Lesson Date: 03/18/2018
Lesson: 11
Week: 11

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“Field Is White, Ready to Harvest”

Published by Randal S. Chase

Church History Lesson 11 (D&C 4;11–12;14–16;18;31;33;75)

INTRODUCTION

This was a time of great persecution for the Church, especially in the Harmony and Colesville areas. Under these trying conditions, Joseph said, that the Saints received many important revelations—instruction to individuals who wished to assist with the work.
—    D&C   4        was given to      Joseph Smith Sr., the Prophet’s father     Feb 1829
—    D&C 11         was given to      Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother        May 1829
—    D&C 12         was given to     Joseph Knight Sr.                                          May 1829
—    D&C 14–16  were given to    David, John, and Peter Whitmer               June 1829
—    D&C 18         was given to     Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer         June 1829
—    D&C 25         was given to     Emma Hale Smith                                        July 1830
—    D&C 30         was given to     David, Peter, and John Whitmer              Sept 1830
—    D&C 32         was given to     Parley Pratt and Ziba Peterson                 Oct 1830
—    D&C 31         was given to     Thomas B. Marsh                                         Sept 1830
—    D&C 33       was given to    Ezra Thayre and Northrop Sweet        October 1830

INSTRUCTIONS ON CHURCH SERVICE

●    D&C 4    Instructions to Joseph Smith Sr.
—    Joseph Smith Sr. was the first person to believe the story of the Prophet.
—    He encouraged his son to continue faithful to the teachings of the angel.
—    He was filled with the testimony of the truth, and was anxious to share it with others.
—    He was almost 60 when he made the a journey to take the gospel to his father, mother & family.
—    In February, 1829, he came to his son and asked to know by revelation the will of the Lord.
—    This section of the Doctrine and Covenants is the result of that humble inquiry.

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “This revelation is very short, only seven verses, but it contains sufficient counsel and instruction for a life-time study. No one has yet mastered it. . . . It is a revelation to each member of the Church, especially to all who hold the priesthood. Perhaps there is no other revelation in all our scriptures that embodies greater instruction pertaining to the manner of qualification of members of the Church for the service of God, and in such condensed form than this revelation. It is as broad, as high and as deep as eternity. No elder of the Church is qualified to teach in the Church, or carry the message of Salvation to the world, until he has absorbed, in part at least, this heaven-sent instruction.”

An invitation to participate in the latter-day work (D&C 4:1–3).
—    Heart        Our deepest feelings of the soul.
—    Might        Our entire physical effort.
—    Mind        Our thoughts.
—    Strength    All of our physical and spiritual power.

He that “harvests” with his might brings salvation to himself (D&C 4:4).
He is to continue to reap until the end—the Second Coming (D&C 6:3).
He will receive everlasting salvation in the kingdom of God (D&C 11:3).
He will be crowned with honor, glory, immortality, and eternal life (D&C 75:5).
Qualifications needed to do the work of the Lord (D&C 4:5–7).

●    D&C 11    Instructions to Hyrum Smith
—    Soon after receiving this revelation, became one of the earliest to be baptized.
—    He also was one of the eight witnesses.
—    He became 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency in 1837 where he served until 1841.
—    In 1841 he was called to be Patriarch to the Church (following his father’s death)
—    The Lord called him “a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator” (D&C 124:91–96).
—    He was called to act in concert with Joseph and to bear record.
—    This he did admirably as he bore persecutions, watched over the Prophet, and with him sealed his testimony with his blood at Carthage in 1844.
—    Obedience is important in serving the Lord (D&C 11:6, 20).
—    To obtain eternal life, this greatest of all the gifts of God, we must listen to and obey the Spirit, keep the Lord’s commandments, and endure to the end (D&C 11:7–8).
—    The instruction to “say nothing but repentance” applies also to us (D&C 11:9).  No doctrine or message is more important to the salvation of souls.
—    Hyrum was promised a gift from the Lord (D&C 11:10–11).
—    We should put our trust in the Spirit when discerning truth (D&C 11:12–14).
—    We must be properly called and ordained to the work (D&C 11:15).
—    We must “obtain the word” before we attempt to teach or preach it (D&C 11:16–22).

