D&C 64:1-43

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Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 64
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Historical setting[edit]

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For a brief overview of D&C 64 in historical relation to the rest of the Doctrine & Covenants, see Historical Overview of the Restoration Scriptures. For lengthier discussions of the historical setting, see Historical Context of the Doctrine & Covenants, chapter 8 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 10.


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  • D&C 64:9: The greater sin. What God does is to help us repent and grow into something more than we are now. (Moses 1:39). He wants us to outgrow and no longer be the same people who used to commit sins. He promises that when we repent and outgrow those prior sins, they will be forgotten and will be remembered no more. (__). Understood from this perspective, failing to forgive is one of the most unGodlike things we can do. Regardless of whether failing to forgive counts as a demerit or a sin, being someone who is unwilling to forgive makes us be unlike our Heavenly Father and not live a Celestial law. Failing to forgive, as hard as it sometimes is, thus stops our own forward progress regardless of what other people may do.
Also see Stephen's personal thoughts on this verse here (Ethesis blog entry, Feb 24, 2006).
  • D&C 64:23-24: Tithing and burning. The connection between tithing and burning in verse 23 hints at Malachi, and then verse 24 confirms this by quoting Mal 4:1. There, the apostate temple priesthood is condemned by the Lord in a dialogue, precisely because they have "robbed" the tithes and offerings (that other Israelites have brought to the temple?) (Mal 3:8-12). Those of the priesthood who repent in response to this condemnation together write up a "book of remembrance," into which their names are inserted (Mal 3:16). This makes all the difference when in 4:1 the coming of the Lord to the temple is announced: those who are not written in the book are burned, as this revelation here announces as well. That Elijah's return is then promised in Mal 4:5-6 might at first seem odd, but the point seems to be that the "book of remembrance" written up is something that remains to be sealed up by the powers of the fullness of the priesthood.
All of this might be read into the Doctrine and Covenants. The connections between these two verses and Malachi are quite obvious. And then these same kinds of connections are obvious in D&C 85, where the relation between tithing and the law of consecration begins to be clarified. In fact, in that revelation, the "book of remembrance" and the sealing together of "fathers" and "children" are also mentioned, drawing these themes together. That the temple is in question in Malachi becomes relevant in D&C 97:10-14, where tithing is specifically gathered for the building of a temple in Zion (where this, D&C 64, is received, and where this law has particular application, according to verse 22 here). Finally, D&C 119 confirms all of these themes by laying out the law of tithing quite broadly (and again in connection with the law of consecration).
These themes, all gathered together, suggest something about the relation between this revelation (section 64) and the revelation of the law of consecration (section 42): apparently the latter was given before the former because of the complete interconnectedness of consecration and tithing, an interconnectedness that makes tithing not a preparation for consecration but a token of its already being kept. That is: tithing is what one does after consecration, according to the collective witness of these several revelations. In this register, it is interesting that D&C 64 once concluded the Book of Commandments. Coming essentially as the culmination of a series of revelations connected with Zion and its establishment in Jackson County, Missouri, this section provided the people returning to the environs of Eden with the law of consecration, in connection with the law of sacrifice or tithing. All of this deserves more thought.

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Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • D&C 64:10. Why does the Lord require us to forgive all men? Why must we forgive even those who the Lord will not forgive (see verse 7)?
  • D&C 64:36. What does it mean to be "of the blood of Ephraim"? Does this somehow relate behavior with heredity or biology?
  • D&C 64:36. How can verse 36 be understood without falling into a facile ethnocentrism?


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