Doctrine and Covenants 25 (D&C 64–66)
MESSAGES OF COMFORT
“On August 27, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith and a number of elders returned to Ohio from their journey to Zion, or Independence, Missouri. During the journey to and from Missouri, some of the elders had disagreements with each other, but most reconciled their contentious feelings. On September 11 the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64. In this revelation, the Lord commanded Church members to forgive one another and taught them about the sacrifices He requires of the Saints in the latter days.”1
● D&C 64:1–4 The Lord, in mercy, forgives us of our weaknesses and sins when we confess and forsake them. Also, He has given unto us the kingdom of God.
● D&C 64:5–11 We are required to forgive each other if we, ourselves, desire forgiveness.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “I advise all of you to be careful what you do, or you may by-and-by find out that you have been deceived. Stay yourselves; do not give way; don’t make any hasty moves; you may be saved. If a spirit of bitterness is in you, don’t be in haste. You may say, “That man is a sinner!” Well, if he repents, he shall be forgiven.”2
Elder Marvin J. Ashton said, “The wise person will avoid the flood of bitterness and hatred that can be caused by the waters of hurt. He will constantly pursue the Savior’s paths without stopping at this roadblock caused by apparent or real injustices. It is up to us to go forward and not confuse or confound ourselves. Those of us who cannot forgive and forget break the bridges over which we must pass.”3
President Spencer W. Kimball said, “Since forgiveness is an absolute requirement in attaining eternal life, man naturally ponders: How can I best secure that forgiveness? One of many basic factors stands out as indispensable immediately: One must forgive to be forgiven. . . . He who will not forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must travel. This is a truth taught by the Lord in the parable of the unmerciful servant who demanded to be forgiven but was merciless to one who asked forgiveness of him. (Matt. 18:23–35.)”4
President Gordon B. Hinckley said, “If there be any within the sound of my voice who nurture in their hearts the poisonous brew of enmity toward another, I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. This expression of desire will be of the very substance of your repentance. It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come. And even though he whom you have forgiven continues to pursue and threaten you, you will know you have done what you could to effect a reconciliation. There will come into your heart a peace otherwise unattainable.”5
Those Who Should Receive Church Discipline
● D&C 64:12–14 We are to deal with (try) sinners in the Church, as instructed by the Lord.
● D&C 64:15–16 How Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley responded to Church discipline. Booth did not repent, continued to grow bitter, and apostatized. Morley repented of his sins and was forgiven. He later served as a bishop and a patriarch.
● D&C 64:17 Edward Partridge also chose to repent and served faithfully as a bishop until his death in n1840.
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ZION
“Isaac Morley owned a large farm of about 80 acres outside of Kirtland, Ohio. After this revelation, Isaac willingly sold his farm and settled in Independence, Missouri. Even though Frederick G. Williams was not asked to sell his farm, he still demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice. He used his farm to house and feed the Saints.”6
● D&C 64:22, 34 God requires our hearts as well as our minds. If we are both willing (heart) and obedient (actions) we will receive an inheritance in Zion.
Elder Donald L. Hallstrom said, “The heart is symbolic of love and commitment. We make sacrifices and bear burdens for those we love that we would not endure for any other reason. If love does not exist, our commitment wanes. . . . Having ‘a willing mind’ connotes giving our best effort and finest thinking and seeking God’s wisdom. It suggests that our most devoted life-time study should be of things that are eternal in nature. It means that there must be an inextricable relationship between hearing the word of God and obeying it.”7
● D&C 64:30–33 The early Saints were laying the foundation of a great worldwide kingdom. He admonishes them to not be weary, and promises those who are willing and obedient that they will inherit the land of Zion in these last days.
● D&C 64:34–36 If we do not obey God with our hearts and minds, we will not enjoy the blessings of Zion.
A REVEALED PRAYER (D&C 65)
The Move to Hiram, Ohio. Because of interference and because he needed a quiet place in which to work, the Prophet on September 12, 1831, moved to the home of John Johnson in the township of Hiram. This was in Portage County, Ohio, about thirty miles southeast of Kirtland. Shortly thereafter, in the early part of October, he received by revelation the words of a prayer (D&C 65).
● D&C 65:1–6 Note the difference between the “kingdom of God” (the Church) and the “kingdom of Heaven” (that kingdom that will be established when Christ comes again).
A REVELATION TO WILLIAM W. McLELLIN (D&C 66)
“In the summer of 1831, William E. McLellin, a former schoolteacher and recent widower, was baptized a member of the Church in Jackson County, Missouri. Soon after his baptism he was ordained an elder and preached the gospel with Hyrum Smith before attending a Church conference in Orange, Ohio. At the conference, William met the Prophet Joseph Smith for the first time and was ordained a high priest.
“On October 29, 1831, while at the home of Joseph Smith in Hiram, Ohio, William “went before the Lord in secret, and on [his] knees asked him to reveal the answer to five questions through his Prophet.”8 Without saying anything about his prayer or questions, William asked Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord on his behalf. Referring to the revelation the Prophet dictated, William later wrote that “every question which I thus lodged in the ears of the Lord . . . were answered to my full and entire satisfaction. I desired for a testimony of Joseph’s inspiration. And I to this day consider it to me an evidence which I cannot refute.”9
1. Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual, CES Manual for Religion 324–325, [September 2017], 133.
2. Messages of the First Presidency, Volume 1, 222.
3. In Conference Report, Apr. 1979, 94; or Ensign, May 1979, 68.
4. The Miracle of Forgiveness , 261–69.
5. In Conference Report, Oct. 1980, 87; or Ensign, Nov. 1980, 62.
6. Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual, CES Manual for Religion 324–325, [September 2017], 136.
7. “The Heart and a Willing Mind,” Ensign, June 2011, 31–32.
8. William E. McLellin, The Journals of William E. McLellin, 1831-1836, ed. Jan Shipps and John W. Welch , 248.
9. The Journals of William E. McLellin, 249.