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Come, Follow Me — D&C Study and Teaching Helps
Lesson 39, September 20–September 26
D&C 106-108 — “To Have the Heavens Opened”

D&C 106 Warren Cowdery

In verses 1-2 the Lord called Warren Cowdery (Oliver’s older brother) to preside over a Church congregation and to preach the gospel. Find:

  • What instructions and promised blessings did the Lord give Warren in verses 3, 7-8?
  • What did the Lord say in verse 4 about His coming? What promise did He make to those who are “the children of light”?
  • What did the Lord say in verse 6 about Warren’s conversion to the restored gospel? How can you apply this to your life?

D&C 107 Background

This revelation is associated with the first callings of Apostles and the organization of the Quorum of the Twelve, which occurred in February and March 1835. Appropriately, in the section heading it is labeled “Revelation on priesthood,” in which the Lord reveals important instructions regarding the various priesthood offices and quorums.

In a Kirtland High Council meeting in January 1835, Joseph Smith announced that the time had come to choose the Twelve Apostles (as had been directed over five years earlier in D&C 18:26-27, 37-38). All those who had participated in Zion’s Camp were invited to meet on February 14, and Joseph proposed that the Apostles be chosen from among these men. The First Presidency then laid hands on the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon—Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris—blessing and empowering them to select the Twelve. Those chosen were Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, William E. McLellin, Parley P. Pratt, Luke S. Johnson, William Smith, Orson Pratt, John F. Boynton, and Lyman E. Johnson. They were placed in the Quorum in order of seniority according to age (the oldest two were 35 and the four youngest were 23).

Two weeks later at a special conference, the Prophet organized another key priesthood quorum—the Seventy—also from those who had been in Zion’s Camp. Those called as the original seven presidents of the Seventy were Joseph Young, Hazen Aldrich, Levi Hancock, Leonard Rich, Zebedee Coltrin, Lyman Sherman, and Sylvester Smith.

D&C 107:1-6 The Melchizedek Priesthood

In these verses the Lord gives the reason why the higher priesthood is called the Melchizedek Priesthood (to “avoid the too frequent repetition” of “the name of the Supreme Being;” verse 4). Melchizedek, was a man who was “a great high priest” (verse 2; see also JST, Genesis 14:26-28, 33-36; Alma 13:14-19). The name Melchizedek means “King of Righteousness.” President Spencer W. Kimball taught that the Melchizedek Priesthood “is the means whereby the Lord acts through men to save souls. Without this priesthood power, men are lost” (Ensign, June 1975, p. 3).

D&C 107:7-97 Outline of Duties

These verses lend themselves to an organized way to learn about the ten priesthood offices:

Melchizedek Priesthood

  • Verses 8, 10, 12 indicate that holders of the Melchizedek Priesthood are to “administer in spiritual things.”
  • Verse 18 states that the Melchizedek Priesthood is associated with “all the spiritual blessings of the church,” then in verse 19 is a glorious list of some of those blessings.

Specific duties and instructions related to each office, in the order of first mention:

  • Elders: verses 7, 11-12, 60, 89-90.
  • President of the Church (and his counselors): verses 8-10, 22, 64-66, 78-81, 91-92.
  • High Priests: verses 10, 12.
  • Bishops: verses 15-17, 68-76, 87-88 (see also D&C 68:14-24 regarding “literal descendants of Aaron”).
  • Apostles: verses 23-24, 33, 35, 38-39, 58 (also called “traveling councilors” in verse 23; the statement in verse 23 that they are “equal in authority” to the First Presidency has only been applied when there is no living, ordained President of the Church in place).
  • Seventies: verses 25-26, 34, 38, 93-97 (the statement in verse 26 that they can form a quorum “equal in authority” to that of the Twelve could only apply if the Quorum of the Twelve were to become defunct).
  • Patriarchs: verse 39 (referred to as “evangelical ministers”).

Aaronic Priesthood

  • In verse 1 it is referred to as the Levitical Priesthood; in verse 13, as the Priesthood of Aaron (having been conferred upon Aaron and others of the tribe of Levi); and in verses 14, 20 it is called the “lesser” priesthood.
  • Verses 14, 20 indicate that holders of the Aaronic Priesthood are to “administer in outward ordinances.”
  • Verse 20 indicates that the Aaronic Priesthood is associated with “the keys of the ministering of angels” and with baptism.

Specific duties and instructions related to each office, in the order of first mention:

  • Priests: verses 61, 63
  • Teachers: verses, 62-63, 86
  • Deacons: verses 63, 85

D&C 107:22-33, 84, 91-92 Apostles and Prophets

What does verse 22 say is the duty of all members, in relation to the First Presidency? Read carefully the specific instructions given by the Lord to those called as Apostles and Prophets, found in verses 23, 27, 30-31, 33, 84, 91-92. How can you apply the teachings in verse 30 to your own life? How may verses 27, 30 help a couple in their marriage? What is your role in assisting the Apostles in their responsibilities, as listed in verse 33?

D&C 107:23 Special Witnesses

In relation to verse 23, the LDS Bible Dictionary states: “The calling of an Apostle is to be a special witness of the name of Jesus Christ in all the world, particularly of His divinity and of His bodily resurrection from the dead.” Over the years many of those called as Apostles have offered their own explanations and testimonies.

For example, President Ezra Taft Benson testified: “As one of those called as special witnesses, I add my testimony to those of fellow Apostles: He lives! He lives with resurrected body. There is no truth or fact of which I am more assured, or know better by personal experience, than the truth of the literal resurrection of our Lord” (New Era, Dec. 1980, p. 48).

And Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “The latter-day Twelve … are expected, like their counterparts of old, to see and hear and touch and converse with the Heavenly Person…. The obligation rests upon all members of the Council of the Twelve to see the face of Him whose witnesses they are” (The Promised Messiah, pp. 592, 594).

D&C 107:40-52 From Adam to Noah

These verses outline part of the father-to-son conferral of the priesthood in ancient times. Priesthood line of authority demonstrates God’s transmission of His power and authority. It is a crucial doctrine and practice in the Lord’s true church. It is common for priesthood holders today to have a record of the line of their priesthood ordination, most commonly going back to the Three Witnesses and/or to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, who received the higher priesthood from Peter, James, and John, who were ordained by Jesus Christ.

D&C 107:53-57 Adam’s Last Blessing

Find the blessings the Lord promised to Adam in these verses. Note that another great gathering at Adam-ondi-Ahman (which is in Missouri; see D&C 116), will take place in the last days, as prophesied in D&C 27:5-14; 116:1 (see also Daniel 7:13-14, 22).

D&C 107:99-100 Act in All Diligence

How can all priesthood holders—as well as all other members of the Church—better follow verse 99? President Thomas S. Monson taught: “The priesthood is not really so much a gift as it is a commission to serve, a privilege to lift, and an opportunity to bless the lives of others. The call of duty can come quietly [through the Spirit] as we who hold the priesthood respond to the assignments we receive” (Ensign, Nov. 2005, p. 59).

Elder Clayton M. Christensen wrote that he came to understand that “the way God will measure my life is not by the numbers of people over whom I have presided, but by the individual people whose lives I have touched with His love and with the gospel of Jesus Christ” (Ensign, Feb. 2007).

D&C 108 “I Am With You”

Nine months had passed since Joseph Smith received D&C 107. The Twelve Apostles had departed on their mission to the east, Joseph Smith had purchased the Egyptian mummies with their documents that would later become the Book of Abraham, and the first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (replacing the Book of Commandments) had been printed and was ready to be bound.

On the day after Christmas, Lyman Sherman (one of the seven presidents of the newly-organized Seventy) visited the Prophet, requesting a revelation. Find the things the Lord told and commanded Lyman in verses 1-3, 5, 7. Read and ponder verse 8, considering ways in which the Lord has delivered you.

In January 1839 Lyman Sherman was to be called as an Apostles and member of the Twelve, but he was living in Missouri at the time and he died before he could be called and ordained.

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