Monday, September 19, 2011

D&C Section Ninety Nine

This is a section about one of the typical, faith-filled members of the church at that time. John Murdock, whose wife had recently died, has been left with five young children, two of whom are newborn twins. On the same date those twins were born, the prophet's wife also gave birth to a set of twins. Emma's twins only lived three hours and when Sister Murdock passed away not long after the birth of her twins, Joseph and Emma took in the Murdock twins. Brother Murdock would have had no choice as to giving the twins up to someone who could nurse them. During the mobbing of Joseph when he is tarred and feathered, one of the adopted twins passed away due to exposure.

Now, four months later, Brother Murdock is called on a mission. But he is told he is not to go until his remaining children are provided for. They will stay with Bishop Partridge. I admire Brother Murdock's obedience to the priesthood in serving his mission, but I also believe that the mission was something that probably helped deal with his grief and move on. Brother Murdock fulfilled his mission and held many important church callings after this. One thing I can't imagine is the grief Emma felt in losing her twins, and then losing another baby who they had named Joseph Smith jr. shortly thereafter. The toughness of these people always inspires me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

D&C Section One Hundred

It is amazing to me that in spite of the great problems in Missouri and some in Kirtland, the Lord still sends Sydney Rigdon and Joseph Smith on a mission to the eastern states and Canada. No matter what problems the world brings upon the church, the work of the Lord has always gone forward. No matter what persecution there is, no matter what the opposition is, the Lord's work has always progressed. Even after the pioneers arrived in Salt Lake, which wasn't even a part of the United States at that time, almost from the moment they arrived, they prospered and grew. In the midst of the great migration west, missionary work still continued and converts continued to come.

I like one word that the Lord uses in this section. He promises that as they bear testimony that is solemn and in the spirit of meekness, the Holy Ghost will be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever they will say. The word shed in this usages means to effusively be present. To pervade everything or envelope everything. Missionaries find his to be true. No matter what the reaction of the people may be, the Holy Ghost accompanies each testimony they bear. Those who hear usually feel something, but don't always act on what they feel because their mind fights it. Their traditions keep them from being open to something new. Earlier, in Section 93, the Lord said that two things keep people from accepting truth, Satan and the traditions of men.

Another promise in this section is Sidney would be strong in expounding the scriptures while Joseph would be strong in bearing testimony. There is an account of when the two of them were preaching to a large crowd in New York. Sidney spoke first and using the Bible taught all around the restoration of the gospel without mentioning it, teaching gospel principles that he thought the crowd would accept, but it was all to no effect. Joseph then stood and said that if Sidney was not going to bear witness of the restoration he would. He then bore witness of the the first vision, of the Moroni and the Book of Mormon and the restoration of priesthood keys. After he was finished, large numbers of people came forward wanting to be baptized..

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

D&C Section Ninety Eight

At this time, Joseph knew there were problems in Missouri, but he would have had no idea of the seriousness of the situation the Saints were in. So it is interesting that he receives this revelation dealing with how to respond when you are attacked by your enemies. I personally think he sensed by the Spirit, or by revelation, that things were much more dire than people in Kirtland realized. There are three important principles in this revelation. First, freedom comes from the Lord, but governmental laws affect that freedom. The Lord teaches that we have a divinely inspired constitution and as long as we elect good and wise men to represent us, we will be fine. But when our elected officials fall short, evil will come of it. We can certainly see that in today's world.

The second principle deals with how we (the church) are to respond when attacked, and how we as a nation are supposed to respond in situations of war. First we are not to fear our enemies. If they come upon the church a first time, we are to bear it patiently and not seek revenge. The Lord promises that if we do this, we will be rewarded. If they come upon us a second time and we bear it patiently and don't seek revenge, we will be rewarded a hundred fold. If they come a third time and we again bear it patiently and not seek revenge, the hundred fold blessings are doubled four times and these three times will stand as a testimony against those who seek to do harm. However, after the third time, if the Lord has not taken vengeance, we can warn our enemies that we will not stand idly by, and the Lord will bless us in our efforts to protect ourselves. The Lord will deliver them into our hands and not hold us accountable. If we still do not seek revenges, we have the promise that the blessings will be extended to our children to the third and fourth generations. As a nation, any time another nation or people proclaim war against us, we should raise the standard of peace three times. If they don't respond, our nation is justified in going to war and the Lord promises that he will fight our battles.

The third principle in this revelation deals with forgiveness. In this, the Lord says that if we are wronged by someone, we should forgive them up to three times, even if they don't repent of the wrong they have done. However, the fourth time, we do not have to forgive them, but should take the matter to the Lord and allow him to deal with it. If they seeks forgiveness, then we should still forgive them. But whether it be through forgiving or turning the matter over to the Lord, it is done so that we remove any bitterness or hate in our hearts. Otherwise, the wounds will fester and harm us more than the damage that was done to us.