D&C 125 Do My Will
According to verse 2, how does the Lord define those who are truly “essaying” (trying) to be His Saints?
D&C 126 Brigham Young
Joseph Smith’s love and esteem for Brigham Young is evident in the way Joseph began his recording of this revelation: “Dear and well-beloved brother, Brigham Young, verily thus saith the Lord unto you. …” In this revelation the Lord speaks to Brigham of his missionary efforts of the prior decade, which included:
- 1832—Brigham traveled and preached in New York and Ohio (beginning only a week after his April baptism, before even meeting Joseph Smith), and then went into Canada.
- 1833—He continued preaching in Canada, traveling back and forth several times; also preaching again in New York. During these early years his wife Miriam died of tuberculosis, and Brigham married Mary Ann Angell.
- 1834—Brigham helped build the Kirtland Temple and participated in the Zion’s Camp march to Missouri and back.
- 1835—He was ordained an apostle and called to preach to Native American tribes in New York; then again to Canada, followed by a mission in Vermont and Massachusetts.
- 1836—He preached throughout New England again, including New York, Vermont, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine, baptizing his cousin Willard Richards (who later became an apostle and a counselor to Brigham in the First Presidency)
- 1837—Brigham and Willard traveled and preached throughout New England. Later that year, when several apostles left to begin preaching the restored gospel in England, Joseph Smith kept Brigham in Ohio for help in strengthening the Church and its members there.
- 1840-1841—Under extremely difficult circumstances and sickness, Brigham and seven other apostles depart on a mission to England, resulting in over 5,000 new converts in the first year alone. While in England Brigham became the president of the Quorum of the Twelve. A few days before Section 126 was given, he arrived back in Nauvoo.
In Brigham’s Nauvoo home, Joseph Smith received Section 126. What did the Lord tell Brigham in verses 1-2 about his missionary efforts? How would you feel to hear what the Lord said in these verses? (see also Alma 5:16).
D&C 127 “I Glory in Tribulation”
Once again Joseph Smith writes epistles to the Church (Sections 127 and 128; written five days apart). This time Joseph is not imprisoned (as with Sections 121-123), but is in hiding from persecutors, staying at the home of the father of Apostle John Taylor. Joseph opens by expressing his attitude toward persecutions and other trials:
- Joseph’s enemies pursued him “without a cause,” and also without “the least shadow or coloring of justice or right on their side”; their claims all being “founded in falsehood” (verse 1).
- Joseph startingly stated: “As for the perils which I am called to pass through, they seem but a small thing to me…. It has all become a second nature to me; and I feel, like Paul, to glory in tribulation” (verse 2; see Paul’s declarations about trials in Romans 5:1-5).
- “I shall triumph over all my enemies” (verse 2; see also the Lord’s promise to Joseph in D&C 121:8).
- In spite of all these difficulties, the Prophet calls upon the Saints to “rejoice, therefore, and be exceedingly glad; for Israel’s God is their God” (verse 3). Think of all that Jehovah did for the children of Israel throughout Old Testament times. This is Our God today, also.
- Despite the trials and troubles Joseph was enduring, what priorities were paramount for him? Find in verses 4-9 what Joseph counseled the Saints to do during such times.
- Joseph wrote, “The enemy is on the alert, and as the Savior said, the prince of this world cometh, but he hath nothing in me” (verse 11). What a blessing it would be if each of us could say that Satan has nothing in us!
- In verse 12 the Prophet expresses his desire to the Saints “that you all may be saved.” He also displays this love in D&C 128:25. For other such expressions by prophets of God, see 1 Nephi 1:5; 2 Nephi 33:3; and Alma 7:27.
On May 6, 2020, President Russell M. Nelson sent a video message to Church members worldwide, saying, “We rejoice in the peace that radiates from the Lord Jesus Christ. It will continue to fill us with hope and joy. Our Heavenly Father and his Beloved Son love us, are aware of us and will bless each of us. I love you, dear brothers and sisters, and assure you that wonderful days are ahead.”
D&C 128:1-9 “A Very Bold Doctrine”
In this epistle the Prophet began, “I now resume the subject of the baptism for the dead, as that subject seems to occupy my mind, and press itself upon my feelings the strongest” (verse 1). This is a clear example of one way the Holy Ghost can operate in our lives; He gives us thoughts that occupy our minds and press upon our feelings. Have you experienced this in your life?
Joseph continues by teaching more in relation to baptisms for the dead, including the need for a recorder who is an eye and ear witness of each ordinance (verses 2-3). Note the key words Joseph used in relation to this: a record of truth, accurate, particular, precise, the whole proceedings, certifying, giving the date and names, history of the whole transaction, naming three individuals that are present, and so forth (see also verses 4-5). Imagine how confusing and disordered our temple records might be if the Prophet had not been inspired from the beginning to insist upon strict accuracy. Joseph then spoke of two sets of records being kept—one on earth and one in heaven (see verses 6-9).
D&C 128:15-18 “Cannot Be Lightly Passed Over”
Go through these verses and identify the powerful language Joseph used as he spoke of vicarious ordinances for the dead. What things did Joseph say about the impact of this work upon ourselves? Elder John A. Widtsoe of the Quorum of the Twelve taught, “In our preexistent state, in the day of the great council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty.…We agreed, right then and there, to be not only saviors for ourselves but … saviors for the whole human family. We went into a partnership with the Lord. The working out of the [Father’s] plan became then not merely the Father’s work, and the Savior’s work, but also our work” (Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine, Oct. 1934, p. 189).
D&C 128:19-24 “What Do We Hear?”
As Joseph continues to write about the flood of truth and light restored in the early years of this latter-day dispensation, he used uplifting, inspiring, animating terms. Which of the following speak most powerfully to your soul?:
- “A voice of gladness! A voice of mercy from heaven; and a voice of truth out of the earth; glad tidings for the dead; a voice of gladness for the living and the dead; glad tidings of great joy” (verse 19).
- Joseph also recounted the heavenly ministrations of Moroni, the Lord Jesus Christ, Michael (Adam), Peter, James, John, God the Father, Gabriel (Noah), Raphael (identity uncertain), and other “divers angels”; bestowing such blessings as the Book of Mormon, additional witnesses of the plates, detection of the devil, priesthood authority, keys, dispensations, rights, honors, majesty, glory, and consolation (verses 20-21).
- Also, “Shall we not go on in such a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage … on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad” (verse 22).
- “Let the mountains shout for joy … and tell the wonders of your Eternal King! … Praise the Lord … weep for joy! … sing together … shout for joy! And let the eternal creations declare his name forever and ever!” (verse 23).
- “Let us, therefore, as a church and a people, and as Latter-day Saints, offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness; and let us present in his holy temple … a book containing the records of our dead” (verse 24).
Even while in hiding for his own safety, Joseph penned for us what could be called a glorious psalm of joy. How do you think these epistles from their Prophet helped the Saints in Nauvoo? Perhaps you could write a brief “psalm of joy” that expresses your feelings about the “glad tidings” of the restored gospel. Consider recording it in a journal or sharing it with loved ones.
In the October 2016 general conference, President Russell M. Nelson taught, “The joy we feel has little to do with the circumstances of our lives and everything to do with the focus of our lives.”