A list of similarities between 2 Nephi 26 and D&C 42
2 Ne 26:1: “And after Christ shall have risen from the dead he shall show himself unto you, my children, and my beloved brethren; and the words which he shall speak unto you shall be the law which ye shall do.”
D&C 42:2: “Again I say unto you, hearken and hear and obey the law which I shall give unto you.”
2 Ne 26:19-20 talks about a time when people live to “get gain and grind upon the face of the poor.” When people “put down the power and miracles of God” – obviously Nephi is talking about the type of situation going on in 1830’s, since he is talking about the Book of Mormon coming in the “last days” to the Gentiles. So, we can clearly link the rest of this chapter to the context of D&C 42.
A perfect definition of charity: (2 Ne 26:24) “He doeth not anything save it be for the benefit of the world; for he loveth the world, even that he layeth down his own life that he may draw all men unto him. Wherefore, he commandeth none that they shall not partake of his salvation.”
After commanding that none shall be turned away, Nephi begins this sequence:
29 He commandeth that there shall be no priestcrafts; for, behold, priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion.
30 Behold, the Lord hath forbidden this thing; wherefore, the Lord God hath given a commandment that all men should have charity, which charity is love. And except they should have charity they were nothing. Wherefore, if they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.
31 But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion; for if they labor for money they shall perish.
So, priestcraft is bad in that the seek gain (see v.20). But, they seek not the welfare of Zion. Their preaching is not to actually teach and convert people, but to build themselves up for “gain and the praise of the world.” They have not charity.
Here is the interesting verse to me: If they should have charity they would not suffer the laborer in Zion to perish.” Is this temporally or spiritually?
And the verse 31: “But the laborer in Zion shall labor for Zion.” So a caution to the laborer as well, a caution to the poor, or to any worker, that they too must labor for Zion. A preacher must seek the welfare of Zion, and the laborer must seek the welfare of Zion. Both receive the same commandment.
And if they seek money “they shall perish.” This sounds like verse 30, where if the preacher has charity they would not allow “the laborer in Zion to perish.” Ok, so if we seek the welfare of Zion we don’t let the laborer perish (spiritually? probably at least temporally, since we were just talking about the poor all through verses 19-28). But, if we as a laborer – putting ourselves in that position – labor for money and not for Zion, we “shall perish.”
So, the preacher must give money support the poor but if the poor labor just for that same money they will perish (be poor? 🙂 )
It seems then that the preacher must have the welfare of Zion formost in mind, and not let anyone perish physically or spiritually. That obviously is the point of preaching – to save souls (ie not perish spiritually) – but this seems to link the two together. If we love them enough to preach to them to save their soul, but cannot love them enough to give the hungry some food, then did we really ever care about them? Can we separate the two? Can we preach to someone with charity and love and then turn our faces from them as soon as we leave the church? It seems so obvious that we can’t and yet… and yet…
Back to D&C 42:
30 And behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken.
31 And inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me;
Generally easy to see the connections here. But on to the next part:
Also included in the “law” in D&C 42 are lists of commandments feeling similar to the “Ten Commandments.”
18 And now, behold, I speak unto the church. Thou shalt not kill; and he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.
19 And again, I say, thou shalt not kill; but he that killeth shall die.
20 Thou shalt not steal; and he that stealeth and will not repent shall be cast out.
21 Thou shalt not lie; he that lieth and will not repent shall be cast out.
22 Thou shalt love thy wife with all thy heart, and shalt cleave unto her and none else.
23 And he that looketh upon a woman to lust after her shall deny the faith, and shall not have the Spirit; and if he repents not he shall be cast out.
24 Thou shalt not commit adultery; and he that committeth adultery, and repenteth not, shall be cast out.
25 But he that has committed adultery and repents with all his heart, and forsaketh it, and doeth it no more, thou shalt forgive;
26 But if he doeth it again, he shall not be forgiven, but shall be cast out.
27 Thou shalt not speak evil of thy neighbor, nor do him any harm.
28 Thou knowest my laws concerning these things are given in my scriptures; he that sinneth and repenteth not shall be cast out.
29 If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments.
And in 2 Nephi 26:
32 And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
This is not even to get into the chapters in 3 Nephi where Christ actually comes to the Nephites and teaches them! But striking similarities even here. And remember that after Christ’s visit in 3 Nephi, there was a time where ” they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift” (4 Nephi 1:3). And they kept the commandments, so that “there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness” (v.16).
And in such a Zion, they could say “surely there could not be a happier people among all the people who had been created by the hand of God.”
Quite interesting, to see the similarities between 2 Nephi 26 and D&C 42. There are probably more than I’m seeing right now, too. A good start to an interesting study!