Doctrine and Covenants 23-26: “Strengthen the Church” (March 8-14)

Portrait of Emma Hale Smith, by Lee Greene Richards

What was Emma’s role in the church of Jesus Christ?

Soon after the church was organized, the Lord instructed her husband, Joseph, to prioritize his leadership role in the church. He was told to travel again after his crops were planted, and to visit the members of the church in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester. The Lord told him, “Thou shalt devote all thy service in Zion” (Doctrine and Covenants 24:7).

I think this description captures effectively what Emma must have felt at this time:

The revelation left much uncertainty in Emma’s life. How would they earn a living if Joseph devoted all his time to the Saints? And what would she do while he was away serving the church? Was she supposed to stay at home, or did the Lord want her to go with him? And if He did, what would be her role in the church?

Saints, Volume 1, Chapter 9, page 96

Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants came in response to these questions. Among other things, the Lord told Emma:

  • She was an “elect lady,” called of God (verse 3).
  • She was to travel with her husband (verse 6).
  • She would be “ordained…to expound scriptures, and to exhort the church” as directed by the Spirit of the Lord (verse 7).
  • She need not worry about their temporal well-being. The Lord instructed her to “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (verses 9-10).
  • She was assigned to collect a set of hymns for use in the church (verses 11-12).
  • She was told to rejoice, to cleave unto her covenants, to continue to be meek, and to let her soul delight in her husband (verses 13-14).

After summarizing this revelation, President Russell M. Nelson concluded:

The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life. Sisters, you have the right to draw liberally upon the Savior’s power to help your family and others you love.

Spiritual Treasures,” General Conference, October 2019

Here are two blog posts which emphasize the important role women can play as teachers of the gospel:

Here are a few blog posts relating to the key themes in this revelation to Emma:

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