Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finding Employment Through the LDS Employment Resource Center

Please don't assault my sense of reality by telling me the end of the world is near because of the economic meltdown we have been going through. . .  based upon my experiences of the last several months I can assure the whole world there is still hope, there is still life to be lived, and there are jobs available in increasing numbers.  The emperical data continue to stream into me.

I think it would be safe to say that when I made my very first entry on this blog page about the LDS Employment Resource Center during my own job search that I probably had no idea then what a pivotal position it would hold in my life as events of this past year have unfolded.

As most readers of this page will already know, Patsy and I were called in November 2009 to serve as a senior coordinating missionary couple, Chair of the Professional Placement Program in Salt Lake.  That's always such a mouthful that I have condensed it -- my job is Chief Evangelist

We do so very little in exchange for what we receive in blessings.  We are blessed with a strong staff of capable volunteers who themselves are actively seeking employment, but are donating their time and resources for the benefit of others.  The devotion, the love and kindness of these wonderful staff members cannot be overstated or underestimated.  In serving they are served, and we routinely have to come up with new staff members as the old ones move on to accept new jobs.

At 8:00 a.m. every Monday morning (except holidays) we convene a networking meeting at the LDS Business College 1st floor multi-purpose room (southwest corner of 300 West and North Temple) where we greet a crowd of usually 130 to 150 immaculately-dressed professionals seeking new employment opportunities.  Each week we see 30 to 40 new folks who have just heard about what we are doing.  We open the meeting, the training, the resources to all without regard to which church they attend, the color of their skin, their gender, or their ethnic background.  What we have to offer one we offer freely to all comers.  Please spread the word.  There have been many, many satisfying moments since then, and they continue to mount.  Little did we know when we accepted the calling how much we would be blessed in the assignment.

Each week I get at least one or two phone calls from people who will say something like, "I understand you're the guy with jobs at the Church."  Then they will proceed to tell me what they are looking for and wait expectantly for me to fill their order.

Sadly, it doesn't really work that way.  I sometimes wish it were that simple.

Tomorrow, Peggy Fletcher Stack, a religion feature writer for The Salt Lake Tribune will attend our Monday morning networking meeting to learn more about what the Church is doing to assist those who are unemployed in their respective job searches.  We will no doubt say to her something like this, "Nothing has really changed much since the inception of the Church's Welfare Plan back in the early 1930s, except that the concepts and the tools have been sharpened and updated and they're better than ever.  We are still teaching the same core principles of self-reliance coupled with donating a generous fast offering to temporarily assist those in need."  It's the Lord's way, and it still works.  Here's the link to her article.

Those who come seeking the resources we offer quickly learn they are in command and are solely responsible for their own job search.  While we offer resources the Church has developed that are second to none in excellence and usefulness, we state clearly to all participants that they alone are the responsible party in the end.  If they immerse themselves in the training, if they take action, if they do as they are directed, if they learn how to network effectively, if they implement the suggestions we make, if they will serve others, then invariably they find what they are seeking.  Many have attested to that fact.

Here is a small sample:

"Dave, I want you to know that you were right.  I came to the first networking meeting having no idea what to expect.  While I was there, I gave my 'Me In 30 Seconds' statement off the outline form I was handed.  That week I took the Professional Career Workshop, and it completely refocused me on my skill sets.  I was frozen in my past as a real estate salesman, but I realized I could sell anything and that I could re-invent myself.  Two weeks later an employer in attendance at the weekly networking meeting singled me out, got in touch with me later in the week and offered me a job."  Then he handed me his newly-minted business card and said, "You were right -- it worked!"

Another wrote recently:

"I just wanted to thank you for your support and kindness through my unemployment process. I have verbally accepted a huge pay cut :) and an employment offer with Intermountain Healthcare. They seem to be a solid organization with lots of potential growth opportunities.
"I may not get a chance to come in on Monday to thank you in person. I would be happy to share more details about how important networking was to me finding this position. I've actually had 3 offers in the last 3-4 weeks and decided I better take the bird in the hand and hope that it develops into more but I will continue to keep my network alive."

We don't always hear about everyone who consummates their job search successfully, but those who take the time to tell us assure us the skills they gleaned from the process are invaluable:

"Sorry I missed your phone call at about 4:45 today.
"I was in a meeting with the 'biggies' and some builders, ie., Ivory, Perry, Hamlet, and others.
"Couldn't get out....
"We should get to lunch on Monday or Tuesday... (Monday is NOT a holiday for this employed guy)
"We're seeing the listing market share come our way quite fast. 13 listing appointments today, 13 yesterday, and so on.
"I'm the 'managing associate broker' so that means I get the problems from the agents and have to psyche them up.
"I also have the 'builder' files. That's interesting...we're co-listing properties. We simply charge $2,000 for all the media advertising we do (print reaches 1 million people, internet- who knows, iPhone apps - ?) so for the 2 grand, especially on the higher priced properties that have 10, 15, 20K commissions, what's 2,000 in advertising the size that we provide?
"Anyway, how I got the job is the miracle story...and that we will save for lunch...
"Talk soon."

This came from a woman who attended the Professional Career Workshop and the Monday morning networking meetings:

"Hi, Bro. Goates, I just want to let you know that my employer (owner) was so impressed with the organization of the [networking] meeting and the quality of the candidates, he is beside himself with excitement. We initially were going to fill in one sales position but will now add on two other sales managers and promote them to Regional Sales Managers. We are excited for this new growth in our company and very much appreciate all the accommodation of the staff for all their help.
"I am personally indebted to you all for helping me obtain employment. Lori Thurston passed a job lead by me for a receptionist/secretary position opening, she said would you mind, the owner needed help, etc. I said well why not, I go to the interview and the owner was so impressed with my resume and references he offered me a higher position. So now I am helping to run his business, he consults with me on business development, I am creating systems and organization, helping him in all operations. It's pretty exciting and just the right opportunity for me.
"Again thank you all very much! I got my Christmas wish in 2009, 2010 looks nice and bright."

Here's another "textbook example" of how our process works:

"I’ve secured employment effective 01/25/10 as a Senior Consultant with EC, a healthcare consulting firm that specializes in hospital and physician practice economics. The time between my last day at 3M and my first day at EC was three months, a short time span given today’s job market. I credit this short time in large part to the tools, training and professional networking I gained through LDS Employment Services.
"My success in securing this role is a textbook example of the techniques and principles taught in the workshops and the training in the weekly Monday morning meetings. Just a few examples:
• Networking – I discovered EC through a contact I had established at the Monday morning networking meetings.
• After discovering EC, I used LinkedIn to determine which of my existing contacts knew people who work at EC. I leveraged one of these contacts to make an introduction for me.
• Informational Interviews – My initial meeting with EC was an informational interview. They were very impressed but indicated that they had no opening positions.
• Networking – I subscribe to multiple healthcare industry electronic newsletters that I receive each week via email. I briefly review these articles and save copies of articles I’m interested in, which I index for future reference. While doing this, I often find articles of high importance to the people and companies I’ve contacted or interviewed with. I email a copy of relevant articles to people in my network with a brief note of how I thought about them and how the article may help them. I typically receive an email response acknowledging receipt of the article and how they appreciated my thinking of them. I use this practice to add value to my relationships and remind them of my interest and expertise. This is exactly what happened with EC and they invited me back for an actual job interview, not just an informational interview.
• Portfolio – When I met with EC the second time, I brought my portfolio to illustrate examples of my work. This portfolio was instrumental in helping them see first-hand the quality and creativity of my work. This was much more effective than simply verbally describing my work, which is inherently complex. They were extremely impressed and even commented that my work was better than much of the work they were currently delivering.
• Hidden Job Market – There is indeed a hidden job market. Every company has unmet needs or substantial challenges, which they attempt to fulfill with existing staff and resources. However, when they find someone who can meet and exceed these needs even better than they imagined, they can’t help but want to create a position. This is exactly what happened with EC; they created a position for me knowing they’ll see a strong return for their investment.
• Service to Others – Serving at the Welfare Square Employment Resource Center and in the Bountiful Temple, as well as actively referring job opportunities to members of my network, has helped me stay focused and avoid discouragement. I’ve been discouraged a few times the past three months, but such discouragement is fleeting when you forget yourself in service.
• Take Care of Yourself – I’ve maintained my early morning exercise routine, scripture study and personal reading, regardless of what else is happening in my life. A personal, protected routine gives me a sense of control when everything else seems out of control.
• Job Coach – My brother has been my job coach. He’s been compassionate, yet objective. He’s helped me be accountable to myself each week.
"I’m grateful to you and the entire staff in the Employment Resource Center for your training and support. I’m grateful too for your willingness to serve. Thank you, thank you. May the Lord bless you for your goodness and service."

And this is just a small sampling of the stories we hear each week.  The economy is rebounding, the evidence is overwhelming, and the goal at our Monday morning networking meeting is simple -- we will only do it for as long as it takes to empty the room and no one else shows up! 

The miracle of it all is that it costs the participants NOTHING!  Training is offered and received freely.  There is no government entitlement program costing the taxpayers trillions of dollars.  There are very few paid people at the ERCs -- it is staffed almost entirely by volunteers giving of their time and means to help others.

In the infinite goodness of the Lord, he has given us the perfect example to follow through the turbulent economic times in which we live.  He has given us the living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson.  Said he recently, “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish — and in effect save their lives.” (Ensign, November 2009, 85).

There are currently 330 Employment Resource Centers worldwide, and the Church will soon announce the rollout of the new website that is still in Beta testing but is nearing completion.  The site will become, in my humble prediction, the defacto marketplace where employers can meet and select qualified candidates in a worldwide searchable database that will be initially introduced in three languages with no doubt more to follow. 

As I have been writing about Zion again on this blog page, let me add one more word of testimony.  The process I have observed of brothers and sisters interacting and sharing their knowledge, encouragement, and networking contacts with one another is certainly to me an evidence of the highest expression of the law of consecration I can imagine.  It is exactly what the Lord envisions when he tells us to love one another and to care for one another. 

We're all in this quest for Zion together, and the ERC is where daily examples of the quest can be observed.  How blessed Patsy and I are as we continue to be a small part of it!

ZION: The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 100 to D&C 105)

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 100 to D&C 105)

D&C 100

The circumstance that gave rise to this revelation was the Prophet's anxiety about his family while he was on a preaching mission with Sidney Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson to New York and Canada. He inquired of the Lord as to the well-being of his family, and received the following.

In addition to being given the assurance he sought concerning his family, Joseph learned how to teach the gospel in verses 5-8, thus establishing a pattern for each of us. Sidney is called as Joseph's spokesman, and Joseph is called as a revelator to Sidney. The Lord once again confirms that Zion will be redeemed, though she is chastened "for a little season," and the Lord declares he will raise up "a pure people that will serve [him] in righteousness."  Of comfort, surely to Joseph and Sidney, is that the Lord calls them "my friends."

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you, my friends Sidney and Joseph, your families are well; they are in mine hands, and I will do with them as seemeth me good; for in me there is all power.
Therefore, follow me, and listen to the counsel which I shall give unto you.
Behold, and lo, I have much people in this place, in the regions round about; and an effectual door shall be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land.
Therefore, I, the Lord, have suffered you to come unto this place; for thus it was expedient in me for the salvation of souls.
Therefore, verily I say unto you, lift up your voices unto this people; speak the thoughts that I shall put into your hearts, and you shall not be confounded before men;
For it shall be given you in the very hour, yea, in the very moment, what ye shall say.
But a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall declare whatsoever thing ye declare in my name, in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness, in all things.
And I give unto you this promise, that inasmuch as ye do this the Holy Ghost shall be shed forth in bearing record unto all things whatsoever ye shall say.
And it is expedient in me that you, my servant Sidney, should be a spokesman unto this people; yea, verily, I will ordain you unto this calling, even to be a spokesman unto my servant Joseph.
And I will give unto him power to be mighty in testimony.
And I will give unto thee power to be mighty in expounding all scriptures, that thou mayest be a spokesman unto him, and he shall be a revelator unto thee, that thou mayest know the certainty of all things pertaining to the things of my kingdom on the earth.
Therefore, continue your journey and let your hearts rejoice; for behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end.
And now I give unto you a word concerning Zion. Zion shall be redeemed, although she is chastened for a little season.
Thy brethren, my servants Orson Hyde and John Gould, are in my hands; and inasmuch as they keep my commandments they shall be saved.
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted; for all things shall work together for good to them that walk uprightly, and to the sanctification of the church.
For I will raise up unto myself a pure people, that will serve me in righteousness;
And all that call upon the name of the Lord, and keep his commandments, shall be saved. Even so. Amen.

D&C 101

It is now December 16, 1833, and several weeks after Orson Hyde and John Gould had left Kirtland on their errand to seek redress for the persecution suffered by the saints in Jackson County. The Prophet learned by letter on December 10, that the main body of saints had been expelled by force from Jackson County. Houses had been burned by the mobs, men were whipped, women sexually assaulted, and the judges were refusing to issue warrants for the arrest of the offenders. (For a complete description of the events see HC 1:458-464).

The revelation that followed Joseph's petitions to the Lord for mercy was little comfort, as Joseph learned the reason for their expulsion and suffering. Notwithstanding their anguishing experience in the land of Zion, however, they are enjoined by the Lord to continue purchasing the land around Jackson County. That command has never been repealed, despite the fact that Zion is still inhabited by its temporary landlords instead of the saints.

The Lord gives Joseph a parable in this revelation (see verses 44-62), and the land of Zion is likened to "a spot of land, very choice." The watchmen on the tower overlooking the vineyard in the parable were very slothful (this is a condition in Israel for which there have been numerous precedents -- see, for example, Ezekiel 13 -- yet somehow we think our watchmen are exempt from deception in these last days), and the vineyard was trampled under by the enemies of the nobleman who owned the vineyard. The lord of the vineyard sent a servant to gather the strength of his house so the vineyard could be redeemed, for the land belonged to him "I have bought it with money." (See verse 56).

The parable concludes that "after many days all things were fulfilled," and the vineyard was reclaimed from the enemies. The redemption of the vineyard, it is important to note, occurred only after the strength of the nobleman's house had been gathered. The object lesson of the parable is to illustrate the gathering of the saints into the stakes of Zion all around the world that continues today in preparation for the reclamation of the vineyard of Zion in Jackson County. We are still delayed, and we still wonder with the servant in the parable, "When shall these things be?" And the Spirit whispers to the soul of every pilgrim and foreigner who seeks the Holy City, "Be still and know that I am God."

