“You Should Not Have Feared Man More than God”

Doctrine and Covenants 3:7–10

7 For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God. Although men set at naught the counsels of God, and despise his words—
8 Yet you should have been faithful; and he would have extended his arm and supported you against all the fiery darts of the adversary; and he would have been with you in every time of trouble.
9 Behold, thou art Joseph, and thou wast chosen to do the work of the Lord, but because of transgression, if thou art not aware thou wilt fall.
10 But remember, God is merciful; therefore, repent of that which thou hast done which is contrary to the commandment which I gave you, and thou art still chosen, and art again called to the work;

Elder Lynn G. Robbins said:

“At the youthful age of 22, even Joseph Smith forgot which way he faced when he repeatedly importuned the Lord to allow Martin Harris to borrow the 116 manuscript pages. Perhaps Joseph wanted to show gratitude to Martin for his support. We know that Joseph was extremely anxious for other eyewitnesses to stand with him against the distressing falsehoods and lies being spread about him.

“Whatever Joseph’s reasons were, or as justified as they may appear, the Lord did not excuse them and sharply rebuked him: ‘How oft you have transgressed . . . and have gone on in the persuasions of men. For, behold, you should not have feared man more than God’ D&C 3:6–7; emphasis added). This poignant experience helped Joseph remember, forever after, which way he faced.

“When people try to save face with men, they can unwittingly lose face with God. Thinking one can please God and at the same time condone the disobedience of men isn’t neutrality but duplicity, or being two-faced or trying to ‘serve two masters’ (Matthew 6:24; 3 Nephi 13:24).

“While it certainly takes courage to face perils, the true badge of courage is overcoming the fear of men. For example, Daniel’s prayers helped him face lions, but what made him lionhearted was defying King Darius (see Daniel 6). That kind of courage is a gift of the Spirit to the God-fearing who have said their prayers. Queen Esther’s prayers also gave her that same courage to confront her husband, King Ahasuerus, knowing that she risked her life in doing so (see Esther 4:8–16).”

(“Which Way Do You Face?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 9–10.)

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