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2 Ne 28:21-25

Home > The Book of Mormon > Second Nephi > Chapters 12-30 > Chapters 28-30
Previous page: Chapters 25b-27                      Next page: Chapters 31-33


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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • 2 Ne 28:11-15. In these verses Nephi is speaking about many of the people of our day. Verse 12 focuses on pride and false teachers. Verse 13 is interesting because Nephi says that the people of our day rob the poor with their fine sanctuaries and rob the poor because of their fine clothing. Typically we only use the word rob when we are talking about taking something that rightly belongs to someone else. Under that interpretation, Nephi is saying that both communities collectively and we all individually have an obligation to take care of the poor. A community that can build a fine sanctuary has money to take care of the poor. Those with the resources should take care of the poor. So, if that community fails to use their money to take care of the poor, they rob the poor. At the individual level, the same line of reasoning applies. We rob the poor when we don't take care of them but we buy fine clothing.
  • 2 Ne 28:21: All is well. The phrase "all is well," used here and in verse 25, is used only one other time in the Book of Mormon (Hel 13:28). In the KJV of the Old Testament, the phrase is used only twice. In 2 Sam 18:28, the phrase is used in describing Ahimaaz's failure to tell David about the death of his son Absalom. If Nephi (or Joseph Smith as translator) indeed has the phraseology of this incident in mind, the "all is well" allusion here suggests an interpretation that Ahimaaz's motivation was impure. In this light, the "all is well" phrase suggests a type of shutting of one's eyes, either to oneself (self-betrayal) or to others (deception or half-truths). The other Old Testament occurence of "all is well" is in 2 Kgs 5:22 where Elisha's servant Gehazi chases down Naaman without Elisha's knowledge in order to obtain money as a token of appreciation for Namaan's being healed. Again, the phrase "all is well" is spoken by someone in a deceitful act.
  • 2 Ne 28:21: At ease in Zion. This phrase occurs in Amos 6:1. The "at ease" portion of this phrase also occurs in have been this phrase from Amos that Isaiah borrows in Isa 32:9 and 11 in parallel with "careless daughters." Some scholars have suggested that Amos has influenced Isaiah's writings, and since Nephi has been quoting exentsively from Isaiah, there may be a transitive type of influence (or, perhaps Nephi had direct access to Amos's writings).
  • 2 Ne 28:22: Obscuring the existence of the devil. Among many of the ancient truths that has been obscured over time, is the truth of the Adversary's reality. See Moses 1:12-23 for an example of an account of the devil that has disappeared from the modern Bible. The devil figure is so prominently absent from much of the Old Testament that many modern theologians and critics hold that he was not "discovered" until well after the time of kings David and Solomon. This perception that the devil was merely "discovered", or "created" by ancient theologians to account for evil they did not want to attribute to God, has, in turn, led many to believe that the devil does not in fact exist, fulfilling the Devil's purpose with renewed effectiveness. Clearly, however, Satan does exist.
  • 2 Ne 28:22: Undoing the Fall? The strategy of the devil that Nephi is describing here seems to echo Lehi's teaching in 2 Ne 2:11 in an interesting way. It seems that the devil, in trying to deceive others as to his existence, is trying to undo the oppositional "compound in one" concept that Lehi juxtaposes against a state of "one body" and "no life niether death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."
  • 2 Ne 30:6: Pure and delightsome. The 1830 version of the Book of Mormon reads "white and delightsome" which has been the source of some controversy regrading charges of racism. However, Joseph Smith himself changed the translation to "pure and delightsome" in 1840 because he was concerned that modern readers would misinterpret this passage as a reference to skin color rather than righteousness. However, the 1840 edition was not used in most subsequent printings of the Book of Mormon, so the change wasn't effectively implemented until the 1981 edition of the Book of Mormon. For more, see The Charge of "Racism" in the Book of Mormon by John A. Tvedtnes.

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • 2 Ne 28:21: What attitude is Nephi preaching against in this verse? How is that attitude different than the "all is well" attitude expressed in the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints"?
  • 2 Ne 28:21: What is meant by saying that the devil cheateth their souls? What about this is cheating?
  • 2 Ne 28:23: Does verse 23 say that hell and the devil will be judged? What would it mean to judge hell? What does it mean to judge the devil? Is there a chance he could fare better or worse at his judgment depending on how he acts now?
  • 2 Ne 28:29: How can we apply this verse to ourselves? Are there ways in which we say "we have enough"?
  • 2 Ne 28:32: What is God saying about the Gentiles when he says they will deny him?
  • 2 Ne 29:6: Which is more applicable to this verse, Matt 5:22 or the various sayings about fools in the Old Testament book of Proverbs?
  • 2 Ne 29:7: Is this a democratization of divine knowledge, or merely a declaration that God is able to speak to more than one covenant people?
  • 2 Ne 29:8: How does the Lord speak the same words to all nations, when he has already admitted that he operates under the constraining factor of speaking to his servants "in their weakness, after the manner of their language" (D&C 1:24)?
  • 2 Ne 29:8: There are many cases where more than one nation has run together. But, other than the Book of Mormon, what other examples do we have that the testimony of those nations have run together?
  • 2 Ne 29:9: Is the Lord criticizing the concept of the canon that Christian sects adopted when, after the close of the New Testament, they believed that the scriptures could not be added upon because God no longer called prophets and because revelation had ceased?
  • 2 Ne 29:10: What is that causes Christians to hate the idea of God revealing more than is in the Bible?
  • 2 Ne 29:11: Why is Nephi implying that the Lord only spoke to literate peoples?
  • 2 Ne 29:12: If the Lord spoke to every nation, then how did the nations who relied on oral traditions to pass on information, rather than writing, receive and retain these revelations?
  • 2 Ne 29:13: Did the lost tribes follow the pattern of the other two groups and primarily produce their records during Old Testament times, even if each group will have to wait until the final dispensation to receive each other's records?
  • 2 Ne 29:14: Will just about all of this happen after the Second Coming of Christ?
  • 2 Ne 30:1: Is Nephi saying that all of his brothers, and all of their descendants, will die off if they become unrighteous?
  • 2 Ne 30:2: What exactly are the Jews supposed to repent of in order to remain within the covenant?
  • 2 Ne 30:3: What does the phrase "written unto the Gentiles" mean? Does it mean in this context something like "given unto the Gentiles"?
  • 2 Ne 30:4: Is Nephi saying that the descendants of Lehi are automatically within the covenant, just like the Jews, and can only be removed if they do not repent in time?
  • 2 Ne 30:5: Did Nephi assume that all of Lehi's latter-day descendants would respond equally to the message of the restoration, or did he foresee that some tribes and groups would be more accepting than others?
  • 2 Ne 30:7: Are the Jews being referred to in this verse the same as those who identify as Jews today?

Resources[edit]

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  • 2 Ne 28:21: Come, Come Ye Saints. William Clayton uses the phrase "all is well" in the hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints" to a very different purpose than Nephi uses it in these verses (21 & 25). "Come, Come, Ye Saints" counsels the saints to trust in the Lord and following him. Then, come what may, all is well.
  • 2 Ne 28:21: Brigham City. Brigham City, directed by Richard Dutcher, relies heavily on the "all is well" theme.
  • 2 Ne 29:5: LDS perspective on Jews. See What Do We Think of the Jews? by Russell Arben Fox at the Times and Seasons blog for more on the LDS view on Jews. Note also several links to articles, books, and reviews in the comments. (Here is a related thread, though its focus is more on cultural reflections, not doctrinal or early Church history issues.)

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Moro 7:11-15

Home > The Book of Mormon > Moroni > Chapter 7 > Verses 7:1-19
Previous page: Chapter 7                      Next page: Verses 7:20-39


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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Chapter 7. The relationship of Verses 7:1-19 to the rest of Chapter 7 is addressed at Chapter 7.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 7:1-19 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Moro 7:1-19[edit]

• judging between good and evil (1-19)
• address to followers of Christ who have obtained hope as shown by their peaceableness, hope defined (1-4)
• good people yield good fruit, evil people yield evil fruit (4-11)
• good comes from God, evil comes from the devil, judge between them carefully in the light of Christ (12-19)
- God entices to do good, the devil entices to do evil (12-13)
- judge carefully through the Spirit of Christ that is given to every man (14-16a)
- God entices to do good, the devil entices to do evil (16b-17)
- judge carefully in the light of Christ and lay hold on every good thing to be a child of Christ (18-19)

The first half (verses 4-11) addresses how good and evil are manifested in the lives of people. The second half (verses 12-19) addresses how good and evil enticements can be distinguished.

Moro 7:1-4: Address to audience[edit]

  • Moro 7:1: Faith, hope, and charity. Though this chapter concludes by talking about faith, hope and charity, along the way other subjects are discussed. But Moroni's introduction here suggests that we should read the entire chapter as a single sermon on faith, hope and charity, i.e., we should read the first handful of verses as somehow leading up to faith, etc.
  • Moro 7:1: After this manner. Moroni tells us that Mormon spoke "after this manner." We might interpret this phrase as an indication that this chapter is the type of sermon Mormon delivered rather than a particular sermon delivered on a particular occasion. Another interpretation is that this is a particular sermon (or at least a part of one) but that Mormon spoke in a similar way many times. A third interpretation, somewhere between these first two, is that Moroni is writing something from memory and that he is therefore warning that it was only "after this manner" that the discourse was given. If Moroni's avowal that he is writing "a few of the words of my father Mormon" is to be taken quite strictly, then it seems likely that one of the latter two readings would be preferred.
  • Moro 7:1: In the synagogue. The wording suggests Moroni is referring to a single structure. It is curious that there would be one synagogue that could be identified in this way rather than many synagogues.
  • Moro 7:1: For the place of worship. It is interesting that Moroni does not make reference to "a place of worship," but "the place of worship." Moreover, it is certainly significant that the sermon recorded in this chapter was given in connection with worship: in a post-Third-Nephi setting, one might assume that this would suggest a eucharistic setting. This point is absolutely vital for a close reading of verse 2.
  • Moro 7:2: Grace of God. Paul also uses the phrase "the grace of God" to refer to his work for the Lord, see 1 Cor 3:10.
  • Moro 7:2: By the grace of God . . . I am permitted to speak. It is interesting that Mormon's first words of this noteworthy sermon are about Christ's calling to him and the grace of God giving him this "gift" of a calling. This short verse expresses Mormon's humility and gratitude with regard to this calling. It seems likely that the calling Mormon refers to, when he speaks of Christ calling unto him, is the calling he discusses in 3 Ne 5:13, namely, that he is called to declare the gospel.
This beginning is similar to the beginnings of other sermons in the Book of Mormon. Jacob (Jacob 2:1) and Alma (Alma 5:3) both begin with reference to their calling from God. And though King Benjamin does not make explicit reference to his calling from God in the beginning of his sermon which commences in Mosiah 2:9, he makes it clear that he considers himself to be serving God in his service as king, and answerable to God for the sins of the people (see Mosiah 2:28, 30 in particular; Jacob says something similar in Jacob 1:19).
Mormon's tone, however, stands in contrast to the beginning of these other noteworthy Book of Mormon sermons in that he says "it is by the grace of God . . . that I am permitted to speak unto you" emphasizing the privilege that Mormon considers it to give this sermon, rather than the responsibility he feels. Mormon may particularly feel it a privilege to speak because at other times he has been prohibited from preaching (see Morm 1:17). It also may be that he considers giving this sermon a privilege because it addresses positive key aspects of the gospel, viz. faith, hope and charity (cf. verse 1), as opposed to less positive aspects of the gospel. (In this sense, Jacob's sermon seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum since he has to address the grave sins of pride and infidelity. Although King Benjamin and Alma do not seem to address gross sins as directly as Jacob, there still seems to be more of a call-to-repentance tone in their messages than Mormon's: King Benjamin saying "remember the poor" and Alma saying "remember your forefathers.")
  • Moro 7:3-4: Peaceable followers of Christ. Mormon notes here that he speaks to "the peaceable followers of Christ" and those with a "peaceable walk." Contrast this with Morm 4:11 where Mormon says that the Nephites delighted in shedding blood continually. It seems that Mormon may be addressing here a select group of peaceable followers of Christ in the midst of a nation that delighted in the shedding of blood. If the insight, that the followers of Christ were few in number at this point is correct, it may also explain the language of a single synagogue structure in verse 1.

Moro 7:4-11[edit]