Verily I say unto you, concerning your brethren who have been afflicted, and persecuted, and cast out from the land of their inheritance --
I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions;
Yet I will own them, and they shall be mine in that day when I shall come to make up my jewels.
Therefore, they must needs be chastened and tried, even as Abraham, who was commanded to offer up his only son.
For all those who will not endure chastening, but deny me, cannot be sanctified.
Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me.
Verily I say unto you, notwithstanding their sins, my bowels are filled with compassion towards them. I will not utterly cast them off; and in the day of wrath I will remember mercy.
I have sworn, and the decree hath gone forth by a former commandment which I have given unto you, that I would let fall the sword of mine indignation in behalf of my people; and even as I have said, it shall come to pass.
Mine indignation is soon to be poured out without measure upon all nations; and this will I do when the cup of their iniquity is full.
And in that day all who are found upon the watch tower, or in other words, all mine Israel, shall be saved.
And they that have been scattered shall be gathered.
And all they who have mourned shall be comforted.
And all they who have given their lives for my name shall be crowned.
Therefore, let your hearts be comforted concerning Zion; for all flesh is in mine hands; be still and know that I am God.
Zion shall not be moved out of her place, notwithstanding her children are scattered.
They that remain, and are pure in heart, shall return, and come to their inheritances, they and their children, with songs of everlasting joy, to build up the waste places of Zion --
And all these things that the prophets might be fulfilled.
And, behold, there is none other place appointed than that which I have appointed; neither shall there be any other place appointed than that which I have appointed, for the work of the gathering of my saints
Until the day cometh when there is found no more room for them; and then I have other places which I will appoint unto them, and they shall be called stakes, for the curtains or the strength of Zion.
Behold, it is my will, that all they who call on my name, and worship me according to mine everlasting gospel, should gather together, and stand in holy places;
And prepare for the revelation which is to come, when the veil of the covering of my temple, in my tabernacle, which hideth the earth, shall be taken off, and all flesh shall see me together.
And every corruptible thing, both of man, or of the beasts of the field, or of the fowls of the heavens, or of the fish of the sea, that dwells upon all the face of the earth, shall be consumed;
And also that of element shall melt with fervent heat; and all things shall become new, that my knowledge and glory may dwell upon all the earth.
And in that day the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.
And in that day whatsoever any man shall ask, it shall be given unto him.
And in that day Satan shall not have power to tempt any man.
And there shall be no sorrow because there is no death.
In that day an infant shall not die until he is old; and his life shall be as the age of a tree;
And when he dies he shall not sleep, that is to say in the earth, but shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and shall be caught up, and his rest shall be glorious.
Yea, verily I say unto you, in that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things --
Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof
Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven.
And all they who suffer persecution for my name, and endure in faith, though they are called to lay down their lives for my sake yet shall they partake of all this glory.
Wherefore, fear not even unto death; for in this world your joy is not full, but in me your joy is full.
Therefore, care not for the body, neither the life of the body; but care for the soul, and for the life of the soul.
And seek the face of the Lord always, that in patience ye may possess your souls, and ye shall have eternal life.
When men are called unto mine everlasting gospel, and covenant with an everlasting covenant, they are accounted as the salt of the earth and the savor of men;
They are called to be the savor of men; therefore, if that salt of the earth lose its savor, behold, it is thenceforth good for nothing only to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
Behold, here is wisdom concerning the children of Zion, even many, but not all; they were found transgressors, therefore they must needs be chastened --
He that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be exalted.
And now, I will show unto you a parable, that you may know my will concerning the redemption of Zion.
A certain nobleman had a spot of land, very choice; and he said unto his servants: Go ye unto my vineyard, even upon this very choice piece of land, and plant twelve olive-trees;
And set watchmen round about them, and build a tower, that one may overlook the land round about, to be a watchman upon the tower, that mine olive-trees may not be broken down when the enemy shall come to spoil and take upon themselves the fruit of my vineyard.
Now, the servants of the nobleman went and did as their lord commanded them, and planted the olive-trees, and built a hedge round about, and set watchmen, and began to build a tower.
And while they were yet laying the foundation thereof, they began to say among themselves: And what need hath my lord of this tower?
And consulted for a long time, saying among themselves:
What need hath my lord of this tower, seeing this is a time of peace?
Might not this money be given to the exchangers? For there is no need of these things.
And while they were at variance one with another they became very slothful, and they hearkened not unto the commandments of their lord.
And the enemy came by night, and broke down the hedge; and the servants of the nobleman arose and were affrighted, and fled; and the enemy destroyed their works, and broke down the olive-trees.
Now, behold, the nobleman, the lord of the vineyard, called upon his servants, and said unto them, Why! what is the cause of this great evil?
Ought ye not to have done even as I commanded you, and -- after ye had planted the vineyard, and built the hedge round about, and set watchmen upon the walls thereof -- built the tower also, and set a watchman upon the tower, and watched for my vineyard, and not have fallen asleep, lest the enemy should come upon you?
And behold, the watchman upon the tower would have seen the enemy while he was yet afar off; and then ye could have made ready and kept the enemy from breaking down the hedge thereof, and saved my vineyard from the hands of the destroyer.
And the lord of the vineyard said unto one of his servants: Go and gather together the residue of my servants, and take all the strength of mine house, which are my warriors, my young men, and they that are of middle age also among all my servants, who are the strength of mine house, save those only whom I have appointed to tarry;
And go ye straightway unto the land of my vineyard, and redeem my vineyard; for it is mine; I have bought it with money.
Therefore, get ye straightway unto my land; break down their tower, and scatter their watchmen.
And inasmuch as they gather together against you, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.
And the servant said unto his lord: When shall these things be?
And he said unto his servant: When I will; go ye straightway, and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you;
And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you -- a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.
And his servant went straightway, and did all things whatsoever his lord commanded him; and after many days all things were fulfilled.
Again, verily I say unto you, I will show unto you wisdom in me concerning all the churches, inasmuch as they are willing to be guided in a right a proper way for their salvation --
That the work of the gathering together of my saints may continue, that I may build them up unto my name upon holy places; for the time of harvest is come, and my word must needs be fulfilled.
Therefore, I must gather together my people, according to the parable of the wheat and the tares, that the wheat may be secured in the garners to possess eternal life, and be crowned with celestial glory, when I shall come in the kingdom of my Father to reward every man according as his work shall be;
While the tares shall be bound in bundles, and their bands made strong, that they may be burned with unquenchable fire.
Therefore, a commandment I give unto all the churches, that they shall continue to gather together unto the places which I have appointed.
Nevertheless, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, let not your gathering be in haste, nor by flight; but let all things be prepared before you.
And in order that all things be prepared before you, observe the commandment which I have given concerning these things --
Which saith, or teacheth, to purchase all the lands with money, which can be purchased for money, in the region round about the land which I have appointed to be the land of Zion, for the beginning of the gathering of my saints;
All the land which can be purchased in Jackson county, and the counties round about, and leave the residue in mine hand.
Now, verily I say unto you, let all the churches gather together all their moneys; let these things be done in their time, but not in haste; and observe to have all things prepared before you.
And let honorable men be appointed, even wise men, and send them to purchase these lands.
And the churches in the eastern countries, when they are built up, if they will hearken unto this counsel they may buy lands and gather together upon them; and in this way they may establish Zion.
There is even now already in store sufficient, yea, even an abundance, to redeem Zion, and establish her waste places, no more to be thrown down, were the churches, who call themselves after my name, willing to hearken to my voice.
And again I say unto you, those who have been scattered by their enemies, it is my will that they should continue to importune for redress, and redemption, by the hands of those who are placed as rulers and are in authority over you --
According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
That every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency which I have given unto him, that every man may be accountable for his own sins in the day of judgment.
Therefore, it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another.
And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
Now, unto what shall I liken the children of Zion? I will liken them unto the parable of the woman and the unjust judge, for men ought always to pray and not to faint, which saith
There was in a city a judge which feared not God, neither regarded man.
And there was a widow in that city, and she came unto him, saying: Avenge me of mine adversary.
And he would not for a while, but afterward he said within himself: Though I fear not God, nor regard man, yet because this widow troubleth me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
Thus will I liken the children of Zion.
Let them importune at the feet of the judge;
And if he heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the governor;
And if the governor heed them not, let them importune at the feet of the president;
And if the president heed them not, then will the Lord arise and come forth out of his hiding place, and in his fury vex the nation;
And in his hot displeasure, and in his fierce anger, in his time, will cut off those wicked, unfaithful, and unjust stewards, and appoint them their portion among hypocrites, and unbelievers;
Even in outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.
Pray ye, therefore, that their ears may be opened unto your cries, that I may be merciful unto them, that these things may not come upon them.
What I have said unto you must needs be, that all men may be left without excuse;
That wise men and rulers may hear and know that which they have never considered;
That I may proceed to bring to pass my act, my strange act, and perform my work, my strange work, that men may discern between the righteous and the wicked, saith your God.
And again, I say unto you, it is contrary to my commandment and my will that my servant Sidney Gilbert should sell my storehouse, which I have appointed unto my people, into the hands of mine enemies.
Let not that which I have appointed be polluted by mine enemies, by the consent of those who call themselves after my name;
For this is a very sore and grievous sin against me, and against my people, in consequence of those things which I have decreed and which are soon to befall the nations.
Therefore, it is my will that my people should claim, and hold claim upon that which I have appointed unto them, though they should not be permitted to dwell thereon.
Nevertheless, I do not say they shall not dwell thereon; for inasmuch as they bring forth fruit and works meet for my kingdom they shall dwell thereon.
They shall build, and another shall not inherit it; they shall plant vineyards, and they shall eat the fruit thereof. Even so. Amen.

D&C 103

The date of this revelation is February 24, 1834, and it comes in the dead of winter following a distressing report from Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight about the condition of the saints after their expulsion from the land of Zion. They were appointed by the leaders of the Church in Missouri to travel to Kirtland to take counsel from the Prophet regarding the redemption of Zion.

The instructions given to the Prophet are to gather together "the strength of my house," and to go up unto the land of Zion "upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me." (See verse 22).  It has often been deduced by some from the content of the revelation and the subsequent events that the Lord had in mind taking the land back by armed force. A careful study of the history of Zion's Camp, however, will reveal that the possibility of armed confrontation with the enemies of Zion was most remote in the Lord's mind.

This is the revelation that sanctions Zion's Camp. The parallels with the parable the Lord had given in the previous revelation are most striking. The Lord asked for five hundred men "of the strength of my house," but acknowledged that "men do not always do my will." (See verses 30 31).  The language the Lord uses suggests they are going to take Zion by force -- "The redemption of Zion must needs come by power; ye shall avenge me of mine enemies; let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake," and so forth. (See verses 15, 25, 27).

As we will see, the subsequent events were anything but an armed conflict, though 205 men eventually answered the call to go redeem Zion and left Kirtland May 5, 1834. They left Kirtland armed to the gunnels determined to restore the lands and property of their brethren in Zion. When they returned some months later their hearts had been changed, all in preparation of their introduction to the endowment awaiting them in the Kirtland Temple. (See D&C 105:33). 

As they departed Kirtland for the land of Zion, Heber C. Kimball recorded this description in his journal:

Brother Joseph received a revelation concerning the redemption of Zion, part of which remains yet to be fulfilled. He sent Messengers to the East and to the North, to the West and to the South to gather up the Elders and, He gathered together as many of the brethren as he conveniently could, with what assistance that we could to our afflicted brethren. We gathered clothing and other necessaries to carry up to our brethren and sisters who had been plundered; and putting our horses to the wagons and taking our firelocks and ammunition, we started on our journey; leaving only Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon and a few aged workmen who were engaged at the Temple; so that there were very few men left in Kirtland. (Heber C. Kimball Journal, under date, Church Archives, see also RPJS, 209, where this entry is reproduced).

The portion of the revelation that Heber C. Kimball alluded to as being still unfulfilled undoubtedly refers to that passage mentioning "a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel." (See verse 16).  Like the "one mighty and strong" we looked at earlier, speculation has continued as to this man's identity, particularly given the redemption of the land of Zion in the last days being likened to Israel's possession of the land of Canaan in the Old Testament. This much is certain -- in a limited sense the prophecy was fulfilled in Joseph's leadership of Zion's Camp in 1834, but the complete fulfillment must still lie ahead since the land of Zion is still not redeemed.

