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Doctrine & Covenants 20
“The Articles and Covenants of the Church” This was the first revelation given through the prophet Joseph Smith to be formally sustained by the membership of the Church. It was known as the Articles and Covenants of the Church of Christ and was once known as the Constitution for the Restored Church. It was authored by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. The writing probably began sometime in 1829, but not completed until at least April 6 th, 1830. Section 22 was originally a part of this revelation.
Sixty people were present. They needed 3 -9 people to meet New York’s legal requirement for incorporating a religious society. They chose to have six. Joseph Smith Hyrum Smith Samuel Smith (24) (30) (22) Oliver Cowdery (23) Peter Whitmer Jr. (20) David Whitmer (25) What is the most distinguishing feature of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?
The Six That Were Present: Joseph Smith (24) Hyrum Smith (30) Oliver Cowdery (23) David Whitmer (25) Samuel Smith (22) Peter Whitmer Jr. (20)
President Mc. Kay answered, “divine authority by direct revelation. ” Doctrine & Covenants 20: 1 The prophet Joseph Smith recorded that the Lord commanded him to organize the Church on April 6 th, 1830. The importance of April 6 th was explained by President Harold B. Lee:
April 6, 1973 is a particularly significant date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The Church of Jesus of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and master, Jesus Christ” (Conference Report, April, 1975, 3 -4). The first edition of the Doctrine and Covenants Commentary cautioned against using this to prove Christ was born at the exact beginning of the Christian Era; so have Bible Scholars --- J. Reuben Clark and Bruce R. Mc. Conkie. Part of the problem was that Christ was alive at the death of Herod the Great, an event of 4 B. C. in careful chronologies.
Organization of the Church Directed Doctrine & Covenants 20: 1 April 6 th, 1830 should probably not be understood as a confirmation that the organization of the Church took place 1, 830 years after the birth of Christ. If, as we learn in the Gospel of Matthew, the wise men visited Herod before finding the Christ child. We can with some certainty identify the year of his birth. History shows that Herod died before the Passover of 750 A. U. C. (750 years after the founding of Rome), which corresponds to the year 4 B. C. in our reckoning of time.
Herod’s order to slay the children in and around Bethlehem “from two years old and under” (Matthew 2: 16) suggests that Christ was born in 5 or 6 B. C. (Bruce R. Mc. Conkie, Mortal Messiah, 1: 349 -50). Both history and the testimony of our modern prophets indicate that Christ was born on April 6 (Harold B. Lee, Conference Report, April 1973, 4).
President Spencer W. Kimball commented that “the name Jesus Christ and what it represents has been plowed deep into the history of the world, never to be uprooted. Christ was born on the sixth of April. Being one of the sons of God and His only begotten, His birth is of supreme importance” (Conference Report, April, 1975, 3 -4).
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 2 One cannot hold an office in an non-existent organization. If they had already held the office of apostle, this ordination would have been unnecessary.
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 2 -5 First and Second Elder of the Church: 1. Joseph Smith 2. Oliver Cowdery v. 38 Why? An Apostle is an Elder! To avoid problems as to who the Lord would work through!
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 8 -16 “The Book of Mormon will change your life. It will fortify you against the evils of our day. It will bring a spirituality into your life that no other book will. It will be the most important book you will read in preparation for a mission and for life. A young (person) who knows and loves the Book of Mormon, who has read it several times, who has a abiding testimony of its truthfulness, and who applies its teachings will be able to stand against the wiles of the devil and will be a mighty tool in the hands of the Lord” (President Benson, Conference Report, April 1986, 56).
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 25 -26 Doctrine & Covenants 20: 30 Justification: We are justified to enter God’s presence by entering all oaths and covenants necessary and then by remaining righteous and faithful. It is available to us because of the Atonement.
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 31 Sanctification: Overcoming every sin and bringing all into subjection to the Law of Christ.
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 37 Still used in baptismal interviews today! Oliver Cowdery wrote to Joseph Smith and told him that he had discovered an error in the Book of Commandments, (20: 37), he then commanded Joseph Smith in the name of God to erase it (History of the Church 1: 105). Joseph’s response was by what authority do you make this command? Oliver later apologized.
