34: "A Principle with Promise" (Doctrine and Covenants 89–92)
Has the line from the Word of Wisdom that promises we will “run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint” ever come to mind when you get out of breath while trying to get a little exercise? Or maybe you’ve faced serious health problems and wondered how that promise applies to you. In this week’s study group, we dig into the history of the Word of Wisdom and explore just what those promises mean and how the Lord keeps them—because He always does.
Historical Background for the Word of Wisdom:
Quote: “The brethren came to that place for hundreds of miles to attend school in a little room probably no larger than eleven by fourteen. When they assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first thing they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom, … and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean [the] floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco” (Journal of Discourses, 12:158).
Quote: “The reason undoubtedly why the word of wisdom was given as not by commandment or restraint was that at that time, at least, if it had been given as a commandment it would have brought every man, addicted to the use of these noxious things, under condemnation; So the Lord was merciful and gave them a chance to overcome, before he brought them under the law.” (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Report Oct. 1913, also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Section 89 The Word of Wisdom)
Reference for Joseph having wine in jail: Joseph Smith, BH Robert's History of the Church 6:16.
*Note: Slight amendment to Tammy's comment about Joseph taking alcohol with him to Carthage jail. Many sources list that Joseph drank wine in Carthage, but they do not list where he got it or if he personally brought it to Carthage.
Timeline for Word of Wisdom becoming a commandment:
- October 13 1882, The Lord revealed to John Taylor that the Word of Wisdom should be a commandment in the Church.
- October 11 1883, Word of Wisdom was made a condition for attending the School of the Prophets.
- October 1908 President Anthon H. Lund of the First Presidency announced that those not observing the Word of Wisdom should not be called to leadership positions in local units and quorums of the Church.
- 1913 First Presidency instructed president of Salt Lake Stake not to recommend young men for missionary service unless they were observing the Word of Wisdom.
- 1919 First Presidency under Heber J. Grant began to make observance of the Word of Wisdom a condition for receiving a temple recommend.
- Source: (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 89")
Who the Word of Wisdom is given to: Doctrine and Covenants 89:3
Quote: "I am a traditional Jew. I observe the biblical dietary laws. There are certain foods I don’t eat. I suspect most of you assume I go around all day saying to myself, 'Boy, would I love to eat pork chops, but that mean old God won’t let me.' Not so. The fact of the matter is, I go around all day saying, 'Isn’t it incredible? There are five billion people on this planet, and God cares what I have for lunch. And God cares who I sleep with. And God cares how I earn and spend my money. And God cares what kind of language I use.'
"Do you see what this does? It doesn’t diminish me by being told there are certain things I may not do because they are wrong. It enhances me. It turns me into a real human being, somebody whose deeds, whose decisions, and whose choices matter at the highest level" (Harold S. Kushner, "The Human Soul’s Quest for God" BYU Devotional, October 1994)
Blessings and promises of observing the Word of Wisdom: Doctrine and Covenants 89:18-21
Article by Don Parry about Destroying Angels: "What Prophets Have Said About Destroying Angels in the Last Days," August 2018. Cross reference: Exodus 12:23
Quote: “I have come to know … that a fundamental purpose of the Word of Wisdom has to do with revelation . . . If someone ‘under the influence’ can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings? As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically” (Elder Boyd K. Packer, “Prayers and Answers,” Ensign, November 1979).
Quote: When you feel pure intelligence flowing into you, it may give you sudden strokes of ideas“ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, 1938 p. 151).
Title for Section 90: "Keys of the Kingdom, Oracles of God"
Oracles of God: Doctrine and Covenants 90:4-5
5 And all they who receive the aoracles of God, let them beware how they hold them lest they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the brains descend, and beat upon their house.
*Cross reference: Helaman 5:12
Oracle: Divine revelations or prophets. Websters 1828 Dictionary definitions: 3. The place where the answers were given. 5. The sanctuary or most holy place in the temple, in which was deposited the ark of the covenant. 7. Any person reputed uncommonly wise, whose determinations are not disputed, or whose opinions are of great authority (see websters1828dictionary.com).
Photo of Stace's bracelets:
Revelation of Light: Doctrine and Covenants 90:11
11 For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall ahear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own blanguage, through those who are cordained unto this dpower, by the administration of the eComforter, shed forth upon them for the frevelation of Jesus Christ.
Vienna Jacques, one of two women named in Doctrine and Covenants. Doctrine and Covenants 90:28-31
29 And the residue of the money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own due time.
31 That she may settle down in peace inasmuch as she is faithful, and not be idle in her days from thenceforth.
See a full biography for Vienna Jacques here.
Quote: "As Vienna moved into her 90s, she remained self-reliant. An article in the July 1878 Woman’s Exponent said of her: “She lives entirely alone, … does all her own housework, including washing, ironing and cooking, writes many letters, and does a great deal of reading. Sister Vienna is very familiar with the Scriptures. This last Spring she has made sixty-one pounds of butter, and milked her own cow" (Brent M. Rogers, "Vienna Jacques: Woman of Faith," June 2016 Ensign).
For more information about the Apocrypha, see: Bible Dictionary, "Apocrypha"
Apocrypha: Doctrine and Covenants 91:1-2
Studying the Apocrypha with direction of the Spirit: Doctrine and Covenants 91:5-6
6 And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated. Amen.
Agency: Doctrine and Covenants 93:30-31
Title for Section 92: "A Lively Member"
Quote: "Williams served on the publications committee that printed the Doctrine and Covenants and Emma Smith’s A Collection of Sacred Hymns in 1835" (For more information about Frederick G. Williams, see here: Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources: Frederick G. Williams).
Frederick is to be "a lively member": Doctrine and Covenants 92:2
2 And again, I say unto you my servant Frederick G. Williams, you shall be a lively member in this order; and inasmuch as you are faithful in keeping all former commandments you shall be blessed forever. Amen.
Lively: Strong, animated, vivacious, with strong resemblance of life (see webstersdictionary1828.com).
See the collection of discourses by Eliza R. Snow: churchhistorianspress.org
When you were a kid, did you ever make a pinky promise, you know, the kind of promise that's so serious, you had to link pinkies in order for it to be valid forever, for ever? Well, today's study of Doctrine and Covenants, Sections 89-92 is going to focus on a promise that has a bit more weight to it. In fact, the study of Section 89 will largely focus on a topic that President Ezra Taft Benson declared as, "a principle with promise." And then he went on to say, "if we obey the provisions of the law, we receive the promises; if we do not, there will be both temporal and spiritual consequences."
Want to know what that specific principle with promise is? Well, stay tuned, because I'm about to tell you. And if you think, Oh, I already know about this, or I'm very familiar with it. Well, today's guests may have you thinking a little bit differently about it by the time we're done. Welcome to the Sunday on Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original brought to you by LDS Living where we take the Come Follow Me lesson for the week, and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall.
Now if you're new to our study group, we want to make sure that you know how to use this podcast so, please follow the link in our description that will explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your Come Follow Me study, just like my friends, Lacey Johnson, Ginger Evans, and Shannon Rally from Cedar City, Utah. Hi, ladies, I miss you. And I hope you're all staying dry. Because we just heard about some crazy storms over the past couple of weeks.
Now, here's my favorite part of our study group. Each week, we're joined by two of my friends so we get a different approach. And today I could not be more excited because I love these two women so much. So we have Jenny Reeder who - - hi Jenny, you've always been on - you're regular. I love it. And our friend that we have today is the first time she's been on with us. But we've been friends, her name is Stace Christiansen. Hi Stace.
Stace Christianson 1:46
Tammy, I'm happy to be here.
Oh my gosh. Okay, I know Stace through Jenny. How did you two meet? This is, this is such a good story.
Jenny Reeder 1:54
Okay, so we met when I was a junior in high school at Timpview High School in 1990. And Stace was my seminary teacher.
Stace Christianson 2:05
I will say this too. In my whole seminary teaching experience there are a few students who really stood out. And Jenny still to this day is not only a dear friend, but she was definitely the student who stood out in seminary.
Jenny Reeder 2:19
Ahhh, but the other thing is, we're like friends from the pre-existence.
Stace Christianson 2:25
That's true, I would actually agree with that, too. I think it was fortuitous that in our on earth life that our paths have crossed and stayed parallel throughout our lives. It's a blessing for sure.
And then by virtue of that friendship, I have been benefitted. And I just, oh my gosh, I love the two of you so much. I love all of us together. It's great conversation. It is magic. That's like, well, this is what's so cool about Stacey is, I didn't know her as a seminary teacher. When I was teaching I didn't know her. And Stacey was one of the very few women back in the day to get hired when they didn't hire women. And so when Jenny told me about her, I remember thinking, I have to meet her; I have to know this person. And yeah, she's as awesome and wonderful as I thought she would be, so,
Stace Christianson 3:09
Tammy, that's so generous. Thank you.
