D&C 30:1-4 Do Not Fear Man
We all struggle from time to time. After David Whitmer had seen the Angel Moroni and the gold plates and heard the voice of God, he slackened somewhat and the Lord saw fit to chasten him. What did the Lord say in verses 1-3 that David needed to correct? Do you see anything in these verses that could benefit you?
D&C 30:5-11; 32:1-5 Mission to the American Indians
In D&C 30:5-8 and in Section 32, the Lord called Oliver Cowdery (age 23), Peter Whitmer, Jr. (age 21), Parley P. Pratt (age 23), and Ziba Peterson (age 25) to serve a mission among “the Lamanites” (the Native Americans; see also D&C 28:8). They departed the next month—October 1830—and on their way they preached in Ohio, resulting in the baptisms of about 130 people, including Sidney Rigdon and other future Church leaders. One of the new converts, Frederick G. Williams, joined the four other missionaries as they continued west. By the end of the year, another 200 or so were baptized in Ohio, and the Church established a presence in Kirtland. The missionaries continued on to Missouri and beyond, mostly on foot and often through heavy snow, covering over 1,500 miles before they returned. The winter of 1830-31 was one of the most severe on record, creating many hardships for these five missionaries. They attempted to preach the restored gospel among several tribes of American Indians, with little success. In the summer of 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith joined them in Missouri, where he identified the location of the eventual temple of the New Jerusalem (see D&C 57:1-5).
Note the commandments and promises the Lord gave to these missionaries:
- “Open your mouths to declare my gospel” and “fear not” (30:5).
- “Be you afflicted in all [your companion’s] afflictions, ever lifting up your heart unto me in prayer and faith, for his and your deliverance” (30:6).
- “Be diligent in keeping my commandments, and you shall be blessed unto eternal life” (30:8; this was directed to Peter Whitmer Jr., who remained faithful to the end, dying of tuberculosis in 1838 at age 26).
- “Proclaim my gospel, as with the voice of a trump…. Yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you” (30:9, 11).
- “Declare my gospel and learn of me, and be meek and lowly of heart” (32:1).
- After calling the last of the four missionaries, the Lord promised, “I myself will go with them and be in their midst; and I am their advocate with the Father, and nothing shall prevail against them” (32:3).
How do you think the foregoing instructions and promises pertain to full-time missionaries today? How can they apply to you and all others, as you seek to help gather Israel?
D&C 31 Thomas B. Marsh
Thomas B. Marsh was baptized in 1830, and when the first members of the Quorum of the Twelve were called in 1835, he was appointed the senior apostle; being the oldest at age 34 (it was later learned that David Patten was actually older by a year, but at the time of their ordinations, David was uncertain regarding his exact birthdate). In verse 1 the Lord commended Thomas for his faith, then spoke of Thomas’s family and afflictions (verses 2, 5-6, 9). What do you think it means to “govern your house in meekness”? (verse 9).
The Lord also told Thomas, “rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come” (verse 3). Study verses 3-5, 7-9, 11-13 and look for counsel that can be helpful for missionaries today. Note the following promises the Lord made to Thomas, which can also pertain to faithful laborers today:
- “I will bless you and your family … they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church” (verse 2; they were baptized shortly thereafter).
- “Your tongue shall be loosed” (verse 3).
- “Thrust in your sickle with all your soul, and your sins are forgiven you” (verse 5).
- “Your family shall live … and I will prepare a place for them” (verses 5-6).
- “I will open the hearts of the people, and they will receive you” (verse 7).
- “It shall be given you by the Comforter what you shall do and whither you shall go” (verse 11).
- “Lo, I am with you” (verse 13).
Thomas became disconnected from the Church in 1838, but was rebaptized in 1857.
D&C 33 “With the Sound of a Trump”
This revelation calls Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet as missionaries, speaking of the urgency of His work by instructing them “to declare my gospel unto a crooked and perverse generation” (verse 2; see also 34:6), and that “there is none which doeth good save it be a few” (verse 4; see also 2 Nephi 28:14). Then the Lord adds, “it is the eleventh hour, and the last time” (verse 3; see also Matthew 20:1-16; Jacob 5:61-64, 70-75). Do you always feel positive about living in the last days?
The Lord directs them to “open your mouths” in three consecutive verses (see verses 8-10). Twice He promises that our mouths “shall be filled” with words to say (see also D&C 84:85; 100:5-6). Have you had the experience of being given words to speak by the power of the Holy Ghost? How do you see your own role in D&C 33:5-18?
D&C 34 Orson Pratt
In this section Orson Pratt (age 19) is also called to preach the gospel. Note in verses 1-4 the Lord’s beautiful account of His role as our Redeemer, and in verses 6-9, 12 He speaks of His second coming.
Orson is commanded, “lift up your voice as with the sound of a trump, both long and loud” (verse 6), and “lift up your voice and spare not” (verse 10). In return, the Lord promises Orson help from the Holy Ghost and that He also would be with him (verse 10). Orson, like his older brother Parley, became an apostle in 1835, becoming one of four members of the original Twelve who were only 23 years old.
D&C 35 A Glorious Future
Look for the Lord’s descriptions of Himself and His future works in verses 1-2, 7-18, 25. Which of these things stand out most for you? In what ways have you seen those works fulfilled?
What did the Lord say about Sidney Rigdon’s past (verses 3-6) and about Sidney’s future, including his work with the Prophet Joseph Smith (verses 19-20, 22-24, 26-27)? Again, the Lord speaks powerfully to these early Saints:
- “As many as will believe on my name … may become the sons of God, even one in me” (verse 2).
- “I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name” (verse 8).
- “Great things are to be shown forth” (verse 10).
- “I call upon the weak things of this world … to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit. And their arm shall be my arm” (verses 13-14).
- “Their enemies shall be under their feet” (verse14).
- “And the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them” (verse 15).
- The Lord’s elect “will hear my voice, and shall see me, and shall not be asleep, and shall abide the day of my coming, for they shall be purified” (verse 21).
- “I will cause the heavens to shake for your good, and Satan shall tremble and Zion shall rejoice” (verse 24).
- “Israel shall be saved in mine own due time” (verse 25).
- “Lift up your hearts and be glad, your redemption draweth night” (verse 26).
- “Fear not, little flock, the kingdom is yours until I come” (verse 27).
D&C 36 Edward Partridge
When this revelation was given, Edward had been a member of the Church for only a few days. Like the others to whom the Lord spoke in Sections 30-35, Edward is called to preach the gospel (verse 1; see also verses 5-7).
A beautiful principle is revealed in verse 2, wherein the Lord said to Edward, “I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant Sidney Rigdon.” How sweet and comforting it is to know and feel that when a priesthood holder lays his hands upon one’s head, it is also in a sense the Lord Himself laying His hands upon us. Have you ever felt that way during a priesthood blessing?
In the first months of the Church’s existence, the Lord repeatedly emphasized the importance of sharing the restored gospel. What things do you hear our leaders emphasizing in our day?