  • Moro 7:4-13: Real intent and judging by works. This passage starts with Mormon telling his audience that he judges them as peaceable followers of Christ—people with a sufficient hope to enter into the rest of the Lord (v. 3)—because he sees their "peaceable walk with the children of men."
Mormon then goes on to say that good works can only be done by those with real intent. We might expect that an emphasis on intent would be used to caution people against judgments based on works. As Christ's teachings against hypocrisy illustrate (e.g. Matt 23:13-33), people may do something that looks good without the right intent. This also seems to be Paul's message in 1 Cor 13:3. But here Mormon uses the discussion of intent to justify his claim in verses 4-5 that he judges his audience by their works. We might wonder how judgments based on works are compatible with the idea that what makes an action good or evil is the intent.
One way to explain the difference between what Paul is saying in 1 Cor 13:3 and what Mormon talks about here may be in the different audiences that each addresses. Paul was addressing a culture where many people valued outward acts that seemed good. In such a society some people were doing good works to be seen of men. In contrast, Mormon was talking to people in a society that, as already noted above, delighted in the shedding of blood (see Morm 4:11). It may be that in Mormon's society being a peaceable follower of Christ was so unpopular that it simply wasn't something people did "to be seen of men."
In any case, Mormon seems to use his discussion of intent to justify his claim that he knows his audience is good because he sees their good works. This suggests that Mormon has the ability to judge intent when he sees works. Mormon justifies his claim by citing "the word of God" on this subject (v. 5), possibly referring to Christ's teachings in 3 Ne 14:16-20, "by their fruits ye shall know them." It seems that Mormon's understanding of Christ's teaching assumes that good fruit/works implies real intent—that is, we can tell the difference between someone who gives a good gift grudgingly and someone who gives it with real intent.
  • Moro 7:4-17: By their works ye shall know them. As we start into this section, in verses 4-5, Mormon seems to be giving an explanation of how it is that he knows that those whom he is addressing are peaceable followers of Christ and have obtained a sufficient hope to enter into the rest of the Lord. But the fact that Mormon continues the discussion through verse 17, and warns us along the way to be careful in how we judge (verse 14) suggests that Mormon has some additional reason for addressing this topic that goes beyond simply backing up his claim about the audience being peaceable and having sufficient hope to enter the rest of the Lord. Why does Mormon spend so much time on the topic of judging by works?
How we answer this question depends on how we read the rest of the chapter. Here's one outline: verses 4-17 tell us how to judge what is really good; verses 18-19 raise the next natural question—how do we get what is truly good; verses 20-48 then answers this by explaining how we can get what is good by having faith, hope and charity. In summary, Mormon is saying that when we recognize what is good, then desire it, we attain it through faith, hope and charity. (Compare this with Alma's teaching in Alma 32:26-30.)
Another interpretation of verses 4 through 17 in this chapter is to see it as a mini-sermon within the larger sermon which has the same point as the larger sermon. In this view, the point of this mini-sermon is to teach us that good works can only be done if they are done with real intent. This is very much the same point that the entire chapter is making, namely, that without charity nothing else is of value.
  • Moro 7:6: Real intent. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines real as "1. Actually being or existing; not fictitious or imaginary; 2. True; genuine; not artificial, counterfeit or factitious; 3. True; genuine; not affected; not assumed." These 3 definitions are all similar to each other. Interestingly, there is another definition listed with a different connotation: "5. In law, pertaining to things fixed, permanent or immovable, as to lands and tenements; as real estate, opposed to personal or movable property." This suggests that transient intentions, no matter how fervent, may not qualify as real intent. For a similar idea regarding the sincerity of one's gift or offering, see Lev 19:5.
  • Moro 7:6: Profit. Interestingly, the first occurrence of the term "profit" in scripture is in Gen 25:32 where Esau describes the birthright in terms of profit. This perhaps illustrates the wrong way to think about the birthright, in terms of how it can profitable. With this in mind, there might be a subtle kind of play on words or concepts here where Alma is using the term profit solely from the perspective of the evil man. That is, rather than Mormon talking in terms of profit to describe a gift, Mormon might said to be deliberately mentioning "a man being evil" first, before talking about a gift in terms of profit.
  • Moro 7:6ff. The teaching of these verses is similar to that of 1 Corinthians 13:3. Just as Mormon tells us here that doing good without real intent provides no benefit, so Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that he could give everything he has to the poor, but if he doesn't have charity/love, doing so provides no benefit. Clearly charity and doing good with real intent are used similarly. It is consistent with these verse to view charity as a requirement for doing good with real intent. In that interpretation, we cannot do a good dead for someone with real intent if we don't love them.
These teachings are also similar to the the first verses of Matthew 6. There Jesus teaches that those who give help to others for the right reasons have a reward from their Father in heaven, but those who do so for earthly glory are not similarly rewarded. The same is said of praying: if we pray to be seen of men we have no heavenly reward. Mormon's message here is a more general version of the same message. Mormon tells us that praying without real intent profits nothing the person who prays and is, in fact, counted as evil.
Compare also King Benjamin's comments in Mosiah 4:24-25 that those who would give to the needy if they had the means, are not condemned like those who have the means but do not give. All these teachings emphasize intent over action. (See also 1 Sam 16:7.) Of course, intent cannot be completely separated from actions--it is impossible to have the right intent and the ability but not to do the good work (see James 2:15-16).
  • Moro 7:6-10. Verses 6-10 collectively form a double clarification of the claim made in verse 5: "for if their works be good, then they are good also." (It is followed, in verse 11, by a much more succinct—and familiar—second clarification of the same claim.) The connection with this claim must not be forgotten at any point in working out the logic of the complex argument of these verses, lest it be missed that the argument is not itself self-sufficient.
The basic structure of the argument is easily abstracted from the text:
Preliminary argument concerning the basic claim of verse 5, marked by "For behold" (verse 6a)
Explanation of the preliminary argument, marked by "for if" (verse 6b)
Claim (without argumentation) supporting the explanation of the preliminary argument, marked by "For behold" (verse 7)
Step one of an argument bearing out the claim of verse 7, marked by "For behold, if..., [then]" (verse 8a)
Step two of the argument, marked by "wherefore it" (verse 8b)
Step three of the argument, marked by "wherefore he" (verse 8c)
The inverse of the claim (of verse 7) is also offered, marked by "And likewise" (verse 9a)
The inverse claim is emphasized by a second iteration, marked by "yea, and" (verse 9b)
The preliminary argument, having been proved, is restated word for word as a conclusion, marked by "Wherefore" (verse 10a)
The passage oddly ends with the excrescent doubling of the conclusion "neither will he give a good gift" (verse 10b)
This outline of the argument in verses 6-10 should make it quite clear that no one statement in these verses should be taken without reference to the passage as a whole: every aspect of the argument is tightly woven into the intentions of the whole.
  • Moro 7:6. The preliminary argument, which ends up needing so much clarification, runs as follows: "God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good." How should the grammar of this sentence be understood? It could be punctuated in several ways. First, should it be understood to be a direct or an indirect quotation?
God hath said: "A man ..."
God hath said [that] a man ...
If the sentence is punctuated as a direct quotation, then it would seem that Mormon should be understood as making reference to an actual text or to an actual revelatory event. If, however, the sentence is punctuated as an indirect quotation, Mormon can be understood to be summarizing, paraphrasing, or otherwise dealing only loosely with an actual communication from the Lord. A decision on this point of punctuation determines the direction of one's exegetical endeavors with the text.
It should be remembered that Mormon's words here were reportedly delivered in a public setting (he was speaking in the synagogue). If he had reference to some kind of personal revelatory experience, rather than to a text, it seems most likely that he would—following the usual Nephite style—at least make passing reference to the occasion (see 2 Ne 10:3; Mosiah 3:2; Alma 10:7). But if he had reference to some kind of (scriptural) text, then either he had reference to a text that is no longer extant (or at least not currently available in scripture), or he was only paraphrasing or citing the basic intention of the text he had in mind. The latter might, in the end, be the case. If Mormon was only loosely summarizing or paraphrasing a scriptural text with his "God hath said," then it is possible that he had reference to what is now Jeremiah 13:22-24 (and it should be remembered that the brass plates contained "many prophecies" attributed to Jeremiah, according to 1 Ne 5:13): "And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness." At any rate, presuming that Mormon was only drawing loosely on the text he had in mind, one can confidently state that there is scriptural precedent for the basic idea of Mormon's preliminary argument.
A second point of grammar and punctuation: how should the verbal phrase "being evil" be understood?
... a man being evil cannot do ...
... a man, being evil, cannot do ...
If the phrase "being evil" appears without being set off by commas, it functions as a qualifier of "a man," such that Mormon is talking only about an evil man, a man who (presumably intentionally) does evil things. If, however, the phrase is set off by commas, it functions as a clarification (rather than a qualification) of "a man," such that Mormon is talking about all men, understanding them all—because of the fall, presumably—as being in some sense "evil." A decision on this point of punctuation determines the direction of one's theologically interpretive endeavors with the text.
It should be noted that there is an important scriptural precedent for the use of the verbal phrase "being evil": Matt 7:11/3 Ne 14:11. In this text, which deals precisely with the question of the theme of giving gifts, Jesus appears to use the phrase in a way that assumes that all (fallen) human beings are in some sense "evil": "Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" How does this precedent shed light on the present passage? At the very least, it strengthens the case that "being evil" here should be set off by commas, such that Mormon has reference to all human beings as "being evil" in some sense. The following comments proceed on the assumption that that is the best reading, though it should be noted that the other reading—according to which Mormon means only to speak of specifically evil people—remains a (strong) possibility.
Following out the possibility that Mormon means to speak of all human beings as being, in some sense, evil, it must next be asked what he can mean by "evil." On this point, it should be noted that the word translated as "evil" (in "being evil") in Matt 7:11, while it can take the moral sense of "wickedness" or "evil," can also be used in non-moral senses, where it should be translated as "oppressed by toils" or "in a sorry plight." On this point, it should be noted that the word "evil" in English need not imply anything moral. Indeed, the 1828 Webster's Dictionary lists as the first definition of "evil": "1. Having bad qualities of a natural kind; mischievous; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief." Similarly, a quick glance through the Oxford English Dictionary makes it clear that, historically speaking, the word has had reference much more commonly to physical and non-moral "evils" than to moral ones. (The etymological meaning of the word simply implies the superseding of some kind of boundary.) Taking all of these clues together, it is at the very least possible to suggest that Mormon, like Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, is trying to talk about specifically fallen human beings, about human beings as evil in the sense that they are in a world of sorrow and sin—not in the sense that they are inherently depraved or necessarily wicked.
Following out this reading, one would have to take Mormon's meaning in the first part of verse 6 to be that, because of the Fall, human beings cannot of themselves "do that which is good." This reading, as it turns out, will be confirmed and clarified in important ways by the complex discussion of "counting" in verses 7-8. At this point, it is perhaps necessary only to spell out that basic claim.
The second part of verse 6 offers an explanation—a kind of defense—of this first, basic claim: "for if he [the fallen human being] offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing." Again, Matt 7/3 Ne 14 seems to be in Mormon's mind: the single theme of the "evil" human being unable to do good is here split into the "evil" human being who has the double task of (1) giving good gifts and (2) praying to God. In Matt 7/3 Ne 14, it is precisely this double theme that is at work: Jesus talks there not only about giving good gifts ("If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,..."), but also about praying to God ("...how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"). Each of these two themes deserves careful attention. Moreover, the question of giving/praying is further complicated by the inclusion in this second half of the verse of two unclarified concepts: "real intent" and "profit." What might be said of each of these themes?
The phrase "real intent" appears only five times in scripture (and always is preceded by "with"): once in the small plates (2 Ne 31:13) and four times in the Book of Moroni (Moro 6:8; 7:6, 9; 10:4). (The phrase "with real intent" is not only unique to the Book of Mormon in scripture; it seems also to be unique to Mormonism in religious dialogue!) The word "intent," according to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, means: "Literally, the stretching of the mind towards an object; hence, a design; a purpose; intention; meaning; drift; aim; applied to persons or things." The word "real," in the Book of Mormon, seems usually to mean "genuine" or "true" (see Alma 32:35; Hel 11:24; these are the only appearances of the word where it is not paired with the word "intent"). To do something "with real intent," then, seems simply to be to do it, as 2 Ne 31:13 says, without "hypocrisy" or "deception." It must be, it seems, a genuine act of one's own will (and not something dictated by the perceived desires of others).
But there remains an ambiguity here, because there is an ambiguity in the notion of giving: to give a gift can be taken as primarily a question of the giving or primarily as a question of the gift. In other words, it is difficult to know whether one's "real intent" is meant to qualify one's giving or one's gift. Is it that one must genuinely and willingly give, or is it that one must genuinely will that the givee be granted use of the gift? One understanding reduces the giving of the gift to the act of giving; the other reduces the giving of the gift to the object given. To compare the giving of the gift to the act of creation: the one model reduces creation to the traditional Christian notion of creation out of nothing; the other model reduces creation to the popular scientific notion of a purely mechanistic universe. Is one of these two models of gift-giving to be preferred, or are they both wrong together? What, in other words, is "real intent" in the act of giving a gift?
Perhaps the two models should be combined. To give a gift with real intent is genuinely to give something, but it is to do so without allowing the gift itself to drop out of the equation: the material gift must be more than a mere token of the relationship of giver-and-givee. On the other hand, to give a gift is ultimately to do something with an object, but it is to do it without allowing the act of giving itself to drop out of the equation: the act of giving must not be a mere halo around the given object. Here, perhaps, the comparison to creation can again be taken up, but now it can be compared with the notion of creation in Mormonism: God creates a world out of something; human beings have a purely material world that nonetheless was created.
There is a strong sense in which it is this kind of (combined) model alone that allows for a genuine experience of the gift on the part of the givee (who in turn must receive the gift as a gift, and that, it seems, in a similar two-fold way): the gift is not lost because it is caught up entirely in social (or even divinely social) relations on the one hand, and it is not lost because it is reduced to the status of a "mere" object on the other hand. The gift is, on this model, finally given up for use. One might say that the gift is, here, at last subtracted from the play of possession and ownership. The gift functions here neither (1) as a way of translating objective ownership and possession into interpersonal ownership and possession, nor (2) as a way of simply transferring ownership of an object from one individual to another. Here, it seems, the gift is given precisely in that it is freed from ownership and possession as such, set free at last to be used.
All of this said, what of the clause "it profiteth him nothing"? Here, the stakes of interpretation have been raised somewhat, because the very notion of (pecuniary) profit seems to cancel the idea of the gift that is in question: if one receives profit for giving a gift, can it really be said that the gift was given as a gift? It should first be noted that the word "profit" need not carry any specifically monetary weight: the word derives from the Latin proficio, literally, "to drive forward." Nonetheless, there seems to be no escaping of the fact that the word carries the idea of receiving advantage, and thus it seems that, even without monetary implications, the use of the word still threatens the integrity of the gift. However, some of the peculiarities of grammar here might open up a way to make sense of this difficulty. The phrase "it profiteth him nothing" uses the verb "to profit" in the curious transitive form, rather than in the intransitive form or (what would usually be even more likely) in the form of a noun. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb was originally only intransitive (meaning that it could not take a direct object), though it could take an indirect object (something would "profit to someone," not "profit someone"). (On this point, it is interesting to compare the Wycliffe and Tyndale translations of Matt 16:26. Wycliffe's earlier translation: "what profitith it to a man...?" Tyndale's later translation: "whatt shall hit proffet a man...?")
The basic intransitivity of the verb seems to mark the fact that "profit" as such resides within the thing that proliferates, that abundance or productivity is less a question of reward rendered to this or that person than of excess or abundance inherent in the "profitable" things itself. This would seem to imply that the "profit" accruing from the "real intent" with which the gift is given or the prayer is offered is not to be understood in any kind of economic fashion: it is not that the truly given gift somehow makes for an economic return, but that the gift, truly given, proliferates in an excess that outstrips economy. Indeed, to say that a "falsely" given gift "profiteth ... nothing" is ultimately to say that the falsely given gift is precisely what remains trapped within economy, because it returns to one only what one has given (there is no profit). (The presupposition that leads, it seems, to the difficulty of seeing "profit" here as a threat to the integrity of the gift is the belief that economy marks progress, when the exact opposite is the truth: economy fixes assets so that they cannot increase, so that the exchange of goods can only make a local "profit" by registering a "loss" somewhere else in the bounded economy.)
These comments play well into the comments above about the gift being what is released from the economic play of ownership and possession. There is a sense in which the giving of a gift—with real intent—translates "profit" as something that accrues to an individual to something proliferating within the thing itself, within the thing given. This, however, is not because the object that is the gift is somehow reduced from the equation so that its sacred halo can be thought in and of itself; rather, it seems that the giving of a gift is the way that an object or a thing is finally allowed to release its own excess, to proliferate after its own fashion. To give a gift is to give something to itself, to allow it to be used in a productive way, to subtract it from the "merely spiritual" economy of society and the "merely physical" economy of efficient causality so that it can be put to genuine use.
But all of these details of exegesis and interpretation might finally be brought together. It seems that Mormon's "defense" of his initial proposition—that fallen human beings cannot do good—amounts to the claim that only "real intent" allows the (double because split) economy introduced by the Fall to cease to hold sway through the supplementary act of giving a gift. The shape this supplement would take will only be laid out in the subsequent two verses.
  • Moro 7:7-8. These two verses seem primarily to be an attempt to offer support for the defense offered in the second half of verse 6. In light of the comments there, it is also clear that they serve to clarify the nature of the "supplement" that marks the profitability of the prayer or gift offered with "real intent." Here the operative term is the verb "to count." In verse 7, it is clear that "it profiteth him nothing" is essentially equated with "it is not counted unto him for righteousness." In verse 8, this is rendered "it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift," and the further statement that the person in question "is counted evil before God" is set forth. All this "counting" deserves extended comment. Moreover, in these verses' attempt to clarify the nature of the "supplement," the return to the individual's being "evil" at the end of verse 8 serves to make much clearer that the two "halves" of verse 6 are more closely related than they might at first appear: the profit one is after, in offering gifts and praying, is precisely the possibility of outstripping one's fallenness, the possibility of being no longer evil. That, at the end of verse 8, one is (because one does not offer one's gifts or prayers with "real intent") still "counted evil before God" makes it clear that one's gifts and prayers "profiteth him nothing" precisely in that they do not allow one to get out of "being evil." These two initial points, taken together, organize the basic necessary program for interpretation of verses 7-8: the "supplement" labeled "profit" in verse 6 must be understood as something that allows one to escape the basic finitude imposed through the Fall, and the thing precisely that allows for that escape (and so is the "supplement") is, of all things, a "counting." What, then, is at work in the term "counting"?
There is unquestionably a reference, in verse 7, to Gen 15:6 (though see also Ps 106:31). In that text, Abram has just been given the promise of Isaac's (impossible!) birth: "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be" (Gen 15:5). The narrator then records Abram's response to the promise, as well as the "consequence" of that response: "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen 15:6). Saint Paul, in Romans 4, spells out what he took to be the vital importance of this passage: for Paul, it served as the proof text that clinched his case concerning salvation by faith rather than by works. His argument, which proves important for the interpretation of Mormon's words here, runs as follows: (1) Genesis 15 says that Abraham believed, and that that faith was counted unto him for righteousness; (2) but Abraham was still, in Genesis 15, uncircumcised, since circumcision was given to him as a "law" (a work) only in Genesis 17; (3) circumcision (the law) was thus only given as a sign or as a seal of his already-saving faith; (4) therefore, Christ's atoning work, to which the Abrahamic covenant ("the promise") inexorably, similarly renders humans righteous through their faith (apart from the law). In a word, for Paul, no one can claim that it was circumcision (as a figure of the Law or works) that saved because Abraham was already rendered righteous because of his faith before circumcision was given to him as a law. How do these Old and New Testament texts shed light on what Mormon is saying in verses 7-8?
Paul's discussion makes it clear that the "righteousness" of Abraham was not his own. That is, his righteousness was an imputed righteousness—it was counted unto him by God. Paul's careful reading here highlights something that might otherwise be missed in the language of "counting": to say that something is "counted for righteousness" is to say that it is not itself, in the first place, righteous; it only becomes righteous when it is counted as such. But what does the text mean by the verb "to count"? In the Hebrew text (of Gen 15:6), the verb is hashab, which means quite literally "to think" or "to meditate," by extension (as in Gen 15) "to esteem" or "to account." (The Septuagint or Greek Old Testament—and so Paul as well in the New Testament—uses the Greek verb logizomai, literally "to reckon" or "to account.") From all of this, it seems quite clear that whatever Mormon is saying here in verses 7-8, it must be recognized that the righteousness in question is something God bestows (literally reckons) rather than some kind of righteousness that would be inherent in the think so reckoned. And it seems also that the act by which that bestowal takes place must be understood to be some kind of (roughly) "cognitive" act, some kind of thinking, esteeming, reckoning, accounting, even story-telling: the counting is without question a kind of mental work on the part of God.
From all of this, it already begins to become clear how all of this is important in light of verse 6. There, it seems, human beings are regarded as fallen (as "being evil") and so as essentially unable to "do that which is good" in and of themselves. The language of "counting" in verses 7-8 would then seem to imply that the only way the act or deed of a fallen human being can be of any positive value is if it is counted for righteousness by God. Such, at any rate, seems to be the necessary preliminary conclusion. However, there is much more going on in verses 7-8 that has not yet even been considered. For example, and just to get started: verse 7 does not speak directly of something being counted for righteousness, but of something not being counted for righteousness—as verse 8 goes on to speak of a person even being "counted evil before God." This negativity, moreover, appears in verse 6, though it was missed in the comments worked out above for that verse: verse 6 does not, strictly speaking, say that the gift given with real intent does profit the giver; rather, it only says that the gift that is not given with real intent does not profit the giver. What should be read into these points of negativity?
The simplest way, perhaps, to make sense of the "nothing" of verse 6 and the "not" of verse 7 (the "counted ... as if" and "counted evil" of verse 8 will call for a separate treatment) is to recognize that these statements are intended not to explain how one does give a gift, but are intended rather to burst the bubble of those who believe that they can accrue some kind of profit just from having given, though they have not done so with real intent. Here it is worth making reference to verses 5 and 11. Both immediately before and immediately after he makes this extensive argument of verses 6-10, Mormon states that good cannot come from an evil source, nor evil from a good source. If verses 6-10 are meant to strengthen this point, they are, in an important sense, trying to deal with the implicit objection that evil people do things like pray, give gifts, etc. Here, though, Mormon is making quite clear that precisely because the evil person gives a gift only with the expectation of receiving some reward, the gift is not actually a gift, and no profit accrues. Put in terms of verse 7, it is precisely because one gives with the hope that the act of giving will be counted for righteousness that the giving of the gift is not counted for righteousness. Wherever one counts—counts the cost of the gift, counts on receiving something, counts on God's approbation, etc.—God does not count, unless (as in verse 8) he counts the gift as "evil" or even as having been "retained."
But all of this is clarified in an interesting way in the beginning of verse 8: "if a man, being evil, giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly." Here it is necessary to clarify the word "grudgingly." The 1828 Webster's defines "grudging" in an interesting way: "Uneasiness at the possession of something by another." To give a gift grudgingly, then, would seem to be to give it while being uneasy about the givee's actually possessing the gift given. That is, to give grudgingly is to give something to someone for any other reason than to give them access to the thing given. Or, in other words, it is to give someone access to something only in order to accomplish something else. This is an important clarification. The usual understanding of "giving grudgingly" takes the phrase to refer to giving reluctantly—as if the problem were one's unwillingness to part with the thing given. Rather, though, it seems the phrase refers to giving with an ulterior motive. It might be to give a gift in order to put someone in one's debt ("If I give this person something expensive, they'll feel like they owe me something"), or it might be to give a gift in order to get attention ("If I give the perfect gift, then everyone will see how generous and thoughtful I am"), or it might be to give a gift in order to receive pity ("If I give something quite meager, the gift will make everyone realize how much help I need"). The list could go on and on, but the point, one hopes, is clear: to give a gift grudgingly is to use the act of giving as a way of sustaining a rivalrous and self-centered relationship. Moreover, it is usually to do so by transferring an object that, because of the social implications of the giving, the givee will never really feel free to use. And so, to give a gift grudgingly is ultimately not to give a gift at all, since what it is to give a gift is to give it up for use.
For these very reasons, it seems that Mormon's further statement—that "it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift"—is completely justified. To gift a gift grudgingly is, in an important way, precisely to retain the gift, though one obviously transfers the object to the givee. But, with all that said, it is necessary to turn at last to the final clause of verse 8: "wherefore he is counted evil before God." What is most peculiar about this phrase is that, at the beginning of verse 8 (as well as at the beginning of verse 6), the "man" in question is already described as "being evil"; in light of that, why is it necessary that he again be "counted evil before God"? What is at work in this effective doubling of the grudging giver's status as evil?
At the very least, this doubling seems to suggest that there is a difference between merely being evil and the double position of both being evil and being counted evil. If, as suggested in the commentary for verse 6, the phrase "being evil" should not be taken to mean that human beings are necessarily wicked, then perhaps the difference between these two statuses—being evil and being-and-being-counted evil—measures the distance between "being evil" as being fallen and "being evil" as being (intentionally?) wicked. That is, though human beings—according to the reading worked through here—are necessarily "evil" (that is, fallen), they need not, for that reason, be counted evil. One might be "innocently" evil (by embracing, rather than rejecting, grace), or one might be "guiltily" evil (by rejecting, rather than embracing, grace). But can all of this be more specified?
Actually, it might be possible to use this distinction, coupled with the theme of the possibility of giving good gifts, to spell out three positions one might assume:
(1) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might give the gift hypocritically—that is, by not only pretending but openly denying that s/he is not evil/fallen; such a person would ultimately not only be evil, but also be counted evil, assuming the most evil position possible.
(2) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might not give the gift at all, recognizing his/her natural fallenness and so his/her desire to give the gift only in a hypocritical way; such a person would, while remaining evil/fallen, not be counted evil and so obtain a slightly better position.
(3) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might give the gift with real intent—that is, recognizing but regarding as immaterial his/her natural desire to give the gift only in a hypocritical way; such a person would (presumably) be counted as righteous, even while remaining technically evil/fallen.
On this model, it is only the third of these three persons who genuinely releases the gift from the bondage of ownership/possession and so finds her/himself released in turn from the bondage of fallen desire (rivalry). If this brief typology is not amiss, then it seems that what is key to giving good gifts is the refusal to regard as material the (desires of the) "natural man," instead regarding only the gift itself as genuinely material. To take anything but the material gift—as something to be given up (out of the dialectics of possession and ownership) for use—as being material (whether as "good" or as "bad" material) is ultimately to mistake the immaterial for the material. It is, in a word, to believe that one's works, rather than the material grace of the gift itself, as what delivers or saves one from the fall.
So much, then, for the moment, for the question of the gift. The next verse takes up the parallel case of prayer.
  • Moro 7:8: Grudgingly. A similar expression is used in 2 Cor 9:7 where the Greek root lype is used, meaning "sorrow." The idea, then, seems to be that one should not give with any regrets, but be a "cheerful giver," as it says later in 2 Cor 9:7.
  • Moro 7:9. As pointed out above, verse 9 effectively offers a reflection parallel to verses 7-8, now in terms of prayer instead of the gift. Importantly, except in the important fact that it takes up the obviously distinct topic of prayer, it adds very little to the discussion: except in its last clause ("for God receiveth none such"), it repeats phrases that have already appeared in the passage: "counted evil" (see verse 8); "with real intent" (see verse 6, though this verse adds "of heart"); "it profiteth him nothing" (see verse 6 again). Comment on this verse, then, should be relatively straightforward: (1) it is necessary to discuss first what is at work in prayer if it is taken as parallel to gift-giving; (2) it will be necessary to discuss second what should made of the additional assertion that "God receiveth none such."

