Sunday, March 14, 2021

March 8-14: D&C 23-26


We can appreciate these sections when we get a feel for the context. The persecution that preceded these revelations is summarized in the lesson and in Saints, but the actual account is more detailed and interesting. You can read it in the Joseph Smith Papers here:

Notice how the spiritual experiences these early Saints had compensated for the fierce persecution they faced.

This passage is a good example:

Much exhortation and instruction was given; and the Holy Ghost was poured out upon us in a miraculous manner many of our number prophecied, whilst others had the Heavens opened to their view, and were so over come that we had to lay them on beds, or other convenient places: 

Among the rest was Brother Newel Knights who had to be placed on a bed, being unable to help himself. By his own account of the transaction, He could not understand why we should lay him on the bed, <​as​> he felt no sensibility of weakness. 

He felt his heart filled with love, with glory and pleasure unspeakable, and could discern all that was going on in the room, when all of a sudden a vision of futurity burst upon him. He saw there represented, the great work which through my instrumentality was yet to be accomplished. He saw Heaven opened and beheld the Lord Jesus Christ, seated at the right hand of the majesty on high, and had it made plain to his understanding that the time would come whe[n] he would be admitted into his presence to enjoy his society for ever and ever. 

When their bodily strength was restored to these brethren, they shouted “hosannas to God and the lamb” and rehearsed the glorious things which they had seen and felt, whilst they were yet in the Spirit.

Such scenes as these were calculated to inspire our hearts with joy unspeakable, and fill us with awe and reverence for that Almighty Being, by whose grace we had been called to be instrumental in bringing about for the children of men, the enjoyment of such glorious blessings as were now at this time poured out upon us. To find ourselves engaged in the very same order of things, as observed by the holy Apostles of old; 

To realize the importance and solemnity of such proceedings, and to witness and feel with our own natural senses, the like glorious manifestations of the powers of the Priesthood; the gifts and blessings of the Holy Ghost; and the goodness and condescension of a merciful God, unto such as obey the everlasting gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, combined to create within us, sensations of rapturous gratitude, and inspire <​us​> with fresh zeal and energy, in the cause of truth.

That sense of renewed energy and zeal often accompanies powerful spiritual meetings and other experiences.

Yesterday we had a leadership conference and one key point that came out was that every meeting and encounter among Latter-day Saints should produce faith and a spiritual experience of some kind. I find that the most common such experience is "joy unspeakable" as described above.

This is an awesome passage:

8 Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.

(Doctrine and Covenants 24:8)

When we recognize the Lord's involvement in our lives, such as by a daily expression of gratitude, we don't lose sight of the reality that God is always with us.

We could discuss every verse in these sections, but this next one is fascinating.

10 And thy brother Oliver shall continue in bearing my name before the world, and also to the church. And he shall not suppose that he can say enough in my cause; and lo, I am with him to the end.

(Doctrine and Covenants 24:10)

Can we ever say, "I've done enough?" Yes and no.

In one sense, our daily efforts are enough. We don't get discouraged because we haven't walked faster than we have strength.  

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

(Mosiah 4:27)

On the other hand, we always want to do more, help more people, learn more, etc.

32 But all things must come to pass in their time.
33 Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.

(Doctrine and Covenants 64:32–33)

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