Lesson 10 D&C 25
Elder Jay Jensen described a time when he was looking in the scriptures for comfort when he came to Section 3. He said: “When I read a verse, I often insert my name in it. I did so with verse 5 and found the help I needed to remove my gloomy feelings: ‘Behold, you [Jay Jensen] have been entrusted with these things, but how strict were your commandments; and remember also the promises which were made to you [Jay Jensen]’ (D&C 3:5) The words ‘remember also the promises’ struck me with unusual power….During those four days I had focused on nothing but problems. I had not stopped to consider one single promise” (Ensign, Nov. 1992, 80) Elder Jensen then reviewed in his mind the promises given to him in his patriarchal blessing, in the blessing when he was set apart as a mission president, and in the scriptures. By doing so, he was able to find the strength and comfort he needed.
Nephi counseled us to liken the scriptures unto ourselves, so putting our own names in the scriptures is one method of doing that. It can allow us to apply counsel from the Lord to individual Saints in the D&C to ourselves.
In a July 1830 revelation directed to Emma Smith, there are three themes that we will focus on this week.
1. Husbands and wives should support and comfort each other.
The revelation included counsel to Emma about her responsibilities to her husband. D&C 25:5 helps us understand how husbands and wives can help each other in times of difficulty.
The Prophet Joseph taught wives that they should treat their husbands “with mildness and affection. When a man is borne down with trouble, when he is perplexed with care and difficulty, if he can meet a smile instead of an argument or a murmur—if he can meet with mildness, it will calm down his soul and soothe his feelings” (TPJS, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 228). The Prophet taught husbands, “It is the duty of a husband to love, cherish, and nourish his wife, and cleave unto her and none else; he ought to honor her as himself, and he ought to regard her feelings with tenderness” (Elders’ Journal, Aug. 1838, 61)
D&C 25:14 counsels Emma to “Let thy soul delight in thy husband”.
Joseph and Emma supported each other during many afflictions. In 1842, Joseph was in hiding because his life was threatened, but Emma visited him. He later said: “With what unspeakable delight, and what transports of joy swelled my bosom, when I took by the hand, on that night, my beloved Emma—she that was my wife, even the wife of my youth, and the choice of my heart. Many were the reverberations of my mind when I contemplated for a moment the many scenes we had been called to pass through, the fatigues and the toils, the sorrows and sufferings, and the joys and consolations, from time to time, which had strewed our paths…Oh what a commingling of thought filled my mind for the moment, again she is here…undaunted, firm, and unwavering—unchangeable, affectionate Emma!” (History of the Church, 5:107)
Joseph and Emma experienced the tragedy of losing children including four infants who died in four years. Of their eleven children, only four lived to late adulthood. During difficult times in Kirtland, when Emma’s newborn twins died within hours of birth, the grieving parents adopted the Murdock twins, Joseph and Julia. Sis. Murdock died shortly after the births.
Lucy Mack Smith described Emma’s characteristics that enabled her to support her husband during challenges. “I have never seen a woman in my life, who would endure every species of fatigue and hardship, from month to month, and from year to year, with that unflinching courage, zeal, and patience, which she has ever done; for I know that which she had had to endure… She has breasted the storms of persecution, and buffeted the rage of men and devils, which would have borne down almost any other woman” (History of Joseph Smith, ed. Preston Nibley , 190-91)
2. We should be meek and avoid pride.
In D&C 25:14, Emma was commanded to “continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride”. Similar instructions were given by the Lord to others:
· D&C 23:1 warned Oliver Cowdrey against pride.
· D&C 38:39 warned the Saints
· D&C 90:17 was addressed to the First Presidency
· D&C 98:19-20 admonished the Kirtland Saints
Pres. Ezra Taft Benson taught: “Most of us think of pride as self-centeredness, conceit, boastfulness, arrogance, or haughtiness. All of these are elements of the sin, but the heart, or core, is still missing. The central feature of pride is enmity—enmity toward God and enmity toward our fellowmen. Enmity means ‘hatred toward, hostility to, or a state of opposition’” (Ensign, May 1989, 4)
Pres. Benson explained how pride affects our relationship with God: “Pride is essentially competitive in nature. We pit our will against God’s…in the spirit of ‘my will and not thine be done.’ Our will in competition to God’s will allows desires, appetites, and passions to go unbridled… Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as rebellion, hard-heartedness, stiff-neckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended, and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren’t interested in changing their opinions to agree with God’s” (Ensign, May 1989, 4)
Pres. Benson also explained how pride affects our relationship with others: “We are tempted daily to elevate ourselves above others and diminish them… Selfishness is one of the more common faces of pride… Another face of pride is contention. Arguments, fights, unrighteous dominion, generation gaps, divorces, spouse abuse, riots, and disturbances all fall into this category of pride.” (Ensign, May 1989, 4)
As Latter-day Saints, we should overcome pride and cultivate a spirit of meekness. Pres. Benson counseled: ”The antidote for pride is humility—meekness, submissiveness. It is the broken heart and contrite spirit… We can choose to humble ourselves by loving God, submitting our will to His, and putting Him first in our lives” (Ensign, May 1989, 6-7)
The following scriptures cite blessings that come as we choose to become humble and meek:
· D&C 1:28 promise strength, heavenly blessings, and—from time to time—knowledge
· D&C 19:23 promises peace
· D&C 112:10 promises that the Lord will lead you and answer your prayers
· D&C 124:97 promise receipt of the Spirit, manifestations of truth, and inspiration for what to say
3. We should rejoice and be of good cheer.
The Lord admonished Emma and others to rejoice:
· D&C 25:13 - cheerfully cleave unto the covenants
· D&C 29:5 – He is in our midst and is our advocate with the Father
· D&C 61:36 – He is in our midst and has not forsaken us
· D&C 68:6 – He is with us, stands by us, and we should bear testimony of him
· D&C 78:18 – the kingdom is ours and the blessings thereof
· D&C 136:29 - our souls may be joyful if we call upon the Lord
Elder Marvin J. Ashton counseled: “None of us will escape tragedy and suffering. Each of us will probably react differently. However, if we can recall the Lord’s promise, ‘for I the Lord am with you’, and we will be able to face our problems with dignity and courage. We will find the strength to be of good cheer instead of becoming resentful, critical, or defeated. We will be able to meet life’s unpleasant happenings with clear vision, strength, and power…. What a joy it is to see someone of good cheer, who, when others because of an unpleasant happening or development live in angry silence or vocal disgust, meets the situation with cheerful endurance and good spirits” (Ensign, May 1986, 66)
Try reading the scriptures with the intent of applying the messages of the scriptures to your individual circumstances. The Lord’s many admonitions to be of good cheer remind us that we can find peace and joy regardless of our circumstances.
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