They were like us. They were farmers, housewives, teachers, tanners, and blacksmiths—the “ordinary” men and women who accepted the gospel in the first few years of the Restoration. And one of the things the Doctrine and Covenants shows us is how the Savior worked with them, patiently helping them to understand that this would be the time of the restoration of all things, the fullness of times, the age when all things would be gathered into one.
After all of the interpretations of the Lord’s words, we can gain increased knowledge and insight when we go to the words themselves, to read the revelations he personally gave to teach those early members—and us—the importance of our dispensation. In the selected passages which follow, we have the Savior’s own words regarding our times and our destiny.
“I, the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Junior, and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments; that it might be fulfilled, which was written by the prophets—
“The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones, that man should not counsel his fellow man, neither trust in the arm of flesh—
“But that every man might speak in the name of God the Lord, even the Savior of the world;
“That faith also might increase in the earth;
“That mine everlasting covenant might be established;
“That the fullness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and simple unto the ends of the world, and before kings and rulers” (D&C 1:17–23).
“It is necessary in the ushering in of the dispensation of the fullness of times, which dispensation is now beginning … that a whole and complete and perfect union, and welding together of dispensations, and keys, and powers, and glories should take place, and be revealed from the days of Adam even to the present time. And not only this, but those things which never have been revealed from the foundation of the world, but have been kept hid from the wise and prudent, shall be revealed unto babes and sucklings in this, the dispensation of the fullness of times” (D&C 128:18).
“(This is) the beginning of the rising up and the coming forth of my church out of the wilderness—clear as the moon, and fair as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners” (D&C 5:14).
“I, the Almighty, have laid my hands upon the nations, to scourge them for their wickedness.
“And plagues shall go forth, and they shall not be taken from the earth until I have completed my work, which shall be cut short in righteousness—
“Until all shall know me, who remain, even from the least unto the greatest, and shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye, and shall lift up their voice, and with the voice together sing” (D&C 84:96–98).
“Behold, ye are little children and ye cannot bear all things now; ye must grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth.
“Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me;
“And none of them that my Father hath given me shall be lost.
“And the day cometh that you shall hear my voice and see me, and know that I am.
“Watch, therefore, that ye may be ready” (D&C 50:40, 42, 45–56).
“Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—
“For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—
“Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.
“Therefore, blessed are ye if ye continue in my goodness, a light unto the Gentiles, and through this priesthood, a savior unto my people Israel” (D&C 86:8–11).
“Ye are the children of Israel, and of the seed of Abraham, and ye must needs be led out of bondage by power, and with a stretched out arm.
“Therefore, let not your hearts faint, for I say unto you: Mine angels shall go up before you, and also my presence, and in time ye shall possess the goodly land” (D&C 103:17, 19, 20).
“Those to whom these commandments were given, might have power to lay the foundation of this church, and to bring it forth out of obscurity and out of darkness, the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30).
“I call upon the weak things of the world, those who are unlearned and despised, to thrash the nations by the power of my Spirit:
“And the poor and the meek shall have the gospel preached unto them, and they shall be looking forth for the time of my coming, for it is nigh at hand” (D&C 35:13, 15).
“Behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her;
“And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven.
“And the day shall come when the nations of the earth shall tremble because of her, and shall fear because of her terrible ones. The Lord hath spoken it” (D&C 64:41–43).
“Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness; her borders must be enlarged; her stakes must be strengthened; yea, verily I say unto you, Zion must arise and put on her beautiful garments” (D&C 82:14).
“Zion cannot be built up unless it is by the principles of the law of the celestial kingdom; otherwise I cannot receive her unto myself” (D&C 105:5).
“Before the great day of the Lord shall come, Jacob shall flourish in the wilderness, and the Lamanites shall blossom as the rose.
“Zion shall flourish upon the hills and rejoice upon the mountains, and shall be assembled together unto the place which I have appointed.
“Behold, I say unto you, go forth as I have commanded you; repent of all your sins; ask and ye shall receive; knock and it shall be opened unto you.
“Behold, I will go before you and be your rearward; and I will be in your midst, and you shall not be confounded.
“Behold, if Zion [shall obey my commandments] she shall prosper, and spread herself and become very glorious, very great, and very terrible.
“And the nations of the earth shall honor her, and shall say, surely Zion is the city of our God, and surely Zion cannot fall, neither be moved out of her place, for God is there, and the hand of the Lord is there;
“And he hath sworn by the power of his might to be her salvation and her high tower.
“Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart” (D&C 97:18–21).