December 28-January 3
If you prefer to listen over reading an article, keep an eye on A Balanced Saint of Mind on YouTube. I post video versions of my blog posts on my channel. The video versions are often posted a little later than the written blog posts.
So this is the beginning of our study of the Doctrine and Covenants. Even though it’s the beginning of our study, and even though we’re starting with Section 1, this revelation (known as Section 1) was received after 60 other revelations. Joseph Smith was holding a special conference, and they decided that they were going to take all of the revelations and put them into a book. Sidney Rigdon, Oliver Cowdery, and William E. McLellin attempted to write a preface for this book they wanted to create from the revelations, but they were unsuccessful in their attempts.
Now a preface of a book is the introduction where an author explains the subject matter, scope, or aims of the book. A foreword is essentially a preface, but it has been written by authors that are different from the original author of the book.
The Lord did not want a foreword; He wanted a preface, and He wrote it Himself.
I find this so crucial to understand. Mere men may have written the words in our broken language, but God is the author of the Doctrine and Covenants. He wrote it, and He wrote the preface too.
In the beginning of Section 1, the Lord literally starts out by addressing the people of His church. He is addressing us. Do we understand that these are His literal words to us? He calls upon us to listen to Him. There will come a day when everyone will know the truth, and the rebellious shall be pierced with much sorrow. He is sending out His warning through His disciples that He chooses, and He gives them authority to speak in His name. And then here is what He says next.
Doctrine and Covenants 1:6 Behold, this is mine authority, and the authority of my servants, and my preface unto the book of my commandments, which I have given them to publish unto you, O inhabitants of the earth.
His authority and the authority He has given to His servants. His preface for His book of commandments that He gave them to publish.
Can you imagine the audacity of these words if they are not the very truth?
In Section 1, the Lord announces that He has given authority to His servants to preach His word and to seal and bind both in heaven and on earth. Interestingly enough, we are these servants. We have the authority, the priesthood, these bold claims. Obviously, not all of us are temple sealers, but we proclaim the church holds the authority to do so.
And if we claim to be able to speak the words of God, we claim to know the true and living God.
We , you and me, plain old us, have been called to share this message, His message to the world. He gave us the command and authority to do so.
It is intimidating to claim that the Lord gave us authority to preach the gospel when so many in this world don’t even believe in His authority. That’s not to mention the millions of other people who also believe to have His authority.
Think of that for a second. You show up to a random board meeting for some big company on the top floor of a big skyscraper in New York. You walk into that board meeting, and you say, “Hello friends. The parent company to this company has decided that we’re going to move in a completely different direction, and this is how we’re going to do it.”
The board would probably ask you who the heck you are.
“Oh it’s fine. The parent company sent me. I’m legit.”
Also note. Many people on this board are unaware that there is a parent company. Others on this board believe they are the parent company. Lastly, there are still others who believe that they’re already headed in the direction that the parent company wants.
And you were just a nobody who walked in from off the street.
Joseph Smith was a 14 year old nobody living in New York. He entered the religious arena with the same claims and skepticism you would receive walking into that board meeting.
Doctrine and Covenants 1:23-24
23 That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers.
24 Behold, I am God and have spoken it; these commandments are of me, and were given unto my servants in their weakness, after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.
The Lord calls upon the weak and simple. It’s His favorite because then we’re much less likely to get in the way. We don’t try to write a foreword; we let Him write His preface.
You’re not walking into that board meeting alone. We are not preaching the gospel alone.
Doctrine and Covenants 1:34 And again, verily I say unto you, O inhabitants of the earth: I the Lord am willing to make these things known unto all flesh;
He’s ready to back us up. When someone in that board meeting picks up that phone to verify that you’re legitimate, they will receive a resounding yes. When they are willing to sincerely ask the Lord if these are truly His words, and when they are willing to sincerely ask if we are His servants, the Lord will answer in the affirmative.
We don’t have to argue our credentials in that board meeting. We don’t have to explain our qualifications and education. We don’t have to explain how we arrived in that board meeting from a meeting over at the parent company.
We simply deliver the message and tell them to call up the parent company and find out.
I have no qualifications. I’ve never been an institute teacher. I’ve never even been a seminary teacher. I don’t have any kind of religious degree or religious educational background. I have a testimony. I feel like Heavenly Father has asked me to share my testimony. I’m often overwhelmed at what I’m learning every week.
If I have learned anything through this process of sharing my testimony online, it’s that the Lord wants to do His own work. I try and try and try to write, and I’m a decent writer. But I can’t write a single word until Heavenly Father is ready to give me that message every week. I stumble and grow in frustration over and over while I’m trying to film until I step out of my own way, pray for help, and He takes over.
He can repeat this process for all of us in all of our individual spheres. Everyone has a unique role to play in His plan, and we have a responsibility to figure out what it is and then we have a responsibility to let Him work through us with His authority.
He truly is leading His church and His work. I have a testimony of this because I’ve felt it on a personal level every week since April.
It’s intimidating to preach authority to a world that doesn’t believe in it, but regardless of whether the rest of the world believes it, it is fact. I know it. I feel it all the time. It’s all true. There is no greater authority than that which comes from God regardless of whether people believe in it or not. We don’t have to be afraid; we just have to let Him do His own work.
I end with His words.
Doctrine and Covenants 1:38-39
38 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.
39 For behold, and lo, the Lord is God, and the Spirit beareth record, and the record is true, and the truth abideth forever and ever. Amen.