D&C 71 “Confound Your Enemies”
Ezra Booth had been a Methodist minister before joining the Church, but he later left the Church. As noted in the section heading, some of his post-apostasy writings had stirred up “unfriendly feelings” against the Church. Through the years, Church leaders have generally not responded to public attacks, and they have counseled members not to contend nor debate as a method of presenting the gospel. But this time, the Lord calls for an exception, indicating that “this is a mission for a season” (verse 3).
- What specific instructions did the Lord give in verses 1, 7 to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon?
- Note what appears to be a little sarcasm/humor expressed by the Lord in verse 8: “Let them [the enemies] bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord.”
- What comforting declarations did the Lord make in verses 9-10?
In the April 1909 general conference, President Heber J. Grant proclaimed, “Our enemies have never done anything that has injured this work of God, and they never will” (Conference Report, April 1909, p. 110).
D&C 72 To “Benefit the Church in All Things”
Edward Partridge was serving as the first bishop of the Church, and now the Lord calls Newel K. Whitney as a bishop also. In this revelation the Lord continues teaching principles related to the law of consecration. For example, in verses 3-6 He tells us that we are accountable to our leaders—and to Him—in regard to our stewardships, promising eternal “mansions” for those who are “faithful and wise” (see also verses 16-17, 22). Examples of ways we “render account” today include tithing settlement, ministering interviews, temple recommend interviews, various records and reports, and so forth. And prayer can be added to this list, for it is a way to report to the Lord and receive His guidance. And of course, one day we will all appear before Our Loving Lord in judgment.
According to verses 10-15, 20-21, what are some of the uses of the funds donated by those who are striving to live the law of consecration? How do these benefits compare to the use of Church funds today? Consider:
- Do you feel privileged and blessed to contribute money and labor to the Lord’s cause?
- Do you feel prepared to enter more fully into the law of consecration?
- Do you own anything that would be difficult for you to lay before your leaders in consecration?
- Is there anything that you would be embarrassed to admit that you possess?
D&C 73 Back to the JST
As instructed in Section 71 (about six weeks earlier), Joseph and Sidney had been preaching and otherwise responding to false publications and negative feelings against the Church. In Section 73 the Lord directs them to return to their work of “translating” the Bible (which we now know as the Joseph Smith Translation), “until it be finished” (verse 4). Unfortunately, Joseph was never able to complete this important commission.
D&C 74 Little Children
As Joseph was working on the Joseph Smith Translation, the Lord gave this revelation, explaining 1 Corinthians 7:14 (which is quoted in verse 1).
THE BACKGROUND: The Jews of Christ’s day circumcised their infant males, following the law of Moses. But when a Jewish woman converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ—and her husband did not—they disagreed regarding circumcision, which under the gospel of Jesus Christ was no longer required, the law of Moses having been fulfilled (or ended).
THE TEACHING: Paul counsels the Saints in Corinth that they not join in marriage to unbelievers (Jews) unless there is an advance agreement stating that they will not follow the law of Moses, including the practice of circumcision. With or without circumcision or any other outward ordinance, the most important doctrine here is that “little children are holy, being sanctified through the atonement of Jesus Christ” (verse 7).
D&C 75 Faithful Service
A sidenote we can derive from the section heading is that the President of the Church is “sustained and ordained.” Why ordained? Because it is a priesthood office. This means that there are ten priesthood offices in the Church today: deacon, teacher, priest, elder, high priest, bishop, patriarch, seventy, apostle, president of the Church.
In this revelation, the Lord gives some answers to the question of how to fulfill one’s priesthood duties, including the call to preach the gospel. Find the following:
- Make a list of things the Lord counsels the priesthood holders in verses 3-4, 10-11, 19, 24, 27, 29.
- Make a list of the Lord’s promises to those who are faithful servants, in verses 5, 11, 16, 21-22, 27.
What would you say to a missionary who writes to tell you that he or she is having a difficult time? Which verses in this section do you think would be helpful to share?