This week we will be studying the D&C 46-48 Come Follow Me Lesson. This is a section focused on deceivers, hypocrites and believers. This section was given to the Saints of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in an effort to help them navigate their faith journey and overcome doubt.
Here is what you have to look forward to this week:
Navigating Your Faith Journey
Dealing with Doubt
None Shall Be Lost
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In the heading to this text in Revelation Book 1, John Whitmer wrote that it was directed “to the Church concerning conformation & sacrament meetings &c.” Joseph Smith’s revelations and the Book of Mormon addressed these topics even before the founding of the Church of Christ in 1830. In May 1829 Joseph dictated a passage as part of his translation of the gold plates which stated, “And behold, ye shall meet together oft, and ye shall not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you, and forbid them not.”
Excerpt from Joseph Smith Papers D&C 46
This revelation appointed John Whitmer to take up the work formerly done by Oliver Cowdery as scribe and recorder—and added a new responsibility. Cowdery, who was “called . . . to write for” Joseph Smith by April 1829,1 was the principal scribe for the Book of Mormon and Joseph’s early revelations and, once the Church of Christ was organized in April 1830, kept minutes at meetings. He also served as scribe for early portions of Joseph’s inspired revision of the Bible.
By the time of this revelation, however, Cowdery was away on a mission, and Whitmer had assumed some of Cowdery’s formal duties. He succeeded Cowdery as scribe for Joseph’s Bible revision and also assisted Joseph in gathering and copying revelations, a work that culminated in the creation of a manuscript book of revelations.
Excerpt from Joseph Smith Papers D&C 47
This revelation addressed the concern about where the believers emigrating from New York to Ohio would settle when they arrived. During the fall and winter of 1830–1831, revelations directed the New York believers to gather to Ohio, declared that a holy city known as Zion or the New Jerusalem was to be built “among the Lamanites,” and appointed Edward Partridge as bishop to the Church of Christ, all matters relevant to this question. Because “the Law,” an extensive revelation dated 9 February, declared that the bishop had the responsibility to oversee “the properties of my church” and “administer to the poor and needy,” the question was especially relevant to Partridge.
Excerpt from Joseph Smith Papers D&C 48
Missionary John Murdock and his companions were preaching in Cleveland, Ohio, when a deceiver came forward and knelt as if to pray, but actually he was giving “a sign to the banditry to begin their abuse.” Immediately his cohorts blew out the candles and threw inkstands and books at the speaker. Later, back in Kirtland, the brethren counseled about the situation. Some favored excluding from Church meetings all who were not firm in the faith. Others opposed this idea, citing the Book of Mormon passage in which the Lord commands the Church to “not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together” for sacrament or confirmation meetings (3 Nephi 18:22). Both positions seemed justified. The Saints needed further light.
The revelation that organized the Church commanded the Saints to keep a written record of its activities (see D&C 21:1). Oliver Cowdery assumed the responsibility to do so, and then the Lord called him on a mission. John Whitmer, meanwhile, returned from a mission and “was appointed by the voice of the Elders to keep the Church record.” Joseph asked him also to write and preserve a history of the Church. “I would rather not do it,” John explained, “but observed that the will of the Lord be done, and if he desires it, I desire that he would manifest it through Joseph the Seer.”
In 1849, Brigham Young had a dream in which he saw the Prophet Joseph Smith driving a large herd of sheep and goats. Some of these animals were large and beautiful; others were small and dirty. Brigham Young recalled looking into the Prophet Joseph Smith’s eyes and saying, “Joseph, you have got the darndest flock … I ever saw in my life; what are you going to do with them?” The Prophet, who seemed unconcerned with this unruly flock, simply replied, “[Brigham,] they are all good in their places.”
When President Young awoke, he understood that while the Church would gather a variety of “sheep and goats,” it was his responsibility to bring all in and allow each of them to realize their full potential as they took their places in the Church.
“First, we come to the Inn as we are, with the foibles and imperfections we each have. Yet we all have something needed to contribute. Our journey to God is often found together.”
Don’t you just love this week’s D&C 46-48 Come Follow Me Lesson? The more we study the lives of the early Saints, the more we realize how well we relate with them. Just like us, the Saints were trying their best to do the Lord’s will. As we continue to study in Doctrine & Covenants, we will receive answers to our prayers and peace in our hearts. We are so grateful for the early Saints and the recorded history of it.