Verily I say unto you, my friends, behold, I will give unto you a revelation and commandment, that you may know how to act in the discharge of your duties concerning the salvation and redemption of your brethren, who have been scattered on the land of Zion;
Being driven and smitten by the hands of mine enemies, on whom I will pour out my wrath without measure in mine own time.
For I have suffered them thus far, that they might fill up the measure of their iniquities, that their cup might be full;
And that those who call themselves after my name might be chastened for a little season with a sore and grievous chastisement, because they did not hearken altogether unto the precepts and commandments which I gave unto them.
But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever.
But inasmuch as they keep not my commandments, and hearken not to observe all my words, the kingdoms of the world shall prevail against them.
For they were set to be a light unto the world, and to be the saviors of men;
And inasmuch as they are not the saviors of men, they are as salt that has lost its savor, and is thenceforth good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.
But verily I say unto you, I have decreed that your brethren which have been scattered shall return to the lands of their inheritances, and shall build up the waste places of Zion.
For after much tribulation, as I have said unto you in a former commandment, cometh the blessing.
Behold, this is the blessing which I have promised after your tribulations, and the tribulations of your brethren -- your redemption, and the redemption of your brethren, even their restoration to the land of Zion, to be established, no more to be thrown down.
Nevertheless, if they pollute their inheritances they shall be thrown down; for I will not spare them if they pollute their inheritances.
Behold, I say unto you, the redemption of Zion must needs come by power;
Therefore, I will raise up unto my people a man, who shall lead them like as Moses led the children of Israel.
For ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched-out arm.
And as your fathers were led at the first, even so shall the redemption of Zion be.
Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say unto you as I said unto your fathers: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land.
Verily, verily I say unto you, that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given unto you.
Therefore let my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., say unto the strength of my house, my young men and the middle aged -- Gather yourselves together unto the land of Zion, upon the land which I have bought with money that has been consecrated unto me.
And let all the churches send up wise men with their moneys, and purchase lands even as I have commanded them.
And inasmuch as mine enemies come against you to drive you from my goodly land, which I have consecrated to be the land of Zion, even from your own lands after these testimonies, which ye have brought before me against them, ye shall curse them;
And whomsoever ye curse, I will curse, and ye shall avenge me of mine enemies.
And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.
Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.
And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.
It is my will that my servant Sidney Rigdon shall lift up his voice in the congregations in the eastern countries, in preparing the churches to keep the commandments which I have given unto them concerning the restoration and redemption of Zion.
It is my will that my servant Parley P. Pratt and my servant Lyman Wight should not return to the land of their brethren, until they have obtained companies to go up unto the land of Zion, by tens, or by twenties, or by fifties, or by an hundred, until they have obtained to the number of five hundred of the strength of my house.
Behold, this is my will; ask and ye shall receive; but men do not always do my will.
Therefore, if you cannot obtain five hundred, seek diligently that peradventure you may obtain three hundred.
And if ye cannot obtain three hundred, seek diligently that peradventure ye may obtain one hundred.
But verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall not go up unto the land of Zion until you have obtained a hundred of the strength of my house, to go up with you unto the land of Zion.
Therefore, as I said unto you, ask and ye shall receive; pray earnestly that peradventure my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., may go with you, preside in the midst of my people, and organize my kingdom upon the consecrated land, and establish the children of Zion upon the laws and commandments which have been and which shall be given unto you.
All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith.
Let my servant Parley P. Pratt journey with my servant Joseph Smith, Jun.
Let my servant Lyman Wight journey with my servant Sidney Rigdon.
Let my servant Hyrum Smith journey with my servant Frederick G. Williams.
Let my servant Orson Hyde journey with my servant Orson Pratt, whithersoever my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., shall counsel them, in obtaining the fulfilment of these commandments which I have given unto you, and leave the residue in my hands. Even so. Amen.

D&C 104:47-48

It is now April 23, 1834, and the Lord, having pled with the saints to consecrate their property, observed their contentions and covetousness, and having patiently endured their bickering and backbiting, now gives this revelation as the Prophet struggles to assemble enough men to fulfill the Lord's desire for five hundred men to accompany him to Jackson County. The Prophet had been diligently seeking to collect enough money in donations to satisfy the debts of the United Firm at Kirtland, but was unsuccessful for the most part. This revelation comes prior to the Prophet's departure for Jackson County, and sanctions the dissolution of the United Firm at Kirtland.

In earlier revelations the Lord had constantly felt after the saints, encouraging them to forsake the treasures of this world in exchange for their acceptance of the law of consecration, but his entreaties and commandments largely fell on deaf ears. Writing about conditions in Kirtland during this period, Matthias F. Cowley, the biographer of Wilford Woodruff, was compelled to observe:

. . .many of the brethren [at Kirtland] had given their time and talent to speculation and were absorbed in schemes detrimental to their religious standing, and quite contrary to the counsel of the Prophet. Speculations brought on jealousies and hatreds, and those evil attributes manifested themselves toward Joseph who sought diligently to suppress them. Prominent men who had shown the highest degree of loyalty to the Prophet became disaffected. Their financial speculation brought on a spirit of self sufficiency, and that spirit made them wise in their own conceit. The affairs of the Church were put to the test of "wisdom" wisdom as they understood it. Such wisdom, however, was undermining their integrity in the Church. (Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 7th printing, 1978], 67).

Orson F. Whitney, Heber C. Kimball's biographer, called the prevailing conditions in Kirtland at the time "idolatry:"

The greed of gain, the spirit of speculation was abroad in the land. Mammon had reared his altars on consecrated ground. The money changer was within the temple. The love of the things of earth had usurped, in many hearts, the love of the things of heaven, and comparatively few were free from the soul destroying influence of idolatry. Idolatry? Yes; the bowing down to the modern Baal, the worship of wealth -- the god of gold -- the lust after the ways and pleasures of the world. (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1945], 98).

Heber C. Kimball, likewise distressed at the conditions he observed in Kirtland upon his return from a mission to the East, offers this insight:

We were very much grieved on our arrival in Kirtland, to see the spirit of speculation that was prevailing in the Church. Trade and traffic seemed to engross the time and attention of the Saints. When we left Kirtland a city lot was worth about $.50; but on our return, to our astonishment, the same lot was said to be worth from $500 to $1000. . . in fact, everything in the place seemed to be moving in great prosperity, and all seemed determined to become rich. . . This appearance of prosperity led many of the Saints to believe that the time had arrived for the Lord to enrich them with the treasures of the earth, and believing so, it stimulated them to great exertions. (Ibid., 99).

It was little wonder the Lord had no choice but to withdraw the United Order from among such a covetous people. They had failed to learn to trust one another in matters of their temporal welfare, and to rely upon God to fulfill his promises. They lived on the cutting edge of frontier America, and we live in the sophisticated world of twenty-first century Babylon. If they didn't learn the lesson, what will future generations say of our day? The result of giving heed to that beguiling spirit of speculation and the gods of Baal was the Panic of 1837, soon to follow. It will be no different in our day, for the struggle between Mammon and God, each seeking dominion in the hearts of men, continues in our day. The love of Mammon in every dispensation of the gospel is a love affair foreordained to break hearts.

Those words were written years before the worldwide financial collapse we have experienced in 2008-09, as the securitization sub-prime mortgage bubble burst and all the specious investments attached to it exploded.  Blame can be attached in many places, but suffice it to say its foundation was rampant speculation and unbridled greed.

The Firm was dissolved temporarily in this revelation, and the assets held in common were divided among the principals along the lines detailed in the revelation. The essence of the revelation was that the United Order in Kirtland was to be made separate from the Order in Zion. Unpublished portions of the revelation, and additional unpublished revelations in the Kirtland Revelation Book, 100 and 111 respectively, give further details of this division of the United Order. (See RPJS, 210-12).  The Lord makes it clear why the earlier commandments to implement a program to live the law of consecration are now rescinded, ". . .the covenants being broken through transgression, by covetousness and feigned words." (See verse 52).

And now, a commandment I give unto you concerning Zion, that you shall no longer be bound as a united order to your brethren of Zion, only on this wise --
After you are organized, you shall be called the United Order of the Stake of Zion, the City of Kirtland. And your brethren, after they are organized, shall be called the United Order of the City of Zion.

Once again, notice the consistency -- Kirtland is a Stake of Zion, but Missouri is the City of Zion.

D&C 105

Important correspondence between the saints who had been driven from their homes in Jackson County and Governor Daniel Dunklin, Governor of Missouri, is recorded in Volume 1 of History of the Church, 472- 493. The letters from the Governor clearly portray his desire and his assurances to the dispossessed saints that they will be restored to their property and their homes in Jackson County. That fact -- the Governor's assurances that he would stand behind the saints with the Constitutional guarantees due them -- is critical in understanding what Zion's Camp was all about.

The brethren in Kirtland did not undertake their armed march to Jackson County to restore the saints by force, which would have been an act of insurrection clearly outside the parameters of the legal system. Rather, they fulfilled the requirement of the Lord that they petition the government at all levels for redress, and work within the framework of the Constitution. A sample of the many guarantees Governor Dunklin extended prior to the arrival of Zion's Camp in Jackson County is this from a letter dated February 4, 1834:

. . .I am very sensible indeed of the injuries your people complain of, and should consider myself very remiss in the discharge of my duties were I not to do everything in my power consistent with the legal exercise of them, to afford your society the redress to which they seem entitled. One of your requests needs no evidence to support the right to have it granted; it is that your people be put in possession of their homes, from which they have been expelled. But what may be the duty of the Executive after that, will depend upon contingencies. . .

Even as late as June 6, 1834, the Governor in a letter to Colonel Thornton, commander of the state militia at the time, makes the following observations and admonitions to protect the rights of the saints:

. . .A more clear and indisputable right does not exist, than that of the Mormon people, who were expelled from their homes in Jackson county, to return and live on their lands; and if they cannot be persuaded, as a matter of policy, to give up that right, or to qualify it, my course, as the chief executive of the state, is a plain one. The constitution of the United States declares "that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states." Then we cannot interdict any people, who have a political franchise in the United States, from immigrating to this state, nor from choosing what part of the state they will settle in, provided they do not trespass on the property or rights of others. Our state constitution declares that the people's "right to bear arms, in defense of themselves and of the state, cannot be questioned." Then it is their constitutional right to arm themselves. Indeed, our military law makes it the duty of every man, not exempted by law, between the ages of eighteen and forty five, to arm himself with a musket, rifle, or some firelock, with a certain quantity of ammunition, etc.; and again, our constitution says, "that all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences."
I am fully persuaded that the eccentricity of the religious opinions and practices of the Mormons is at the bottom of the outrages committed against them. They have the right constitutionally guaranteed to them, and it is indefeasible, to worship Joe Smith as a man, an angel, or even as the only true and living God, and to call their habitation Zion, the Holy Land, or even heaven itself. Indeed, there is nothing so absurd or ridiculous that they have not a right to adopt as their religion, so that in its exercise they do not interfere with the rights of others. . . (See HC, Vol. 2, 94).

The day following this letter, June 7, 1834, Zion's Camp crossed the Mississippi River into Monroe County. They rested a few days, then under date of June 15, 1834, the Prophet makes this entry in his journal:

Sunday, June 15. -- Traveled twelve miles. While on the way Orson Hyde and Parley P. Pratt returned to us from Jefferson City, and reported that Governor Dunklin refused to fulfill his promise to reinstate the brethren on their lands in Jackson county on the ground of impracticability. . . (Ibid.)

Conditions worsened steadily following this communication, until June 19, 1834, when five men armed with guns rode into the camp, swearing that "the Mormons will see hell before morning." Their threats and "accompanying oaths partook of all the malice of demons," according to the Prophet, and they told the camp that a mob in excess of 300 was massing nearby, ready to cross the Missouri River above the mouth of Fishing River.

A timely storm of tremendous intensity and suddenness was unleashed throughout the remainder of that night, driving off the mob who were unable to launch their boats to cross the river because it had risen thirty feet in its channel. Joseph described the storm in these words:

Very little hail fell in our camp, but from half a mile to a mile around, the stones or lumps of ice cut down the crops of corn and vegetation generally, even cutting limbs from trees, while the trees, themselves were twisted into withes by the wind. The lightning flashed incessantly, which caused it to be so light in our camp through the night, that we could discern the most minute objects; and the roaring of the thunder was tremendous. The earth trembled and quaked, the rain fell in torrents, and, united, it seemed as if the mandate of vengeance had gone forth from the God of battles, to protect His servants from the destruction of their enemies, for the hail fell on them and not on us, and we suffered no harm, except the blowing down of some of our tents, and getting wet; while our enemies had holes made in their hats, and otherwise received damage, even the breaking of their rifle stocks, and the fleeing of their horses through fear and pain. (HC, Vol. 2, 104- 5).

Because the members of Zion's Camp had no other purpose in coming to Missouri than to assist their brethren in securing the restitution of their homes based upon Governor Dunklin's assurances, and the Governor having refused to honor his previous commitments to the saints, Zion's Camp did not reclaim Jackson County. All that remained for the Camp was to proceed to Clay County and rejoin the exiled saints, and hope some compromise could be worked out.

On June 22, 1834, the Prophet inquired of the Lord, and received this revelation at Fishing River, Missouri:

Verily I say unto you who have assembled yourselves together that you may learn my will concerning the redemption of mine afflicted people --
Behold, I say unto you, were it not for the transgressions of my people, speaking concerning the church and not individuals, they might have been redeemed even now.
But behold, they have not learned to be obedient to the things which I required at their hands, but are full of all manner of evil, and do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and afflicted among them;
And are not united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom;
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom;
And Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself.
And my people must needs be chastened until they learn obedience, if it must needs be, by the things which they suffer.
I speak not concerning those who are appointed to lead my people, who are the first elders of my church, for they are not all under this condemnation;
But I speak concerning my churches abroad -- there are many who will say: Where is their God? Behold, he will deliver them in time of trouble, otherwise we will not go up unto Zion, and will keep our moneys.
Therefore, in consequence of the transgressions of my people, it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion That they themselves may be prepared, and that my people may be taught more perfectly, and have experience, and know more perfectly concerning their duty, and the things which I require at their hands.
And this cannot be brought to pass until mine elders are endowed with power from on high.
For behold, I have prepared a great endowment and blessing to be poured out upon them, inasmuch as they are faithful and continue in humility before me.
Therefore it is expedient in me that mine elders should wait for a little season, for the redemption of Zion.
For behold, I do not require at their hands to fight the battles of Zion; for, as I said in a former commandment, even so will I fulfil -- I will fight your battles.
Behold, the destroyer I have sent forth to destroy and lay waste mine enemies; and not many years hence they shall not be left to pollute mine heritage, and to blaspheme my name upon the lands which I have consecrated for the gathering together of my saints.
Behold, I have commanded my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., to say unto the strength of my house, even my warriors, my young men, and middle-aged, to gather together for the redemption of my people, and throw down the towers of mine enemies, and scatter their watchmen;
But the strength of mine house have not hearkened unto my words.
But inasmuch as there are those who have hearkened unto my words, I have prepared a blessing and an endowment for them, if they continue faithful.
I have heard their prayers, and will accept their offering; and it is expedient in me that they should be brought thus far for a trial of their faith.
And now, verily I say unto you, a commandment I give unto you, that as many as have come up hither, that can stay in the region round about, let them stay;
And those that cannot stay, who have families in the east, let them tarry for a little season, inasmuch as my servant Joseph shall appoint unto them;
For I will counsel him concerning this matter, and all things whatsoever he shall appoint unto them shall be fulfilled.
And let all my people who dwell in the regions round about be very faithful, and prayerful, and humble before me, and reveal not the things which I have revealed unto them, until it is wisdom in me that they should be revealed.
Talk not of judgments, neither boast of faith nor of mighty works, but carefully gather together, as much in one region as can be, consistently with the feelings of the people;
And behold, I will give unto you favor and grace in their eyes, that you may rest in peace and safety, while you are saying unto the people: Execute judgment and justice for us according to law, and redress us of our wrongs.
Now, behold, I say unto you, my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the army of Israel becomes very great.
And I will soften the hearts of the people, as I did the heart of Pharaoh, from time to time, until my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and mine elders, whom I have appointed, shall have time to gather up the strength of my house,
And to have sent wise men, to fulfil that which I have commanded concerning the purchasing of all the lands in Jackson county that can be purchased, and in the adjoining counties round about.
For it is my will that these lands should be purchased; and after they are purchased that my saints should possess them according to the laws of consecration which I have given.
And after these lands are purchased, I will hold the armies of Israel guiltless in taking possession of their own lands, which they have previously purchased with their moneys, and of throwing down the towers of mine enemies that may be upon them, and scattering their watchmen, and avenging me of mine enemies unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me. But first let my army become very great, and let it be sanctified before me, that it may become fair as the sun, and clear as the moon, and that her banners may be terrible unto all nations;
That the kingdoms of this world may be constrained to acknowledge that the kingdom of Zion is in very deed the kingdom of our God and his Christ; therefore, let us become subject unto her laws.
Verily I say unto you, it is expedient in me that the first elders of my church should receive their endowment from on high in my house, which I have commanded to be built unto my name in the land of Kirtland.
And let those commandments which I have given concerning Zion and her law be executed and fulfilled, after her redemption.
There has been a day of calling, but the time has come for a day of choosing; and let those be chosen that are worthy.
And it shall be manifest unto my servant, by the voice of the Spirit, those that are chosen; and they shall be sanctified;
And inasmuch as they follow the counsel which they receive, they shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.
And again I say unto you, sue for peace, not only to the people that have smitten you, but also to all people;
And lift up an ensign of peace, and make a proclamation of peace unto the ends of the earth;
And make proposals for peace unto those who have smitten you, according to the voice of the Spirit which is in you, and all things shall work together for your good. [Pursuant to the directions of the Lord in this verse, an "appeal" was prepared and signed by twelve of the brethren in Missouri on July 7, 1834, the full text of which can be found in HC, Vol. 2, 126-134.]
Therefore, be faithful; and behold, and lo, I am with you even unto the end. Even so. Amen.

Although the sacrifice and struggle of those who participated in Zion's Camp is clear to us today, this revelation left little doubt in the minds of the saints that the Lord was displeased with their feigned attempts to live "the law of the celestial kingdom," and thus reclaim Zion. Added to his rejection of the saints on these grounds was the fact that so few had responded to the Prophet's call to go with him to Jackson County. The Lord had asked for five hundred men. Only 205 put their faith on the line.

The fact that any went at all was a demonstration of their willingness to accept the crucible of the Lord. Think of leaving the relative comforts of home in exchange for an arduous trek through the wilderness in response to the Prophet's request to aid their brethren. There were no guarantees at the outset, only a request for obedience. Those who answered the call were later promised "a great endowment" in this revelation, and the revelation was given after their hardship and then their disappointment over having seemingly failed in the purpose of their mission. Their faith would further be tried by the knowledge that came in this revelation that the redemption of Zion would have to wait "for a little season," even until the "army become very great."

The test of following a living prophet is always the standard by which faith in God is measured. Many are called to the priesthood, they are set apart in positions of authority in the Church and they receive callings to serve in wards, stakes, and missions. Nevertheless, despite this burgeoning number in the Church today, the Lord has always said, "but few are chosen." (Perhaps these references will be useful in understanding the lifetime process of being "chosen." It is the inheritance of "a few" in mortality, not the masses in the Church: D&C 121:34-40; D&C 52:1-2; D&C 95:3-8; D&C 64:33-36; D&C 105:35-37; D&C 107:40-42; D&C 124:74-76; D&C 132:7, 19-25; D&C 131:1-6. Joseph Smith commented, ". . .this is a station to which no man ever arrived in a moment." [See TPJS, 51]).

Many go to the temples to receive their endowments today, and many are called to take upon themselves sacred covenants of their own free will and choice, the violation of which will bring upon them the judgments of God, and many never consider that all the proffered blessings are conditional. Why is Zion still not redeemed? When will the Lord's army be great enough? What is necessary before the promises of the Lord concerning Zion will be fulfilled? President Joseph F. Smith gives us this answer:

But they did not redeem Zion, because the Saints were not prepared. Consequently, the day for the redemption of Zion was postponed, until the time should come when the people, through the experiences they would be called to pass through, should be prepared for the redemption of Zion and for the building of the House of God at the center stake thereof. And the day was not yet come; and no man, so far as I know, can foretell the day to the hour, the month or the year when the people of God are prepared to go back, and not before. Whether it be in this generation or in the next generation, it matters not; it will only be when the people have prepared themselves to do it by their faithfulness and obedience to the commands of God. I prophesy to you, in the name of the Lord, that when the Latter-day Saints have prepared themselves through righteousness to redeem Zion, they will accomplish that work, and God will go with them. No power will then be able to prevent them from accomplishing that work; for the Lord has said it shall be done, and it will be done in the due time of the Lord, when the people are prepared for it.
But when shall I be prepared to go there? Not while I have in my heart the love of this world more than the love of God. Not while I am possessed of that selfishness and greed that would induce me to cling to the world or my possessions in it, at the sacrifice of principle or truth. But when I am ready to say, "Father all that I have, myself included, is Thine; my time, my substance, everything that I possess is on the altar, to be used freely, agreeable to Thy holy will, and not my will, but Thine, be done," then perhaps I will be prepared to go and help to redeem Zion. (Millenial Star, June 18, 1894, 56:385-86).

