The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99 on August 29, 1832. In this revelation the Lord called John Murdock to continue his missionary labors and go to the eastern United States. Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100 on October 12, 1833, while he and Sidney Rigdon were in New York laboring as missionaries. In this revelation the Lord assured Joseph and Sidney that their families in Ohio were well. The Lord also comforted Joseph concerning the Saints in Missouri who were suffering persecution.
Imagine that a friend who is not a member of the Church asks you why so many young men and women are willing to give up 2 years or 18 months of their lives to serve missions. How would you explain why someone would be willing to make such a sacrifice to serve a mission?
John Murdock was an early Church member. As you read the following information, notice the sacrifices he made to serve the Lord:
John Murdock investigated many churches and concluded that all religions had lost their way. However, in late 1830, he read the Book of Mormon and felt the Holy Ghost bear witness of its truth. He was convinced he had found Christ’s true Church. Shortly after his baptism on November 5, 1830, John Murdock served a mission, baptizing about 70 people in four months in Orange and Warrensville, Ohio.
On April 30, 1831, shortly after John returned from his mission, his wife, Julia, died after giving birth to twins. In June 1831, the Lord called him to go to Missouri and preach the gospel along the way (see D&C 52:8–9). Before John could go, he needed to make sure his five children, all under the age of seven, were provided for. He arranged for several individuals to watch over his older children, and Joseph and Emma Smith adopted the infant twins. For the rest of 1831 and the first half of 1832, John Murdock preached in Michigan Territory, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. When he returned to Hiram, Ohio, in June 1832, he was suffering from the effects of a long illness. He also learned that one of his twins had died the previous March and that those who had cared for his three older children demanded payment for their help.
The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 99 approximately two months after John Murdock arrived home from his second mission. Read Doctrine and Covenants 99:1, looking for what the Lord called John Murdock to do.
In addition to this call to preach the gospel, this revelation contains numerous promises relating to John’s service. Read Doctrine and Covenants 99:2–3, looking for how both John Murdock and those he taught would be blessed by his service.
From verses 2–3 we learn the following truths: We represent the Lord when we serve missions, and those who receive the gospel as little children obtain mercy.
Before John Murdock left on his mission to the eastern states, he had an experience in the School of the Prophets that had a profound effect on him. “In one of [our prayer meetings] the Prophet told us if we could humble ourselves before God, and exercise strong faith, we should see the face of the Lord. And about midday the visions of my mind were opened, and the eyes of my understanding were enlightened, and I saw the form of a man, most lovely, the visage of his face was sound and fair as the sun. … His countenance was most penetrating, and yet most lovely. And while I was endeavoring to comprehend the whole personage from head to feet it slipped from me and the vision was closed up. But it left on my mind the impression of love, for months, that I never felt before to that degree” (John Murdock, autobiography and diary, 13, L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah).
Identify at least three people in the scriptures or in your life who made sacrifices to serve the Lord. Write their names in your scripture study journal. Then write what blessings these people received because of their sacrifices and service.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 99:4–5, looking for what the Lord said would happen to those who rejected the message John Murdock would teach them.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 99:6–8, looking for evidence that the Lord was aware of John Murdock’s needs and the sacrifices he was making.
John Murdock followed the Lord’s counsel and made arrangements to send his three oldest children to Bishop Partridge in Missouri, where they stayed with different families. John left on his mission in September 1832, about one month after he received his call. He served several more missions, and then he joined his older children in Missouri. For the remainder of his life, John Murdock served the Lord faithfully in his callings as a missionary, a bishop, and a patriarch.
What are some of the concerns missionaries might have as they begin their missions? Keep these concerns in mind while studying Doctrine and Covenants 100.
In April 1833 a man named Freeman Nickerson joined the Church in New York and traveled to Kirtland, Ohio. When Freeman met Joseph Smith, he asked the Prophet to visit the Nickerson family in New York and Canada. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon agreed to his proposal, and they left Kirtland with him on October 5, 1833. The group preached the gospel while traveling. On October 12, 1833, they arrived at the Nickerson home in Perrysburg, New York, and Joseph received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100.
Read the section introduction for Doctrine and Covenants 100, looking for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were concerned about when they arrived in New York.
In this revelation the Lord responded to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s concerns for their families. Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:1–2, looking for how the Savior responded to their concerns. You may want to mark the phrases that might have been comforting to Joseph and Sidney.
In your scripture study journal, describe how the Lord’s words in Doctrine and Covenants 100:1–2 might help missionaries today with their concerns regarding their families.
In addition to reassuring them about their families, the Lord also assured Joseph and Sidney that they would be blessed in their missionary labors. Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:3–4, and identify some of these assurances.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:5–8, looking for additional promises from the Lord.
Verses 5–6 contain the promise that if we will lift up our voices to share the gospel, then the Lord will help us know what to say. (Remember that to receive this promised help, we must live righteously and prepare ourselves to serve.)
In Doctrine and Covenants 100:7, we learn that the missionaries should declare the gospel “in solemnity of heart, in the spirit of meekness.” This counsel implies that we should share the gospel with seriousness and humility.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:8, looking for what the Lord promised if we preach the gospel in this way. Then complete the following principle: If we share the gospel with others in solemnity of heart and in the spirit of meekness, then the Holy Ghost will .
Ponder a time when you felt the Spirit confirm that something you taught or said was right. This might include talking about the gospel with your friends or family, bearing your testimony or giving a talk in a Church meeting, or making a comment in a class. In your scripture study journal, describe your experience. You could also describe an experience when you felt the Holy Ghost bear witness that what someone else was saying was true.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:9–12, looking for instructions and promises the Lord gave the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What might the promise in Doctrine and Covenants 100:12 mean to you if you were serving a mission?
The missionary efforts of the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had a lasting influence on the Church. Sidney Rigdon preached to a large group gathered at the Nickerson home in New York, and the three brethren then continued north to Ontario, Canada, where they preached to additional groups. The missionaries baptized nearly 20 individuals there and organized a branch of the Church. Some time later, Parley P. Pratt visited this branch as he served a mission in Canada. Moses Nickerson, a convert from the 1833 mission, introduced Elder Pratt to John Taylor, who became a successful missionary and later became President of the Church. These events were a partial fulfillment of the Lord’s promise that “an effectual door [would] be opened in the regions round about in this eastern land” (D&C 100:3).
In August 1833, shortly before the Prophet Joseph Smith departed on this mission, Oliver Cowdery had brought word from Missouri that enemies of the Church had turned violent against the Latter-day Saints there. Joseph sent Orson Hyde and John Gould to deliver counsel from him to the Saints in Missouri. This journey would be hazardous because they would be traveling through areas near anti-Mormon mobs. While on his mission with Sidney Rigdon and Freeman Nickerson, the Prophet worried about Orson and John and all of the Saints who were being persecuted in Missouri.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 100:13–17, looking for what the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith. In your scripture study journal, complete the following assignments:
Based on what you learn in verse 15, complete this principle: All things will work together for our good if we …
To “walk uprightly” before the Lord refers to being righteous and keeping the commandments. Think of specific things you can do in your life to better “walk uprightly” before the Lord. Set and write a goal to act on one of these things and more fully invite this blessing into your life.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 99–100 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: