Doctrine and Covenants 35: Sidney Rigdon—a Forerunner

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 46–47


Doctrine and Covenants 35, a revelation given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon, shows that the Lord is personally acquainted with His children. Notice what the Lord said to Sidney Rigdon about his past and his future. As you study this revelation, think about how the Lord has prepared you for service in His kingdom.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 35

Folly and … abominations(v. 7)Foolishness and wickedness 
Buckler(v. 14)Protector (a buckler was a small round shield, usually worn on the arm) 
Gird up their loins(v. 14)Help them be prepared 
Confounded(v. 25)Mixed with other peoples so that their identity could not be distinguished 

Doctrine and Covenants 35:2—What Does It Mean to “Become the Sons of God”?

We are all spirit children of our Heavenly Father (Acts 17:29;Hebrews 12:9). However, in order for us to dwell with Him again we must all be born again spiritually through the Atonement of Jesus Christ (Mosiah 5:7–8).

Doctrine and Covenants 35:3—“My Servant Sidney”

Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon had been a minister in Kirtland, Ohio. He joined the Church in 1830 after prayerfully reading the Book of Mormon. He served as a secretary to the Prophet Joseph Smith and a counselor in the First Presidency from 1833 to 1844 ( D&C heading, 35:3–6; 58:50, 57–58; 71:1; 76 heading, 11–15; 90:6, 21; 93:44, 51; 102:3; 124:126). After the death of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon tried to take control of the Church from the Twelve Apostles and was excommunicated from the Church in September 1844.

Doctrine and Covenants 35:11—“Desolations upon Babylon”

Babylon is a symbol for the worldly wickedness that has caused sin and misery among all nations. All such wickedness will be cleansed away at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Doctrine and Covenants 35:13—What Does It Mean to “Thrash the Nations”?

In Joseph Smith’s day, to thrash (or thresh) meant to separate the grain from the husks or chaff. In Old Testament times the grain was spread out on a hard surface and then walked on by oxen (Deuteronomy 25:4) or beaten with a rod (Ruth 2:17). The Lord used that image inDoctrine and Covenants 35:13to describe how the missionaries separate the righteous from the wicked by using the “rod” of the word of God (1 Nephi 11:25).

Doctrine and Covenants 35:20–21—The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible (JST)

Many important parts of the Bible were lost or changed (1 Nephi 13:24–29), and the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to make many corrections to it (D&C 35:20;41:7;45:60–61;73:3–4;93:53). InDoctrine and Covenants 35, the Lord commanded Sidney Rigdon to write for the Prophet as he dictated the changes (v. 20). This version is known as the Joseph Smith Translation (JST). Some of the changes are found in the footnotes of your Bible and in the appendix before the maps. As Joseph Smith worked on the translation of the Bible, the Lord gave him revelations that explained many parts (D&C 76; 77; 86; 91; 93; 113; 132; also Moses; Joseph Smith—Matthew; “The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible,” p. 3 of this study guide).

Studying the Scriptures

Do one of the following activities (A–C) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 35.

Activity A iconExplain the Doctrine

  1. 1.

    Mark the wordoneeach time it appears inDoctrine and Covenants 35:2.

  2. 2.

    Explain whatonemeans in that verse and what that teaches us about the relationship between Heavenly Father; His Son, Jesus Christ; and us ( alsoJohn 17).

Activity B iconIdentify the “Greater Work”

Review the Lord’s counsel to Sidney Rigdon inDoctrine and Covenants 35:3–6. Explain how what Sidney Rigdon was called to do was “greater” than what he had done before ( also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 35:3).

Activity C iconExplain How It Works

InDoctrine and Covenants 35:20the Lord explained that the scriptures were given “to the salvation of mine own elect.” In verse 21 He told what the scriptures do to help save us. Using the following cross-references and your own thoughts, explain how the scriptures help us:

  1. 1.

    Hear the Lord’s voice ( alsoD&C 18:34–36).

  2. 2.

    Him ( alsoMatthew 5:8).

  3. 3.

    Abide the Second Coming ( alsoJoseph Smith—Matthew 1:37).

  4. 4.

    Be purified ( alsoMoroni 7:48).