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LDS Doctrine and Covenants Notes 14: D&C 63-68

LDS Doctrine and Covenants Notes 14: D&C 63-68

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Published by: Mike Parker on May 04, 2010
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© 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
Doctrine and CovenantsWeek 14: D&C 63
The seven revelations in this lesson were received in or near Kirtland, Ohio, betweenlate August and early November 1831.
D&C 63.a)
Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon returned to Kirtland from their mission to Missouri on27 August 1831. They had been gone for 2½ months.i)
 When they shared the news about the revelation identifying Zion and the dedicationof the temple site, there was a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement among theKirtland Saints.ii)
The increased interest in Zion caused Joseph to go to the Lord only three days afterhis return to Kirtland and receive this revelation on the subject of how Zion was to beestablished. b)
The land of Zion shall not be obtained but [i.e.,
] by purchase or by blood
Here the Lord reminded the Saints that, even though all things belong to him, herecognizes the stewardship of civil government (referred to symbolically as
―Caesar‖), and commanded
his people to purchase their lands in Zion.(1)
Purchasing the lands would theoretically have put government and the law on theside of the Saints.ii)
The only alternative to purchasing the lands would have been to take them by force
(―by blood‖)
, but this would have brought the wrath of the Missourians down onthem.
By this time the Lord had now instructed the Saints in six separate revelations topurchase the lands in Zion (42:35; 45:65; 48:4, 6; 57:4; 58:37, 49, 52; 63:25
Let all men beware how they take my name in their lips.
The prohibition against taking the Lord‘s name in vain is one of the earliest and most
long-standing commandments.
There are at least three ways that we can take the Lord‘s name in vain:
The word
means ―empty,‖ ―useless,‖ or ―pointless.‖
One meaning of taking
Christ‘s name in vain is to use it in a manner that is empty and without effect, as
do those who claim to speak or act in his name when they 
―have not authority‖
This consequences of not heeding this warning were seen during the Mormon War of 1838: The Saints took revenge on
their enemies and were driven from Missouri. (We‘ll cover this in lesson 25.)
See Exodus 20:7; Deuteronomy 5:11; 2 Nephi 26:32; Mosiah 13:15; D&C 136:21.
From the Latin
―idle, empty.‖
Online Etymology Dictionary
, s.v. ―vain‖
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Doctrine and Covenants Sections 63
68 Week 14, Page 2© 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
This is not merely a question of 
even priesthoodholders may invoke the name of Jesus Christ while presenting their own words or desires. Whenever we speak or act in the sacred name, we had better be sure he really approves of what we are doing, lest we invoke his name in vain.(b)
President Gordon B. Hinckley:
God has bestowed upon us a gift most precious and wonderful. It carrieswith it the authority to govern the Church, to administer in its affairs, tospeak with authority in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to act as Hisdedicated servants, to bless the sick, to bless our families and many others.It serves as a guide by which to live our lives. In its fulness, its authorityreaches beyond the veil of death into the eternities that lie ahead.There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world. Safeguard it,cherish it, love it, live worthy of it.
 Another way of taking Christ‘s name in vain is to speak it without
purpose or merely for rhetorical effect. This is the sin of the casual blasphemer, who
uses the Lord‘s name in profane ways.
Perhaps the worst form of using Christ‘s name in vain is to invoke it when making
promises, oaths, or covenants, and then to break them. If we take upon ourselvesthe name of Jesus Christ at baptism and then fail to remember him and keep hiscommandments, we are taking his name in vain. If we make temple covenantsand then fail to live up to them or treat them frivolously, we are taking his namein vain.(a)
This is the meaning of the prohibition in the Third Commandment
thoushalt not take the name of the L
thy God in vain
Exodus 20:7), and also why the Lord warned his followers in the Sermon on the Mount not to use hisname when making casual, everyday promises (Matthew 5:33
37; cf. 3 Nephi12:33
D&C 64.a)
In September 1831 Joseph was busily engaged with raising money and selling property in Kirtland in order to buy land in Missouri. b)
The Kirtland Saints‘ initial excitement over the news of the identification of Zion quickly 
gave way to murmuring and even outright apostasy.
of establishing Zion wasmuch more appealing than the actual sacrifices that were required to do it.
