Doctrine and Covenants 117: "Not in Name but in Deed"

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Student Study Guide, (2005), 133–134


How would you like to be remembered after your life is finished? What would it mean if your name was held in “sacred remembrance”? Some of the brethren in this revelation needed to repent while one was commended for doing his duty. Notice what the Lord said to each of these Church leaders and think about how that counsel might apply to you.

Understanding the Scriptures

Doctrine and Covenants 117

Tarry(v. 2–3)Delay, wait to obey 
Turned out for debts(v. 5)Sold to pay debts 
Moneychangers(v. 16)People or businesses that lend money for a fee 

Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–2—The Lord Knew

“The Lord had commanded the Saints to gather and build up Far West speedily [D&C 115:17]. A company of 515 souls, known as theKirtland Camp,left Kirtland on the 6th of July, 1838, for Zion. On the 14th of September, it appears only 260 members were left, the others having been scattered ‘to the four winds.’ The camp arrived in Adam-ondi-Ahman on the 4th of October. Neither Marks, Whitney, nor Granger were members of this company. [Oliver Granger was already in Far West, Missouri. He carried this revelation to William Marks and Newel K. Whitney in Kirtland, Ohio, and was instructed to return speedily to the land of Zion.] Joseph Smith at Far West had no means of knowing, at that time, who had, or who had not, left for Zion; but the Lord knew. Hence this Revelation in which He … calls William Marks and Newel K. Whitney to come to Zion and instructs the Saints concerning the property in Kirtland” (Smith and Sjodahl,Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,744).

Doctrine and Covenants 117:8—“The Plains of Olaha Shinehah”

President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: “The plains of Olaha Shinehah, or the [name of the] place where Adam dwelt, must be a part of, or in the vicinity of Adam-ondi-Ahman” (Church History and Modern Revelation,2:97).

Doctrine and Covenants 117:8—Coveting “That Which Is but the Drop”

“Those who sought to hold on to their property in Kirtland when the Lord had commanded them to remove to join the body ofSaints in Zion were most unwise. How paltry is a piece of land compared with that which the Lord has to offer his people. Moreover, can the Lord not help those who follow his will to obtain lands or whatever they need, according to his wisdom? (Mark 10:28–30.)” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual,289).

Doctrine and Covenants 117:11—The Nicolaitane Band

The wordNicolaitansis found inRevelation 2:6, 15. Its meaning is uncertain, but some believe the Nicolaitans tried to bring idolatrous practices into the early Christian church. Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote that Nicolaitans were “members of the Church who were trying to maintain their Church standing while continuing to live after the manner of the world. … Whatever their particular deeds and doctrines were, the designation has come to be used to identify those who want their names on the records of the Church, but do not want to devote themselves to the gospel cause with full purpose of heart” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary,3:446).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activity A or B as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 117.

Activity A iconWhat Does the Lord Offer?

Imagine that you were asked to leave your home—like the Saints who were asked to leave New York for Ohio and then leave Ohio for Missouri. From what the Lord said inDoctrine and Covenants 117:1–9, what would make it easier for you to make such a move?

Activity B iconWrite an Introduction

  1. 1.

    Imagine that Oliver Granger was going to speak to the youth in your ward or branch and you were to introduce him. Using the information inDoctrine and Covenants 117:12–16, write a short introduction for him.

  2. 2.

    Read verses 12–16 again, substituting your name in the place of Oliver Granger’s. Think about the kind of growth that might need to take place in your life in order for those verses to apply to you. You may want to write down some of your thoughts in your personal journal.