Here are a few thoughts after the D&C 112 lesson yesterday:
- I need to read the Revelations In Context chapter for this!
- Thomas Marsh was the head of the quorum of the 12 apostles because he was the oldest. That sounds so strange to us — we should pick who ever is the best, right? Most spiritual? Or whoever God manifests to us should be the head? And so forth. Obviously, God had a hand in picking out the whole quorum, and may very well have arranged it so that the oldest was someone he wanted to be the head. But another way of seeing the situation is that once the 12 were called, it didn’t really matter who was the head and who wasn’t. The structure of a head/council did matter — the existence of that hierarchy that then allows for revelation to come in a certain way did matter, but really, it didn’t matter who was at the head and who were the rest of the council. The structure doesn’t really work unless 1, we see the “head” as an arbitrary choice and trust the structure as such to work, or 2, there is some, somewhat logical reason why someone will be the head, so we can relax about it and let the process do its thing. So picking the oldest was maybe a way to do that. In our family there are times where Emma has more privilege or responsibility, or where Micah gets the extra cookie, or whatever, because everyone recognizes that the oldest and the youngest are somewhat different in their relation to the family. I can see how ordering the 12 by age was a good way to handle that. Also, Brigham was next, and when Thomas Marsh left we had Brigham there to get the Saints across the plains and settling new land. We look back on that and say “Only Brigham could have done that!” But we really don’t know that. It probably would have worked out fine, just done in a different way.
- The story of the Kirtland Bank is such a sad one! Instead of relieving debt it caused something like three times more debt. So many were affected, so many were angry, so many were in more desperate circumstances than they were before. But, this was a common problem throughout the US. It wasn’t just a Kirtland thing. Their small safety society was an attempt to avoid the problems that were going on. It didn’t work, but all that means is that they didn’t avoid something that was already going on. Should the prophet be blamed for this? I see how so many felt like he should have foreseen and protected them. He tried! As I’m reading the Book of Mormon I’m reminded how often wars happen when the people are being proud etc. So maybe the interpretation could have been that Joseph did what he could but the people weren’t righteous enough to avoid it? Or that God chastens his people and they could have been strengthened to endure it?
- Another lesson for me from the Kirtland banking story is that the Saints’ and prophets’ lives are always in the context of history, including the economic and political pushes and pulls of the nations. What happened in Kirtland was related to what was happening throughout the country they were living in. It affected the problem, it affected the idea Joseph had for fixing it, and it affected how people responded. All of this was in a context. That makes me think of so many things that have happened throughout the history of the Church. For example, the reason that the Relief Society started was because there were many women getting together to start charitable organizations. When a group got together to start one in Nauvoo, Joseph decided to make it something bigger and ordained by the priesthood. But it was originially started because women looked at what was going on around them, saw good in it, and started to follow suit. Things like correlation, teaching styles, Church-dress clothing styles, missionary approaches, and so on, are all products of or reactions do what is going on in the general culture. And that ought to be considered a lot more, I think. (In positive, charitable ways.)
- Love the words “feel after” in verse 13
- V. 20 sounds like D&C 84 and I want to think about that more
- Verses 20-21 remind me of Elder Oaks’ talk about priesthood and how women are authorized under the priesthood to do what they do. Right now I can imagine the Relief Society (as an abstract “object”) having hands laid on its “head” and being ordained.
- v. 32 sounds like Abraham (he has the record that has come down from the fathers, he seeks after the blessings of the priesthood which came down from the fathers, even the first father…)