Week 17 is scheduled for study April 19-25, 2021. This week’s lessons demonstrate beautifully the truth that God’s laws govern everything, from our misery to our ultimate happiness.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 41 – He that receiveth my law and doeth it, the same is my disciple.

“If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). What questions can you ask in order to receive the revelation you need?

The discussion of today’s lesson may seem a little disjointed. That is because my thoughts are disjointed. I am seeing points and principles in the first few verses of this section, but haven’t tied them into a neat little package. I hope as you read these thoughts you will be able to place the individual ideas into your own life where they might fit.

Doctrine and Covenants 41:1 discusses how the Lord views those who claim to have accepted His laws, and how He will personally deal with each type of person, those who claim Him and obey, versus those who claim Him, but disobey.

Hearken and hear, O ye my people, saith the Lord and your God, ye whom I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings, ye that hear me; and ye that hear me not will I curse, that have professed my name, with the heaviest of all cursings.

I had to read and reread this verse multiple times before I figured out what it was saying. Here is my very loose rewording of what the Lord is declaring in verse one.

‘Those of you who profess my name and hear me (listen to what I tell you), “I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings.” But those of you who “profess my name” but “hear me not” (or in other words, do what you want) I will curse you “with the heaviest of all cursings.”‘

I invite you to compare my loose rewording with the original verse and see if I got it right. If I did then those of us who proclaim we are Saints, but when the prophet tells us we need to do something, and we choose to do something else instead, what else can we expect than to be cursed by God “with the heaviest of cursings”?

To me, this is a very profound verse. The Lord declares clearly that if we make covenants with Him, we had better be prepared to live them, for if we don’t, there will be extreme consequences. On the one hand, I tend to focus on the phrase “heaviest of all cursings.” On the other hand, I need to remind myself that the Lord has unapologetically stated that to those who hear him, i.e. keep his commandments and follow his servants, “I delight to bless with the greatest of all blessings.” And what are some of these blessings he wanted to give his people? It was the temple covenants, the New and Everlasting Covenant, the Abrahamic covenant, the sealing power. Along with the sealing power comes the power to be exalted and become like God.

This is why the Lord says that they who listen or harken to him are his disciples. Only a disciple strives to become like their master.

Now let’s look at the reason for the revelations the Saints were receiving. The introduction to the week’s lessons mentions the condition and make up of the church. No one in the church was born into it. Everyone was a convert. They all came from differing religious backgrounds. Some were baptized from a Catholic background, others from any one of many Protestant denominations, some from evangelical roots, and some were even trying to live the laws the early Saints in the Bible lived, where they had all things in common.

There was nothing uniform or truly common among all these newly converted Saints, except that they had all found and been drawn into the waters of baptism of the Lord’s restored gospel. Everyone had different expectations, different points of view, and different ways of interpreting what they read and heard from the prophet Joseph. Regulating this newly gathered and ever growing body of Saints was a herculean task. This is partly why the Lord needed to reveal His way of doing things. We members of the Lord’s church today have nearly 200 years of experience from which to draw from in making decisions. We have generations of customs that have been handed down to us from Saints who came before us. As a social group, we have the precedents and expectations that have been established by the Lord and by custom. All these things have helped us develop a unique way of looking at the world and interpreting what is happening around us. We may not always be right, but we are more right than the world itself, for the Lord has helped us shape our way of looking at the world.

As you read and think about this section, and those that follow, remember that we are disciples. Everyone who enters into a covenant relationship with God becomes a disciple of Christ. Our job is to learn all we can of him and live our lives the best way we know how in order to become as much like him as we can be. We aren’t perfect. We will make mistakes, but that is why he has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit will teach us what we personally need to change, and how to begin that change. Many of our changes will take years to bring to maturity, and our lives will be filled with constant repentance and practice of the godly ways. But this is why we are here, and this is what we were sent to accomplish. All of us must learn his laws then learn to live them. This is why Christ gave Joseph Smith the laws of his church. These laws were the unifying glue that would hold the people together as they learned of His ways and became like Christ. These laws are what teach us what God expects of us, and how we are to do what needs to be done.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 42 – God’s laws govern His Church and can govern our lives.

“If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). What questions can you ask in order to receive the revelation you need?

The exercise listed for today’s lesson in the manual is a good one. This is not meant to be a quick study, but one that is pondered and considered in order to get as much out of what you read in section 42 as possible. I have chose to take a brief look at verses 18-29 and talk about a couple of aspects that jumped out at me in these verses. As you read each set of verses, you will have unconnected thoughts come into your mind. Follow them. When we study the scriptures much of what we think about, or that occurs to us in the course of our reading, seems odd or having nothing to do with what we thought we were supposed to read at the time. This is how the Holy Ghost teaches us. We get into the “spiritual zone” and He leads us where we need to grow and learn the most. He just needs us to tap into His power so He can open the door of our understanding.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:18

This seems to be a pretty clear statement about the person who kills. “… he that kills shall not have forgiveness in this world, nor in the world to come.” I have heard many people state emphatically that murder is an unforgivable sin. If you are using a verse like this one as your reference, that appears to be the case. So why would I even question such a clear statement of fact? There are actually two reasons I suspect that this verse is not saying what it looks on the surface to be saying.

Reason #1

Here is the entry in the Guide to the Scriptures under the word “unpardonable.”

Unpardonable Sin

The sin of denying the Holy Ghost, a sin that cannot be forgiven.

Here are two examples, one where the people were offered forgiveness for their murders, if they would repent, and another where they received forgiveness for the murders they committed, because they repented. So it appears that it is indeed possible to receive forgiveness for the act of murder, though forgiveness is very difficult to obtain.

If we have at least two examples of whole groups of people being forgiven for the murders they have already committed, what then is Doctrine and Covenants 42:18 referring to when it says that there is no forgiveness for sin, either in this life or the next? Have you looked at the cross references for verse 18? I believe the answer is in the references. Look them up and you will see that they are referring to the Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, the one and only unpardonable sin. So when this verse says that there is no forgiveness for murder, I believe it is referring specifically to the unpardonable sin of denying the Holy Ghost. What do you think?

Take some time, perhaps even a couple of days, and go through the rest of this section and see what comes into your head to go research.

Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 42:30-42 – How did the Saints “consecrate of [their] properties” to support the poor?

“If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). What questions can you ask in order to receive the revelation you need?

In today’s lesson I use the word “we”, but I mean “me.” I honestly don’t know if I am the only one who wonders each time I read the word “consecrate” in the scriptures or in church literature, if it means what I think it means. So I decided that for today’s lesson I needed some clarity, and I went to good old Webster. Below is the first part of the definition.

CONSECRATEverb transitive [Latin , to consecrate sacred. See Sacred.]

1. To make or declare to be sacred, by certain ceremonies or rites; to appropriate to sacred uses; to set apart, dedicate, or devote, to the service and worship of God; as, to consecrate a church.

In the past, when I thought about consecrating property to the church for the use of the church, I only thought about me having to give my land, holdings, and valuables (whether small or great) to the church to do with what they pleased. I thought of the act of giving everything over to the church almost like it was an abandonment of my possessions into the hands of someone else, and then I would have to beg for scraps or leftovers for my own survival. That would be a test of faith indeed!

When you read and ponder what it means to consecrate one’s property to support the poor, you arrive at a completely different scenario. For example, what is the purpose of the Lord giving us the law of consecration and stewardship? Afterall, the purpose of the law will profoundly affect the administration of the program. The Lord has always taught that the purpose behind this law is to unify his Saints, to prosper ALL of the Saints, not just the poor ones, and it is specifically designed to care for the poor among us, which always have been, and always will be among us. It is just a fact of life that there will always be those who cannot care for themselves or who, for one reason or another, have difficult circumstances that make living a real challenge. We cannot escape that fact. It is as unchanging as the rising of the sun. This is why the Lord wants us to unite and to care for one another, that those who have these difficulties might have their suffering eased. It pleases God when His children watch out for, and care for one another.


As I read Webster’s definition of consecration, I look at what the law of consecration and stewardship more accurately means. When I give to the Bishop/the Church all of my worldly goods, I am making a covenant with God to allow God’s servants to use what I have or will obtain in this life for the use of His work and His glory. I am making my efforts, and my properties something that is sacred and holy. This is vastly different in attitude from what I was thinking before.

When we consecrate our worldly possessions to the Church, the Lord’s servants, the Bishop, in return works with us to decide what our wants really are. Mind you, a want is not a greedy, grasping desire for more. A want in scriptural terms is a real need. When we have our wants determined, we are made stewards over that part of the Church’s property or work. Wait, but wasn’t that property mine just moments ago? Yes, but when I give my property to the Church it is no longer mine. This is why the Lord specifies that those who enter into this agreement cannot back out on a whim and demand their property back. Once it is consecrated, or made holy by being donated for the Lord to use as He sees fit, we cannot get it back.

So I give my property to the church with the intent of being given back a portion of goods to support myself or myself and my family. I use those things with the knowledge that they no longer belong to me, but to the Lord. I am literally a steward or servant who has been given responsibility to watch over and care for my master’s property.

Can you see why this idea can be challenging for many people? This is why the law of consecration and stewardship proved to be so hard to live for the early Saints. They still hadn’t learned to think of everything as belonging to the Lord. They were jealous over what others had and wanted more for themselves. Such attitudes kill a law like this in short order. What people forget is that the purpose of the law is to prosper everyone, not just a few. Think of all the references in the Book of Mormon and in the history of the Church where the law of consecration and stewardship worked, even if for a short time. Each and every time they all prospered as a people far more than when they each owned their own property. In the world, satan’s substitute for the principle of consecration is communism/socialism. But in satan’s plan everything is forcibly taken away from the individual (for their own good) and those who rule or govern are made rich and powerful, while those who do the work suffer in poverty (for their own good). This isn’t how the Lord’s plan works at all.

We all live a portion of the law of consecration and stewardship. Tithing is the embodiment of this law. We give one tenth of our increase to the Lord willingly so He might have the means, at our hands, to care for the needs of His church. When we give a generous fast offering, we are demonstrating our willingness to feed and care for the poor among us, even if it isn’t directly.

Temple covenants also support this principle, for we promise to live this law when called upon to do so. And what are the downsides to living this law, even in the small ways in which we have been asked to live it today? I can’t personally think of a single downside. Don’t we all get up in fast and testimony meeting and tell everyone how blessed we have been because we pay our tithes and fast offerings? Don’t we consider ourselves blessed because of the temple covenants we have made and lived up to?

Someday we will be asked to more fully live this law, but the time is not yet. But in the meantime we can recognize that we can and do live this law in a partial state. We can continue to seek to offer the Lord more by sharing our blessings and worldly goods more freely and with fewer reservations and conditions on our largesse/generosity.

All of this in today’s lesson is to answer the statement as to how the Lord’s law can (and does) govern His church and can govern how we live our lives. Now if we can just figure out a way to get rid of our love of the word “mine.”

Day 4

Doctrine and Covenants 42:61, 65-68; 43:1-16 – God gives revelation to guide His Church.

“If thou shalt ask,” the Lord promised, “thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61). What questions can you ask in order to receive the revelation you need?

We should glory in the two sets of verses for today’s lesson. The verses in section 43 demonstrate to us that the Lord is very orderly and protective of that which He sets up for the blessing of His work and His children. This desire on God’s part to bless His children is spelled out in the listed verses of section 42.

When you read (past tense) the first 16 verses of section 43, did you feel a sense of comfort that the Lord was willing to make laws regarding who can and will give us His word? Isn’t it wonderful that God has put safeguards in place that enable us to know whom we can trust to receive revelation from Him for the whole church? The Lord even goes so far as to let us know that if He ever has to take away the right to revelation for the church from His prophet, will leave the prophet with only one gift, and that is to appoint another in his stead according to the order and pattern the Lord has established in the church. That would be devastating to us as members, but what a comfort that the Lord has considered all the possibilities!

After reading the verses in section 43 you can go back to section 42 and read the verses that list the blessings outlined for us as members of the Lord’s kingdom, because He has given us an orderly and regulated method for receiving revelation we can trust. In any other church or religion this pattern does not exist. In all of Christianity, claims of revelation are higglety pigglety, where anyone’s claim is as valid as anyone else’s claim. Only in the Lord’s church has He given us the blueprint for who we should turn to for revelation for the whole church and the world.

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and  Covenants 41:1-5 – The need for laws

Be honest. Do you think of laws as restrictive or punitive in nature? Do laws really exist just to regulate us? Even if you answer “no” to these questions, if you chafe against the Laws of God then you have really answered these questions with a “yes.” I know I have caught myself feeling at times like all the laws are just there to keep me in check. They don’t “free” me at all. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Do a search on laws on the church’s website and see what you find in the scriptures or in Conference talks. There is no governing in the universe without laws. Laws are what set boundaries, expectations, and specify rewards for all behaviors and actions. Without a law there can be no judgment, no punishment, no blessing or reward. Before the Lord creates anything He decides whether it is something that will be acted upon by other laws and wills or if it will have a will of its own and what the boundaries of that will will be. Nothing is made first then laws applied second.

The Lord uses His omniscience to make laws based on the limitations or capacities of that which He is about to create. In our case, all the laws He put in place for us are there to help us grow to become like Him. So yes, laws are not only important, but essential to our future happiness in the eternities.

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My Law to Govern My Church

Week 17