I'm so excited. I am so excited for today's discussion; it is going to be so good and I can't wait to hear what you have to bring to the table, because you guys know so much about these sections. Oh, this is gonna be good. Well, okay, now. And when we said it was magic earlier, I'm just going to put this out there that we may end up all over the place because that's what happens when we get started talking. We just love to talk and connect thoughts and ideas. And sometimes we get a little off topic, but I promise, I promise you will love it. It'll all make sense in the end; it'll all come back around. So it's going to be worth it.
So if you want to learn more about my guests and see pictures of them and find out more information, you can get all of that in our show notes at LDS living.com slash Sunday on Monday. So go check that out. Okay, friends, grab your scriptures and let's dig in. Alright, Jenny, it's probably one of my favorite, I would say, probably the best historical background to any of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants. So tell us the story about how we got Section 89.
Jenny Reeder 4:09
Okay, this is really interesting, and I think it's gonna surprise even you, Tammy.
Jenny Reeder 4:16
So in January of 1833, Joseph and Emma were living in the Newell K Whitney stor;, I think they were living behind the store. And upstairs were two rooms. One was a revelations room where Joseph would receive revelations, and another was the school of the prophets. And at this time, Emma had two babies. One was Julia Murdoch Smith, who was born in 1831. So she was, you know, one and a half. And Joseph Smith III, who was born in 1832 November, so he was just a few months old. Okay, so she's got babies and they've also hired some girls to come in and help clean the house and help Emma, bless her heart, right? She needs all that help.
So the story goes that the men would come in to the school of the prophets. And they would immediately light their pipes and smoke tobacco. And because of the tobacco, they would have to spit. And the tobacco would go through the cracks in the floor-ceiling down below. And so Emma, and those girls would have to clean that in their kitchen pantry. And it was impossible to clean. So Emma spoke to Joseph, plus, they're in the School of the prophets, and it's just, they can't even see each other because of all the smoke. Okay, that's the story. Now, let me tell you the background of the story.
Jenny Reeder 5:57
The source for that story is Brigham Young in 1868, I want to say. Now, let's take a step back and think about it. Brigham Young was not there. He was not at the school of the prophets. And in the 1860s, Brigham Young did not think highly of Emma Smith. And so he's talking about this in Salt Lake City and talking about how Emma complained. Now, one interpretation could be that Brigham was saying that Emma was not a good housekeeper. But another interpretation, which is what the church has chosen to interpret, is that she was just fed up and talked to Joseph.
And I do love the part that she had such a good relationship with Joseph, that she could say, 'Look, this isn't working for me. We need to do something about this.' And he actually listened to her. She later said in her life, that he would mostly most of the time give heed to what she said. So he went into the revelation room and received a revelation and came back out to the guys in the school of the prophets. And this was the revelation that he gave them and they all put their pipes out and never did it again.
I love that story so much. And every time I taught Section 89, here is what I would do. Picture this: I would lay out a big garbage bag, and I'd have the kids circle around it. And then I put a bucket in the middle, and I gave every student a big Tootsie Roll. And the instructions were that they were supposed to chew the tootsie roll right until the point where they're about to swallow their spit. And instead of swallowing it, I wanted to see if they could spit into the bucket. I know, so gross, so gross.
So the whole point was then to just kind of think like, oh. And then I'd explain the story about Emma and spitting tobacco and how gross it would be to clean it up and they just see all the gross spit. And it was so disgusting. But guess who never forgot what Section 89 was about and how we got it? Kids who spit Tootsie Rolls' spit. Ooooh!
Stace Christianson 8:00
I thought you were you're gonna say 'you', because you had to clean up the Tootsie Rolls on the tarp.
Oh, yeah, I had to clean that up. And I complained about it. I'm like, I get it now, that Emma was awesome, I totally get it. Well, I love that you brought up the Brigham Young thing. And for those of you who are listening, you can find that quote, it's in our show notes, you can read what Brigham Young actually said. So that is the history behind Section 89. And Jenny, I like that you said that the men stopped smoking. But one thing we need to understand is that not all members of the church immediately quit what they were doing. And it would take almost 100 years until it became an actual commandment for membership in the church or a temple recommend, right?
Stace Christianson 8:38
Jenny Reeder 8:38
Yes. And that's why I think it's fascinating that it's called a 'word' of wisdom. It's not called a commandment.
You're totally right. And in the shownotes, again, I put all of the dates so you can see the the transition of this word of wisdom to becoming a commandment. And it's really fascinating to know, and I actually put it in my scriptures too, because it's just a good reminder that the Lord is willing to work with the people step by step. Like, He understands that all of these parts of the word of wisdom were so ingrained into their lifestyle that it would have been hard to all of a sudden give up coffee, tobacco, tea, all of that. And so he gave them 100 years, a whole generation to pass, so that the new generation could be brought up living this law.
Jenny Reeder 9:21
And here's something interesting, Tammy. It was made available to the saints a few months later, in handwriting, a handwritten thing. And then in January of 1834, a year later, it was printed in what they called a broad sheet. So it's like a newspaper-sized
Jenny Reeder 9:38
thing and distributed among the saints.
Oh, I didn't know that. That's cool.
Stace Christianson 9:43
One of the things I think, too, that's important, like, when we're doing - this is kind of a different sort of thought maybe - but when we do our family history, I think it's really important that we understand the context of that word of wisdom, that we're maybe not too hard on our ancestors when we read their journals. We know they're drinking coffee, we know that they're drinking. Maybe they were creating moonshine, you know, before the temple recommends became like a real formal interview. And just to go easy on our ancestors when we know that they didn't live the same standards that we live today, because they weren't expected to. That doesn't take away from the fact that they were faithful and good people.
But I do love that there's a context there where we can see the Lord allowing people to figure out a way to live the word of wisdom, you know. It's just hard. I mean, you see, as a missionary, you see people trying to change and especially giving up smoking, or alcohol or whatever, their coffee, their morning coffee, that is like how they wake up. That's really important. I think that we sort of allow for that room to to make changes. It takes time, I think, and I love that the Lord recognizes that.
Well, I'm so grateful that you pointed that out Stace because you know what? I mean, it's just making me think of this. I have run into some people who feel like they say Joseph is a fallen Prophet, because they found out that he took alcohol with him into Carthage Jail. Is that right, Jenny?
Jenny Reeder 11:05
Yeah, uh-huh, it is.
And I remember learning that. Okay. I wanted to make sure I didn't get that wrong.
Maybe it was a source of liquid. Maybe he thought he would be poisoned like he was warned by the Angel back in Section 25. Or maybe he just needed something to calm his nerves. I don't know. We don't know the reason why. We just know that at this point in history, it was strictly a word of wisdom. It was not yet a commandment. So in the next segment, we're gonna dig into these words of wisdom and talk about who it was for.
Segment 2 11:31
So I grew up with a grandfather that drank coffee every single morning. And I can remember as this overzealous eight year old, we went on a camping trip, and I hid his coffee because "Grandpa, you're not supposed to drink coffee. It's against the word of wisdom." I mean, he was he's a, he's a Yugoslavian. He's a coal miner. I don't know this, all I know is that I'm 8 "and I will go and do the things that Lord hath commanded." So I hid his coffee. And suffice it to say, that was the last time I ever tried to hide his coffee.
Oh, I got in so much trouble. Mostly by my grandpa, he did not appreciate the joke. But you know what, it was just such a good lesson to me. And it kind of goes back to what you said, Stace about just my family history and knowing them and my grandpa's gonna be fine. But I think, who was worse off - my grandpa for drinking coffee or for me for judging him for drinking coffee? And so, I just want to know: do either of you have an experience with the word of wisdom in your own family?
Stace Christianson 12:22
Well, so I have - I'll share this story about just my growing up years. So my dad was, he was a drinker; his family, his mom, and parents converted to the church. And he was in the military. And I think he started drinking, anyway, he ended up by his mid 20s, drinking pretty heavily. So my dad was an alcoholic pretty much to the day he died. And I remember in high school, 'course I was a member of the church. I knew about the word of wisdom, but I don't know that I was so motivated by a testimony of the word of wisdom to keep it. I think I was more motivated because that alcoholic influence in my home was so destructive.
