33: "Establish … a House of God" (Doctrine and Covenants 88)
Were you ever afraid of the dark as a kid? Maybe you still are? Even if you are brave enough to never have feared the dark, there’s something undeniably comforting about stepping into the light. And this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 88 is all about comfort and light. After previous sections filled with prophecies of war and discord, this section shows us what we can always find comfort in as Latter-day Saints. So grab your scriptures and as many marking pencils as you can find, and let’s dig in.
Title for Section 88: "Olive Leaf"
"The circumstances under which section 88 was received were recorded in the Kirtland Council Minute Book. A council of high priests had convened in Joseph's translating room above the Whitney store in Kirtland. 'Bro Joseph arose and said, to receive revelation and the blessing of heaven it was necessary to have our minds on God and exercise faith and become of one heart and of one mind. Therefore he recommended all present to pray separately and vocally to the Lord for to reveal his will unto us concerning the upbuilding of Zion & for the benefit of the saints and for the duty and employment of the Elders. Accordingly we all bowed down before the Lord, after which each one arose and spoke in his turn his feelings, and determination to keep the commandments of God. And then proceeded to receive a revelation concerning the duty [of the Elders as] above stated. 9 o'clock P.M.. the revelation not being finished the conference adjourned till tomorrow morning 9 o'clock A.M. [28th] met according to adjournment and commenced by Prayer thus proceeded to receive the residue of the above revelation'3" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 88, Deseret Book).
Quote: "In forwarding a copy of this revelation, Doctrine and Covenants 88, to the Saints in Zion, Joseph wrote, 'I send you the Olive Leaf which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us.'4 The context of this letter indicates that section 88 was not only to serve as a message of peace to all the Saints as they struggled in the world, but also as a message of peace and reconciliation from the Kirtland brethren to some of their troubled colleagues in Missouri" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 88, Deseret Book).
Quote: "It can be argued that 88 displays Joseph Smith’s highest level of speaking with the prophetic voice” (Brother S. Michael Wilcox).
Quote: "During December 1832, Joseph Smith continued his work on the Joseph Smith Translation at Kirtland, Ohio, and continued to receive in connection with that work some remarkable visions concerning the future of the world.1 Doctrine and Covenants 86 dealt with the second coming of the Savior, the gathering of the wheat and the tares, and the Final Judgment. Section 87 dealt with the wars and horrors that would precede the Lord's coming and which were soon to be poured out upon the nation and upon the world. According to Jedediah M. Grant, 'The prophet stood in his own house when he told several of us of the night the visions of heaven were opened to him, in which he saw the American continent drenched in blood, and he saw nation rising up against nation. . . . The Prophet gazed upon the scene his vision presented, until his heart sickened, and he besought the Lord to close it up again.'2
"Naturally, after Joseph had seen such terrible things lurking in the future of the world, both he and those with whom he shared these visions (see D&C 86–87) were concerned for the future of the Church and the Saints. Consequently, on 27 December, two days after Doctrine and Covenants 87 had been received, a council of ten leading high priests met to plead with the Lord for additional understanding, and God blessed them—and all his Saints—with a great revelation for the coming New Year. However, this was not a revelation of future doom and woes, but a revelation of peace and comfort for the Lord's people, both at that time and in times to come. Doctrine and Covenants 87, the great revelation on war, was followed by section 88, the even greater revelation on peace, comfort, and light" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 88, Deseret Book).
2 Behold, this is pleasing unto your Lord, and the angels arejoice over you; the balms of your prayers have come up into the ears of the Lord of cSabaoth, and are recorded in the dbook of the names of the sanctified, even them of the celestial world.
3 Wherefore, I now send upon you another aComforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of bpromise; which other Comforter is the same that I promised unto my disciples, as is recorded in the testimony of John.
61 Therefore it is given to abide in you; the arecord of heaven; the bComforter; the cpeaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all dpower according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment (Moses 6:61).
6 And thus, with the asword and by bloodshed the inhabitants of the earth shall bmourn; and with cfamine, and plague, and earthquake, and the thunder of heaven, and the fierce and vivid lightning also, shall the inhabitants of the earth be made to feel the wrath, and indignation, and dchastening ehand of an Almighty God, until the consumption decreed hath made a full fend of all gnations;
7 That the cry of the saints, and of the ablood of the saints, shall cease to come up into the ears of the Lord of bSabaoth, from the earth, to be avenged of their enemies (Doctrine and Covenants 87:6–7).
Parenthesis in Verses 6–13:
8 As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made;
9 As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made;
13 The alight which is in all things, which giveth blife to all things, which is the claw by which all things are governed, even the dpower of God who esitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things (Doctrine and Covenants 88:13).
Verses 14–40: "The Laws"
36 All kingdoms have a law given; (Doctrine and Covenants 88:36).
Law of Christ:
21 And they who are not asanctified through the blaw which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit canother kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom, or that of a telestial kingdom (Doctrine and Covenants 88:21).
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is aangry with his brother bwithout a cause shall be cin danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, dRaca, shall be ein danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:21–22).
Good Samaritan: Luke 10:30–37
Their Own Place
32 And they who remain shall also be aquickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are bwilling to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received (Doctrine and Covenants 88:30–32).
Quote: “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened” (C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce, goodreads.com).
"Telestial glory will be reserved for individuals who “received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus” (Doctrine and Covenants 76:82). These individuals will receive their glory after being redeemed from spirit prison, which is sometimes called hell (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:84; Doctrine and Covenants 76:106). A detailed explanation of those who will inherit telestial glory is found in Doctrine and Covenants 76:81–90, 98–106, 109–112" ("Kingdoms of Glory," Gospel Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
33 For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33).
Sons of Perdition:
35 That which abreaketh a law, and babideth not by claw, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, djustice, nor ejudgment. Therefore, they must remain ffilthy still (Doctrine and Covenants 88:35).
44 Wherefore, he saves all aexcept them—they shall go away into beverlasting cpunishment, which is endless punishment, which is eternal punishment, to dreign with the edevil and his angels in eternity, where their fworm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched, which is their torment (Doctrine and Covenants 76:44).
48 Wherefore, the end, the width, the height, the adepth, and the misery thereof, they understand not, neither any man except those who are bordained unto this ccondemnation (Doctrine and Covenants 76:47–48).
Portion and Fullness:
Verses 42–63: Workers in the Field Parable
45 The earth arolls upon her wings, and the bsun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the cpower of God.
46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand? (Doctrine and Covenants 88:45–46).
51 Behold, I will liken these kingdoms unto a man having a field, and he sent forth his servants into the field to dig in the field (Doctrine and Covenants 88:51).
- Field = World
52 And he said unto the first: Go ye and labor in the field, and in the first hour I will come unto you, and ye shall behold the joy of my countenance.
53 And he said unto the second: Go ye also into the field, and in the second hour I will visit you with the joy of my countenance.
54 And also unto the third, saying: I will visit you;
55 And unto the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth.
56 And the lord of the field went unto the first in the first hour, and tarried with him all that hour, and he was made glad with the light of the countenance of his lord (Doctrine and Covenants 88:52–56).
57 And then he withdrew from the first that he might visit the second also, and the third, and the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth.
58 And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season (Doctrine and Covenants 88:57–58).
The Savior in Gethsemane:
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
He will tarry with everyone:
60 Every man in his own aorder, until his hour was finished, even according as his lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified in him, and he in his lord, that they all might be glorified.
61 Therefore, unto this parable I will liken all these akingdoms, and the binhabitants thereof—every kingdom in its hour, and in its time, and in its season, even according to the decree which God hath made.
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my afriends, I leave these bsayings with you to cponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall dcall upon me while I am near (Doctrine and Covenants 88:59–62).
Prodigal Son: Luke 15:11–32
Quote: "Verse 61 in this parable may be the most hopeful and beautiful expressions in the Doctrine and Covenants that tells us about the Savior" (Brother S. Michael Wilcox).
Verses 69–86: Verbs
68 Therefore, asanctify yourselves that your bminds become csingle to God, and the days will come that you shall dsee him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will (Doctrine and Covenants 88:68).
74 And I give unto you, who are the first alaborers in this last kingdom, a commandment that you assemble yourselves together, and organize yourselves, and prepare yourselves, and bsanctify yourselves; yea, purify your hearts, and ccleanse your hands and your feet before me, that I may make you dclean; (Doctrine and Covenants 88:74).
80 That ye may be prepared in all things when I shall send you again to amagnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the bmission with which I have commissioned you (Doctrine and Covenants 88:80).
- Cross Reference:
- 7 ¶ aAsk, and it shall be bgiven you; cseek, and ye shall find; dknock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7).
Paul in Athens: Acts 17
Remember the great and last promise:
- Cross Reference:
- 121 Therefore, acease from all your light speeches, from all blaughter, from all your clustful desires, from all your dpride and light-mindedness, and from all your wicked doings (Doctrine and Covenants 88:121).
- 1 To every thing there is a aseason, and a btime to every purpose under the heaven:
- 4 A time to weep, and a time to alaugh; a time to bmourn, and a time to dance; (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4).
75 That I may testify unto your aFather, and your God, and my bGod, that you are clean from the cblood of this wicked generation; that I may fulfil this promise, this great and last dpromise, which I have made unto you, when I will (Doctrine and Covenants 88:75).
Learn and Teach:
78 Teach ye diligently and my agrace shall attend you, that you may be binstructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
79 Of things both in aheaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must bshortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the cnations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a dknowledge also of countries and of kingdoms (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–79).
Cease to be idle:
124 Cease to be aidle; cease to be bunclean; cease to cfind fault one with another; cease to dsleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be einvigorated (Doctrine and Covenants 88:124).
- Cross Reference:
- 118 And as all have not afaith, seek ye diligently and bteach one another words of cwisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best dbooks words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118).
Expedient: "If it edifies, it is expedient" (S. Michael Wilcox).
Quote: "The golden rule is that there are no golden rules" ( George Bernard Shaw).
Sam Brown episode of All In:
Shofar: A ram's horn used to call God's people to war. Referred to a trumpet in the Bible.
87 For not many days hence and the aearth shall btremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man; and the csun shall dhide his face, and shall refuse to give light; and the moon shall be bathed in eblood; and the stars shall become exceedingly angry, and shall fcast themselves down as a fig that falleth from off a fig tree (Doctrine and Covenants 88:87).
- Cross Reference:
- 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I ashake not the earth only, but also heaven.
- 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
- 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with areverence and godly bfear: (Hebrews 12:26–28).