Gordon B. Hinckley, ―Personal Worthiness to Exercise the Priesthood,‖ General Conference, April 2002.
One of the most prominent apostates was Ezra Booth, a former Methodist minister who joined the Church in early 1831
after witnessing a miraculous healing performed by Joseph Smith. The gap between Booth‘s expectations and reality quickly 
 became a problem, as the spiritual gifts he desired did not come in the manner he hoped and the site of the New Jerusalem in
Missouri was not ―a land flowing with milk and honey‖ as he envisioned (D&C 38:18). He also didn‘t like the commandments
to walk to Missouri for the dedication of the temple site (D&C 52:23) and then walk back to Ohio (D&C 60:8), preaching alongthe way. He became increasingly critical of Joseph Smith and other Mormon leaders, and on 6 September 1831 the Churchconference silenced Booth from preaching. A revelation to Joseph five days later indicated that the Lord was angry with Booth(D&C 64:15
16). On 12 September Booth renounced Mormonism and, over the next few months, published a series of letterscritical of Joseph and the Church in the local newspaper, the Ohio
. Thes
e letters were reprinted in 1834 in Eber Howe‘s
 Mormonism Unvailed 
, the first anti-
Mormon book. Elder George A. Smith recalled in 1858, ―It was generally believed by our
enemies, at the time, that the apostacy and revelations of Ezra Booth would put an utt
er end to ‗Mormonism.‘‖
 Journal of  Discourses
Hurricane Utah Adult Religion Class Doctrine and Covenants Sections 63
68 Week 14, Page 3© 2013, Mike Parker http://bit.ly/ldsarc For personal use only. Not a Church publication.
There were accusations against Joseph Smith that he was attempting to defraud themembers of the Church in Kirtland by taking their lands.
In response, the Lordrevealed through Joseph two important principles:d)
I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is requiredto forgive all men.
In this revelation, the Lord declared at least four principles related to forgiveness:(1)
The Lord is merciful and forgives freely ―those who confess theirs before me andask forgiveness‖ (64:3–
4, 7).(2)
He will afflict and chasten us if we look for opportunities to accuse or antagonizeone another or if we do not forgive others (64:8).
 We are required to forgive ―all men,‖ and, if we don‘t, we are guilty of a sin
greater than the one committed against us (64:9
 We should not judge (condemn) others, but leave all reward or condemnation toGod (64:11).ii)
 Are we required to forgive even those who have not asked for forgiveness?(1)
Joseph Smith:
Ever keep in exercise the principle of mercy, and be ready to forgive ourbrother on the first intimations of repentance, and asking forgiveness; andshould we even forgive our brother, or even our enemy, before he repent orask forgiveness, our heavenly Father would be equally as merciful unto us.
Speaking specifically to victims of mental, physical, or sexual abuse, ElderRichard G. Scott said:
You cannot erase what has been done, but you can forgive. Forgiveness healsterrible, tragic wounds, for it allows the love of God to purge your heart and mindof the poison of hate. It cleanses your consciousness of the desire for revenge. Itmakes place for the purifying, healing, restoring love of the Lord.
The Master counseled, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute
 Bitterness and hatred are harmful. They produce much that is destructive. They
postpone the relief and healing you yearn for…. Let God be the judge—
you cannotdo it as well as he can.
 Another apostate was Symonds Ryder. Ryder‘s apostasy is often m
isattributed to Joseph Smith purportedly misspellinghis name in a revelation (D&C 52:37), but the truth is more complex: It appears that Ryder viewed the commandment to sell
properties in Kirtland to buy lands in Missouri as ―a plot…laid to take [the Saints‘] property from them and place it under thecontrol of Joseph Smith.‖ Symonds Ryder, 1 February 1868, letter to A.S. Hayden; published in Hayden,
 Early History of The Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio
(Cincinnati, Ohio: Chase & Hall, 1875), 220
). While Ryder‘s concerns were not a light or casual thing, asmany believe, they still speak to his lack of faith in Joseph Smith‘s revelations.
―My disciples, in days of old, sought occasion against one another‖ (64:8). Three times, and maybe more, the New 
Testament apostles argued about which of them would be the greatest: Luke 9:46
48; Matthew 20:20
28; Luke 22:24. (Thelast reference is to an argument they had at the Last Supper!)
Joseph Smith, address to the Twelve Apostles, 2 July 1839.
 History of the Church
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
Words of Joseph Smith
Richard G. Scott, ―Healing the Tragic Scars of Abuse,‖
General Conference, April 1992(

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