Doctrine and Covenants 124:84–145, received on January 19, 1841, contains the Lord’s counsel to individual Church members. He also named those who were to serve in different priesthood leadership positions. In March 1841, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 125, in which the Lord revealed His will concerning the gathering of the Saints in Iowa Territory. On July 9, 1841, the Prophet received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 126, in which the Lord told Brigham Young that he would no longer be required to leave his family to serve missions.
Think about a time when you received counsel from someone who wanted to help you. Did you follow that counsel? Why or why not?
In Doctrine and Covenants 124:84–118, the Lord gave individual counsel to certain members of the Church that, if followed, promised great blessings. Read the following passages, looking for a similarity in the counsel given to these individuals. (It may be helpful to know that counsel refers to guidance, direction, or instruction. You may want to mark the counsel that is similar.)
Verses 89–90 (William Law)
Verses 94–96 (Hyrum Smith)
Verses 111–14 (Amos Davies)
Verses 115–18 (Robert Foster)
Review the verses you read, looking for the blessings the Lord promised if these men followed the counsel He gave them. In the space provided, list the blessings the Lord promised them:
One principle we learn from these verses that applies to all of God’s children is that if we hearken to the counsel of the prophets, it will be well with us.
Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What specific counsel has the President of the Church given in recent years?
When have you been blessed by hearkening to the counsel of the prophets?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:84, looking for what the Lord said a Church member named Almon Babbitt had been doing instead of following the counsel of the Presidency of the Church. It may be helpful to know that “a golden calf” refers to the idol or false god that Aaron made for the children of Israel while the prophet Moses was on Mount Sinai (see Exodus 32). It is a symbol of worldly things that can distract and prevent us from receiving spiritual blessings.
According to verse 84, Almon Babbitt’s “golden calf” was that he aspired to establish his own counsel rather than the counsel of the First Presidency.
Read President Spencer W. Kimball’s warning about the many false gods that people worship today, and consider how these modern-day idols might replace following the counsel of living prophets:
“Modern idols or false gods can take such forms as clothes, homes, businesses, machines, automobiles, pleasure boats, and numerous other material deflectors from the path to godhood. What difference does it make that the item concerned is not shaped like an idol? …
“Intangible things make just as ready gods. Degrees and letters and titles can become idols. … The [college] degree, and the wealth and the security which come through it, appear so desirable that [serving a] mission takes second place. Some neglect Church service through their college years, feeling to give preference to the secular training and ignoring the spiritual covenants they have made. …
“Many worship the hunt, the fishing trip, the vacation, the weekend picnics and outings. Others have as their idols the games of sport, baseball, football, the bullfight, or golf. These pursuits more often than not interfere with the worship of the Lord and with giving service to the building up of the kingdom of God. To the participants this emphasis may not seem serious, yet it indicates where their allegiance and loyalty are.
“Still another image men worship is that of power and prestige. Many will trample underfoot the spiritual and often the ethical values in their climb to success. These gods of power, wealth, and influence are most demanding and are quite as real as the golden calves of the children of Israel in the wilderness” (The Miracle of Forgiveness , 40–42).
Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some ways people might put their own counsel ahead of the counsel the Lord gives us today through His prophets?
Remember, you can be confident in following the counsel and instructions of the prophets because they speak the words of the Lord (see D&C 1:38).
Doctrine and Covenants 124:119–22 contains instructions to the Church regarding the construction of the Nauvoo House, which was to be a Church-owned hotel.
List some priesthood leadership positions in the Church:
In Doctrine and Covenants 124:123–45, the Lord named specific individuals to serve in various priesthood leadership positions. Read verses 123–42, looking for the priesthood leadership positions the Lord mentioned. Add any that you did not have in your list.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:143, looking for the reason why the Lord calls priesthood leaders and gives priesthood keys.
We learn the following truth in this verse: The Lord calls priesthood leaders to govern the work of the ministry and help perfect the Saints. (The work of the ministry and the perfecting of the Saints refers to the work of helping all of Heavenly Father’s children draw closer to Him and return worthily to His presence.) Consider marking the words or phrases that teach this truth in your scriptures.
In your scripture study journal, write about one or two ways your priesthood leaders have helped you to draw closer to your Heavenly Father.
After the Saints were expelled from Missouri in the winter of 1838–39, they made their way into Illinois and Iowa, where they settled on both sides of the Mississippi River. The revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 125 was received in March 1841 and reveals the will of the Lord concerning the Saints in Iowa Territory. As you read Doctrine and Covenants 125, look for the directions the Lord gave to these Saints.
Imagine what it would be like to leave your family to serve missions for the Lord during the next five summers and then be called to serve a mission in a foreign country for nearly two years. How would you feel about leaving your family so many times? How would you feel about it if you were responsible for your family’s needs?
After Brigham Young joined the Church in April 1832, he served seven missions over the next nine years. His first mission was during the winter after he was baptized. Five others, including his participation in Zion’s Camp, occurred every summer from 1833 through 1837. These missions were from three to five months long. In 1839 Brigham Young, with the other Apostles, was called to serve a mission to Great Britain. They followed the Lord’s instructions to depart for this mission from Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1839 (see D&C 118). Brigham and other Apostles spent the next few months in Iowa and Illinois, making further preparations to travel to Great Britain. An epidemic of malaria struck the area in the summer of 1839, and they, too, were stricken.
Read the following statement from Brigham Young, looking for evidence of Brigham’s attitude toward serving the Lord despite being so ill that he could not even get into the wagon without help when departing: “I was determined to go to England or to die trying. My firm resolve was that I would do what I was required to do in the Gospel of life and salvation, or I would die trying to do it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 5).
Brigham Young’s missionary service required sacrifice on the part of his family as well. Read the following summary of the circumstances of Brigham’s family when he left for his mission to Great Britain:
Brigham Young left Montrose, Iowa, for Great Britain on September 14, 1839, just 10 days after his wife, Mary Ann, gave birth to their fourth child. Mary Ann was also suffering from malaria. This was the fifth time since they had been married that she had sent Brigham off on a mission. After being driven from their home and losing most of their possessions in Missouri the previous year, they were in the depths of poverty. Brigham was only able to leave Mary Ann with $2.72 for their family. Brigham and Mary Ann trusted that the Lord would provide for them and relied on a promise from the Lord that the families of the Apostles would have their needs taken care of while the Apostles were away on their mission (see D&C 118:3).
As Elders Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and George A. Smith traveled toward the eastern United States for their mission to Great Britain, “Brigham reached into his trunk and always found just enough money for the next stage coach fare. He thought Heber was replenishing the fund, but later discovered that he had not. The brethren started their trip with $13.50 in donations, yet they spent more than $87 on coach fares. They had no idea how the additional money had gotten into the trunk ‘except by some unseen agent from the Heavenly world to forward the promulgation of the Gospel’ [in Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses , 77.]” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 228).
As he directed the expansion of the missionary work throughout the British Isles, Brigham Young demonstrated great spiritual and administrative ability. Under the direction of Brigham Young and the other Apostles, the Church experienced phenomenal growth in Great Britain. By the time most of the Apostles completed their missions in the British Isles in late April 1841, more than 5,000 people had joined the Church, with approximately 1,000 of them having emigrated to Nauvoo a few months earlier.
“This mission was an important time of training and maturing for the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Brigham Young was able to strengthen the leadership skills that he would soon be called upon to exercise in Nauvoo. … Through trials and sacrifices in Britain, as well as laboring for a common goal, the Twelve were united in a way that assured the Church strong leadership in the years ahead” (Church History in the Fulness of Times, 234).
After leading the missionary work of the Church in Great Britain, Brigham Young arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, on July 1, 1841. The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 126 eight days later.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 126:1–3, looking for what the Lord told Brigham about his service. When have you felt that the Lord was pleased with your service?
From what you learn in verses 1–2, finish the following principle regarding the service we give: If we labor diligently for the Lord, He will our righteous offering.
“In addition to being able to spend more time with his family after this revelation than he had been able to in the previous several years, Brigham Young was also near the Prophet Joseph Smith much of the time (twenty-eight of the last thirty-six months of Joseph’s life).
“It seems clear that the Lord, knowing Brigham Young’s future and the future of the Church, kept Brigham near Joseph so he could learn what he would need to know to lead the Church after Joseph’s death” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 313).
Although Brigham Young was no longer required to leave his family to serve additional missions, he would serve several short-term missions before the Prophet’s death. The Lord accepted Brigham Young’s righteous offerings and diligent efforts in His work.
Think about opportunities you have to serve the Lord. In your scripture study journal, write a few sentences explaining how you can follow the example of leaders such as Brigham Young to labor diligently in these opportunities.
Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: