Diving Into Doctrine and Covenants 25:8-16

Diving Into Doctrine and Covenants 25:8-16 March 26, 2020

This is the second half of accepting President Nelson’s challenge to study Doctrine and Covenants 25. The first part is Diving Into Doctrine and Covenants 25:1-7.

President Russell M. Nelson invited us to “study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you. Your personal spiritual endeavor will bring you joy as you gain, understand, and use the power with which you have been endowed.”  I’ve studied this section several times since President Nelson’s challenge.  This time around I decided to dive into the meanings of words to see if I could expand my understanding.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:For he shall lay his hands upon thee, and thou shalt receive the Holy Ghost, and thy time shall be given to writing, and to learning much.

Because of persecution, Emma still hadn’t been able to receive the Holy Ghost. This revelation was received in July 1830. Emma was baptized in June 1830, but mobs interrupted their meetings and Joseph was arrested.  Finally, in August 1830, Emma received confirmation of the Holy Ghost.

Which ways have you received the Holy Ghost?

RECE’IVEverb transitive [Latin recipio; re and capio, to take.]

1. To take, as a thing offered or sent; to accept. …

2. To take as due or as a reward. …

3. To take or obtain from another in any manner, and either good or evil. …

4. To take, as a thing communicated …

5. To take or obtain intellectually; as, to receive an opinion or notion from others.

6. To embrace. …

7. To allow; to hold; to retain; as a custom long received.

8. To admit. …

9. To welcome; to lodge and entertain; as a guest. …

10. To admit into membership or fellowship. …

11. To take in or on; to hold; to contain. …

12. To be endowed with. …

13. To take into a place or state.

14. To take or have as something ascribed; as, to receive praise or blame. …

15. To bear with or suffer. …

16. To believe in. ….

Doctrine and Covenants 25:And thou needest not fear, for thy husband shall support thee in the church; for unto them is his calling, that all things might be revealed unto them, whatsoever I will, according to their faith.

One of my favorite verses—”Look unto me in every thoughtdoubt not, fear not—” reinforces the principle that there is no need to fear.

Through the office of Joseph’s calling as a prophet, the Lord revealed things to His people. He still follows that pattern.  According to our faith, we receive.

REVE’ALEDparticiple passive Disclosed; discovered; made known; laid open.

And we all know what faith is, right?  Read through these definitions and see if yours can expand a bit.

FAITHnoun [Latin fides, fido, to trust; Gr. to persuade, to draw towards any thing, to conciliate; to believe, to obey. In the Greek Lexicon of Hederic it is said, the primitive signification of the verb is to bind and draw or lead, as signifies a rope or cable. But this remark is a little incorrect. The sense of the verb, from which that of rope and binding is derived, is to strain, to draw, and thus to bind or make fast. A rope or cable is that which makes fast. Heb.]

1. Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth.  …

2. The assent of the mind to the truth of a proposition advanced by another; belief, or probable evidence of any kind.

3. In theology, the assent of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. …

4. Evangelical, justifying, or saving faith is the assent of the mind to the truth of divine revelation, on the authority of God’s testimony, accompanied with a cordial assent of the will or approbation of the heart; an entire confidence or trust in God’s character and declarations, and in the character and doctrines of Christ, with an unreserved surrender of the will to his guidance, and dependence on his merits for salvation. In other words, that firm belief of God’s testimony, and of the truth of the gospel, which influences the will, and leads to an entire reliance on Christ for salvation. …

FAITH is an affectionate practical confidence in the testimony of God.

FAITH is a firm, cordial belief in the veracity of God, in all the declarations of his word; or a full and affectionate confidence in the certainty of those things which God has declared, and because he has declared them.

5. The object of belief; a doctrine or system of doctrines believed; a system of revealed truths received by Christians. …

6. The promises of God, or his truth and faithfulness. …

7. An open profession of gospel truth. …

8. A persuasion or belief of the lawfulness of things indifferent. …

9. Faithfulness; fidelity; a strict adherence to duty and fulfillment of promises.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:10 And verily I say unto thee that thou shalt lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better.

President Russell M. Nelson challenged us to lay aside the things of this world in his challenge to study Doctrine and Covenants 25!

So, I invite you to study prayerfully section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants and discover what the Holy Ghost will teach you. Your personal spiritual endeavor will bring you joy as you gain, understand, and use the power with which you have been endowed.