And it, I didn't like that it created such an obstacle for me and my dad to have the kind of relationship that I wanted to have with him. And it just caused so much chaos in my home, that for me, it seemed like a given. If you lived this experience, in my mind, anyone who lived this experience that I was living, wouldn't be drinking alcohol, or taking drugs, or any other things. It just was the way that I perceived it. I think I was much older by the time I realized that our bodies are sacred.
And there's benefits to the word of wisdom that maybe we don't even understand, even with, as we get older, you know. I think there's, anyway, so I don't know that my motive originally was maybe the best motive. But I wouldn't take that motive away from myself, even today. It just gives you an insight, maybe a perspective of what the Lord's trying to teach us, who we really are. We can't rise to be who we are and have the joy in our relationships that He's hoping that we can have -and promising us that we can have - if we don't abide by the laws He's given us, these instructions to get to this destiny.
Um hmm. Well, and Stacey, I like what you've just shared with us because it made me think, oftentimes I'll hear people say, 'You know, if they just got rid of the word of wisdom, so many more people could be active members of the church. I don't know why we can't just like, get rid of it.' And I think of your experience, and you could easily reply with, 'Well, you never grew up in a home with an alcoholic.' So the word of wisdom absolutely makes sense. And it makes me think who the word of wisdom was given for.
Look at section 89. Now verse 1 introduces us to the word of wisdom. And then verse 2 says that it is given as a greeting, not by commandment or restraint, you can see that in verse 2. And then I always put a 'yet. . . . . .' next to that verse. But then we have verse 3, who tells us who the Word of Wisdom is specifically for. So Jenny, will you please read verse 3. And as Jenny does this I want you guys to highlight who this revelation is for.
Jenny Reeder 14:54
3 "Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints,"
Okay, so this might be just kind of a rhetorical question for everyone, but just think about that for a moment. Who are the weak and the weakest of all saints? Or who can be called saints? It pretty much covers all of us. It's everyone.
Jenny Reeder 15:20
So can I give some interesting historical background, contextual background?
I would love that.
Jenny Reeder 15:26
Beginning as early as the 1810s, teens. I don't know how you say that. 18 teens, I'm an historian and I don't even know how you say that. This became a really popular trend in the United States, that there are health reformers, and they were calling for abstinence from hard liquor, and even taking a pledge against all alcoholic beverages, including beer. And at the same time, these reformers were talking about tobacco chewing, and recommended coffee as a substitute for alcohol if clean water was not available. But it's this whole movement, in really paying attention.
This is where you start getting temperance movements, where people are promising and sort of signing away that they will not drink. And because that early, they're recognizing what danger alcohol can give. And, and I think if you even look a step further back, water wasn't considered a good drink. Like, it wasn't clean, it wasn't safe. And so people were drinking beer and coffee and tea. And that was just a usual thing. So this health consciousness started at the beginning of the century. And I think Joseph and Emma are aware of that.
Stace Christianson 16:45
I love that.
Yeah, I do, too.
Stace Christianson 16:48
Super interesting. I mean, I love that we were as a nation, starting a, like a wave of health consciencious living. Awesome.
Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. And now that we have that background information, it, it just makes it so much more helpful when you read Section 89. And then you read the do's and the don'ts and what you can and can't eat. And I thought of both of you, because when it comes to eating healthy, you guys have paid a price to know how to do that. First of all, we're just going to say the things you can't have, all right? We taught this on our missions. In fact, I even remember for us we had the flip chart, alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and harmful drugs. I still have it memorized.
Stace Christianson 17:26
E-cigarettes like all that stuff.
Jenny Reeder 17:28
Yeah, 'cause they had E-cigarettes on your mission, Stace, didn't they? (laughter) I'm just saying.
Stace Christianson 17:37
It's not a very long list, actually, but there are some, wedid add some modern elements to it. (laughs)
Yes, perfect. And then, and there's only four, what, five verses of the don'ts. And then we jump into the do's. Now, we are not going to do an in-depth study of the do's and the don'ts; we are not going to get into 'Can we eat meat, and what kind of herbs are we talking about here?' Because we're just taught "correct principles and we're to govern ourselves", the best quote by Joseph Smith. So what I want to do is just talk about the word of wisdom as a principle, this principle with promise. So ladies, I want to know what are your thoughts about these verses?
Stace Christianson 18:12
So I will share this. First, I have to paraphrase by saying I love the promises at the end, where we're promised, like, hidden treasures of knowledge.
Oh, yeah, we'll get to that next for sure.
Stace Christianson 18:21
Right. Okay. So I'm just adding that because I was like, I remember this quote from a long time ago from a rabbi that spoke at BYU. And in my bad memory, it was like 10 years ago. So I was looking it up on the computer, and it was actually 1994. And then I feel
That was 10 years ago (laughs)
Stace Christianson 18:38
grateful to have a clear head because I attribute that memory to the word of wisdom and living it. But I loved what he had to say about biblical health laws that the Jews, that the Jews live. And so this quote kind of lends itself I think, helpful, supportive about all those ideas.
"I am a traditional Jew", oh, his name is Harold Kushner. "I'm a traditional Jew. I observe the biblical dietary laws; there are certain foods I don't eat. I suspect most of you assume I go around all day saying to myself, 'Boy, would I love to eat pork chops, but that mean old God won't let me.' Not so. The fact of the matter is, I go around all day saying, 'isnt it incredible? There are 5 billion people - and I don't know what there are now, probably I know, there're six at least, but I don't know how many exactly - people on this planet and God cares what I have for lunch. And God cares who I sleep with. And God cares how I earn and spend my money. And God cares what kind of language I use.' Do you see what this does? It doesn't diminish me by being told there are certain things I may not do because they are wrong. It enhances me. It turns me into a real human being and, I would add, a true child of God, somebody whose deeds, whose decisions, and whose choices matter at the highest level, from the creator of our universe. He cares about us and our health."
And so I think when we are trying to move forward in any kind of health decision, whether it's how to exercise or what to eat, or what diet is best for us, or how to live up to the promises that were given in the word of wisdom, God cares. He will help us; He's here with us to help us find that custom journey for us in our bodies.
I love everything, that quote, Stacey. God's always had a lot of help for his people. That is so inspired that you have this quote, like, it isn't new. It's not like God's all of a sudden gonna make members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints miserable. Like, He's always had a code of health,
Stace Christianson 20:42
Because He cares about our health. That's why. He cares about us and He wants us to recognize that our bodies are eternal, powerful tools. And they're not just a mortal tool, and we don't just have it temporarily, like, I think that we care for our bodies, and we understand there's something divine about our bodies.
Okay, well, you have to send that to us so we can put it in our show notes. I felt the spirit when you read that, didn't you too, Jenny?
Jenny Reeder 21:08
Oh, totally. I love it.
Stace Christianson 21:10
It's because it's a genius, quote, he has such a brilliant eternal insight here. It's just powerful.
Jenny Reeder 21:16
Yeah, it's true.
Oh, my heart.
Stace Christianson 21:19
I'm so glad you liked it, too.
That is so great. God cares. Okay. In the next segment, we're going to talk about all the blessings that come from God caring about us, this is so cool.
Segment 3 21:31
All right, ladies. Now I already know you have so much to say about these verses. So for those of you who are listening, go ahead and mark verses 18-21. These are the blessings and the promises. This is what Ezra Taft Benson was talking about - a principle with promise. We just learned the principle, and now here's the promise. Four verses and it is beautiful. The first thing we need to do is just look at verse 18. Because it gives us some direction on how we keep the Word of Wisdom and Stace, will you we read verse 18 for us. As Stace's reading this, I want you to mark in verse 18, the three things the Lord wants us to do in order to receive these blessings.
Stace Christianson 22:07
18 "And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel, and marrow to their bones."
So isn't it interesting before we can even receive health, and marrow to our bones, we are asked to keep, do, and walk in obedience. And so, I just want to know from your own experience, what do these verses mean to you? And I especially want to hear from you, Jenny, because as a word of wisdom keeper, you've had your bout with health experiences. And I don't even know how you think about these verses, because you're promised all these beautiful, wonderful physical things. And you've had leukemia three times. Run and not be weary, walk and not faint. I mean, it's incredible.
Jenny Reeder 22:51
Yeah, it's true. And I've actually really, really struggled with this in trying to understand this. I'm also amazed at how closely this alliance with the temple and the initiatory and the promises that we receive there. So I have had leukemia, and that's a blood cancer. So it stems from the marrow; the blood comes from the marrow in my bones, and I have not had good marrow in my bones. And yet my whole life I lived the word of wisdom. I was a marathon runner, I was healthy, and I went to the body pump class at the gym, and I had a great life.
And then all of a sudden this hit me, and my marrow started - my DNA told my marrow to start creating - to slip a little bit and create lymphoblasts instead of red blood cells. And so the wording here is actually really, I don't know, sensitive to me; I'm really sensitive to what what that means. And it's actually recurred four times and I've had two bone marrow transplants. So I have first, the marrow from my brother Ben, and then the marrow from my brother, Josh. And it's actually been a really powerful experience in a couple of different ways. One, that I literally have my brothers' blood running through me and that's what keeps me alive. But two, that, I love that that second transplant came on Good Friday.
But this part about running and not being weary and walking and not fainting. I haven't achieved that yet. And I'm still - I used to, I told you, I ran marathon - but I used to wonder what's wrong with me. I'm keeping the word of wisdom and yet I'm not seeing these blessings. My patriarchal blessing tells me that I'll be blessed with abundant health. And I'm like, huh. Thanks a lot. Thanks a lot, God.
Yeah, you're, uhh, define abundance.
Jenny Reeder 24:47
Right. Now, it's interesting. Before my first transplant, I got a priesthood blessing and it said that my life would be preserved because I had a work to do. But it also said that my health would ebb and flow. And I'm like, uh, so that's what You mean by abundance? Even today, you know, four years after, dealing with some pretty significant side effects with my eyes and with my lungs, and just being tired.
And I remember, I worked in the Salt Lake Temple as an ordinance worker. And I remember one time doing initiatories, and I walked out with a friend of mine, another temple worker. And I looked at her and I said, I think those are actually promises for the future. Like, it doesn't mean right now today, but promises that in the future I will run and not be weary, and walk and not faint, and that there will be good clean marrow in my bones and all the other parts of my body.
So I think it is a principle with a promise. And yeah, you're right, I can live a life that's not how I want it to be, in that I'm out running marathons or getting up early and you know, all the stuff. But I am able to accomplish the work that I've been sent to do.
That was a very astute insight that you got out of the temple. I like that you shared that.
Stace Christianson 26:18
Can I just jump in here too, since I knew Jenny when she first was diagnosed. She was living back in Arlington, Virginia in the Shirlington ward, right Jenny, is that right?
Jenny Reeder 26:28
It was the Crystal City ward at the time.
Stace Christianson 26:29
Crystal City ward. And she was Relief Society President. And even though she may not - and I'm going to broaden out a little bit the definition of that 'run and not be weary and walk and not faint' - to not maybe just physical, but there's an emotional or spiritual stamina I think that we're also promised if we're keeping the word of wisdom. And even though Jenny was maybe bound to a hospital bed and treatments in the hospital, and correct me if I'm wrong, Jenny, but I think your Bishop came and asked you if you still want to be Relief Society President, is that correct? And you said yes.
Jenny Reeder 26:43
No, he told me. (laughter)
You were in agreement? Were you in agreement, no?
Jenny Reeder 27:09
He said "we're gonna keep you in." And I'm like, Okay.
Stace Christianson 27:15
And they did. But she ran, in my mind, in her ministering to the people in her ward. And she ran in the scriptures in her study, and she was never weary in her desire to serve the Savior. So I think if we broaden those promises out, and maybe not keep them quite so narrow as just a physical blessing, I think we see blessings all around us that the Lord is giving to us.
Jenny Reeder 27:44
Well, and I think that also, I think that whole thing with the word of wisdom is that we sometimes have to really expand our definitions.
Well, you know, it's interesting. As we're talking about this, I'm thinking how personal the word of wisdom is for us, and how personal the blessings are. I can remember in high school being super frustrated that I was so, I kept the word of wisdom. And, I also played sports. And, I was the worst on every team. I was the slowest runner. I mean, I played basketball, I couldn't shoot a basket to save my life. But I went to every practice, and I kept the word of wisdom. And I was so frustrated, because I should have been better than everybody else, given the word of wisdom and the promises.
And it wasn't until I was much older, teaching seminary teaching section 89, where the words came out of my mouth out of nowhere, I hadn't thought this through and Heavenly Father taught me. I wasn't better than anyone else. The word of wisdom made me as good as I could be, given that I'm not a runner. I'll never be a runner. But I love how it's so personal for all of us. And I love the application you guys just made with Jenny's experience. She's not gonna run while she's bald, going through chemo. But spiritually she ran. Boy did you run! And that is the coolest application to this word of wisdom.
And then especially when you go into the treasures of knowledge and hidden treasures. For sure that was given to you. And then always in 21, we're given a promise that the Destroying Angel will pass by us. Now, here's what we need to know: the Destroying Angel is not Satan. It's actually God's angel who punishes the unrighteous for their sins, just like in Exodus Chapter 12, with the Egyptians. So I've included in our show notes, some scriptures and an excellent article by Donald Parry. If you guys want to go study more about the Destroying Angel, I highly recommend it. And boy, Jenny, you're right with the spiritual on that; physical and spiritual, and spiritually that Destroying Angel pass by us,
Stace Christianson 29:32
Because haven't you, too, like, had that experience when you're studying the scriptures or you're reading a conference talk or you're listening, you're studying something in the Gospel? And suddenly your mind just feels like it opens and you see and have insights that you know are not your own. And that's a gift that has been given to you. And it sometimes just feels like, I think of it as an automatic weapon of light. It's just so powerful and it comes right at you with such force and with such consistency and so quickly. But it's just an experience that you know is, it's heavenly. It's not from yourself.
Okay, Stace, I just have to have you read this quote and this is by Boyd K Packer and it is exactly what you just said.
Stace Christianson 30:10
"I have come to know that a fundamental purpose of the word of wisdom has to do with revelation. If someone "under the influence," can hardly listen to plain talk, how can they respond to spiritual promptings that touch their most delicate feelings. As valuable as the Word of Wisdom is as a law of health, it may be much more valuable to you spiritually than it is physically."
Amen. Like that is just truth right there. And again, it just elevates us to recognize that this law is not temporal, and it's not just mortal. It's trying to bring us to a place to recognize the importance of our bodies in our plan of salvation or plan of happiness journey.
Jenny Reeder 30:53
You know, I love that. I love that because I think we recognize with this revelation, the commandment - whatever it is, the wisdom - but also in the temple, we realize how important our physical bodies are. And it's not saying that you have to have a perfect body. It's saying that you have to recognize the value of your physical matter that you contain, or that you embody. And you have to take care of it, and listen to it and care for it and understand what it needs. And be particularly attuned to what you can do to preserve that body and the way that you can continue your work on the earth.
Stace Christianson 31:42
Yeah, I love that. One of the things that I totally love about this, too, so it reminds me like, this idea that our bodies are eternal. So what can they do? What is the power of our bodies? I think two things come to mind. One of them is that they're a conduit of truth. Literally, we have,
Tell us more about that.
Stace Christianson 32:02
We have a physical response, I think when we are learning truth, and we can feel it. People talk about chills up their back, or they talk about a warm feeling in their heart or feeling peaceful or relaxed. That's something visceral and tangible, our bodies are responding to their eternal selves. So I think there's that. And then the other thing is that in the First Vision, when Christ and our Heavenly Father appeared to Joseph Smith, they are emanating light that, so much so, that is 'brighter than the noon day sun', like Joseph Smith talks about that in those accounts of the First Vision. Like, our bodies are conduits of truth, and I think in section 93. Truth is light, we know that. And so if our bodies are conduits of truth, will they actually all of us emanate light? I love to think about that.
Jenny Reeder 32:47
Well, and think about in the Book of Mormon, how the Brother of Jared was so amazed that he could see the finger of God, that He's not a body part. Then the Lord revealed His whole, His whole self to the Brother of Jared. And the fact that he witnessed that there was a body there. I mean, there is something so significant about that physical presence.
And I just keep going back to that Rabbi quote. How great that God loves us enough
Stace Christianson 33:19
He cares enough to give us a word of wisdom and blessings associated with it. Like, here's all the good I'm going to give you if you keep this - just five things I've asked you not to do. Look what you get for it, physically and spiritually. It's just so much bigger than we ever even imagined. So, ladies, thank you. Wow, that was a, that discussion was better than I even thought it would be. I didn't know what it would, I was, I was thinking it's gonna be good because it's Stace and Jen, but that, that changed the word of wisdom. That was so good. Oh, my gosh, so good.
Okay, so what we know, then the Lord is going to increase our knowledge, our wisdom and our capacity to obey when we obey His fundamental laws. We know this. And this is what the Prophet Joseph Smith meant when he said that we could have "sudden strokes of ideas", which come into our minds as "pure intelligence". I love that he said that. So this is what we call revelation. And we have to rely on the Holy Ghost so that we can use it to as our guide in our lives and in the lives of those who we have responsibility over. I don't think it's a fluke, that then Section 90 and 91 come next with a challenge to do just as President Benson and Joseph Smith encourage us to do: to ask. And if you're not keeping the word of wisdom, it just seems like from here on out, you can't be blessed and have good experiences with the rest of these sections. So we are going to dive into these and see what God has to say to us about revelation.
Segment 4 34:43
Alright, ladies, what is an oracle? Because I always think of a monocle.
Stace Christianson 34:50
No, Jenny, what do you think when you think of oracle?
Jenny Reeder 34:52
I think someone who can see into the future.
Stace Christianson 34:59
Somehow, I'm going Harry Potter here. Is there an oracle, like the bowl of reflection or whatever that is? I do think it's something like mystical; I think things from legends, talk about people looking into water or whatever. But I also think a mouthpiece, someone who speaks truth or someone who speaks things of the future.
Okay, excellent. Let's go into Doctrine and Covenants section 90. And we're gonna read that word in verses 4 and 5. And then we're going to title this section. So Jenny, will you we read verses 4 and 5.
Jenny Reeder 35:32
4 "Nevertheless, through you shall the oracles be given to another, yea, even unto the church.
5 "And all they who receive the oracles of God, let them beware how they hold them less they are accounted as a light thing, and are brought under condemnation thereby, and stumble and fall when the storms descend, and the winds blow, and the rains descend, and beat upon their house."
Okay, so highlight the word 'oracles' in those two verses. And it's exactly what both of you said - it's twofold. It is divine revelations, and it also can be a person, it can be a prophet. The title for this section is 'Keys of the kingdom, oracles of God.' Verse 5 really stands out to me, mostly because of you Stace, and your bracelets. So for those of you can't see, Stace, hold your arm up really quick. I love Stace's bracelets so much that I actually started collecting some of my own because when I first met her, I'm like, these are the coolest. And I asked Stacey why she has bracelets and she said, "Oh, because it reminds me of Helaman 5:12, which is what we just read in verse 5. So look back at verse 5, and even cross reference Helaman Chapter 5, verse 12 to that verse, because both verses speak of stumbling, falling when the storms descend and the winds blow and the rains descend, beating upon the house. It is the oracles of God that will protect us. So, Stace, can you please just teach us how the oracles of God protect us from storms?
Stace Christianson 37:04
So, well, the first thing that comes to mind is I think of the prophets. Their sole reason for leading us and being called to lead us is to bring us closer to Christ, to help us understand in our modern context world how we can become like Him. So that's the first thing that comes to mind. But I don't know, is that kind of what you were thinking?
No, you're doing great, kleep talking. Tell us about your bracelets, why you, why you have them.
Stace Christianson 37:29
Okay, that's it. Sorry, I already forgot that thought. So the reason I have my bracelets is because I'd gotten to a point in my life and my kids were young, where I was trying to stay focused on the Savior. And so I needed something tangible that I could see, to recall that commitment to myself.
And so I have a friend who wears lots of bracelets in California. So this is like a trend now; everyone join us in the Bracelet Sisterhood. And they seem like a cuff to me, which kind of seemed like a, like Wonder Woman - something strong and powerful. And that scripture is so focused on this Savior. And it's such a wonderful promise and, almost like a guarantee if we keep our covenant and we keep our commitments, that we will have a better life. And that we'll have the direction that we need to find a good life, right? So I, I started wearing bracelets, to remind me of that cuff like Wonder Woman, that I could be powerful in staying centered on Christ and focused on Christ.
I think that's excellent.
Jenny Reeder 38:27
I also want to call attention to our favorite, Tammy, 1828 Webster's dictionary, and what it says an oracle is there. And it says, "the place where the answers are given".
Oh, I love - hold, please.
Jenny Reeder 38:44
Right? "The place where the answers were given; the sanctuary or most holy place in the temple in which was deposited the Ark of the Covenant."
Stace Christianson 38:53
Wait, what year Webster's was that Jenny?
Jenny Reeder 38:55
We use it a ton.
Jenny Reeder 38:58
Yeah. So this is the time when Joseph would have been receiving these revelations in the language in which he was familiar, with which he was familiar. But it's also "any person or place where certain decisions are obtained. And any person reputed uncommonly wise, whose determinations are not disputed, or whose opinions are of great authority."
Stace Christianson 39:23
Oh, that is great.
That is so great. Well, because then it makes me think about those bracelets as this cuff of power, and how the oracles of God will do that for us.
Stace Christianson 39:34
That they, they are that cuff of power for us. And so every six months, how cool is it that the Oracle of God is giving us oracle's so that we won't stumble and fall when the storms descend, and when the winds blow and the rains descend and beat upon our house. I just think that is so powerful.
Jenny Reeder 39:52
You know what? It also reminds me of the temple and the initiatory and the promise that we, we make when we promise to wear the holy garments, because they're covering us, they're always with us and they're going to protect us
Umm, I have so much to say about that, like, they're not underwear, let's be clear. They're the garments of the holy prie,sthood. I mean, I just love that. We learned that so beautifully from Professor Martines a few weeks ago; he reminded us what the garments are. How cool is this, in the book of Genesis when the Lord gave Adam and Eve the garments? You guys, in Hebrew there is scholarship that supports the idea that it's actually not garments of skins. It's garments of light.
Jenny Reeder 40:38
Uhhhh, which reminds me of 'An Oracle'.
EXACTLY! Yeah, wow!
Stace Christianson 40:45
What - whoa, that's right, my head is exploding.
OH, I love that you brought that up! That is exactly what it is. And those garments will do that for us. Oh, that was such.... Well, we're gonna have you guys back on next year when we talk about the garments in the Old Testament.
Stace Christianson 41:01
And I think it's no coincidence, again, that we have these ideas sandwiched between Section 88 which talks so much about light, and Section 93 that also informs us about light.
Like all the connections, like Joseph Smith, and that time - the prophets - just think of this time in church history. Just how mind-blowing the information was that they were getting that was so eternal. And they're mortals, like God trusts us to get it. It's wonderful.
And going back to your quote again, that God cares enough about us to give us oracles, to give us a sacred garment of the holy priesthood. I mean, otherwise, you're telling me we got some kind of crazy mean God that's like, 'I know, I'll give them an extra set of, layer of clothing to make them sweat it out every day only so that they can be reminded of the covenants they make. You know what? If you need to remind us of something, give me a CTR ring for adults? Or maybe a nice brooch? How about that? Can you give me a nice pin?
Jenny Reeder 41:55
If it's just to remind me of stuff? Yes, Jenny. Thank you. Totally, bracelets. But it's not; it is not a symbol. I mean, it is but that's not what it's about. It's about the end of verse 5, Helaman 5:12. Wow.
Stace Christianson 42:09
Yeah, just to think of the connection between oracle's, and our garments. And that Hebrew word 'light'. We are clothed in light, because God cares about us. And He wants us to remember that,
Well, and in John, who is light? John teaches us that 'light' is Jesus.
Stace Christianson 42:26
What an intimate thing that is, idea that is, you know? He wants to be close to us, wants to be near. Love it.
Wow. Well, and then in verse 11, it says that everybody will hear the gospel in their own language. And then look at the end of that verse, it says, ..."through those who ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ." That's what it's all about - the light, revelation of light. Oh, that was, that was powerful. Thank you, both of you. Thank you. Well we just have to continue. I mean, we could talk about this forever, but we just have to take a moment in Section 90, go to verse 28. Because there are only two women who were named in the entire Doctrine and Covenants. And this woman in verse 28 is one of them. Can I read it? Because I just love it.
Jenny Reeder 43:14
Okay, thank you.
28 "And again, verily, I say unto you, it is my will that my handmade Vienna Jack's, or Vienna Jocks. How are we saying that Jenny?
Jenny Reeder 43:24
Oh, I was off on both. Vienna Jaques should receive money to bear her expenses and go up to the land of Zion. Okay, highlight her name, Vienna Jaques. Alright, ladies, teach us about her.
Jenny Reeder 43:36
Okay. I will tell you about Vienna Jaques. She was an amazing woman. And something that I learned that I didn't, I don't think I realized, is that for most of her life she was single. And she was born in Massachusetts; she came from a family of wealth. And, but she was also a nurse, a midwife, and a laundress, which I think is interesting, because you would think if she came from a family of wealth that she wouldn't have to do other people's laundry.
But she was also a seeker; she wanted to know the truth. And I think it's really interesting that when she heard about or first encountered the Mormon missionaries in 1831, she was 44 years old, and she was a Methodist. And she heard about Joseph Smith, she got a copy of the Book of Mormon. She didn't fully comprehend the Book of Mormon, and she prayed about it. She didn't understand it. So she prayed about it. And she had a vision of the Book of Mormon, that prompted her to ask the Lord about this scripture. And from that time, she was firmly convinced, convinced of its divine authenticity, which I think shows that there's so many different ways that we gain testimonies of the Book of Mormon. And for her that that was how it happened.
So her life went back and forth between Boston, and Providence, Rhode Island, but she went to Kirtland in 1831. She got baptized, and then she went back to Boston that Fall, and she would host the missionaries. They lived in her, that she provided housing for them. And she connected them with all of her friends, and family, and acquaintances. And so they had a constant audience to preach to - that was Samuel Smith and Orson Hyde. And then in 1833, she moved to Kirtlan - actually Fall of 1832 - she moved to Kirtland. And she gave all of her money at a time when the church was trying to buy up property in Kirtland for the temple and for other homes and buildings. And then the Lord gave Joseph this revelation about her.
Because with the money that she donated, would it be safe to say - okay, I'm just gonna say it anyway - I kind of think she was also a part of the United Order.
Jenny Reeder 45:49
Totally, I think
Because you had to have money to be a part of that. And I think she was one of the females that was part of that program.
Jenny Reeder 45:56
You know what's interesting is Eliza R Snow also did that; she gave her father's inheritance. It wasn't until 1836, but she also was a single woman who had some financial means and was able to donate that. But I love that these are both single women, and that they are contributing, they're consecrating. They're filling the measure of their creation by giving what they have to the church.
Stace Christianson 46:23
Because I just thought there, too, which I think is very impressive. And I don't mean to compare men and women or whatever, but I am going to do that. I think it was harder for a woman, then, at that day and age to earn that kind of money, to find a career. And it sounds like she could have been also a midwife, because they didn't have access to even legal protection for the finances that they had. They didn't have access to the education that maybe a man had in that day and age. So the fact that she had, probably had more obstacles in earning this money, as well, and was willing - like the Widow's Mite, you know, the widow in the New Testament - to donate everything that Joseph Smith asked her to give, which was everything, including other valuables, to me is so impressive. And you can hear the tenderness in Joseph Smith's, I think, thoughtfulness of her in this section and the Lord's thoughtfulness of her in this section.
What words stood out to you?
Stace Christianson 47:23
Um, I think it's just the idea that he knows that she's made this extreme sacrifice. And they actually mention it in verse 28. And he uses the word 'consecrated unto me', that's really beautiful that her offering is seen as voluntary and willing. And I love that idea about the law of consecration, that she's to receive an inheritance in Zion.
Jenny Reeder 47:51
It's important to note at this time, that the meaning of the word Zion literally meant Missouri, Jackson County, Missouri. So she literally went there, they gave her some land, it didn't last. And I think this is leads to what Stacey was saying is that she eventually ended up in Navoo. She received her Temple Covenants in January of 1846, which was also her inheritance. And she moved to the Salt Lake Valley. For a short time she was married to someone, but when in the records crossing the plains, she was back to Vienna Jaques and she received a plot of land in Salt Lake City. And she built a house and established herself; she was in the Salt Lake City 12th ward Relief Society. And that's where she lived the rest of her life.
Wow. Well and how much do I love verse 31, then, with all of that, when it says "that she may settle down in peace",
Jenny Reeder 48:47
That's, that is powerful for me, like
Jenny Reeder 48:51
Well, it doesn't happen for years that she actually able to settle down in peace.
Holy cow, Jenny. I did not know any of that. Thank you so much for teaching us about Vienna. And then Stace. How great was it pointing out, just what a sacrifice it was for her to give up her hard earned money. You know what, I can't wait to meet her. That's gonna be someone I'm gonna stand in line for.
Stace Christianson 49:12
Can I also just comment, and since we're in sec or Doc, what am I trying to say? Verse 31. This, it sounded at first like a warning to me "and not be idle in her days from thenceforth". But the more I read about her, the more I thought, there is nothing idle about her. So somewhere in the history, there's a newspaper reporter that comes and talks to her when she's in her 90s. She's just made 100 pounds of butter. She's living alone. She's milking her cow every day. She's doing her own housework. She's not idle. And I wondered if I didn't read that in the right spirit the first time I read it. I think it's maybe a promise to her. It's part of her inheritance, that she won't be idle all her days. She was not an idle person.
Well, now I've never considered that, that idle is a blessing in this verse.
Stace Christianson 50:06
I think it's also a blessing statement, not necessarily a warning in this verse.
Jenny Reeder 50:12
But I think it also means that she is walking and not being weary and running and those things.
Okay, I love that 31. I love that we just looked at all of that as a blessing. That's the blessing for all that she did. Wow, that was good. So cool. Okay, that's the end of Jax. Do you guys have anything else to tell us? I mean, that was awesome. What we learned about her.
Stace Christianson 50:34
Just a stalwart woman of the member of the church, just love it.
Yeah, definitely. Going back. I like how you went back to the promises that were found in the Word of Wisdom. She was walking and not weary and not faint. So that was so cool, part of that blessing from the word of wisdom. Excellent. Excellent. Okay. So what we know is that God does line upon line, precept upon precept. And we have these promises and these blessings and power that we get from the oracles of God. And so then the next section is really going to be about these hidden treasures that we've talked about, and what that looks like for us in our life. And I love section 91. I can't wait to talk about it in the next segment.
Segment 5 51:11
Okay, I love me some apocrypha, ladies. How much do I love apocrypha.
Jenny Reeder 51:17
I'm ready to hear everything Tammy has to say, right now.
I just, okay. So for starters, I mean, apocrypha. A lot of people are kind of like, Ummm. should we?. I don't know.' It's kind of got a negative connotation, right?
Jenny Reeder 51:31
Stace Christianson 51:31
Does it? I don't know.
Tell me what your thoughts are.
Jenny Reeder 51:35
I think it does, just because it's not pure Bible, or even pure Word of God; that its been translated and changed and morphed and possibly, and it's probably mostly the provenance is unknown, meaning we don't know from what hands it has gone through.
Exactly. So for those of you who are listening, apocryphal books are books that have not been canonized, meaning they're not actual parts of the King James Version of the Bible. Now, it doesn't mean they haven't been. In the 1600s all of these apocryphal books were part of Scripture. In fact, they were placed between Malachai and Matthew. So they were put in at the very end of the Old Testament, and you could read these apocryphal books. And in the 1800s is when they were removed.
Now apocryphal books - there's many of them. And if you want to read about all of them, it's kind of fun. You can look up in the Bible Dictionary 'apocrypha', and it's gonna list several books. I have not read them all, but the ones that I have read are really good, like Bel and the dragon. That is a great story that's an extension of the book of Daniel. And I think how, do, why do we not study this? Because it's such a good story. There's some other things that are out there that you can read, but what we need to know is, rather than having this negative connotation, let's see what the Lord had to say about apocrypha. That's the title for Section 91, 'Apocrypha'. So you just write that next there. And then verse 1. So Stace, will you we read that for us.
This is the council that the Lord gives us for the apocryphal books.
Stace Christianson 53:08
1 "Verily, thus saith the LORD unto you concerning the Apocryph - There are many things contained therein that are true, and it is mostly translated correctly;"
Okay. But then, like Jenny said, Jenny, read verse two.
Jenny Reeder 53:21
2 "There are many things contained therein that are not true, which are interpolations by the hands of men."
What does interpolations mean?
Jenny Reeder 53:30
Interpolations is like your interpretation or your commentary on it.
Stace Christianson 53:37
Think of like you're adding your own spice to something.
Yeah, your flavor, a perfect way to think of it. And then we have verse 5, which is, if you're going to study the Apocrypha, here's what I need you to be aware of. And verse 5 says,
"And whoso is enlightened by the Spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom;" meaning, like, you have to have the spirit with you as you're reading these to be able to go, Oh, yeah, this is good. And my experience in the ones I've read, I believe that. I have read them and gone, this is good. And there might be some that you're like, 'Ummm, probably better - I did - we didn't put it in. I kind of get that we took that out.' Now we're talking about apocrypha, and books that haven't been canonized yet.
But the purpose of this section is to teach us that the Spirit can confirm truth. I mean, that's the most important thing we're being taught here. No matter where it is, truth is truth. Whether you're in a math class or up at a Capitol Building, or sitting in a seminary lesson. Truth is truth. And that's what verse 5 teaches us. Look at this, it says, "Whoso is enlightened by the spirit shall obtain benefit therefrom".
So I want you to kind of think about that for a minute. And and I want to know, ladies, has there ever been a time when this has happened to you? Because there's so much information out there and ways to gain knowledge quickly. We need this verse now, I think, more than ever. We have to be able to let the spirit teach us truth.