In summary, the time for the redemption of Zion in 1834 was "not yet," and despite the ongoing and steady growth of Zion's army, the time is still "not yet." But come it will, for the promises of the Lord will never fail. Only the faith of men fails, their hope may sometimes ebb and their desires to wait patiently upon the Lord may evaporate, but the word of the Lord since that fateful day when the saints were driven from the centerstake of Zion in the dead of winter still echoes down the corridor of years in the ears of the faithful --


Saturday, February 27, 2010

ZION: The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 82 to D&C 99)

The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C 82 to D&C 99)

D&C 82

It is now April 26, 1832, and the Lord is still admonishing the brethren in the Church to set aside their differences and to forgive one another. Specifically, the problems seem to have been twofold: 1) Many of the brethren thought Joseph was setting himself up as some kind of monarch among them, and were very critical of him; and 2) Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge had some sort of running dispute between them over money and Sidney's near-drowning in the Missouri River. While the details are somewhat sketchy, it is clear the Lord was voicing his concern in these revelations. We read these revelations today, never asking or wondering what called forth the words of the Lord. They seem so appropriate for our own circumstances, and it is obvious their petty jealousies were not unlike ours.

So severe had the disputes become, that Joseph was admonished in a former revelation to "sit in council" with his brethren in Zion to resolve these matters. (See D&C 78).  It meant another trip out to Missouri, and this one was undertaken with the complication of Joseph and Sidney having to leave their children at a time they were all suffering with measles. This revelation was received two days after Joseph and his party arrived in Jackson County, at the conclusion of a conference after "all differences settled & the hearts of all run together in love." (See the minutes of the meeting, Far West Record, 24-25).

Section 82 details the organization of the United Firm in Missouri, and admonishes them to "manage the affairs of the poor." (See verse 12).  Some confusion still persists among Mormon history writers today over the affairs of the United Firm, because explicit reference to these business concerns was "deleted" from the printed version of the revelation 1835. (See RPJS, 331).  It was a business partnership composed of about a dozen members of the Church. They were landowners or merchants, and in most cases leaders of the Church, seeking to work harmoniously with one another to make a profit for the Church. Simultaneously, Joseph was establishing the United Order, the system designed to administer the law of consecration through the bishops. It is little wonder so much contention arose.

Their "sins" are mentioned many times in this revelation, but it would seem their most serious sin was their unwillingness to forgive one another. It is likely the leaders of the Church were indulged in their own business, and not the Lord's. They saw the mote in the eyes of their brethren, but were unwilling to acknowledge the beam in their own. It left them wide open for criticism and disputations among themselves. The need for secrecy to avoid the persecution of their neighbors now having passed, the code names mentioned in verse 11 of this revelation have been dropped except for those whose identity could not be established.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.
Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.
For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.
Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.
Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;
And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.
And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.
And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;
Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.
I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.
Therefore, verily I say unto you, that it is expedient for my servants Alam and Newel K. Whitney, Mahalaleel and Sidney Rigdon, and my servant Joseph Smith, and Horah and Oliver Cowdery, and Shalemanasseh and Martin Harris to be bound together by a bond and covenant that cannot be broken by transgression, except judgment shall immediately follow, in your several stewardships
To manage the affairs of the poor, and all things pertaining to the bishopric both in the land of Zion and in the land of Kirtland.
For I have consecrated the land of Kirtland in mine own due time for the benefit of the saints of the Most High, and for a stake to Zion.
For Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments.
Therefore, I give unto you this commandment, that ye bind yourselves by this covenant, and it shall be done according to the laws of the Lord.
Behold, here is wisdom also in me for your good.
And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just --
And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord's storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church --
Every man seeking the interest of his neighbor, and doing all things with an eye single to the glory of God.
This order I have appointed to be an everlasting order unto you, and unto your successors, inasmuch as you sin not.
And the soul that sins against this covenant, and hardeneth his heart against it, shall be dealt with according to the laws of my church, and shall be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.
And now, verily I say unto you, and this is wisdom, make unto yourselves friends with the mammon of unrighteousness, and they will not destroy you. [To understand this "instruction" of the Lord, read the entire chapter of JST Luke 16. It is not what it might appear to be with only a casual reading.]
Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I will repay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you.
For even yet the kingdom is yours, and shall be forever, if you fall not from your steadfastness. Even so. Amen.

D&C 84:1-5; 31-32; 49-59; 74-76; 94-105

It is difficult to imagine a more doctrinally comprehensive revelation about Zion in our canon of scripture than this one. The Lord filled the eager and prepared mind of the Prophet, and at least one historian has suggested it came as a result of his work on the JST. (See RPJS, 176).  The subject matter is far-reaching and wide-ranging, probably because its original manuscript appears to be a composite of revelations received on at least two different days. (See HC 1:286-295).

Verses 1-5 comprise the Lord's announcement to the world of the location of "Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem." The Lord specifies the precise location of the temple and the commandment is given to build the temple "in this generation." (The fact that this requirement was rescinded in 1841, [see D&C 124:49-54] has led some to believe it will never be built. If one substitutes the word "generation" for "dispensation," however, we will thus harmonize this revelation with all the rest).  In verses 6-30 we have information concerning the priesthood, its lineage, definitions of the Aaronic and Melchizedek, the preparatory gospel, and the mission of John the Baptist. Verses 31 and 32 concern the "acceptable offering" of the sons of Moses and Aaron, and most people call verses 33-41 "the oath and covenant of the priesthood.” I would add verses 42-48 in the oath and covenant of the priesthood for a more complete understanding.

Verses 49-59 speak of the wickedness of God's children in this fallen world, both in and out of the Church, and the Lord issues a stinging condemnation of the Church for neglecting The Book of Mormon. President Ezra Taft Benson cited this scripture frequently after he became President of the Church. When many predicted his speeches would be filled with the political rhetoric of his past, instead his message as the Prophet was simple -- "Read The Book of Mormon."  Since many of those present on the occasion of this revelation had just returned from their missions to the western states, verses 60-95 give specific instruction concerning missionary work and how it is to be conducted in this dispensation. (Compare verses 65-73 with Mark 16:17-18; verses 81 85 with Matthew 6 and 3 Nephi 13. Careful reading and comparison will reveal that these instructions are not reserved exclusively for apostles, as some have erroneously concluded).  A careful reading of these verses will reveal how far we seem to have strayed from these simple doctrines.

Verses 96-102 are pre-millennial and millennial in content, verses 103-110 again relate to missionary work, and verses 111-113 further define the duty of bishops "to administer to [the wants of the poor] by humbling the rich and the proud."

The revelation concludes with a commandment for Newel K. Whitney, "the bishop," to warn the people of New York, Albany, and Boston "with the sound of the gospel."  (Years later in 1863, Wilford Woodruff prophesied that New York City would be destroyed by an earthquake, Boston by a tidal wave, and Albany by fire, because the inhabitants thereof had rejected the gospel. [Source: Deseret News {Nov. 12, 1884}: 679.]  For a curious "coincidence," compare 3 Nephi 8:8-10 in which three cities were destroyed in similar manner at the coming of the Savior among the Nephites).  Pursuant to the Lord's request, Joseph Smith and Newel Whitney made a swift visit to each of the cities specified, and Joseph "prophesied unto that city." (See RPJS, 177, 316-317 for the historical record).

It is hard to pass quickly over the verses in this revelation that are so rich doctrinally, so reading the entire revelation in context is encouraged to fully comprehend the linkage between the subject matter of the priesthood, the Second Coming of the Lord and the establishment of Zion. They are all one and the same, for the inhabitants of the city of Zion will be those possessed of the fullness of the priesthood, not merely those called to the work.

A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high.
Yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people, as he has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon Mount Zion, which shall be the city of New Jerusalem.
Which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the State of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, Jun., and others with whom the Lord was well pleased.
Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation.
For verily this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord, and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be even the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house.

(Click on the picture to enlarge it).  Present-day panoramic view of Temple Lot from the U.N. Plaza to the west. Significant buildings (left to right): Stone Church (a historic congregational building of the Community of Christ), Church of Christ Temple Lot, Community of Christ Temple, Mormon Independence Visitor Center (slightly visible to the left down the hill from the auditorium), Community of Christ Auditorium.

Therefore, as I said concerning the sons of Moses for the sons of Moses and also the sons of Aaron shall offer an acceptable offering and sacrifice in the house of the Lord [concerning this "acceptable offering and sacrifice," see TPJS, 171-173, and D&C 128:24; see also TPJS, 58-59], which house shall be built unto the Lord in this generation, upon the consecrated spot [see D&C 57:3] as I have appointed --
And the sons of Moses and of Aaron shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, upon Mount Zion in the Lord's house, whose sons are ye; and also many whom I have called and sent forth to build up my church.

And the whole world lieth in sin, and groaneth under darkness and under the bondage of sin, because they come not unto me.
For whoso cometh not unto me is under the bondage of sin.
And whoso receiveth not my voice is not acquainted with my voice, and is not of me. [In an earlier verse in this revelation the Lord defines precisely what "my voice" really is (see verse 45). If it were expressed as a string of synonyms it might look like this:  My Voice = The Word of the Lord = Truth = Light = Spirit = The Spirit of Jesus Christ.]
And by this you may know the righteous from the wicked, and that the whole world groaneth under sin and darkness even now.
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbelief, and because you have treated lightly the things you have received
Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation.
And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zion, even all.
And they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent and remember the new covenant, even The Book of Mormon and the former commandments which I have given them, not only to say, but to do according to that which I have written --
That they may bring forth fruit meet for their Father's kingdom; otherwise there remaineth a scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.
For shall the children of the kingdom pollute my holy land? Verily, I say unto you, Nay.

Verily, verily I say unto you, they who believe not on your words, and are not baptized in water in my name, for the remission of their sins, that they may receive the Holy Ghost, shall be damned, and shall not come into my Father's kingdom where my Father and I am.
And this revelation unto you, and commandment, is in force from this very hour upon all the world, and the gospel is unto all who have not received it.
But, verily I say unto all those to whom the kingdom has been given from you it must be preached unto them, that they shall repent of their former evil works; for they are to be upbraided for their evil hearts of unbelief, and your brethren in Zion for their rebellion against you at the time I sent you. [See D&C 82. Despite the continued admonitions of the Lord through revelation to the leaders of the Church in Jackson County, they were still harboring a rebellious spirit against Joseph. Pursuant to this instruction a letter was prepared and sent to Church leaders in Missouri, and the closing lines read: "Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer." (See HC 1:317-321)].

Nevertheless, search diligently and spare not; and wo unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony concerning me.
Wo, I say again, unto that house, or that village or city that rejecteth you, or your words, or your testimony of me;
For I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness --
Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing this new song, saying:
The Lord hath brought again Zion;
The Lord hath redeemed his people, Israel,
According to the election of grace,
Which was brought to pass by the faith
And covenant of their fathers.
The Lord hath redeemed his people;
And Satan is bound and time is no longer.
The Lord hath gathered all things in one.
The Lord hath brought down Zion from above.
The Lord hath brought up Zion from beneath.
The earth hath travailed and brought forth her strength;
And truth is established in her bowels;
And the heavens have smiled upon her;
And she is clothed with the glory of her God;
For he stands in the midst of his people.
Glory, and honor, and power, and might,
Be ascribed to our God; for he is full of mercy,
Justice, grace and truth, and peace,
Forever and ever, Amen.
And again, verily, verily, I say unto you, it is expedient that every man who goes forth to proclaim mine everlasting gospel, that inasmuch as they have families, and receive money by gift, that they should send it unto them or make use of it for their benefit, as the Lord shall direct them, for thus it seemeth me good.
And let all those who have not families, who receive money, send it up unto the bishop in Zion, or unto the bishop in Ohio, that it may be consecrated for the bringing forth of the revelations and the printing thereof, and for establishing Zion.
And if any man shall give unto any of you a coat, or a suit, take the old and cast it unto the poor, and go on your way rejoicing.

D&C 85:1-2

This revelation is an extract of a letter (the complete text can be found in Times and Seasons, Vol. 5 [October 15, 1844]: 673) written by Joseph Smith to W. W. Phelps, who was living in Independence, Missouri. Brother Phelps had written to Joseph concerning those who had moved to Zion, but had not yet received their "inheritance." This letter was the answer to his inquiry.

The letter makes reference to "one mighty and strong, holding the scepter of power in his hand, clothed with light for a covering, whose mouth shall utter words, eternal words; while his bowels shall be a fountain of truth, to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritances of the saints whose names are found, and the names of their fathers, and of their children, enrolled in the book of the law of God." (See verse 7).

Based upon the description and the events contemplated, there has been much speculation about the identity of this personage. The Church offered an official statement about it a hundred years ago, hoping to quell interest in several pretenders to the office by saying this person would be a future Bishop of the Church, "if there are those who will still insist that the prophecy concerning the coming of 'one mighty and strong' is still to be regarded as relating to the future." (See article published in the Deseret News, November 13, 1905, under the signatures of Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund, First Presidency, and reproduced in several sources in which this subject is thoroughly and comprehensively addressed).  Without adding fuel to an already large fire, let us simply reflect that the description cited above seems more likely to be someone one from the other side of the veil.

Several other points of interest arise from this letter, including the contents of verse 8. It seems Edward Partridge's continued opposition to the Prophet gave rise to the warning in this verse. Ezra Booth ultimately used the differences between Joseph and Edward Partridge as the excuse for his apostasy. Despite the fact that he gave Joseph his right hand in fellowship when the Prophet had made his earlier trip to Jackson County, and all seemed to be healed, Edward Partridge continued to bring up their differences over and over again. In their article, the First Presidency notes:

. . .and inasmuch as through his repentance and sacrifices and suffering, Bishop Edward Partridge undoubtedly obtained a mitigation of the threatened judgment against him of falling "by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning," so the occasion for sending another to fill his station "one mighty and strong to set in order the house of God, and to arrange by lot the inheritance of the Saints" may also be considered as having passed away and the whole incident of the prophecy closed.

And yet one wonders is this still a future unfulfilled event of prophecy?

The "book of the law of God," is likewise an interesting expression, since numerous documents affirm that the "Book of the Law of the Lord" served as a multipurpose Church record book. Entries include revelations, correspondence, minutes of important meetings, the laying of the cornerstones of the Nauvoo Temple and Nauvoo House, biographical sketches of faithful saints, and names of individual donors of tithing and consecrations for the Nauvoo Temple. (See RPJS, 317).

After that rather lengthy introduction, we now cite the first two verses describing the contents of the record:

It is the duty of the Lord's clerk, whom he has appointed, to keep a history, and a general church record of all things that transpire in Zion, and of all those who consecrate properties, and receive inheritances legally from the bishop;
And also their manner of life, their faith, and works; and also of the apostates who apostatize after receiving their inheritances.

D&C 89:1-3

These are Joseph Smith's words of introduction to the Word of Wisdom, received by revelation February 27, 1833. (See HC 1:327-329).

A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion.
To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days --
Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.

D&C 90:6-11; 28-37

A vacancy in the First Presidency, occasioned by the excommunication of Jesse Gause who had served with Sidney Rigdon as a counselor to Joseph, prompted this revelation. Frederick G. Williams is called as the new counselor in this revelation, and instruction on their conduct as a quorum is given in these verses.

The balance of the verses deals with the commandment to Vienna Jaques to consecrate her property, and to go to the land of Zion to receive her inheritance from the bishop. The word of the Lord to Vienna Jaques could well be considered a type and shadow for each of us. In the last verse the Lord again emphasizes that Zion will not be moved out of her place.

And again, verily I say unto thy brethren, Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams, their sins are forgiven them also, and they are accounted as equal with thee in holding the keys of this last kingdom;
As also through your administration the keys of the school of the prophets, which I have commanded to be organized;
That thereby they may be perfected in their ministry for the salvation of Zion, and of the nations of Israel, and of the Gentiles, as many as will believe;
That through your administration they may receive the word, and through their administration the word may go forth unto the ends of the earth, unto the Gentiles first, and then, behold, and lo, they shall turn unto the Jews.
And then cometh the day when the arm of the Lord shall be revealed in power in convincing the nations, the heathen nations, the house of Joseph, of the gospel of their salvation.
For it shall come to pass in that day, that every man shall hear the fulness of the gospel in his own tongue, and in his own language, through those who are ordained unto this power, by the administration of the Comforter, shed forth upon them for the revelation of Jesus Christ.

And again, verily I say unto you, it is my will that my handmaid Vienna Jaques should receive money to bear her expenses, and go up unto the land of Zion;
And the residue of the money may be consecrated unto me, and she be rewarded in mine own due time.
Verily I say unto you, that it is meet in mine eyes that she should go up unto the land of Zion, and receive an inheritance from the hand of the bishop;
That she may settle down in peace inasmuch as she is faithful, and not be idle in her days from thenceforth.
And behold, verily I say unto you, that ye shall write this commandment, and say unto your brethren in Zion, in love greeting, that I have called you also to preside over Zion in mine own due time.
Therefore, let them cease wearying me concerning this matter.
Behold, I say unto you that your brethren in Zion begin to repent, and the angels rejoice over them.
Nevertheless, I am not well pleased with many things; and I am not well pleased with my servant William E. McLellin, neither with my servant Sidney Gilbert; and the bishop also, and others have many things to repent of.
But verily I say unto you, that I, the Lord, will contend with Zion, and plead with her strong ones, and chasten her until she overcomes and is clean before me.
For she shall not be removed out of her place. I, the Lord, have spoken it. Amen.

D&C 93:51-53

The last three verses of this revelation are cited here, for they are instructions to the First Presidency, and the last verse contains the word Zion. The revelation was given in the course of Joseph's work on the JST. Once again the doctrinal content is rich, spelling out the process of obtaining "the fulness of the Father."

The counsel given by the Lord to the First Presidency is pertinent to each who would have an inheritance in Zion: 1) Proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (see Luke 4:19; 2 Corinthians 6:2); 2) proclaim the gospel of salvation as directed by the Spirit; 3) pray the prayer of faith; 4) keep the "sayings" of the Lord.

The Lord admonishes Joseph to "hasten to translate my scriptures," so he may obtain "a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man." In like manner must each of us "translate" the words on the printed page of scripture into a similar understanding, that we may find "the salvation of Zion."

Now, I say unto you, my friends, let my servant Sidney Rigdon go on his journey, and make haste, and also proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the gospel of salvation, as I shall give him utterance; and by your prayer of faith with one consent I will uphold him.
And let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Frederick G. Williams make haste also, and it shall be given them even according to the prayer of faith; and inasmuch as you keep my sayings you shall not be confounded in this world, nor in the world to come.
And, verily I say unto you, that it is my will that you should hasten to translate my scriptures, and to obtain a knowledge of history, and of countries, and of kingdoms, of laws of God and man, and all this for the salvation of Zion. Amen.

D&C 94:1-3; 10

This revelation was received August 2, 1833, based upon the manuscript copies we have of the original, and gives instruction for the building of two houses -- one for the work of the presidency, and the other for the work of printing the JST -- both of which were adjacent to the temple lot in Kirtland. Two months later construction began on the first building, the finished product being somewhat smaller than specified in this revelation, and it was completed in November 1834. It served both purposes until it was attached by judgment to satisfy a debt in 1837, then it was burned to the ground in January 1838. The second building was never built.

It should be noted that Kirtland is always referred to in the revelations as "a stake of Zion," and never Zion itself. The word Zion is always reserved for "the centerstake of Zion" meaning Independence, Jackson County, Missouri.

And again, verily I say unto you, my friends, a commandment I give unto you, that ye shall commence a work of laying out and preparing a beginning and foundation of the city of the stake of Zion, here in the land of Kirtland, beginning at my house.
And behold, it must be done according to the pattern which I have given unto you. [See Hebrews 8:5; D&C 52:14; 95:14; 97:10; 115:14-16].
And let the first lot on the south be consecrated unto me for the building of a house for the presidency, for the work of the presidency, in obtaining revelations; and for the work of the ministry of the presidency, in all things pertaining to the church and kingdom.

And again, verily I say unto you, the second lot on the south shall be dedicated unto me for the building of a house unto me, for the work of the printing of the translation of my scriptures, and all things whatsoever I shall command you.

D&C 96:1-5

On March 23, 1834, a council of elders and high priests met in Kirtland to discuss the purchase of land in and around Kirtland. Of particular interest was the Peter French farm, and the brethren sought direction from the Lord on how to proceed. It is clear the Lord intended the saints to stay in Kirtland awhile, for the encouragement is given to make the Kirtland Stake strong. The urgency of getting the JST printed is obvious in these verses, and for this reason the brethren were admonished to sink their roots long enough to accomplish that purpose.

Behold, I say unto you, here is wisdom, whereby ye may know how to act concerning this matter, for it is expedient in me that this stake that I have set for the strength of Zion should be made strong.
Therefore, let my servant Newel K. Whitney take charge of the place which is named among you, upon which I design to build mine holy house.
And again, let it be divided into lots, according to wisdom, for the benefit of those who seek inheritances, as it shall be determined in council among you.
Therefore, take heed that ye see to this matter, and that portion that is necessary to benefit mine order, for the purpose of bringing forth my word to the children of men.
For behold, verily I say unto you, this is the most expedient in me, that my word should go forth unto the children of men, for the purpose of subduing the hearts of the children of men for your good. Even so. Amen.

D&C 97

If ever there were a revelation devoted exclusively to broadening Joseph's understanding of Zion, this is it. There is a rich irony in the events of July 23, 1833. The saints residing in Jackson County were compelled to sign an agreement with their enemies mandating their expulsion from the land of Zion, and on that same day in Kirtland the cornerstones of the temple were laid "after the order of the Holy Priesthood." (See HC 1:390-402).

Oliver Cowdery personally delivered a letter to the Prophet from the leaders of the Church in Jackson County, written after they had been forced to sign the compulsory pact with their enemies. In consequence of the persecutions the saints were suffering in Jackson County, following the Prophet's inquiry, the following revelation was given August 2, 1833.

Commenting years later about this revelation and the subsequent events, Parley P. Pratt makes this observation:

The leaders of the Church in Missouri did not comply with this revelation as a whole (notwithstanding many were humble and faithful); therefore, the threatened judgment was poured out to the uttermost, as the history of the five following years will show. (Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, [Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1975], eleventh printing, 102).

Verily I say unto you my friends, I speak unto you with my voice, even the voice of my Spirit, that I may show unto you my will concerning your brethren in the land of Zion, many of whom are truly humble and are seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth.
Verily, verily I say unto you, blessed are such, for they shall obtain; for I, the Lord, show mercy unto all the meek, and upon all whomsoever I will, that I may be justified when I shall bring them unto judgment.
Behold, I say unto you, concerning the school in Zion, I, the Lord, am well pleased that there should be a school in Zion, and also with my servant Parley P. Pratt, for he abideth in me.
And inasmuch as he continueth to abide in me he shall continue to preside over the school in the land of Zion until I shall give unto him other commandments.
And I will bless him with a multiplicity of blessings, in expounding all scriptures and mysteries to the edification of the school, and of the church of Zion.
And to the residue of the school, I, the Lord, am willing to show mercy; nevertheless, there are those that must needs be chastened, and their works shall be made known.
The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it.
Verily I say unto you, all among them who know their hearts are honest, and are broken, and their spirits contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice yea, every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command they are accepted of me.
For I, the Lord, will cause them to bring forth as a very fruitful tree which is planted in a goodly land, by a pure stream, that yieldeth much precious fruit.
Verily I say unto you, that it is my will that a house should be built unto me in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you.
Yea, let it be built speedily, by the tithing of my people.
Behold, this is the tithing and the sacrifice which I, the Lord, require at their hands, that there may be a house built unto me for the salvation of Zion --
For a place of thanksgiving for all saints, and for a place of instruction for all those who are called to the work of the ministry in all their several callings and offices;
That they may be perfected in the understanding of their ministry, in theory, in principle, and in doctrine, in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God on the earth, the keys of which kingdom have been conferred upon you.
And inasmuch as my people build a house unto me in the name of the Lord, and do not suffer any unclean thing to come into it, that it be not defiled, my glory shall rest upon it;
Yea, and my presence shall be there, for I will come into it, and all the pure in heart that shall come into it shall see God.
But if it be defiled I will not come into it, and my glory shall not be there; for I will not come into unholy temples.
And, now, behold, if Zion do these things she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.
And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say: Surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;
And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.
Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion -- THE PURE IN HEART; therefore, let Zion rejoice, while all the wicked shall mourn.
For behold, and lo, vengeance cometh speedily upon the ungodly as the whirlwind; and who shall escape it?
The Lord's scourge shall pass over by night and by day, and the report thereof shall vex all people; yea, it shall not be stayed until the Lord come;
For the indignation of the Lord is kindled against their abominations and all their wicked works.
Nevertheless, Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her.
But if she observe not to do whatsoever I have commanded her, I will visit her according to all her works, with sore affliction, with pestilence, with plague, with sword, with vengeance, with devouring fire.
Nevertheless, let it be read this once to her ears, that I, the Lord, have accepted of her offering; and if she sin no more none of these things shall come upon her;
And I will bless her with blessings, and multiply a multiplicity of blessings upon her, and upon her generations forever and ever, saith the Lord your God. Amen.

There is little question that establishing Kirtland as a viable stake of Zion was going to take longer than anticipated, but this brief history holds out the hope in 1979 that it would someday become what was originally envisioned.

D&C 99

This revelation was given through the Prophet to John Murdock, the natural father of the twins (Joseph and Julia) who were adopted by Joseph and Emma following the death of Emma's infant during childbirth. Julia Murdock, John's wife, died giving birth to their twins, so the adoption seemed a logical arrangement and assuaged Emma's grief over the loss of her own child.

John Murdock's life parallels the important events of the Church from the date of his conversion with Sidney Rigdon in 1830, to his death in Lehi, Utah, in 1871. His was a long legacy of faithful devotion and service to the Church, and as promised in this revelation he received his inheritance in Zion in 1836, prior to the expulsion of the saints in 1839.

He served nine missions for the Church during his lifetime, served as bishop twice in Nauvoo and Salt Lake was ordained a patriarch by Heber C. Kimball, and was much loved by the leaders of the Church throughout his life. John Murdock's journal in the Church archives under the date of this revelation (August 29, 1832) gives some indication of the faith of this man who had just buried his wife, and demonstrates his desire to do what the Lord had commanded. With the dirt still settling over his wife's grave in Kirtland, John Murdock made arrangements to send his three surviving children to Jackson County to be cared for by the bishop there, and he set out on his mission to the eastern states. This is his journal account, followed by the revelation:

I then continued with the church preaching to them and strengthening them and regaining my health till the month of Aug. when I received the Revelation, at which time I immediately commenced to arrange my business and provide for my children and sent them up to the Bishop in Zion, which I did by the hand of Bro. Caleb Baldwin in Sept. I gave him 10 Dollars a head for carrying up my three eldest children.

Behold, thus saith the Lord unto my servant John Murdock thou art called to go into the eastern countries from house to house, from village to village, and from city to city, to proclaim mine everlasting gospel unto the inhabitants thereof, in the midst of persecution and wickedness.
And who receiveth you receiveth me; and you shall have power to declare my word in the demonstration of my Holy Spirit.
And who receiveth you as a little child, receiveth my kingdom; and blessed are they, for they shall obtain mercy.
And whoso rejecteth you shall be rejected of my Father and his house; and you shall cleanse your feet in the secret places by the way for a testimony against them.
And behold, and lo, I come quickly to judgment, to convince all of their ungodly deeds which they have committed against me, as it is written of me in the volume of the book.
And now, verily I say unto you, that it is not expedient that you should go until your children are provided for, and sent up kindly unto the bishop of Zion.
And after a few years, if thou desirest of me, thou mayest go up also unto the goodly land, to possess thine inheritance;
Otherwise thou shalt continue proclaiming my gospel until thou be taken. Amen.