●    D&C 12    Instructions to Joseph Knight Sr.
—    Joseph Knight Sr., was Joseph’s employer for a while in 1826, when Joseph was young.
—    He hired Joseph to work at his farm and grist mill in Colesville, Broome County, NY.
—    He gained an appreciation for the personal qualities of Joseph Smith.
—    From that time forth Joseph Knight offered both material and spiritual support to him.
—    This included provisions that allowed the Book of Mormon translation to continue at a very crucial time
—    Applies to everyone who desires to bring forth and establish this work (D&C 12:6–7).
—    Humility and love, along with faith, hope, charity, and temperance are required (D&C 12:8).

●    D&C 30    Additional Instruction to the Whitmers

David Whitmer is rebuked for listening to Hiram Page and using his influence over other members of the family in favor of the supposed seer-stone (D&C 30:1–4).
—  When we set our hearts on the things of this earth, giving them a higher priority than the things of God, we are left to ourselves to wonder what is wrong.
—  Peter Whitmer is called to accompany Parley Pratt on a mission to the Lamanites (D&C 30:5–8).
—  Fear not, and rely on your companions to help you (v. 5).

John Whitmer is called to labor among the Saints in Zion (D&C 30:9–11).
—    He was very active in the Church as an aid to the Prophet.
—    He assisted in the compilation of the Revelations.
—    He was one of 7 high priests appointed to preside in Jackson County.
—    He was Church historian and editor of important Church publications.
—    In the end, however, he did not remain faithful.
—    Do not fear man, because God will be with you (v. 11).

THE FIRST MISSIONARIES

Samuel Smith’s First Mission

Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“In the month of June, 1830, Samuel Harrison Smith was set apart by the Prophet to take a missionary journey to the east. This may be termed the first missionary journey in the Church. Taking with him several copies of the Book of Mormon, he started on his way. The first day he traveled twenty-five miles, and on the way attempted to sell copies of the book, but without success . . .

“Samuel was discouraged, but continued on his journey. That night he slept under an apple tree. In the morning he called at the home of John Greene, a Methodist minister. Mr. Greene was just leaving on a preaching tour and like the others who had been approached, he was not interested in the book. However, he manifested a friendly spirit, and at the earnest solicitation of Samuel, consented to take a subscription paper and try to sell copies of the book. Thereupon Samuel left him a copy of the Book of Mormon with the understanding that he would call again in about two weeks. . . .

“He returned home after his labors were finished, feeling that his work had proved to be fruitless. More out of curiosity than desire, both Mr. Greene and his wife read the book and were deeply impressed. The copy Samuel left with John Greene was placed by the latter in the hands of members of the Young family, which was the first direct information to President Brigham Young, and his brothers and some of their friends, including Heber C. Kimball, of the restoration of the Gospel.”

What and How to Teach

●    We should teach repentance:
—    D&C 11:9              Say nothing but repentance unto this generation
—    D&C 15:6             That which is of most importance is to preach repentance
—    D&C 18:6             Our wicked world needs to be “stirred up” unto repentance
—    D&C 18:10–14    The worth of souls is great, and they need to repent to be saved

●    We must avoid contention when teaching the gospel:
—    D&C 18:20–21    Contend against no one; speak the truth in soberness
—    D&C 38:41           The warning voice should be given in mildness and meekness

●    We must overcome fear and feelings of inadequacy and “open our mouths”:
—    D&C 11:21        Study to “obtain” the word, then the Spirit will make us powerful
—     D&C 14:8         If we ask in faith, God will give us the Spirit to help us.
—    D&C 19:38        If we pray always, the Lord will pour out his Spirit upon us.

D&C 32    The Mission to the Lamanites — Parley Pratt & Ziba Peterson

—  On September 26, 1830, a conference of the Church convened at Fayette, New York. During this conference a great interest was manifested towards the Lamanites. Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord and received Doctrine and Covenants 30 and 32, which, among other things, called Peter Whitmer, Parley Pratt, and Ziba Peterson to assist Oliver Cowdery in his missionary labors among the Lamanites. Their assignment is generally recognized as the first formal mission call in the history of the Church.

—  One of the first missionary efforts of this dispensation was among the Lamanites (D&C 28:8). The first such mission call was that given to Oliver Cowdery.

—  Parley Pratt is admonished to be meek and lowly of heart (D&C 32:1).

—  The Lamanite missionaries commenced their work with the Catteraugus tribe near Buffalo, New York. Here they were fairly well received, and after leaving copies of the Book of Mormon they continued their journey west.

—  Near Kirtland, Ohio, they taught the gospel to a minister friend of Parley Pratt, Sidney Rigdon, and his congregation. What probably was thought to have been a diversion from the missionaries’ major purpose turned out to be a significant accomplishment. Reverend Rigdon had preached the need for a restoration of Christ’s primitive church. With such beliefs, Rigdon and many of his congregation accepted the missionaries’ message and joined the Church.  The missionaries then continued their journey westward toward Missouri.

—  Upon arriving at Independence, two of the missionaries worked for a time to help finance their mission. The other three continued a short distance to the Delaware Indian lands. The Indians were at first suspicious of the missionaries because they had been exploited by some previous Christian missionaries, but this suspicion was soon lessened by a moving speech by Oliver Cowdery.

—  Chief Anderson of the Delaware Tribe was very impressed and asked the missionaries to remain during the winter and teach them the Book of Mormon. Success appeared imminent, but it was shattered when other Christian missionaries influenced the Indian agent to evict the Mormon elders from Indian lands. Asked to leave, the disappointed missionaries made their way back to Independence where they stayed, with the exception of Parley Pratt. Elder Pratt had been chosen to report the missionaries’ labors to Joseph Smith and to visit the Saints they had left behind in Kirtland.

—  The missionaries who remained in Independence could have wondered what had accomplished if they had considered only their influence among the Lamanites. Often we are called to a work only to find that it takes us in an entirely  different direction we anticipated. If we  remember that we are called to  serve the Lord then it does not matter in what direction the Lord takes us. The only thing that matters is that we do the work.

Notes:
1.  Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [1946–1949], 1:33,
2.  Essentials in Church History, 27th ed. [1974], 88–89.

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By |2018-05-19T17:43:53+00:00March 12th, 2018|

About the Author:

Randal S. Chase spent his childhood years in Nephi, Utah, where his father was a dry land wheat farmer and a businessman. In 1959 their family moved to Salt Lake City and settled in the Holladay area. He served a full-time mission in the Central British (England Central) Mission from 1968 to 1970. He returned home and married Deborah Johnsen in 1971. They are the parents of six children—two daughters and four sons—and an ever-expanding number of grandchildren. He was called to serve as a bishop at the age of 27 in the Sandy Crescent South Stake area of the Salt Lake Valley. He served six years in that capacity, and has since served as a high councilor, a stake executive secretary and clerk, and in many other stake and ward callings. Regardless of whatever other callings he has received over the years, one was nearly constant: He has taught Gospel Doctrine classes in every ward he has ever lived in as an adult—a total of 35 years. Dr. Chase was a well-known media personality on Salt Lake City radio stations in the 1970s. He left on-air broadcasting in 1978 to develop and market a computer-based management, sales, and music programming system to radio and television stations in the United States, Canada, South America, and Australia. After the business was sold in 1984, he supported his family as a media and business consultant in the Salt Lake City area. Having a great desire to teach young people of college age, he determined in the late 1980s to pursue his doctorate, and received his Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Utah in 1997. He has taught communication courses at that institution as well as at Salt Lake Community College and Dixie State University for 21 years. He served as Communication Department chair and is currently a full-time professor at Dixie State University in St. George, Utah. Concurrently with his academic career, Brother Chase has served as a volunteer LDS Institute and Adult Education instructor in the CES system since 1994, both in Salt Lake City and St. George, where he currently teaches a weekly Adult Education class for three stakes in the Washington area. He has also conducted multiple Church History tours and seminars. During these years of gospel teaching, he has developed an extensive library of lesson plans and handouts which are the predecessors to these study guides. Dr. Chase previously published a thirteen-volume series of study guides on the Book of Mormon, Church History, the Old Testament, and the New Testament. The series, titled Making Precious Things Plain, along with four smaller study guides on Isaiah, Jeremiah, the story of the Nativity, and the final week of our Lord’s atoning sacrifice, are designed to assist teachers and students of the gospel, as well as those who simply want to study on their own. Several of these books are also available in the Spanish language.

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