First Trump: The Second Coming and First Resurrection
95 And there shall be asilence in bheaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a cscroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the dface of the Lord shall be unveiled; (Doctrine and Covenants 88:95).
- Cross Reference:
- 12 Which causeth asilence to reign, and all eternity is bpained, and the cangels are waiting the great command to dreap down the earth, to egather the ftares that they may be gburned; and, behold, the enemy is combined (Doctrine and Covenants 38:12).
25 How oft have I acalled upon you by the mouth of my bservants, and by the cministering of angels, and by mine own voice, and by the voice of dthunderings, and by the voice of lightnings, and by the voice of tempests, and by the voice of earthquakes, and great hailstorms, and by the voice of efamines and pestilences of every kind, and by the great sound of a ftrump, and by the voice of judgment, and by the voice of gmercy all the day long, and by the voice of glory and honor and the hriches of eternal life, and would have saved you with an ieverlasting salvation, but ye would not! (Doctrine and Covenants 43:25).
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is alongsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should bperish, but that all should come to crepentance (2 Peter 3:9).
The Celestial Resurrection:
98 They are Christ’s, the afirst fruits, they who shall descend with him first, and they who are on the earth and in their graves, who are first caught up to meet him; and all this by the voice of the sounding of the trump of the angel of God (Doctrine and Covenants 88:98).
"The celestial kingdom is the place prepared for those who have 'received the testimony of Jesus' and been 'made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:51, 69). To inherit this gift, we must receive the ordinances of salvation, keep the commandments, and repent of our sins. For a detailed explanation of those who will inherit celestial glory, see Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–70; 76:92–96" ("Kingdoms of Glory," Gospel Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org ).
Second Trump: Terrestrial Resurrection
99 And after this another angel shall sound, which is the second trump; and then cometh the redemption of those who are Christ’s at his acoming; who have received their part in that bprison which is prepared for them, that they might receive the gospel, and be cjudged according to men in the flesh (Doctrine and Covenants 88:99).
"Those who inherit terrestrial glory will 'receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:77–78). Generally speaking, individuals in the terrestrial kingdom will be honorable people 'who were blinded by the craftiness of men' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:75). This group will include members of the Church who were 'not valiant in the testimony of Jesus' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:79). To learn more about those who will inherit terrestrial glory, see Doctrine and Covenants 76:71–80, 91, 97 ("Kingdoms of Glory," Gospel Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Third Trump: Telestial Resurrection
"Telestial glory will be reserved for individuals who 'received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:82). These individuals will receive their glory after being redeemed from spirit prison, which is sometimes called hell (see Doctrine and Covenants 76:84; Doctrine and Covenants 76:106). A detailed explanation of those who will inherit telestial glory is found in Doctrine and Covenants 76:81–90, 98–106, 109–112" ("Kingdoms of Glory," Gospel Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Fourth Trump: Sons of Perdition Are Resurrected:
102 And another trump shall sound, which is the fourth trump, saying: There are found among those who are to remain until that great and last day, even the end, who shall aremain bfilthy still (Doctrine and Covenants 88:102).
"Some people will not be worthy to dwell in any kingdom of glory. They will be called 'the sons of perdition' and will have to 'abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:32; 88:24). This will be the state of 'those who know [God’s] power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy [God’s] power' (Doctrine and Covenants 76:31; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:30, 32–49) ("Kingdoms of Glory," Gospel Topics, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Fifth Trump: Every Knee Bow and Every Tongue Confess
103 And another trump shall sound, which is the fifth trump, which is the fifth angel who committeth the aeverlasting gospel—flying through the midst of heaven, unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people;
104 And this shall be the sound of his trump, saying to all people, both in heaven and in earth, and that are under the earth—for aevery ear shall hear it, and every knee shall bbow, and every tongue shall confess, while they hear the sound of the trump, saying: cFear God, and give glory to him who sitteth upon the throne, dforever and ever; for the hour of his judgment is come (Doctrine and Covenants 88:103–104).
Sixth Trump: End of the Apostasy
105 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the sixth angel, saying: She is afallen who made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication; she is fallen, is fallen! (Doctrine and Covenants 88:105).
Seventh Trump: God Hath Overcome
106 And again, another angel shall sound his trump, which is the seventh angel, saying: It is finished; it is finished! The aLamb of God hath bovercome and ctrodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God (Doctrine and Covenants 88:106).
Seven trumps are sounded again and Satan is bound for a thousand years:
110 And so on, until the seventh angel shall sound his trump; and he shall astand forth upon the land and upon the sea, and bswear in the name of him who sitteth upon the throne, that there shall be ctime no longer; and dSatan shall be bound, that old serpent, who is called the devil, and shall not be loosed for the space of a ethousand years (Doctrine and Covenants 88:108–110).
"Therefore What Verses": (117–126)
118 And as all have not afaith, seek ye diligently and bteach one another words of cwisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best dbooks words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith (Doctrine and Covenants 88:118).
119 aOrganize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a bhouse, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God; (Doctrine and Covenants 88:119).
124 Cease to be aidle; cease to be bunclean; cease to cfind fault one with another; cease to dsleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be einvigorated (Doctrine and Covenants 88:124).
133 Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to afellowship, in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your bfriend and cbrother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving, forever and ever. Amen (Doctrine and Covenants 88:133).
- Hebrew: Beautiful = Naah, the verb form of beautiful and the root of Nauvoo. Yah-fey, the adjective form of beautiful.
122 Appoint among yourselves a teacher, and let anot all be spokesmen at once; but let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his sayings, that when all have spoken that all may be bedified of all, and that every man may have an equal privilege (Doctrine and Covenants 88:122).
137 And ye are called to do this by prayer and thanksgiving, as the Spirit shall give utterance in all your doings in the house of the Lord, in the school of the prophets, that it may become a sanctuary, a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit to your aedification (Doctrine and Covenants 88:137).
Light Things Attract:
40 For aintelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; bwisdom receiveth wisdom; ctruth embraceth truth; dvirtue loveth virtue; elight cleaveth unto light; fmercy hath gcompassion on mercy and claimeth her own; hjustice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things (Doctrine and Covenants 88:40).
66 Behold, that which you hear is as the avoice of one crying in the wilderness—in the wilderness, because you cannot see him—my voice, because my voice is bSpirit; my Spirit is truth; ctruth abideth and hath no end; and if it be in you it shall abound (Doctrine and Covenants 88:66).
Today's study of Doctrine and Covenants section 88 has a very unique title. So for those of you who are writing titles next to each section, this one is called "Olive Leaf." And the reason that this title is so unique is that it was titled by Joseph Smith himself. After the revelation was received, he forwarded a copy of this revelation to the Saints in Zion, and this is what he wrote:
"I send you the olive leaf, which we have plucked from the tree of Paradise, the Lord's message of peace to us." One scholar, who I really, really adore, said this of section 88: "It can be argued that Section 88 displays Joseph Smith's highest level of speaking with the prophetic voice." That scholar is our guest. And I have a feeling that by the end of this hour, we are totally going to agree with him.
Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Okay, 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 study group to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my friends Jane and Steve White, who study together each week with us. So hi, friends!
Now another awesome thing about our study group is each week we're joined by two of my friends, and it's always gonna be different. Today it definitely is. So today we have Morgan Jones, and she is the host of the podcast All In, as well as the author of the new book All In, so we're so excited about that. Hi, Morgan.
Morgan Jones 1:32
It's so good to be with you. This is so fun.
Oh, it's so fun. And I knew you were the person that needed to be with us because you like THIS person as much as I do—our other guest—Michael Wilcox. Hello.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:42
Hello. Thank you. Nice to be here. Couldn't be with more lovely company.
Morgan Jones 1:47
This is where we need to like insert like, praise hands (emojis). Hey, I just love Michael Wilcox so much. They do not come, right, any better than this man. So excited to learn from you today.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:59
Thank you very much.
I totally agree. Like, I wish we had background music, we'd do applause, or crowd cheering, right? Michael Wilcox!
Morgan Jones 2:09
I know. Michael Wilcox is a former Seminary and Institute teacher. He's also an author of many books, the most recent book Holding On, which is good, and it's such a fun and easy read. I recommend it. Hearing your personal stories was a big deal. And my only claim to fame was Michael Wilcox, we taught together for several years when I was—
S. Michael Wilcox 2:12
That was great fun.
The first time we ever really met was at an inservice and they made us do scripture chases and they buddied us up with different teachers. And—
S. Michael Wilcox 2:34
I did! I beat Michael in the scripture chase.
Morgan Jones 2:37
That's a done claim to fame, Tammy.
But only because Michael was like, "Why are we scripture chasing? We don't have time for this. We got gospel to talk about." I mean, you just wanted to get in the scriptures. You're like, why are you playing games? And I kind of agreed with him. But I did win!
S. Michael Wilcox 2:50
You did; I salute you.
Morgan Jones 2:52
Oh, man, I love a good scripture chase, so I'm kind of bummed I missed out on that.
And I was a little bit obnoxious, I was a newly hired teacher. So I'm like, "In your face, Michael!" I mean, I'm a little embarrassed about that now, because now that I know him and he's like, I don't got time for this. So I was very excited. I thought, "We're gonna have Michael Wilcox." And this is unique. And Morgan, you can probably agree with me. This is sort of going to be like a master class.
Morgan Jones 3:14
Yes. And I'm just here, I honestly am just here to learn.
Yeah, I'm the same way; Morgan and I are going to learn from Michael today. So those of you who are familiar with this idea of master classes, you invite somebody who knows a lot about something to talk about that theme. And section 88 is so intense, that there's nobody else who could teach it. And we've talked beforehand, and kind of gone over and we have tried so hard to just put this into six segments, which is nearly impossible.
S. Michael Wilcox 3:42
There's really so much. You could argue it's the king or the queen section of all, and I really do think section 88, section 93—Joseph's highest prophetic voice. This isn't coming from a farm boy,
I totally agre, it's definitely not. So we're not even gonna waste any more time on anything else. I just want us to grab our scriptures and let's dig in.
Here's a little disclaimer: there is no way that we are going to be able to cover everything in section 88. So be sure to check out the shownotes for some background and context for this section. Because I just don't want to spend any time telling you how we got this section other than a group of men were gathered together and they were each told to pray individually on their own. And as they prayed they received this revelation.
I know that's so trite, but we're just going to jump right in and we're going to cover for this first part, verses 1 through 13, and if we get to it 66 and 68, but mostly 1 through 13. So grab your scriptures, your pencils, everything and let's go. Alright, Michael and Morgan, my first question is this: Were either of you ever afraid of the dark growing up?
S. Michael Wilcox 4:44
Never, not once?
S. Michael Wilcox 4:47
Not, no, I don't. I can't remember ever being afraid of the dark.
Morgan Jones 4:51
I don't remember being afraid of the dark either. I've always struggled with nightmares, but I don't remember being super afraid of the dark, 'cuz I think I didn't like bedtime.
Terrified, I was terrified of the dark, still kind of am. And especially if I have to go upstairs and everything's dark behind me, I go into freakout mode still. I'm in my 50s and I run up the stairs as fast as I can, because someone might grab my legs behind me. So yeah, the dark scares me. And for anyone who's afraid of the dark, there's something unique about these verses, because it is solely about light, and what light can bring to you and how light dispels darkness. And so we're gonna jump into these verses. And Michael, I want you to teach us what is significant about these verses.
S. Michael Wilcox 5:33
I mean, the first thing I would say is that sometimes when you look at the scriptures, you look at the setting, always look at what precedes it and what follows it. Section 87, you're gonna have all kinds of wars, conflicts, civil wars, World Wars, revolutions. But in that world of anger and hate, I will show you how to find peace in this life and peace in the world to come. So if I just take that as a theme, I'm just looking through Section 88, saying, what does it, ask, this have to do with peace in this world, and in the world to come? That's kind of the way I would at least begin this thing as we look at it. This is also a section with a lot of ambiguity. I think God likes ambiguity, some, not moral ambiguity, but he likes ambiguity, where things can have more than one meaning.
He likes you to think about stuff.
S. Michael Wilcox 6:29
He likes us to think. So what is he talking about in these first few verses? Then we can get into light, in verse 3 and 4,
3 ".......I now send upon you another Comforter, even upon you my friends, that it may abide in your hearts, even the Holy Spirit of promise; " which is the one I promised my disciples in John 14.' And then he says,
4 "This comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom."
This is what we sometimes call 'calling and election made sure.' We may not have time to do it now, but I would just say to people if you want the scriptures to comment on themselves - which is what they do, You go to Moses Chapter 6:61 and underline all the words in Moses 6:61 that match the words in Section 88 verses 2-4, and you're gonna find six or seven of them: sanctified, recorded, abide, comforter, promise, words eternal. You're gonna find all these things. It's fairly obvious that He's talking about the Holy Ghost.
So I would read these, you can read it that, okay, this is the promise: you've made it, which would certainly give you peace. But I think He's saying 'If you will stay on the path, live the gospel, receive My truth, I am going to put in your heart - and in your heart will always be the knowledge - the promise that life is worth it, that there is a happy ending, that you will inherit the celestial kingdom. So quit stressing so much about all this. This is the gospel of joy and peace. And I want you to have the comfort of the promise that there is celestial glory awaiting for you. But I don't think it means, 'it might mean', it's ambiguous. And there are a dozen ambiguities in Section 88. I lean that it's that meaning; I don't lean that it's 'okay, you guys, you've made it.'
Morgan Jones 8:53
Well, I just have never thought of it that way. I've never thought of it as anything more than 'I'll give you the Holy Ghost.' So I'm already learning.
S. Michael Wilcox 9:04
There you go. Well, I think that's the way you ought to think about it.
Well and when you said life is worth living, in these contexts of these verses, because we did, we came off of Section 87 which is so scary. Especially when you read verses 6 and 7 and this idea of armies and wars, and that makes you uncomfortable. As you read those, you're uncomfortable, and then He's like, 'But I'm gonna give you a Comforter. I'm gonna help you with that uncomfortable moment.' And then when you said that life is worth living, I think there's so many people in the world today that feel uncomfortable about their own lives and situations they're in.
And when you said life is worth living, that was very significant for me and my life right now and for people that I know and love. It is worth living. And He's going to comfort us through all of this, all of the hard and the yuck. And then He's going to give us some light. Isn't that so awesome? So Michael, would you please teach us about this light?
S. Michael Wilcox 9:54
Verses 6-13 is what I call a parentheses. He's going to jump into the Resurrection. He's going to talk about celestial law, kind of, 'I promise you celestial kingdom. But you have to develop a celestial spirit so you can get a celestial body so you can live in a celestial kingdom and have a celestial world', as simply as we can. So it's a parenthesis. He's talked about Jesus in verse 5 of Section 88. Then He starts to use words that are interchangeable.
The Savior understands all thing, comprehends all things so that He can be the Light of Truth, which truth shineth. This is the Light of Christ. So what can I interchange with Light of Christ? Light of Truth, I'd say, it's interchangeable. If I go to Section 93, the glory of God is intelligence, or in other words, light and truth. What can I exchange? Light, truth, spirit, these are all interchangeable things, especially light and truth.
So verse 6 speaks of the light of truth, verse 7 says, "which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ." So light of truth, light of Christ is interchangeable. And then He says, this spirit of truth, this light of Christ is in the sun, and the power by which it was made. And then he goes, it's in the moon, and the light of the moon and the power by which it was made. That's verse 8, and then verse 9 the light of the stars and the power thereof by which they were made in the earth, which we don't think of as an orb of light, and the power thereof, even the earth upon which you stand.
Again, if we like a little ambiguity, you can read it that - I hate to use Star Wars - that the Light of Christ, the Spirit of Truth, is a force. It's something we can't define. But since truth, and light, and intelligence, and glory, and spirit are all kind of interchangeable, is He saying 'there is this power that exists' which, as He says in verse 12, proceeds 'from the presence of God and fills the immensity of space'?
Is this a theme, people read these verses that way? Could He also be saying, when He says, 'I comprehend all things, I am the intelligence, the wisdom, the knowledge, the truth. I know how to make the sunshine.' I know that, and we're not talking about some kind of force, we're talking about His intelligence and His wisdom. 'I know the laws of creation'. And it's not a force, it's His knowledge, His intelligence.
So I look at it, I say, well, which way do I like to read it, that He's got this power, this force that can light a sun and hold the stars in their orbit? Or is it, 'I know all the laws, and this same knowledge, intelligence I will' -verse 11- 'enlighten your eyes with, you can have that kind of knowledge and intelligence.' I lean to He created the world through knowledge, wisdom, intelligence. But I'm certainly open, you know, and it could be both.
A lot of ambiguity.
S. Michael Wilcox 13:26
There's yeah, there's different ways of reading that.
Well, and several times you said laws; there are laws that He obeys. And we have taught that obedience is the law, first law of heaven and God has to obey laws. He's not this haphazard, crazy God. There are laws He has to obey.
S. Michael Wilcox 13:45
He does. In verse 13 He says, He "is the light which is in all things; which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed." Genesis begins with "Let there be light." Now that may be 'let the intelligence of the gods come on this unorganized matter.' But due to verse 13, He could also have said, 'Let there be life.' He could also have said, 'Let there be law.' And if we went a little bit into Hindu scripture, I like what I call the Four L's: life, light, law. Hindu religion begins with love. Let there be love.
The creation is an act of love. And so when you go to a national park or you see some beautiful thing in nature and you feel something inside of you, you may be as close to the morning of the creation as you'll ever get anywhere. Because creation is light, life, law, but it's also love.
That is beautiful. I just put the Four L's in my scriptures, light, life, law, and love.
S. Michael Wilcox 15:00
Yeah. I call them the "4 L's".
They are the 4 L's. That's incredible. Wow. Thank you, Michael. All right, well, then let's talk about one of those L's, talk about law in the next segment.
Segment 2 15:09
Michael, I love that you just taught us the "4 L's". That is incredible. And so let's talk about one of those Ls, let's talk about law. So those of you who are following on bracket off 14 through 40, and put The Laws, that's what we've named them. And a few weeks ago, we had an incredible discussion of Doctrine and Covenants Section 76. And we actually talked about all of the kingdoms and the laws that are associated with those kingdoms. And now we're kind of coming back to it here in Section 88. And so Michael, I just want you to teach us, what is this about? What do we have to understand when it comes to law and kingdoms? And especially verse 36, when it says, "All kingdoms have a law given." Teach us about these laws.
S. Michael Wilcox 15:56
Well, I've wrestled with these verses, too. Joseph is basically saying every Kingdom has a law, but he's gonna carry it further. if you can live the law, you can abide the glory of that kingdom, which is what verse 38 means. Every Kingdom has a law. So if we started in verse 21,
". . . they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom, even that of a terrestrial kingdom...."
What is the basic law of the celestial kingdom? The Basic Law of the celestial kingdom is the Law of Christ.
Morgan, you look like you have something to say, just jump in.
Morgan Jones 16:41
The thing actually, that came to my mind when we were talking about the light stuff, is Sister Amos. I just went to Louisiana and interviewed a lady who worked for NASA. And every time that we were talking about things that she did professionally, she would tie it back to Scripture. It was just so interesting to see how like, science and religion - I think people think of those things as two separate things - but to see how they're actually connected. So I think this is interesting as we're going into law, because just like science operates under certain laws, God operates under law as well. But my question for you, Michael, is What is the Law of Christ?
S. Michael Wilcox 17:27
I would say, just do the Sermon on the Mount. Just do that. If you live the Sermon on the Mount, and you got it, you're in the celestial kingdom. The sermon on the mount is a lifting of terrestrial people to celestial heights. So Moses said, Don't murder. I said, well, I've never murdered anybody. And the Lord said, that's a good terrestrial life. You're living in a good terrestrial life. Now if I murder somebody, I'm living a telestial law. See, the Savior says, 'But I say unto you, don't get angry.' I said, Whoa, you mean I gotta get, I can't get angry at people?
That's a lot higher law.
S. Michael Wilcox 18:03
That's the celestial law. And you go all through the Sermon on the Mount. So for me, the Law of Christ, the road to the celestial kingdom, is the Sermon on the Mount. Now, if I can live the Law of Christ, and other things - prodigal sons and Good Samaritans, and all these things - if I can live that, I develop, as best as I can work with these verses, a celestial spirit and I can now abide a celestial glory.
That definition of Christ 's law, okay, that was so powerful. So thank you, Michael. You know, I have to say this, that as we were corresponding, you brought up some really great points about verses 32-35 . I want you to just to share those with us, would you please?
S. Michael Wilcox 18:52
32 and 33, they really showed Joseph at some of his best. So we're talking about the different resurrections. You live a celestial law, you develop a celestial spirit; you put a celestial spirit into a resurrected body and that makes the body a resurrected, celestial body, or terrestrial body. But there are those who He says in 32, they who remain - so these are what we call sons of perdition, outer darkness - they don't get a kingdom of glory.
