Week 48 is scheduled for study Nov. 22-28. Joseph and Hyrum have been martyred. It is now a time for a reflection of their work and their accomplishments. There is a lot to think about here.

Day 1

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

Doctrine and Covenants 135; 136:37-39 – Joseph and Hyrum Smith sealed their testimonies with their blood.

The question I hope you will seriously consider from this lesson is this: What does it mean to seal your testimony with your blood? As you ponder this question, try to list on paper the names of those, both male and female, who you think may have sealed their testimony of the work and word of God with their own blood.

What do the scriptures tell us of the Savior? We are told clearly that he was born to die. We know that his life would have been no more meaningful to all of us than that of any other life if he had not freely given his life for his own testimony of who he and who God was, and what they both stood for. His death was a requirement as part of His mission in life. In the case of Jesus, his life had to be forfeit so he could complete his atoning sacrifice by rising from the dead and opening the doors to our eternal life and exaltation in the presence of the Father. But what about the prophets? What about us?

In the scriptures, how many ways are we told that the people killed, or tried to kill the prophets the Lord sent to them? In the Book of Mormon we only find the phrase “killed the prophets” four times. That may not sound like much, but that phrase is used to represent a repeating habit of the people of God to kill the messengers God kept sending them. And how many other ways are we told that the people killed the prophets? We may read that they put them away privily, or sought to kill them, or sought their life, etc. The point is that Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum were not the first prophets to have died at the hand of angry mobs. What makes them special for us is that this habit of wicked people to seek the life of those who preach righteousness is closer to home for us in the deaths of these two men. And they won’t be the last to die for truth before the Savior comes again.

For the righteous, the killing of the mouthpiece of God, the prophet, is always deeply personal and tragic. Think of how the Apostles of old died. The Saints of their day had to receive the news that one had been boiled alive, one was sawed in half, others were either shot with arrows, beheaded, speared, or crucified upside down. How disheartening for the Saints who survived them! And how many of those very Saints were fed to wild animals in the games in Rome for the entertainment of the masses?

My point here is that the Lord allows such things to happen for a reason. He tells us in more than one place in the scriptures that the innocent blood of those who are killed by evil people cry from the ground for vengeance, and their deaths help to justify the punishments God sends upon the wicked when they are finally destroyed.

Sealing one’s life’s work through death is a significant act. We can preach something all the days of our life, but in a moment of weakness we can fall and recant all that we have preached before. But when someone dies, still standing firm in their faith and still preaching what they have always taught, that testimony they have born all this time gets a stamp of approval from God, because they were true and faithful right up to their dying breath. This is how one seals a testimony in death.

Sealing one’s testimony in death through the hand of another is not required of most of us. But sealing our testimony by remaining faithful to our covenants to our dying breath is required of all of us. This is what it means to endure to the end. When you attend someone’s funeral service, what is one of the greatest things that can be said about the deceased? It is usually that they lived what they believed, and died still living their beliefs. This is the seal that is put on their life that they were true and faithful in all things, and that they truly believed what they professed during their life. For some people, like prophets, and martyrs who may not be prophets, death may be the justification God uses for punishing the wicked, but for most of us, the seal of our lives just shows that we were faithful to God up to the very end of our time in mortality.

Day 2

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 – Joseph Smith has done more for our salvation than anyone except Jesus Christ.

Some people have difficulty with the claim that Joseph Smith, of all people, has done more for the salvation of the children of God than anyone else, save Jesus only. Let’s look at some factors that demonstrate and contribute to this claim’s worthiness.

Scriptures – There is no record we currently possess that indicates that any one person has given more scripture to the world than what Joseph Smith has contributed. He translated the Book of Mormon, received the revelations that comprise the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, as well as retranslated and corrected much of the bible, both Old and New Testaments. He also provided us with many writings and sermons of doctrine that have either been lost to the world for millennia or are doctrines reserved for the latter-day, and are hence new doctrine revealed just for our time. Can you think of any other prophet or even set of prophets who contributed that much revelation to the world since the days of Adam?

Dispensation – Every new dispensation requires more revelation than normal, because the Lord is having to reestablish his covenants with his people. The last dispensation of time, in this respect, is no different. But what makes this dispensation stand out above all others is the list of promises that accompany this dispensation. The Restoration came at the end of the age of enlightenment and at the beginning of the industrial revolution. The Lord has held in reserve for this day and age many promises and blessings for the world. No other period of time since the beginning of time have these inventions and blessings been available.

Because of when the Restoration took place, and because Joseph Smith was the prophet chosen by our Father to usher in the gospel of Christ for the last time, Joseph’s influence is being taken throughout the world by a force of missionaries in the tens of thousands. Modern transportation and communication allow the gospel to be preached in almost every corner of the earth, and more opportunities for spreading God’s word open all the time.

Doctrine – One of the major defining differences of this dispensation from all other previous dispensations is that whereas each of them had a limited focus of doctrine they were required to live, in the last dispensation the priesthood keys from all other dispensations have been committed to the prophet in this dispensation. We have all the covenants needed for both salvation and exaltation.

One of the biggest differences is demonstrated by the covenants we make in the Temple. Only because of the revelations and inspiration God has given to the world in this dispensation are we able to begin the process of offering salvation and exaltation to those on the other side of the veil. This is the work that will be carried on in full force during the Millennium. Now we are in the process of preparing for the work that needs to be done. We are building temples around the globe at an ever increasing rate.

It is because of the revelations of Joseph Smith about the salvation for the dead, eternal marriage, the covenants and doctrines associated with proxy work that we are able to expand our family circles so readily. These blessings have been reserved for our day and time only. And Joseph Smith is the prophet who brought us this knowledge.

Can you see that there are many reasons why we can rightly claim that no one besides Jesus Christ himself has done more for the salvation of the human family than did Joseph Smith? The work he introduced is moving forward on both sides of the veil of death. As many millions as there may be in the Church today, there is an ever increasing number of covenant makers on the other side of the veil, and they all owe the availability of those covenants to the prophet Joseph Smith and his faithfulness to God.

Day 3

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

Doctrine and Covenants 136 – The Lord gives me counsel for my “journeyings” in life.

In the first eighteen verses the Lord gives logistical instructions to Brigham Young about how to lead and direct the thousands who were going to cross the plains to the Salt Lake Basin. It is similar to the instructions given to Moses when he found himself at a loss as to how to govern the children of Israel. But starting in about verse nineteen, the Lord starts giving personal counsel to the Saints.

As you read from verse nineteen onward to the end of the section, first acknowledge how it may have helped the Saints in their ability to get along with one another during their trek west. Then think about how this same counsel can help us to be more Christlike in our attitudes and behaviors with our family members, neighbors, ward members, and all those with whom we come into contact each day. What I am seeing here is that the Lord’s counsel is not just limited to the Saints going west. His counsel is universally true for all of us, even today.

FHE/Personal Study

Have we learned this lesson?

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

The above repeated statements appear at the beginning of each day’s lesson. Every lesson in this manual has something similar to this statement. And the Come, Follow Me manuals have had these statements in them from the very beginning. How many times do we have to read these words before they sink in and we actually follow them? How many times do we skip over the statements in these lessons week, after week, after week, without writing down anything we learn like they tell us to?

Unfortunately, for most of us, until the act of revelation becomes deeply personal and meaningful, we will continue to ignore this counsel to write down what the Spirit teaches us. Remember – insight equals revelation, understanding and comprehension of something new also equals revelation, as do instructions or promptings to do something. This means that the personal scripture God is giving to us week after week in our studies gets wasted, for without writing it down, the words of the Spirit to our soul dissipate, like dew before the morning sun. Without writing down what we have been given we will have to continue to relearn our lessons over and over again, and because they are not written down, the lessons we learn can only be shared by word of mouth, for only those in writing can be shared from generation to generation after we are gone.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 135-136, the Lord may prompt you with insights to help you apply what you read. When that happens, write down what He teaches you.

What have you written down this week from the Spirit?

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print a PDF copy of the file.

He Has Sealed His Mission

Week 48