Doctrine and Covenants 36: Edward Partridge—"One of the Lord's Great Men"

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 47–48


Do you believe that the Lord really knows who you are? He does, and this revelation is another illustration of how well He knows His children. As you studyDoctrine and Covenants 36, try to imagine yourself in the place of Edward Partridge. What do you think the Lord would say to you?

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 36

A pattern of piety(section heading)An example of devotion to God 
Untoward generation(v. 6)Rebellious or not easily guided people 

Doctrine and Covenants 36:1—Edward Partridge

Edward Partridge

Edward Partridge first heard the restored gospel around October 1830 when the missionaries who had been sent to the Lamanites stopped in Kirtland, Ohio, on their way to Missouri (D&C 28:8;32:2–3). He did not join the Church, however, until several months later. Lucy Mack Smith, the Prophet’s mother, wrote the following about Edward Partridge’s decision to be baptized: “In December of the same year [1830], Joseph appointed a meeting at our house. While he was preaching, Sidney Rigdon and Edward Partridge came in and seated themselves in the congregation. When Joseph had finished his discourse, he gave all who had any remarks to make, the privilege of speaking. Upon this, Mr. Partridge arose, and stated that he had been to Manchester, with the view of obtaining further information respecting the doctrine which we preached; but, not finding us, he had made some inquiry of our neighbors concerning our characters, which they stated had been unimpeachable, until Joseph deceived us [them] relative to the Book of Mormon. He also said that he had walked over our farm, and observed the good order and industry which it exhibited; and, having n what we had sacrificed for the sake of our faith, and having heard that our veracity was not questioned upon any other point than that of our religion, he believed our testimony, and was ready to be baptized, ‘if,’ said he, ‘Brother Joseph will baptize me.’” (History of Joseph Smith,191–92). He was baptized by Joseph Smith on 11 December 1830.

Edward Partridge later became the first bishop of the Church (D&C 35heading; 36 heading, 1–7; 41:9–11; 42:10; 50:39; 51:1–4, 18; 52:24; 57:7; 58:14–16, 24–25, 61–62; 60:10; 64:17; 124:19) and suffered many persecutions in Missouri. He died a faithful member of the Church in 1840 in Nauvoo, Illinois, at the age of 47.

Doctrine and Covenants 36:2—“I Will Lay My Hand upon You”

ConcerningDoctrine and Covenants 36:2, Elder Harold B. Lee, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, said: “The Lord here is saying that when one of his authorized servants puts his hands by authority upon the head of one to be blessed, it is as though he himself was putting his hand on with them to perform that ordinance. So we begin to how he manifests his power among men through his servants to whom He has committed the keys of authority” (Be Secure in the Gospel of Jesus Christ,Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Feb. 11, 1958], 6).

Doctrine and Covenants 36:6—“Come Forth out of the Fire, Hating Even the Garments Spotted with the Flesh”

To stop the spread of disease in Old Testament times, the Lord commanded that those so afflicted undergo a cleansing process that included burning all contaminated clothing (Leviticus 13:47–59). InDoctrine and Covenants 36:6the Lord drew a comparison between being cleansed of disease and being cleansed from sin ( alsoJude 1:23;Alma 5:57).

Elder Spencer W. Kimball, then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, explained the need to change the conditions that led to sin: “In abandoning sin one cannot merely wish for better conditions. He must make them. He may need to come to hate the spotted garments and loathe the sin. He must be certain not only that he has abandoned the sin but that he has changed the situations surrounding the sin. He should avoid the places and conditions and circumstances where the sin occurred, for these could most readily breed it again. He must abandon the people with whom the sin was committed. He may not hate the persons involved but he must avoid them and everything associated with the sin” (The Miracle of Forgiveness[1969], 171–72).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 36.

Activity A iconWrite a Journal Entry

Write in your notebook a journal entry describing how you might have felt if you were Edward Partridge and the Lord told you what He did inDoctrine and Covenants 36.

Activity B iconExplain What You Learned

After readingDoctrine and Covenants 36:2and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for that verse, explain what you learned about receiving the priesthood.