32 "They who remain shall also be quickened;" (resurrected), "nevertheless, they shall return again to their" (dripping with irony) "own place,......"
Actually, Hell is described in multiple scriptures, as 'your own place'. Book of Mormon, New Testament, certainly the Doctrine and Covenants,
Morgan Jones 19:45
Michael, is that because that's where you'll feel most at home?
S. Michael Wilcox 19:48
Yeah, I think that that could be part of that. I think in this case, the irony says you made it. You know, CS Lewis writes a little book called The Great Divorce. Lewis says "Ultimately there's only two kinds of people: those who say to the Lord thy will be done, and those to whom the Lord says, Thy will be done." So in my Father's house are many mansions, I go to prepare a place for you: celestial place, a terestrial place, a telestial place, and many places within those places. But you don't want any of those places, so you'll have to go to your own place.
I'm still I'm sorry, I'm still on 'own place'. That's so cool. Especially because then the next word he says, "to enjoy".
S. Michael Wilcox 20:33
Ohhhh, dripping with irony. Really ironic. I love that God is ironic. I love that God is a little bit sarcastic.
Oh my gosh, this verse is great!
S. Michael Wilcox 20:41
32 ". . . they shall return again to their own place," (you made it) "to enjoy that which they are willing to receive," God doesn't lock anybody into hell; the door to hell is locked on the inside, you lock yourself in. So He says
Unknown Speaker 20:58
32 ". . . they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy" (this is really nice literary language) "that which they might have received". Now what might they have received? Forgiveness. All you have to do, I shouldn't say all, all you have to do to get into the telestial kingdom glory is accept Christ and repent. That's it. You can be a murderer, a liar, adulterer, wicked, an apostate, rebellious. But in the end, you realize 'I didn't live the way I should have, I accept Jesus, I repent'. Telestial glory.
S. Michael Wilcox 21:32
So He says, 33 "....what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?......he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift." Now what is the gift? The gift is mercy and forgiveness, a kingdom of glory. But they say 'I don't want it. I don't want the gift.' "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Those in outer darkness reject it, so they are defiant. They and they stay defiant.
In verse 35, "they seek to become a law unto themselves." And so the Lord says 'If you want to live your own law, you'll have to get the reward your own law gives you; I have a kingdom of glory for you.'
Morgan Jones 22:24
I actually have a question for you, Michael. So when we're talking about their own place, coming back to that again, and the idea that there is a hell and that'll be where some people will be. In our church I feel like we focus so much on the kingdoms that we don't talk as much about hell, and who will be in hell. Is that a bad question?
S. Michael Wilcox 22:48
That's a very good thought, Morgan. And let's go back into 32 and 33 and look at that a little bit. You know, hell is going to be empty, mostly. Hopefully, yeah. In Section 76 the Lord says, 'I show it and then I immediately shut it up, because it is so painful.' So, is it because they're miserable in hell, at least? Misery that knows it's miserable, might repent and open the door. Misery that is full of anger, defiance, hatred, is not going to open the door; they're going to stay miserable in their darkness, and it eventually comes to the point where I don't think there's enough light for even to see that you're dirty and need to be cleaned up in that.
There is an interesting and final thought here. When He says if you're quickened by a portion of the celestial glory, that you then receive a fullness. If you're quickened by a portion of the telestial, the terrestrial glory, those are in verses 29-31. I pondered a lot. What does that mean? What is the portion and the fullness? If nothing else, the portion may be my own spirit that is put into the body. But it suggests something wonderful; it suggests there is - I don't know what quite the word to use, progress, enrichment, growth? - in each kingdom. If I just get a portion of celestial glory, and then I grow, I get enriched, I develop to the fullness. And that's true of the other kingdoms also. And that's a very positive, beautiful idea that Joseph is giving. And he just casually throws it out.
Well, and and I just thought of this with Morgan's question, do you think then those in verses 32-35 that it's describing "will not grow"?
S. Michael Wilcox 24:41
There's no growth in that kingdom. It's done. You will be stagnant and remain forever like that. I just, that was just a thought I had like, I'd never considered. That would be the worst part of being in hell, as we call it, or as outer darkness.
S. Michael Wilcox 24:54
Morgan Jones 24:55
Well, and I think that gives people 'hell on earth', right? There's, there are few things that are worse than feeling stuck.
That was a good question.
S. Michael Wilcox 25:04
And you're eternally stuck.
Right. I love that you asked that Morgan because it just prompted that, that discussion and that I'd never considered that. That is what outer darkness would be like, just no growth. That was a great discussion of those verses. So, thank you, thank you. Okay, so we just learned about law. And I really love how you talked about the Lord loves ambiguity. And that's why He likes to speak in parables. He loves to give you a little story. And so we kind of got that with the giver of the gift. And then in the next segment, we're going to talk about a real parable that the Lord includes in here that Michael, you said that you just love, so that'll come up next.
Segment 3 25:37
All right, Michael, I love that you said that this is as good as any parable in the New Testament. And it's found in Section 88. I want everyone to bracket off verses 42 through 63. We're going to talk about this parable that's in here. And so Michael, I'm just gonna let you jump in and teach us about the parable and why it's so good to you.
S. Michael Wilcox 26:05
I like it because it has lots of ambiguity. There's my theme here and has so many wonderful ways of reading things, which is why you use literary techniques, anyway. Joseph Smith is doing parables, right up there with the Savior's parables. So He begins it in verse 45 with the earth rolls upon its wings, and the sun giveth His light by day, and the moon and the stars. And then He asks a question, "Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that you may understand?" in verse 46. Then He has a parentheses; He has a few little things He's going to say. And then He picks up the parable again in verse
51 ". . . I will liken these kingdoms unto a man having a field, and he sent forth his servants into the field to dig in the field." I'm gonna let people choose how they like to read it. But He's talking about, 'I visit all my worlds, I visit all my worlds'. I like to read it that way.
And you say 'I visit all my worlds' because the word 'field' in scripture is 'world'.
S. Michael Wilcox 27:19
Right on, because He's talking about the stars. He's up there, okay. He's, He's in the cosmos. But we're gonna try and bring it down from Cosmos to us, okay? So it could be also 'I visit all times.' I've traveled a lot and I've come to the conclusion, studying the world and different times and peoples, that God speaks every way He can, all the time, everywhere. That's just the way He is. Now, I can also read it that I'm an individual, and He's going to visit me, and so that's why I'm going to read this. I say it to everybody out there, your family wherever you are, I'm gonna liken all the people out there to servants working in the field.
52, ". . . he said unto the first: Go ye and labor in the field, and in the first hour I will come unto you, and ye shall behold" (beautiful phrase) "the joy of my countenance."
The joy that you put on My face? I like that. You can read it other ways, but I just like that. You'll see my pleasure in you in the joy of my countenance.
And he said unto the second: Go into the field, and in the second hour I will visit you with the joy of my countenance, and the third and the fourth, so on unto the 12th. And then He changes that phrase," joy of my countenance" in verse 56 to,"the light of the countenance of the Lord." Let me read verse
56, ". . . the Lord of the field went unto the first in the first hour, and tarried with him", that's a lovely word, tarry. I like to think that God tarries with me. He's just not in a hurry. He's never in a hurry. Worldliness and buisiness to me are interchangeable. The Nephites, they're crying, they don't want him to go. And as you say, 'I've got a big agenda. I gotta go, you know'.
I got stuff to do.
S. Michael Wilcox 29:18
'I've got worlds to visit out there.' No, He says, You want me to stay? I'll stay, bring the little kids; bring the Junior Primary. That's Jesus.
Morgan. What is what does that look like for you? How do you envision him tarrying with you?
Morgan Jones 29:29
I think that idea of him just wanting to spend more time with us is really beautiful. I think sometimes we get caught up in checking boxes. And I remember a few years ago, somebody said to me, 'I just try to spend time with God. We should want to have more time and not be in a hurry because he's not in a hurry with us.'
S. Michael Wilcox 29:50
And if we tarry we're made glad with the light of the countenance of the Lord.
Because these verses are about now; this is not in the next life. We're talking about right now and the life we're living in.
S. Michael Wilcox 30:01
Well, that's how I'm reading it. Actually, you can read it in a lot of ways.
No, he's tarrying with us now.
S. Michael Wilcox 30:05
I'm reading individuals. Now I'm with another word that's helpful for people. I love this parable. And then he withdrew from the first. Now you could have a nice, long conversation. What does it feel like when the withdrawal comes? 'Ah, I must have done something wrong.' No, he's just tarrying with somebody else at this time. Don't panic. Don't get all concerned.
I love that
S. Michael Wilcox 30:29
I love it when people love words I love.
Yeah, we're here.
Morgan Jones 30:33
Yeah. It's just the idea that if you feel like maybe He's not as much with you, not panicking. I know I've had a tendency to be like, Oh, why do I feel that way? And recognizing that anytime we draw near unto Him, He's going to draw near unto us, but maybe there's somebody that needs a little bit of extra love.
And I like what Morgan just said, because I think oftentimes the word w'ithdrew' equals ' forsaken. And I just don't think that we ever are forsaken by the Savior, ever. And so if He does withdraw from us, what is that message to us then?
S. Michael Wilcox 31:09
Then other people come and tarry with you. So look just briefly at Jesus in Gethsemane, His worst time. But what does He do? He takes Peter, James and John deeper into the Garden. And what does He say to them? 'Tarry ye here, and watch with me.' And then He goes and prays; He's got his Father. He's got an angel to strengthen Him, but He needs humanity around Him. He needs friends. So He goes back over to see Peter, James, and John, twice He does. So I think the Lord says, Look, I can't tarry with you to the depth here now for you to feel the joy of my countenance and be glad. But there's others that will tarry with you.
Michael, can I ask this question of you? When your wife passed away, who tarried with you?
S. Michael Wilcox 31:58
Oh, those first months, God never left my side. And I had two wonderful friends, you know. I dedicated the book <i>Sunset<b> to those who watched with me and didn't go to sleep, you know that, just wonderful people. But I never felt closer to God than during that time. The phrases that I would think of is the ones that are coming up here, you know. In verse 58, thus they love this word all received the light of the countenance of the Lord and these beautiful words every man/woman in his/her hour, and in her/his time, and in her/ his season. Now hours, an interesting one, because what did Jesus call the great challenging time, the atoning time of his life? He called it His hour. And so my hour was when Laurie died.
And one night, I had a horrible nightmare, horrible, horrible nightmare. I can't think of any nightmare I've ever had worse than that nightmare. Woke up in the middle of the night, and just said "Father in heaven, send me a sweet dream. Send me a sweet dream." And immediately went back to sleep, which never happens to me. I'm on a trip of some kind and Laurie is sitting right next to me. We're on a trip and she leaned over and she said, "Do you still love me?" And for the first time in my life, I didn't say anything. I was wordless. I just put my arm around her and put the whisper of her hair next to my cheek, and we just travelled together for the longest time.
And then the dream changed and she was on one side of a river and I was on the other side of the river. And we were walking in tant but the river was between us. But I could see her, she was just right there on the other side. I knew there'd be a ford somewhere up the river where I'd cross and I'd go be with her. That was really a beautiful moment for me in that, when He did that. To go from the darkest nightmare I'd ever had, to the sweetest dream I ever had. Yeah, like I said I just cried out. "Please send me a sweet dream. Please send me a sweet dream."
There it came. And He normally doesn't do that. Very rarely. So that was my hour, that's all I got in life. I was a blessed man. If all I got was that one, yeah, it would it be worth it.
S. Michael Wilcox 35:15
So, sometimes it's nice to know that when my hour comes, my time, my season, He'll be there. And then notice what He does in 59. This isn't a one shot thing, K? This isn't, okay, I had my turn. There's billions of people out there.
59 "Beginning at the first, and so on unto the last, and from the last unto the first, and from the first unto the last;
60 "Every man" (woman, child) "in his own order," (I like that-our time, season, order) " until his hour was finished," until Okay, I'm gonna withdraw now, and "according as his Lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified him, and he in his Lord, that they all might be glorified.
61 ". . . unto this parable I will liken all these kingdoms," (verse 61) "and the inhabitants thereof - every Kingdom" (then just to make sure we're getting it because He repeats things that are important) "in it's hour and in its time, and in its season, according to the decree which God hath made."
My favorite of all scriptures, Prodigal Son; that's the Himalaya of all literature, K? It's better than Hugo and Tolstoy, and Shakespear. Way up there. Prodigal Son. Jesus wrote the greatest literature. Good Samaritan, but well, I'm gonna put section 88 'workers in the field', right up there in that area because this is what prophets do. They produce these things and we just kind of scratched a few little words here and there in this parable. And how powerful it can be in our lives to know 'I'll have my time and my hour and my season. And when I have my hour, He will come. And He will tarry until it's finished. But He does withdraw.' I need to know that, too. But when He withdraws, I think he says, Oh, my Morgan will come and see you, she'll tarry with you., you know, and, and Tammy,
She'll bake something.
S. Michael Wilcox 37:35
Yeah, she'll do something.
Morgan Jones 37:36
It's a good thing Tammy's going to bake something. Morgan is not going to bake anything. Yeah, I think too, Michael, one thing I was thinking about when you were talking about your season being after Laurie died, that another responsibility that I think we have after the Lord has tarried with us, is to testify of that. And I think that you've done a beautiful job of helping other people see, like, this is when God tarried with me. And this is what I learned from that season, rather than taking it for granted. And I think that's something that I could certainly do a little bit better of.
S. Michael Wilcox 38:10
Well, thank you. And it's not always that the hour is a negative one, you know. I, I'll go walking in Bryce Canyon or up along the Oregon coast or in the Redwoods. And God will come and say that 'Why don't I walk with you here. Let's just love these beautiful places.' He comes and tarries and we have the joy and the light of His countenance in joyful moments of our lives, too. People get nervous about the coming and going of God.
And I know He's talking about worlds, you know. In the context of Section 88 He's saying 'Your visit's coming, Earth, k, that I'm on my way again. I was, I was back with you in Jerusalem. Well, I'm coming again.' k?
But I always like to read it for myself. I also like to read it for everybody who lived in all times past. He's a tarrying God. He's a withdrawing God. He's a 'our time, season, order God, that's the way He is. And to understand that helps me get through life, helps me understand life. So many times I'll feel people, 'so I just don't feel God anymore, as much in their lives', but just don't panic. Your time, your hour, your season will come. And maybe it'll be easier for you to realize that there may be somebody else out there that it's their hour and their time. Anyway, I love the parable. I say Joseph Smith wrote great literature. And I love him for this parable, deeply love him for this parable.
I love it too. I've read it before so many times and I'm like, Oh, that's a nice parable. Well that sounds good. And now
Morgan Jones 40:02
Yeah. And Michael, you even said it because I wrote this down, "Verse 61 and this parable may be one of the most hopeful and beautiful expressions in the Doctrine and Covenants that tells us about the Savior." When I read that, I was like, oh, that'll be interesting to see what he thinks about that. And now I get it.
S. Michael Wilcox 40:20
Yeah, I just like 'our season, time'. And then he ends this in 62 with "I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts". I'm just gonna give you this nice little parable here. And everything else in Section 88. Could you just ponder that? And I say, Lord, I've been pondering this section for decades. And He's saying, Yeah, this is the 12 baskets of bread left over, after they eat all they want. And then He gathers up the remnants, 12 baskets. That's the way the scriptures are and certainly the way Section 88 is. 'I know you feasted, Mike. I know you're full, but just want you to know there's 12 baskets here left. So whenever you want to come back, and you just ponder these things. And as you ponder them, all of a sudden, the word like, 'withdrew' will drop up, will come up. I mean, I, 'tarry', I like. But it took me a while to see the word 'withdrew' and apply it to my life in the same same way. Anyway,
Good stuff. Thank you. Okay. So that ends that segment. And in the next segment, we are going to talk about some verbs. And this is going to be really fun.
Segment 4 41:35
Make sure you have your marking pen and pencil for this. And before you even get into this segment with Michael, you can start with verse 62. But specifically, verses 69 through 86, highlight and mark all of the verbs that you see. And I asked Morgan to do that before we met. So Morgan, tell us what you marked, well all three of us are going to kind of just share the verbs that stood out to us.
Morgan Jones 42:08
Yeah, well I think first of all, it's interesting when you started talking about tarry, and I feel like that's a verb, to tarry, and it's in there multiple times. So I think that's interesting. And then I would say, the biggest one that stood out to me, well, a couple. One is 'sanctify'. That's in 60, well, 68, and then it's also later in, where's it at? 74. So sanctify is in there a couple of times. And I always think about that Elder Holland, Mormon essage, "Sanctify Yourselves", where he talks about the kid getting struck by lightning on the football field, and just how important it is for us to be ready at any moment. And I think that is because we have to be putting in that work to be prepared in that moment.
Another thing is 'magnify' in verse 80. "Magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission with which I have commissioned you." I think all of us have a calling and all of us have a mission to fulfill in this life. And it's up to us to magnify that. That's all I got.
S. Michael Wilcox 43:16
Great, great, those are
Morgan Jones 43:17
I mean I loved a ton of verbs, but I'm not gonna bore you with going through all them.
S. Michael Wilcox 43:21
No, they're wonderful.
Those are great verbs. I'm with you on those verbs. I think what stood out to me the most was just the consistency of the all of these verbs here, and then again at the very end of the section, He goes back into giving us so many different verbs. And verse 74, I mean, that is probably the one for me.
74 ". . . assemble yourselves together, organize yourselves, prepare yourselves, sanctify yourselves, purify your hearts, cleanse your hands and feet before me." I could spend a whole segment just on verse 74, I feel like it's incredible.
Morgan Jones 43:51
Well, and I love in that verse, the very end how it says "that I may make you clean". Who doesn't want to feel worthy and clean? And that I think is a beautiful promise.
S. Michael Wilcox 44:04
There's a little irony in that, that if I'm sanctifying myself, and purifying myself, and cleansing my hands, part of me says, I'm clean.
Morgan Jones 44:13
I should be clean on my own, right? Makes sense.
S. Michael Wilcox 44:15
"I'm gonna make you". So the Lord is always practical. He'll give doctrine then He'll give some practical application to the doctrine that He's given. And so now He's trying to soak you, now, these are the things I want you to do. I want you to ponder. If I go back to 63, draw near, drawn near unto me. "Seek Me diligently and ye shall find me." This is all verse 63. You know, Jesus said, Ask and you'll receive, knock and it'll be open unto you; seek and you'll find. This is the only place that I know of where He tells us exactly what he wants us to seek.
We usually think, well, I'm seeking answers to prayer. And He said, Well, that's a good thing to do. Let Me give you something better. Seek me, seek me, and you'll find me. Paul tells that to the citizens of Athens, this bastian of knowledge and intellectual progress and power. There's one knowledge you don't have, you haven't found God yet. And of all the accomplishments in life, to find God, is the greatest.
I like 'remember' in verse 69, 'the great and last promise.' He's gonna say that twice. He's gonna mention the great and last promise in 69, and He's gonna mention it again in 75. What is the last and great promise? Little ambiguity. Is it the promise He made in the very beginning? 'I promise you celestial glory'. I think that's what I like. But He's also promised that they'll see Him. And I like that one, too.
Cast away in verse 69. "Cast away your idle thoughts and your excess of laughter far from you." I think the Lord might say, especially in our day, life isn't for ease and entertainment. Life is to grow in truth. And so there are some things that have to cast away. Now, I like 74.
I have a quick question, How do you interpret excess of laughter?
S. Michael Wilcox 46:27
Oh, my Gosh.
I love to laugh. It's one of my favorite things.
S. Michael Wilcox 46:30
'Cuz later on He's going to say 'all laughter' and I ask the same thing. I don't know. Isn't it nice to say occasionally, I don't know? I think God likes laughter. I think the key to that maybe comes in verse 121, which is coming later, but we can say it here. "Cease from all your light speeches, from all laughter, from your lustful desires, from all your pride and light-mindedness,..." I would say it this way, there is a difference between light-hearted comedy and light-minded comedy. Light-hearted comedy, Shakespeare wrote; light- minded comedy is pretty much everything you get in the modern world. So light- hearted, be laughter, there's a difference between the light-hearted laugh, and the light-minded or the sarcastic or the cussing kind of laughter. And that's the only way I can work through that. We want to grow in truth.
Morgan Jones 47:32
Well, I think, you know, to that point in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, where we talk about a time and a season for all things. One of those things says a time to laugh. And so for me, I think of it as, there is. There's a time to laugh and then there's a time to be serious. And I think sometimes we are unable to distinguish between the two. So I like the idea that there is a time to laugh, because I like to laugh, too. But I also think sometimes we make light of sacred things.
S. Michael Wilcox 48:00
And this is School of the Prophets, so this is a time to learn. I like in verse 77, two more verbs. I mean, there, there's a lot of 'em but I like 'teach one another' the doctrine of the kingdom, verse 78. Teach diligently. And then He gives a long list of all the things, things in heaven and earth and under the earth, things that have been, things that are, and things that will come to pass, things at home, things abroad, the perplexities of the nations, the judgment, knowledge of countries and kingdoms, that you may be prepared in all things when I send you again.
I think we need to learn more. We need to open ourselves up. There is so much goodness in the world. So much goodness, I can't grasp it all. People are always talking sometimes pessimistically about so many negatives. And I say there is so much good art, good literature, good music, good people, good historical figures, and learn. The world is wide open to learn and the Lord is saying all those things you learn will help you be a better instrument.
Morgan Jones 49:17
Well and later in this section, right, is where we have the cease to be idle. And He mentioned idleness already in this section. And I think never has there been a time where idleness could plague us quite as much as it does and keep us from all of those good things that you were just talking about. My patriarchal blessing, which hopefully it's okay to say this here, because it's just one line, says 'You will learn to use your time wisely.' And I think growing up that was something that I wasn't great at and has taken focused effort to be like, Okay, what does that look like? What does it look like to use my time wisely? And I can feel God in that effort to find ways to use it wisely. He fills my time.
And so I don't know, I think we spend so much time. Michael doesn't do this because he doesn't even have internet at his house. But a lot of—
Or on his flip phone.
Morgan Jones 50:12
Right. Scroll mindlessly.
S. Michael Wilcox 50:15
I'm a dinosaur.
Morgan Jones 50:15
You're not, you're not. You're, you're much smarter than a lot of us. But I think, it's not becoming caught up in that scrolling, and instead seeking to fill your mind and your time with all those good things that Michael just mentioned, that the world is full of. And that's when I think there's a shift that happens in our minds, where if we're just focused on what we're seeing on social media, then we do feel discouraged by what the world is. But if we expanded that and seek out of good books, another thing in this section—
S. Michael Wilcox 50:47
Another word coming up soon.
Morgan Jones 50:48
Right, right. I'm like spoiling everything. But I think if we do that, then we see all of the goodness in the world and feel more optimistic about the future.
S. Michael Wilcox 50:57
And they're positive things and the key word, another key word in that, verse 78 is, learn and teach one another because everybody has different things they know that are expedient for you to understand. If I'm trying to decide, should I learn this or read this? Is it, well is it expedient?
Morgan Jones 51:19
Can I ask a question? How would you define expedient? Cuz that's in the scriptures alot.
S. Michael Wilcox 51:25
It's the Es. Does it Edify? Sometimes the Es are Enjoy and Entertain, and I, well it's nice to be entertained and enjoy. But the most important thing is, if it edifies, it's expedient. That's what I think. Right, I've got one more verb, I don't know if we have time, but it's in 86, 'abide'. I like that verb, too. "Abide in the liberty wherewith ye are made free; entangle not yourselves in sin". The reason I have thought so much about this is because of the spirit of the age. Liberty, freedom in our world, especially in American world, but really all over the Western world, is all about rights, rights, rights, rights. And our definition of liberty in freedom is 'I got a lot of rights'.
I think the Lord is talking about another kind of liberty in freedom here. Western man and Eastern man. The great dialogue, the great conversation of the ages, has always been what is the right way to live? What is the good way to live? And that dialogue is being hushed. Maya Angelou said nobody wants to talk about virtue anymore. What is the virtuous way to live? What is the good way to live? I think the Lord is saying, He might say to us in a modern world, 'Your concept of liberty in freedom needs to be assessed again."
George Bernard Shaw said it this way, "The golden rule now is there is no Golden Rule." I mean, everything goes. And I think true liberty in freedom comes when we ask ourselves the question, What is the right way to live? And in finding the good and the right way to live, you will have liberty in freedom; you won't entangle yourself. And I feel sad that we're not abiding in that liberty, and that our concept of liberty in freedom is shifting a little bit to where pretty much everything goes.
I will never look at that verse the same again. Tell me what you're thinking, Morgan.
Morgan Jones 53:52
I hesitate to say anything to detract away from everything that Michael just said. But I just recently interviewed Sam Brown, who just wrote a book called Where the Soul Hungers. And in the book, he talks a lot about this idea of authenticity, that that is what our world perpetuates. It's like, you need to be true to yourself. And he says the world used to value things like being genuine, being good, being moral. And instead, in this narrative of, you need to be true to yourself, we're losing what made us want to be better. I think that's dangerous ground to walk on. So I think you're right, I think that's where we become entangled.
S. Michael Wilcox 54:35
Yeah, there's no no longer what I call the capitals. People used to believe in Right, Wrong, Justice, Truth, Morality, Ethics. And now they're all smally. Like I say the great dialogue of the age has been that we need to be true to goodness. That's where true liberty in freedom comes from. Anyways,
Well, what's so fascinating to me is that we have all these verbs, all these action words of things we should be doing. We get to verse 86, which you taught us so beautifully about, and then boom, we are hit with some incredible verses. And these verses are going to talk about a sound. So I'm going to play this sound sort of as like a teaser for the verses coming up. And for those of you listening, I want you to see if you can guess what it is. (Instrument plays)
I think that's what the next sound is going to sound like as we cover verses 87 through 116, in the next segment.
Segment 5 55:37
Okay, so the sound you guys heard is a Shofar, and it is a ram's horn that the children of Israel or the Jews would blow, and it makes this really loud sound, it is so loud. And what's so unique about this is, in the Old Testament this shofar was used as a way to call God's people to war and to announce the victory that was wrought by God.
Now, it's interesting because the word for this in Old Testament is going to be 'trump'. And you're going to see this in the Doctrine and Covenants a ton. And I think that's what it's gonna sound like for me personally, I don't know if it's gonna be a trumpet? a tuba? I think it's a shofar that will be sounded. So as you read these verses, mark 87 through 116, and just write to the outside of these verses, 'The trumps' or 'The angels and their trumpets', because there's a lot of them. Did you notice that word Morgan, as you read all the trump's?
Morgan Jones 56:38
I did not. But now that you say it, I mean, I'm definitely seeing it there a lot.
Okay, so Michael, let's jump into the trumpets that are sounding when Christ comes again. Isn't that cool? We have all these action words, get ready, do, do because Jesus is coming. And when He comes, you're gonna have to pay attention to the sound of this trump. So what are the trump's, what are we talking about here?
S. Michael Wilcox 56:58
He starts out with in verse 87, with images that are all over the scriptures. And when something is used in so many situations, I begin to think that I probably should be careful about reading it too literally. So this is 'the earth will tremble and reel to and fro as a drunken man, the son shall hide his face, refuse to give light, the moon shall be bathed in blood, the stars will become exceedingly angry, cast themselves.' I think we tend to read those very, very literally.
Here we can have a little ambiguity again. I love ambiguity with 88. So should I read that that you know, -there's nuclear wars and it's pollutions in the air- and literally, I don't think so. I think we should read it figuratively. It's an unstable time; things are falling. A good cross-reference to that verse to understand these ideas of the sun dark and the moon turned to blood. I'm just going to give you one, there's, we could do a dozen, is Paul in Hebrews 12:26-28, he says,
26 "Whose voice then" (meaning when God shook Sinai) "shook the earth: but now God hath promised, saying, once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 "And this word Yet once more signifieth" (He's telling us what it means) "the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made," (man made)," that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." We, having received a
28 ".....kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably.."
Well, He's saying, Look, all the man-made things are gonna be shaken. And we're part of a kingdom that isn't going to be shaken. When you shake things they what? They fall, okay, so I would read it that way, it is the fall of earthly things. 1989, the world shook and the Soviet Union fell. A sun that hides his face, the evils on the world so great, I just don't want to look at the sun. I'm not gonna shine my light on such things. A red moon is an angry moon, red is the color of anger; the stars are angry. So all these suggest the wickedness on the earth, and I don't know that I would read that literally. Although you can-you don't have to either/or, it. Let's and both.
And so He says, then you go out and bear your testimony to the world. And then He starts kind of the Seven Trumpets, and they sound twice, and they each announce something. Verse 93, there's a great sign in heaven announcing the Second Coming. Some people say, What do you think that is? And I would say, I think it's probably going to be a day and night and a day of light again, like it was in the Book of Mormon. Yeah, that's what I think it's going to be announcing His coming. In 95, there will be silence in the heaven for space a half an hour. That could be the silence of pain. You can see that in Section 38, verse 12, the silence of 'I've used every conceivable voice I can to get you to change. And I don't have any more voices.'
Some people read 'Half an hour', and they're like, is that in God's time? Is that in our time?
S. Michael Wilcox 1:00:41
Yeah, I wouldn't worry about 'half an hour'; it just means the silence of pain. The Lord says, The angels are pained; you're in the stadium, your team is losing 63 to nothing. What do you hear in the stadium? Silence.
Morgan Jones 1:00:56
Yeah, I actually just the other day was watching an NBA game where the Clippers were getting beat in the final game. And that's what happened; and the announcer said it. They said "the crowd here is silent."
S. Michael Wilcox 1:01:07
So here's the angels looking at the earth and the evil on it. And they are stunned into silence, it could be that kind of silence. Like Section 43 The Lord says, I've called on you every way I can. I've used every voice I can conceivably think of to get you to change and I don't have any more voices. So I'm going to give you another half hour to think about it. And maybe change. It could be the silence of patience.
Peter says God's promised He's going to come, He's going to come. But He's merciful and patient, He doesn't want anybody to perish. So He's going to come, as, at the last minute. 'I should come now, I know, but I'm going to give you another half hour.' It's figurative; I wouldn't try and figure out, well, that's 50 years. I wouldn't do that.
I like that.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:01:55
And then the resurrection of the Celestial-that's Trump number 1 that ends in verse 98-the resurrection of, we would say: the valiant, the just, the true, the striving to be Christ-like. We make this, 'So am I going to get into the celestial kingdom?' too difficult. We get guilt-tripped over it and panicked over it and, and nervous and anxious. You just try and do Sermon on the Mount, you just be valiant, just, and true. The celestial are those for whom the spiritual things are important. This is the Morgan and Tammy, they want to be good.
Can I get that in writing, Michael?
Morgan Jones 1:02:37
That makes me makes me feel a little bit better. But I think also with that, I've recently have been thinking a lot about, for obvious reasons, What does it mean to be all in and I'm like, I think it's when it sinks deeper into you. It's not just like showing up and going through the motions. It's when it actually becomes part of you and part of who you are. So I think if you are doing that, then you're in good shape.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:03:00
You are, yeah, so what you're all in is wonderful. You are committed. The Lord knows. He has my heart. He knows He has my heart, that the most important thing in my life is to try and please Him. I fail all the time, but my heart's there. And the Lord says in the Doctrine and Covenants, 'I want the willing heart'. And I say, "Lord, you've got my heart."
So then the 2nd Trump, verse 99, is the terrestrial resurrection. These are the honorable and the good. They're honorable, good people. But it's not a priority; they're not all in. There's just too many other distractions in life, but they're good, honorable people.
And then you have in 100, the 3rd trump, the resurrection of the telestial. These are the unrighteous, you might say, these are the unrighteous. And then you have the 4th trump - 102 - the resurrection of the defiant, they won't repent. That's the distinguishing factor. 'I am not going to repent', and we talked about that already. Then you have the 5th trump, which announces 'every knee will bow and every tongue confess' - all of the kingdoms except the 4th.
Then the 6th trump - 105 - the end of the apostasy, whether it's Latter-Day Saint apostasy, or Buddhist apostasy, or Catholic apostasy, or Muslim, it's just apostasy.
And then 106, - the 7th angel - 'it's finished', which are the words He spoke from the cross. And then I really like 'all the angels sound again.' And look at what He says in verse 108: ".... the first angel shall sound his trump in the ears of all living, (and) reveal the secret acts of men, and the mighty works of God in the first 1000 years."
And the 2nd angel - Verse 109 - secret acts of men, thoughts and intents of their hearts and the mighty works of God in the second 1000, and so on down.
Whenever I think, Lord, I have a lot of questions. And the Lord is saying, 'Well, just wait for those 7 trumps because I'm going to explain it to you. We're going to just start in 1000 year number 1, and I'm going to explain to you all I've done and what men were doing. I'm going to let you know all the things you don't know, about how the history of the world and My interaction with men have taken place. And when we're all done, you're going to say Amen.' And that's a nice thing for people to realize. They're going to get one day, they're going to get one day, any question that we wonder about God.
I know exactly what I'm going to ask. I used to think, well, I'd ask about the dinosaurs. Now I would simply say, "Lord, would you tell me a story of Jesus we don't have in the scriptures? You just pick; I just, I just want to know some more. Is there a parable He told they didn't write down? Is there something He did, just I just want to know. I'm the little kid again, singing, Tell Me the Stories of Jesus, and I just want You to tell me some, some new ones. So when you open up that seal of Jesus, I just want to know what He did at 25 and 28 and 15. I just want to see His life." And that's what I'm going to do when the trumps come; I'm going to ask him that. And that'll be wonderful, wouldn't it?
Yeah! That's a lot different than the question I would ask. So I, are you thinking that Morgan, like?
Morgan Jones 1:07:00
Well, what question would you ask?
Morgan Jones 1:07:02
I have no idea. I've never thought about it.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:07:05
Well you get to think about it, because this is, I will reveal it. I'm going to reveal
Morgan Jones 1:07:09
I might steal your answer now, Michael.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:07:11
Yah, you can - the mighty works of God. Show me, tell me a mighty work, God. Is there something you did with Moses I don't have, you know, or anybody? I like Francis of Assisi and Patrick of Ireland. But I really want to know another story of Jesus. I really do.
So what would you say to someone, Michael, who has a lot of questions, who doesn't understand why things happen the way they did?
S. Michael Wilcox 1:07:38
I have a thing called 'holding places of the heart'. And it comes from experiences in my life where I've had lots of questions of God. Sometimes I even get mad at God, you know. His dignity handles Mike Wilcox's rantings occasionally at how He's handling the world. And sometimes I think the Lord says, 'Mike, I have a wonderful answer for that. Where am I going to put it? There isn't a holding place in your heart for me to put that answer yet. Life will carve it, life will carve a holding place. Life will create it for a place for me to put that answer. But right now it's not there. And maybe it's not going to be there in this life at all.'
My father left when I was a little boy and I used to at 14 and 15 say, 'Lord, help me forgive my father for abandoning us as a family. Help me forgive him, help me be at peace with it.' No answer. I'm praying that at 21 and 25; I get married, I have children. I just want to have peace with my father and I knew him, you know, I was getting to know him. And one day I'm preparing a lesson on parenting. And I'm thinking of my mother because you know, one of the best days of my life was to be born to Norma Wilcox. I have two best days, was to marry Laura Chipman.
But I'm thinking of my mother; I'm gonna talk about my mother, no boy had a better mother. And the spirit said, 'Talk about your father.' And I said, 'What am I going to say about my father? My father had nothing to do with us when I was growing up. My two little boys come in, I have a third son now, but I had two boys, 6 and 2. And I looked at those boys and the spirit flooded my mind with memories of all the wonderful things I shared with those boys. And I loved them fiercely, fiercely. I loved them.
And now the Spirits says: 'There's a holding place in your heart. I can put the answer, Mike. Life's created it'. And the Lord said 'Now that you are a father, now that you know a father's love would you be the son who lost his father, or the father who lost his son? And I began to weep for my father. I knew that it was a greater tragedy to be a father and not enjoy all the sweet things I did with my boys: carving Halloween pumpkins, Christmas morning, blowing out birthday candles, piggyback rides, camping, catching the first fish. All that, my father lost.
The easiest thing in the world was to forgive my father, easiest thing in the world was to forgive him. But I couldn't until I was a father with sons and I had spent enough life with them to realize what my father lost. I spent the rest of my life trying to let my father have those experiences with his grandchildren. So I think sometimes, it's hard for us to understand what God is doing. And He's not sounding the trumpets yet. It's nice for me to know, whatever question, Lord, I know you've got an answer for, and I'm gonna say amen to it, and it's gonna be all right. And it may be that I just don't have a place for it yet. It may be you want me to struggle with it a little bit longer.
I think there's going to be some things in life that I say I just don't need to know everything. I can live without having an answer to everything in my life, and in the way God runs the world. But I know one day the trumpets will sound again, and I am going to understand it all. And He's going to let me know His mighty works in my life and in the world, and the secret things I don't know. And when it's done, I am going to love Him and have absolute trust in Him. And knowing that's coming, I can have trust in Him now.
I just have to say, thank you. Like, can we just stop for a second? Michael, thank you so much for that incredible perspective on uncertainty and not knowing. I don't know what it was, but when you said that line about there just hadn't been a place carved out for you to understand it yet, I really can relate to that and I think many of us can. And maybe just we need to, I just need to wait for there to be a place carved out. So thank you, thank you so much for teaching us that. Can we all just take a big deep breath? That was so good. Okay, so in the next segment, we're going to finish Doctrine and Covenants section 88 with what Michael calls the "Therefore, what?" verses.
Segment 6 1:12:48
So here we are at the last part of Section 88. So go ahead in your scriptures, bracket off verses 117 through 126. And you can just write to the outside of those, "therefore, what?" verses. And Michael, why do you call these "therefore what" ? What's going on here?
S. Michael Wilcox 1:13:15
Well, because all these things that he's talked about earlier are coming: The Savior's coming, the millennium's coming, celestial kingdom is coming, resurrection is coming, everything that He's talked about so far. God always likes to end practical. And He begins it in verse 117: "Therefore," there, so there it is. He's just, He's keying you up, that okay, we are shifting gears here. "I say unto you, my friends," There's that lovely, 'my friends,' This is what I want you to do.'
And we're starting to get into temple things now. Because when you go in that little room where section 88 was given in Kirtland - a man once said, "Nothing really significant for the benefit of man has ever taken place in a great big room." I like to give that challenge to people. And you tell me something really significant for the history of man, this and this benefit that's been done in a big room, I can give you dozens that have been in little tiny rooms. So they're in this little tiny room in the Whitney store. And that little room is the genesis of the MTC, it's the genesis of the temple, it's the genesis of Brigham Young University. It's the beginnings in this little tiny room.
So therefore, gather yourselves, call your solemn assembly. And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently - and I get another seek here - seek Me earlier, seek diligently, teach one another words of wisdom. And the idea implied in that is that everybody has words of wisdom to teach. He's gonna come back to that in a bit here. Yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom, taking us back to 'life is not for ease and entertainment, it's a search for truth.' Seek learning two ways: by study and by faith. But faith is, you ponder. That goes back to ponder. I'm seeking learning by pondering what I've studied. Study first, faith second. And some things only come by faith.
Well, and faith is so cool, it's an action word. It is so interesting that it's combined in here with all these verbs. So I like, I love that.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:15:45
We're going to come to another action verb - lest I forget - He's going to end this thing with love. Love is not a powerful emotion, love is a deed. Love is deed.
Morgan Jones 1:15:59
I just read that in a talk the other day that talked about you know, we think that love is the root. But love is really the fruit of the action in loving someone and I thought that was really profound.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:16:12
Yeah, I would agree with you. So we're gonna seek learning, and then He does 119: organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing, and establish. Now we're in a big temple; establish a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a House of God. And I say to people when you go into the temple, because this is 'beginning temple', now. He's gonna quote from 88 in the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland temple.
Sometime go in and do an endowment session, or initiatory, or whatever. And just say, I am going to think only this time as I go through the temple, 'Why, what I learned about faith, I'm going into the house of faith. And I'm just going to think about faith. I'm going to go into the house of order, what do I learn about order in the temple? I'm going to go into the house of glory.' And it'll be interesting how every one of those houses has deep things to teach you if you just kind of focus on it. Later on, take those three verbs: organize, prepare, and establish.
Well, that verse 118, yeah, Michael, that's such a great challenge now that we're all going back to the temple finally. I'm going to do that. I think, that is, I've never done it that way, going to temple and thinking about a specific house.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:17:35
It's really, really powerful to do that. Take 'oneness'. Jesus says, if you're not one, you're not mine. you know, that oneness is the great qualifier. And the temple is to make us one, the five big one, I just went to the temple one time at that, how does the temple teach us to be one? And you come out with the temple has what I call the five onenesses: husband-wife, one; parent-child, one; all of us with each other as brothers and sisters, one; living to the dead, one.
And the last, right at the very end, beautiful, beautiful symbolism, man with God, One. All the Onenesses, He's teaching us how to be one in the temple. Go through the temple sometime and just say, I'm going to just highlight in my mind, every word that suggests we're bringing people together. I can tell you one of those: 'seal'. So He does
I'm on fire about the oneness, though, because there's so much significance.
