36: "For the Salvation of Zion" (Doctrine and Covenants 94–97)
“I love to see the temple. I’ll go inside someday.” For many Latter-day Saints, these lyrics from the Primary song “I Love to See the Temple” are familiar and meaningful. But the early Saints didn’t grow up singing that song; the idea of a temple and temple ordinances was mostly unfamiliar to them. So when the Lord commanded that they build His “house,” there was some hesitation.
As we study this week’s lesson in Doctrine and Covenants 94–97, we will see how the Lord lovingly reproved the Saints and the instructions He gave to them that can enhance our temple worship today.
I'm going to play the first line from a Primary song that, hopefully, you will recognize, here we go.
[Primary music playing] 0:05
I love to see the temple. I'll go inside someday.
Alright, there it is. Hopefully you recognized it. And while we may know what it means to worship inside the house of the Lord, I don't think the early Saints had any idea what was in store for them when the Lord gave them instructions to build a house in Doctrine and Covenants, Sections 94-97. But we're going to find out what those instructions were and how they apply to us today.
Welcome to the Sunday and Monday Study Group, a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original, brought to you by LDS Living where we take the "Come, Follow Me" lesson for the week and we really dig into the scriptures together. I'm your host, Tammy Uzelac Hall. Now if you're new to our study group, I just want to make sure you know how to use this podcast so follow the link in our description. It's going to explain how you can best use this podcast to enhance your "Come, Follow Me" study, just like my friends Sarah Richards and her mom Pixie Nunez. And if that isn't the cutest name ever, I don't know what! I want to hug you Pixie.
Now another awesome thing, and my favorite thing, is that each week we are joined by two of my friends so it's a little bit different and today we have Julie Petersen and Hollee Mackay. Hi ladies.
Julie Petersen 1:12
Hollee MacKay 1:13
Julie Petersen 1:14
Hollee MacKay 1:14
Oh, we are all friends. We've all served together, we are in the same stake, two of us are in the same ward. But I just want to know, okay, first of all, Julie, Hollee: how do you two know each other?
Hollee MacKay 1:16
We got to serve together in the stake Young Women's.
Julie Petersen 1:29
True. We did some girl's camp, some Trek. Tam and I did girls camp together.
Oh yes, we did. Boy that, when you say we all do camp. Some of us camp better than others; we'll just say that.
Julie Petersen 1:43
So by that she means Tammy camps well, Julie does not.
We went to girls camp one year together and we stayed in a yurt and Julie, every night she'd be like, "There are mice in my tent." And we were like, "There's not mice, settle down." And the camp missionaries decided to put mousetraps in your yurt. "All right lady, we'll catch your mouse that you keep seeing."
Julie Petersen 2:04
Specifically under my bed, might I add.
Oh yeah. And it was always under your bed. And we woke up the next morning and what happened when you check the traps?
Julie Petersen 2:11
Oh, five mice all stuck on a sticky trap in their own mess. It was horrible. And all night long you could hear this little pattering of these poor mice stuck trying to get out from the trail mix they were trying to eat, and the peanut butter.
Oh, we were a bunch of jerks. We were like, "I guess you were right."
Julie Petersen 2:29
All night long, didn't sleep a wink. They'd whine, trying to get out. Then missionary came with a big glove, pulled it out, five mice.
Hollee MacKay 2:32
Then the year I was at camp with Julie, she slept in her car. Maybe that's why.
Julie Petersen 2:45
Did I sleep in the car? No, I did not. Did I spend the night in the car? Yes, I did.
And no one really sleeps at Girls' Camp.
Hollee MacKay 2:50
It's amazing what you do for the Young Women. (laughter)
Totally true. Well, if you want to know more about my friends, who I'm so excited to have on today, you can read their bios at LDS Living.com/SundayonMonday.
I'm just gonna tell you guys, this is kind of cool. It's the very first time I've ever given a guest a specific pre-podcast assignment. How did it go? Did you guys get it done?
Hollee MacKay 3:11
Yep, I'm returning and reporting.
Okay, thank you. A for completing the assignment. We'll talk about that later in the episode; that'll be our teaser. Hang on, so you can find out what it was.
Okay, I have a disclaimer also for this lesson is that it's very visual. So if you are listening in your car, we're going to do our best to describe the pictures that we have. And if you have the ability to, get online and look at the show notes so you can see the pictures, because lots of pictures, lots of things to see in today's episode. So there you go.
Alright, friends, grab your scriptures. Let's dig in. First of all I have three pictures and I want you ladies to describe what you're seeing. And then tell me what do these three pictures have in common?
Julie Petersen 3:50
They are all temples. I'm just laughing because it seems really canned. Let me tell you. Solomon's, the Meridian Temple. (laughter)
We've only done this now seven times.
Julie Petersen 3:59
The Meridian, the Meridian Temple. (laughter)
You don't know it's the Meridian. No, go ahead. You're funny. That's so funny. Okay, yes, temples; but are they like, temples that we see every day? Or what? What kind of temples are you talking about?
Hollee MacKay 4:07
The Tabernacle, the traveling temple—Moses' temple.
Julie Petersen 4:15
We've got Solomon's Temple.
Yes. And then this temple is unique. I chose it because it doesn't look like any other temple I've ever seen before. We did have to look up tho where it was cuz I forgot where's it from.
Julie Petersen 4:28
Meridian, Idaho, beautiful temple. The reason I wanted you to see these pictures is because what I love about today's lesson is it's just another example of a truth being restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And that truth is temples. God has always asked his people to build temples. In fact, if you want to write somewhere next to Section 95, you can put this cross reference: 2 Nephi, chapter 5, verse 16. Hollee, will you just read that first sentence in 2 Nephi, chapter 5, verse 16?
Hollee MacKay 4:32
"And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things;"
Thank you. The Lord actually tells Nephi, "Hey, you're here, you've just settled in America. Now I want you to build the temple."
Now, what you need to know about our discussion is going to be slightly out of order, because Doctrine and Covenants section 95 and 96 were given in June of 1833. And then on August 2, Sections 94, and 97 were given. And if you have an older version of the scriptures, the dates do not match up. If you have a new version of the Doctrine and Covenants, the section headings are going to show you the dates because I was like, "Wait a minute. My old scriptures have a different date for Section 94." Do you notice that? Julie, you're shaking at it too.
Julie Petersen 5:46
Hollee MacKay 5:46
So know that 95 and 96, and then 94 and 97. So we're gonna study it in that order. So six months after Section 88 was received—and remember, we called 88 "The Olive Leaf." That was Michael Wilcox's episode.
Hollee MacKay 6:01
Oh, yeah. Thanks a lot, Tammy for letting us follow him.
Julie Petersen 6:03
I was dying.
Yeah, no pressure.
Hollee MacKay 6:04
That was a great episode, by the way.
Julie Petersen 6:09
Yeah, not really in the same caliber.
Whatever. No, knock it off, knock it off. Well, he did such a glorious job of prepping us for what we're going to talk about today because six months after section 88, the Lord comes in Section 95. And he reminds Joseph Smith of the command to build a temple.
But to be fair, the Saints probably thought they had fulfilled that commandment. We have some records from the spring of 1833 that show that the Saints were thinking of the Kirtland house as primarily a school house, and not necessarily connecting it to the command to build a temple in Zion. So they were probably confused, because I know I would be. I would probably be like, "Umm, we already built the house." But that's not the kind of house the Lord was talking about.
So here's what I want to know: why would the Lord use the word "house?" Why wouldn't He just say, "build me a temple?"
Julie Petersen 6:56
It seems more personal, that it would be a house, a home.
Hollee MacKay 7:01
Well, and I think a home is the most important piece of real estate on the face of this earth for you and your family. That is where your family gathers. And I've attested to this and all the times I've moved, the Lord will always put you where you're supposed to be because that's the place your family needs to be.
I love that you just used the word, "gather." I mean, that has a new play now. Every time I think of going to the temple, I'm gathering with Saints.
And so you know, it's interesting, because in Doctrine and Covenants Section 95, verse 8, the Lord specifies the purpose of this house. So let's go there and mark it. And Julie, will you read verse 8 for us? And as we read verse 8, here's what I want us to look for: What's the intention that the Lord has for us to build a house or a temple? What are his intentions?
Julie Petersen 7:49
"Yea, verily I say unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high;"
Thank you. So what were His intentions? What was the purpose of the temple or house?
