“Thou Shalt…Offer Up Thy Sacraments upon My Holy Day” D&C 87-92

From June 3 to June 6, 18311 the fourth conference of the Church was held in a log school house on the property of Isaac Morely in Kirtland, Ohio.  Right after this conference Joseph Smith received a revelation2 to send forth missionaries throughout the Western States (what was then the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri) preaching the gospel and building up congregations unto the Lord.  The elders were assigned to labor in pairs as they journeyed to “the borders of the Lamanites” on the western end of Missouri.3 By revelation, the Lord indicated that the elders were to hold a conference once they arrived in the land of Missouri.  Continue reading

  1. This conference had been convened based on revelation given to Joseph Smith in February 1831 and is now found in Section 44 of the Doctrine & Covenants. 

  2. This revelation is found in Section 52 of the Doctrine & Covenants. 

  3. The land of Missouri marked the furthest western border of the United States at that time.  What lay beyond was the Indian territory which had been the site of the first organized mission of the Church during the winter of 1831.  Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson, Oliver Cowdery and Peter Whitmer were the four missionaries so designated by revelation (D&C 30 & 32) to preach the gospel among the Lamanites.  For a fascinating account of their journey and success see The Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, Revised and Enhanced Edition, edited by Scot Facer Proctor & Maurine Jensen Proctor (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), chapters 6-8. 

“The Restoration of the Priesthood”: D&C 13; 20:38-67; 27:12-13; 84:6-30; 107:1-20; 110:11-16; Joseph Smith—History 1:66-73

“Ordained a priest after the order of the Son of God, which order was without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.  And all those who are ordained unto this priesthood are made like unto the Son of God, abiding a priest continually.”  (JST—Hebrews 7:3)

 “[The] priesthood continueth in the church of God in all generations, and is without beginning of days or end of years.” (D&C 84:17)

Prelude to Receiving the Priesthood

After hundreds of years God’s priesthood power returned to the earth in a series of remarkable visions and angelic visitations.  Oliver Cowdery played an important role in the restoration of the priesthood.  He had come to Palmyra, New York in the winter of 1829 to serve as the teacher of a school over which Hyrum Smith was a trustee.  Upon his arrival Oliver asked to be a boarder at Joseph Smith, Sr.’s home.  In the process of time Oliver began to hear about the golden plates that Joseph Smith, Jr. had in his possession in Harmony, Pennsylvania.  Eager to learn more he continued to ask Joseph, Sr. all about the plates until his searching was satisfied.  Soon thereafter Oliver received the impression that it would be his opportunity to serve as scribe for the Prophet.  As soon as the school term was completed in early spring, Oliver put his affairs in order and set out for the 135 mile journey to Harmony, Pennsylvania with Joseph’s younger brother Samuel.  These two brethren were relatively young at the time, being respectively twenty-two and twenty-one years of age.  As a testimony of the zeal of these men, Lucy Mack Smith recalled: Continue reading

“The Kingdoms of Glory”: D&C 76; 131; 132:19-24; 137

Since days of old God has designated special witnesses, or prophets, to be his voice unto the world.  The term prophet comes from a classical Greek word which signifies,

One who speaks for another, especially one who speaks for a god, and so interprets his will to man; hence its essential meaning is “an interpreter.”1

One of the chief duties of the Latter-day prophet Joseph Smith was that of an interpreter of the scriptures.  As a prophet, he rendered authoritative interpretations as the spirit of inspiration guided him.  Often times, proper interpretation necessitated God revealing additional light and knowledge to his Prophet through visionary experiences.  This article will highlight in historical context some of the marvelous doctrines God revealed through vision unto Joseph Smith as he pondered questions about Biblical passages. Continue reading

  1. A Dictionary of the Bible, by William Smith, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1979), p. 534. 

“The Gathering of My People” D&C 29:1-8; 33:3-7; 37; 38:24-41; 52:2-5, 42-43; 57:1-3; 110:11

“We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes.” (Articles of Faith 1:10)


The Gathering Begins

In every dispensation God has revealed the gospel with the purpose to prepare the hearts and minds of his children that they might physically and spiritually gather unto holy places.  Missionary efforts in the early days of the Church usually took place in informal settings among friends and family of Church members living in Fayette, Manchester, Colesville and Harmony.   Although missionary efforts were undertaken before the Church was organized in April of 1830 and continued throughout the summer of 1830, the first organized mission of the Church, the Indian mission, was not established until the Church conference of September 1830.  Just prior to this conference the Lord prepared the hearts and minds of his elders to engage in spreading the truth when He revealed that he would “gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer” (D&C 29:2). Continue reading

“The Desert Shall Rejoice, and Blossom as the Rose”


In ancient times the great prophet Isaiah proclaimed

“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…they shall see the glory of the Lord, and the excellency of our God…for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.  And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water…and an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of Holiness…and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall fee away.”  (Isaiah 35:1-2, 6-8, 10)

The early saints who entered the Salt Lake Valley understood the words of Isaiah to have special meaning and application to them.  Indeed the Salt Lake Valley was at that time a desert, a solitary place.  But since then it blossomed as the rose and became the center place where the ransomed of the Lord came to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. Continue reading