Lesson 30 is scheduled for study July 19-25, 2021. This week’s lessons offer some great opportunities for us to reflect on our current and past callings, as well as how we will proceed in the future.

Day 1

Doctrine and Covenants 81 – I can be faithful in doing what the Lord asks of me.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 81-83, make note of principles that can help you do good among your family, your friends, and others.

The opening paragraph for today’s lesson threw me for a loop. I was completely caught off guard. It talks about how we can fulfill our important responsibilities, as Frederick G. Williams had many important responsibilities to fulfill in his calling as a counselor to Joseph Smith. Go back to section 81 and read it for yourself. Do you find any mention of important responsibilities anywhere in that section? I don’t. That is what got me thinking about the text of this section.

I have always thought of, and assumed that the responsibilities of the First Presidency were mostly administrative. But that is not what I read in section 81. Here is a listing of what the Lord told President Williams he was to do besides being faithful as a counselor to the prophet. Try this: just read what I have bolded. Check it out. Just reading the bolded parts doesn’t change the meaning of the verses at all, but it makes it very personal.

3 Therefore, verily I acknowledge him and will bless him, and also thee, inasmuch as thou art faithful in counsel, in the office which I have appointed unto you, in prayer always, vocally and in thy heart, in public and in private, also in thy ministry[.] in proclaiming the gospel in the land of the living, and among thy brethren.

4 And in doing these things thou wilt do the greatest good unto thy fellow beings, and wilt promote the glory of him who is your Lord.

5 Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.

6 And if thou art faithful unto the end thou shalt have a crown of immortality, and eternal life in the mansions which I have prepared in the house of my Father.

The bolded parts are Frederick G. Williams’ personal promises made to him by the Lord for being faithful in his calling. Anywhere in there, except for the counselor part, do you see anything of an administrative quality? I don’t. Do you see anything of personal ministering? Yes, all of it. Does any of this have anything to do with each of us? Yes, all of it. Pick any calling in the Church you can think of. Now apply that calling to these verses. Do they apply? I think they do.

This week’s lessons talk about how the scriptures in the Doctrine and Covenants, though often directed at one individual, or a group of select individuals, often have counsel and direction that all of us should be taking very much to heart in our own lives.

Do you want to know what is the greatest good you can do in this life? Do you want to know how to fulfill and magnify your calling, whatever it is, in the Church? Just read section 81 over and over again until the Spirit helps the part you need most right now sink into your soul and burn there. This section spells out how each of us, as Latter-day Saints can be faithful in our callings. A calling is a personal assignment from the Lord to act with authority in some capacity in his kingdom.

Day 2

Doctrine and Covenants 82:1-7 – The Lord invites me to repent and forsake my sins.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 81-83, make note of principles that can help you do good among your family, your friends, and others.

Here are today’s verses. I know you can easily look them up, but if you are lazy, like me, you would prefer to have me just show them to you so you don’t have to leave this screen. Yes, I have a personal struggle with laziness. :)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, my servants, that inasmuch as you have forgiven one another your trespasses, even so I, the Lord, forgive you.

Nevertheless, there are those among you who have sinned exceedingly; yea, even all of you have sinned; but verily I say unto you, beware from henceforth, and refrain from sin, lest sore judgments fall upon your heads.

For of him unto whom much is given much is required; and he who sins against the greater light shall receive the greater condemnation.

Ye call upon my name for revelations, and I give them unto you; and inasmuch as ye keep not my sayings, which I give unto you, ye become transgressors; and justice and judgment are the penalty which is affixed unto my law.

Therefore, what I say unto one I say unto all: Watch, for the adversary spreadeth his dominions, and darkness reigneth;

And the anger of God kindleth against the inhabitants of the earth; and none doeth good, for all have gone out of the way.

And now, verily I say unto you, I, the Lord, will not lay any sin to your charge; go your ways and sin no more; but unto that soul who sinneth shall the former sins return, saith the Lord your God.

The first point I would like to make about these verses is a habit the Lord has of laying all of his positions on the table for all to see. There is complete transparency. He doesn’t just wave promised blessing in front of us and hide the dark side of disobedience. He is completely open about both sides of the commandment and judgment coin.

The second point is that the Lord is not angry with the people in these verses. It might be easy to construe that he is, but he really isn’t. Afterall, he begins these verses by forgiving them of their sins. The subsequent verses are just clarifying his position on how forgiveness is handled in the plan of salvation. Just because the Lord forgives us once, it doesn’t mean we are forever free of the charge of guilt over sins we insist on repeating. If we are forgiven then repeat, then we obviously haven’t repented fully yet, and need to try again.

The third point here is that the Lord openly states in verse four that when we call upon him for revelations he gives them to us. But he follows this statement with the reminder that when we receive commandments (revelations), and we don’t follow them, there are judgments attached to that disobedience. This is one of the great principles of the whole plan of salvation – there are consequences affixed to every instruction given to us from the Lord. Each of those consequences will either lift us up and bless our life or they will punish us for our disobedience. It can be easy to forget or ignore this very basic principle of the plan. There are consequences for everything we choose to do. There simply is no such thing as a moral choice with no consequence.

The long and the short of this passage of scripture is that the Lord may love us more than we can comprehend, but he never masks his love from his accompanying judgments. They cannot be separated. God, our Father, set up the plan. Jesus follows that plan with exactness. All the love in the universe can’t save an unrepentant soul, because that is the Law God set for our plan of salvation.

Day 3

Doctrine and Covenants 82:8-10 – Commandments are for my salvation and protection.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 81-83, make note of principles that can help you do good among your family, your friends, and others.

Want to know why we have commandments? Here it is in plain language. I wonder if this would have made any difference if it had been included in the New Testament?

And again, I say unto you, I give unto you a new commandment, that you may understand my will concerning you;

Or, in other words, I give unto you directions how you may act before me, that it may turn to you for your salvation.

10 I, the Lord, am bound when ye do what I say; but when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise.

Day 4

Doctrine and Covenants 83 – Widows and orphans shall be provided for.

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 81-83, make note of principles that can help you do good among your family, your friends, and others.

The Lord makes it very clear that those who cannot provide for themselves have claim for help. When you read verse six, I invite you to think about two things:

  1. Does it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that those who are unable to care for themselves have a right, in the Lord’s eyes, to be cared for?
  2. As one of those who are probably responsible to give to the Lord’s storehouse for the poor’s maintenance, what can you do to be generous in your offerings? Has the Lord ever prompted you to find ways of being more generous than you have been in the past?

FHE/Personal Study

Doctrine and Covenants 81:5 – The weak and the feeble

In the first day’s lesson for this week we looked at the Lord’s expectations of each of us in our personal ministering assignments. And please note that ministering is a commandment, not something that is optional or if we feel like it. Helping the weak and the feeble, those who are lagging spiritually or emotionally during the rigors of their life, can be difficult.

What makes helping others difficult? Often the biggest hurdle we face is just discovering what the problems are. Once we know what is really wrong, only then do we even have a prayer of helping the way we should and can. Perhaps more often than not, the real needs of people are not visible to us as neighbors. People tend to want to hide the depth of their difficulties or the real pain they feel. They may be embarrassed, proud, feeling incompetent, or any number of other things that cause them to distort the problems or hide them so their true face remains hidden.

If you go back and reread the verses as I printed them from day one, I think you will see clearly that the instructions we have been given from the Lord are all very personal in nature. We must be actively involved in the lives of others. If you are not sure that is true, think about your own life. Do you share your deepest needs, your shameful secrets, or your social embarrassments with just anyone, or do you open up about such things only to your closest friends? I think most of us only are “true” to those we believe truly love us. We can trust them because we feel safe from being judged by them as being evil, wicked, lazy, incompetent, etc.

While it is true that we are assigned people to minister to each month, that cannot be adequately done by only a tweet, a text, or a plate of goodies a few times a year. Those are all kind things to do for someone else, but only through actual involvement in their lives will most people open up to you and let you see what is really going on. The amazing result of becoming actively involved in another person’s life is that they become as precious as family to us, and we find that our heart changes towards them.

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Where Much Is Given Much Is Required

Week 30