While the Prophet and his party were on their way home from Missouri during August 1831, they met some of the elders who were going to Missouri. Joseph Smith wrote: “On the 13th [of August] I met several of the Elders on their way to the land of Zion, and after the joyful salutations with which brethren meet each other, who are actually ‘contending for the faith once delivered to the Saints,’ I received the following: [D&C 62]” (History of the Church, 1:205). The elders were not identified in the Prophet’s history, but Reynolds Cahoon named them as follows: Hyrum Smith, John Murdock, Harvey Whitlock, and David Whitmer (see Journal History, 13 August 1831).
Notes and Commentary
D&C 62:1. The Lord Knows How to Succor Those Who Are Tempted
“Succor means ‘to go to the aid of one in want or distress’ or ‘to relieve.’ Fortunately, the Savior succors those ‘who are tempted’ so they will not commit sin, and if they should sin, he will succor them if they repent.” (Ludlow, Companion, 1:330.)
D&C 62:2–3. “Your Sins Are Forgiven You”
Missionary work has a redemptive effect for the missionary as well as the convert. The Apostle James wrote, “He which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins” (James 5:20). Of that teaching, Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote: “By reclaiming an erring brother, we save both him and ourselves. Our sins are hidden (remitted) because we ministered for the salvation and blessing of another member of the kingdom. In principle this special reward for Christ’s ministers applies also to those who preach the gospel and bring souls into the kingdom. The minister is rewarded with salvation and, of necessity, in the process, is freed from his own sins. (D. & C. 4:1–4.)” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:279.)
D&C 62:3. Testimony Is Recorded in Heaven
Smith and Sjodahl noted that “in this Revelation we are told that angels are scrutinizing the records kept of the testimonies of the Elders, and that they rejoice over the witnesses. It appears from this that the ministry on earth has its effects beyond the veil as well as on this side. An Elder who bears his faithful testimony to the truth does not know how far-reaching the result may be, though his visible audience may consist of but few.” (Commentary, p. 371.)
D&C 62:6. To What Promise Is the Lord Referring?
D&C 62:7–8. Why Did the Lord Refer to Riding on Horses or Mules?
John Murdock was so ill on this occasion that he was unable to pursue his journey to Zion without some assistance. After this revelation was given, the four missionaries (John Murdock, David Whitmer, Harvey Whitlock, and Hyrum Smith) put their money together and bought a horse for John Murdock to ride, by which means they were able to continue their travels.
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