Moro 7:12-19[edit]

  • Moro 7:14: Take heed. Mormon gives a word of caution here about not judging incorrectly. Throughout Mormon stresses judging based on what people do and whether that "inviteth to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ" (v 16). Mormon's warning may also apply to how we judge ourselves (cf. 1 Cor 11:31). We should not try to rationalize things that are evil, or beat ourselves up (i.e. get overly discouraged or depressed) when our actions are good.
  • Moro 7:16-19: . In verse 16 Mormon tells us that he will show unto us the way to judge. Then in the remaining part of this verse and in verse 17, he lays out a very simply principle: whatever inviteth and persuadeth to do good is from God; whatever persuadeth men to do evil and believe not in Christ comes from the devil. Despite the simplicity of this principle, Mormon doesn't believe that its application is simple. First, he warns us in verse 18 against not judging wrongfully. Then in verse 19, he tells us that we should search diligently in the light of Christ to know good from evil. Though the principle is simple, its correct application requires diligent searching to know good from evil. In verse 14 Mormon warns us not to judge good for evil or evil for good. Interestingly, verse 19 concentrates only on not judging that which is actually good as evil. It may be that this is the side more pertinent to his forthcoming discussion of charity.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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  • Moro 7:3: Peaceable followers of Christ. Mormon tells us that he is speaking unto those who have enough hope that they can enter into the rest of the Lord from "this time henceforth until [they] shall rest with [the Lord] in heaven." How does knowing that this sermon is addressed to people who already had such faith inform how we understand this chapter?
  • Moro 7:3: Sufficient hope. Are we also, like the people Mormon is talking to, people people who have enough hope that we can enter into the Lord's rest now?
  • Moro 7:3: Rest of the Lord. What does it mean to enter into the Lord's rest in this life?

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Moro 7:2-3. In opening his address, why might Mormon have used the phrase "holy will" in a context where we might have expected him to have said "the Holy Ghost"? What does Mormon mean by "holy will"?
  • Moro 7:4-17: Real intent. Mormon's discussion in these verses could stand on its own as a sermon on works and real intent. Why is this discussion of works and real intent part of this chapter which Moroni identifies in verse 1 as a sermon on faith, hope and charity?
  • Moro 7:6-10: If we know we should give a certain gift (e.g. help a neighbor) but don't feel a real desire to do so, what should we do? Is going ahead and giving the gift what Mormon calls here doing it grudgingly?
  • Moro 7:6: Intent vs. desire. What is meant by the word intent here? It is interchangeable with desire? If not, what is different between desire and intent? Would it be justified to think of intent as being more conscious, more of a choice, than desire? If desire is less consciously produced, and more of a condition that is evoked from beyond our consciousness (e.g., by our body rather than our mind, say), what is the significance here regarding the way Mormon talks about a gift? At first blush, it seems that intent, if it is more conscious, runs more risk of spoiling or economizing a gift than desire, at least in a certain sense. On the other hand, perhaps Mormon is suggesting that is altogether different than this way of thinking. It seems Mormon is suggesting that intent is precisely what makes a gift possible. It is "real intent" of the giver that seems to be required for the production of a gift. In this sense, perhaps "desire" would be a less apt term here precisely because it does not connote the conscious intent required by a giver. If the desire to give is a gift given by God, beyond ourselves, then this would not be a gift given by a man, only from God. Thus, for man to participate in the process of gift giving, might we think that man must have a conscious intent to give?
  • Moro 7:8: What does it mean that we will be judged with the same judgment by which we judge?

Resources[edit]

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  • Moro 7:16: Light of Christ. The Church's Guide to the Scriptures and Bible Dictionary have interesting entries under the heading "light of Christ" which compare and contrast the light of Christ with the gift of Holy Ghost and with the power of the Holy Ghost. Many scriptural cross-references are also provided.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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Moro 7:16-20

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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Chapter 7. The relationship of Verses 7:1-19 to the rest of Chapter 7 is addressed at Chapter 7.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 7:1-19 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Moro 7:1-19[edit]

• judging between good and evil (1-19)
• address to followers of Christ who have obtained hope as shown by their peaceableness, hope defined (1-4)
• good people yield good fruit, evil people yield evil fruit (4-11)
• good comes from God, evil comes from the devil, judge between them carefully in the light of Christ (12-19)
- God entices to do good, the devil entices to do evil (12-13)
- judge carefully through the Spirit of Christ that is given to every man (14-16a)
- God entices to do good, the devil entices to do evil (16b-17)
- judge carefully in the light of Christ and lay hold on every good thing to be a child of Christ (18-19)

The first half (verses 4-11) addresses how good and evil are manifested in the lives of people. The second half (verses 12-19) addresses how good and evil enticements can be distinguished.

Moro 7:1-4: Address to audience[edit]

  • Moro 7:1: Faith, hope, and charity. Though this chapter concludes by talking about faith, hope and charity, along the way other subjects are discussed. But Moroni's introduction here suggests that we should read the entire chapter as a single sermon on faith, hope and charity, i.e., we should read the first handful of verses as somehow leading up to faith, etc.
  • Moro 7:1: After this manner. Moroni tells us that Mormon spoke "after this manner." We might interpret this phrase as an indication that this chapter is the type of sermon Mormon delivered rather than a particular sermon delivered on a particular occasion. Another interpretation is that this is a particular sermon (or at least a part of one) but that Mormon spoke in a similar way many times. A third interpretation, somewhere between these first two, is that Moroni is writing something from memory and that he is therefore warning that it was only "after this manner" that the discourse was given. If Moroni's avowal that he is writing "a few of the words of my father Mormon" is to be taken quite strictly, then it seems likely that one of the latter two readings would be preferred.
  • Moro 7:1: In the synagogue. The wording suggests Moroni is referring to a single structure. It is curious that there would be one synagogue that could be identified in this way rather than many synagogues.
  • Moro 7:1: For the place of worship. It is interesting that Moroni does not make reference to "a place of worship," but "the place of worship." Moreover, it is certainly significant that the sermon recorded in this chapter was given in connection with worship: in a post-Third-Nephi setting, one might assume that this would suggest a eucharistic setting. This point is absolutely vital for a close reading of verse 2.
  • Moro 7:2: Grace of God. Paul also uses the phrase "the grace of God" to refer to his work for the Lord, see 1 Cor 3:10.
  • Moro 7:2: By the grace of God . . . I am permitted to speak. It is interesting that Mormon's first words of this noteworthy sermon are about Christ's calling to him and the grace of God giving him this "gift" of a calling. This short verse expresses Mormon's humility and gratitude with regard to this calling. It seems likely that the calling Mormon refers to, when he speaks of Christ calling unto him, is the calling he discusses in 3 Ne 5:13, namely, that he is called to declare the gospel.
This beginning is similar to the beginnings of other sermons in the Book of Mormon. Jacob (Jacob 2:1) and Alma (Alma 5:3) both begin with reference to their calling from God. And though King Benjamin does not make explicit reference to his calling from God in the beginning of his sermon which commences in Mosiah 2:9, he makes it clear that he considers himself to be serving God in his service as king, and answerable to God for the sins of the people (see Mosiah 2:28, 30 in particular; Jacob says something similar in Jacob 1:19).
Mormon's tone, however, stands in contrast to the beginning of these other noteworthy Book of Mormon sermons in that he says "it is by the grace of God . . . that I am permitted to speak unto you" emphasizing the privilege that Mormon considers it to give this sermon, rather than the responsibility he feels. Mormon may particularly feel it a privilege to speak because at other times he has been prohibited from preaching (see Morm 1:17). It also may be that he considers giving this sermon a privilege because it addresses positive key aspects of the gospel, viz. faith, hope and charity (cf. verse 1), as opposed to less positive aspects of the gospel. (In this sense, Jacob's sermon seems to be at the opposite end of the spectrum since he has to address the grave sins of pride and infidelity. Although King Benjamin and Alma do not seem to address gross sins as directly as Jacob, there still seems to be more of a call-to-repentance tone in their messages than Mormon's: King Benjamin saying "remember the poor" and Alma saying "remember your forefathers.")
  • Moro 7:3-4: Peaceable followers of Christ. Mormon notes here that he speaks to "the peaceable followers of Christ" and those with a "peaceable walk." Contrast this with Morm 4:11 where Mormon says that the Nephites delighted in shedding blood continually. It seems that Mormon may be addressing here a select group of peaceable followers of Christ in the midst of a nation that delighted in the shedding of blood. If the insight, that the followers of Christ were few in number at this point is correct, it may also explain the language of a single synagogue structure in verse 1.

Moro 7:4-11[edit]

