2021 Study Summary 44: A House Unto My Name
Doctrine and Covenants 124
“A House Unto My Name”
Doctrine and Covenants 124. Revelation given to Joseph Smith the Prophet, at Nauvoo, Illinois, January 19, 1841. Because of increasing persecutions and illegal procedures against them by public officers, the Saints had been compelled to leave Missouri. The exterminating order issued by Lilburn W. Boggs, governor of Missouri, dated October 27, 1838, had left them no alternative. In 1841, when this revelation was given, the city of Nauvoo, occupying the site of the former village of Commerce, Illinois, had been built up by the Saints, and here the headquarters of the Church had been established. 1–14, Joseph Smith is commanded to make a solemn proclamation of the gospel to the president of the United States, the governors, and the rulers of all nations; 15–21, Hyrum Smith, David W. Patten, Joseph Smith Sr., and others among the living and the dead are blessed for their integrity and virtues; 22–28, The Saints are commanded to build both a house for the entertainment of strangers and a temple in Nauvoo; 29–36, Baptisms for the dead are to be performed in temples; 37–44, The Lord’s people always build temples for the performance of holy ordinances; 45–55, The Saints are excused from building the temple in Jackson County because of the oppression of their enemies; 56–83, Directions are given for the building of the Nauvoo House; 84–96, Hyrum Smith is called to be a patriarch, to receive the keys, and to stand in the place of Oliver Cowdery; 97–122, William Law and others are counseled in their labors; 123–45, General and local officers are named, along with their duties and quorum affiliations.
What other extermination or banishment orders occurred in the Old Testament?
(1). The Flood (Genesis 6-8) (2). The cities of the plain, including Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19) (3). The Egyptian firstborn sons during the Passover (Exodus 11-12) (4). The Canaanites under Moses and Joshua (Numbers 21:2-3); (Deuteronomy 20:17); (Joshua 6:17, 21) (5). The Amalekites annihilated by Saul (1 Samuel 15)
What are the purposes of Proclamations?
“. . . solemn and sacred in nature and were issued with the intent to bring forth, build up, and regulate the affairs of the Church as the kingdom of God on the earth,” (Robert J. Matthews, Proclamations, Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1992) Since the restoration, there have been the following proclamations: “Proclamation of the First Presidency to the Saints Scattered Abroad,” issued on January 15, 1841, in Nauvoo, Illinois—Signed by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Hyrum Smith, the proclamation details the progress of the Church despite hardships and persecutions. “Proclamation of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” issued on April 6, 1845, in New York City, New York, and on October 22, 1845, in Liverpool, England—Issued by the Twelve, since the martyrdom dissolved the First Presidency, the proclamation was printed and distributed on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. It proclaimed that God had spoken from the heavens and restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth and included a voice of warning as well as an invitation. “Proclamation of the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles,” issued on October 21, 1865, in Salt Lake City—This proclamation was sent to Church members to correct certain theories about the nature of God and established the order that new doctrine is to be announced only by the First Presidency. “Proclamation from the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” issued on April 6, 1980, from Fayette, New York—President Spencer W. Kimball announced the proclamation during the Sunday morning session of the April 1980 general conference and the 150th anniversary of the organization of the Church. He and then-Elder Gordon B. Hinckley joined conference proceedings from the restored Peter Whitmer Sr. farmhouse, with Elder Hinckley reading the proclamation, which detailed the Church’s Restoration, progress, doctrine, mission, and message. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” issued September 23, 1995, in Salt Lake City—The proclamation was read by President Gordon B. Hinckley at the general Relief Society meeting leading into October 1995 general conference, with the proclamation’s purpose to “warn and forewarn” the world and offering an official Church statement on family, marriage, gender roles, and human sexuality. A proclamation is different from an official declaration, a doctrinal exposition, or statements on policies. Some of these come from only the First Presidency, some just from the Quorum of the Twelve, and some from both the presidency and the quorum. (https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/church/news/how-rare-a-proclamation-a-look-at-todays-and-the-5-previous-proclamations-in-church-history?lang=eng)
What are Old Testament Proclamations?
There are nine occurrences of ‘Proclamations’ in the Old Testament: “And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” (Exodus 32:5) “Then king Asa made a proclamation throughout all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded; and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.” (1 Kings 15:22) ”And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.” (1 Kings 22:36) “And they made a proclamation through Judah and Jerusalem, to bring in to the LORD the collection that Moses the servant of God laid upon Israel in the wilderness.” (2 Chronicles 24:9) “So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.” (2 Chronicles 30:5) “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,” (2 Chronicles 36:22) “Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, (Ezra 1:1) “And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem unto all the children of the captivity, that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem; (Ezra 10:7) “Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.” (Dan 5:29)
What are Book of Mormon references of Proclamations?
Limhi sends a proclamation among his people to gather. (Mosiah 7:17) Proclamation to to gather flocks and drive them into wilderness by night. (Mosiah 22:6) Mosiah sends proclamation that unbelievers should not persecute believers. (Mosiah 27:2) The king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people . . . (that) they might go forth and preach the word . . . that the word of God might have no obstruction . . . And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord . . . according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them . . . (Alma 23:1-6) Proclamation calls followers of Korihor to repent. (Alma 30:57) Proclamation announces murder of Chief Judge. (Helaman 9:9) Laconeus sends Proclamation that all people should gather in one place. (3 Nephi 3:3, 13, 22)
How can I know that ordinances are eternal?
One of the reasons witness for the restoration could be given in ancient times is because the Old Covenant was the same as the New Covenant. “It was the design of the councils of heaven before the world was, that the principles and laws of the priesthood should be predicated upon the gathering of the people in every age of the world . . . Ordinances instituted in the heavens before the foundation of the world . . . for the salvation of men, are not to be altered or changed. All must be saved on the same principles.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Section Six 1843-44, Pg.308) “Actually, of course, the law of carnal commandments, the law of performances and ordinances revealed through Moses, was an old covenant as compared with the gospel restored by Jesus and his apostles. But this new testament or covenant, this restored gospel, was the same testament that had been in force between God and his people from Adam to Moses in both the old and the new worlds.” (Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie, Pg.543)
How can I recognize that even the sacrament is an eternal ordinance?
In the Meridian of Times, the Apostle Luke seems to amplify this metaphor of the Lord being “New Wine.” “No man also having drunk old wine straightway desireth new: for he saith, The old is better.” (Luke 5:39) It is generally considered that aging makes wine better; hence, old wine is better than the new. At a festivity, the oldest, best wine is used first and then the more recent wine is used. When wine ran out at a marriage feast in Cana, Jesus was asked by his mother for assistance. Perhaps He referred to one of His names (New Wine) by indicating that His time (fulfillment of New Wine) had not yet come. “And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.” (John 2:3-4) He graciously, turned water into wine (very new), and it was better than the old. It may be that the prophetic metaphor of New Wine was fulfilled when Jesus, at the Last Supper, instituted a new meaning for the old ordinance of wine and bread. Jews still have a memory of that ritual as they pour, bless, and sip wine followed by breaking, blessing, and eating a piece of bread at the beginning of every Sabbath (Kiddush). The prayers accompanying that custom anticipate a future redemption that would be greater than being redeemed from Egypt at the first Passover. The only time Jews will break, bless, and eat a piece of bread first, followed by pouring, blessing, and sipping wine last is when children at the traditional Passover meal (Seder) find the “hidden piece of bread” (afikommen). It was that piece of bread that Jesus was referring to as he blessed bread and wine giving a new meaning to an old ordinance . . . hence, the New Wine. “And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25)
How can I recognize evidence of ancient, even eternal ordinances?
Religious Jews still practice many forms of ancient rites and rituals whose meanings may have become distorted or lost over many years without priesthood guidance. Now that the priesthood has been restored, we can view the “echo” in the old practices in order to find a clue in understanding the “Old Covenant,” which was true, and how the “New Covenant” restored the ancient practices with true doctrine. For example, Jews still practice complete immersions, even immersing the dead before burial. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints call it a “baptism,” which is an immersion. Jewish ritual includes wrapping the deceased in the clothing representative of garments used in the ancient temple. In addition to head covering, the Talith (robe-like prayer shawl) is draped over the shoulder, a sash is used, even an apron is used for Levitical descendants. At the grounds of ancient “Temple Square” which the Moslems have taken over with their Dome of the Rock, is a large font-like basin, (missing the twelve oxen), that Moslems use in their “washing and anointing” procedure before their five-times daily prayers.
How do I discover that Temples were not always “buildings?”
Biblically, the “House of the Lord” was the Tabernacle, it was the innermost part of three courtyards (Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial). In the restoration, the immersions for the dead preceded a completed temple (the temple would have three meeting areas enclosed in sacred building). First, they were performed in a river, then in the endowment house, then in the completed Temple. The verses of section 124 indicate that the need for baptisms for the dead will increase so much that they will be done also in the Stakes and even cities like Jerusalem which will be dedicated for ordinances, baptisms for the dead. “And after this time, your baptisms for the dead, by those who are scattered abroad, are not acceptable unto me, saith the Lord. For it is ordained that in Zion, and in her stakes, and in Jerusalem, those places which I have appointed for refuge, shall be the places for your baptisms for your dead.” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:35-36) Many members of the Church have used temple recommends to enter a Stake Center temporarily used as a Temple for Temple dedications.
What is a Patriarch?
Once a Patriarch is called, that patriarchal order may follow, as in Biblical times, father to son. The blessings given by that local Prophet, Seer and Revelator can inspire the recipients to pattern their lives to fulfill God’s proclaimed life pattern for them. The Prophet, Seer and Revelator who has the keys for the whole Church is the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In the Patriarchal Blessings, we must remember that there is God’s time, Prophet’s time and man’s time! (Doctrine and Covenants 130:4)