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 38 What is meant by “an Apostle is an Elder? ” “We learn at this time the Lord revealed that the designation ‘Elder’ is one applicable to the apostles and likewise to all others who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood. The use of this designation makes it needless to use unnecessarily sacred terms as ‘Apostle, ’ ‘Patriarch, ’ ‘High Priest, ’ etc. It is proper in general usage to speak of the apostles, the seventies and all others holding the Melchizedek Priesthood as ‘elders, ’ Of course, the term President, in speaking of the First Presidency, is the proper designation” (Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, 1: 95). & Covenants 20: 41 “ 2 Baptisms”
Elder Bruce R. Mc. Conkie outlined the importance of both kinds of baptism: “To gain salvation every accountable person must receive two baptisms. They are the baptism of water and of the Spirit. The baptism of the spirit is called the baptism of fire and of the Holy Ghost. By the power of the Holy Ghost – who is the sanctifier – dross, iniquity, carnality, sensuality, and every evil thing is burned out of the repentant soul as if by fire; the cleansed person becomes literally a new creature of the Holy Ghost. He is born again.
The baptism of fire is not something in addition to the receipt of the Holy Ghost; rather it is the actual enjoyment of the gift which is offered by the laying on of hands at the time of baptism (Bruce R. Mc. Conkie, Mormon Doctrine, 73).
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 47 The Priests are to visit the house of each member. https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=TXGCGZa 8 Yk. E Doctrine & Covenants 20: 61 -62 Conference, once every three months? General, Stake, and Ward!
A Home Teaching Experience in Kirtland In Kirtland, members of the priesthood were assigned to visit the homes of the Saints and teach them. Doctrine & Covenants 20: 47 was given about nine months before Joseph moved to Kirtland. William Cahoon, one of the earliest Ohio converts, later recalled his experience as home teacher to the Prophet’s family: I was called and ordained to act as a teacher to visit the families of the Saints. I got along very well till I found that I was obliged to call and pay a visit to the Prophet. Being young, only about seventeen years of age, I felt my weakness in visiting the Prophet and his family in the capacity of a teacher. I almost felt like shrinking from duty. Finally I went to the door and knocked, and in a minute the Prophet came to the door. I stood trembling, and said to him:
“Brother Joseph, I have come to visit you in the capacity of a teacher, if it is convenient for you. ” He said, “Brother William, come right in, I am glad to see you; sit down in that chair there and I will go and call my family in. ” They soon came in and took seats. He then said, “Brother William, I submit myself and family into your hands, ” and then took his seat. “Now Brother William, ” said he “ask all the questions you feel like. ” By this time all my fears and trembling had ceased, and I said, “Brother Joseph, are you trying to live your religion? ” He answered “Yes. ” I then said “Do you pray in your family? ” He said “Yes. ” Do you teach your family the principles of the gospel? ” He replied “Yes, I am trying to do it. ” “Do you ask a blessing on your food? ” He answered “Yes. ”
“Are you trying to live in peace and harmony with all your family? ” He said that he was. I then turned to Sister Emma, his wife, and said “Sister Emma, are you trying to live your religion? Do you teach your children to obey their parents? Do you try to teach them to pray? ” To all of these questions she answered “Yes, I am trying to do so. ” I then turned to Joseph and said, “I am now through with my questions as a teacher; and now if you have any instructions to give, I shall be happy to receive them. ” He said “God bless you, Brother William, and if you are humble and faithful, you shall have power to settle all difficulties that may come to you in the capacity of a teacher.
I then left my parting blessing upon him and his family, as a teacher, and took my departure (Elder William Farrington Close, Juvenile Instructor 28 August 15, 1892: 492 -93).
Doctrine & Covenants 20: 65 Common Consent, a sign of the true Church (D&C 26). Doctrine & Covenants 20: 70 Baby blessings? A command from God that should be seriously complied with.
Laying on of Hands by Women in Administrations: “If a man and his wife were alone with a sick person, could he anoint with the oil and then seal the anointing with his wife assisting using the priesthood she holds jointly with her husband? President Joseph F. Smith answered this question as follows:
“Does a wife hold the priesthood with her husband, and may she lay hands on the sick with him, with authority? A wife does not hold the priesthood with her husband, but she enjoys the benefits thereof with him; and if she is requested to lay hands on the sick with him, or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children (Doctrines of Salvation vol. 3 176 -77).
When this is done the wife is adding her faith to the administration of her husband. The wife would lay on hands just as would a member of the Aaronic Priesthood, or faithful brother without the priesthood, she in this manner giving support by faith to the ordinance performed by her husband. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, … there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration (41…Era, vol. 10, 308…Smith, op. cit. , 224 -25).
Elder Oaks gave counsel regarding women and laying on of hands in 1992. “In considering the Prophet’s instructions to the first Relief Society, we should remember that in those earliest days in Church history more revelation was to come. Thus, when he spoke to the sisters about the appropriateness of their laying on hands to bless one another, the Prophet cautioned “that the time had not been before that these things could be in their proper order --- that the Church is not now organized in its proper order, and cannot be until the Temple is completed” (Minutes, 28 Apr. 1842, 36). During the century that followed, as temples became accessible to most members, “proper order” required that these and other sacred practices be confined within those temples” (Elder Oaks, “The Relief Society and the Church, ” April 1992 General Conference).
President John Taylor pointed out that in addition to this junction’s being “a direct command of Jehovah, and as such should be studiously complied without hesitancy or objection, we think quite a number of excellent reasons can be adduced to prove that this commandment is attended with beneficial results to babe and to parents, who by bringing their child before the Church manifest their faith in the sight of their brethren and sisters, in God’s word and his promises, as well as their thankfulness to him for increasing their posterity and for the safe delivery of his handmaiden. The child is also benefited by the united faith and responsive prayers of the assembled Saints” (Millennial Star, 15 Apr. 1878, 235).
The Sacrament Doctrine & Covenants 20: 75 -79 Willing to take upon them the name of the Son. Commenting on this text, Elder Dallin H. Oaks observed, “It is significant that when we partake of the sacrament we do not witness that we take upon us the name of Jesus Christ. We witness that we are willing to do so… The fact that we only witness to our willingness suggests that something else must happen before we actually take that sacred name upon us in the most important sense.
“What future event or events could this covenant contemplate? The scriptures suggest two sacred responsibilities, one concerning the authority of God, especially as exercised in the temples, and the other – closely related – concerning exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom…
“Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinance of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us” (Dallin H. Oaks, Conference Report, April 1985, 102 -3). Originally these prayers were the same as in the Book of Mormon but were later changed.
“The Administration of the Sacrament” B. H. Roberts insisted they were the most perfect forms of sacred literature to be found. To participate in them is to enter the Holy of Holies of the Atonement (Truth, Way, Light, 39). These prayers spiritualize the physical and physicalize the spiritual. They unite from man’s mortal condition to an eternal family.
Elder Melvin J. Ballard cautions, “We must come… to the sacrament table hungry” (Ballard, Melvin J. Ballard, 132). Some come to the banquet table each week with pitchers, ready to catch and drink every drop of eternal life that is offered. Others come with cups --- and still others with yet smaller receptacles. Jedediah M. Grand observed: “A great many people partake of the Sacrament, and at the same time are thinking, ‘How many teams can I get tomorrow to haul stone? I wonder if that sister has a bonnet like mine, or if I can get one like hers? I wonder if it is going to be a good day tomorrow, or whether it will rain or snow? ’… You can sit in this stand read such thoughts in their faces” (Journal of Discourses, 2: 277).
I imagine that if we could see the heavenly barometer that reads and records the secret thoughts of each person during this holy ordinance, we would have a pretty good measure of the spirituality of that person (Tad R. Callister, The Infinite Atonement, 288). Each week a feast is served at sacrament meeting. Speakers, music, and prayers are integral parts of this meeting, but they are not the main course. The music might be discordant, the speakers monotonous --- and yet those who come to the sacrament table hungry still can be filled. Any man or woman who comes to sacrament meeting hungering and thirsting for spiritual food will find refreshment and nourishment for his or her soul.
Elder Marion G. Romney recalled it being said of President Wilford Woodruff “that while the sacrament was being passed, his lips could be observed in silent motion as he repeated to himself over and over again, ‘I do remember thee, I do remember thee’” (Romney, “Reverence, ” 3).
Gerald Lund shared the account he read of climbing instructor, Alan Czenkusch. “Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moment in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, ten feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. “’Don saved my life, ’ says Czenkusch. ‘How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him’” (Lund, Jesus Christ, 45). As Brother Lund observed, “Those very words are the words of the sacrament covenant (Lund, Jesus Christ, 45).