to do. In the end, she had felt the confirmation like, it's okay, he's a good man. And, and so they've been married for a long time and their communication is perfect. I wrote this down. I just thought it was really awesome. She said, "You are not a privileged person just because you are a member of the Church. We are all children of our Heavenly Father. Open communication, respect, and no secrets is the key."
My other friend, who also lived in Dubai, they're now in the States, her husband had left the Church, he was not believing at all. But he came to church to help take care of the kids every week. And a lot of people didn't know that he wasn't active or didn't believe at all.
So they moved before the pandemic. And it's just been super hard, because I think us as members of a ward, some of the things that we do and expect from other people who are not active or not members, can really damage people. For her right now, over the past couple of months, the way that some members have treated her and her family have really broken her. She was nice enough to open up and say she's like, "I just want to be honest," but she's kind of stepped away because of all the hurt that has come. Her daughter has come home bawling because of some of the things that have been said, that imply that her husband is a bad person because he doesn't believe or, you know, those little things that can really push people away.
Oh, that's heartbreaking. But thank you for sharing both of those stories. And thank you for doing the research, and asking about that, Sheradon, I appreciate that. And when you told us about the woman who is married to the man who's from India, jump in Aliah, what are your thoughts?
I just want to pause in like, deep admiration and love for the people that she talked about. Because I think that's more powerful than anything that I have to say. That idea of support is more important than belief. That their partner was supportive was more important than whatever their partner believed.
And that takes me to verse 5, which I think we don't often talk about in this section, because it says in verse 5, "Wherefore, for this cause the apostle wrote unto the church, giving unto them a commandment, not of the Lord, but of himself, that a believer should not be united to an unbeliever;"
That this was a commandment that the apostle gave of his own. That was not a commandment of the Lord, that believers and non-believers shouldn't be together. That was a commandment that the apostle gave of his own and not of the Lord.
Wow, thank you for pointing that out.
Powerful. Some people believe that verses 5 throughout the rest is a lost letter to the Corinthians. This is new scripture that's given right there that's not found in 1 Corinthians. And I love that you pointed that out, Aliah.
Okay, and I just cannot get over the story, Aliah, that you told about your investigator in Panama because that story is exactly what we need as we study section 75 in the next segment. Oh my gosh, it's gonna be so good. So good.
Segment 6 1:08:10
Aliah, in the last segment, you shared such a good story about that amazing investigator that you met on your mission. And I'm just wondering, is there anything else that you can tell us about him or his story?
He is one of my favorite converts. I love, like, this man is like my absolute favorite hero of all heroes. He made such a wonderful member, and was so cool.
Ahhh. We didn't even talk about this, you didn't even know we were going to discuss this, which is why I love how the Spirit works. It's like, and cue this story.
So let's go to Section 75 because the title for Section 75, is "Duties of Missionaries." So what we have here is that we have a conference of the Church, and it's held on January 25, 1832.
The Prophet Joseph Smith, he received two revelations, and both are found in Section 75. The first revelation is verses 1 through 22. And you can see this in the section heading. Then we have a second revelation, which is going to be verses 23 through 36.
The whole purpose of this was that the Lord's going to instruct the elders who are going on missions exactly what they're supposed to do. So if you just look at verse 6 through the end, almost every verse says a name and what their duty is, a name and what their duty is. So we're not going to cover much of that. We're just going to focus right here on the very beginning of this section, which is verses 3, 4, and 5, because I just think it ties in beautifully to what we've been talking about today. And so let's just start there, and each of us will read a verse and we'll start with Sheradon and then Aliah,and then myself. Let's read Doctrine and Covenants Section 75, verses 3 through 5.
"3 Behold, I say unto you that is my will that you should go forth and not tarry, neither be idle but labor with your might —
"4 Lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump proclaiming the truth according to the revelations and commandments which I have given you.
"5 And thus, if ye are faithful ye shall be laden with many sheaves, and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life."
Okay, highlight "laden with many sheaves." This is a really common scriptural phrase, and we read it often. And here's what we need to know—this idea of being laden with many sheaves—it means a large and plentiful harvest. It's like, the dream of every missionary. When I walked off that plane in Fresno, California, I truly was like, "Let's do this, who wants to get baptized?" I mean, I really thought I would convert the entire city.
And so you have this idea, just being laden with plentiful harvest. But here's what's important about this verse. It's the imagery, because when he's talking about sheaves that are bundled, we're talking about fully grown wheat that's just ripe, and it's ready. And I love this idea that it's going to be harvested and bundled up together and ready to go. And what it really is talking about is us, that's the imagery, members of the Church who are ripe and ready to go, who have strong testimonies. They believe they have paid the price to get to that point to be fully grown.
But the whole purpose of this is not for us to look at the end result, it's to think about what it took to get it to grow, and all the work that it took to get this beautiful bundle. But what we need to talk about is: How do we get to that point? What work comes before the sheaves?
All of it. Like you have to plow, you have to flatten out the land, get, make these rows.
We are putting our summer garden together right now. So I'm like in the thick of it, planting the seeds, making sure that animals don't eat the little sprouts beforehand. Like, keeping them safe.
Sheradon, jump in. What are you doing when you're making a garden?
It's too hot here. We don't garden.
No gardening and Dubai. So think about all of these things like, write down everything. If you have a journal, I want you to write down everything you have to do before you actually get to harvest, and it is a ton of work, isn't it? So this verse is really beautiful. "If ye are faithful, ye shall be laden with many sheaves."
And going back to what we've talked about today with the crisis of faith, and living in a mixed-faith marriage or having a family member or a loved one leave the Church, I just thought this verse was beautiful because I wasn't focused so much on being laden with the sheaves. The glory that comes at the end. I was more focused on all of the different aspects of the work that's required. And I thought, "I'm in this phase with the person that I love."
So I want to know, then, because I'm thinking about this in my own life, how can we apply these things to family and friends who have left the Church?
The thing that first came up for me is that that work is not completed here on Earth. I love going to the temple, I've always loved going to the temple. When I was at BYU, I'd go several times a week, just because that was a really hard place for me to be. I needed the temple to keep my enthusiasm up. So when I think of like, honor and glory and your sheaves, I think of all of the people that you taught, all of the people that you did temple work for, all of those people will be there to receive you on the other side. We don't know all the people's lives that we've touched.
The labor in a garden is very intentional with the labor of missionaries, although also very intentional. Sometimes we just don't know what it is. Like, "Oh, it was that testimony I gave." And then we asked them like, "You know, how did you know to get baptized?" And then they're like, "Oh, well, I was walking down the street one day—" and it's like something completely different than what you thought it was. Like, just doing the work. You don't know what you're going to harvest. You just keep doing the work.
Well I think about the man who you shared this story of who just wanted to join the Church all of a sudden. I'm thinking all the countless missionaries watered—
Planted the seed and watered it.
Tended to it, protected the crop from anyone. Yeah, put the little cages over the sprouts
For years and years and years and years. And we just happened to be there when it sprung up, like, when the plant sprung up. A lot of people put a lot of work into that, but mostly his family.
Sheradon, you have your hand raised, go.
Okay. I kind of was thinking of this as like a personal thing too, is that weeding and all that prep work that you have to do, you know.
When I was preparing for this and thinking, "Okay, I don't know if I have anything to contribute." I was like, "Oh wait, I have my own story." It's kind of hard to admit, but I received this impression and I do believe that that was from God. So in trying to act on this impression, I went down a different path than the Lord wanted me to go. I sought out a blessing. And in that blessing, I was told that though that path was not the path of God that He wanted me to go down. And that's what really broke me because that hurt so bad, knowing that I have been deceived really hurt.
And then after that, I dropped. It was from like, "I've got this strong testimony," to like, "Is God even real?" It scared me so bad. And it was, I was so numb to I felt like the Spirit and everything. I got to this point where I was like, "Okay, well, I need to do all these things that I've done and prepared and know that I should do." So that's kind of what I'm talking about with doing the weeding, where I was like, "Okay, if I really do want to know, then I better put into practice what I thought I needed to do."
It was the weirdest position for me to be in because I was so sure, and then I was so unsure. That all of those things that helped me to be laden with many sheaves, I got to this point again, I'm like, "Okay, I'm strong." I don't know if I will ever say, "I have a sure foundation testimony," because I don't want it to get rocked like it did. But I know that since then, just being open with my struggles, and all these things, I know that I've helped people. And that's been some of those blessings that it's like, okay, because I've done this, I've been able to bless others.
When all is said and done, Sheradon, I want to know, what do you believe about God now?
I know He's real. I know He's my Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus is my brother. And I know the Holy Ghost is there to teach me and to comfort me. And I'm now more sure than I have ever been and I love how close I am in those relationships.
Wow. Was it worth the wilderness?
Well thank you for sharing that. I don't want to comment on your particular experience, because that's your particular experience. But I think oftentimes, when we feel like we're rock solid, that's when the Lord invites us to go in the wilderness. Because he's like, okay, you've gotten all you can from that. Now, come over here. And we pass through this really hard time to get to that new place.
How different it would be if we reacted with, "They're just going through their wilderness right now. It's gonna be okay. Oh, yeah, I've been there before, I know what you're going through." To put it in that context, as opposed to, "Yhey're never going to be saved in Christ, I can't help them, and we're not going to be an eternal family." We've got to change that narrative back to just, "Oh, they're going through the wilderness right now."
Or when they're going, like, when somebody comes and says, "You know, I'm leaving the Church." If we interpret that as, "You're getting ready to go through the wilderness." If somebody was really going to go through wilderness, what would we really ask them? "What do you need?"
Oh, totally. You would like give him supplies.
That's true, like when somebody says, "Oh, I'm leaving the Church," whatever, like, the question we can ask is, "What do you need?"
Yeah. I like that approach.
What do you need on this journey that you're about to embark on? And they're like, "Well, I need you to check in on me or I need you to still be my friend," or who knows what they're gonna ask for?
Well, and I can't wait 'til we study Old Testament, that this idea of being in the wilderness for 40 years, when the actual journey was seven days. But what I love about the number 40 is, the number 40 in Hebrew, the literal meaning of that is "a period of test or trial," whatever that looks like for you. So were they really there 40 years? We don't know; they probably were just there as long as they needed to be there, as long as it took them to get where the Lord needed them to be spiritually. That was the whole purpose of that wilderness. That was the whole purpose of Christ fasting for 40 days. He could have fasted for 40 days or was it as much time as he needed to get through that experience?
I love this quote by Sister Reyna Aburo. She gave this in a general conference in 2019. And, Sheradon, will you read this quote for us?
"Let us follow the Savior's path and increase our compassion, diminish our tendency to judge, and stop being the inspectors of the spirituality of others. Listening with love is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. And we may be able to help carry or lift the heavy clouds that suffocate our loved ones, and friends, so that through our love, they can once again feel the Holy Ghost and perceive the light that emanates from Jesus Christ."
Thank you. I just love the idea of love. Just love them. All you can do.
And we have this quote from President Eyring. And the reason why I wanted us to read this is because if you look in section 75, at the end of verse 11, at the end of verse 13, at the end of verse 14, it says, quote, ". . . I am with them also, even unto the end." "I will be with them even unto the end." And let that be a reminder to all of us, for people who we know or love, or even ourselves, obviously, that He will be with us even to the end. And so this quote by Elder Eyring was just perfect for these verses. Aliah, will you read this for us?
"From before the world was, a loving Father in Heaven and his beloved son loved and worked with those they knew would wander. God will love them forever."
Wow, thank you. Well, thank you, both of you for being on this episode. This was exactly as it was supposed to be. No doubt. I loved everything you shared, and it was powerful. Several times, the Spirit was like, "That is true. That is true." This was powerful.
Okay, so what I want you to do now is just think about what we've discussed today and share with us what your takeaway was.
Having your personal story, Sheradon, really touched my heart, because I think that there are so many people out there who have stories like that, and who live in in shame about them. But there's nothing shameful about going through the wilderness. That was my takeaway from studying for this podcast, these sections, is that there's nothing shameful about going through the wilderness. That's how we grow. There's that quote that says, "It'll all be okay in the end. And if it's not, okay, it means it's not the end."
I love that.
It's such a good quote. So for me, I just loved what AIiah was saying is, "What do you need in your wilderness?" I've never have thought about it that way. It's like, okay, they're going out into this. This is their searching moment, they're going to explore, and they may find themselves in dangerous situations, in deep water. And they may need supplies. They may need us to go along with them, maybe, depending on the relationship that we have with them, but that was my big takeaway. It was, "Okay, all these people are going through their wilderness, what did they need?"
You know what, thank you, both of you. Those were great takeaways. I almost want your takeaways to be my takeaway. That was really good.
My takeaway was the idea of when someone's going through their wilderness to ask them, "Tell me what you're going through." That simple. I'm always worried about saying the wrong thing. And to just to get to the point, like, tell me what's going on, talk to me about you're going through. And then to be aware of their wilderness and their experience, and that I've had my own wilderness. I just have to remind myself of that, because so many times we don't want to think we've done that. But we have, and to remember, I've been in the wilderness and to have more empathy towards people who are going through their own. So, thank you. Thank you ladies.
Thank you, Tam.
It was so fun.
Oh, my gosh, this is so so so so good. Okay, love you both.
Okay, well, I want to know what your big takeaway was, because there were so many for this episode. And I can't even stress enough how badly I needed this topic today. And I'm so grateful that Heavenily Father was like: This is what you're talking about.
So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, go do that, because I want to know what you guys thought. I want to know everything you were thinking throughout this episode. I answer all the questions I can during the week that you asked, as well as everybody else, so it's kind of fun. And on Saturday, we'll share a post asking what your big takeaway was; comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let me know what you've learned. And I read every one of them. And I think I'm going to really love the ones from this week.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. It's not a bad idea to go there anyway, because that's where we have the links to all the references we used today. And the fun study about bishops, go to that, and a transcript of this whole discussion.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus original brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our so inspired study group participants were Aliah Hall and Sheradon Orton. And you can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.coms/SundayonMonday.
Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at 6 Studios and our executive produce is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember: when you're in your wilderness or if you're there right now, you are still God's favorite.
I have found this lady on Instagram that does like these, this merch and her, her merch says, "You can have Jesus and a therapist, too."
I love that shirt. It's true. One-hundred percent.
Like, I need that shirt. I need to wear it to church. Yeah, Jesus and a therapist too!
Transcribed by Jenee Uzelac