Part of this endeavor will require you to put aside many things of this world. Sometimes we speak almost casually about walking away from the world with its contention, pervasive temptations, and false philosophies. But truly doing so requires you to examine your life meticulously and regularly. As you do so, the Holy Ghost will prompt you about what is no longer needful, what is no longer worthy of your time and energy.

As you shift your focus away from worldly distractions, some things that seem important to you now will recede in priority. You will need to say no to some things, even though they may seem harmless. As you embark upon and continue this lifelong process of consecrating your life to the Lord, the changes in your perspective, feelings, and spiritual strength will amaze you!

Sister Elaine L. Jack was the General Young Womens President when I was in high school.  Then she was released and called as General Relief Society President.  She was a powerful speaker. She spoke to this verse in her conference talk titled “Seek, and Ye Shall Find.”

The Lord has counseled us directly in this dispensation to seek the Spirit—to learn much—that we might “lay aside the things of this world, and seek for the things of a better” (D&C 25:10). I feel strongly that this is a clarion call for the women of this church at this time. For us to stand firm and faithful, we must be clearly focused on seeking the Lord.

Seeking implies so much more than merely looking. Seek means energy, direction, passion, purpose. To seek requires all our “heart, might, mind and strength” (D&C 4:2). We sisters are good at using our hearts and our hands in the Lord’s work. But we must also use our minds. More than one hundred years ago, Relief Society President Emmeline B. Wells said, “I believe in women, especially thinking women” (“Why, Ah! Why” Woman’s Exponent, vol. 3, Oct. 1, 1874, p. 67). So do I.

How do we seek with our minds? With our intellect we can ponder, we can analyze our circumstances, we can sort and sift information, weigh our options; we can store ideas, we can draw conclusions from our experiences, find answers to our problems; we can treasure thoughts and receive revelation. Isn’t that what the Lord meant when he said, “You must study it out in your mind” and then ask me if these things are not true? (D&C 9:8.)

This statement of the Prophet Joseph Smith inspires me: “Thy mind … if thou wilt lead a soul unto salvation, must stretch as high as the utmost heavens” (History of the Church, 3:295). We must stretch our minds if we are to reach that lofty goal so familiar to us all: “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth” (D&C 93:36).

Doctrine and Covenants 25:11 And it shall be given thee, also, to make a selection of sacred hymns, as it shall be given thee, which is pleasing unto me, to be had in my church.

Why two “it shall be given thee” in this verse?

Emma completed this commandment to create a hymnbook. In “Be Thou Humble,” Elder Steven E. Snow shared some interesting facts and pictures of Emma’s hymnal.

Emma Smith assembled a collection of hymns which first appeared in this Kirtland hymnal in 1836. There were only 90 songs included in this thin little booklet. Many of them were hymns from Protestant faiths. At least 26 of them were written by William W. Phelps, who later prepared and assisted in the printing of the hymnal. Only the lyrics were written; no musical notes accompanied the texts. This humble little hymnal proved to be a great blessing to early members of the Church.

Page from Emma Smith’s hymnbook
Title page from Emma Smith’s hymnbook

The latest edition of our English-language hymnal was published in 1985. Many of the selections which Emma chose so many years earlier are still included in our hymnbook, such as “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” and “How Firm a Foundation.”

In 1841, Emma compiled a second hymnal containing 304 hymns.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:12 For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads.

I love reading scriptural songs.  Deborah’s song is about victory in battle. The Old and New Testaments speak of singing the song of Moses. Resurrected saints will sing the song of the Lamb.

The Lord also recorded lyrics to a song.  The lyrics are in another section President Nelson asked us to study—84. He said that when His work is finished, everyone will know the words to this song.

Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:

The Lord hath brought again Zion; The Lord hath redeemed his people, IsraelAccording to the election of graceWhich was brought to pass by the faith And covenant of their fathers.

The Lord hath redeemed his people; And Satan is bound and time is no longer. The Lord hath gathered all things in oneThe Lord hath brought down Zion from above.The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.

The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength; And truth is established in her bowels; And the heavens have smiled upon her;And she is clothed with the glory of her God; For he stands in the midst of his people.

Glory, and honor, and power, and might, Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercyJustice, grace and truth, and peaceForever and ever, Amen.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:13 Wherefore, lift up thy heart and rejoice, and cleave unto the covenants which thou hast made.

The year before the Lord gave Section 25, He gave a glorious revelation describing the agony and victory of His atonement. He urged everyone to repent and come unto Him.  In the closing verses of that amazing revelation, He asked,

Behold, canst thou read this without rejoicing and lifting up thy heart for gladness?

Or canst thou run about longer as a blind guide?

Or canst thou be humble and meek, and conduct thyself wisely before me? Yea, come unto me thy Savior.

Rejoicing is a characteristic of the redeemed! We are redeemed through Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice.

Doctrine and Covenants 45:71 “And it shall come to pass that the righteous shall be gathered out from among all nations, and shall come to Zion, singing with songs of everlasting joy.”

Doctrine and Covenants 25:14 Continue in the spirit of meekness, and beware of pride. Let thy soul delight in thy husband, and the glory which shall come upon him.

This verse is a second reference to the spirit of meekness. The Greek translations of New Testament references to the spirit of meekness are “gentleness,” “mildness,” and “gentle strength.”

Beware of pride, that age-old warning.

PRIDEnoun

1. Inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one’s own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, accomplishments, rank or elevation in office, which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others. …

2. Insolence; rude treatment of others; insolent exultation. …

3. Generous elation of heart; a noble self-esteem springing from a consciousness of worth. …

4. Elevation; loftiness. …

5. Decoration; ornament; beauty displayed. …

6. Splendid show; ostentation.

In his landmark address, “Beware of Pride,” President Ezra Taft Benson noted that this verse is one of three times the Lord warns of pride.

Three times in the Doctrine and Covenants the Lord uses the phrase “beware of pride,” including a warning to the second elder of the Church, Oliver Cowdery, and to Emma Smith, the wife of the Prophet. (D&C 23:1; see also D&C 25:14D&C 38:39.)

Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance.

I love the Lord’s definition of “glory.”  This is a promise received through the endowment of power President Nelson mentioned.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:36 “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.”

Doctrine and Covenants 25:15 Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteousness thou shalt receive. And except thou do this, where I am you cannot come.

I’ve never looked up “keep” before.

KEEP,

1. To hold; to retain in one’s power or possession; not to lose or part with; …

2. To have in custody for security or preservation. …

3. To preserve; to retain. …

4. To preserve from falling or from danger; to protect; to guard or sustain. …

5. To hold or restrain from departure; to detain. …

6. To tend; to have the care of. …

7. To tend; to feed; to pasture; …

8. To preserve in any tenor or state.

9. To regard; to attend to. …

10. To hold in any state; …

11. To continue any state, course or action; …

12. To practice; to do or perform; to obey; to observe in practice; not to neglect or violate; …

13. To fulfill; to perform; …

14. To practice; to use habitually; …

15. To copy carefully. …

16. To observe or solemnize.

17. To board; to maintain; to supply with necessaries of life. …

18. To have in the house; to entertain; …

19. To maintain; not to intermit; …

20. To hold in one’s own bosom; to confine to one’s own knowledge; not to disclose or communicate to others; not to betray; as, to keep a secret; to keep one’s own counsel.

I’d never considered definition #20, to confine to one’s own knowledge/keep to yourself in this concept, but it opened a fascinating train of thought.

Crown of righteousness is an additional reference to inheriting eternal life.

Doctrine and Covenants 29:13 “For a trump shall sound both long and loud, even as upon Mount Sinai, and all the earth shall quake, and they shall come forth—yea, even the dead which died in me, to receive a crown of righteousness, and to be clothed upon, even as I am, to be with me, that we may be one.”

The Lord pleads with us to come to Him. But at some point, we might not be able to.

Doctrine and Covenants 25:16 And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.

VER’ILYadverb [from very.]

1. In truth; in fact; certainly.

2. Really; truly; with great confidence.

I really appreciate how the Lord’s economy means that when He speaks to one, He speaks to all.  I can read the scriptures and find ways that the principles and doctrines apply in my life.  Even the specific life experiences of scriptural people are universal enough to resonate with my life experiences, too. So this revelation is Emma’s and ours.

Doctrine and Covenants 1:37-38 “Search these commandments, for they are true and faithful, and the prophecies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled.

What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.”

AMEN. Firm, true. The word is used to denote acceptance…or truthfulness…. Amen was the proper response of a person to whom an oath was administered…. Christ is called “the Amen, the faithful and true witness.”

Did the Holy Ghost inspire your mind to new trains of thought?  Share in the comments if you’d like.


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