  • Moro 7:4-13: Real intent and judging by works. This passage starts with Mormon telling his audience that he judges them as peaceable followers of Christ—people with a sufficient hope to enter into the rest of the Lord (v. 3)—because he sees their "peaceable walk with the children of men."
Mormon then goes on to say that good works can only be done by those with real intent. We might expect that an emphasis on intent would be used to caution people against judgments based on works. As Christ's teachings against hypocrisy illustrate (e.g. Matt 23:13-33), people may do something that looks good without the right intent. This also seems to be Paul's message in 1 Cor 13:3. But here Mormon uses the discussion of intent to justify his claim in verses 4-5 that he judges his audience by their works. We might wonder how judgments based on works are compatible with the idea that what makes an action good or evil is the intent.
One way to explain the difference between what Paul is saying in 1 Cor 13:3 and what Mormon talks about here may be in the different audiences that each addresses. Paul was addressing a culture where many people valued outward acts that seemed good. In such a society some people were doing good works to be seen of men. In contrast, Mormon was talking to people in a society that, as already noted above, delighted in the shedding of blood (see Morm 4:11). It may be that in Mormon's society being a peaceable follower of Christ was so unpopular that it simply wasn't something people did "to be seen of men."
In any case, Mormon seems to use his discussion of intent to justify his claim that he knows his audience is good because he sees their good works. This suggests that Mormon has the ability to judge intent when he sees works. Mormon justifies his claim by citing "the word of God" on this subject (v. 5), possibly referring to Christ's teachings in 3 Ne 14:16-20, "by their fruits ye shall know them." It seems that Mormon's understanding of Christ's teaching assumes that good fruit/works implies real intent—that is, we can tell the difference between someone who gives a good gift grudgingly and someone who gives it with real intent.
  • Moro 7:4-17: By their works ye shall know them. As we start into this section, in verses 4-5, Mormon seems to be giving an explanation of how it is that he knows that those whom he is addressing are peaceable followers of Christ and have obtained a sufficient hope to enter into the rest of the Lord. But the fact that Mormon continues the discussion through verse 17, and warns us along the way to be careful in how we judge (verse 14) suggests that Mormon has some additional reason for addressing this topic that goes beyond simply backing up his claim about the audience being peaceable and having sufficient hope to enter the rest of the Lord. Why does Mormon spend so much time on the topic of judging by works?
How we answer this question depends on how we read the rest of the chapter. Here's one outline: verses 4-17 tell us how to judge what is really good; verses 18-19 raise the next natural question—how do we get what is truly good; verses 20-48 then answers this by explaining how we can get what is good by having faith, hope and charity. In summary, Mormon is saying that when we recognize what is good, then desire it, we attain it through faith, hope and charity. (Compare this with Alma's teaching in Alma 32:26-30.)
Another interpretation of verses 4 through 17 in this chapter is to see it as a mini-sermon within the larger sermon which has the same point as the larger sermon. In this view, the point of this mini-sermon is to teach us that good works can only be done if they are done with real intent. This is very much the same point that the entire chapter is making, namely, that without charity nothing else is of value.
  • Moro 7:6: Real intent. Webster's 1828 dictionary defines real as "1. Actually being or existing; not fictitious or imaginary; 2. True; genuine; not artificial, counterfeit or factitious; 3. True; genuine; not affected; not assumed." These 3 definitions are all similar to each other. Interestingly, there is another definition listed with a different connotation: "5. In law, pertaining to things fixed, permanent or immovable, as to lands and tenements; as real estate, opposed to personal or movable property." This suggests that transient intentions, no matter how fervent, may not qualify as real intent. For a similar idea regarding the sincerity of one's gift or offering, see Lev 19:5.
  • Moro 7:6: Profit. Interestingly, the first occurrence of the term "profit" in scripture is in Gen 25:32 where Esau describes the birthright in terms of profit. This perhaps illustrates the wrong way to think about the birthright, in terms of how it can profitable. With this in mind, there might be a subtle kind of play on words or concepts here where Alma is using the term profit solely from the perspective of the evil man. That is, rather than Mormon talking in terms of profit to describe a gift, Mormon might said to be deliberately mentioning "a man being evil" first, before talking about a gift in terms of profit.
  • Moro 7:6ff. The teaching of these verses is similar to that of 1 Corinthians 13:3. Just as Mormon tells us here that doing good without real intent provides no benefit, so Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that he could give everything he has to the poor, but if he doesn't have charity/love, doing so provides no benefit. Clearly charity and doing good with real intent are used similarly. It is consistent with these verse to view charity as a requirement for doing good with real intent. In that interpretation, we cannot do a good dead for someone with real intent if we don't love them.
These teachings are also similar to the the first verses of Matthew 6. There Jesus teaches that those who give help to others for the right reasons have a reward from their Father in heaven, but those who do so for earthly glory are not similarly rewarded. The same is said of praying: if we pray to be seen of men we have no heavenly reward. Mormon's message here is a more general version of the same message. Mormon tells us that praying without real intent profits nothing the person who prays and is, in fact, counted as evil.
Compare also King Benjamin's comments in Mosiah 4:24-25 that those who would give to the needy if they had the means, are not condemned like those who have the means but do not give. All these teachings emphasize intent over action. (See also 1 Sam 16:7.) Of course, intent cannot be completely separated from actions--it is impossible to have the right intent and the ability but not to do the good work (see James 2:15-16).
  • Moro 7:6-10. Verses 6-10 collectively form a double clarification of the claim made in verse 5: "for if their works be good, then they are good also." (It is followed, in verse 11, by a much more succinct—and familiar—second clarification of the same claim.) The connection with this claim must not be forgotten at any point in working out the logic of the complex argument of these verses, lest it be missed that the argument is not itself self-sufficient.
The basic structure of the argument is easily abstracted from the text:
Preliminary argument concerning the basic claim of verse 5, marked by "For behold" (verse 6a)
Explanation of the preliminary argument, marked by "for if" (verse 6b)
Claim (without argumentation) supporting the explanation of the preliminary argument, marked by "For behold" (verse 7)
Step one of an argument bearing out the claim of verse 7, marked by "For behold, if..., [then]" (verse 8a)
Step two of the argument, marked by "wherefore it" (verse 8b)
Step three of the argument, marked by "wherefore he" (verse 8c)
The inverse of the claim (of verse 7) is also offered, marked by "And likewise" (verse 9a)
The inverse claim is emphasized by a second iteration, marked by "yea, and" (verse 9b)
The preliminary argument, having been proved, is restated word for word as a conclusion, marked by "Wherefore" (verse 10a)
The passage oddly ends with the excrescent doubling of the conclusion "neither will he give a good gift" (verse 10b)
This outline of the argument in verses 6-10 should make it quite clear that no one statement in these verses should be taken without reference to the passage as a whole: every aspect of the argument is tightly woven into the intentions of the whole.
  • Moro 7:6. The preliminary argument, which ends up needing so much clarification, runs as follows: "God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good." How should the grammar of this sentence be understood? It could be punctuated in several ways. First, should it be understood to be a direct or an indirect quotation?
God hath said: "A man ..."
God hath said [that] a man ...
If the sentence is punctuated as a direct quotation, then it would seem that Mormon should be understood as making reference to an actual text or to an actual revelatory event. If, however, the sentence is punctuated as an indirect quotation, Mormon can be understood to be summarizing, paraphrasing, or otherwise dealing only loosely with an actual communication from the Lord. A decision on this point of punctuation determines the direction of one's exegetical endeavors with the text.
It should be remembered that Mormon's words here were reportedly delivered in a public setting (he was speaking in the synagogue). If he had reference to some kind of personal revelatory experience, rather than to a text, it seems most likely that he would—following the usual Nephite style—at least make passing reference to the occasion (see 2 Ne 10:3; Mosiah 3:2; Alma 10:7). But if he had reference to some kind of (scriptural) text, then either he had reference to a text that is no longer extant (or at least not currently available in scripture), or he was only paraphrasing or citing the basic intention of the text he had in mind. The latter might, in the end, be the case. If Mormon was only loosely summarizing or paraphrasing a scriptural text with his "God hath said," then it is possible that he had reference to what is now Jeremiah 13:22-24 (and it should be remembered that the brass plates contained "many prophecies" attributed to Jeremiah, according to 1 Ne 5:13): "And if thou say in thine heart, Wherefore come these things upon me? For the greatness of thine iniquity are thy skirts discovered, and thy heels made bare. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passeth away by the wind of the wilderness." At any rate, presuming that Mormon was only drawing loosely on the text he had in mind, one can confidently state that there is scriptural precedent for the basic idea of Mormon's preliminary argument.
A second point of grammar and punctuation: how should the verbal phrase "being evil" be understood?
... a man being evil cannot do ...
... a man, being evil, cannot do ...
If the phrase "being evil" appears without being set off by commas, it functions as a qualifier of "a man," such that Mormon is talking only about an evil man, a man who (presumably intentionally) does evil things. If, however, the phrase is set off by commas, it functions as a clarification (rather than a qualification) of "a man," such that Mormon is talking about all men, understanding them all—because of the fall, presumably—as being in some sense "evil." A decision on this point of punctuation determines the direction of one's theologically interpretive endeavors with the text.
It should be noted that there is an important scriptural precedent for the use of the verbal phrase "being evil": Matt 7:11/3 Ne 14:11. In this text, which deals precisely with the question of the theme of giving gifts, Jesus appears to use the phrase in a way that assumes that all (fallen) human beings are in some sense "evil": "Or what man is there of you, who, if his son ask bread, will give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" How does this precedent shed light on the present passage? At the very least, it strengthens the case that "being evil" here should be set off by commas, such that Mormon has reference to all human beings as "being evil" in some sense. The following comments proceed on the assumption that that is the best reading, though it should be noted that the other reading—according to which Mormon means only to speak of specifically evil people—remains a (strong) possibility.
Following out the possibility that Mormon means to speak of all human beings as being, in some sense, evil, it must next be asked what he can mean by "evil." On this point, it should be noted that the word translated as "evil" (in "being evil") in Matt 7:11, while it can take the moral sense of "wickedness" or "evil," can also be used in non-moral senses, where it should be translated as "oppressed by toils" or "in a sorry plight." On this point, it should be noted that the word "evil" in English need not imply anything moral. Indeed, the 1828 Webster's Dictionary lists as the first definition of "evil": "1. Having bad qualities of a natural kind; mischievous; having qualities which tend to injury, or to produce mischief." Similarly, a quick glance through the Oxford English Dictionary makes it clear that, historically speaking, the word has had reference much more commonly to physical and non-moral "evils" than to moral ones. (The etymological meaning of the word simply implies the superseding of some kind of boundary.) Taking all of these clues together, it is at the very least possible to suggest that Mormon, like Christ in the Sermon on the Mount, is trying to talk about specifically fallen human beings, about human beings as evil in the sense that they are in a world of sorrow and sin—not in the sense that they are inherently depraved or necessarily wicked.
Following out this reading, one would have to take Mormon's meaning in the first part of verse 6 to be that, because of the Fall, human beings cannot of themselves "do that which is good." This reading, as it turns out, will be confirmed and clarified in important ways by the complex discussion of "counting" in verses 7-8. At this point, it is perhaps necessary only to spell out that basic claim.
The second part of verse 6 offers an explanation—a kind of defense—of this first, basic claim: "for if he [the fallen human being] offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing." Again, Matt 7/3 Ne 14 seems to be in Mormon's mind: the single theme of the "evil" human being unable to do good is here split into the "evil" human being who has the double task of (1) giving good gifts and (2) praying to God. In Matt 7/3 Ne 14, it is precisely this double theme that is at work: Jesus talks there not only about giving good gifts ("If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children,..."), but also about praying to God ("...how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"). Each of these two themes deserves careful attention. Moreover, the question of giving/praying is further complicated by the inclusion in this second half of the verse of two unclarified concepts: "real intent" and "profit." What might be said of each of these themes?
The phrase "real intent" appears only five times in scripture (and always is preceded by "with"): once in the small plates (2 Ne 31:13) and four times in the Book of Moroni (Moro 6:8; 7:6, 9; 10:4). (The phrase "with real intent" is not only unique to the Book of Mormon in scripture; it seems also to be unique to Mormonism in religious dialogue!) The word "intent," according to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, means: "Literally, the stretching of the mind towards an object; hence, a design; a purpose; intention; meaning; drift; aim; applied to persons or things." The word "real," in the Book of Mormon, seems usually to mean "genuine" or "true" (see Alma 32:35; Hel 11:24; these are the only appearances of the word where it is not paired with the word "intent"). To do something "with real intent," then, seems simply to be to do it, as 2 Ne 31:13 says, without "hypocrisy" or "deception." It must be, it seems, a genuine act of one's own will (and not something dictated by the perceived desires of others).
But there remains an ambiguity here, because there is an ambiguity in the notion of giving: to give a gift can be taken as primarily a question of the giving or primarily as a question of the gift. In other words, it is difficult to know whether one's "real intent" is meant to qualify one's giving or one's gift. Is it that one must genuinely and willingly give, or is it that one must genuinely will that the givee be granted use of the gift? One understanding reduces the giving of the gift to the act of giving; the other reduces the giving of the gift to the object given. To compare the giving of the gift to the act of creation: the one model reduces creation to the traditional Christian notion of creation out of nothing; the other model reduces creation to the popular scientific notion of a purely mechanistic universe. Is one of these two models of gift-giving to be preferred, or are they both wrong together? What, in other words, is "real intent" in the act of giving a gift?
Perhaps the two models should be combined. To give a gift with real intent is genuinely to give something, but it is to do so without allowing the gift itself to drop out of the equation: the material gift must be more than a mere token of the relationship of giver-and-givee. On the other hand, to give a gift is ultimately to do something with an object, but it is to do it without allowing the act of giving itself to drop out of the equation: the act of giving must not be a mere halo around the given object. Here, perhaps, the comparison to creation can again be taken up, but now it can be compared with the notion of creation in Mormonism: God creates a world out of something; human beings have a purely material world that nonetheless was created.
There is a strong sense in which it is this kind of (combined) model alone that allows for a genuine experience of the gift on the part of the givee (who in turn must receive the gift as a gift, and that, it seems, in a similar two-fold way): the gift is not lost because it is caught up entirely in social (or even divinely social) relations on the one hand, and it is not lost because it is reduced to the status of a "mere" object on the other hand. The gift is, on this model, finally given up for use. One might say that the gift is, here, at last subtracted from the play of possession and ownership. The gift functions here neither (1) as a way of translating objective ownership and possession into interpersonal ownership and possession, nor (2) as a way of simply transferring ownership of an object from one individual to another. Here, it seems, the gift is given precisely in that it is freed from ownership and possession as such, set free at last to be used.
All of this said, what of the clause "it profiteth him nothing"? Here, the stakes of interpretation have been raised somewhat, because the very notion of (pecuniary) profit seems to cancel the idea of the gift that is in question: if one receives profit for giving a gift, can it really be said that the gift was given as a gift? It should first be noted that the word "profit" need not carry any specifically monetary weight: the word derives from the Latin proficio, literally, "to drive forward." Nonetheless, there seems to be no escaping of the fact that the word carries the idea of receiving advantage, and thus it seems that, even without monetary implications, the use of the word still threatens the integrity of the gift. However, some of the peculiarities of grammar here might open up a way to make sense of this difficulty. The phrase "it profiteth him nothing" uses the verb "to profit" in the curious transitive form, rather than in the intransitive form or (what would usually be even more likely) in the form of a noun. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb was originally only intransitive (meaning that it could not take a direct object), though it could take an indirect object (something would "profit to someone," not "profit someone"). (On this point, it is interesting to compare the Wycliffe and Tyndale translations of Matt 16:26. Wycliffe's earlier translation: "what profitith it to a man...?" Tyndale's later translation: "whatt shall hit proffet a man...?")
The basic intransitivity of the verb seems to mark the fact that "profit" as such resides within the thing that proliferates, that abundance or productivity is less a question of reward rendered to this or that person than of excess or abundance inherent in the "profitable" things itself. This would seem to imply that the "profit" accruing from the "real intent" with which the gift is given or the prayer is offered is not to be understood in any kind of economic fashion: it is not that the truly given gift somehow makes for an economic return, but that the gift, truly given, proliferates in an excess that outstrips economy. Indeed, to say that a "falsely" given gift "profiteth ... nothing" is ultimately to say that the falsely given gift is precisely what remains trapped within economy, because it returns to one only what one has given (there is no profit). (The presupposition that leads, it seems, to the difficulty of seeing "profit" here as a threat to the integrity of the gift is the belief that economy marks progress, when the exact opposite is the truth: economy fixes assets so that they cannot increase, so that the exchange of goods can only make a local "profit" by registering a "loss" somewhere else in the bounded economy.)
These comments play well into the comments above about the gift being what is released from the economic play of ownership and possession. There is a sense in which the giving of a gift—with real intent—translates "profit" as something that accrues to an individual to something proliferating within the thing itself, within the thing given. This, however, is not because the object that is the gift is somehow reduced from the equation so that its sacred halo can be thought in and of itself; rather, it seems that the giving of a gift is the way that an object or a thing is finally allowed to release its own excess, to proliferate after its own fashion. To give a gift is to give something to itself, to allow it to be used in a productive way, to subtract it from the "merely spiritual" economy of society and the "merely physical" economy of efficient causality so that it can be put to genuine use.
But all of these details of exegesis and interpretation might finally be brought together. It seems that Mormon's "defense" of his initial proposition—that fallen human beings cannot do good—amounts to the claim that only "real intent" allows the (double because split) economy introduced by the Fall to cease to hold sway through the supplementary act of giving a gift. The shape this supplement would take will only be laid out in the subsequent two verses.
  • Moro 7:7-8. These two verses seem primarily to be an attempt to offer support for the defense offered in the second half of verse 6. In light of the comments there, it is also clear that they serve to clarify the nature of the "supplement" that marks the profitability of the prayer or gift offered with "real intent." Here the operative term is the verb "to count." In verse 7, it is clear that "it profiteth him nothing" is essentially equated with "it is not counted unto him for righteousness." In verse 8, this is rendered "it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift," and the further statement that the person in question "is counted evil before God" is set forth. All this "counting" deserves extended comment. Moreover, in these verses' attempt to clarify the nature of the "supplement," the return to the individual's being "evil" at the end of verse 8 serves to make much clearer that the two "halves" of verse 6 are more closely related than they might at first appear: the profit one is after, in offering gifts and praying, is precisely the possibility of outstripping one's fallenness, the possibility of being no longer evil. That, at the end of verse 8, one is (because one does not offer one's gifts or prayers with "real intent") still "counted evil before God" makes it clear that one's gifts and prayers "profiteth him nothing" precisely in that they do not allow one to get out of "being evil." These two initial points, taken together, organize the basic necessary program for interpretation of verses 7-8: the "supplement" labeled "profit" in verse 6 must be understood as something that allows one to escape the basic finitude imposed through the Fall, and the thing precisely that allows for that escape (and so is the "supplement") is, of all things, a "counting." What, then, is at work in the term "counting"?
There is unquestionably a reference, in verse 7, to Gen 15:6 (though see also Ps 106:31). In that text, Abram has just been given the promise of Isaac's (impossible!) birth: "Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be" (Gen 15:5). The narrator then records Abram's response to the promise, as well as the "consequence" of that response: "And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen 15:6). Saint Paul, in Romans 4, spells out what he took to be the vital importance of this passage: for Paul, it served as the proof text that clinched his case concerning salvation by faith rather than by works. His argument, which proves important for the interpretation of Mormon's words here, runs as follows: (1) Genesis 15 says that Abraham believed, and that that faith was counted unto him for righteousness; (2) but Abraham was still, in Genesis 15, uncircumcised, since circumcision was given to him as a "law" (a work) only in Genesis 17; (3) circumcision (the law) was thus only given as a sign or as a seal of his already-saving faith; (4) therefore, Christ's atoning work, to which the Abrahamic covenant ("the promise") inexorably, similarly renders humans righteous through their faith (apart from the law). In a word, for Paul, no one can claim that it was circumcision (as a figure of the Law or works) that saved because Abraham was already rendered righteous because of his faith before circumcision was given to him as a law. How do these Old and New Testament texts shed light on what Mormon is saying in verses 7-8?
Paul's discussion makes it clear that the "righteousness" of Abraham was not his own. That is, his righteousness was an imputed righteousness—it was counted unto him by God. Paul's careful reading here highlights something that might otherwise be missed in the language of "counting": to say that something is "counted for righteousness" is to say that it is not itself, in the first place, righteous; it only becomes righteous when it is counted as such. But what does the text mean by the verb "to count"? In the Hebrew text (of Gen 15:6), the verb is hashab, which means quite literally "to think" or "to meditate," by extension (as in Gen 15) "to esteem" or "to account." (The Septuagint or Greek Old Testament—and so Paul as well in the New Testament—uses the Greek verb logizomai, literally "to reckon" or "to account.") From all of this, it seems quite clear that whatever Mormon is saying here in verses 7-8, it must be recognized that the righteousness in question is something God bestows (literally reckons) rather than some kind of righteousness that would be inherent in the think so reckoned. And it seems also that the act by which that bestowal takes place must be understood to be some kind of (roughly) "cognitive" act, some kind of thinking, esteeming, reckoning, accounting, even story-telling: the counting is without question a kind of mental work on the part of God.
From all of this, it already begins to become clear how all of this is important in light of verse 6. There, it seems, human beings are regarded as fallen (as "being evil") and so as essentially unable to "do that which is good" in and of themselves. The language of "counting" in verses 7-8 would then seem to imply that the only way the act or deed of a fallen human being can be of any positive value is if it is counted for righteousness by God. Such, at any rate, seems to be the necessary preliminary conclusion. However, there is much more going on in verses 7-8 that has not yet even been considered. For example, and just to get started: verse 7 does not speak directly of something being counted for righteousness, but of something not being counted for righteousness—as verse 8 goes on to speak of a person even being "counted evil before God." This negativity, moreover, appears in verse 6, though it was missed in the comments worked out above for that verse: verse 6 does not, strictly speaking, say that the gift given with real intent does profit the giver; rather, it only says that the gift that is not given with real intent does not profit the giver. What should be read into these points of negativity?
The simplest way, perhaps, to make sense of the "nothing" of verse 6 and the "not" of verse 7 (the "counted ... as if" and "counted evil" of verse 8 will call for a separate treatment) is to recognize that these statements are intended not to explain how one does give a gift, but are intended rather to burst the bubble of those who believe that they can accrue some kind of profit just from having given, though they have not done so with real intent. Here it is worth making reference to verses 5 and 11. Both immediately before and immediately after he makes this extensive argument of verses 6-10, Mormon states that good cannot come from an evil source, nor evil from a good source. If verses 6-10 are meant to strengthen this point, they are, in an important sense, trying to deal with the implicit objection that evil people do things like pray, give gifts, etc. Here, though, Mormon is making quite clear that precisely because the evil person gives a gift only with the expectation of receiving some reward, the gift is not actually a gift, and no profit accrues. Put in terms of verse 7, it is precisely because one gives with the hope that the act of giving will be counted for righteousness that the giving of the gift is not counted for righteousness. Wherever one counts—counts the cost of the gift, counts on receiving something, counts on God's approbation, etc.—God does not count, unless (as in verse 8) he counts the gift as "evil" or even as having been "retained."
But all of this is clarified in an interesting way in the beginning of verse 8: "if a man, being evil, giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly." Here it is necessary to clarify the word "grudgingly." The 1828 Webster's defines "grudging" in an interesting way: "Uneasiness at the possession of something by another." To give a gift grudgingly, then, would seem to be to give it while being uneasy about the givee's actually possessing the gift given. That is, to give grudgingly is to give something to someone for any other reason than to give them access to the thing given. Or, in other words, it is to give someone access to something only in order to accomplish something else. This is an important clarification. The usual understanding of "giving grudgingly" takes the phrase to refer to giving reluctantly—as if the problem were one's unwillingness to part with the thing given. Rather, though, it seems the phrase refers to giving with an ulterior motive. It might be to give a gift in order to put someone in one's debt ("If I give this person something expensive, they'll feel like they owe me something"), or it might be to give a gift in order to get attention ("If I give the perfect gift, then everyone will see how generous and thoughtful I am"), or it might be to give a gift in order to receive pity ("If I give something quite meager, the gift will make everyone realize how much help I need"). The list could go on and on, but the point, one hopes, is clear: to give a gift grudgingly is to use the act of giving as a way of sustaining a rivalrous and self-centered relationship. Moreover, it is usually to do so by transferring an object that, because of the social implications of the giving, the givee will never really feel free to use. And so, to give a gift grudgingly is ultimately not to give a gift at all, since what it is to give a gift is to give it up for use.
For these very reasons, it seems that Mormon's further statement—that "it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift"—is completely justified. To gift a gift grudgingly is, in an important way, precisely to retain the gift, though one obviously transfers the object to the givee. But, with all that said, it is necessary to turn at last to the final clause of verse 8: "wherefore he is counted evil before God." What is most peculiar about this phrase is that, at the beginning of verse 8 (as well as at the beginning of verse 6), the "man" in question is already described as "being evil"; in light of that, why is it necessary that he again be "counted evil before God"? What is at work in this effective doubling of the grudging giver's status as evil?
At the very least, this doubling seems to suggest that there is a difference between merely being evil and the double position of both being evil and being counted evil. If, as suggested in the commentary for verse 6, the phrase "being evil" should not be taken to mean that human beings are necessarily wicked, then perhaps the difference between these two statuses—being evil and being-and-being-counted evil—measures the distance between "being evil" as being fallen and "being evil" as being (intentionally?) wicked. That is, though human beings—according to the reading worked through here—are necessarily "evil" (that is, fallen), they need not, for that reason, be counted evil. One might be "innocently" evil (by embracing, rather than rejecting, grace), or one might be "guiltily" evil (by rejecting, rather than embracing, grace). But can all of this be more specified?
Actually, it might be possible to use this distinction, coupled with the theme of the possibility of giving good gifts, to spell out three positions one might assume:
(1) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might give the gift hypocritically—that is, by not only pretending but openly denying that s/he is not evil/fallen; such a person would ultimately not only be evil, but also be counted evil, assuming the most evil position possible.
(2) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might not give the gift at all, recognizing his/her natural fallenness and so his/her desire to give the gift only in a hypocritical way; such a person would, while remaining evil/fallen, not be counted evil and so obtain a slightly better position.
(3) A human being, being (necessarily) evil/fallen, might give the gift with real intent—that is, recognizing but regarding as immaterial his/her natural desire to give the gift only in a hypocritical way; such a person would (presumably) be counted as righteous, even while remaining technically evil/fallen.
On this model, it is only the third of these three persons who genuinely releases the gift from the bondage of ownership/possession and so finds her/himself released in turn from the bondage of fallen desire (rivalry). If this brief typology is not amiss, then it seems that what is key to giving good gifts is the refusal to regard as material the (desires of the) "natural man," instead regarding only the gift itself as genuinely material. To take anything but the material gift—as something to be given up (out of the dialectics of possession and ownership) for use—as being material (whether as "good" or as "bad" material) is ultimately to mistake the immaterial for the material. It is, in a word, to believe that one's works, rather than the material grace of the gift itself, as what delivers or saves one from the fall.
So much, then, for the moment, for the question of the gift. The next verse takes up the parallel case of prayer.
  • Moro 7:8: Grudgingly. A similar expression is used in 2 Cor 9:7 where the Greek root lype is used, meaning "sorrow." The idea, then, seems to be that one should not give with any regrets, but be a "cheerful giver," as it says later in 2 Cor 9:7.
  • Moro 7:9. As pointed out above, verse 9 effectively offers a reflection parallel to verses 7-8, now in terms of prayer instead of the gift. Importantly, except in the important fact that it takes up the obviously distinct topic of prayer, it adds very little to the discussion: except in its last clause ("for God receiveth none such"), it repeats phrases that have already appeared in the passage: "counted evil" (see verse 8); "with real intent" (see verse 6, though this verse adds "of heart"); "it profiteth him nothing" (see verse 6 again). Comment on this verse, then, should be relatively straightforward: (1) it is necessary to discuss first what is at work in prayer if it is taken as parallel to gift-giving; (2) it will be necessary to discuss second what should made of the additional assertion that "God receiveth none such."

Moro 7:12-19[edit]

  • Moro 7:14: Take heed. Mormon gives a word of caution here about not judging incorrectly. Throughout Mormon stresses judging based on what people do and whether that "inviteth to do good and to persuade to believe in Christ" (v 16). Mormon's warning may also apply to how we judge ourselves (cf. 1 Cor 11:31). We should not try to rationalize things that are evil, or beat ourselves up (i.e. get overly discouraged or depressed) when our actions are good.
  • Moro 7:16-19: . In verse 16 Mormon tells us that he will show unto us the way to judge. Then in the remaining part of this verse and in verse 17, he lays out a very simply principle: whatever inviteth and persuadeth to do good is from God; whatever persuadeth men to do evil and believe not in Christ comes from the devil. Despite the simplicity of this principle, Mormon doesn't believe that its application is simple. First, he warns us in verse 18 against not judging wrongfully. Then in verse 19, he tells us that we should search diligently in the light of Christ to know good from evil. Though the principle is simple, its correct application requires diligent searching to know good from evil. In verse 14 Mormon warns us not to judge good for evil or evil for good. Interestingly, verse 19 concentrates only on not judging that which is actually good as evil. It may be that this is the side more pertinent to his forthcoming discussion of charity.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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  • Moro 7:3: Peaceable followers of Christ. Mormon tells us that he is speaking unto those who have enough hope that they can enter into the rest of the Lord from "this time henceforth until [they] shall rest with [the Lord] in heaven." How does knowing that this sermon is addressed to people who already had such faith inform how we understand this chapter?
  • Moro 7:3: Sufficient hope. Are we also, like the people Mormon is talking to, people people who have enough hope that we can enter into the Lord's rest now?
  • Moro 7:3: Rest of the Lord. What does it mean to enter into the Lord's rest in this life?

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Moro 7:2-3. In opening his address, why might Mormon have used the phrase "holy will" in a context where we might have expected him to have said "the Holy Ghost"? What does Mormon mean by "holy will"?
  • Moro 7:4-17: Real intent. Mormon's discussion in these verses could stand on its own as a sermon on works and real intent. Why is this discussion of works and real intent part of this chapter which Moroni identifies in verse 1 as a sermon on faith, hope and charity?
  • Moro 7:6-10: If we know we should give a certain gift (e.g. help a neighbor) but don't feel a real desire to do so, what should we do? Is going ahead and giving the gift what Mormon calls here doing it grudgingly?
  • Moro 7:6: Intent vs. desire. What is meant by the word intent here? It is interchangeable with desire? If not, what is different between desire and intent? Would it be justified to think of intent as being more conscious, more of a choice, than desire? If desire is less consciously produced, and more of a condition that is evoked from beyond our consciousness (e.g., by our body rather than our mind, say), what is the significance here regarding the way Mormon talks about a gift? At first blush, it seems that intent, if it is more conscious, runs more risk of spoiling or economizing a gift than desire, at least in a certain sense. On the other hand, perhaps Mormon is suggesting that is altogether different than this way of thinking. It seems Mormon is suggesting that intent is precisely what makes a gift possible. It is "real intent" of the giver that seems to be required for the production of a gift. In this sense, perhaps "desire" would be a less apt term here precisely because it does not connote the conscious intent required by a giver. If the desire to give is a gift given by God, beyond ourselves, then this would not be a gift given by a man, only from God. Thus, for man to participate in the process of gift giving, might we think that man must have a conscious intent to give?
  • Moro 7:8: What does it mean that we will be judged with the same judgment by which we judge?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Moro 7:16: Light of Christ. The Church's Guide to the Scriptures and Bible Dictionary have interesting entries under the heading "light of Christ" which compare and contrast the light of Christ with the gift of Holy Ghost and with the power of the Holy Ghost. Many scriptural cross-references are also provided.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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D&C 6:1-5

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Summary[edit]

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D&C 6 is addressed to Oliver Cowdery.

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: April 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 5
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 7

Oliver Cowdery taught school at Manchester, New York during the 1828-1829 school year. A portion of his compensation was received in the form of free lodging at the homes of his students. During his stay with the Joseph Smith Sr. family he obtained a testimony that Joseph had been called of God and that he (Oliver) had a role to play in assisting Joseph.

Once school let out for the spring planting season, Oliver traveled with Samuel Smith to Harmony, Pennsylvania. They arrived, and Oliver first met Joseph, on April 5. Two days later they began translating as a team on April 7. Almost all of what we have today as the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph and Oliver during the months of April to June 1829.

During the first month of April 1829 Joseph received three revelations directed to Oliver Cowdery. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After Oliver's attempt to translate ended in failure, D&C 9 explained why.

For a brief overview of D&C 6 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 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6:2: Dividing Asunder. This phrase seems to come from Heb 4:12, where the word of God "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading is for an outline of the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6 can be outlined as a chiasm:
a. the willing are called to labor in the vineyard, the Lord's word is powerful (1-4)
b. keep the commandments, preach repentance, and bring forth Zion (5-9)
c. Oliver's gift to find out mysteries, the greatest gift is salvation (10-13)
d. first witness of truth of the work: enlightenment (14-17)
e. exhortation to diligence and humility (18-21)
d. second witness of truth of the work: hidden knowledge (22-24)
c. Oliver's gift to assist in translating (25-28)
b. you are blessed whether your word is accepted or rejected (29-31)
a. fear not, for the wicked cannot prevail against the righteous (32-37)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6:2: What does it mean to say that the word of the Lord can divide asunder both joints and marrow?
  • D&C 6:3: Does this imply that anyone who wants to do the Lord's work is called? Or does "reaping" imply that one has to first be authorized to perform saving ordinances?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 6 is ___________.
  • D&C 6 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 6.

  • Several sections addressed to Joseph Smith's early supporters share similar language beginning with "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth ..."
  • D&C 4 directed to Joseph Smith Sr. and D&C 11 to Hyrum Smith of Manchester-Palmyra, New York,
  • D&C 6 to Oliver Cowdery at Harmony, Pennsylvania,
  • D&C 12 to Joseph Knight Sr. of Colesville, New York, and
  • D&C 14 to David Whitmer of Fayette, New York.
This language is thus circulated to all four centers of activity in New York-Pennsylvania. Although D&C 4 was received first and is today the best known of these revelations, D&C 6:1-6 is repeated in the later sections almost word for word. And D&C 6 is placed closer to the front of the 1835 and 1844 editions of the Doctrine & Covenants than those other sections. It thus appears that D&C 6 was the most prominent of these sections in the early days of the Church.
  • D&C 6, D&C 8, and D&C 9 comprise a group of three revelations all directed to Olivery Cowdery during April 1829 regarding his participation in the Book of Mormon translation. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After he tried to translate but was unable, D&C 9 explained why.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 6:36: Doubt Not. See "On the value of doubt" by Nate Oman at the T&S blog for a discussion of the role doubt has played in modern philosophy and the possible tension of this verse with the asking "if these things are not true" in Moro 10:4.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 5                         Next section: D&C 7

D&C 6:6-10

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 6
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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

D&C 6 is addressed to Oliver Cowdery.

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received: April 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 5
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 7

Oliver Cowdery taught school at Manchester, New York during the 1828-1829 school year. A portion of his compensation was received in the form of free lodging at the homes of his students. During his stay with the Joseph Smith Sr. family he obtained a testimony that Joseph had been called of God and that he (Oliver) had a role to play in assisting Joseph.

Once school let out for the spring planting season, Oliver traveled with Samuel Smith to Harmony, Pennsylvania. They arrived, and Oliver first met Joseph, on April 5. Two days later they began translating as a team on April 7. Almost all of what we have today as the Book of Mormon was translated by Joseph and Oliver during the months of April to June 1829.

During the first month of April 1829 Joseph received three revelations directed to Oliver Cowdery. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After Oliver's attempt to translate ended in failure, D&C 9 explained why.

For a brief overview of D&C 6 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 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6:2: Dividing Asunder. This phrase seems to come from Heb 4:12, where the word of God "is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading is for an outline of the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6 can be outlined as a chiasm:
a. the willing are called to labor in the vineyard, the Lord's word is powerful (1-4)
b. keep the commandments, preach repentance, and bring forth Zion (5-9)
c. Oliver's gift to find out mysteries, the greatest gift is salvation (10-13)
d. first witness of truth of the work: enlightenment (14-17)
e. exhortation to diligence and humility (18-21)
d. second witness of truth of the work: hidden knowledge (22-24)
c. Oliver's gift to assist in translating (25-28)
b. you are blessed whether your word is accepted or rejected (29-31)
a. fear not, for the wicked cannot prevail against the righteous (32-37)

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 6:2: What does it mean to say that the word of the Lord can divide asunder both joints and marrow?
  • D&C 6:3: Does this imply that anyone who wants to do the Lord's work is called? Or does "reaping" imply that one has to first be authorized to perform saving ordinances?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 6 is ___________.
  • D&C 6 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 6.

  • Several sections addressed to Joseph Smith's early supporters share similar language beginning with "A great and marvelous work is about to come forth ..."
  • D&C 4 directed to Joseph Smith Sr. and D&C 11 to Hyrum Smith of Manchester-Palmyra, New York,
  • D&C 6 to Oliver Cowdery at Harmony, Pennsylvania,
  • D&C 12 to Joseph Knight Sr. of Colesville, New York, and
  • D&C 14 to David Whitmer of Fayette, New York.
This language is thus circulated to all four centers of activity in New York-Pennsylvania. Although D&C 4 was received first and is today the best known of these revelations, D&C 6:1-6 is repeated in the later sections almost word for word. And D&C 6 is placed closer to the front of the 1835 and 1844 editions of the Doctrine & Covenants than those other sections. It thus appears that D&C 6 was the most prominent of these sections in the early days of the Church.
  • D&C 6, D&C 8, and D&C 9 comprise a group of three revelations all directed to Olivery Cowdery during April 1829 regarding his participation in the Book of Mormon translation. In D&C 6 Oliver was told that he had a gift to translate. In D&C 8 he received permission to translate. After he tried to translate but was unable, D&C 9 explained why.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 6:36: Doubt Not. See "On the value of doubt" by Nate Oman at the T&S blog for a discussion of the role doubt has played in modern philosophy and the possible tension of this verse with the asking "if these things are not true" in Moro 10:4.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 5                         Next section: D&C 7

D&C 10:26-30

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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

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D&C 10 likely consists of two parts received several months apart.[1]

Verses 1-37[edit]

  • Received: late September 1828 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 3
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 4

The immediate setting of D&C 10:1-37 was

Verses 38-70[edit]

  • Received: late May 1829 at Harmony, Pennsylvania
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 13
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 11

The immediate setting of D&C 10:38-70 was

For a brief overview of D&C 10 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 3 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 5.

Discussion[edit]

This heading is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Outline and page map[edit]

This heading is for an outline of the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This heading is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This heading is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 10:34: What does "it" refer to in the phrase "show it not unto the world"?
  • D&C 10:345: What are Nephi's writings being compared to when the Lord says they "throw greater views upon my gospel"?
  • D&C 10:46: Did the Lord reveal these remaining portions of his gospel only because the prophets prayed for them or were they destined to find their way into the scriptures anyway?

Resources[edit]

This heading is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving partial copy of D&C 10 (verses 42-70) is the one copied by John Whitmer into Revelation Book 1, p. 11-12, presumably during the summer of 1830. The oldest surviving complete copy is ________.
  • D&C 10 was first published in the 1833 Book of Commandments, the earliest edition of what we now call the Doctrine & Covenants.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 10.

  • D&C 3 marked the beginning of Joseph Smith's probation following his loss of the 116 page manuscript. The first half of D&C 10 marked the end of that probation and instructed him not to retranslate the lost manuscript. The second half of D&C 10 instructed Joseph to instead replace the lost manuscript by translating the small plates of Nephi (First Nephi through Words of Mormon).

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Parkin, Max H. "A Preliminary Analysis of the Dating of Section 10." In The Seventh Annual Sperry Symposium: The Doctrine & Covenants, p. 68-84. Provo: BYU Press, 1979.

Previous section to 10a: D&C 3                         Next section after 10a: D&C 4
Previous section to 10b: D&C 13                       Next section after 10b: D&C 11

D&C 26:1-2

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 26
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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order D&C 25
  • Next section in chronological order D&C 27

For a brief overview of D&C 26 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 5 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 6.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 26:1. How much of this verse is applicable just to Joseph Smith, and how much might be applicable to the rest of us?
  • D&C 26:1. Just because Joseph Smith was commanded to "be devoted to the studying of the scriptures," how much of our time should be similarly spent? Is there a way to determine that, or does this not imply that we might have a similar duty?
  • D&C 26:2. What is meant by "common consent"?
  • D&C 26:2. What is the relationship between common consent, prayer, and faith?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 26 is __.
  • D&C 26 was first published in __.
  • D&C 26 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 26.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 25                         Next section: D&C 27

D&C 28:1-5

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 28
Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:

For a brief overview of D&C 28 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, chapters 5-6 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapters 6-7.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 28:1-7: The Order of Revelation. These verses lay out the doctrine of who may announce official church doctrine. This doctrine was known in the early days of the Church as as "the Order of Revelation." This doctrine states that the president of the Church is the only person who can announce official Church doctrine. Apostles and local leaders may "speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" to a group under their stewardship by way of commandment, and that instruction "shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" to the people in that group. (D&C 68:2-4; also see D&C 1:38)). But the binding effect of this instruction will be limited in scope to a particular time, place, group, and circumstance. Only the president of the Church may "write by way of commandment" instructions and doctrines that are to be recorded as officially binding upon the entire Church. (D&C 28:2, 7).
The most comprehensive discussion of the Order of Revelation in recent times by a general authority may be Elder Todd Christofferson's talk The Doctrine of Christ in the April 2012 General Conference, including his discussion of the classic 1954 statement by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.. Elder Christofferson's talk provides a framework for understanding why we do not need to feel threatened or defensive when acknowledging, as in President Dieter Uchtdorf's talk Come, Join with Us in the October 2013 General Conference, that Church leaders are human and have sometimes made mistakes.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 28 is __.
  • D&C 28 was first published in __.
  • D&C 28 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 28.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29

D&C 28:6-10

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 28
Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:

For a brief overview of D&C 28 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, chapters 5-6 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapters 6-7.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 28:1-7: The Order of Revelation. These verses lay out the doctrine of who may announce official church doctrine. This doctrine was known in the early days of the Church as as "the Order of Revelation." This doctrine states that the president of the Church is the only person who can announce official Church doctrine. Apostles and local leaders may "speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" to a group under their stewardship by way of commandment, and that instruction "shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" to the people in that group. (D&C 68:2-4; also see D&C 1:38)). But the binding effect of this instruction will be limited in scope to a particular time, place, group, and circumstance. Only the president of the Church may "write by way of commandment" instructions and doctrines that are to be recorded as officially binding upon the entire Church. (D&C 28:2, 7).
The most comprehensive discussion of the Order of Revelation in recent times by a general authority may be Elder Todd Christofferson's talk The Doctrine of Christ in the April 2012 General Conference, including his discussion of the classic 1954 statement by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.. Elder Christofferson's talk provides a framework for understanding why we do not need to feel threatened or defensive when acknowledging, as in President Dieter Uchtdorf's talk Come, Join with Us in the October 2013 General Conference, that Church leaders are human and have sometimes made mistakes.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 28 is __.
  • D&C 28 was first published in __.
  • D&C 28 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 28.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29

D&C 28:11-16

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 28
Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:

For a brief overview of D&C 28 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, chapters 5-6 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapters 6-7.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 28:1-7: The Order of Revelation. These verses lay out the doctrine of who may announce official church doctrine. This doctrine was known in the early days of the Church as as "the Order of Revelation." This doctrine states that the president of the Church is the only person who can announce official Church doctrine. Apostles and local leaders may "speak when moved upon by the Holy Ghost" to a group under their stewardship by way of commandment, and that instruction "shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation" to the people in that group. (D&C 68:2-4; also see D&C 1:38)). But the binding effect of this instruction will be limited in scope to a particular time, place, group, and circumstance. Only the president of the Church may "write by way of commandment" instructions and doctrines that are to be recorded as officially binding upon the entire Church. (D&C 28:2, 7).
The most comprehensive discussion of the Order of Revelation in recent times by a general authority may be Elder Todd Christofferson's talk The Doctrine of Christ in the April 2012 General Conference, including his discussion of the classic 1954 statement by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.. Elder Christofferson's talk provides a framework for understanding why we do not need to feel threatened or defensive when acknowledging, as in President Dieter Uchtdorf's talk Come, Join with Us in the October 2013 General Conference, that Church leaders are human and have sometimes made mistakes.

