Unit 21: Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 98

“Unit 21: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 98,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)


Introduction

On July 20, 1833, a group of 400–500 Missourians demanded that no more Saints move to Jackson County and that those already living there must leave. Before the Saints in Missouri could respond, a mob began destroying their property and threatening their lives. On August 6, 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 98, in which the Lord instructed the Saints about how to respond to persecution. Although some news of the trouble in Missouri had probably reached the Prophet in Kirtland, Ohio, about 900 miles (1,450 kilometers) away, he could have understood the seriousness of the situation only through revelation. In this revelation the Lord acknowledged the Saints’ afflictions, counseled them to follow the constitutional law of the land, and instructed them to keep their covenants.

Doctrine and Covenants 98:1–22

The Lord counsels the Saints to keep their covenants during difficult times

In Doctrine and Covenants 98:1–22, the Lord counseled the afflicted Saints to give thanks in all things and to wait patiently on the Lord.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:11–12, and find the commandment the Lord gave the Saints.

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:13–15, looking for what the Lord told the Saints about being tested or proved. From these verses we learn that we prove ourselves to the Lord by keeping our covenants, even when it is difficult to do so.

Think about why it might have been important for the Saints living in Missouri in 1833 to remember the importance of keeping their covenants even when it was difficult to do so. Why do you think it might be important for us today to remember the importance of keeping our covenants during difficult times?

Doctrine and Covenants 98:23–32

The Lord reveals how the Saints are to respond to persecution

  1. journal iconDraw three columns in your scripture study journal. Title the first column The Lord’s Law on Retaliation (D&C 98:23–32), the second column The Lord’s Law on War (D&C 98:33–38), and the third column The Lord’s Law on Forgiveness (D&C 98:39–48). Leave room in each column to write the principles and doctrines you discover as you study this lesson. As you work through the lesson, you will find instructions regarding what to write in these columns.

How would you feel if someone harmed you or your family? Why do you think some people might want to retaliate (get revenge) against a person who caused them harm?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:23–27, looking for what the Lord said about revenge and retaliation.

You might want to mark the phrases “revile not” and “bear it patiently” in these verses.

Based on what the Lord taught the Saints in Missouri, we learn that if we bear mistreatment patiently and without retaliating, then the Lord will reward us. Write this principle in your scripture study journal under the heading “The Lord’s Law on Retaliation.”

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. In what ways do you think retaliation or seeking revenge is harmful?

    2. Think about someone you know (or have read about) who has shown patience while enduring mistreatment and did not seek revenge. What did this person do to show his or her patience despite being mistreated?

mob in Missouri

A mob confronts Church leaders in Jackson County, Missouri.

When the mob formed in Jackson County, Missouri, on Saturday, July 20, 1833, they not only destroyed property, they also sought to harm the Church leaders. The following account shows how Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, a 27-year-old recent convert from Pennsylvania, responded to being mistreated by the mobs in Missouri.

“The mob caught Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen, and dragged them through the maddened crowd, which insulted and abused them along the road to the public square. Here two alternatives were presented them; either they must renounce their faith in the Book of Mormon or leave the county. The Book of Mormon they would not deny, nor consent to leave the county. Bishop Partridge, being permitted to speak, said that the saints had to suffer persecution in all ages of the world, and that he was willing to suffer for the sake of Christ, as the saints in former ages had done; that he had done nothing which ought to offend anyone, and that if they abused him, they would injure an innocent man. Here his voice was drowned by the tumult of the crowd, many of whom were shouting: ‘Call upon your God to deliver you … !’ The two brethren, Partridge and Allen, were stripped of their clothing, and bedaubed [smeared] with tar, mixed with lime, or pearl-ash, or some other flesh-eating acid, and a quantity of feathers scattered over them. They bore this cruel indignity and abuse with so much resignation and meekness that the crowd grew still, and appeared astonished at what they witnessed. The brethren were permitted to retire in silence” (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:333; see also Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual], 2003, 133).

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. What impresses you about how Bishop Partridge and Charles Allen responded to the persecution they experienced?

    2. What can you do to better follow the Lord’s counsel in this area?

In Doctrine and Covenants 98:28–32, the Lord counseled the Saints that if an enemy had harmed them three times without incurring the vengeance of God, they should warn the enemy in the name of the Lord not to harm them again. The Lord further explained that if the enemy continued to harm them after this warning, then the Saints were justified in “reward[ing] him according to his works” (D&C 98:31). However, the Saints were also told that if they spared their enemies even though they were justified in retaliating, they would be rewarded for their righteousness.

