Understanding the Scriptures
Doctrine and Covenants 121
|Pavilion(v. 1, 4)||Tent or canopy|
|Penetrated(v. 2)||Hear the pleadings|
|Adversity(v. 7)||Trials, hardship|
|Hoar frost(v. 11)||White frost, frozen dew|
|Anointed(v. 16)||Appointed to serve|
|Severed(v. 19)||Cut off|
|Vipers(v. 23)||Poisonous snakes|
|Aspire to(v. 35)||Desire, covet|
|Unfeigned(v. 41)||Genuine, sincere|
|Reproving(v. 43)||Correcting gently with kindly intent|
|Betimes(v. 43)||Early, promptly|
|Esteem(v. 43)||Consider, regard|
|Bowels(v. 45)||Heart (in the scriptures,bowelsis often used to symbolize the center of one’s emotions)|
|Garnish(v. 45)||Beautify, adorn|
|Distil(v. 45)||Come down gradually|
|Scepter(v. 46)||Staff, symbol of authority|
Doctrine and Covenants 121:3—What “Unlawful Oppressions”?
While the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders were in prison at Liberty, Missouri ( the introduction toD&C 121in this study guide), “over 8,000 Saints crossed from Missouri east into Illinois to escape the extermination order [issued by Governor Lilburn W. Boggs]. They were forced to leave in the cold of winter, and although Brigham Young, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve, directed them and gave them every possible assistance, they suffered greatly” (Our Heritage: A Brief History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 51).
Doctrine and Covenants 121:7—The Benefits of Adversity
“There can be a benefit from adversity in one’s life, as Elder James E. Faust [then a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles] said: ‘In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner’s fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we m to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.’ (In Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p. 77; orEnsign,May 1979, p. 53.)
“Some erroneously believe that their afflictions are punishments from God, but there is a great difference between the source of tribulation and the uses of tribulation: ‘Unfortunately, some of our greatest tribulations are the result of our own foolishness and weakness and occur because of our own carelessness or transgression’ (James E. Faust, in Conference Report, Apr. 1979, p. 78; orEnsign,May 1979, p. 54). Other afflictions are the result of the frailty and corruptibility of the mortal body, which is subject to disease and malfunction. Still other causes lie in the means chosen by the wicked in their misuse of agency. …
“… Referring to the imprisonment and other terrible injustices suffered by Joseph Smith, President Brigham Young said that the Prophet progressed toward perfection more in thirty-eight years because of the severe tribulation through which he successfully passed than he would have been able to do in a thousand years without it (Journal of Discourses,2:7)” (Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual,296).
Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–36—Called and Chosen
After quoting the first part ofDoctrine and Covenants 121:34, President Harold B. Lee said: “This suggests that even though we have our free agency here, there are many who were foreordained before the world was, to a greater state than they have prepared themselves for here. Even though they might have been among the noble and great, from among whom the Father declared he would make his chosen leaders, they may fail of that calling here in mortality” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1973, 7; orEnsign,Jan. 1974, 5).
Doctrine and Covenants 121:38—What Does it Mean to “Kick against the Pricks”?
A prick, or a goad, is a pointed stick, sometimes tipped with iron, that is used to drive cattle. In a gospel sense, to “kick against the pricks” is to resist or rebel against God’s commandments or spiritual impressions, which encourage us to progress in the right direction.
Studying the Scriptures
Do two of the following activities (A–D) as you studyDoctrine and Covenants 121.
Words of Comfort for the Prophet
In your own words, write the questions the Prophet Joseph Smith asked the Lord inDoctrine and Covenants 121:1–3.
What was happening that might explain why the Prophet felt so sad for the Saints? ( the introduction toD&C 121in this study guide and the “Understanding the Scriptures” section for help, if needed).
In your own words, write what the Lord said to comfort the Prophet in verses 7–10.
How might what the Lord said in verses 7–10 help you feel better about the trials and difficulties you have to face?
Explain the Consequences
At times it may m that the wicked are not punished for persecuting the faithful. From your reading ofDoctrine and Covenants 121:11–25, explain what the consequences will be for those who fight against God and His servants. Look especially for how the following words or phrases might be used in your answer:blind,“may come upon themselves,”swept, severed, despised, priesthood, millstone.
Number the Promises
InDoctrine and Covenants 121:26–33, the Lord promised blessings for the faithful. Number them in your scriptures, and write about one that is important to you.
Scripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–36
Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46describes what a priesthood holder must do to honor his priesthood and use it effectively. As you study these verses, answer the following questions:
Why are some “chosen” and others are not?
What is the relationship between the “rights of the priesthood” and the “powers of heaven”?
What is the principle upon which the powers of heaven are controlled?
What would cause a priesthood holder to lose the power of the priesthood?
What methods must a righteous priesthood holder use to properly influence others?
What blessings are promised to those who righteously use the priesthood?
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