Doctrine and Covenants 71: "No Weapon That Is Formed Against You Shall Prosper"

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 82–83


It is important that people who are not members of the Church have access to correct information about the Church. When so many are spreading misconceptions and lies, the best advertisement for the truth of the Church is the voice of the members as they explain the truths of the restored gospel. As you studyDoctrine and Covenants 71, notice what the Lord asked the Prophet Joseph Smith to do about the misconceptions that were being spread in the newspapers of his time.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 71

Allay(section heading)Ease, reduce 
Expedient(v. 1)Appropriate, desirable 
Expounding(v. 1)Explaining 
Confound(v. 7)Put to silence, defeat, confuse 

Doctrine and Covenants 71:1–8—When Should We “Confound [Our] Enemies”?

Ezra Booth, a former Methodist minister who joined the Church after witnessing a healing, turned apostate and wrote nine letters against the Church. The letters, published in theOhio Starat Ravenna, Ohio, were very critical, and the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote that they, “by their coloring, falsity, and vain calculations to overthrow the work of the Lord, exposed his [Booth’s] weakness, wickedness and folly, and left him a monument of his own shame, for the world to wonder at” (History of the Church,1:217). Booth was not the first to apostatize, but he was the first Church member to write and publish anti-Mormon materials.

The agitation caused by Ezra Booth had grown so serious that on December 1, 1831, the Lord called Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon from their work of translation to proclaim the gospel to the world in power and demonstration. “Sometimes it is wise to ignore the attacks of the wicked; at other times it is necessary to meet them, fearlessly and with ability” (Smith and Sjodahl,Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,423).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 71.

Activity A iconLook for the Details

  1. 1.

    What were Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon commanded to do inDoctrine and Covenants 71? Why? (vv. 1–8, the section heading, and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section).

  2. 2.

    How would they know what to say? (v. 1).

  3. 3.

    What have you noticed in the history of the Church from the time of Joseph Smith until now that illustrates the truth of what the Lord promised in verses 9–11?