Stace Christianson 54:58
I do think that one of the gifts that we have is the gift of discernment with the Holy Ghost. So as we read anything from the world, that we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, a member of the Godhead, to walk through that material with us, to help enlighten us. But the other thing, and this is probably one of the biggest, most mind-bending experiences I've had with the spirit in the scriptures is in Section 93, when it talks about agency, and it talks about the sphere or Earth life that we're in, and that our - here I'm going to see if I can find it, sorry.
I'm so glad you're bringing this up, because that's what we're discussing next week. 93, you could spend weeks on 93.
Stace Christianson 55:41
So verse 30, do you care, can I read it? Do you mind?
30 "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence..." And here's the kicker right here: "......otherwise, there is no existence." Now, if you just think about that one phrase, that our existence, the way that God wants it to be is dependent on us having agency, that's amazing, like the context of the plan of salvation, the plan of happiness, the preservation, the efforts that were made to preserve our agency.
This is the reason why, because we can't exist without our agency. We just are, our, we as children of God cannot exist without our agency. And then of course, the next verse is awesome. But of course, and here's the condemnation, so 'behold, here is the agency of man, and here's the condemnation of man'; it's our agency. It can move us forward, or it can stop our progression, but we choose. Even, even then our agency is not taken away. It's like there's so many layers to us preserving our agency, or God preserving our agency. I just love that. I love that still to this day, because I think I love having choice. And I love having my agency. I don't like people telling me what to do. That's the bottom line, there it is. That's a good thing, that I'm sensitive to that. I think it speaks of my divine nature.
It's powerful that you just taught us that the purpose of our existence is to have agency. That is a whole discourse on agency; that answers the question like, Why do bad things happen to good people? It's almost like God cares more about our agency than even our happiness,
Stace Christianson 57:18
or our comfort for sure.
Or our comfort. That's a better reason for
Jenny Reeder 57:21
or our perfect health. Right? right? Amen
Thank you! yes. Our existing as human beings is integral. Agency is integral to this experience. Right?
Stace Christianson 57:33
I think it's because it's so divine. Like, I think what Heavenly Father is saying, what the Savior saying is this is deeply defining to who they are, which gives us insight into the choices they've made, even further.
Jenny Reeder 57:47
It's like, like, yeah. It's like our identity.
Stace Christianson 57:52
Yes. Right. That's what this verse is saying, This is our existence, like, this is who we are, we exist. Like, we have agency to support us in our existence.
Well, and Stace, as you were talking about that, just that good, happy feeling is the spirit. I mean, that is how easy it works for us, that you can feel peace. Because in Section 91, verse 6 says " And whoso receiveth not by the Spirit, cannot be benefited. Therefore it is not needful that it should be translated." But the idea like, you'll know when it's not right; you'll hear things and you're like, uhh, uhh, yeah-no. As opposed to, huh, I've never heard that, I'm gonna have to study that. I've had that experience before and I've had a very, like, umm, you're wrong. Might be my pride. But
Stace Christianson 58:36
Right. Do you remember Elder Scott's talk, what he gave at conference, and he talked about journaling, and how we can receive revelation through journaling. And that can be an ongoing experience for us? But we can't stray too far. Even when we're reading things that are, you know, um, worldly or of the world, or apocrypha or whatever it is, or other people's spice of life or whatever. We can glean some things but we also won't stray if we keep our covenants too far from where God wants us to be. But I think He does teach us through, like the use of good books or other people's ideas in and out of the church. And in many faiths or whatever, I don't think it matters. Truth is truth. I think we can access it in multiple ways, thank goodness. And He's given this this tool to be able to discern. It's wonderful. It's really empowering. Definitely.
I love that you said other books because section 88 teaches us that and section 88 is setting the foundation for school of the prophets and the Lord's like, 'study out of the best books.' Like, not just scripture, there's so much there and let the Spirit be your guide so that you know when it's right.
Stace Christianson 59:38
Yeah. It said you don't need to be afraid when we live our covenants. I love that.
So good. Jenny, what about you?
Jenny Reeder 59:44
I think it also goes back to that temple initiatory where we are given the gift of discernment that we might know right from wrong and truth from error. And I think the only way we can do that is when we have a clear mind, when we've taken care of our bodies, and when we have asked. When we have asked for revelation and when we are like Vienna and giving what we have, and so it's not standing in the way of us receiving that pure and clear truth.
Stace Christianson 1:00:19
I love, like, whenever Jenny speaks, I just feel like my mind is always ignited. You do a saint-like, think of that: the context of all the people in church history who are so faithful and trying so hard to get it right. And everything was so new and so unfamiliar. And there's literally their lives were in such an upheaval. And they were, they were just trying to figure it out, right? They were so good. It just says so many good things. They were trying, they were hopeful. And they loved the things they were learning. And why wouldn't they? Like that's something we share with them, right? When we have these learning experiences.
Stace Christianson 1:00:54
I love in section 88, when it says our minds are quickened. And they're quickened into truth, they're quickened into not just seeing the moment right now, or this one frame in the film of our life. There's this perspective that's so much more holistic, that I think is such a more accurate and truthful, or way of living in truth. I don't know, it's a better way to live, I think.
Here's what I love about all of this discussion. And every discussion leading up to this, just for those of you who are listening, we did not meet ahead of time. Like, Jenny and Stace have no idea what's coming up next. Heavenly Father's so good. And the Spirit has guided this discussion perfectly. Because in the next segment, we're going to wrap it all up in two words, and using only two verses because the next section is two verses long. And the Lord is very clear. He says "What I say unto one I say unto all." He says that in Section 92. And we're going to show you what He is saying to all of us and how it applies to everything we just discussed.
Segment 6 1:01:34
Okay, Section 92 was given to a man by the name of Frederick G. Williams. So Jenny, what do we know about him - can you tell us?
Jenny Reeder 1:02:01
Yeah, I don't know stuff about him early. But I do know that he owned the press that printed the hymnbook, that Emma edited and selected, and that later, that was in end of 1835, first of 1836. And June or July, she had a baby and she named him Frederick Williams Smith.
Oh, neat. I didn't connect that. You're right. That's pretty cool. So because he's a man of means he's being appointed to the United Order. And the Lord is telling him what he needs to do. And it's just two verses long. That's it. But verse 2 is what it's all about. And when He says "What I say unto one, I say unto all." Here's what He's saying to us. Okay, Stace, will you please read verse two. And as Stace reads this, let's mark what the Lord wants Frederick to be.
Stace Christianson 1:02:53
2 "And again, I say unto you my servant, Frederick G. Williams, you shall be a lively member in this order; and as much as you are faithful in keeping all former commandments you shall be blessed forever. Amen."
What did He ask him to be?
Stace Christianson 1:03:08
A lively member.
That's all we're going to talk about. (laughs) Stace, I love...You guys, you can't see Stace obviously. But she's doing like a little flamenco dance.
Stace Christianson 1:03:18
Lively. I think that's the first thing that comes to mind is that he was dancing in the Gospel. That he was so engaged with his whole heart and soul, his whole physical self, he was all the way immersed, he was all the way in. And I love that because when people dance and they cut the rug, and they let loose of their inhibitions, that's how they are. And it doesn't have to be beautiful, it just has to be willing and engaged, I think and you know, doing God's work.
That is a perfect description of it. I did look it up in the 1828 dictionary. It's, 'to be lively means to be strong, animated, vivacious with a strong resemblance of life'. So just what you described Stace. Dancing in the Gospel. The title for Section 92 is 'A lively member.'
Jenny Reeder 1:04:05
I thought you were going to say 'Dancing in the Gospel.' That's the subtitle.
I just wrote that in my scriptures, Dancing in the Gospel. Well, and going back to the word of wisdom and the discussion that we have had this entire hour. I mean, can the blessings be more than just being a lively member? I mean, that is what it boils down to, right?
Jenny Reeder 1:04:26
Yeah, you know, Eliza R. Snow, I'm collecting all the discourses of Eliza R Snow. And we have 1,271 of these talks. And there are so many times where she talks about being alive and being energetic and being awake, and waking up from your deep sleep. But she uses that word, too. And she says 'not idling', and I just I'm amazed at how all of this fits together.
Right. Vienna, the blessing of not being idle, being a lively member. I think about Stace, what you said, how these people had joined the church and they were new and they were trying to figure it out. And then I've been thinking of my own life, because I think the word lively has changed for me as I've grown older. And, Jenny, the word lively has meant different things for you at different times in your life.
Jenny Reeder 1:05:14
So let's talk about that. How has it changed or evolved over the years?
