Doctrine & Covenants Lesson 09 (D&C 18–19)
● By this time both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods had been conferred on Joseph and Oliver.
● As yet, however, nobody had been ordained an elder in the Church
● On this day in June 1829, they were commanded to ordain themselves elders at the next conference.
● They had to wait because all such ordinations require the common consent of members (sustaining).
● D&C 18:34–36 When we read the D&C, we are hearing the voice of the Lord.
S. Dilworth Young said, “The thing that impresses me about this is, and I have never thought of it before, when I read a verse in the Doctrine and Covenants I am hearing the voice of the Lord as well as. reading his words, if I hear by the Spirit. Now I have heard it said many times by men that they have often asked the Lord for a special testimony and oftentimes haven’t had it. They seem to want to hear the voice of the Lord. I confess I have often wanted to hear the voice of the Lord, without knowing that all these years I have been hearing it with deaf ears. This woke me up.”1
● D&C 18:9, 37–40 The First Apostles. Brigham Young taught that Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer were the first Apostles of this dispensation.2 To these, according to Heber C. Kimball, Martin Harris was later added.3 These men were to find and ordain twelve others who would form the Quorum of the Twelve. It was not until 1835—six years later—that the Twelve were actually chosen by the Three Witnesses.
THE NEED FOR REPENTANCE
The World Is Ripening In Iniquity
● D&C 18:6 Our wicked world needs to be “stirred up” unto repentance.
● D&C 18:14 We are called to cry repentance unto the world.
● D&C 18:15–16 Even if we bring only one soul to the Lord, our joy with that person will be great.
The Worth of Souls Is Great
● D&C 18:10 The worth of souls is great.
Elder George W. Pace said, “The other day a young lady came into my office. She was well-dressed, neat, and clean, but she lacked self-esteem. It was easy to tell she was very lonely and unhappy. As she walked into my office, she noticed the large pictures of my children on my office walls and asked, “Brother Pace, are these your children?”
“‘Yes, they are.’ I said. ‘Do you love them?’ ‘Oh, my goodness, I guess I do!’ And then she said in effect, ‘Brother Pace, do your children know that you love them?’ ‘Yes, I believe they do. I put my arms around them every day and tell them how precious they are to me.’ And then she said in effect, ‘Brother Pace, do you know what it would mean to me if someone were to put his arms around me and tell me he really loved me? Do you know what that would mean?’ It was heart-breaking to see an individual suffering so much from a lack of expressed love.
“I sat her down and said: ‘Young lady, I want you to know that the Savior loves you with an infinite love. Do you know how I know that? Because of what he has said about all of us, what he’s done for us and because I feel such a profound love for you and I know that love comes from him!’
“One of the greatest gifts of the Spirit short of eternal life is charity, the pure love of Christ. To know the Lord is to know he loves us all with an infinite love. To taste of that love is to love others even as he loves them.”4
● Brigham Young said, “The least, the most inferior person now upon the earth . . . is worth worlds.”5
— Each child of God is a god in embryo, capable of ruling and reigning in righteousness in the eternities.
— We may not see that potential as we observe them here on earth.
— But the entire plan of salvation is designed to lift each child of God to his stature.
— Jesus suffered for each and every child of God to make this possible through their repentance.
● D&C 18:11–13 Christ suffered death and the pain of all men in order to save us, and rejoices whenever men repent.
● D&C 19:13–20 The terrible reality of Christ’s suffering for our sins.
Elder Joseph Fielding Smith said, “We cannot comprehend the great suffering that the Lord had to take upon himself to bring to pass this redemption from death and from sin. . . .
“We get into the habit of thinking, I suppose, that his great suffering was when he was nailed to the cross by his hands and his feet and was left there to suffer until he died. As excruciating as that pain was, that was not the greatest suffering that he had to undergo, for in some way which I cannot understand, but which I accept on faith, and which you must accept on faith, he carried on his back the burden of the sins of the whole world. It is hard enough for me to carry my own sins. How is it with you? And yet he had to carry the sins of the whole world, as our Savior and the Redeemer of a fallen world, and so great was his suffering before he ever went to the cross, we are informed, that blood oozed from the pores of his body.”6
Elder James E. Talmage said, “Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. . . .He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict. In some manner, actual and terribly real though to man incomprehensible, the Savior took upon Himself the burden of the sins of mankind from Adam to the end of the world.”7
● D&C 19:21 “I command you to repent.”
