Doctrine and Covenants 101: A Response to Troubles in Jackson County, Missouri

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 114–116


Troubles in Missouri
The Saints in Missouri began to experience much persecution in the summer of 1833. As a result, Church members agreed to leave Jackson County by January 1834. In October and November 1833, however, the persecution again became intense. Mobs gathered and whipped some of the Saints; destroyed houses, furniture, crops, and animals; and drove hundreds of Latter-days Saints from their homes just as winter was coming on. Most of the Church members crossed the Missouri River into Clay County and set up temporary shelter. The Prophet Joseph Smith wrote: “The scene was indescribable, and would have melted the hearts of any people upon earth, except the blind oppressor, and the prejudiced and ignorant bigot” (History of the Church,1:437).Why did the Lord allow the Saints to be driven from their homes? For that matter, why did those people in Missouri act so violently against the Saints? What would become of Zion? Six days before he received the revelation inDoctrine and Covenants 101, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote: “Now, there are two things of which I am ignorant; and the Lord will not show them unto me, perhaps for a wise purpose in Himself—I mean in some respects—and they are these: Why God has suffered so great a calamity to come upon Zion, and what the great moving cause of this great affliction is; and again, by what means He will return her back to her inheritance, with songs of everlasting joy upon her head. These two things, brethren, are in part kept back that they are not plainly shown unto me; but there are some things that are plainly manifest which have incurred the displeasure of the Almighty” (History of the Church,1:454).As you readDoctrine and Covenants 101, notice the revelation the Lord gave the Prophet concerning those two things he felt ignorant about: why God allowed the Church members to suffer such harsh persecutions and how He would help them regain possession of Zion. Since each of us faces disappointment and discouragement when life does not always turn out the way we thought or hoped it would, this revelation holds useful instruction for everyone. Furthermore, the Lord’s answers to the Prophet Joseph’s questions teach us more about His work in the latter days and His Second Coming.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 101

Jarrings(v. 6)Disputes, disagreements 
Envyings(v. 6)Jealousies 
Esteemed lightly(v. 8)Considered to be of little value 
Indignation(vv. 10–11)Justified or righteous anger 
Tabernacle(v. 23)Dwelling place of the Lord 
Corruptible(v. 24)Imperfect, mortal 
Fervent(v. 25)Intense, powerful 
Enmity(v. 26)Hostility, hatred 
Accounted(v. 39)Considered 
Trodden(v. 40)Stepped on, trampled 
Abased(v. 42)Humbled 
Redemption(vv. 43, 76)Restoration, rescue 
Hedge(vv. 46, 51, 53–54)Fence, protective barrier 
Exchangers(v. 49)Bankers, people who make investments 
At variance(v. 50)Having differing opinions, disagreements 
Residue(vv. 55, 58, 71)Remaining number 
Straightway(vv. 56, 60)Directly, without delay 
Avenge me of(vv. 58, 83)Bring a just punishment upon 
Secured in the garners(v. 65)Made safe in the storage places 
Tares(vv. 65–66)Weeds in a grain field 
Importune for redress(v. 76)Ask or plead to make things right 
Constitution(v. 77)Set of basic rules or regulations, the Constitution of the United States 
Suffered(v. 77)Allowed 
Futurity(v. 78)The future 
Bondage(v. 79)Servitude 
Fury(v. 89)Anger 
Vex(v. 89)Trouble, punish 
Stewards(v. 90)People in charge of and having responsibilities for something 
Befall(v. 98)Happen to 
Hold claim(v. 99)Keep their ownership 

Doctrine and Covenants 101Heading—Where Were the Saints in December 1833?

Map

Doctrine and Covenants 101:21–22—Stakes of Zion

The Lord’s kingdom on earth has sometimes been compared to a tent supported by its stakes (for examples, Isaiah 54:2;Moroni 10:31). The Church, like a tent, provides safety and refuge and is held firmly in place by its stakes (D&C 45:66–67;82:14)—groups of Saints gathered to teach and support one another. It spreads out and covers the earth.

Stakes of Zion

InDoctrine and Covenants 101, the Lord indicated that all of the members of the Church would not be gathered to Jackson County, Missouri, because there would not be enough room. Instead, members were to gather into stakes of Zion. These stakes are also “holy places” where Church members receive the same blessings as those living in the center place of Zion ( alsoD&C 115:5–6).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:30—“The Age of a Tree”

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that during the Millennium “there will be no death until men are old. Children will not die but will live to the age of a tree. Isaiah says this is 100 years [Isaiah 65:20–22]” (Doctrines of Salvation,1:86–87).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:39–40—Salt Losing Its Savor

Elder Carlos E. Asay, who was a member of the Presidency of the Seventy, told priesthood holders:

“A world-renowned chemist told me that salt will not lose its savor with age. Savor is lost through mixture and contamination. Similarly, priesthood power does not dissipate with age; it, too, is lost through mixture and contamination.

“When a young man or older man mixes his thoughts with pornographic literature, he suffers a loss of savor.

“When a priesthood bearer mixes his speech with lies or profanity, he suffers a loss of savor.

“When one of us follows the crowd and becomes involved in immoral acts and the use of drugs, tobacco, alcohol, and other injurious substances, he loses savor” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1980, 60; orEnsign,May 1980, 42).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:81–90—The Parable of the Woman and the Unjust Judge

After receivingDoctrine and Covenants 101, Church leaders pleaded for help from local judges. Unfortunately, many of them were mobbers who had driven the Saints from their homes in the first place. They next went before Governor Dunklin of Missouri and asked him to make things right. He suggested they document the wrongs they believed had occurred. They did this and returned to the governor. He then did little to help them. Five years later the Saints were driven out of the state of Missouri and appealed to the President of the United States, Martin Van Buren. The Prophet Joseph Smith himself pleaded their case to him. The Prophet recorded: “During my stay I had an interview with Martin Van Buren, the President, who treated me very insolently, and it was with great reluctance he listened to our message, which, when he had heard, he said:‘Gentleman, your cause is just, but I can do nothing for you;’and‘If I take up for you I shall lose the vote of Missouri’” (History of the Church,4:80).

Studying the Scriptures

Do four of the following activities (A–G) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 101.

Activity A iconFinish the Sentences

Using what you learn inDoctrine and Covenants 101:1–9, finish the following sentences:

  1. 1.

    The Lord allowed the persecution of the Saints in Missouri because …

  2. 2.

    In spite of the mistakes of the Missouri Saints, the Lord intends to …

  3. 3.

    Like the prophet Abraham, Church members must be …

  4. 4.

    If members of the Church cannot endure chastening, they cannot be …

  5. 5.

    The Saints in Missouri were guilty of …

  6. 6.

    The Saints in Missouri were slow to hearken to God, so He was …

  7. 7.

    When life is easy, some Church members do not listen to the Lord, but when life is difficult …

  8. 8.

    In spite of the failings of the Missouri Saints, the Lord will …

Activity B iconThe Second Coming of Jesus Christ

InDoctrine and Covenants 101, the Lord confirmed that Zion would still be established, good would eventually triumph over evil, and He would return to the earth and usher in a millennium of righteousness. Write five questions about the Second Coming of Christ and the Millennium that can be answered fromDoctrine and Covenants 101:23–35. After each question, note the answer and the verse where it is found.

Activity C iconExplain the Symbol

The Lord compared His people to salt inDoctrine and Covenants 101:39–40. Think about the different ways salt is used and write about two ways Church members should be like salt ( also the “Understanding the Scriptures” section forD&C 101:39–40).

Activity D iconWrite a Modern Parable

  1. 1.

    After studying the parable of the nobleman and the olive trees inDoctrine and Covenants 101:43–62, write a modern parable with the same message. Include updated versions of the following elements in your version:

People

Places

Events

1. Nobleman

2. Servants

3. Watchmen

4. Enemy

1. Vineyard

2. Vineyard

3. Tower

4. Hedge

1. Servants were told to plant 12 trees

2. Watchmen were told to watch for danger

3. They planted the olive trees

4. They wondered why they needed a guard in a time of peace

5. They became slothful and disobedient

6. An enemy destroyed the vineyard

7. The nobleman was angry with his servants

8. The vineyard was restored

9. The stronghold of the enemy was torn down

  1. 2.

    Apply the parable of the nobleman and the olive trees by answering the following questions:

    1. a.

      How might Church members your age be like the servants in the parable?

    2. b.

      Who could the watchmen represent?

    3. c.

      What could the tower represent?

Activity E iconNow What?

The Church members had not been obedient so that the Lord could bless them against their enemies, so they had to suffer the persecutions. What were they to do?Doctrine and Covenants 101:63–101provides counsel for the Saints who were driven out of Zion and their homes. Summarize the Lord’s counsel as a list that could have been passed around as a reminder to the members.

Activity F iconThe Constitution of the United States

Write three statements about the United States Constitution based on what the Lord said inDoctrine and Covenants 101:77–80.

Activity G iconAnswer the Original Questions

In this study guide’s introduction toDoctrine and Covenants 101is a quotation from the Prophet Joseph Smith that helps us understand what he wanted to know from the Lord before this revelation was given. Summarize the Lord’s answers to the two things the Prophet felt ignorant about.