D&C 111 I am not Displeased, Notwithstanding Your Follies
Read the section heading and consider this: When things do not go as we had hoped, we should not simply assume that we had made a mistake. We cannot say that Joseph Smith erred in making a 1,200-mile round-trip journey to Salem, Massachusetts, failing in his purpose. Often such things turn out to be valuable learning experiences which may result in unforeseen benefits.
- Which verses help you understand the Lord’s patience with us? Why?
- Which verses help you see how the Lord can turn things to the fulfillment of His purposes? Why?
- How are the workings of the Lord’s Spirit a source of both “peace” and “power” in your life? (verse 8).
- Can you think of a time when the Lord “order[ed] all things for your good”? (verse 11).
In verse 2 the Lord told Joseph, “I have much treasure in this city” and that He would gather “many people” from there. In response to Section 111, Erastus Snow (who later became an apostle) was sent to preach in Salem in 1841. During a period of about 18 months Elder Snow taught and baptized over 100 people in Salem, plus many others in surrounding areas. This was one of Elder Snow’s sixteen missions.
D&C 112; 114 “For the Last Days and For the Last Time”
Elder George A. Smith gave the following background for this revelation, saying that it “was given during some of the darkest days in the history of the Church. The light and glory that surrounded the dedication of the Kirtland Temple was supplanted by darkness and evil. In the summer of 1837, some members of the Quorum of the Twelve, the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and other key priesthood leaders met in the upper room of the [Kirtland] temple to make a plan to dispose of Joseph Smith as the prophet of the Lord. Their plan was to organize a new church, with David Whitmer at its head” (Journal of Discourses, 11:11).
On the other side of things, Apostles Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde, along with five other missionaries, had just arrived in England to begin preaching the gospel, leading to many thousands of western European converts over the next several decades. On the same day as their arrival—July 23, 1837—the Lord revealed Section 112, in which He said that “darkness covereth the earth, and gross darkness the minds of the people” (verse 23; see also verse 24); the Lord gave instructions for the First Presidency and the Twelve.
Find the commands and the promises made by the Lord to Thomas B. Marsh (the first president of the Quorum of the Twelve)—and thus to all other apostles of this dispensation—in verses 3, 4, 10-14, 19. How can you apply verse 3 and verse 10 in your life?
Note the ambition the Lord expects of His ordained prophets, seers, and revelators, even in the earliest years of the latter-day Restoration:
- The apostles were “chosen to bear testimony of [the Lord’s] name and to send it abroad among all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people” (verse 1; see also verse 16), including among the Gentiles, the Jews, and “the ends of the earth” (verse 4). Note the similar language in D&C 114:1; wherein the Lord called David W. Patten (one of the original members of the Quorum of the Twelve) to accompany the other apostles in the spring of 1839 “to testify of my name and bear glad tidings unto all the world.” Unfortunately, Elder Patten was not able to fulfill this assignment, having been killed in October 1838 by mobs in Missouri.
- The apostles are to raise a voice of warning day by day, beginning each morning and into the night (verse 5), publishing the Lord’s name among the children of men in “many nations” (verses 6-7).
- Their teachings are to bring down “many high ones” and exalt “many low ones” (verse 8); being “a rebuke unto the transgressor” (verse 9).
- They are to receive the same priesthood keys given to Joseph Smith (verse 15) and to “unlock the door of the kingdom” in all places, as assigned by the First Presidency (verses 17, 21, 32).
- They are commanded to purify their hearts and then go into all the world to preach the gospel “unto every creature” (verse 28).
- Because of the greatness of their calling, the Lord commands them, “cleanse your hearts and your garments” (verse 33), and to remain faithful until the Lord’s coming (verse 34). Those who do not remain faithful are to be replaced by others (D&C 114:2; this instruction being given at a time when several of the original apostles, among others, were in personal apostasy against Joseph Smith and the Church).
D&C 113 Jesus Christ and His Work
In January 1838 the Prophet Joseph Smith and his counselor Sidney Rigdon left Kirtland under cover of darkness, barely escaping the threatening apostate mobs who were seeking to kill them. Joseph and Sidney rode horseback in very cold weather, making it safely to Missouri in March. In Section 113, Joseph gave inspired answers to questions related to Isaiah, chapters 11 and 52. Following is an organized summary (including the interpretations that many authorities and other commentators have offered for D&C 113:3-6):
|D&C||Isaiah||Symbol or Phrase||Meaning|
|113:1-2||11:1-5||Stem/Branch of Jesse||Jesus Christ (descendant of David, son of Jesse)|
|113:3-4||11:1||Rod (from the Stem)||Joseph Smith|
|113:5-6||11:10||Root of Jesse||Also Joseph Smith|
|113:7-8||52:1||Zion to put on strength||Latter-day priesthood and Zion|
|113:9-10||52:2, 6-8||Zion loosing herself||The gathering of Israel|