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 28 is __.
  • D&C 28 was first published in __.
  • D&C 28 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 28.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 27                         Next section: D&C 29

D&C 43:1-5

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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 42
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 44
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 43 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 43 is __.
  • D&C 43 was first published in __.
  • D&C 43 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 43:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 43.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 43:11. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Rise Up, O Men of God," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 59–61. President Hinckley counsels against unclean thoughts, abuse of any kind, "slouchy" dress, profanity, taking the Lord's name in vain, and pornography. "The computer is a wonderful instrument when it is properly used. But when it is used to deal with pornography or so-called chat rooms or for any other purpose that leads to evil practices or evil thoughts, then there must be self-discipline enough to turn it off."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 42                         Next section: D&C 44

D&C 43:6-10

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 43
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Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 42
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 44
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 43 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 43 is __.
  • D&C 43 was first published in __.
  • D&C 43 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 43:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 43.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • D&C 43:11. Gordon B. Hinckley, "Rise Up, O Men of God," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 59–61. President Hinckley counsels against unclean thoughts, abuse of any kind, "slouchy" dress, profanity, taking the Lord's name in vain, and pornography. "The computer is a wonderful instrument when it is properly used. But when it is used to deal with pornography or so-called chat rooms or for any other purpose that leads to evil practices or evil thoughts, then there must be self-discipline enough to turn it off."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 42                         Next section: D&C 44

D&C 50:1-5

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This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:6-10

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:11-15

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:16-20

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:21-25

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:26-30

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:31-35

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:36-40

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 50:41-46

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 50
Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 49
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 50 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 7 or Church History in the Fulness of Times, chapter 8.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:2-4. A little over one year after the church was established it was already having problems with false spirits (v. 2). Verse 4 makes it clear that the Lord wasn't happy with some of the saints.
  • D&C 50:6-9. Verse 7 tells us that those whose choices have given the adversary power, but whose actions are the result of having been deceived, will be reclaimed. If we apply this promise widely to those led in whatever wrong direction because they were deceived, it provides some comfort. In contrast the hypocrites will be cut off. The difference between the two groups seems to depend on whether one is a deceiver or a deceived. Of course, applying the scripture to ourselves, the significant point is to avoid falling in either group as indicated in verse 9.
  • D&C 50:1-9. If we read verses 1-9 as connected to the next verses, then it could be read that there were hypocrites who came, deceived, and thereby weakened some Saints (v 7). Because of their weakened state, these Saints were more likely to receive spirits which they could not understand (v 15-16).
  • D&C 50:24: Brighter until the perfect day. A natural reading of this verse suggests a contrast between growing brightness and the perfect day. That is, "he that receiveth light" will continue to grow brighter "until the perfect day" seems to imply that the growing in light stops at some point. This does not necessarily contradict the notion that one will continue to increase in glory via some sense of "eternal increase" (cf. D&C 131:4), but it does suggest there may be some sort of achievable level of attained light where one is then considered perfect or whole or complete.
  • D&C 50:26-27. Verses 26-27 are similar to D&C 46:27 "unto such as God shall appoint and ordain to watch over the church and to be elders unto the church, are to have it given unto them to discern all those gifts lest there shall be any among you professing and yet be not of God."
  • D&C 50:30. Verse 30's language of a "head" is similar to D&C 46:29 "That unto some it may be given to have all those gifts, that there may be a head"

Complete outline and page map[edit]

This heading contains an outline for the entire section. Items in blue or purple text indicate hyperlinked pages that address specific portions of this section. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Unanswered questions[edit]

This section is for questions along the lines of "I still don't understand ..." Please do not be shy. The point of these questions is to identify things that still need to be addressed on this page. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 50:14. The business of "receiving" in this section has a lot to be worked out. In verse 14, the Lord talks about their ordination to go teach, but verse 15 talks about them receiving, not teaching. Verse 19's usage of "receiving" seems to mean those being taught. So why, in verse 15, does the Lord talk about someone who is called to teach as receiving?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 50 is __.
  • D&C 50 was first published in __.
  • D&C 50 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 50:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 50.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

  • Robert D. Hales, "To Act for Ourselves: The Gift and Blessings of Agency," Ensign, May 2006, pp. 4–8. "Agency is strengthened by our faith and obedience. Agency leads us to act: to seek that we may find, to ask that we may receive guidance from the Spirit, to knock on that door that leads to spiritual light and ultimately salvation. I bear special witness that our Savior Jesus Christ is the source of that light, even the Light and Life of the World. As we use our agency to follow Him, His light will grow within us 'brighter and brighter until that perfect day' when we are welcomed into the presence of our Father in Heaven for all eternity."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



Previous section: D&C 49                         Next section: D&C 51

D&C 52:11-15

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 52
Previous section: D&C 51                         Next section: D&C 53


This page would ideally always be under construction. You are invited to contribute.


Summary[edit]

This heading should be very brief. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Historical setting[edit]

This heading should explain facts about the historical setting that will help a reader to understand the section. This may include issues that prompted the section, its subsequent implementation, and the extent of circulation through its first inclusion in the Doctrine & Covenants. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • Received:
  • Prior section in chronological order: D&C 51
  • Next section in chronological order: D&C 53
  • Click the edit link above and to the right to add historical setting

For a brief overview of D&C 52 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 9.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

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Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 52:2. Why is it important that the people of the Church are "a remnant of Jacob"?
  • D&C 52:2. To what covenant are they heirs?
  • D&C 52:11-16. Is the pattern that the Lord sets forth in verse 14 useful for Latter-day Saints today? In other words, is this section principally of historical interest, or is there something here that we can liken unto us?
What is the pattern? Is this a fair summary: If someone has a contrite spirit and obeys God's ordinances (Does this mean they are baptized, married in the temple, etc.?), then he is of God. He that has God's power brings forth fruits; he that does not bring forth fruits, is not of God? (verses 17 and 18). It is fairly easy to judge whether someone obeys God's ordinances, but much harder to judge whether that person has a contrite spirit. How would we do this?
Further, when would it be appropriate to employ this "pattern?" Verse 14 suggests that we need to judge according to the pattern so that we are not deceived, because Satan is abroad in the land. But counterbalanced against this counsel is the fact that we are not supposed to judge unrighteous judgment. Also, we have been taught not to be critical and find fault with our leaders. So, it seems that we would not employ this pattern to decide when our leaders are leading us astray. Consider: "Well, I just don't think Bishop So and So has a contrite spirit" seems obviously wrong. As does: "Well, hometeaching hasn't improved at all in the Elder's Quorum. Brother Smith isn't bringing forth fruit as Elder's Quorum president, he must not be of God.
Verses fifteen and sixteen suggest that the pattern allows us to judge those we hear praying or speaking. But when do we need to discern whether someone is deceiving us in the way that they are praying? Perhaps these verses relate more specifically to events and struggles the Saints had during Joseph Smith's era. The need to discern whether a speaker seeks to deceive us (see verse 16) is more clear. Can we flip the pattern around and conclude that he whose language is not meek or doesn't edify is not of God?
  • D&C 52:43. The Lord said "I ... will hasten the city in its time." What does that mean?
  • D&C 52:43. Given the promise that the Lord will "hasten the city," and similar promises, what do you make of the fact that the city of Zion was not established in Missouri?
  • D&C 52:43. What does it mean to be crowned with joy and with rejoicing?
  • D&C 52:43. What does that crowning have to do with the gathering of Israel and the establishment of the City of Zion?

Resources[edit]

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Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 52 is __.
  • D&C 52 was first published in __.
  • D&C 52 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 52:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 52.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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D&C 52:16-20

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 52
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Summary[edit]

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Historical setting[edit]

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For a brief overview of D&C 52 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 9.

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

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This section is for prompts that suggest ways in which a passage can influence a person's life. Prompts may be appropriate either for private self reflection or for a class discussion. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 52:2. Why is it important that the people of the Church are "a remnant of Jacob"?
  • D&C 52:2. To what covenant are they heirs?
  • D&C 52:11-16. Is the pattern that the Lord sets forth in verse 14 useful for Latter-day Saints today? In other words, is this section principally of historical interest, or is there something here that we can liken unto us?
What is the pattern? Is this a fair summary: If someone has a contrite spirit and obeys God's ordinances (Does this mean they are baptized, married in the temple, etc.?), then he is of God. He that has God's power brings forth fruits; he that does not bring forth fruits, is not of God? (verses 17 and 18). It is fairly easy to judge whether someone obeys God's ordinances, but much harder to judge whether that person has a contrite spirit. How would we do this?
Further, when would it be appropriate to employ this "pattern?" Verse 14 suggests that we need to judge according to the pattern so that we are not deceived, because Satan is abroad in the land. But counterbalanced against this counsel is the fact that we are not supposed to judge unrighteous judgment. Also, we have been taught not to be critical and find fault with our leaders. So, it seems that we would not employ this pattern to decide when our leaders are leading us astray. Consider: "Well, I just don't think Bishop So and So has a contrite spirit" seems obviously wrong. As does: "Well, hometeaching hasn't improved at all in the Elder's Quorum. Brother Smith isn't bringing forth fruit as Elder's Quorum president, he must not be of God.
Verses fifteen and sixteen suggest that the pattern allows us to judge those we hear praying or speaking. But when do we need to discern whether someone is deceiving us in the way that they are praying? Perhaps these verses relate more specifically to events and struggles the Saints had during Joseph Smith's era. The need to discern whether a speaker seeks to deceive us (see verse 16) is more clear. Can we flip the pattern around and conclude that he whose language is not meek or doesn't edify is not of God?
  • D&C 52:43. The Lord said "I ... will hasten the city in its time." What does that mean?
  • D&C 52:43. Given the promise that the Lord will "hasten the city," and similar promises, what do you make of the fact that the city of Zion was not established in Missouri?
  • D&C 52:43. What does it mean to be crowned with joy and with rejoicing?
  • D&C 52:43. What does that crowning have to do with the gathering of Israel and the establishment of the City of Zion?

Resources[edit]

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Previous editions.

  • The oldest surviving copy of D&C 52 is __.
  • D&C 52 was first published in __.
  • D&C 52 was first included in the Doctrine & Covenants in the 18__ edition.
  • Changes to the text of D&C 52:

Related passages that interpret or shed light on D&C 52.

Doctrinal references cited on this page.

Historical references cited on this page.

Other resources.

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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D&C 84:51-55

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 84 > Verses 84:43-59
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Section 84 The relationship of Verses 84:43-59 to the rest of Section 84 is discussed at D&C 84.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 84:43-59 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 84:53-55. A series of linguistic parallels and connections forms a sort of web that spreads across these three verses, one that opens possibilities for interpretation of a most important and fascinating problem: the nature of the "condemnation" that is only (to be?) lifted when the saints turn to the Book of Mormon. Some explication of this structural web will open the possibility of discussing that condemnation and, in one sense, the purpose of the Book of Mormon.
A first, and the weakest, connection in these verses is between "know" in verse 53 and "minds" in verse 54. The connection seems warranted because of the departure from the previous verses that is marked by these two words. Starting in verse 43, the passage has been to this point a question of "heed," "word," "Spirit," "light," "com[ing]," "voice," "teach[ing]," etc. In other words, the language has been primarily "physical" or "corporeal." With the shift in these two verses to "knowledge" and the "mind," there is an emphatic move from the bodily to the mental. Further characterizing this shift is another change in focus: the preceding verses seem broadly to be focused on "the world," whereas with verse 53, the focus seems to shift towards the saints. In other words, at the threshold of verse 53, the Lord leaves off the world to speak of (and not only to) the saints. Better: the theme of "the world" is now drawn into the purview of the saints who are addressed by the revelation, as verse 53 makes abundantly clear. But this first connection really only marks the boundaries of the passage/web in question.
A second connection is much clearer: the "darkness" of verse 53 and the "darkened" of verse 54. Most significantly, this greatly clarifies the first connection. If the Lord moves from dealing with the world to dealing with the saints, He does so by drawing a parallel between the two: "the whole world groaneth under... darkness," and the "minds" of the saints "have been darkened." In other words, if it at first appears that the Lord moves from discussing the wickedness of the world to celebrating the righteousness of the saints, that appearance is quickly shattered by the clear parallel between the darkness under which the whole world groans and the darkening of the minds of the saints because of their own "vanity and unbelief." This second connection is, however, not quite so simple. The language of verse 53 suggests an incapacity on the world's part: the groans mark the undesirability of the situation, and the word "under" makes explicit that the world has no apparent means of escape. In fact, the language here suggests a connection with Rom 8:22, where Paul understands "the world" not to be a symbol of "the wicked" or even "the masses," but of "the creation": "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now." The connection between the verse in Romans and verse 53 here are obvious, but Paul's take on things changes everything: the world is the world as created, the groans are the groans of a woman giving birth, and the "even now" is paralleled by an "until now" that marks a near end of the awful situation. In other words, it appears that the darkness of the world is the darkness of the womb immediately before a child is delivered into the light (the light of verse 45?). The saints who have received the covenant have received it, according to verse 48, "for the sake of the whole world," as if assigned to deliver the world from darkness as one delivers a child into the light. Now, if the darkness that reigns over "the whole world" marks the incapacity of the world to escape the darkness without the help of the saints, then the "darkened" minds of the saints is a much different situation: this darkness comes because of "vanity and unbelief," comes to those who are light, whose minds are filled with light, because they choose to darken what is already lighted. In other words, the linguistic connection between the darkness of the world and the darkened minds of the saints suggests a great disparity: the saints, whose minds have been lighted up (by the covenant, etc.), have allowed that light to be darkened even as they have the task to bring "the whole world" (which cannot do it itself) into that light. In short, the saints have not only "treated lightly the things [they] received," they have turned from the task implied in that reception of light, the task of bringing the world out of its darkness and into the same light.
A third connection, this one a double connection, emphasizes this rejection on the saints' part of the divine task. The word "unbelief" shows up in both verse 54 and verse 55. The connection is obvious, for the same unbelief is in question in both instances. But unbelief is paired in verse 55 with "vanity." The implication seems to be that "because you have treated lightly the things you have received" is to be understood as bearing the name of "vanity." This is made explicit by the opening "which" of verse 55. This connection is rather obvious, perhaps seeming even banal when mentioned. However, it opens up a careful clarification at work in these verses. If there is reason to connect these verses already to Paul's discourse in Romans chapter 8, then this unbelief/vanity business ought to be read in light of Rom 8:20, where Paul gives a sort of "genealogy" of vanity. He explains that "the creature [the Greek means "creation," just as in verse 22] was made subject to vanity," and this "by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope." As odd as it may sound, Paul seems to be suggesting that "vanity" arises because of hope, because one moves "beyond" faith (is this what is here meant by "unbelief"?) and into hope. In other words, if faith is--as it seems to be in the OT--a turning towards a voice that calls, and if hope is--as it seems to be in the OT--a turning from the world (and all within it) consequent to one's faith, then hope might be characterized as a sort of "unbelief" and, as Paul clearly suggests, a sort of "vanity." Turning from the world in hope, in hope for "a better world" (Ether 12:4), the saints appear to have become so focused on the glories of another realm that they entirely left off faith and charity: They seem to have turned from the faith they once had (what will be called "the former commandments" and--of course--the "Book of Mormon" in verse 57), and to have ignored the task embodied in the covenant confirmed upon them (the task of delivering the world from darkness into the light of their long-since faith). Though this seems a somewhat radical reading, it is a fruitful one, and it makes some sense of these verses.
When the Lord goes on to show the saints the result of this "vanity and unbelief," a fourth (and, for now, final) connection arises: these attitudes "have brought the whole church under condemnation" in verse 55. This phrase is obviously parallel to verse 53, where "the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness." The parallel sets "the whole world" next to "the whole church," and "under sin and darkness" next to "under condemnation." Though darkened minds have also--though only "in times past"--been a result of unbelief and vanity, this ultimate condemnation is not to be equated with it (it is not, after all, anything past, but something now and unrelentingly future... "until..."). In other words, the darkened minds of the saints have been a symptom of the misguided hope (a "zeal without knowledge"?), but the Lord's response is something far severer: church-wide condemnation. The gap, then, between the world and the saints that seemed indicated in the first connection mentioned above here almost disappears: just as the world is held under the sway of something awful, so the saints are in much the same situation, awaiting deliverance like "the whole world."
These four connections weave together a structural web that tie these three verses together, allowing them to define the condemnation that will be taken up in terms of the Book of Mormon in verse 57.
  • D&C 84:56: Condemnation. This further clarification of the "condemnation" that is upon the saints (see commentary on D&C 84:53-55) is crucial in two respects. For one, it is clear that the condemnation is not to be understood on an individual basis, this and that saint being condemned because of their attitude towards the things received. Rather, the condemnation is, regardless of whether the sin is, universal among the saints. The condemnation is, in other words, a corporate condemnation, a condemnation of the whole gathered people. Second, the condemnation is said here to be upon "the children of Zion," rather than the Church. While it is clear that "the children of Zion" means something like "the Church," this alternate name secures the relation between the condemnation under consideration and the broader revelation in which it comes (a revelation concerned primarily with Zion; see commentary at D&C 84:1). This double clarification of the condemnation points toward verse 59: the condemned "children of the kingdom" are unworthy to receive the "holy land" of Zion. This condemnation must not be taken out of context, then: it is to be read in terms of the saints' establishment in Zion and their building there a temple.
  • D&C 84:57: Covenant renewed. The "covenant ... renewed" anticipates the language of verse 57, which speaks of "the new covenant" in relation to "the former commandments."
  • D&C 84:57. The conditions for release from condemnation are now stated clearly (though they will be reworked in verse 61). First, of course, is repentance, but the repentance--followed as it is by an immediate "and"--seems to be not a separate work from the remembrance discussed so much as a broad way of characterizing the remembrance enjoined upon the saints. In other words, to "repent" here seems precisely to mean to "remember...." The work of remembrance commanded, however, is not so simple.
To be remembered: "the new covenant." Because the Lord goes on to clarify the meaning of "the new covenant," it becomes clear that this "new covenant" (so interestingly absolutized with the definite article) is something never discussed as such elsewhere in the D&C. The new covenant, apparently, consists of "the Book of Mormon and the former commandments." It appears, in other words, to mean the Book of Mormon and the (at this point, printing) Book of Commandments. In short, the saints are to "remember" the several revelations given through Joseph Smith up to the point of this commandment. There is, however, another way to read the phrase, if one re-punctuates the text. Inserting a comma after "Mormon," one might read "new" as structurally parallel to "former": "remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon, and the former commandments which I have given them...." The phrase, "even the Book of Mormon," would then appear almost parenthetical: "remember the new covenant (even the Book of Mormon), and the former commandments which I have given them...." A careful consideration of the interplay of "new covenant" and "former commandments" may well confirm this reading.
The phrase "new covenant" would be a better translation of the title commonly translated "New Testament." Diatheke means, literally, covenant--not testament. If one thinks the parallelism between "the new covenant" and "the former commandments" in these terms, there is a close parallel between the Lord's injunction here and the early Christian interpretation of the Bible's double nature (Novum Testamentum in Vetere latet, Vetus in Novo patet, the New Testament is concealed within the Old, and the Old Testament is revealed by the New). The Lord might well be calling the Book of Mormon a sort of new New Testament here, relegating the Bible as a whole to the position of "the former commandments." The obvious echo here of Isaiah's "new things"/"former things" theme (found throughout Second Isaiah) also might confirm this reading (especially because the Nephite record employs very carefully that double Isaianic theme to read the "new things" as the Christian atonement, the "former things" as the Abrahamic covenant?). In other words, the Book of Mormon seems here to be understood as a "new covenant" that takes up and interprets the "former commandments" of Biblical Christianity, in fact as the new covenant that does so. It is this radical relation between the Book of Mormon and the Bible that seems to be what the saints have missed in their "hope" (see commentary, again, at D&C 84:53-55).
Given the peculiar relation between the Book of Mormon and the Bible in the (radical?) interpretation above, the word "remember" becomes significant. The word is of peculiar importance in the cultus of the Old Testament, and it therefore becomes the focal point of the New Testament cultus. In other words, that the Lord here employs the word "remember" already seems to suggest a rather cultic setting in which to understand the injunction given to the saints. The Hebrew zkr is the word translated in terms of remembrance in the Old Testament, and its meaning seems to govern the concept throughout the scriptures. The word means, not just to bring again to mind, but to bring again to reality, to re-enact, to re-commemorate, in short, to bring again into presence. Thus the most important New Testament instance of the word is in the Last Supper: "do this in remembrance of me," bringing the Christ's death/resurrection back into presence so as to experience it (and its healing power) again and again. Feeling these overtones here, to "remember the new covenant" is suddenly recognizable as an even more direct allusion to the Eucharistic themes of the New Testament: "this is my blood of the new testament [or covenant]" (Matt 26:28). But even with all this contextualization, it is not exactly clear what it would mean "to remember" the Book of Mormon (and, apparently through it, the Bible).
Most helpful, then, is the Lord's own clarification of the phrase: "not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written." The Lord Himself introduces the polarity of what Paul Ricoeur calls "manifestation and proclamation," the word and the sacrament (the latter term understood in the broadest sense). Such a polarity was introduced (or, at least, radically emphasized) by the Reformation: sola scritura (the word) was pitted against a sort of obsession with "the sacred" (the sacraments). Such a radical distancing of the two poles is ultimately damaging, and the Lord seems here to be destroying the dichotomy: a return to--a remembrance of--the Book of Mormon and the Bible is to be marked both by the rigor of the protestant student of the word and by the ritual, even existential attendance of the Catholic worshipper. To "remember": study as obedience, obedience as study. Again, to "remember": works as grace, grace as works. Again, to "remember": not only hope (a ceaseless talking, "saying," about a "better world"), but charity (a ceaseless working, "doing," towards a "better world"). In other words, and in short, the hope (a hope that draws vanity; see commentary at D&C 84:53-55) of the saints is to be doubled with charity.
In the end, then, a remembrance of the Book of Mormon (and the Bible "through" it) is what will lift the condemnation, a condemnation that was specifically a result of the saints' directedness away from the world (a sort of Mormon neo-Platonism). To return to those sacred texts is, in the end, to return to the earth, to, as verse 58 puts it, "bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom," a kingdom to be built on the earth, and at a very specific place according to the revelation that opens this very section. The specific "doing" to be undertaken becomes clear with the remainder of the section: in verse 61, the saints are told they will be forgiven if they will bear "testimony to all the world of those things which are communicated unto you," the new covenant and the former things (hence, "proclamation"), all the while remaining "steadfast in your minds in solemnity and the spirit of prayer," attending constantly to the sacraments of a sacred God (hence, "manifestation").
A brief excursus might conclude this discussion. The call to remember is often a call to faith, a call to trust the historical events (or texts, or commandments) that have gone before. If the commentary presented here and at verses 53-55 are correct, this call to remembrance might well be a petition on the Lord's part to ground hope with faith. The vanity for which the saints are condemned seems to be a sort of hope without faith--and certainly, as argued here, a hope without charity--that must be regrounded in faith. If hope is an orientation to eschatological possibility, then the Lord seems to be pointing out the saints that such an orientation must arise out of and remain grounded in a historical faith if it is not to become a sort of vanity. Or, in other words, vanity seems to be a movement towards hope from faith that leaves the latter off, and precisely for that reason, never attains to a real hope: neither real faith nor real hope, one hovers between them in pure frustration (even boredom?). That the Lord goes on to clarify the means of changing this situation as a focus on charity (the doing, not just the saying) suggests that the limbo state between faith and hope can only be overcome when one is transfigured by charity: in love, one grounds hope in faith. To remember: faith, grounding hope, opens onto charity.

