D&C 23 The Lord Personalizes His Messages
Section 23 is actually a series of five revelations. The Lord told the first four recipients that they were “under no condemnation,” but did not say this to Joseph Knight, perhaps because he was the only one of the five who was not yet baptized and thus still in need of remission of sins. Some of the Lord’s individualized messages include:
- “Beware of pride, lest thou shouldst enter into temptation” (verse 1). Pride can lead to temptation and sin. Oliver later allowed pride to overcome him and it led to his departure from the Church in 1838. He was rebaptized in 1848.
- “Thy heart is opened and thy tongue loosed; and thy calling is to exhortation, and to strengthen the church” (verse 3). The Lord helps us teach others and to share the gospel by opening our hearts and loosening our tongues.
- Samuel is told that he was not yet called “to preach before the world” (verse 4). Nonetheless, within weeks he was called by his brother Joseph to be the first missionary of this dispensation, serving alone and sharing copies of the Book of Mormon in Palmyra and its surroundings. These first efforts led to the baptisms of Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball.
- Like his sons Hyrum and Samuel, Joseph Sr. is also called “”to exhortation, and to strengthen the church” (verse 5). In December 1833 he was called as the first patriarch of the Church, serving until his death in September 1840.
- “You must take up your cross, in the which you must pray” (verse 6). How do you think prayer can be a form of “taking up a cross”?
- “Unite with the true church” (verse 7). This provides us the Lord’s own declaration that we belong to His true church.
- “Give your language to exhortation, that you may receive the reward of the laborer” (verse 7). As we “exhort” others, we are blessed.
D&C 24:1-9 “I Am With Thee”
In the midst of intensifying persecution, what things did the Lord say to Joseph Smith in verses 1-9 that would help him lead the young church? What blessings are promised in verse 3 to those who support the Prophet? Think of blessings you have received as you have supported and followed the living prophets.
D&C 24:10-12 Open Your Mouth
When the Lord invites us to “open our mouths,” He is asking us to share the restored gospel (see also D&C 28:16; 33:8-10; 60:2; 71:1). Do you feel confident about opening your mouth to share gospel principles and help others learn about the Restoration? What experiences have you had in doing so?
D&C 25 “An Elect Lady”
This revelation to Emma Smith, wife of the Prophet, is a treasure for all members of the Church. At the time, Emma was 26 years old and she and Joseph had been married for three years. She was raised in the Methodist religion, but fully embraced the restored gospel and was a strong, never-ending support to Joseph. At this point (July 1830), she had already suffered much, due to opposition and persecution. Note the following:
- In verse 1 the Lord Jesus Christ calls Emma “my daughter.” What else does He say in verse 1 about being his sons and daughters? (See also Mosiah 5:7).
- The Lord also refers to Emma as “an elect lady” (verse 3). “Elect” means “chosen.” Who do you know that you would consider an “elect lady”?
- “Murmur not because of the things which thou hast not seen” (verse 4) is a likely reference to the golden plates, the Urim and Thummim, and so forth.
- Significantly, Emma was also called to be a scribe for Joseph (verse 6); “to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church” (verse 7); to write and to learn (verse 8).
- “Lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (verse 10). Emma came from a “refined” background and this counsel can help us all to turn our hearts to the things that matter most.
- Find the commandments the Lord gave Emma in verses 13-15. Note His sweet promise to her: “A crown of righteousness thou shalt receive” (verse 15).
D&C 25:11-12 “Make a Selection of Sacred Hymns”
The Lord’s instructions in these verses—and Emma’s obedience—have blessed every member of the Church for almost 200 years. The first hymnbook, compiled by Emma and published in Kirtland, Ohio in 1835, contained 90 hymn (with words only; no musical score). It included still-beloved hymns such as “The Spirit of God,” “I Know That My Redeemer Lives,” “Redeemer of Israel,” “Now, Let Us Rejoice,” and “How Firm a Foundation.”
What did the Lord say in verse 11 that would help Emma in this responsibility? According to verse 12, why is hymn-singing important? Which hymns have been a blessing in your life?
D&C 26 Common Consent
Read verse 2 and consider why raising our hands in church to sustain others is more than a simple formality. What does it mean to you when you sustain someone in a calling?