Morgan Jones 1:18:51
You know, when Tammy reached out to me and asked me about these scriptures, she said, "Read these verses and think about how it helps you prepare for the temple." And I read them the first time and I was like, I don't get it. And I'm getting it more now. But I'll tell you what I thought of. When I was little, my mom had us memorize Doctrine and Covenants 88:124. And I don't know why it mattered so much to her why she felt like that was so important. The cease to be idle, cease to be unclean.
And last night as I was reading to prep for this, I thought, 'My mom was preparing me to go to the temple.' And just felt a lot of gratitude for a mom that recognized that those were key things to prepare me to be able to make and keep covenants, and it just made me feel really grateful for my mom.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:19:49
I do a similar thing, I pick another verse and there's lots of them. Verse 133, I say when you go into the temple, next time you go to the endowment, you just stick verse 133 in your brain and see what comes to you at certain parts. So 133, you know, this is all-we're talking about oneness, you know, He's going to say in verse
123 " See that ye love one another; . . . learn to impart one to another as the gospel requires."
Verse 125 ". . . above all things, clothe yourself with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace." And it is in the temple where we are really going to learn to love and be one another in eternal things, you know. The poets are right when they say, "A love that doesn't last forever is not worth singing about or writing about." It's eternal love, whether it's a parent-child, man-God, you and I as friends, you know. Certainly husband wife, like say, the love that won't last forever is, is not worth talking about. Certainly not worth celebrating in song and literature.
So 133 is the salutation they gave to each other as they entered the School of the Prophets. And I can't think of anything that quite symbolizes or encapsulates the temple experience quite as beautifully. Art thou a brother, or brothren, and sister, or sistren. I salute you. That's a nice one, I salute. Like, nice word! I just like the words, I salute you because of what you are and what you've done. And because you've done all the other things that maybe we can look at here, I don't know. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant, in which covenant I receive you to fellowship in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable. To be your friend.
I think Jesus, - uh, i get - I think Jesus says that to us; I think he salutes us that way. He's called them 'my friends', to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless in thanksgiving for ever and ever. And that's why I want to be able to always salute everybody. I think that's what the temple is all about - to try and help us, husband-wife, parent-child, Jesus to me. I read Jesus saying to me, 'I receive you Mike. I salute you. You're trying, you're here. I receive you in fellowship in a determination that is fixed, immovable, unchangeable, be your friend and brother and we will walk in the bonds of love, in all the commandments of God, blameless in thanksgiving forever and ever.'
And I say that to one another. I say it to Jesus, He says it to me. It's vintage Joseph Smith; it's vintage prophetic voice. It's Joseph just hitting the home run with, with the words. It ends in love. Section 88 ends in love. You know, we've got cease to be idle, cease to be - cease to find fault. Look at that. It's nice alliteration anyway, find fault. That suggests, What are you doing? Stop finding fault with one another He's trying to make us one here at the end.
I was just gonna say, with everything you just said, how it ends in love. Morgan, I just really appreciate you sharing that your mom had you memorize verse 124. What an incredible challenge. And then here you are in as an adult, recognizing the significance of those words in your own life. And I really like verse 130. And it stood out to me because I love this word in Hebrew, but in verse 130, when he says "behold, this is beautiful." The temple being built all of this, he's building all of this up to say 'And what you're about to do, this is beautiful.'
And the reason I love this word so much, is in Hebrew there are two words for 'beautiful'. One is 'yufeh', which is an adjective. The other is na'ah, which is a verb. I just never had considered that beautiful would be a verb because we use it in our society to describe how somebody looks. But when you consider that He's talking about it's beautiful because of all the work you've done, because of all the verbs that you have adhered to that I've counseled you in. You bet it's beautiful, and then that's where we get the word Nauvoo from, is na'ah and then voo is the ending, meaning they are all beautiful because of all this work they've done. And it just ties me to your mom having you memorize all those verbs, and all of that work and how beautiful that's been in your life. I just think that's incredible.
Morgan Jones 1:25:17
S. Michael Wilcox 1:25:17
Too bad we didn't have the whole hour and a half to do just section of the last part. I
S. Michael Wilcox 1:25:24
Because he says 'appoint a teacher. Let not not all be spokesmen at once; let one speak at a time and let all listen unto his saints, that when all have spoken all may be edified of all. And every man may have an equal privilege.' God gives gifts to all of us, wisdom to all of us, insight to all of us. Sometimes it's helpful for people to realize you go to church, you engage in an organized religion, not to receive things. We do you know, but sometimes, 'Well, I don't wanna go to church-I don't get anything out of it.' And I say to people, what does that have to do with anything? You're going there to give; you're gonna receive, but mature religion is: 'I have things to offer.'
And everybody's listening to everybody, and everybody's serving everybody. And so I'm gonna go because I may say something to the person in the foyer. Who knows where I'll have, but I want to go and engage in my faith because I have something to edify other people with. And that will help to bring us 'one'. So somebody says, 'Well, I'm gonna, I'm inactive. I'm, I'm not needed.' I'm saying, 'Ah, you. You're probably right. You don't need us, but we need you. You have something to give.'
I also like 131 "Let him offer himself in prayer." That's a beautiful phrase. When we pray, we offer something to God. What are we offering? We're offering ourself to God, whether it's our gratitude, our problems. Sometimes when I offer myself or maybe the Lord's, 'So what do you have, what do you have in your heart today, Mike? What's going on in your life?' I offer Myself. I just really like that. And then He gives this kind of a final, towards the end, in verse 137, a beautiful description of the temple:
137 ".....a sanctuary, a tabernacle of the Holy Spirit to your edification." That's our E word again, right? The main E word of life isn't entertainment or enjoy. The main word of life is Edification. You edify me, I edify you, God edifies us; we become one.
Wow! Amen. That's a huge capital A-Amen. Michael
S. Michael Wilcox 1:28:17
Well, we're gonna, I'm gonna go back to one more thing. I always end in verse 40. Okay,
Okay, go back to verse 40, we do, yes, we have to end in verses 40.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:28:26
No. K, before we end, here we go. Turn back to verse 40. And Michael, hit it.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:28:32
I really love verse 40, it says a great deal about us, about the whole section, right? And about what we're trying to do. We're trying to be one. I sometimes would say to my college students, 'I'll give you a description of the person you'll marry. Or I can tell something about who you are by who you hang out with. Or the kind of things you read,' you know, because Joseph is saying, 'like things attract'.
This really is the marriage, dating scripture of all dating scriptures.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:29:08
It's the marriage and dating scripture of all scriptures. It's also a nice place to kind of grab all of 88, because I'm trying to put these things into my life. And if I put these things into my life, they're going to draw more of those things to me. So look at the verbs and the words,
40 ". . . intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own..."
I just kind of finish there. Cleaveth, receiveth, embraceth, loveth, hath compassion, claimeth, continueth. So I pray for all of those listening, for all of us here that we will be beings who love intelligence, God's intelligence, because it'll draw more into us like a magnet. Cuz if those things are in us, as He says later in Section 88, if these things are in you, they will abound, they will grow, they will grow.
And one day all of us who cleave and receive and embrace and love and claim intelligence, truth, virtue, mercy, justice, we'll all be together. We will cleave together, which is what God wants for all of His children, to be united. But these are the things that really make us one, a love of those things. Lovely to be with you, I can't think of two lovelier ladies I would like to talk to.
That was one of the best mornings I've ever, that was so incredible to just study. So I knew you were the person. Actually, I didn't know, the Spirit - Jesus did. Jesus was like Michael Wilcox is going to have to teach Section 88. And you did, you did it beautifully. And so thank you, thank you. And Morgan, thank you for your contributions and just having your voice and you're part of my takeaway. So here's what we're gonna do. Gather your thoughts, and then just share what's something, what's your takeaway from this section?
Morgan Jones 1:31:43
I think I've got mine. I'm interested to see if yours is the same as mine. I think my biggest takeaway was the 4 Ls. Light, life, law, and love. And I think that pretty much sums up everything that God has given us to be able to experience here on this earth. And I think that will cause me to look at things through a little bit of a different lens.
Great ones. Yeah, I loved the 4 Ls. My takeaway? That was not my takeaway, though, Morgan. My take-away was yours. And one of the things I learned as a seminary teacher is the moment a student asks a question, the spirit enters the room. And that happened today, when you asked that question about Hell or the sons of perdition. And Michael was teaching us verse 32 in a whole new way that I had never considered it before. And because you asked that question, I was able to learn that, for me, the definition of Hell is no growth, no movement, being stagnant. And that sounds terrible. And so I'm so grateful that you asked that question. And then I wrote that next verse 32. And then I wrote 'dripping with irony'. I will always remember verse 32 is that. So, thank you to both of you for teaching me in that moment. That was awesome.
S. Michael Wilcox 1:32:54
Well, my takeaway is, how wonderful it is to sit down and talk with people who love the things that you love. And I can always feel God smile. When two or three are gathered together in his name He's always there. And so I'm grateful to have been here with you, and Him, and Joseph Smith, because I come away from pretty much every section of the Doctrine and Covenants amazed. Amazed at what Joseph Smith was able to do for us. Thank you for letting me be with you.
Morgan Jones 1:33:44
Wow. Thank you both. What a great day. That was so so good. Okay, for those of you who are listening, come on, how do you not have a takeaway? That, that was amazing. So you guys better get online, go to our Facebook and Instagram and just share with us what your takeaway was. Every Saturday we post a call asking for what your big takeaway was. So comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson because I cannot wait to read what you guys learned from Section 88!
Now you can get to our Facebook and our Instagram by going to our show notes, which are at LDS Living.com slash Sunday on Monday and go there, because there is a lot of information in our show notes, a lot of references that we didn't even get to use that you'll want, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion and some glue-ins for this specific lesson.
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 truly incredible, inspired study group participants were Morgan Jones and Michael Wilcox. And you can find more information about these friends at LDS Living.com/SundayonMonday and go check that out because you can also find out information about Morgan's new book, All In. Go get it, read it and especially because it applied to Section 88 about being all in, and Michael's newest book Holding On, which is a very good read.
Our podcast is produced by Katie Lambert and myself. It is recorded and mixed by Mix At 6 Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And boy, if there was ever a section to truly know and believe this, you are God's favorite.
Today we have, Oh, I'm so excited about this. Okay, we have Morgan..... (laughs) I know your last name.
Morgan Jones 1:35:23
No, you're good.
I totally had like a...Morgan, oh my gosh, okay.
Transcribed by Jenee Uzelac