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This section is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 84:51. What is "the bondage of sin"? How does coming unto the LORD free one from this bondage?
  • D&C 84:52. How does one "receive" the voice of the LORD?
  • D&C 84:52. Why does the LORD use the term "voice"? How is this "voice" similar or different from other voices we might hear? Is it a literal voice, or is this a metaphor for some other way of communicating?
  • D&C 84:53. What is the "by this" that allows us to know the righteous from the wicked?
  • D&C 84:53. What does it mean that the world "groaneth" under sin?
  • D&C 84:53. What is the nature of the "darkness" that the world is under? What is the source of this darkness?
  • D&C 84:54. What does it mean to have minds "darkened because of unbelief"?
  • D&C 84:54. How might the Saints "have treated lightly the things which [they] have received"? Is this because, as Givens argues, the early saints cherished the Book of Mormon more as a symbol and sign and less for its substance?
  • D&C 84:55. What is this vanity that the LORD refers to?
  • D&C 84:55. What is the LORD accusing the Saints of not believing?
  • D&C 84:55. Were the early Saints so smugly satisfied with their knowledge of the Bible that they felt the Book of Mormon would add little to what they already knew?
  • D&C 84:56. Which branches of the House of Israel, if any, are exempt from this condemnation?
  • D&C 84:57. Are the saints under command to create a collective memory of the Book of Mormon?
  • D&C 84:57. Are we being told to feast upon the Book of Mormon collectively, and not just individually?
  • D&C 84:58. What will this collectively-produced fruit look like and how will it be different from the fruits of our individual actions?

Resources[edit]

This section is for listing links and print resources, including those that are also cited elsewhere on this page. A short comment about the particular strengths of a resource can be helpful. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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D&C 93:36-40

Home > Doctrine & Covenants > Section 93 > Verses 93:21-40
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Summary[edit]

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Relationship to Section 93. The relationship of Verses 93:21-40 to the rest of Section 93 is discussed at D&C 93.

Story.

Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Verses 93:21-40 include:

Discussion[edit]

This section is for detailed discussion such as the meaning of a symbol, how a doctrinal point is developed throughout a passage, or insights that can be further developed in the future. Contributions may range from polished paragraphs down to a single bullet point. The focus, however, should always be on understanding the scriptural text consistent with LDS doctrine. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 93:21. This verse marks a decided shift in the revelation. Before this point, the revelation works through part of "the record of John," concluding with the promise that the Saints can travel a path not unlike the one Christ is said to have followed in John's account: "For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace" (verse 20). Marking the textual break and transition to a new discussion is this verse's "And now, verily I say unto you." Of course, at the same time, there is a good deal of thematic continuity. The largest change in tone seems to be that now it is Christ Himself talking "autobiographically" about what before only John had talked about by way of testimony. In the end, this block of text beginning with verse 21 seems to continue through verse 40.
  • D&C 93:23. After the not entirely surprising content of verses 21-22, verse 23 introduces what must, to the Saints in 1833, have been a real theological shocker: "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father"! These words make up, importantly, the earliest reference in Church history to the idea of a premortal existence. The language of course refers back to verse 21: "I was in the beginning with the Father" is parallel to "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father."
Next, though, verse 23 suddenly becomes grammatically obscure (if not incoherent): "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth." What is happening with the last two clauses of verse 23? They might be taken as qualifications of "the Father" ("the Father, namely, that which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth."). Or perhaps they might be taken as the beginning of a new sentence that never gets off the ground ("That which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth—And truth is, etc...."). Or again, they might be connected grammatically with verse 26 ("That which is Spirit, even the Spirit of truth—and truth is, etc....—Getting back to the Spirit of truth, it is of God. I am the Spirit of truth").
  • D&C 93:24. It seems likely that verses 24-25 are a kind of aside meant to clarify "the Spirit of truth," introduced in verse 23 and returned to in verse 26.
  • D&C 93:24: Modern reading. From a modern philosophical perspective, this verse might be read as defining truth as a type of knowable proposition that is true in the past, present and future. A problem with this reading is that verse 30 becomes very difficult to make sense of: in what sense can propositional truth be said to "act for itself"?
  • D&C 93:24: Knowledge. Another way to read this verse is to consider truth as a way of relating to things. The very mention of the word knowledge seems to suggest something more than a propositional-type definition. If truth can be understood as a proposition, what does it have to do with knowledge? Knowledge here seems to imply, even emphasize, the knower of the truth. The Hebrew word for knowledge, yada, has a relational connotation which is most obvious when sexual relations are described as knowing someone ("in the Biblical sense").
  • D&C 93:24: Things. The word "things" here seems to emphasize the specific as opposed to abstract nature of the knowledge being described here. This may be related to the distinction between "all things . . . compound in one" vs. "one body" in 2 Ne 2:11. In this sense, the plural form of "things" is important: truth is not knowledge of one thing, but a knowledge of a plurality of things that, according to Lehi, are "compound in one." At any rate, the word "things" gets a good deal of play in uniquely Mormon scripture. (It is interesting, for instance, that by far the most common way of referring to the Book of Mormon, within the Book of Mormon itself, is with the phrase "these things.") But the word appears so often that it is difficult to pin down any kind of consistent definition—it seems to be an all-purpose word. Here, there is no necessary implication that "objects" or even "substantial things" are meant. That said, it is important that the word "things" appears here, since it ruptures what might be taken to be a knowledge of "the past" or "the present" or "the future" as some kind of abstract historical schema. Whatever it means to say that truth is knowledge, it is clear that it is not knowledge of "the past," for example, but knowing of "things as they were." It is significant, also, that there is no triple repetition of the word "things." It is apparently not that truth is a knowledge of "things as they are" and of "things as they were" and of "things as they are to come," as if one could classify things in three distinct categories (present things, past things, future things). Rather, "things" appears only once, and truth is a question of knowing those things according to all three temporal modes. Whatever comprehensiveness is at work in truth/knowledge, it is a comprehensiveness of the things (triply) known more than it is a comprehensiveness of the (triply distributed) temporal horizon in which things to be known fall.
  • D&C 93:24: As they are, as they were, and as they are to come. This description seems to echo the progressive "grace to grace" description of the Son of God's obtaining a fulness in previous verses. In this sense, truth seems to be a knowledge that relates to things in the past in the present and the future, not the way the knower may wish things to be, but the way things "really are" (cf. Jacob 4:13). In this sense, it seems that things can act upon the knower independently of the knower. Perhaps it is in this way that sense can be of the notion in verse 30 that truth can "act for itself." Moreover, it is interesting that all three modes of temporality appear here. Only four other passages in scripture seem somewhat similar to this passage, but none of them includes all three modes. (In 2 Ne 6:4 and Jac 4:13, only the present and the future are mentioned; in Mosiah 8:17, only the past and the future are mentioned; and in D&C 5:13, only the present is mentioned. It is possible also that there is a connection with Rev 11:17 and Rev 1:8; in these two passages, all three modes of temporality are present, but the wording is less like the present passage.) At any rate, there seems to be something more comprehensive at work in the present passage than in other similarly worded passages. Another curious detail is the order of the modes presented. Why present, then past, then future—especially when Western moderns are more likely to expect past, then present, then future? If the ordering is significant, it is possible that truth is a question first of knowing things as one experiences them in the present, then of tracing these things into the past, and only then of seeing how these things look out onto the future. Yet another curious detail: the verse does not actually have a strict distribution of present, past, and future. The present and past are couched in terms of being ("things as they are"; "things as they were"), but the future is couched in terms of coming ("things as they are to come"). More strictly, the future is couched in terms of being to come. It thus entangles itself with the present: the future is a question of things "as they are to come." There is, here, no strong notion of "knowing the future," but of knowing things both "as they are" and "as they are to come," as if there were two ways of knowing things "as they are." (Notice the difference here from Jacob 4:13: "it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.")
  • D&C 93:24: As. Why is truth a knowledge of "things as they are/were/are to come" and not simply a knowledge of "what is/was/is to come" or of "the present/past/future"? Or again, why is truth not a knowledge of "things that are/were/are to come"? Why this "as" structure in the definition? This structure introduces a minimal gap into the things known, keeping them from complete self-identity. It signals, perhaps, that there is nothing like an immediate knowing of things: things have to be known as something, even if that something is their being (as they are). Things—whatever those things are—can only be known as they are. It perhaps follows that truth is dialectical, that it is always mediated, never a question of self-evidence, always worked out in an unfolding through which things pass through various "as-stages" until one comes to know things as they are/were/are to come. It seems, in other words, that things can be known as they are not, or perhaps must so be known on the way to knowing them as they are. If there is no "knowing the thing itself," then one must work through so many "things as x" on the way to knowing "things as they are." Of course, this suggests that it is necessary to ask what is meant by being here. Westerners are inclined to read "things as they are" to mean something like "the essence of things." But this is already problematized by the triple are/were/are to come business: it is not that one is simply to come to know things as they really are or as they are eternally/atemporally; one is to come know things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come. Though it may at first seem like the dialectics of the previous paragraph means that there is a process of learning before one comes to "essences," that the "as-stages" are so many mistaken moments on the way to learning what really is the case, there may be reason to read this passage otherwise.
  • D&C 93:26. This verse marks an important departure from what was said in verses 1-20. Though this verse apparently quotes from the same record of John, nothing before was said about Christ receiving "a fulness of truth," only "the fulness" plain and simple (see verses 12-14) and "a fulness of the glory of the Father" (see verse 16). It seems, then, that Christ here introduces still more of the record of John than can be found in verses 1-20. (It should be noted that verse 18 included a promise that "if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.")
Crucially, though, while verses 1-20 never have John say that Christ received the fulness of truth, they do have John say things about the Spirit of truth (see verses 9 and 11). Unfortunately, though, neither of the earlier passages clarifies the meaning of the phrase "the Spirit of truth."
  • D&C 93:28. Given the larger claims made by this revelation (or, at least, in verses 1-40), verse 28 seems to lay out the pathway for human beings that lies parallel (but is also folded within) Christ's own already-traveled pathway to the fullness. It makes four very interesting moves: (1) truth comes only through "keeping his commandments"; (2) truth is paired with light; (3) truth is said to be something in which one "is glorified"; and (4) glorification is made to be a question of "know[ing] all things."
  • D&C 93:29: Intelligence. Apart from an obscure reference in Daniel, the only appearance of the word "intelligence" in scripture before this point is in D&C 88:40: "For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence." (The word would become central to the Book of Abraham, but Joseph wouldn't be looking at that project two years after section 93 was given.) What few instances of the word are to be found in Joseph Smith's pre-1835 letters and diaries are all pretty banal ("intelligence" meaning either "information about goings on elsewhere" or "mental capacity or ability"). Webster's 1828 dictionary gives the following definitions in the following order: (1) "Understanding; skill." (2) "Notice; information communicated; an account of things distant or before unknown." (3) "Commerce of acquaintance; terms of intercourse." (4) "A spiritual being; as a created intelligence." Note that the first two of these definitions seem to be the standard ones usually employed by Joseph before 1835. And of course note that the last definition, obviously the one at work in the translation of the Book of Abraham, is strikingly contradicted by the passage in D&C 93: "A spiritual being; as a created intelligence"; "Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." In the end, it seems best to take "intelligence" here to follow something like Webster's first definition. (The fourth is intriguing, but the revelation does not speak of "an intelligence"; only of "intelligence.") Something like the first definition, at any rate, seems to be implied by the clarification of the term offered by "or the light of truth."
  • D&C 93:29. Suddenly, with verse 29, the revelation becomes strikingly abstract—abstracted, that is, from the concrete dialogical voice that otherwise characterizes verses 21-40. This can be sensed simply by comparing "Man was also in the beginning with God" here in verse 29 with "I was in the beginning with the Father" (verse 21) and "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father" (verse 23). The personal pronouns have been replaced with "man," and "the Father" has been replaced with "God." This abstraction continues through about verse 39 (with verse 40, there is a return to the wonted conversational tone: "But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth"). Is there anything besides a rhetorical difference between verse 23's "Ye were also in the beginning with the Father" and verse 29's "Man was also in the beginning with God"? The change perhaps makes clearer in retrospect that the "ye" business of verse 23 addressed the earlier statement to a specific group of people, not to whoever happens to read the revelation—and that the addressed group of people are in some sense privileged because they were in the beginning with the Father rather than, more abstractly, with God.
Much more difficult is the statement about intelligence. There are two difficulties here (in addition to the clarification of "intelligence" in the lexical notes above): (1) What is to made of the shift from "light and truth" to "light of truth"? (2) What does it mean to say that intelligence "was not" and indeed cannot be "created or made"?
The first question calls for two obvious interpretations. On the one hand, the light in question might be taken to be something like an effect of truth, as if truth brings with it a kind of light. On the other hand, the light in question might be taken to be instrumental in the process of receiving truth, as if light opens up a space for truth. Thus, it seems, the light in question could come either before or after truth. That the passage (a) equates "the light of truth" with "intelligence" and (b) goes on to say that "intelligence"/"the light of truth" cannot be created suggests that the "before" interpretation makes the most sense: it isn't at all clear why the revelation would bother to make a claim about the non-createdness of a light that comes after truth. It would seem, in short, that intelligence is, in this verse, something that opens up a space or otherwise paves the way for the reception of truth.
Second, to claim that intelligence cannot be created or made means what? It should be noted that verse 33 goes on to say: "For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy." Latter-day Saints tend, perhaps, to read this latter passage as a kind of revelatory reference to Newtonian physics: nothing comes from nothing. Perhaps such can be read into the word "eternal," but there is a real gap between "neither created nor destroyed" and "eternal"—and there is thus a gap between verse 33's "eternal" and verse 29's "was not created or made, neither indeed can be." Indeed, there is no claim in verse 29 that intelligence cannot be destroyed, only that it cannot be created. Thus, whatever verse 33 means when it says that "the elements are eternal," there is no such claim in verse 29. Of course, whether that means that intelligence can be destroyed is an open question, so far as verse 29 is concerned.
Taking the whole of verse 29 together, one seems to have something like the following. To say that "man was also in the beginning with God" is, apparently, to say that "intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." Whatever it means to say that human beings were with God in the beginning—whether, that is, this should be interpreted in "individualistic" terms or in "collective" terms—the point is simply, it seems, that the very enabling light of truth could not have been produced. Whether human beings somehow "come into" that light or not, that light was always, apparently, there. At the very least, the intelligent part of humankind was in the beginning with God.
  • D&C 93:30. This verse makes three "claims" that must be dealt with. (1) "All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself." (2) Apparently "all intelligence also" is of the same nature. (3) Crucially, if things were "otherwise," then "there is no existence."
There are several difficulties at work in the first "claim." (a) How is the "all" of "all truth" to be interpreted? (b) What does "independence" mean here? (c) What does "sphere" mean in this connection? (d) What is truth such that God can "place" it? (e) What does it mean to say that truth can "act"? (f) What does it mean to say that truth can "act for itself"? (g) How is independence connected with what I'll loosely call agency?
Perhaps the fact that the same statement can be made about intelligence ("as all intelligence also") is a clue to interpretation. In verse 29, it is made clear that "intelligence" cannot be created. Verse 30 thus suggests that God does something with an already existent intelligence, placing it in spheres so that it can act for itself. In terms of intelligence, this idea is not terribly surprising. That God would take this apparently uncreated intelligence, place it in spheres and so render it independent, and thus set it up with a strong notion of agency—that seems, at least in some sense, to describe the creation of human beings. Should something like the same picture be simply translated over into the question of truth? That is, is one here to assume that (i) truth is uncreated/uncreatable; (ii) God distributed truth into differentiable "spheres"; and (iii) truth was thus given some kind of agency?
Still more crucial is the fact that intelligence and truth, each apparently uncreated and each undergoing a kind of distribution among "spheres," are more closely connected, in light of verse 29, than verse 30 seems to suggest: "intelligence" is the "light of truth." The picture provided in verse 30, then, is one in which God distributes among spheres both the light of truth and then truth itself, this double distribution allowing for the possibility of some kind of (active!) engagement between the two. To some extent, this is a reinterpretation of the creation: it was, it might be said, first and foremost a question of this double distribution. "Otherwise," apparently, "there is no existence."
(D&C 93:31 is interesting on this account, because it seems to suggest that human agency is bound up within this complex entanglement between truth and intelligence—and it seems that condemnation is a question precisely of the uniquely human capacity to reject intelligence.)

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Prompts for further study[edit]

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  • D&C 93:30: Truth is independent. Can truth be neutral? Does no one control it? Does it stand on its own? Is it never relative?
  • D&C 93:30: Sphere. Why does truth lose its independence outside of certain realms? Does that mean it is not absolute?
  • D&C 93:30: Placed. Does truth not exist until God introduces it? Does this mean truth is whatever God says it is? Does God have the power to determine what is truth?
  • D&C 93:30: Act for itself. How can truth act? Is this verse saying that truth can act? If so, in what sense can truth be understood to act? Does truth have agency because of what it shares in common with intelligences?
  • D&C 93:30: There is no existence. Should this verse in combination with Alma 42:22, since they both discuss how a violation of divine nature leads to death?
  • D&C 93:31: Agency. Is this verse saying that people have freedom to choose because of the intelligence that is within them? Has that intelligence been independent enough to give us agency even when we were not enticed by evil, notwithstanding what 2 Ne 2:16 says? Why is the word agency found only in latter-day scriptures?
  • D&C 93:31: Condemnation. Is it our words, works, and thoughts that will condemn us (see Alma 12:14), or is it declining to admit light into our soul that will most definitely damn us?
  • D&C 93:32: Receive not the light. If "whatsoever is light is Spirit" (D&C 84:45), then is the opposite also true? If so, how does a human spirit that is made of light repel the very substance from which it is made?
  • D&C 93:36: What exactly is the "glory" of God? How is it related to intelligence, light, and truth? Does this have something to do with eternal intelligences as seen by Abraham?
  • D&C 93:31: What is truth as used here? How might it be related to light?

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Notes[edit]

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D&C 121:36-40

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Summary[edit]

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Discussion[edit]

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  • D&C 121:36. This verse employs three distinct terms, the relationships among which need to be sorted out carefully: "the rights of the priesthood," "the powers of heaven," and "the principles of righteousness." The two of these terms ("rights" and "powers") are described as being "inseparably connected," while the second and third of these terms ("powers" and "principles" have a more complex relationship, the one ("principles") being a necessary condition for the other ("powers") to be "controlled" or "handled." What is at work in this complex of terms and relationships?
As for the term "rights of the priesthood," it should be noted that the language of "rights" only began to be associated with the priesthood, at least in revelation, in 1835—both in a revelation received that year (D&C 107) and in revisions of a revelation that had been received earlier (D&C 68). It would not be inappropriate to draw a connection between this development and the reception (in December of 1832) of the revelation that is now D&C 86, particularly verses 8-11, where the Saints were, for the first time, informed that they—or at least some of them—were direct descendants of those who had held authority anciently, making them "legal heirs" (cf. D&C 107:40). Of course, the language of "the rights of the priesthood" seldom refers to the right to the priesthood, but much more often refers to the rights of the priesthood, the rights conferred on one through the priesthood. Exemplary are the many references in section 107. Whereas earlier revelations (particularly D&C 20) had made reference first and foremost to the duties of the several offices of the priesthood, this revelation outlined the rights of those same offices (see especially verses 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12). In the end, it seems best to understand the "rights of the priesthood" here in section 121 in this latter manner: in question are the rights the priesthood itself bestows. And, if section 107 is the point of reference for making sense of what is meant by the priesthood's "rights," it seems that what is meant is the right specifically to officiate and to preside.
What, then, of the "powers of heaven"? The phrase is relatively rare in scripture. It's only biblical appearance is in Luke 21:26, though it appears also in Joseph Smith's revision of Matthew 24. In these two texts, the "powers of heaven" are shaken during the eschatological events surrounding the second coming of Christ, and in both cases the shaking of the powers in question is closely associated with the darkening of the sun and the moon, as well as the falling of the stars. The phrase appears three times in the Book of Mormon, all three of these in Third Nephi and on the lips of the Savior: 3 Ne 20:22; 21:25; and 28:7. (Note that the second of these references reads "power of heaven" rather than "powers of heaven" in the current edition. Royal Skousen's Earliest Text, however, provides the reading of "powers of heaven" for this text, bringing it into conformity with the other two references.) In Third Nephi, the phrase always appears in the context of the announcement of Christ's coming to Israel, accompanied by "the powers of heaven." In at least one of these references, it almost seems that "the powers of heaven" refers to actual persons (or angels?) who will accompany Christ to earth. This may be confirmed in Moses 7:27, where the phrase seems again to be a title for angels. At any rate, it seems best to understand the phrase as referring to "supernatural"—and even personal—assistance (or assistants). (Another reference, of no particular help, can be found in D&C 84:119.)
Finally, what is meant by "the principles of righteousness"? Interestingly, this passage marks the only appearance of this phrase in scripture. However, it is perhaps relatively easy to interpret, given that section 121 itself goes on to clarify it—something it does not do with the other terms here under consideration. The key comes only in verses 41-42. Before that, the reader is prepared for the clarification of the term by the references in verses 37 and 39 to "unrighteousness" and "unrighteous dominion." The term itself ("principles of righteousness") is not clarified in these preparatory verses; only the effects of abandoning the principles of righteousness is clarified. But verses 41-42 provide something of a list of principles of righteousness. That it is indeed the principles of righteousness that one finds in that passage is clear from the way that the beginning of verse 41 frames the list: "No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood...." What is intended here, it seems clear, is again, as in verse 36, to draw a distinction between power and priesthood, to distinguish "the powers of heaven" from "the rights of the priesthood." Drawing on (abbreviated forms of) two of the terms from verse 36, it seems clear that the list that follows in verses 41-42 lay out the "principles of righteous" through which power and influence can and apparently ought to be maintained. They are, in the simple form of a list: persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness and meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, and pure knowledge (this last is expounded on a bit in verse 42). The meaning of the third term from verse 36 is thus quite straightforward.
With the terms clarified, what is verse 36 actually saying about the relationships among these three terms? First, quite clearly, it is a question of distinguishing the first two terms. It would seem, then, that those who, according to verse 35, "do not learn this one lesson" make the mistake of conflating "the rights of the priesthood" with "the powers of heaven," of taking the right to officiate or to preside as being equivalent to having access to supernatural assistance (or assistants). It apparently must be made clear, here, that there is a radical break between the right to lead and the ability to wield power: governance and power must be completely uncoupled. The second point being made here, it seems, is that power can in fact be wielded, but that it can only be wielded through the principles of righteousness—regardless, apparently, of whether one holds the rights of the priesthood or not.
But if all this, with so much terminological clarification, seems straightforward enough, it is perhaps complicated to some degree by the introduction, in verse 37, of the term "authority."
  • D&C 121:38: Kick against the pricks. Spencer W. Kimball, in the April 1955 Conference Report, explains this phrase thus: "A goad is defined as a spear or a sharp pointed stick used to sting or prig. The burro who kicks the sharp instrument with which he is being prodded is kicking at the pricks. His retaliation does little damage to the sharp stick or to him who wields it but brings distress to the foot that kicks it."
  • D&C 121:41: No power or influence. One might interpret the beginning of verse 41 as telling us that the priesthood should not be used to maintain power or influence of any kind. In that case the list starting "only by persuasion" would be a list of ways that power or influence ought to be maintained—in lieu of doing so by virtue of the priesthood. Alternately, one could interpret the only here as meaning something like except. In that case the list which begins "only by persuasion" is a list of legitimate ways that the priesthood can maintain power and influence. The difference between these two interpretations is significant in how we look at the role of the priesthood. Should neither power nor influence ever be maintained by virtue of the priesthood? (The first interpretation.) Or, is it part of the legitimate role of the priesthood to maintain power and influence but it must do so only in the prescribed ways listed? (The second interpretation.)
Under either interpretation the most significant point of these verses remains the same—someone who holds the priesthood must seek to influence others through love, persuasion, kindness etc. Reproving others should be done early and only when moved on by the Holy Ghost.
  • D&C 121:41: Only by... This phrase, continuing in the subsequent verses, marks the beginning of a list of how one can (and ought?) to maintain "power or influence." It is important to note that this passage is connected 2 Cor 6:1-13, not only in spirit but on the linguistic level.
  • D&C 121:43: Betimes. Although this word is often taken to mean something like "from time to time," it actually means "early" or "in good season or time" (see Webster's 1828 definition here). This word is used in several other passages in the KJV listed here.
  • D&C 121:45: Confidence. The 1847 New Dictionary of the English Language defines confidences as "To have or place faith or trust in; to credit or give credit; to trust or believe, to be secure or assured, to rely or depend upon; to be firmly, boldly secure" (by Charles Richardson, 1847). This is in-line with the three definitions given in Oxford English Dictionary (OED):
  • The mental attitude of trusting in or relying on a person or thing; firm trust, reliance, faith. Const. in (to, on, upon).
  • The feeling sure or certain of a fact or issue; assurance, certitude; assured expectation.
  • Assurance, boldness, fearlessness, arising from reliance (on oneself, on circumstances, on divine support, etc.)
  • D&C 121:45: Virtue. The Webster's 1828 Dictionary provides ten different definitions of virtue, including strength, bravery, moral goodness, acting power, excellence. In the New Testament, virtue is most often the English translation of the Greek Arete, which conveys a sense of excellence or goodness associated with reaching your utmost potential. This usage is found in Philip 4:8, 1 Pet 2:9 where it is translated as "praises", and 2 Pet 1:3-2 Pet 1:5. Virtue is twice used as the English translation of the Greek Dunamis, which refers to strength, power, and ability (Mark 5:30, Luke 6:19). If Joseph Smith or the Lord is referring to either of these senses of the word "virtue," then its use here has more to do with power, strength, and reaching noble potential, rather than merely chaste or pure sentiments. This reading may be further supported by the very similar usage of virtue (arete) in Philip 4:8--where we are commanded to "think on" virtue (arete).
  • D&C 121:45: Bowels full of charity. If we are "full of charity" then there can be no place in us for ill-feelings. Only the best of feelings should exist between us. This is how we need to feel in order to pray and be confident in the presence of God.
Doctrine distil...as the dews. This reference echoes Deut 32:2, where Moses states that his "doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew." This metaphor is not entirely clear. It may imply that the Spirit will teach us slowly and almost imperceptibly, perhaps without our fully realizing or noticing it. This may be a parallel to what happens in the next verse—with knowledge perhaps drawn to us "without compulsory means" to "flow unto" us forever and ever, as our dominion is described in verse 46.
Thy confidence wax strong. In verse 45 we are told that if we are full of charity toward all men and "let virtue garnish [our] thoughts unceasingly" then our confidence will "wax strong in the presence of God." One way we can understand confidence here is to mean "assurance, boldness, fearlessness" as suggested in the 3rd definition given by the OED (see the lexical notes above). This interpretation can explain Jared's boldness in Ether 3:10. Though the Brother of Jared was struck with fear when he first sees the Lord (when he sees just His finger Ether 3:6), in verse 10 the Brother of Jared shows confidence (when he says "Lord, show thyself unto me"). Reading confidence here as "assurance, boldness, fearlessness," suggests interpreting the Brother of Jared's boldness here as the result of his righteousness—that he was charitable and virtuous.
We can also understand this confidence in the presence of the Lord by understanding what happens in the reverse case. Just as the scriptures tell us that those who have virtuous thoughts will have confidence in the Lord's presence, so they also tells us that those without virtuous thoughts will not have confidence in the presence of God. For example, Alma 12:14 specifically makes the connection between thoughts that condemn us and wanting to hide from the presence of the Lord.
  • D&C 121:46: Scepter. The phrase "scepter of righteousness" only occurs once in the New Testament at Heb 1:8, where it refers to the scepter of God's kingdom. Scepter there is an English translation of the Greek rhabdos, which is elsewhere translated as a rod or staff--including the Lord's "rod of iron" mentioned in Rev 2:27, Rev 12:5, and Rev 19:15.

Unanswered questions[edit]

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Prompts for life application[edit]

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Prompts for further study[edit]

This heading is for prompts that invite us to think about a passage more deeply or in a new way. These are not necessarily questions that beg for answers, but rather prompts along the lines of "Have you ever thought about ..." Prompts are most helpful when they are developed individually, thoughtfully, and with enough background information to clearly indicate a particular direction for further study or thought. Click the "edit" link to edit or add content to this heading. →

  • D&C 121:35: How do we guard ourselves from setting our hearts upon the things of the world?
  • D&C 121:35: How do we guard ourselves from aspiring to the honors of men both in the church, and out of the church?
  • D&C 121:44: What does it mean to have faithfulness "stronger than the cords of death"? Why is it important for others to see that faithfulness?
  • D&C 121:45: What is the "doctrine of the priesthood?"
  • D&C 121:45: Does this doctrine differ from the doctrine of the gospel? Is it a subset? A superset?
  • D&C 121:45: What definition of "virtue" might be most applicable in this verse? Is there more involved here then just having pure thoughts?

Resources[edit]

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  • D&C 121:45. Elder Bruce R. McConkie specifically addresses the question "What is the doctrine of the priesthood?" in his April 1982 General Conference address titled Doctrine of the Priesthood.
  • D&C 121:45. Elaine S. Dalton, "Look toward Eternity!," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 31–32. Speaking of the importance of purity upon confidence, Sister Dalton said "we can confidently enter the holy temples of God with a knowledge that we are worthy to go where the Lord Himself goes. When we are worthy, we can not only enter the temple, the temple can enter us."
  • D&C 121:45. Craig A. Cardon, "Moving Closer to Him," Ensign, Nov 2006, pp. 94–96. Elder Cardon states: "It is significant that after inviting us to have charity toward 'all men,' the Lord added the phrase 'and to the household of faith...' Consider the implications when this added phrase is understood to mean more specifically 'your very own household of faith.' Unfortunately, there are a few within the Church who exhibit greater charity toward non-family members than toward their own spouses and children, siblings and parents. They may show feigned kindness publicly while privately sowing and cultivating seeds of contention, demeaning those who should be closest to them. These things should not be."

Notes[edit]

Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves (such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word). In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources (such as Strong's Bible Concordance or the Joseph Smith Papers) are preferable to footnotes.



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