How do you build a house for God? As imperfect mortals, it seems presumptuous to build a dwelling place for the Creator of the Universe. Yet that is what the Lord commanded a small group of believers to do in the city of Kirtland, Ohio in 1833.
In a series of revelations received in June and August of 1833, the Lord explained how to approach this project. Here is a summary of the content of those revelations, in chronological order:
- June 1: The Lord chastens them for not taking seriously enough His prior command to establish this house. (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:119.) He explains that, within this house, He intends to endow them “with power from on high.” He tells them not to build it “after the manner of the world,” but “after the manner which I shall show unto three of you” (Doctrine and Covenants 95)
- June 4: The Lord explains how to manage the property (known as the “French farm“) where they would build His house. Newell K. Whitney, the bishop of the church in Kirtland, was to manage the allocation of the property. John Johnson was also called upon to help ensure that the property was paid for, so that they could construct the building (Doctrine and Covenants 96).
- August 2: The Lord instructed church members to construct several buildings around his house, including a building for the presidency of the church, a printing press, and homes for several church leaders (Doctrine and Covenants 94).
- August 2: The Lord instructs church members in Jackson County, Missouri to sacrifice in order to quickly build a house for Him. He promises that He will come if they build the house and keep it holy. He defines Zion as “the pure in heart” (Doctrine and Covenants 97).
Here are some of the major themes in these revelations, with related blog posts:
“Build a house unto me” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:15)
- We make places holy by removing things which would distract us from our highest priorities: A House of Prayer.
- In times of uncertainty or tragedy, people of faith tend to gravitate to places of refuge and reverence: Gathered Together…Round About the Temple – 3 Nephi 11:1.
- Some of the blessings of temple service come from the sacrifices we are willing to make to attend: Let Us Go Up – 2 Nephi 12:2-3.
“Every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:8)
- You can tell how much you value something by how much you are willing to pay for it: Having Sealed the Truth of His Words – Mosiah 17:20.
- Like the rich young ruler, the price we are asked to pay—the specific sacrifices we are required to make—may be customized to our individual needs: Having Sealed the Truth of His Words by His Death – Mosiah 17:20.
“Whom I love I also chasten” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:1)
- God’s correction is evidence of His love for us: Chastened.