Come Follow Me: D&C 67-70
The Church was organized in April 1830. Nineteen months later, the Lord had given so many revelations that it was time to prepare many of them for publishing, so the members would have access to them. These revelations included issues regarding the translation of the Book of Mormon (such as the lost 116 pages), the Three Witnesses, sending missionaries to the West, establishing two church centers (Kirtland and Independence), laws and priesthood organization, the location for the city of Zion, etc.
"Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and hisyou have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know." (vs 5)
Several of the leaders were uncertain about witnessing to the revelations. They knew that Joseph Smith was rather uneducated and the wording in some of the revelations was not as polished as they would like. They wanted to rewrite the revelations to look and sound more educated.
Instead, the Lord recognized Joseph's weaknesses, and then gave the brethren a test: take the smartest among you and write a revelation that was as powerful as the smallest of the revelations Joseph had received. They tried and failed.
Yes, there are lots of flaws in the Book of Mormon and other revelations of Joseph Smith. Terminology, occasional anachronisms in the Book of Mormon, and grammar occasionally kept the revelations from being perfect. That said, they were good enough for God's purposes. The revelations were inspired, and carry the power of the Holy Ghost to witness of the truth of the teachings.
"And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and aI give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you yourselves from and , and yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the shall be rent and you shall me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual.
"For no has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God.
"Neither can any abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind.
"Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, in patience until ye are ." (vs 10-13)
What is the purpose of the revelations? To prepare us to return into the presence of God. In 3 1/2 years, many of them would see the face of Jesus during the Kirtland Temple dedication. Even more would see angels. Sadly, we will also see that many will not stay humble, and their pride and jealousies would end up casting them out of Kirtland and Missouri.
"And, behold, and lo, this is an ensample unto all those who were ordained unto this priesthood, whose mission is appointed unto them to go forth—
"And this is the unto them, that they shall as they are moved upon by the Holy Ghost.
"And whatsoever they shall speak when moved upon by the shall be scripture, shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the of God unto salvation.
"Behold, this is the promise of the Lord unto you, O ye my servants." (vs 2-5)
All those ordained or set apart under the power of the priesthood have a mission. They are to act within their calling or responsibility as "moved upon by the Holy Ghost."
Many Protestant churches believe the Bible to be "God-breathed" or perfect. To them, there are no mistakes nor errors. For Latter-day Saints, we learn some important things from D&C 67 and 68: Scripture is not perfect. Nor is it static, as is the Bible. It comes from God through the Holy Ghost to imperfect humans. Little of the scripture makes it into canon - revelations that the Church has embraced as applying to all members as a standard.
Instead, whatever comes through the Holy Ghost IS scripture. When the bishop counsels a person through inspiration, it is scripture for that person. When a Sacrament speaker is moved by the Holy Ghost to share teachings with us, it is scripture for us.
As hearers, it is our responsibility to be in tune with the Holy Ghost, so that it can witness to us those thins which are scripture.
As doers, what are we doing to ensure we are speaking by the power of the Holy Ghost? Teaching truth is good, but only if it is taught by the power of the Holy Ghost. Are our children starving for spiritual experiences because we do not teach by the Spirit? Is the pulpit on fire during Sacrament meeting, because we are moved upon by the Holy Ghost?
If we are not preaching, teaching and doing by the power of the Holy Ghost, then by what power are we doing these things?
This reminds us of God's teaching in D&C 50:
"Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
"And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
"And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
"If it be some other way it is not of God." (D&C 50:17-20}
What do we need to do to get the Holy Ghost continually in our lives? What are we willing to sacrifice to have the constant companionship of the Spirit? Are we spiritually starving ourselves, our spouses, our children, our classes, and others, because we are not doing things as moved upon by the Spirit?
Can we build Zion, or even live in it, if we do not learn to hear and obey the Holy Ghost?
"Now, I, the Lord, am not well with the inhabitants of Zion, for there are among them; and their are also growing up in ; they also not earnestly the riches of eternity, but their eyes are full of ." (vs 31)
As I noted above, are we spiritually starving our children? If we are not teaching them by the Spirit, they are learning some other way. If we are not seeking to establish Zion, what are we seeking? What takes up our time, money and talents? Are we seeking riches of Zion or Babylon?
The Lord gives more guidance regarding consecration. Joseph, Oliver, Martin Harris and John Whitmer are to begin their stewardships in earnest. They are to consecrate what they have and do, giving any excess to the bishop's storehouse. These "things" are not just money and physical things.
"He who is appointed to administer spiritual things, the same is of his hire, even as those who are appointed to a stewardship to administer in temporal things;
"Yea, even more abundantly, which abundance is multiplied unto them through the of the Spirit.
"Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be , and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be ." (vs 12-14)
Spiritual work is as important in Zion as any physical effort. When we "work in Zion," it doesn't mean raising money for our families (though that is important). Here, to work in Zion is doing whatever is necessary to build and establish Zion.
In "temporal things you shall be equal" is necessary for Zion to be established. Right now, we live the law of tithing as a minimum to entering the temple. However, to live in Zion, we will have to live consecrated lives. The rich will be humbled by giving all but the necessaries for their stewarships. The poor will be exalted - not above anyone else, but to an equal status. This will not be forced, like we do with government taxation, but will be done voluntarily and "not grudgingly."
Have we pondered just what it will take for us to dwell joyfully in Zion? What are we doing to prepare? The early saints were not ready. They were jealous, greedy, proud. Their weaknesses caused them to be driven out. They could not bring forth enough faith and righteousness to bring the miracles of God to come down from heaven.
In D&C 63, the Lord warns us that the "saints will hardly escape" the disasters of the last days. Why? Because we aren't taking the warnings and guidance seriously. Over half the church does not pay a full tithe. Many do not live the Word of Wisdom. Many more are not worthy to enter the temple. And of those worthy to attend, many do not take the time to attend frequently. Daily prayer and scripture study is easily forgotten on our rush to deal with work and world. Spending time to seek the Spirit, often runs second to social media time.
What can we do? Seek the Spirit. Let the Holy Ghost teach us what we are to do, day by day.
Listen to the Spirit.