Thinking D&C 42 is such a mess for me right now. Too many angles. Too much to be done. Too much historical work to do. So much to read, so much to research. Much has been done, but is it good? So much has been done that is overdetermined and trying to answer questions outside of the text. I need a really good study group night to work through some of these verses! (Where we can force each other to stay focused on one thing at a time and really make some headway!)
How do you think a “law” of a church? Do you look at every other time in scripture where a “law” has been given for a people? But what if it isn’t called that? Why in the world is this called a “law” but other commandments in revelations are not? Or are they? How much work would it take to figure that question out?
It says D&C 42 was given in fulfillment of a promise. I believe that is D&C 38. Here are the verses in D&C 38 that announce that a law will be given. Notice how much of it foreshadows D&C 42:
32 Wherefore, for this cause I gave unto you the commandment that ye should go to the Ohio; and there I will give unto you my law; and there you shall be endowed with power from on high;
33 And from thence, whosoever I will shall go forth among all nations, and it shall be told them what they shall do; for I have a great work laid up in store, for Israel shall be saved, and I will lead them whithersoever I will, and no power shall stay my hand.
34 And now, I give unto the church in these parts a commandment, that certain men among them shall be appointed, and they shall be appointed by the voice of the church;
35 And they shall look to the poor and the needy, and administer to their relief that they shall not suffer; and send them forth to the place which I have commanded them;
36 And this shall be their work, to govern the affairs of the property of this church.
37 And they that have farms that cannot be sold, let them be left or rented as seemeth them good.
38 See that all things are preserved; and when men are endowed with power from on high and sent forth, all these things shall be gathered unto the bosom of the church.
39 And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.
40 And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a commandment, that every man, both elder, priest, teacher, and also member, go to with his might, with the labor of his hands, to prepare and accomplish the things which I have commanded.
41 And let your preaching be the warning voice, every man to his neighbor, in mildness and in meekness.
42 And go ye out from among the wicked. Save yourselves. Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Even so. Amen
There are obvious differences, but some general themes are the same. In fact I really like the perspective this section gives on riches. And the warning!
It talks about going forth, but to all nations (whereas D&C 42 talks about the westward regions). It tells them they will receive direction on how to teach, with is fulfilled in D&C 42. V.41 talks about the warning voice, which is not mentioned in D&C 42 but here we’re talking about their neighbor, not going forth, so I suppose that’s not really so connected to D&C 42 afterall.
Anyway, obvious differences, but obvious similarities as well.
My question is, what makes D&C 42 so special? Why is it set off as an important “law”? Why don’t we just consider ourselves bound to all commandments anyway? We can’t just say it’s because it has consecration, because that is talked about so much in scripture – here, there is the makings of it, and then after D&C 42 the Lord keeps giving direction about it. And yet none of these other places are gathered up into some revised version of D&C 42. It stands as the law. Why?
The only clue I have so far (and I really wish I could enlist the help of our Study Group) is that in D&C 38, the verses talking about Ohio and the law also talk about being “endowed with power from on high.” If we are connecting this given of law with a temple experience, then that may very well explain why this law is set off from other passages of scripture.
Laws are definitely connected with the temple.
So what is the relation, timewise, of these two events: the giving of D&C 42 and the dedication of the Kirtland temple?
Temple dedication: March 27, 1836
D&C 42: February 9, 1831
Wow, quite the gap. So that doesn’t answer it. Was there some other way they were “endowed with power from on high”?
A search for “endowed with power” came up with just D&C 38, D&C 43 (interestingly, we skip over D&C 42) and D&C 105. Both D&C 43 and 105 are pointing forward to a time when they will be endowed with power. D&C 105 uses the word endowment, even. D&C 43 tells them to sanctify themselves so that they can be endowed with power.
A search for “endowed from on high” does also add in D&C 95, which specifically mentions the building of the temple. It seems apparent to me that this phrase could and ought to be considered in relation to the temple, but how much do we connect D&C 38/42 with it?
Could we see then D&C 42 as a preparatory law for the temple? As a way to sanctify the people in preparation? Or, also, as a preparation for those laws they would receive there? How much of my own temple experience can I bring into this – I think it’s safe to say that there are laws given there, I think that much has been said in conference, etc. But are these at all related to their endowment? Things change, as I understand. Is this fair, then?
Please, any help appreciated!