- Doctrine and Covenants 3-5: “My Work Shall Go Forth” (January 18-24)
God’s work will not fail. We can rely on that. Furthermore, we can be part of it, if we’re willing to do things His way, instead of insisting on doing them our way.
That’s the main message I get from three revelations Joseph Smith received in 1828 and 1829. Here is a brief overview of those revelations with some relevant Book of Mormon passages and blog posts.
The lost 116 pages: Doctrine and Covenants 3
Joseph was devastated when the first 116 pages he translated, the Book of Lehi, were lost. He had entrusted them to Martin Harris, a wealthy friend who had provided substantial assistance during the process of translation, but Joseph knew he was personally responsible to keep the plates and the translation safe. He thought he had failed in the mission given him by the angel Moroni.
But God had already made provision for this failure. Fourteen hundred years earlier, Mormon had been inspired to include an apparently redundant set of plates in his record (Words of Mormon 1:3-7). A thousand years before that, the prophet Nephi had created those plates, without understanding why (1 Nephi 19:1-3). Joseph learned two important lessons from this experience:
- We should not fear man more than God (v. 7). (See 2 Nephi 8:12-13, Moroni 8:16.)
- God’s work cannot be frustrated (v. 1-3). (See Alma 37:12.)
Here are some relevant blog posts:
- What Is the Book of Lehi?
- For Other Wise Purposes – 1 Nephi 19:1-3, Words of Mormon 1:7
- In What Order Did Joseph Smith Translate the Book of Mormon?
Qualifications for the ministry: Doctrine and Covenants 4
“If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” (Doctrine and Covenants 4:3). Missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints frequently recite this revelation, which Joseph Smith received on behalf of his father. But the principles contained in it apply to all disciples of Jesus Christ. As we intentionally work to develop the qualities listed in this revelation, God qualifies us to assist Him in accomplishing His purposes.
Here are some blog posts about some of the qualities listed in this revelation:
- Faith: What Are Some Examples of Faith in the Book of Mormon?
- Knowledge: Why Is Firsthand Spiritual Knowledge Important?
- Temperance: What Does It Mean to Be “Temperate in All Things?”
- Patience: How Can I Be More Patient?
- Brotherly Kindness: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Kindness?
- Charity: “Charity Never Faileth” – Moroni 7:46
- Humility: How Can I Be More Humble?
- Diligence: What Does the Book of Mormon Teach About Diligence?
Guidance to Joseph and Martin: Doctrine and Covenants 5
Several months after the loss of the 116 pages, Martin Harris requested additional evidence of the existence of the gold plates. In response to this request, Joseph received a revelation in which he and Martin both received warnings and promises. In particular, Martin was promised that he would eventually see the plates if he humbled himself sufficiently (Doctrine and Covenants 5:24).
Here are some relevant blog posts:
Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye.” Therefore, He added, “if…thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” But He added this warning: “If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23, 3 Nephi 13:22-23). The Greek word translated as “single” in… Continue Reading →
In Doctrine and Covenants 4:6, the Lord invites us to develop ten Christlike attributes. Today, I decided to study the second of those attributes: virtue. Here are some of the insights I gained: Insight #1: Virtue is power. The word “virtuous” appears three times in the King James Version of the Old Testament, always as… Continue Reading →
After losing the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was devastated. “All is lost!” he exclaimed to his family. “What shall I do?” (Lucy Mack Smith, History, 1845, page 131). Shortly after, the Lord reassured him that His work would continue to move forward. God emphasized this point by saying that… Continue Reading →
The ancient patriarch Joseph foresaw the work of his future namesake, the prophet Joseph Smith: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a… Continue Reading →
Many times in the Book of Mormon, we are promised that God will answer our prayers. An essential element of effective prayers is faith—the belief or confidence that God will answer us. The Lord promised Enos, “Whatsoever thing ye shall ask in faith, believing that ye shall receive in the name of Christ, ye shall receive it”… Continue Reading →
Strong family relationships can help us weather storms. Malachi wrote that, in the troubling times preceding the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, Elijah the prophet would return to the earth, “and he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6). This prophecy was so important that Jesus Christ recited it to… Continue Reading →
Words matter. Words have an impact, for good or for evil. Jesus said, “Every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matthew 12:36). And Alma warned the people of Ammonihah, some of whom were guilty of deceiving others, “Our words will condemn us” (Alma 12:24)…. Continue Reading →
When Moroni, the last author in the Book of Mormon, appeared to Joseph Smith on Sunday, September 21, 1823, he quoted a number of passages from the Old Testament, most of which also appear in the Book of Mormon. Here is a list of four of those passages, as recorded in Joseph Smith—History 1:36-41, with… Continue Reading →
Corianton had done wrong. He had not only committed a serious sin, but had done so while representing the church as a missionary under the leadership of his father, Alma. His actions had embarrassed his father and had weakened the credibility of his fellow missionaries (Alma 39:1-12). As you might expect, Alma reproved his son…. Continue Reading →
Through the prophet Isaiah, God explained the problem which would be solved by the publication of the Book of Mormon and the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ: Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me… Continue Reading →
What would possess a group of people to invade and occupy their own Capitol Building while their elected representatives were conducting official government business on their behalf? How could they convince themselves that this action was morally acceptable, or that it was even helpful to their cause? The troubling events this week in the United… Continue Reading →
Our relationship with the truth is a fundamental part of our moral character. The prophet Jacob defined “truth” as “things as they really are, and…things as they really will be”(Jacob 4:13). (See also Doctrine and Covenants 93:24.) The Lord revealed to the prophet Joseph Smith that “All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed… Continue Reading →
In March, 2019, I studied 20 different names or titles of Jesus Christ which appear in the Book of Mormon. I was particularly interested in the way each name was used, both in the Book of Mormon and in the Bible.
In 2018, I wrote summaries of many of the sermons in the Book of Mormon. Each summary describes the setting, the purpose, an outline of the sermon’s content, and my takeaways from the sermon.
In 2019, I used the Book of Mormon to study 365 questions—one per day. Here is a list of those questions, grouped by category, with a link to the blog post for each question.