Daniel H. Ludlow said, “The heading of [section 19] of the Doctrine and Covenants indicates that it is ‘A Commandment of God’ rather than referring to it only as a ‘revelation’ as is the usual format. Section 19 might thus be referred to as a revelatory commandment, for the revelation contains not only instruction but also a definite and clear commandment—to repent: I command you to repent’ (verse 15), ‘I command you again to repent’ (verse 20), ‘I command you that you preach naught but repentance’ (verse 21). When the doctrine of repentance is fully understood, then it. is seen that repentance is all that ever needs to be taught, for repentance means. not only to stop doing those things which are wrong but also to start doing those things which are right.”8
● D&C 58:42–43 To repent, we must confess and forsake our sins and turn away from evil. If we do, the Lord will not only forgive us but will forget that we even sinned at all.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “Repentance is a rescuing, not a dour doctrine. It is available to the gross sinner as well as to the already good individual striving for incremental improvement.”9
Elder Richard G. Scott said the elements of repentance are:
“Sorrow for sin. [This will] bring a sincere desire for change and a willingness to submit to every requirement for forgiveness . . .
“Abandonment of sin. This is an unyielding, permanent resolve to not repeat the transgression. . . .
“Confession of sin. You always need to confess your sins to the Lord. If they are serious transgressions, such as immorality, they need to be confessed to a bishop or stake president. . . .
“Restitution for sin. You must restore as far as possible all that which is stolen, damaged, or defiled. . . .
“Obedience to all the commandments. Full obedience brings the complete power of the gospel into your life. . . . It includes things you might not initially consider part of repentance, such as attending meetings, paying tithing, giving service, and forgiving others. . . .
“Recognition of the Savior. Of all the necessary steps to repentance, I testify that the most critically important is for you to have a conviction that forgiveness comes because of the Redeemer.”10
President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Repentance means more than simply a reformation of behavior. . . True repentance is based on and flows from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other way. True repentance involves a change of heart and not just a change of behavior (Alma 5:13).”11
FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
Sincere repentance requires faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is He and He alone who can forgive sins and pay the price that justice requires for every sin committed.
● D&C 19:1–3 Five different names of the Lord
— Alpha and Omega. The first and the last letter of the Greek alphabet, used as symbols of the beginning and the ending. Christ is so called, because He is the Author and the Preserver of all things (Heb. 1:2, 10).
— Christ the Lord. “Christ” means “anointed.” Prophets, Priests, and Kings were anointed, and our Lord unites all these offices in Him. He is the anointed Lord. The Greek word Christ is the same as the Hebrew Messiah (Mashiac), the title used in John 1:41, and 4:25.
— I am He. This is equivalent to the name “Jehovah” (D&C 18:21)
— The Beginning and the End. He was in the beginning and will remain throughout all eternities. He is endless (v. 4).
— The Redeemer of the World. Christ is our Redeemer. He delivers those who turn to Him from the bondage of sin and guilt. He has ‘bought’ us (I. Cor: 6:20; 7:23; II. Pet. 2:1). And the world will in due time be delivered from the power of Satan, from sin and all its consequences, such as war, poverty, ignorance, sickness, and even death.
How We Demonstrate Our Faith
● D&C 19:23 We strengthen our faith gradually, not through a single experience. We must nurture our faith constantly to keep it strong.
● D&C 20:69 We are required to demonstrate our faith by our works—namely, a
James 2:14–17 “godly walk and conversation” and “walking in holiness before the Lord.”
— D&C 8:10 Without faith we can accomplish nothing.
— D&C 35:9 With faith, we can exercise and enjoy all of the gifts of the Spirit.
— D&C 42:48–51 With faith, we can be healed.
— D&C 63:9–11 Signs cannot produce faith, but will be shown to those who already have faith.
— D&C 27:15–18 The “shield of faith” will protect us against the “fiery darts of the wicked.”
1. Conference Report, Apr. 1963, 74.
2. In Journal of Discourses, 6:320.
3. In Journal of Discourses, 6:29.
4. Ensign, September 1974, 49.
5. In Journal of Discourses, 9:124.
6. Conference Report, Oct. 1947, 147–148.
7. Jesus the Christ, 613.
8. A Companion to your Study of the D&C, 1:143.
9. Conference Report, Oct. 1991, 40; or Ensign, Nov. 1991, 30.10
10. Conference Report, Apr. 1995, 102; or Ensign, May 1995, 76–77.
11. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 71.