Stace Christianson 1:05:19
I definitely have slowed down as I've gotten older. But I'm more thoughtful, I hope. I want to be more thoughtful. And this was really apparent last conference too, that I think we need to be engaging in civil discussion in a loving and caring way. Which to me, those words remind me of true ministering. And I'm hoping that as I get older, in my family relationships, in my neighborhoods, communities, ward, and otherwise, like my broader communities, that I can be more lively in loving people.
Jenny Reeder 1:05:55
Oh, I love that.
I do, too.
Stace Christianson 1:05:57
I think I could live a happier and more meaningful life if I seek. Am I more engaged in trying to love and understand people instead of even just being distracted by other things?
Jenny Reeder 1:06:13
Yeah, you're a lively lover.
Stace Christianson 1:06:16
That's what I want to be, Jenny. That's just, Thank You.
Good description she gave you.
Stace Christianson 1:06:20
That's my academic friend giving me the words. It's absolutely true. I want to be a lively lover as I age.
Jenny Reeder 1:06:25
I love that. I have this part of my personality where I take on way too much. And I overcommit and I can't say no, and I need to learn boundaries. I know all of that. But it's interesting. And I've had a lot of stuff going on at work the past couple of weeks, where I've had to take on additional responsibilities and maintain the same deadlines. And so I'm feeling super overwhelmed. And as I pray about it and pondered it, I've realized this word keeps coming to my head.
And I think it is sort of like this transition of the word lively and what it means to me now, compared to my 20s, is 'deliberate'. I needed to be deliberate and prioritize and recognize where my liveliness needs to come. Does that makes sense? It doesn't need to come in the ways that it did in my 20s. It needs to come in totally different ways now, but I have to be deliberate. That word, I can't let go of that word.
Stace Christianson 1:07:27
Oh, I love that.
Jenny, that word deliberate is so good. K, I'm writing that next to this verse right now. Hold please. I think it's the same for me totally. In my 20s, I was just go go, go, go go. It's almost like I had a blue planner in my 20s, a missionary blue planner, where I would schedule out every hour of my day, and I just stayed busy. And then I got married and had kids and that didn't work so well. And my my liveliness changed and just sitting sometimes and not doing anything was lively for me. Sitting and reading my scriptures is being a lively member or reading just one verse is as lively as I was gonna get for about 10 years.
I didn't get to go to the temple a ton because I was in the thick of little kids. But I was still lively, because I was thinking about my covenants. And I was trying to remember those. And I think, yeah, I love that it looks so different for everyone. Some of us are dancing in the Gospel. But for some of us, it's a slow dance, but we're still moving. Right?
Jenny Reeder 1:08:28
Slow dances are good, too.
Well, they are.
Stace Christianson 1:08:32
So that that just reminds me too. I think there's so many ways to be lively. But that practice of becoming like Christ. Is that never not lively? Is that never - is that - it's never not proactive. It's never passive. You know, whether it's your mind or your heart, you know, it's all of those things when you're a lively member, a lively people.
Jenny Reeder 1:08:59
And I'm looking back, thank you Tammy, at the Webster's 1828 dictionary. And lively as an adverb, also means "with strong resemblance of life." And so I love that because I think what Stace just said about Christ, and life. He is the life and the light and the way. Just having that focus, having your eyes filled with that life, with that glory or light is being lively. And you know, sometimes we do have to extend our definitions, but it never means passive or lazy. But sometimes it does mean being still.
Stace Christianson 1:09:38
If you are a disciple of Christ, and you're practicing your beliefs, you're practicing Christianity. It's never a quiet, passive experience, even though you might be still like Jenny said.
Yeah, because it's deliberate.
Stace Christianson 1:09:52
Yeah. And you're engaged.
Jenny Reeder 1:09:55
That's it: deliberate, engaged. Yeah. All of that.
Stace Christianson 1:09:58
Think of your relationshipships. How many times, the work of a relationship is to be still and listen and understand. Like, there's so much work happening there.
Jenny Reeder 1:10:08
Stace Christianson 1:10:09
Yes. But you don't see anything on the outside.
Jenny Reeder 1:10:12
And it's very deliberate.
Right. Well, and then how great that verse 2 ends with everything we've been talking about: faithful and keeping commandments, former commandments, meaning everything that we've just been taught, you shall be blessed for ever.
Stace Christianson 1:10:28
Who doesn't want that?
Right? Are you gonna say for ev er?
Jenny Reeder 1:10:33
No, I was gonna say, 'forever and ever.' (sings)
You just totally. Wait, is that "Saturday's Warrior" or "My Turn On Earth"?
Jenny Reeder 1:10:47
No, you just went "Saturday's Warrior" on us.
Jenny Reeder 1:10:49
(sings) 'Jimmy, oh Jimmy, don't listen to them.' (laughter)
For ever! Yes. It's just such a perfect blessing to end all of this. This whole discussion today is is what it's about. It's about being blessed forever. And so, yeah, thank you, ladies. Thanks for that discussion. That's it. That's it for our episode. AHHH
Stace Christianson 1:11:10
Jenny Reeder 1:11:12
That was so fun.
It was so fun. Okay. So just take a minute. And what we do Stace now is we just ask our guests to think of what was your takeaway? What's something you learned that you're like, yes, it just resonated within you that you will always remember from our discussion?
Stace Christianson 1:11:26
I can't do one, I gonna have to do two. So
Stace Christianson 1:11:29
That I hope I'm making 100 pounds of butter in six months when I'm in my 90s. (laughter) That I'm that lively of a member in my life. And that I feel truly grateful to have a testimony that God loves me; that I believe with all my heart and soul that I'm His daughter, and He wants me to be happy and successful in this life, in my eternal life. That's wonderful. That's that's a gift.
Jenny Reeder 1:11:56
I think my takeaway comes from the quote that Stace shared from the Jewish guy, about how God loves us so much, that He is concerned and aware of what we eat, and how we live. And I am so grateful for that. Like, even if it's imperfect, our bodies are imperfect; that He is aware of those and that He loves us and, and wants to cover us with His light.
Umm hmm. I like that so much. My takeaways for what you just said, Jenny and Stace, the idea that He wants to cover us with His light, meaning the light, the garments. And that quote you read Stace? That will be my go to from now on,. When there's something that does, that's hard, or that's, that doesn't sit well, to just take a minute and think, 'God loves me so much. He cares about what I eat. He cares about who I sleep with.' I mean, I just thought that was so powerful that all of the rules are because He cares. And that is a great way to start viewing every commandment, everything we're asked to do. Every word of wisdom that we get from here on out, I just, that is profound. And it will help me be more lively member.
Stace Christianson 1:13:12
Yeah, it well, and it's His offering of love. It's how He loves us - is by helping us to see truth.
Which we're gonna talk a ton about next week.
Jenny Reeder 1:13:21
I know, I can't wait!
So thanks for setting that up. Well, thank you ladies, I love you both so much! This was such a great day. Okay, so I really want to hear what your takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook, or if you're not following us on Instagram, go and do it. Because it's such a great place to share what you've learned throughout the week. And if you have any questions as you're studying, ask. And there are a lot of people who will answer it; we have a great community on Facebook and Instagram. So go ahead and ask.
Okay, now as far as your takeaway goes, at the end of the week, usually on a Saturday, sometimes on Sunday, we post a call for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this specific lesson to let us know what you've learned. And I read all of them, and I love it. And then on Monday, I always share a takeaway that stood out to me. You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes for this episode at LDS Living.com slash Sunday on Monday. And if you go there, you're going to also find a link to all the references that we used, as well as a complete transcript of this whole discussion.
And just FYI, there are so many quotes we didn't use that will be in the show notes. So if you're going to teach it you can use those quotes in your lesson if you want to go check it out. The Sunday on Monday study group is a Desert Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall, and today our fabulous study group participants were Stace Christiansen and Jenny Reeder and you can find more information about these ladies at LDS living.com slash Sunday on Monday.
Our podcast is produced by Erika Free and me. It is recorded and mixed by Mix at 6 Studios and our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And please remember this, as we learned: God loves you enough. He loves you so much because you're his favorite!
Jenny Reeder 0:00
Um, this is what makes it even more special, is that Stace did her hair and her makeup!
Stace Christianson 0:06
I know! I even shaved!
She looks incredible!
Stace Christianson 0:09
You can't see my legs but I shaved.
Jenny Reeder 0:11
Stace Christianson 0:12
I know. I'm feeling like a professional today.
Wow she really took it up a notch that . . . you didn't even shave for us when we came to lunch.
Stace Christianson 0:24
Transcribed by Jenee Uzelac