Doctrine and Covenants Lesson 30 (D&C 81–83)
THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM AND THE FIRST PRESIDENCY
● Joseph had already been sustained as President of the Church. On April 26 at a conference of the Church in Missouri Joseph was “acknowledged by the High priests in the land of Zion `Missouri’ to be President of the High Priesthood.
● Organizing a First Presidency. On 15 March. 1832 the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation calling Frederick G. Williams to be a counselor in the First Presidency of the Church. In the two manuscript copies of this revelation, however, it appears that the revelation was originally directed to Jesse Cause and not to Frederick G. Williams. In both of the copies of this revelation, Jesse Cause’s name has been crossed out and Frederick G. Williams’ name written above it. Since that time, all published copies of this revelation list Frederick G. Williams as the one to whom it is directed. Since this revelation contains instructions, duties, and promised blessings to the one called as a counselor to the Prophet, the revelation was just as appropriate for Frederick G. Williams as it was to Jesse Cause.
● D&C 81:1–2 The Keys of the Kingdom are held by the First Presidency.
President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote:
“Now the time was at hand for the organization of the First Presidency. There is a difference between the office of President of the Church and President of the High Priesthood; however these two offices cannot be separated and must be held by the same person duly appointed and sustained by proper vote. As President of the Church the presiding officer presides over all the membership of the Church. As President of the High Priesthood he presides over all the Priesthood of the Church and has authority to regulate it, for he holds the keys of that Priesthood. . . .
“In March, 1832, the Lord revealed that the First Presidency of the Church should be organized. He called by revelation Elder Frederick G. Williams to be a counselor in that body of Priesthood with Sidney Rigdon as the other counselor to Joseph Smith. . . .
“The President of the Church holds the supreme authority. They are to aid him, to sit in counsel with him and advise, but he, it is, who holds the right of decision and the right of revelation for the Priest-hood and for the Church. It was not until March 18, 1833, that the First Presidency was organized, although Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams had been acting in the capacity of counselors to the Prophet Joseph Smith for several months, or shortly after the call of Frederick G. Williams by revelation in March 1832.”1
THE IMPORTANCE OF OUR COVENANTS
● D&C 81:5–6 We are to be faithful and stand in the offices to which we have been appointed.
● D&C 81:6 If we are faithful unto the end we will receive a “crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which [the Lord has] prepared in the house of [our] Father.”
● D&C 82:3–5 “Unto whom much is given much is required, and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.”
● D&C 82:6–9 The seriousness and sacredness with which God considers His covenants and commandments (see also D&C 78:11).
● D&C 82:10 The Lord will keep His covenants with us so long as we keep ours with Him: “I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.”
“Sister Virginia H. Pearce, former member of the Young Women General Presidency, told about a woman who worried about her wayward children. She set an ambitious goal of increased temple attendance and felt sure that the Lord would honor this significant sacrifice by changing her children’s hearts. The woman reported:
“‘After ten years of increased temple attendance and constant prayer, I am sorry to say that my children’s choices have not changed. . . .
“‘But I have. I am a different woman. . . . I have given up my time limits and am able to wait on the Lord. . . . My expectations have changed. Instead of expecting my children to change, I expect these frequent tender mercies and am full of gratitude for them. . . . The Lord works in marvelous ways, and I am truly filled with peace that passeth all undersanding.”2
SEEKING THE INTEREST OF OUR NEIGHBOR
● D&C 81:6 We are to succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees of those whom we serve.
● D&C 82:12 The bishops in Kirtland and in Zion are to “manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric.”
● D&C 82:13 Kirtland: The Lord has “consecrated the land of Kirtland in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.”
● D&C 82:14 Zion (Missouri): “Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.”
● D&C 82:17–18 Through consecration the Saints “are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just—And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold.”
● D&C 82:19 Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor is the definition of and the very foundation of the law of consecration.
President Thomas S. Monson said, “I have many memories of my boyhood. Anticipating Sunday dinner was one of them. Just as we children . . . sat anxiously at the table, with the aroma of roast beef filling the room, Mother would say to me, ‘Tommy, before we eat, take this plate I’ve prepared down the street to Old Bob and hurry back.’ I could never understand why we couldn’t first eat and later deliver his plate of food. I never questioned aloud but would run. down to his house and then wait anxiously as Bob’s aged feet brought him eventually to the door. Then I would hand him the plate of food. He would present to me the clean plate from the previous Sunday and Offer me a dime as pay for my services. My answer was always the same: ‘I can’t accept the money. My mother would tan my hide.’ He would then run his wrinkled hand through my blond hair and say, ‘My boy, you have a wonderful mother. Tell her thank you.’ .. Sunday dinner always seemed to taste a bit better after I had returned from my errand.”3
President M. Russell Ballard taught:
“In our discipleship, we have many errands, concerns, and assignments. However, some activities must always be at the heart of our Church membership. ‘Wherefore,’ the Lord commands, ‘be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.’ (D&C 81:5; italics added].
“This is the Church in action! This is pure religion! This is the gospel in its true sense as we succor, lift, and strengthen those in spiritual and temporal need! Do so requires us to visit them and to assist them [see James 1:27], that their testimonies of faith in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and His Atonement will be anchored in their hearts.”4
THOSE WHO HAVE CLAIM UPON THE CHURCH FOR THEIR MAINTENANCE
● D&C 83:2 Women have claim upon their husbands for their maintenance.
● D&C 83:1, 3 Women who have lost their husbands and who remain faithful and do not become transgressors, have claim upon the Church for their maintenance.
● D&C 83:3 Women who have lost their husbands and are not faithful do not have claim upon the Church for their maintenance, but may continue to live on property they received under the law of consecration (if any).
● D&C 83:4 Children have claim upon their parents for their maintenance until they are of age.
● D&C 83:5 Children have claim upon the Church for their maintenance [while they are children, not of age] if their parents do not have wherewith to provide that maintenance.
Doing It In the Lord’s Own Way
It is important to note that the Church has counseled us that those who are in need should seek support from their extended families before turning to the Church for that support. They should also seek, receive, and use wisely whatever assistance may be available from government welfare programs.
It is also important to note that Church assistance should not be sought in order to preserve a lifestyle. If members are living above their means, Church funds should not be used to make up the difference. Families may need to move or downsize their lifestyle in order to be able to take care of themselves.
Finally, it is also important to note that Church assistance should always be temporary, not long-term. We should counsel and help those in need to seek further education or training that will allow them to be more self-supporting in the long run.
1. Church History and Modern Revelation, 2:79-80.
2. In “Prayer: A Small and Simple Thing,” At the Pulpit , 288-289.
3. “The Long Line of the Lonely,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 4.
4. “Precious Gifts from God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 11.