In December 1830, Sidney Rigdon traveled from Ohio to New York with Edward Partridge to meet with the Prophet Joseph Smith. Although Sidney had recently been baptized, Edward was not yet convinced of the truthfulness of the restored gospel. After meeting the Prophet and speaking with those who knew him, Edward asked the Prophet to baptize him. In early December 1830, before Edward Partridge was baptized, Joseph Smith received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 36. In the revelation the Lord called and commanded Edward Partridge to preach the gospel.
During the last six months of 1830, persecution against the Church was intensifying. In December of 1830 Joseph received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 37, in which the Lord commanded the Saints to leave New York and gather to Ohio.
Think about several items that missionaries take with them to help them accomplish their work.
Some things that missionaries need before they can effectively preach the gospel cannot be put into a suitcase. As you study Doctrine and Covenants 36, look for some of the things that a missionary needs and must do before he or she is prepared to serve a mission.
In Doctrine and Covenants 36, the Lord called Edward Partridge to serve a mission. Read Doctrine and Covenants 36:1, looking for what the Lord told Edward Partridge before calling him to preach the gospel.
In your scripture study journal, write why you think it is important for all who are called to preach the gospel to repent and be forgiven of their sins. Consider how being cleansed from sin would help Edward Partridge to preach the gospel “as with the voice of a trump” (D&C 36:1).
Read the following statement from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and mark the words or phrases that help you understand why it is important for those who are called to preach the gospel to be clean:
“In this battle between good and evil, you cannot play for the adversary whenever temptation comes along and then expect to suit up for the Savior at temple and mission time as if nothing has happened. That, my young friends, you cannot do. God will not be mocked.
“… In almost all athletic contests of which I know, there are lines drawn on the floor or the field within which every participant must stay in order to compete. Well, the Lord has drawn lines of worthiness for those called to labor with Him in this work. No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called ‘forbidden paths’ [1 Nephi 8:28] and expect to guide others to the ‘strait and narrow’ [2 Nephi 31:18] one—it can’t be done” (“We Are all Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 45).
Consider what it would be like for you to share the gospel with others while personally knowing that you have not lived the truths that you are teaching. Now, consider what it would be like to share the gospel with others having the confidence that comes from being cleansed of any wrongdoing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Elder Holland talked about what you can do now to be clean for missionary service: “Whoever you are and whatever you have done, you can be forgiven. Every one of you … can leave behind any transgression with which you may struggle. It is the miracle of forgiveness; it is the miracle of the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. But you cannot do it without an active commitment to the gospel, and you cannot do it without repentance where it is needed. I am asking you … to be active and be clean. If required, I am asking you to get active and get clean” (“We Are all Enlisted,” 45).
Ponder what you need to do now to become clean or to remain clean.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 36:2–3, looking for what the Lord promised to give Edward Partridge before he would be sent to preach the gospel.
President Harold B. Lee explained the meaning of the phrase “I will lay my hand upon you by the hand of my servant” found in verse 2: “The Lord here is saying that when one of His authorized servants puts his hands by authority upon the head of one to be blessed, it is as though He Himself was putting His hand on with them to perform that ordinance. So we begin to see how He manifests His power among men through His servants to whom He has committed the keys of authority” (Be Secure in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Feb. 11, 1958], 6).
It might also be helpful to know that the phrase “teach you the peaceable things of the kingdom” in verse 2 refers to the inspiration and guidance we receive from the Holy Ghost as we live the gospel.
Notice in verse 3 what the Lord told him to do with what the Holy Ghost had taught him.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: Why do you think it is essential for missionaries to have the Holy Ghost as their companion? After answering this question, you may also want to write about a time when the Holy Ghost taught you something about “the peaceable things of the kingdom” (D&C 36:2).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 36:4–5, 7. Notice that in these verses, the Lord is speaking to “the elders of [His] church” (D&C 36:7). As you read, look for a responsibility the Lord gave to priesthood holders.
Based on what you read in these verses, complete the following principle concerning the responsibility of all priesthood holders today: Priesthood holders are called to .
President Thomas S. Monson commented on this principle: “I repeat what prophets have long taught—that every worthy, able young man should prepare to serve a mission. Missionary service is a priesthood duty—an obligation the Lord expects of us who have been given so very much” (“As We Meet Together Again,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 5–6).
Bishops and branch presidents work with young men and young women to determine their worthiness and ability to serve the Lord as full-time missionaries. Some young men may be excused from full-time missionary service because of health concerns or disabilities. However, in such cases they are to maintain their worthiness and prepare themselves to serve the Lord in other ways.
Review Doctrine and Covenants 36:5, 7 to see what priesthood holders need to do before they are ordained and sent forth to preach the gospel.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can a young man show the Lord that he embraces the commandment to preach the gospel?
Although full-time missionary service is a priesthood duty, young women may also serve. President Thomas S. Monson said: “A word to you young sisters: while you do not have the same priesthood responsibility as do the young men to serve as full-time missionaries, you also make a valuable contribution as missionaries, and we welcome your service” (“As We Meet Together Again,” 6).
Read Doctrine and Covenants 36:6, looking for the message the Lord commands His missionaries to teach. The phrase “garments spotted with the flesh” refers to clothing that is contaminated by disease. In ancient Israel, such clothing was burned to prevent the disease from spreading. In verse 6, the Lord is comparing disease to sin and commands us to avoid anything associated with sin.
How does the message in Doctrine and Covenants 36:6 that missionaries are to proclaim repentance relate to Elder Holland’s statements about how missionaries are to prepare at the beginning of this lesson?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 36:8, looking for what the Lord told Edward Partridge at the end of this revelation.
During the months leading up to the time when Edward Partridge traveled to meet Joseph Smith, persecution of the Saints was increasing in New York. Near the end of December 1830, a few weeks after Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge arrived in New York, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in which the Lord commanded the Saints to go to Ohio.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 37:1–4, looking for what preparations the Lord wanted the Prophet to make before he went to Ohio. Notice in verse 2 why the Lord told Joseph Smith to go and strengthen the members in Colesville, New York.
What principles about prayer can we learn from these verses?
In your scripture journal, write a principle you learn from Doctrine and Covenants 37:2 about prayer. Also, explain what you will do to act on this principle.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 36–37 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: