In December 1830 the Lord commanded the Church members to gather in Ohio (see D&C 37). On January 2, 1831, the Saints from the various branches in New York met for the third conference of the Church. During the conference the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 38 was received, in which the Lord encouraged the Saints and helped them understand His commandment to go to Ohio.
Have you ever noticed that some commandments may be easy for you to obey and other commandments may be more difficult? List some of the commandments that you feel are easy for you to obey:
Now, ponder which commandments may be more difficult for you to obey and why.
During a conference of the Church in January 1831, some of the Saints in New York asked about the commandment to move to Ohio. Consider why it might have been difficult for some of these Church members to obey this commandment.
Some of the Saints in New York were reluctant to leave their prosperous farms and comfortable circumstances for the uncertainties of a new place. In addition, some faced the prospect of losing money in selling their property, if they were able to sell their property at all.
In response to the Saints’ concerns, Joseph Smith prayed to learn more about the commandment to gather to Ohio, and he received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 38. As you study this revelation, you will learn truths that can help you willingly obey all of the Lord’s commandments, even those that are more difficult for you to obey.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:1–3, looking for principles you can learn about Jesus Christ. (You may want to mark in the scriptures or note in your scripture study journal what you learn.)
One important principle we learn from verse 2 is that Jesus Christ knows all things. Think of how understanding this principle might have helped those Saints who struggled to obey the commandment to leave New York and move to Ohio.
In your scripture study journal, write a few sentences about how this principle might also help you in times when you struggle to obey certain commandments the Lord has given.
Before receiving this revelation, the Prophet Joseph Smith had been working on the inspired translation of the Bible and received what is now contained in Moses 6–7 in the Pearl of Great Price. These chapters give an account of a prophet named Enoch and his people, who were called Zion because of their righteousness.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:4, looking for what the Lord did for Enoch and his people. It may be helpful for you to know that when the Lord said “mine own bosom,” He was referring to His presence.
At the end of verse 4, what did the Savior say He had done for those who believed on His name?
Ponder how knowing that Jesus Christ pleads to Heavenly Father in behalf of those who believe in Him helps someone who is struggling to keep trying.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:5–7, looking for what Jesus Christ said about where He is.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can believing the principles taught in Doctrine and Covenants 38:7 help bring you comfort as well as courage?
As the Savior was helping the Saints in New York understand the importance of gathering to Ohio, He spoke of His Second Coming.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:8–10, looking for what the Savior revealed about His Second Coming. It may be helpful for you to know that those who “abide the day” (D&C 38:8) of the Second Coming are those who, rather than being destroyed, will be able to remain on the earth with the Savior when He comes. Ponder how the Lord’s words in verses 8–10 can help you understand the importance of being purified and clean before the Second Coming.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:11–12 to learn about some of the conditions that will exist on the earth before the Second Coming. The imagery of angels waiting to “reap down the earth” is a reference to the Savior’s parable of the wheat and the tares (see Matthew 13:24–30; D&C 86:1–7) in which the wheat (those who are righteous) is gathered before the tares (those who are wicked) are gathered and burned.
Ponder what you can do to better prepare yourself to “abide the day” of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and not be found among the tares.
Think about a time you felt that you were in danger, either physically or spiritually. What warnings helped you know you were in danger?
The Lord warned the Saints about dangers they would face if they remained in New York. Look at the last phrase of Doctrine and Covenants 38:12. What did the Lord teach about the enemy of the Saints?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:13, 28–29, looking for the intentions of the combined enemy. From these verses we learn that the Lord can warn us of danger. Such warnings can come through promptings of the Holy Ghost or through the teachings of the Lord’s servants, including talks given in general conferences.
When have you or someone you know been warned by the Lord of a spiritual or physical danger? In your scripture study journal, write about a warning you or a family member or friend received from the Lord and what you did (or wished you had done) or what the family member or friend did in response to that warning.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think preparation gives us confidence in the face of opposition or danger?
What can you do to be prepared against the adversary’s efforts to harm you?
Remember that some of the Saints in New York questioned why they were commanded to go to Ohio. Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:16, 31–33, and identify how the Saints would be blessed if they obeyed this commandment.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How might the commandment to move from New York have been for the Saints’ physical salvation?
How could the commandment to gather to Ohio have been for their spiritual salvation?
From these verses we learn that the Lord not only warns us of danger, but He also gives us commandments for our protection.
In your scripture study journal, write a few sentences explaining how keeping the commandments can protect us both physically and spiritually.
Doctrine and Covenants 38:34–42 contains commandments and counsel that would help the Saints in their transition to life in Ohio. For many of the Saints, their only source of livelihood was their farms. With so many members of the Church putting their land up for sale at the same time, the supply of land suddenly became abundant. With so many choices available, buyers could purchase the Saints’ farms for much less than the usual price.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 38:37, 39, looking for the Lord’s counsel to the Saints regarding their farms and riches. Consider how having faith in the Lord’s eternal promises can help us obey His commandments even when they require a sacrifice on our part.
Many of the Saints in New York were obedient to the Lord’s command and made great sacrifices to gather to Ohio.
At the beginning of today’s lesson, you were asked to think about some commandments that may be more difficult for you to obey than others. In your scripture study journal, write about how understanding the principles you learned in this lesson can help you have the faith and confidence you need to obey those commandments.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 38 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: