D&C 41 Preparation to Live “the Law”
In obedience to the call to gather in Ohio (see D&C 37) Joseph Smith and his family have now moved to Kirtland, along with other members of the Church. Section 41 is the first of forty-six sections that Joseph received in Ohio. In verses 3-5 the Lord again foretells the law of consecration (as in D&C 38:32), which He will reveal to Joseph in the days to come.
Read verses 1, 5-6, which help us see the importance of the law of consecration. Note in verses 9-11 the Lord’s call for Edward Partridge to leave behind “his merchandise” (his personal business affairs), and spend all his time working to advance the cause of the gospel and the Church. His calling may be compared to today’s “Presiding Bishop,” and he is to direct the implementation of the law of consecration. The Lord says in verse 11 that Brother Partridge’s “heart is pure … like unto Nathanael of old” (see John 1:45-51), indicating his qualification for what will become a challenging assignment. As you consider your own efforts to understand and live the law of consecration today, how can you work toward greater purity of heart?
D&C 42:1-29 Additional Elements of the Law of Consecration
Joseph Smith once said, “We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object” (History of the Church, 3:390). We know there are multiple definitions of Zion, but surely, as we strive to live the law of consecration, it will help us in all our relationships and in all our endeavors to follow our living prophets and extend our efforts in the work of salvation and exaltation.
Consider this definition of the law of consecration, from the Guide to the Scriptures (churchofjesuschrist.org): “The law of consecration is a divine principle whereby men and women voluntarily dedicate their time, talents, and material wealth to the establishment and building up of God’s kingdom.” Think about how the following principles and teachings from Section 42 are connected to the law of consecration:
- OBEDIENCE: “Hearken … believe on my name … keep my commandments … hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you” (verses 1-2).
- MISSIONARY WORK: “Go forth in my name … in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two … declaring my word like unto angels of God … baptizing … saying: Repent ye … build up my church in every region … that ye may be gathered in one … teach the principles of my gospel … be directed by the Spirit … the Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith … if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach (verses 4-16; see also verse 63).
- THE COMMANDMENTS: The Lord forbids His children to kill, steal, lie, lust, commit adultery, and speak evil of others (verses 18-21, 23-28; see also verses 74-87).
- FULL DEVOTION: God commands that with all our hearts we are to love and cleave unto our spouses and to love, serve, and obey Him (verses 22, 29).
D&C 42:30-42, 53-55, 71-73; 44:6 How Is the Law of Consecration to Operate?
Go through these verses and note the purposes and practicalities of the law of consecration. What is to be accomplished? What are the underlying truths? What does it mean to be a “steward”? What will our consecration ultimately lead to? How does the law of consecration benefit the receivers? How does it benefit the givers? How can I better live the law of consecration today?
D&C 42:43-48 Death
What do these verses reveal about the attitude of Church members toward death? How is this different from those of other faiths, or those of no faith?
D&C 43:1-7, 11-12 “That You May Not Be Deceived”
Only five months before Section 43 was revealed, the Lord had given Joseph Smith Section 28 as a means of correcting false revelations and their consequences. Now a similar situation has come up, this time involving a recent convert—Mrs. Hubble—who was claiming to receive revelations for the Church. Read D&C 43:1-7, 11-12 and list as many principles or guidelines you can find in relation to the Lord’s revelations for the Church.
D&C 43:8-10; 44:1-2 “When Ye Are Assembled”
These oft-cited verses contain crucial information regarding our various church meetings. Look for the following:
- What are the purposes of our meetings?
- What should we do during our meetings?
- What should we do as a result of what happens in our meetings?
Do you feel like you always gain great good from the church meetings you attend? Do you do your best to contribute to the meetings in the ways outlined in these verses?
D&C 43:15-35 “Lift Up Your Voices and Spare Not”
The Doctrine and Covenants is filled with instructions regarding the preaching of the gospel, as well as prophecies and warnings regarding the last days and the Second Coming. Often—as in these verses—these two topics are intertwined. Note these important instructions for missionaries and all members:
- “Ye are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach” (verse 15).
- “Ye are to be taught from on high” (verse 16).
- “Sanctify yourselves and ye shall be endowed with power” (verse 16).
- “Lift up your voices and spare not. Call upon the nations to repent … saying: Prepare yourselves for the great day of the Lord” (verse 20; see also 44:3).
- “Labor ye in my vineyard for the last time—for the last time call upon the inhabitants of the earth” (verse 28; see also Jacob 5:61-72).
Note also the intermingling of the signs of the times and the ways the Lord calls us to repent and to prepare for His coming:
- “Hearken ye, for, behold, the great day of the Lord is nigh at hand” (verse 17).
- “The Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven; the heavens shall shake and the earth shall tremble” (verse 18).
- “The thunders shall utter their voices from the ends of the earth, speaking to the ears of all that live, saying—Repent, and prepare for the great day of the Lord” (verse 21).
- “The Lord shall utter his voice out of heaven, saying: Hearken, O ye nations of the earth, and hear the words of that God who made you” (verse 23).
- “The day has come, when the cup of the wrath of mine indignation is full” (verse 26).
- “I will come upon the earth in judgment, and my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on earth” (verse 29).
- “The great Millennium … shall come [and] Satan shall be bound” (verses 30-31; see also 44:5).
- “He that liveth in righteousness [at the Second Coming] shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye [from mortal to immortal]” (verse 32).
In verses 18-25 the Lord used the word “voice” or “voices” fifteen times. In what ways does the Lord say He has used or will use our voices, as well as His own voice? What are the many ways in verse 25 that the Lord tries to get the attention of His children on earth? (See also D&C 88:87-92.) Read verses 34-35 and consider how these things have affected you, and how you can more fully “treasure” the Lord’s revelations and “let the solemnities of eternity rest upon” your own mind.