Doctrine and Covenants 98:33–38

The Savior explains when war is justified

Do you have any relatives or friends who have served in a war for their country? Have you wondered what the Lord has taught about war?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:33–34, looking for what the Lord told His ancient followers about war.

Based on what you read in verse 33, fill in the blanks to complete the following phrase: They should go to battle against any nation, kindred, tongue, or people, the Lord them. You may want to write this truth in your scripture study journal under the heading “The Lord’s Law on War.” (Remember that the Lord gave this law specifically to people who lived in a different time and in a different culture. Although the principle of the law is true, today we are also subject to the laws of the nations in which we live [see Articles of Faith 1:12].)

According to Doctrine and Covenants 98:34, what were those ancient followers supposed to do first if someone declared war against them? (Write your answer to this question in your scripture study journal under the heading “The Lord’s Law on War.”)

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:35–38, looking for what the Lord told His ancient followers to do if their offer of peace was not accepted.

From these verses we learn that war can be justified under circumstances prescribed by the Lord. Write this truth in your scripture study journal under the heading “The Lord’s Law on War.”

When many nations were engaged in battle during World War II, President David O. McKay explained the circumstances in which the Lord’s followers are justified in entering war:

President David O. McKay

“War is incompatible with Christ’s teachings. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the gospel of peace. War is its antithesis [opposite] and produces hate. …

“There are, however, two conditions which may justify a truly Christian man to enter—mind you, I say enter, not begin—a war: (1) An attempt [by someone] to dominate and deprive another of his free agency, and, (2) Loyalty to his country. Possibly there is a third, [namely], Defense of a weak nation that is being unjustly crushed by a strong, ruthless one” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1942, 71–72).

Doctrine and Covenants 98:39–48

The Lord teaches the Saints how they should respond to their enemies

Related to the Lord’s law on war is the Lord’s law of forgiveness in Doctrine and Covenants 98:39–48. The following account of an event that took place after World War II demonstrates the Lord’s law on forgiveness:

“In Holland during World War II, the Casper ten Boom family used their home as a hiding place for those hunted by the Nazis. This was their way of living out their Christian faith. Four members of the family lost their lives for providing this refuge. Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie spent horrific months in the infamous Ravensbrück concentration camp. Betsie died there—Corrie survived.

“In Ravensbrück, Corrie and Betsie learned that God helps us to forgive. Following the war, Corrie was determined to share this message. On one occasion, she had just spoken to a group of people in Germany suffering from the ravages of war. Her message was ‘God forgives.’ It was then that Corrie ten Boom’s faithfulness brought forth its blessing.

“A man approached her. She recognized him as one of the cruelest guards in the camp. ‘You mentioned Ravensbrück in your talk,’ he said. ‘I was a guard there. … But since that time, … I have become a Christian.’ He explained that he had sought God’s forgiveness for the cruel things he had done. He extended his hand and asked, ‘Will you forgive me?’

“Corrie ten Boom then said:

“‘It could not have been many seconds that he stood there—hand held out—but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

“‘… The message that God forgives has a … condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. …

“‘… “Help me!” I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling.”

“‘… Woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. As I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

“‘“I forgive you, brother!” I cried. “With all my heart.”

“‘For a long moment we grasped each other’s hands, the former guard and the former prisoner. I had never known God’s love so intensely, as I did then.’ [Corrie ten Boom, Tramp for the Lord (1974), 54–55.]” (Keith B. McMullin, “Our Path of Duty,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 13).

What does this story teach you about forgiveness?

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:39–40, looking for the Lord’s law on forgiveness.

According to these verses, what should we do when someone asks for our forgiveness?

The phrase “until seventy times seven” in verse 40 implies that we should forgive others as many times as they repent and seek our forgiveness after offending or hurting us. (Although we are commanded to forgive, this does not mean that we should allow others to continue harming us.)

Read Doctrine and Covenants 98:41–43, searching for additional truths the Lord taught the Saints concerning their enemies who trespass against them and do not repent.

Write a summary of the Lord’s law on forgiveness in your scripture study journal under the heading “The Lord’s Law on Forgiveness.”

  1. journal iconAnswer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

    1. Why do you think we are commanded to forgive others even if they don’t ask for forgiveness?

    2. Why are we commanded to forgive our enemies?

Think about what you can do in your life to follow the Lord’s law on forgiveness.

In Doctrine and Covenants 98:44–48, the Lord promised that if the Saints’ enemies would repent, they would escape His vengeance.

  1. journal iconWrite the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

    I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 98 and completed this lesson on (date).

    Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: