Section 35 "I Have … Prepared Thee for a Greater Work"

Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, (2002), 70–72


Historical Background

Sidney Rigdon was living in Mentor, Ohio, on what was called the Western Reserve in 1830 when he first heard the message of the restored gospel and was baptized. Soon after his baptism he traveled to Fayette, New York, to meet the Prophet. The Prophet Joseph Smith recorded: “In December Sidney Rigdon came to inquire of the Lord, and with him came Edward Partridge; the latter was a pattern of piety, and one of the Lord’s great men. Shortly after the arrival of these two brethren, thus spake the Lord: [D&C 35].” (History of the Church, 1:128.)

At the time Joseph Smith was translating the Bible. Oliver Cowdery and John Whitmer, who had been scribes for the Prophet, were called to serve as missionaries, leaving the Prophet without a scribe. In this revelation Sidney Rigdon was divinely appointed to fill the vacancy.

Notes and Commentary

D&C 35:1. What Is the Meaning of the Phrase “One Eternal Round”?

“God governs by law—wholly, completely, invaryingly, and always. He has ordained that identical results always flow from the same causes. There is no respect of persons with him, and he is a Being ‘with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.’ ([James] 1:17; D. & C. 3:1–2.) Hence, the Lord’s ‘course is one eternal round, the same today as yesterday, and forever.’ (D. & C. 35:1.)” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, pp. 545–46.)

D&C 35:1–3. What Does It Mean to Become “One in Me”?

President Brigham Young asked: “How is it that the Latter-day Saints feel and understand alike, are of one heart and one mind, no matter where they may be when they receive the Gospel? … They receive that which was promised by the Savior when he was about to leave the earth, namely, the Comforter, that holy unction from on high which recognizes one God, one faith and one baptism, whose mind is the will of God the Father, in whom there dwelleth unity of faith and action, and in whom there cannot be division or confusion; when they received thus further light, it matters not whether they have seen each other or not, they at once become brothers and sisters, having been adopted into the family of Christ through the bonds of the everlasting covenant, and all can then exclaim, in the beautiful language of Ruth, ‘Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God!’ [Ruth 1:16.]” (In Journal of Discourses, 18:259.)

D&C 35:2. “Even As Many As Will Believe on My Name”

In Doctrine and Covenants 11:30, believing on the name of the Savior is equated with believing in Him, or in other words, receiving Him as the Savior. Believing on His name is demonstrated by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (see 2 Nephi 25:13).

D&C 35:3–6. “Sidney, … Thou Wast Sent Forth … to Prepare the Way”

President Joseph Fielding Smith showed how Sidney Rigdon had been prepared long before the missionaries came to Ohio and met him: “The Lord told Sidney that he had looked upon him and his works, having reference to his ministry as a Baptist and later as one of the founders of the ‘Disciples’ with Alexander Campbell and Walter Scott. During those years the hand of the Lord was over him and directing him in the gathering of many earnest souls who could not accept the teachings of the sects of the day. His prayers in which he sought further light than the world was able to give, were now to be answered. The Lord informed him that he had been sent to prepare the way, and in the gathering of his colony and the building up of his congregation in and around Kirtland, the hand of the Lord was directing him, and the way for the reception of the fulness of truth was being prepared. It should be carefully noted that a great number of forceful, intelligent men who became leaders in the Church had been gathered by Sidney Rigdon, with the help of the Lord, in this part of the land. Without any question, the Spirit of the Lord had rested upon these men, as it did on Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt, to direct them to gather in Kirtland at that early day. When, therefore, Parley P. Pratt, Ziba Peterson and their companions came to Kirtland they found the way prepared for them through the preaching, very largely, of Sidney Rigdon, so that it was not a difficult matter for these missionaries to convince this group of the truth. While Sidney was preaching and baptizing by immersion without authority, which the Lord informed him in this revelation, yet it all resulted in good when the Gospel message reached them. These men were not only convinced and ready for baptism, but were in a condition by which the Priesthood could be given them, and this was done.” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 1:160.)

Sidney Rigdon

Sidney Rigdon was a spokesman for Joseph Smith.

D&C 35:8–10. “Mine Arm Is Not Shortened”

The phrase “arm of the Lord” suggests God’s power, might, and authority (see Notes and Commentary on D&C 1:14). To say that it is not shortened means that His power is not limited in any way and that He will use His arm and make it felt, especially in these last days (see D&C 133:3).

D&C 35:11. “Drink of the Wine of the Wrath of Her Fornication”

“This distinctive phrase appears in three sections of the Doctrine and Covenants: 35:11; 86:3; 88:94, 105. In each instance it is used in connection with Babylon (representing the apostate world and church) or with the ‘great church, the mother of abominations’ (representing the apostate church of the devil). Those who ‘drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ participate in the worldly pleasures and sins of the apostate world and church, and thus will reap the desolations and destruction that will come upon the wicked when they are judged.” (Ludlow, Companion, 1:219.)

D&C 35:13–14. How Will the Lord “Thrash the Nations”?

“This expression is found in Habakkuk 3:12. Threshing, in olden times, was done by treading out the grain on a threshing-floor. The going forth of the messengers of the gospel among the nations is like trampling the wheat sheaves on the hard floor. The valuable kernels are carefully gathered up; the straw is left.” (Smith and Sjodahl, Commentary, p. 186.)

D&C 35:17–19. “I Have Sent Forth the Gospel by the Hand of My Servant Joseph”

Elder Wilford Woodruff taught clearly how the Prophet Joseph Smith fulfilled the great prophecies of the Restoration: “Here is laid the foundation of the fulfillment of that mighty flood of prophecy delivered since the days of Father Adam down to the last Prophet who breathed the breath of life. There has been more prophecy fulfilled in the last forty-three years upon the face of the earth, than in two thousand years before. These mighty prophecies … like a band of iron, governed and controlled Joseph Smith in his labors while he lived on the earth. He lived until he received every key, ordinance and law ever given to any man on the earth, from Father Adam down, touching this dispensation. He received powers and keys from under the hands of Moses for gathering the House of Israel in the last days; he received under the hands of Elias the keys of sealing the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers; he received under the hands of Peter, James and John, the Apostleship, and everything belonging thereto; he received under the hands of Moroni all the keys and powers required of the stick of Joseph in the hands of Ephraim; he received under the hands of John the Baptist the Aaronic Priesthood, with all its keys and powers, and every other key and power belonging to this dispensation, and I am not ashamed to say that he was a Prophet of God, and he laid the foundation of the greatest work and dispensation that has ever been established on the earth.” (In Journal of Discourses, 16:267.)

D&C 35:20. “Thou Shalt Write for Him”

Elder George Q. Cannon explained: “To Sidney He gave a special command that he should write for Joseph. The Lord made known to Sidney what Joseph already understood—that the Scriptures should be given, even as they were in God’s own bosom, to the salvation of His elect. And soon after this time, Joseph began a new translation of the scriptures. While he labored, many truths, buried through scores of ages, were brought forth to his understanding, and he saw in their purity and holiness all the doings of God among His children, from the days of Adam unto the birth of our Lord and Savior.” (Life of Joseph Smith, pp. 83–84.)