Hollee MacKay 8:04
For his Saints to receive their endowment.
Julie Petersen 8:07
Yeah, I think He planned to bless them.
Yeah, because He says, "I plan to endow you;" and what's He going to endow them with?
Hollee MacKay 8:15
Power from on high.
I mean, wow. A lot of our discussion is going to come from the assignment that I gave both of you, which was to attend the temple before we met. And you guys had already had appointments, which I thought was so cool. So my question with this verse right here is specifically: Have either of you ever felt that your temple attendance did endow you with power from on high?
Hollee MacKay 8:39
Absolutely. We're promised that every time we attend the temple, we leave the temple with priesthood power.
One time I was in the temple, and I just was stirred up. I didn't know what was wrong, but I was so stirred up and I was just praying, "Help me feel something, please give me some direction." And I went through the entire session and nothing. And I was kind of a little bit frustrated because I was there to be fed. Right at the last minute, I was sitting there, two words came to me: "Trust me." That's all I heard, "trust me."
Little did I know four months later, my husband was going to have a heart attack and triple bypass surgery, and lots of changes in our family. And it was amazing how going to the temple prepared me for something and I didn't even know was coming. And I thought I was going there for some kind of direction. And, and I got "trust me," and that has sustained me for years now, through lots of things.
You know what, Hollee, thank you for sharing that. Here's what I love is that the power prepared you. So thanks for sharing that; that was so cool. What about you, Julie?
Julie Petersen 9:50
About three and a half years ago, I received a new calling that I felt incredibly overwhelmed by and I went to the temple one afternoon feelling this unqualified and incapable feeling. And I did initiatories. And I love how, when you do initiatories, you're anointed and blessed. And I just remember thinking, "Here I feel like there's so much weight on my shoulders and how will I be able to do this?" And just after having that experience in initiatory, I felt that that burden would be lifted.
Oh, I would imagine. Thank you, both of you, for sharing what that phrase means in your life. I really appreciate that. That was very powerful. And so you know, today as we study, I want us to just keep those words in the forefront of our minds. How is this "endowing us from on high" because this is the Lord's goal of sections 94-97—it's to endow us with power from on high. And when we consider the importance of this, then suddenly, the rebuke in Section 95 verse 1 kind of feels more like love than reproof, and we're going to discuss that in the next segment.
Now, being in a family of five kids, one of the most interesting things as I look back on life was to see and remember how each of us responded to being in trouble, or punished, or chastised. I had a sibling who got spanked—it didn't matter, didn't even care. But boy, you spank me, it's over. So I want to know for you guys, how did either of you respond to being in trouble as a kid?
Hollee MacKay 11:25
I was always a pleaser. I never wanted to make my parents mad. And so when I would get in trouble, I was devastated. Like I would go hurry and clean the bathroom sinks or something, trying to make things better.
Oh, so sweet.
Hollee MacKay 11:42
Yeah, nothing worse for me than that, "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed."
Ugh, the worst. What about now as adults? Are you the same way, Julie? Do ever go clean people's houses? I mean, Hollee, do you go clean someone's sink if they're mad at you? Because I'll get mad at you right now. Nah, just kidding. (laughter)
Julie Petersen 11:58
You want to fight?
You want to fight? (laughter)
Hollee MacKay 12:01
Oh, I have no problem getting mad at my own children. Shaming them, whatever. No, no.
(Laughs) That's awesome. What about you, Julie? Have you ever been in trouble as an adult?
Julie Petersen 12:13
You know, I was thinking about that. Um, yeah, of course, a lot. But it seems like I get defensive, right? Like, I don't, I don't want to be in trouble. Yeah, you kind of put up your dukes.
So when you guys were reading section 95, verses 1 and 2, how'd those verses make you feel?
Hollee MacKay 12:32
I mean, these are strong words. And I was thinking, "They weren't even really doing anything that bad."
Julie Petersen 12:40
Well, I felt like here they're so poor. And they maybe didn't even understand the importance of the temple as much as we do now. And I felt bad for them.
Hollee MacKay 12:51
And they'd been moving there. They were trying to get settled in a new life. I mean, everything was coming at them. Everything was new. They didn't have the knowledge and the foundation and everything that we've grown up with. And they got chastised for that? What does that say about what we're in store for?
Julie Petersen 12:51
We're in trouble.
Well, and I'm so glad you brought that up, Hollee. We're going to talk about that later in the episode. But you're totally right. So let's read these verses. I will read verse 1 and 2, and as I do, I want you guys to now tell me, how is this more out of love than it is out of chastisement?
"Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgive, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you -
"Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face;"
Julie Petersen 13:43
I love that he starts with an expression of love. I mean, when I get mad at my kids, do I do that? Usually not. "I love you, BUT."
Yes. Yeah, there's no buts in there, which I do love. There's a couple of "ands." I'm going to try that: "I love you, AND, I'm going to get really mad."
Julie Petersen 14:02
"And go clean your room."
Hollee MacKay 14:04
But he starts out with love, and that's in that first verse. He ends with love. And basically He's giving us a gift here, giving us the opportunity. And you know, what is it, in Ether 12:27, the Lord will turn our weaknesses to our strengths. That's what this is about, too: He's giving us the opportunity to grow and be stronger.
Yes, you're absolutely right, Hollee. In fact, according to verse 3, what are they being chastised for not doing? Why are they in trouble?
Hollee MacKay 14:34
Cuz they weren't building the Lord's House.
Yeah, they weren't building the temple. And so that's the title for Section 95, it's called "Chastisement for delaying the building of Kirtland Temple." That is what this section is about.
Hollee MacKay 14:46
I wanted to say one more thing.
Hollee MacKay 14:49
In that first verse, He says, "I also chasten them that their sins may be forgiven." That really is an opportunity for us to engage the Savior's Atonement. That's what it's all about. We need to learn how to do that. That's huge.
And how do we do that?
Hollee MacKay 15:09
By being chastened and repenting from whatever we've done that's wrong.
In fact, I love that you brought that up, Hollee, because Elder Christofferson actually says that in this really cool quote. I think we've used this before, but we have to use it again. Read this quote for us, Hollee.
Hollee MacKay 15:24
"Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct. Divine chastening has at least three purposes: to persuade us to repent; to refine, and to sanctify us; and at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path. Let us pray for His love-inspired correction."
Thank you. It's just what you said, Hollee. I thought verse 4 was pretty interesting. And there's a pretty unique word in that verse that He uses to describe what He wants to do with this temple. And so Julie, will you read verse 4 for us, and we're going to define a word in that verse.
Julie Petersen 16:04
"For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh."
Okay, Hollee, what is it? What do you want defined?
Hollee MacKay 16:18
Absolutely. Okay, highlight that; we're going to cross reference it with Isaiah, chapter 28, verse 21. And the term "strange act" in Hebrew actually means "foreign" or "unknown." So that changes the verse when it says, "to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my foreign or unknown acts, that I may pour out His Spirit upon all flesh." Boy, could the temple ceremony be more foreign or unknown to us, even now who've been so many times. Like, this is unique, it is foreign, it is unknown, and He's bringing it to pass, and He's restoring it back onto the earth. And that is what the meaning of the word is.
So now, at the time the revelation was given, this is unique. There were fewer than 200 members in the Church in Ohio at the time—not in Missouri—in Ohio. And the majority of them were so poor. So how in the world are they going to accomplish this? Well, the Lord knew they absolutely could to the point that He just goes ahead and gives them more revelation on it. And He actually will give them the measurements or parameters that the people need to use for building His house. And I kind of think that, while it does give us a, you know, length x width x heighth—which I'm really not good at—I kind of also think that it has a lot to do with also the parameters for the people, and what they need to build or prepare before they can enter the house. And we're going to talk about that in the next two segments.
I'm going to show you a piece of artwork by the artist Joseph Brickey, which sets the scene for this next segment. So I want to show you this really cool picture. And will you guys describe what you see?
Julie Petersen 18:05
Hyrum Smith with a sickle.
Very good. Where is he?
Julie Petersen 18:10
In a field.
Hollee MacKay 18:11
Kind of in a, like a meadow, an open area?
Yep, perfect. That's exactly what the picture is. Now, this picture sets up the scene for what's happening now with the Saints. So Joseph Smith receives this revelation/chastisement. He knows that they need to go and build the temple. He's telling this to the High Council. And as soon as the High Council hears this, I love this quote. Julie, will you read this quote for us?
Julie Petersen 18:33
"After being chastised for not building a House of the Lord and Kirtland church leaders chose a site in a wheat field where they would build. Hyrum Smith, the prophet's brother immediately ran to get a scythe, and begin clearing the field. We are preparing to build a house for the Lord, he said, and I am determined to be the first at the work."
Perfect. So what I loved is this picture is actually found in the "Come, Follow Me" manual, lesson for the week. And I just love the question that it had associated with the picture. What do you find that inspires a similar determination in you to receive the blessings of the temple? How would you answer that?
Hollee MacKay 19:10
Well, it's interesting how you miss something when it gets taken away. When the lockdown first happened, I remember they announced the temples were closing and I ran up there that day, as fast as I could. I've got to get into something. It was fun. It was fun to watch all these people that I knew just coming through the doors, trying to get their last session in. And then when the lockdown, when we were in that strict lockdown, I just remember missing it so much and wanting it so bad, but at least they kept the temples lit. Just seeing that beacon on the hill, even knowing we couldn't go in, made me want to go in even more.
Julie Petersen 19:46
Yeah. The first time I went back after the closures with COVID was so interesting. We—my husband and I went in, we were gonna do some sealings and we got to the recommened desk and I turned that corner in the Draper temple. The only way I can describe it was like a rush, a rush, almost like a wind, just like whoosh, just almost took my breath away, the feeling that I felt. And I've felt the spirit in the temple many times, but never had I felt it like that and it was so strong. And I just thought, "Oh, this is just peace, this is goodness. I'm home." You know, I'm in the Lord's House.
Hollee MacKay 19:46
Isn't it funny how when they announced that the temples were open, and you could make appointments, those appointments were gone, in minutes.
Julie Petersen 20:26
And mostly by the youth, can I say, which is so awesome, I guess.
Hollee MacKay 20:30
Yes, the baptisms.
Julie Petersen 20:30
Yes, baptisms. I'm about to start bartering with people and figuring a way to get my boys in there because it's tricky.
It is. For those of you who are listening, the three of us live within a seven-minute distance to a temple, we're very fortunate to be able to be so close to a temple. And that's why it fills up so quickly is because people can just get there. And Hollee, like you said, you just drove up there as soon as you could to get in before the temples closed, a little different for me. I remember thinking, "Oh, they'll be open in a couple of weeks." Then here we are a year later. So I'm looking forward to that. But Julie, I appreciated that you said, "I felt like I was home."
And this picture of Hyrum, it kind of asks the question, then, well, where will they build the temple, then? Where are they going to build this? And this is section 96. So let's turn to Section 96. And we are going to label it and find out where they're going to build this temple. The section title for 96 is "Dividing the French Farm; for what purpose?"
Now here's what we need to know about the French farm. It consisted of 103 acres that were formerly owned by a man by the name of Peter French, and the Church purchased it for $5,000 in 1833. That's a lot of money back then. The area was used to build houses, including Joseph Smith's, community buildings, such as new school houses, and this is where the house of the Lord will be built.
And so the Kirtland residents called the area the French Farm as late as 1838, which I thought was very interesting. And then much of the land was deeded to a man by the name of John Johnson. And Julie, you mentioned—this is so crazy to me—you mentioned that you had some kind of cool tie-in to the John Johnson Farm. So will you share that with us?
Julie Petersen 22:07
The John Johnson Farm—I'll try not to get teary—is where I received a confirmation of the Prophet Joseph Smith. So my husband and I lived, were living in St. Louis, Missouri. He was in school, and one of our spring breaks we decided we'd go on this huge Church history tour. But the highlight for me, oddly, was the John Johnson farm.
And when we arrived there, there was like this darling, old missionary couple, and we were the only ones there. And from the way they acted, I'm pretty sure we were the only ones that had maybe ever come, or at least in a good long time.
And this sweet sister missionary sat in a rocking chair and just rocked back and forth and shared stories and experiences of John and Elsa Johnson, of course, how they joined the Church after Joseph Smith miraculously healed her arm. And then about the Prophet Joseph Smith and about him receiving Section 76 there, and then multiple other revelations there. You know, he was tarred and feathered there, all of those things.
I just received the strongest testimony of the truthfulness of him being a prophet and I have had that testimony, I knew that that was true. But I just received a confirmation, is what I can, how I describe it, that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. It was, it was very powerful and awesome for me. That's how I receive confirmation of things, is just in the most simple of ways. It was through the Spirit, felt by a beautiful sister missionary sitting in a rocking chair in Hyrum, Ohio.
Oh my gosh, Julie, thank you so much for sharing that. That was such an amazing story. I had no idea about that. I've never known that story about you. And I love that it came from visiting the John Johnson Farm. So thank you, that was so great.
So let's go to Section 96 verse two, and what we're gonna do is we're gonna find out who's in charge of the land and setting up the temple. So Julie, will you read verse 2?
Julie Petersen 23:54
"Therefore, let my servant Newell K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house."
So there it is, and mark his name, Newell K. Whitney. So Newell K. Whitney is in charge of making sure the land gets divided effectively, and that they're going to build the temple on this land in the French Farm.
But what I thought was so cool is, let's go back to Section 95. And we're going to highlight verses 13 and 14, because the Lord is going to give some pretty specific instruction about how they're going to specifically, or successfully, build the Lord's house. So let's read verses 13 and 14. And Hollee, will you read those for us? And my question again, is how are they going to successfully build God's house? There's specific wording in here.
Hollee MacKay 24:37
"Now here is wisdom and the mind of the Lord - let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world;
"Therefore, let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you, whom you shall appoint and ordain unto this power."
Thank you. What's the specific wording about how to successfully build this temple, after what manner?
Hollee MacKay 25:00
Not of the world.
Why do you have to specify that? Go ahead, Hollee.
Hollee MacKay 25:05
Well, it just reminds me of when they were trying to build the temple in Hong Kong, as I remember it. It came to President Hinckley. And if I remember the story, I hope I'm correct. But he like, sketched it out on a paper. It came to him exactly what it was supposed to look like, and how that temple was going to work in that city. And I've been there many times, but it is tucked in the middle of all these high-rise buildings. And it's, it's not of the world there.
Right. Oh, that's a great example, Hollee. Great example, thank you. That's exactly how Joseph Smith built this temple. Like, the Lord gave him the instructions and the direction. In fact, in Section 95, verses 15 He gives him the feet, the length, I mean. You are shaking your head, Julie. Yes. Like, oh, yeah, He's very specific.
Julie Petersen 25:47
Wish He was that specific with me.
Right? Totally. Here's how it's gonna turn out and look like. But honestly, that's probably the easy part. And as I was reading this, I thought, it's gonna be far more difficult to adhere to the recommendations to get into the temple than it was to build the temple. And so we're gonna find out what those are in Section 94 and 97. Okay, but before we move on, is there anything in Section 96 that you guys marked or wanted to share?
Hollee MacKay 26:12
Can I make one more little comment?
Hollee MacKay 26:15
I am amazed at the detail here, this, I mean, down to the very numbers, and it just makes me think the Lord is a Lord of details. And I just learned something at the temple. You know, we know that we give a name. And then it's recorded, they take it to the office, and they record the name. But then there's a whole group of ladies that look at those recorded names and verify that they were done right. I had no idea it was a two-fold thing.
Oh, that's a great example of not being after the manner of the world. Thank you, Hollee. Excellent.
Julie Petersen 26:47
Our cute missionary in Finland had the opportunity to go to the Finnish temple last week. And she was so concerned because it was all in Finnish. And she was so worried about the language. And in her letter, she wrote something to the effect of: "I hope I didn't mess things up for Ida and she won't get into heaven, because I didn't understand what they were saying." And then she said, "Just kidding. I know that's not how God works. And that just He's not going to hold it back because of my inadequate Finnish skills." And so while I do think He is in the details, He also is very loving and understanding of our limitations as humans, that we're not perfect.
Oh, absolutely. I totally agree with you.
Julie Petersen 27:25
Another thing I thought was interesting is in verse 12, "If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness." It kind of struck me and I thought, Does God, love not continue with us if we don't keep the commandments? Does God ever take His love away from us? I don't think He does. So I thought about that a lot. And I thought, well, the love of the Father, maybe that means the blessings that we receive when we're obedient to the commandments. But I believe His love is constant. So I need to get the Tammy Hall stamp of approval on that.
But it's like with our own children when they disobey or break the rules, we don't stop loving them. And it doesn't mean that there won't be a consequence, either a natural one or a consequence we set. But our love for them remains. It's the old, "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed." But it's like, I don't not love you. But I'm sad because you can't experience certain blessings without keeping the commandments that it's predicated on. I don't think we earn God's love by keeping the commandments. We're all worthy, and, and, and unworthy, worthy of His love, but unworthy in so many other ways. And as we try to become more like him,
I absolutely agree with you, because God is love. That doesn't change. It's part of who He is. We learned that from Lectures on Faith. What I thought was interesting is the equation of when He says, "Therefore you walk in darkness." And that idea of having God's light versus not having His light, and that that's what comes from keeping the commandments, is receiving His light and, yes, His love. But there's something more than that. When you keep the commandments, you also get light.
And going back to this idea of power. How cool is this, that there's power in that, like, look at verse 15. If you keep my commandments, you'll have power to build it. I mean, think about that, keeping the commandments. We know it gives you power, but power to build a temple? That was interesting to me, too. And we've talked about like, yeah, He is very, very specific about the size. And here's how we want it to build and what it should look like. But honestly, I think maybe even building it was the easy part. As we continue to read, I think the instructions for how to build the temple were far easier to follow than the recommendations to get into the temple. And we'll talk about what those recommendations are in the next segment.
All right. I want to know, do either of you have any house rules for when family comes over and people come over? Again, for instance, in my family, we have the age-old rule that just we can't seem to adhere to, we always start over: No eating in the TV room, ever. Then it's like, "Okay, well, no eating in the TV room, unless people are over." And then it moves to, "Okay, you can have popcorn in the TV room." Now it's just, "Clean up your mess." It's like gotten less and less. But that was our rule. And Julie, you just did, redid the inside of your house. Did you guys have any house rules? You have to take off your shoes? What kind of stuff are we talking about?
Julie Petersen 30:22
Yeah, no eating on the new couch for sure. But do they obey and follow that rule? Absolutely not.
Hollee MacKay 30:29
Well, I my rules just went out the window because I have two puppies in my house right now. So anything about keeping the inside clean, gone. It's over.
Anything goes, I'll tell you what.
Hollee MacKay 30:39
I actually had a rule. When we went to having church at home, I had a rule that church would not start until our house was perfectly clean. And I cannot tell you how that brought the Spirit into my home. But I was, I held steady. We didn't start at the same time; our house will be clean and orderly before we sit down and take the sacrament, and it created the best atmosphere. I loved it.
Julie Petersen 31:05
If we had that rule we, we never would have had the sacrament.
No, no. My kids would have been like, "Great. Fine rule, mom."
Hollee MacKay 31:12
Well, let me be real. I did most the work, for sure. It was a self-imposed rule.
Yeah, that's how it is at my houe. That's awesome. Okay, I want everyone to think about rules they have in their house because the section title for Doctrine and Covenants 94— that's we're gonna go back to now—is called "Church Buildings." And there are three specific buildings that the Lord wants the people to build. And then there's gonna be rules for these houses in these buildings. So let's mark the three buildings.
So verse 1, we're going to write to the outside of verse 1 "temple." That's the first building He wants them to build. And He says that at the end, "beginning at my house." To the outside of verse 3, let's write this, this is the "administration building." He says, "Let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of a house for the presidency." So that's an administration building. And then the next building they're going to buil—mark verses 10-12, and to the outside of those verses, put "printing office," that's what those verses are talking about.
So let's look at what the Lord has for His rules in His house. And that is found in Section 94, verses 8 and 9. So as Julie reads these, highlight or mark what His rules are, and then we're going to cross-reference it in just a minute to another verse of scripture, go ahead.
Julie Petersen 32:28
"And ye shall not suffer any unclean thing to come in unto it; and my glory shall be there, and my presence shall be there.
"But if there shall come into it any unclean thing, my glory shall not be there, and my presence shall not come into it."
Okay, let's cross-reference it with Doctrine and Covenants 97, verses 15-17. We're going to turn there, because 94 or 97, were given at the same time. So let's go to 97 verses 15–17. And Hollee, will you read 15–17, and let's highlight the rules He gives here for His house.
Hollee MacKay 33:02
"And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
"Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
"But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples."
Thank you. Okay, what did those verses have in common? What is one of His main rules, His only rule?
Hollee MacKay 33:34
Well, any unclean thing, it reminds me of cleaning the temple. One of my very most favorite, favorite things to sign up for is the late-night cleaning of the temple. One time I was there, I vacuumed all the floors, all the rugs. I mean, even in the offices and everything, and I was lost in my own thoughts. And then I thought I was finished and they said, "Okay, here's a rake, you need to rake the carpet." And I was like, "Excuse me, who rakes carpet?"
Julie Petersen 34:04
My mom in the 70s when we had a shag. (laughter)
Hollee MacKay 34:09
Oh, it was so amazing to me, because it was so clean. We'd been working hard. And I just loved being there in the quiet solitude. Anyway, so then they asked me to start raking and I was in there. And I thought this is so amazing, because we go to great lengths to make sure that temple is clean and perfect so that the Lord will reside there. And if that's the least I can do, to rake the carpet that's already been vacuumed, to invite the Savior to be in His house, what a wonderful thing to do.
And then I remember I was looking down. I was raking and there was these two dark spots and I just kept raking and raking and raking and I could not get them up. And it just kind of hit me in my own little moment that, I'm that spot. I mean, I'm not perfect, but I'm really, I really want the Savior to make me perfect. And it just was a cool thing. I loved raking the carpet at the temple.
Oh, Hollee, that is such a great application to these verses. When you said, "I'm that spot," because when He says no one clean thing to come into my, my house that it be not defiled. I mean, does it mean we have to be absolutely perfect without sin or without spot? Like that dark spot? What are His parameters for this? What is He talking about?
Julie Petersen 35:25
When I wanted you to, that was one of my questions I wanted you to expand on, Tam, is just, aren't we all unworthy? Aren't we all somewhat unclean to be there? And certainly, that's how the Atonement plays in. But yeah, how do we reconcile that? How do we ever feel like we can answer that question, "Are you worthy in every way to be in the Lord's house?"
Oh, I think it definitely goes back to what Hollee said. Hollee, remind us of your comment about the Atonement?
Hollee MacKay 35:50
Well, it gives us our opportunity to engage the Savior's Atonement being there. So every time we go there, we do become a little more perfected, just a tad. And then we get to take that priesthood power out with us. So that we, you know, go out in the real world, and we're gonna screw up again, and then we go back to the temple again; it's a pretty cool process.
Yeah. Well, I'm thinking, too, our Heavenly Parents, they are our parents, and they're giving us this rule. This rule seems so extreme, right? Like no unclean thing can enter my house. Why would the Lord use this wording?
Julie Petersen 36:25
I think for our good. We just had our traditional, dreaded-by-my-children, back to school family night sit down, here are the rules, here's how it's gonna go down. And they were incredibly unhappy at knowing that they had to turn in their phones from 4-6 pm every day and have some phone-free, screen-free time. But we know, as their parents it's for their good. They don't see that; they think it's torture. But we see it for their good. And I think the Lord is the same, like, our Heavenly Parents know what we need. And so, while you can see the commandments as restrictive, you can also see them as incredible opportunities for growth and blessing.
Hollee MacKay 36:58
Well, and I also think that satan's always trying to make us feel unworthy, you know, that I am unclean today. I was, you know, or whatever, I, I'm not worthy to go to the temple. I shouldn't go in this frame of mind. But I've learned that's the time you need to go most. I think that's when we need to like run to the temple if we can.
Yeah. Because did you notice the one thing that all these verses had in common was what we get to see or experience when we're there? What was it?
Hollee MacKay 37:37
Yeah, Him. He is there. And so the idea of that, Hollee, when you just said, "If you ever feel unworthy and you shouldn't be there, that's the time to go." I totally agree. That's the time when Heavenly Father's just waiting for you to run through those doors, and be enveloped in that peaceful hug, that love, that, "Trust me," feeling, Hollee, that you shared earlier. That's what the Lord does for us. That's how we feel His presence.
Julie Petersen 38:03
I love 15 and 16, where it talks about feeling His presence. And I think we can, I mean, people have literally seen God in the temple. But I think we also see Him in so many other places, too, when we're keeping His commandments and doing what we should. My favorite line from "Les Mis" is: "To love another person is to see the face of God." And how I have seen God's goodness and love and feel His presence in my life, most often through the goodness, the service, the sacrifice, and love of other people. And so I think He knows that's where we will feel Him in our lives. And feel close to Him is when we're serving, and we're being served.
Beautiful, and to love the people you're doing the work for? That is to see the face of God for sure.
Hollee MacKay 38:45
I had a, in my template assignment from you, Tammy. I had such a cool experience, I took a name. And it turned out that it was the cousin of my Martin Handcart ancestor. It was her direct cousin. And I took her name to the temple. And I walked in and I immediately knew that my ancestor was with me, like she wanted her cousin's work done. And there were a few little moments where I was given, and I knew that she was there. And then it was amazing, because I was just getting ready to go to my family reunion in southern Utah, and 158 of my cousins were coming.
And I just had the most profound past-present-future moment in the temple, thinking about this reading in a large part for posterity gathering. In that moment, I got to feel her there. I got to think about her sacrifice. I got to do the work for her cousin. It was just this cool full circle moment. And that's what the temple is all about. It's the past, present, and future.
Absolutely. And all I kept thinking as you told that story was, she was home. She's home and you were there, part of that home. That's so cool.
Hollee MacKay 39:57
It was just the best feeling and then I also felt this confirmation from her how happy and excited she was to know that her posterity was gathering in honor of her.
Absolutely. Wow, Hollee. So cool. Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad you had that experience going to the temple. Perfect.
Well, Julie, going back to the question you asked, and I'm so glad you did, and I love the discussion that we had on that. Section 97 is actually going to teach us the specifics about how this strict idea of being unclean is not being perfect. You'd be surprised. It's not a list of do's and don'ts. There's just one verse. And it's sort of like an Alma chapter 5 verse, which is, "Where do you stand, and how are you doing overall?" verse. And I can't wait to show you guys this. It's in the next segment.
For those of you listening, I'm holding up an orange 3x5 card, and at the very top of it is written "Dura Day." And on my mission, towards the end of where I was serving, I was on fir. And I had a new companion that I was training and so we decided, "Listen, we are going to just put it all out there and give everything to the Lord." And so my companion and I came up with a plan that we called a Dura Day, where we would weary ourselves in the work, and we set the most outlandish, crazy goals.
So on this card, it says: "We were going to be severely obedient. We were going to be out of the apartment at 10:30 (a.m.), in at 9:30 (p.m.). We were going to sing at every single appointment, pray at every single appointment. We wouldn't read our mail until 9:30 at night when we had gotten home. We would, had a goal of passing out 15 copies of the Book of Mormon. We were going to team up at every appointment, exercise every day, and wake up at 5:30 in the morning. And for the record, you only had to wake up at 6:30. But no, we're gonna wake up at 5:30. We never took a lunch break. We tracted every day, we had a goal of 15 discussions. And we would constantly only talk about gospel topics—no family or friend-stuff related.
Okay, that's insanity. I realize now, but at the time, I was like, "Oh, I'm on fire. God loves me and I'm, we are going to just baptize all of Fresno, California." I was so obedient. I was all about Section 97 verse 7. In verse 7 it talks about the "good fruit." And I was like, "This is nothing but 'good fruit.'"
Well, my mission president caught wind of this. We had a meeting, a district meeting, and he came up to us and he started talking to us about it. And I was in full peacock mode, like, "You've probably heard about it and it's pretty amazing. Did you want the whole mission to do this? 'Cuz I'll go and make 3x5 cards for everybody."
And, my mission resident? Yeah, he didn't think it was that great. He actually said, "You need to stop it, and it's foolish." And I just was so deflated. And he says, "You're missing the mark. The mission rules and obedience to them is sacrifice enough. And part of those rules was to eat and get sleep." And so it really taught me a such a great lesson. Because sometimes, I have a tendency to get caught up in this checklist of Mormonism, all these things we need to do, oh, and let's add more things than we can do to show our diligence and obedience to the Lord.
And so the section title for 97—that's what we're talking about, Section 97—it's called "Zion." And the whole purpose of 97 is to teach us the expectations the Lord has for us to become a Zion people. And while it is a section filled with 28 verses, what was so unique to me was only one verse teaches us the expectation, and it's verse 8.
Let's go to verse 8. And as we do, what I want you guys to do is just highlight what are the expectations that God has of his Zion people. I could have used this verse on my mission. I'll read it this time, and you guys mark it up.
8 "Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice - yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command - they are accepted of me."
There it is, that is what I'm going to require of you to get into the temple. I think it's so interesting, the wording in here. So tell me what you guys marked.
Julie Petersen 44:05
This was a specific verse for me, because I always struggle with feeling like I've done enough, I am enough, the Lord is pleased with me. But when you really break it down, and you say: my heart is honest, is it broken? Do I have a contrite spirit? Am I willing to keep commandments? Am I willing to sacrifice? In other words, am I willing to do anything and everything that God has asked of me? And if I can answer yes, then I can be confident that my offering to the Lord is accepted.
Hollee MacKay 44:31
I love those words too, but, WILLING to observe their covenants by sacrifice, willing. That's a whole different game-changer than being perfect at every single covenant in everything we do. You have to be willing. And who was your guest, two or three weeks ago that said, "Just live the Sermon on the Mount. You live the Sermon on the Mount, you've got it made." And that stuck with me; I thought that was so profound, because it's the simple things that we have to be willing to do. As long as we're trying, we're accepted of Him.
I love that; I'm putting that in my side. Let's mark the word "willing." There's so much about that, I have to say. Oh, it's so good.
Hollee MacKay 45:16
Also willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice. That's a big deal, too. I lived in Thailand for six years with members. And this simple faith, that all that they're willing to give up was amazing to witness all the time.
We had an opportunity to help 50 members get to the temple. And the sacrifices that these people had to fly from Thailand to Hong Kong. Most of them had never been on an airplane in their lives. I knew one woman who did not eat dinner for a well over a year because she decided that was her one sacrifice. She could give up dinner every day to save that money for her to go to the temple.
And I was so excited to escort these people. I was excited to go to Hong Kong, a first-world city, and eat in nice restaurants, shop. And I mean, of course, we are going to the temple. But we had been helping these members for a year to get there, it was a big deal.
And they all showed up at the airport with a little bundle. And everybody was carrying their little bundle had this red ribbon around it. And I thought, "What in the world?" And what I realized is, they took their food with them. They were going on a three-day trip to the temple and they're, all of them, had their own food. I was amazed by what they were sacrificing. They didn't even have enough money to buy food. And the day I got to watch 50 Thais take out their own endowments and go through the veil was the day that I felt—you could feel this whole country—that whole country just took this big step forward.
Endowed with power.
Hollee MacKay 46:57
Endowed with power. And it was incredible. And in that three-day time, those 50 Thais did 2,700 ordinances,
Oh my gosh.
Hollee MacKay 47:07
And it was just incredible. But it was all brought about by their willingness to sacrifice and the blessings that that created. And now Thailand's getting their own temple because of those initial pioneers throughout the years who've been willing to sacrifice and build up the Lord's Kingdom in their country.
What an incredible story, Hollee, I'm so glad you shared that with us. That is exactly what this verse is about. It made me think of the temple recommend questions and how they've been changed to the word "strive." Are you striving to do specific things? That's that word—willing, or striving. Are you trying? Are you willing to do it?
I love the wording of these verses. I like that the hearts are honest, broken, and spirits are contrite. I mean right there, and this is what it is, Julie, when you go back to your question. Those words, right there are scriptural words for repentant. Are you just trying? Are you repenting? Are you striving?
I think that is right there. If you are in a place where you're trying and striving and repenting, and then are you willing to observe your covenants? You bet I am. But it's hard, oh it is hard, but I'm willing to do it. And I like every sacrifice, like you said, Hollee, which I the Lord shall command, not you. So don't come up with your own sacrifices; think about what it is that I'm going to command you to do, that you'll be accepted of me. There's so much power in that verse. Does that verse make it seem doable now?
Hollee MacKay 48:35
In the Institute manual, they quoted [Elder Quentin L. Cook] where he asked, "Are we making sacrifices consistent with our covenants?"
Oh, I like that.
Hollee MacKay 48:46
And I think there's a lot to think about that, is my sacrifice consistent with my covenants? And that's something that I think we need to ask ourselves often.
Yes, I'm gonna write that down. What about you, Jules, any thoughts on your experience with verses 8-14?
Julie Petersen 49:03
You know, verse 13, stood out to me for a place of thanksgiving for all Saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry, and all their are several callings and offices. And I always think of the temple as a place of instruction. And how often do I use it as a place of thanksgiving? Seems like often I get in the habit to go there for strength, for answers, for inspiration. But boy, do I go with gratitude and go in a place of thanksgiving? It was brought to my attention that I need to do that more.
You know what, thank you for pointing that out, Julie. I had not even noticed that; that is so cool. Truly, like the next time I go to the temple I'm gonna go and just give thanks. That was so good.
Hollee MacKay 49:51
Well, I think we've all been going since the temples opened just with thankfulness in our hearts that we get to be there.
Boy, that's the truth. Absolutely they're open again - Hallelujah! Well, thank you both of you for going, for having this experience throughout this discussion today as we've talked about these verses. But we're not done, because we still have one more thing we have to talk about. So what has been so incredible about this discussion and section is that in Section 97, the Lord also tells us why this rule in verse 8 and coming holy is important to Him. And I think it's kind of cool because it echoes the Prophets' words and challenges from past conference talks. So I'm going to show you what that is in the next segment.
I have another picture to show you guys, and shout out to my friend Ben Howarth, who taught me this principle, and it's so cool. So look at this crazy picture. Okay, there it is. You guys know what it is?
Julie Petersen 50:52
Like, a mosque-looking greenhouse?
Hollee MacKay 50:55
Almost a greenhouse. Yeah, like some self-sufficient, own little inside world they've built.
Julie Petersen 51:01
With big solar panels.
Yeah. Isn't it crazy? Okay. This is called Biosphere 2. It is at the University of Arizona, and it is the world's largest earth science experiment. So I'm going to show you what this picture has to do with Section 97. And it is so cool, I love it so much.
So jump back into Section 97. And it is so cool, because the Lord says in Section 97, at verse 7 He's like, "Listen, the ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth forth not good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it." So I need some good solid trees. Then He tells us in verse 8 what He expects of us. And then I love He follows it up with verse 9. So Hollee, read verse 9 for us.
Hollee MacKay 51:49
"For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit."
Let's highlight a couple of words in there. We're going to highlight, "bring forth as a very fruitful tree," highlight "goodly land," highlight "pure stream," and then highlight "precious fruit." Now, there's some great cross-references. And we're gonna put these in our show notes, in the book of Psalms, as well as in Jeremiah that has some imagery about trees. So you can kind of use that if you want to.
What's so unique about this picture and Section 97 is in this biosphere. They did an experiment where they planted trees in the most perfect environment, the best dirt, the best water, the best air, everything a tree could possibly want. And they let the trees grow and mature. And then guess what happened. They all fell over, every one of these trees on their own, fell over and died. And what the scientists found was that in order for a tree to grow successfully and mature and stabilize is they need wind or resistance. That is the only way trees are going to stay. Because the trees create this enzyme when it's, when it's being blown against, that makes an extra layer of wood on the outside of the trees which they—I think appropriately call—"stress wood."
So when times are tough, the trees create this extra layer of stress wood that makes it more solid, and more powerful. And then it can stay and it makes it necessary to grow, mature, and survive.
Now here's what's so cool about this analogy is, the Lord, in verse 9 calls us "trees." And He says that we are going to be planted in a very goodly land by a pure stream, which yieldeth much fruit. And just on the topic of stress wood, I mean, how many of you can raise your hand and go, I got a lot of that?
Hollee MacKay 53:42
You know it's interesting, because just on Monday I was in Montana and I was biking up this mountain. And there was this huge swath of cleared land. I mean trees were everywhere but this big swath. My friend that I was with, she said, "Yeah." she said, "These trees all fell over. Can you see how they all fell?" And she goes, "It's because the wind has always come one direction. And they had this freak wind that came from another direction, so anything that wasn't planted and deeply rooted, couldn't handle the shift. And they fell over." I just thought that was so interesting, because they thought they were tough and they were blowing the right way. But when something unexpected came, they fell over and broke off.
Okay, this is so good. Hollee, I'm so glad you said that because I want us to cross-reference verse 9 with Isaiah chapter 61, verse 3. Julie, will you please read Isaiah chapter 61, verse 3, because I love what it says the Lord will do for his people?
Julie Petersen 54:46
"To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified."
I want to know how those words resonate in your life, specifically you, Julie, I'm calling you out now. How He'll give you beauty for your ashes, He'll give you the oil of joy for the times you've mourned, and He'll give you a garment of praise for your spirit of heaviness.
Julie Petersen 55:18
I think it makes me think of our baptismal covenants, where we mourn with those that mourn. And we comfort those who stand in need of comfort. And truly the times in my life that I have felt the closest to my savior and have been built up have been times when people have mourned with me, or I have mourned with them, or I have comforted them, or they have comforted me. I have never felt as close to my savior or felt His love more than in difficult times.
And as we talked about, you know, that the resistance in the trees, I think, that is often how we can feel picked on. But that's often most when we feel God's love. And I'll share the experience of you and Jim coming to our home. I mean, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 40 years old. And I remember you calling and saying, "Can we come to your home? Can we come visit you?" And I was worried, because here is a situation where Jim had lost his wife to breast cancer. And I thought, is this going to be difficult for him? Is this going to be difficult for Tammy because she's in this situation? And how will that make her feel?
And you came in and just poured your love upon us. You had hand-sewn a bag that was so darling with little fabric flowers on it, and you'd put, it was like a little care package for chemo. And there were magazines and treats. And then you sewed a pillowcase and brought a new pillow. And it was just my care package for going to chemo. And you sat with us and talked with us and mourned with us and laughed with us. That's mourning with people, that's comforting people, and people who easily could have said, "That's too hard for me. I'm not going there." And yet, who was at our doorstep? Not to mention you did bring Kentucky Fried Chicken to my kids. And they were pretty happy about that.
That's the kind of meal I'm going to provide for you. Just so you know, I'm not making you meals. I remember I had to get permission from you like, can we bring KFC?
Julie Petersen 57:08
The best part is, you're like, "This is what I'm thinking. Here's the list of options." The kids voted and they were like, "KFC!"
I forgot about that.
Julie Petersen 57:17
It was awesome. They couldn't have been happier. So but in truth, like really, that's what the gospel is about. That's true religion. To me that's being pure in heart, that's loving one another.
Thank you so much for sharing that experience and story. And I'd forgotten that experience. So that's cool.
Julie Petersen 57:36
Still have the bag and the pillowcase.
I don't even remember doing that. Look at me, I'm sewing something? What? Oh, this is awesome.
What I love about these verses is there's so much significance to being trees, and to being these trees in Zion. And the reason we need to be these trees is found in Section 97, verses 18-21. We're each going to take a turn and read one of these verses.
And while we're getting ready, for those of you listening, Section 97—the title for it is called "Zion." And this is what it's all about friends, in these verses right here—as His trees of righteousness, as His strong trees that are just covered in stress wood. Can I get an amen?
Julie Petersen 58:16
Hollee MacKay 58:17
All right. This is the purpose for that wood. This is the purpose for our wind and why the Lord needs us to be trees. So here we go. I'll start with verse 18, and then Julie, and then Hollee, we'll take turns.
"And now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.
Julie Petersen 58:38
"And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;
Hollee MacKay 58:53
"And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.
"Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion - THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn."
I mean, can we just go back to verse 19 ? Highlight "Zion cannot fall," there's the tree analogy. We won't fall, we just won't. And here's something kind of cool in verse 18, where He says, Zion will become very glorious, very great and very terrible. That's a Hebrew-ism right there. And it's kind of neat, because anytime the Lord puts the word "very" in front, like in the Old Testament He does this. In Genesis chapter one, at the end of every one of the creations, He said, "It was good," except for at the end of the creation of mankind. After He created Adam and Eve, He said, "Behold, it was very good." And the reasoning for that is when He puts "very" in front of good. "Very" means done, perfect, complete.
And so the Lord's talking about this Zion people where He's dwelling with us, and we're going to get ready to learn about that in Section 101, when we talk about the millennium. You better believe Zion will be very glorious, very great, and very terrible. Like, it's the most, it's the absolute. That's what I'm trying to say—its the biggest superlative you could have—good, better best, most. It's the most good, the most great, the most terrible. And I just love his wording in that verse. Is there anything else that stood out to you with those four verses?
Hollee MacKay 1:00:22
Well, I love where He says "And the nations of the earth shall honor her." I guess I kind of think, if I'm a tree of righteousness, we can be like a Zion in and of ourselves.
I'm reminded of a story about my husband. We were living in China at the time, he was with a very high-ranking Chinese official at a banquet. There was all this alcohol and they said, "This man, you have to drink with him. If you want to have a relationship with him, you have to drink with him." And Brady said, "No, I won't do that." So the man stood up, he said, "We'd like to welcome agent MacKay here and everybody have a toast to him."
Brady picked up his Diet Coke. And this man said, "No, you will drink that." And he pointed to the alcohol and Brady said, "No, I won't." And they kept going back and forth. And finally he turned his back on him and he said, "Then I will toast somebody else." Well, all the embassy people there said, "You're done. You may as well pack your bags and go home. If you don't drink with this guy, you're done." But he stuck to his guns.
And then about a month later, he was in another country with this man. And so now they're outside of China and this man started asking him about our Church, asked him about tithing, asking him so much about our Church and knew that Brady was a member of the Church; and he was testing him. And when they were done, he turned to his men. And he said, "These Mormons are good people." And to my husband, three years of fighting the war on drugs in China, that was his very biggest victory. And it's those tiny little moments the Lord places us in little tiny places, and the details for us to have that opportunity to help build Zion.
Absolutely, Hollee, thank you for sharing that story.
Julie Petersen 1:02:10
So I think for me, I just I love 21, where it just talks the "pure in heart," and where Zion can really be anywhere. I mean, you know, we talk about it as a location, but it also is just a state of mind if we're pure in heart. And it doesn't matter if we're black or white, or gay or straight, or democrat or republican, or any of those things. I think when we are of one heart and one mind and seeking the will of the Lord, that's what Zion looks like to me.
I just love what both of you shared, because in my mind, I'm thinking those are the victories that come from being endowed with power. That was so cool. Gosh, thank you. Thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts. Well, thank you, ladies. That's the end. That's the end of our episode. We did it!
Julie Petersen 1:02:51
Wow! I thought it was a great discussion. It was really good. I loved everything you guys said. So just take a minute. Think about what your takeaway was from today.
Julie Petersen 1:03:01
I think for me, it was section 97, verse 8, and the word "willing." I loved, Tammy, your addition of striving and repentant, and how our offering will be accepted when we're willing. And that we don't have to be perfect, that we're going to have some wind resistance and develop some stress wood in our life. But if we're willing and repentant and striving to do the things that the Lord wants us to, then our offering will be accepted of him.
Hollee MacKay 1:03:33
Probably my takeaway is this tree of righteousness analogy. And always remembering that every time I go to the temple, my roots grow deeper. Every time I do this, my roots grow deeper. And I want to be that fruitful tree.
Thank you so much for sharing those takeaways. And my takeaway, you asked a question, Julie, which is so key, because we've said this before that the moment you ask a question, the spirit enters the room. And then it taught us in verse 97, when Hollee shared, the key is the word "willing," and I love that discussion on willing and strive. And so I think that's what it's about is we don't have to be perfect. We really, really don't. We just have to be striving. And now I'm totally imagining the trees with the wind resistance, and they're just striving to stay standing. I'm like, that's 100% me. And that the trees are willing to stand and they're striving with all their might. I just feel like this whole entire discussion has enlightened me. It's for me.
So thank you. Thanks for all that you guys shared today. A great example of that. Well, thank you. This was so fun. I love you guys so much. This was exactly what I hoped it would be, and even better, so, you're the best.
Well, I would love to hear what your big takeaway was from this episode. So if you haven't already joined our discussion group on Facebook or Instagram, just go and join because it's so much fun to read what people have to say throughout the week. And at the end of the week, usually on a Saturday, we post a call for your big takeaway. So comment on the post that relates to this lesson and let us know what you've learned. And I love reading them. It's my favorite part of Sundays and Saturday nights is reading what you guys post.
You can get to both our Facebook and Instagram by going to the show notes in this episode at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday. And it's not a bad idea to go there anyway because that's where we're going to have the links to all the references we used today, as well as a transcript of this whole discussion. And we have glue-ins for this episode, so go check it out.
The Sunday on Monday study group is a Deseret Bookshelf Plus Original and it's brought to you by LDS Living. It's written and hosted by me, Tammy Uzelac Hall. And today our incredible study group participants were Hollee MacKay and Julie Petersen and you can find more information about these ladies at LDSLiving.com/SundayonMonday.
Our podcast is produced by Erika Free and me and it is recorded and mixed by Mix At 6 Studios. Our Executive Producer is Erin Hallstrom. Thanks for being here. We'll see you next week. And you please, please, please remember that you are God's Favorite Tree.
Julie Petersen 1:05:50
So, you always use these section titles and when you started using them they sounded so familiar to me and I couldn't remember why. Well back in the early 90s when I was attending BYU, I took a class from Brother Otton, who wrote the book where you got the titles.
Anyway, I did memorize them back in the day; I don't remember all of them now. But I do have a good memory from that class because he had served on the Church Correlation Committee with my mother for nine years. And he was a little older than yours and and I think it was kind of having a hard time remembering other people's names, but he remembered mine. So I'm pretty sure I prayed every single class so I never said more correct in my life than I did in class.
Julie, the only student he knew it was you. That's funny, Julie.
Julie Petersen 1:06:34
"Sister Black, will you say the prayer today?" And I was like, "You bet I will." And I said it every single week. But anyway, great class and I totally remember those titles now when you bring those up. They're so awesome.
That is so cool, Julie. I didn't even know that.
Julie Petersen 1:06:46
I didn't remember them from all those years, but, but I still have my book. See, it's all highlighted and everything from my college days. Yep. Anyway
Wow, I love that!
Transcribed by Jenee Uzelac
"I Love to See the Temple" Verse Two Lyrics:
I love to see the temple.
I’ll go inside someday.
I’ll cov’nant with my Father;
I’ll promise to obey.
For the temple is a holy place
Where we are sealed together.
As a child of God, I’ve learned this truth:
A fam’ly is forever.
(Janice Kapp Perry, "I Love to See the Temple," ChurchofJesusChrist.org)
Title for Section 95:
"Chastisement for delaying the building of the Kirtland Temple"
"During his first mission to Missouri in the summer of 1831, barely a year after organizing the Church, Joseph Smith had received revelation from the Lord concerning a temple to be built in the town of Independence in Jackson County, Missouri (see D&C 57:3). A site for this temple was dedicated 3 August 1831, during that journey.1 However, more than a year later no progress had been made toward construction of this temple in Zion. Then, on 27 December 1832, in the revelation known as the Olive Leaf, the Lord further instructed Joseph and the Saints in Ohio that they were also to build a 'house of God' at Kirtland (D&C 88:119). Thus, there were to be two temples—one in Independence, Missouri, and one in Kirtland, Ohio. But again, during the winter of 1833, little progress was made toward building either of these two sacred structures" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 95," Deseret Book).
The Lord has always commanded His people to build temples:
And I, Nephi, did build a temple; and I did construct it after the manner of the temple of Solomon save it were not built of so many precious things; for they were not to be found upon the land, wherefore, it could not be built like unto Solomon’s temple. But the manner of the construction was like unto the temple of Solomon; and the workmanship thereof was exceedingly fine.
Why the Saints were slow to fulfill the commandment to build a temple in Kirtland:
The records from the spring of 1833 show that the Saints were thinking of the Kirtland 'house' primarily as a 'school house,' not necessarily connecting their command with the temple in Zion. Now the June 1 revelation declared that Joseph Smith and the Saints had not sufficiently 'considered' the urgency or the importance of the commandment.
The reason for building a temple:
Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high.
. . . Satan certainly does not want you to understand that every time you worthily serve and worship in the temple, you leave armed with God’s power and with His angels having 'charge over' you.
How are these scriptures given more out of love than chastisement?
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, and I have loved you— 2 Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face; (Doctrine and Covenants 95:1–2).
And if men come unto me I will show unto them their aweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them.
What were the Saints being chastised for?
For ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine house.
Though it is often difficult to endure, truly we ought to rejoice that God considers us worth the time and trouble to correct. Divine chastening has at least three purposes: (1) to persuade us to repent, (2) to refine and sanctify us, and (3) at times to redirect our course in life to what God knows is a better path…. Let us pray for His love-inspired correction.
What does the Lord want to accomplish with the temple?
For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to prune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my strange act, that I may pour out my Spirit upon all flesh.
For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.
Hebrew: Strange act = foreign or unknown
Members in Kirtland:
In the early part of 1833, there were fewer than 200 members of the Church in Ohio, and most of them were poor.
Title for Section 96:
"Dividing the French Farm; For What Purpose?"
The French farm consisted of 103 acres that was owned by Peter French. In 1833, the Church purchased the farm for $5,000 and the land was used to build houses, including Joseph Smith's, a new school house and the Kirtland Temple. Until about 1838, it was called the "French farm," but much of the property was later deeded to John Johnson ("Summary," French Farm, Kirtland Township, Ohio, josephsmithpapers.org).
"After being chastised for not building a house of the Lord in Kirtland, Church leaders chose a site in a wheat field where they would build. Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, immediately ran to get a scythe and begin clearing the field. 'We are preparing to build a house for the Lord,' he said, 'and I am determined to be the first at the work'" (Chapter 23: “How Good and How Pleasant It Is … to Dwell Together in Unity," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
Who was in charge of the land?
Therefore, let my servant Newel K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house.
How the Saints were to build the Lord's house:
Now here is wisdom, and the mind of the Lord—let the house be built, not after the manner of the world, for I give not unto you that ye shall live after the manner of the world; Therefore, let it be built after the manner which I shall show unto three of you, whom ye shall appoint and ordain unto this power.
President Hinckley and the design of the Hong Kong Temple:
In the spring of 1991 the First Presidency requested the Asia Area Presidency—consisting of Elders Merlin R. Lybbert, W. Eugene Hansen, and Monte J. Brough—to discreetly begin a search for a temple site in Hong Kong. They found several small and, in their view, inadequate sites with extremely high price tags. President Gordon B. Hinckley visited those sites in April of that year and encouraged the Area Presidency to keep looking. . . President Hinckley retired to his hotel room and requested that Elders Brough and Carmack come back the next morning to further discuss the matter. It was apparent that the Area Presidency had yet to find a solution President Hinckley could accept. At about 6:45 a.m., President Hinckley called Elder Brough and requested that he and Elder Carmack come to his hotel room at 8:00 a.m. Brother Simmons joined them there at the appointed time, and President Hinckley then shared, on a sheet of white paper, a detailed drawing. During the night, he had envisioned a building of about eight floors above ground, with the temple on the top floors and other functions housed on the lower floors. It included replacement facilities for the Kowloon Tong chapel and the Hong Kong mission home and office, since the new building would require that these existing buildings on side-by-side lots be demolished. This concept of multiple use, President Hinckley explained, would depart from tradition in that all other temples in the Church at that time were stand-alone buildings.
The dimensions of the Kirtland Temple:
And the size thereof shall be fifty and five feet in width, and let it be sixty-five feet in length, in the inner court thereof.
Keeping the Commandments:
If you keep not my commandments, the love of the Father shall not continue with you, therefore you shall walk in darkness.
He that loves not, knows not God; for God is love
Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build a house. if you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it.
Title of Section 94:
"Doctrine and Covenants 94 is not actually concerned with the Kirtland Temple. Rather, it gives instructions for two additional Church buildings, a Church administration building (see v. 3) and a printing office (see v. 10), to be located south of the proposed temple site. A letter from the First Presidency to Edward Partridge and the Saints in Zion clarifies the scope of the Lord's intended building projects. "Having here given you two revelations [D&C 97 and 98], we accompany them with the following explanations: the revelation [D&C 94] respecting the two houses to be built in Kirtland in addition to the one we are now building [the Kirtland Temple]—one for the presidency and the other for the printing—is also binding upon you. That is, you at Zion have to build two houses as well as the one of which we have sent the pattern [the temple in Independence] and mentioned in the first revelation above written [D&C 97]. You are also, in addition to this one [that is, the temple], to build two others—one for the presidency and one for the printing"3 (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 94," Deseret Book).
The three buildings the Lord wanted the Saints to build:
1. Kirtland Temple
1 And again, verily I say unto you, my afriends, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of the city of the bstake of Zion, here in the land of Kirtland, beginning at my house (Doctrine and Covenants 94:1).
2. Administration Building
3 And let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of a house for the presidency, for the work of the presidency, in obtaining revelations; and for the work of the ministry of the apresidency, in all things pertaining to the church and kingdom (Doctrine and Covenants 94:3).
3. Printing Office
10 And again, verily I say unto you, the second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me for the building of a house unto me, for the work of the aprinting of the btranslation of my scriptures, and all things whatsoever I shall command you.
11 And it shall be fifty-five by sixty-five feet in the width thereof and the length thereof, in the inner court; and there shall be a lower and a higher court.
12 And this house shall be wholly dedicated unto the Lord from the foundation thereof, for the work of the printing, in all things whatsoever I shall command you, to be holy, undefiled, according to the pattern in all things as it shall be given unto you (Doctrine and Covenants 94:10–12).
15 And inasmuch as my people abuild a bhouse unto me in the cname of the Lord, and do not suffer any dunclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my eglory shall rest upon it;
To love another person is to see the face of God.
Title of Section 97:
"It is possible that Joseph Smith learned of anti-Mormon feelings in Missouri from a now-lost letter from Oliver Cowdery dated 9 July 1833. Receipt of such a letter is mentioned by Joseph in his 6 August letter to Missouri. Yet Joseph makes no allusion in that letter to persecutions in Missouri. While there had been anti-Mormon feelings in Jackson County for some time, the immediate catalyst for mob action there had been an article in the July issue of The Evening and the Morning Star entitled 'Free People of Color,' which was distorted by non-Mormons who claimed falsely that the Saints were 'tampering with [their] slaves.'9 When the Saints in Missouri realized what the reaction to the article had been, they immediately published an 'extra' edition of the Star, dated 16 July, to set the record straight. But this is a full week after Oliver's 9 July letter to Joseph, so Oliver may not have known the true mood of his non-LDS neighbors on 9 July. Even if Oliver had written about trouble brewing in Missouri, it was humanly impossible for Joseph Smith to have known about the mob activities of 20–23 July by 2 August when Doctrine and Covenants 97 was received, or even by 6 August, when Doctrine and Covenants 98 was received and sections 94, 97, and 98 were sent to Missouri. Joseph first learned of these events when Oliver arrived in Kirtland from Missouri sometime in mid-August (the Painesville Telegraph stated in its 16 August edition that Oliver had just arrived in Kirtland). Nevertheless, Doctrine and Covenants 97 and 98 already contained exactly the divine counsel and instructions the Missouri Saints were seeking in their perilous circumstances. In other words, the answers were sent to Missouri before the questions were received in Kirtland. If the body of the Saints were to remain in Missouri, it was critical that they should receive, hear, and obey these revelations" (Stephen E. Robinson, H. Dean Garrett, A Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, "Doctrine and Covenants 97," Deseret Book).
The Lord's expectations of the people of Zion:
8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are ahonest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are bwilling to observe their covenants by csacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are daccepted of me (Doctrine and Covenants 97:8).
. . . in order to serve God and be holy, are we making sacrifices consistent with our covenants?
A Place of Thanksgiving:
13 For a place of athanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices; (Doctrine and Covenants 97:13).
What the Lord expects of us:
8 Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are ahonest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are bwilling to observe their covenants by csacrifice—yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are daccepted of me (Doctrine and Covenants 97:8).
9 For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful atree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit (Doctrine and Covenants 97:9).
3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them abeauty for ashes, the oil of bjoy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called ctrees of drighteousness, the eplanting of the Lord, that he might be glorified (Isaiah 61:3).
Hebrew: Very = done
19 And the anations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely bZion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;