Thursday, April 29, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 46-48


The new members of the Church in Ohio were excited that the original Church of Jesus Christ had been restored and they knew that this meant the gifts of the Spirit would be present, but they didn’t really know what those gifts would look like. They pulled the practices of their own former religions into this new context and confusion resulted. As a consequence, Doctrine and Covenants Section 46 was revealed for clarification.

Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;

For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.

Today we can also be confused about gifts of the Spirit, but the scripture above gives a great litmus test: If it blesses others, it is probably a valid gift. Each of us has our own gifts and we must dare to learn to exercise them until they are strong and fully developed so that we also may bless others.

11 For all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.

12 To some is given one, and to some is given another, that all may be profited thereby.

Marvin J. Ashton share a huge list of personal gifts of the Spirit that we might not recognize in his October 1987 GeneralConference.  Read it! You will see that their are hundreds of gifts of the Spirit. If it profits others, if it brings them closer to Christ, it is a gift from God.


Section 47 is a specific revelation to a specific person (John Whitmer) about keeping a specific record (the Church’s history). So why was it important enough to be canonized? There must be a relevance to us as individuals, and there is. Record-keeping is important not only on a Church-wide level, but also on an individual and family level. Most of us will have a moment or two in our lives when we have questions or discouragement—moments that try our faith. If we have kept a record of our sacred experiences, we can refer back to them and refresh our testimonies; we can remember why we believe.

To that end, I share this personal spiritual experience prompt compiled from a list by Truman G. Madsen, altered by my own former stake president Kent R. Wallis (check out his art online or in many temples), and capped off by a couple of my own ideas. I used this as a question-and-answer writing tool for recording my own spiritual experiences in my journal. You may want to do the same. Or make your own list. I like to call them "hugs from Heaven," especially in this year when we are starved of human hugs.

1.     Have you ever been lifted beyond yourself in prayer to be inspired in what to say or ask for?  

2.   Have you ever received a confirmation back immediately, letting you know the conversation is two-way? 

3.    Has the warmth of the Spirit brought tears to your eyes when you have partaken of the sacrament and contemplated the Savior’s gift? 

4.    Have you ever been given a priesthood blessing of any type and felt yourself being revealed?  Were things expressed that only you and the Lord could have known? 

5.    Have you ever felt the mantle of responsibility settle upon you when you were set apart to a calling? 

6.    Have you been an instrument in the Lord’s hands, surprised by what you said? 

7.    Have you ever been compelled by the Spirit to bear your testimony when you were not planning to? 

8.    Have you taught beyond what you knew to be your own ability? 

9.    Has a lesson or talk ever seemed tailor-made for you and your present situation? 

10.  Have you ever been taught by the Spirit while you were teaching others, gaining understanding of concepts that were not clear to you before? 

11.   Have you felt “pure intelligence” flow into you, coming up with great ideas that were not yours? 

12.  Have you ever instantly recognized someone that you had not met before, realizing that you are kindred spirits and knew each other in the pre-existence? 

13.  Have you ever known something was going to happen before it did, such as being called to a certain position? 

14.  Has the music in a meeting ever spoken to you in a heavenly way, perhaps moving you to tears? 

15.  Have you ever had a stricken conscience, when, regardless of consequence to yourself, you were compelled to confess or to forgive or to set something right? 

16.  Have you ever felt a confirmation that a place you are visiting is really a sacred place? 

17.  Have you ever been moved to be suddenly more compassionate, more forgiving, more accepting of others, even to the point of thinking generously of other drivers on the road, for example? 

18.  Have you felt the desire to not just imitate the Lord, but to be one with Him? 

19.  Have you ever had an experience that you felt was too sacred to share? 

20.  Have you ever recognized a light shining in the countenance of a righteous person?

21.  Have you ever looked in the mirror and seen a change in your own countenance? 

22.  Have you had the thrill of making a visit or keeping an appointment that you didn’t want to, and leaving with a wonderful feeling that you did some good? 

23.  Have you ever had the desire to take someone else’s trials upon you and relieve them of their burden? 

24. Have you ever received a sustaining witness to the call of another, such as a general authority or a bishop or Relief Society president?

25. Have you ever felt the love God has for you?

26.  Have you ever been able to feel the love that God feels for someone else?

27. Have you ever been surprised to realize that you suddenly know exactly what to do to help someone else?

28.    Have you ever felt a scripture leap off the page at you, having your understanding enlightened in a different way, or having an application to your personal life made apparent? 

No doubt you could add more spiritual gifts to Elder Ashton's list if you look around your ward or family and watch what people do that brings light into the eyes of others. And as you write down the Heavenly hugs you receive, you will find more than I've listed here, and it will root and ground your faith in the love and care of our Heavenly Parents. It will align your perspective with Theirs and increase your happiness and inner peace. On days when you are low and you wonder why you believe, you will read this and you won't be able to forget! In addition, the Lord will give you more.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 45

D&C 45:35: “Be not troubled, for, when all these things shall come to pass, ye may know that the promises which have been made unto you shall be fulfilled.”

PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE—You will know when summer is nigh if you watch
D&C 45:36-37: “And when the light shall begin to break forth, it shall be with them like unto a parable which I will show you—Ye look and behold the fig trees, and ye see them with your eyes, and ye say when they begin to shoot forth, and their leaves are yet tender, that summer is now nigh at hand.”
                :39 “…he that feareth me shall be looking forth for the great day of the Lord to come…”
                :44-46 “And then they shall look for me and, behold, I will come; and they shall see me in the clouds of heaven, clothed with power and great glory with all the holy angels…” Those who have “slept in peace” will be brought back to life and redeemed, also.
                :54 “Then shall the heathen nations be redeemed…in the first resurrection…”
                :55 “Satan shall be bound…”

Five of Them Were Wise, by Walter Rane
from Media Library

PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS—In addition to watching, preparation is required
D&C 45:56-57: “And at that day, when I shall come in my glory, shall the parable be fulfilled which I spake concerning the ten virgins. For they that are wise and have received the truth, and have taken the Holy Spirit for their guide, and have not been deceived—verily I say unto you, they shall not be hewn down and cast into the fire, but shall abide the day.”
                :57 the oil in their lamps is knowing the truth and having the Holy Spirit for their guide & having not been deceived. (Write on the board)
                :58-59 “the earth shall be given unto them…they shall multiply and wax strong…the Lord shall be in their midst, and his glory shall be upon them, and he will be their king and their lawgiver.”
                :60-61 The New Testament translation will tell more, that ye may be prepared.

JS-MATTHEW—Counsel for those watching & preparing
Hazards for Disciples in the last days (Note on blackboard) (Matt. 24)
1.       JS-M 1:7 Being Afflicted. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you, and ye shall be hated of all nations, for my name’s sake.” Don’t worry about this one. See D&C 101:36
2.       JS-M 1:8 Being Offended. “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” Zion people will not war with one another. See D&C 45:69
3.       JS-M 1:9 Being Deceived. “And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many.” JS-M 1:22—“For in those days there shall also arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch, that, if possible, they shall deceive the very elect, who are the elect according to the covenant.” False prophets would deceive even the very elect, according to the covenant. JS-M 1:37--“Whoso treasureth up my word, shall not be deceived…”
4.       JS-M 11:10 Being surrounded by Iniquity. “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” JS-M 1:30 “…he that shall not be overcome, the same shall be saved.” How to overcome by faith, rather than be overcome by iniquity, is found in D&C 76:50-53 from last week. (The basic cycle of sanctification we discuss every week: Faith to Repentance to Baptism/Covenant Keeping to Holy Ghost.) Don’t be confused that you will do this by yourself: D&C 76:61 – “Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.” Christ will have done it for you.
The Promise: JS-M 1:11 “He that remaineth steadfast and is not overcome, the same shall be saved.” JS-M 1:12 so “stand in the Holy Place.”

Blessings of the Millenium to those who watch & prepare
D&C 101:22-38 Stand in the holy place and prepare for the revelation
These are the good things that will happen:
                :26 anything you ask will be given
                :28 Satan will have no power
                :29 no sorrow, no death
                :30 no infant death
                :31 translation rather than death
                :32-34 all knowledge will be available.
                :36 don’t be afraid, even about death, because it will be a joyful time
                :37 don’t worry about your body only as it relates to your soul. In D&C 88:15, it explains that the spirit and the body combined are the soul. 
                :38 seek the face of God that you may possess your souls (spirit + body) and you shall have eternal life.

Jesus the Christ, by Del Parson
from Media Library

We’ll give glory to Christ
D&C 133:52-53 “And now the year of my redeemed is come; and they shall mention the loving kindness of their Lord, and all that he has bestowed upon them according to his goodness, and according to his loving kindness, forever and ever. In all their afflictions he was afflicted. And the angel of his presence saved them; and in his love, and in his pity, he redeemed them, and bore them, and carried them all the days of old.” We will realize all the wonderful things the Lord did for us throughout our lives. 
                :57 “for this cause, that men might be made partakers of the glories…the Lord sent forth the fullness of his gospel, his everlasting covenant…”
                :58 “…to prepare the weak…”
                :59 to “…thrash the nations by the power of his Spirit.”
                :60 “for this cause these commandments were given.”

What is left?
Recently I had several friends ask if the Second Coming might be very close, maybe even in the year 2021, because "the world has become so evil" and there are interesting signs in the skies and in the events of the world that could be interpreted to point to this year. I would absolutely love that if it were the case. Wouldn't it be great for our troubles to be over and for Christ to reign on the earth? So I did some research and compiled a list and, unfortunately, I find it difficult to see all of these remaining signs happening in just the next year. But it will continue to be interesting to watch and marvel at the works of the Lord:


1.     The Church will grow to fill the entire earth (Dan. 2:35, 44-45). We are getting closer, but there are still over 100 major cities in Russia, the largest country in the world, that have no church outreach, according to And about 60 additional nations are still closed to the Church.**

2.     All will hear the gospel in their own language (D&C 90:10-11). There are around 6,500 languages in the world. The Book of Mormon is now available in 90 languages. The Provo MTC teaches over 50 languages. The international MTCs teach several more. We do have translation during General Conference, but we are far from 6,500 languages.

3.     Righteousness and truth will sweep the earth as a flood (Moses 7:62). President Benson’s “flooding of the earth” with the Book of Mormon was a definite contributor. 

4.     Scattered Israel will be gathered. Definitely in process!

5.     The lost ten tribes will return (D&C 133:26-33). D&C 110:11 implies that there will be two parts to this gathering: the gathering from the four corners of the earth of individuals through missionary work, and the leading from the north of a larger group.

6.     The Lamanites will blossom as the rose (D&C 49:24). South and Central American natives certainly have, but there is still room for more blossoming among the North American Natives. I personally believe the North American Natives are descendants of Lehi.

7.     The U.S. Constitution will be threatened but the leaders of our church will save it (Brigham Young, quoting Joseph Smith, JD 2:182). Our constitution is certainly under stress at this time.

8.     A great hailstorm will destroy the crops of the earth, with stones the weight of a talent (Rev. 16:21; D&C 29:16). No one knows the accurate weight of a New Testament talent, but we can assume these are big hailstones.

9.     The gospel will flourish in Egypt and a temple will be built there (Isaiah 19:18-22). Egypt is presently one of the nations closed to the Church.

10.  A temple will be built in old Jerusalem (Ezek. 47:1-10; TPJS, 286). It will be on the Temple Mount but will not necessarily displace the Dome of the Rock; it will not be what is presently the Jerusalem Center. Church leadership has advised Seminary/Institute teachers to stop speculation that this may one day become a temple. Such a transformation would be against our agreement with Jerusalem leadership.

11.  A spring of fresh water will flow out from under this temple and heal the Dead Sea (Ezek. 47:1-10; TPJS, 286). Healing this sea would involve a massive amount of fresh water to reduce its salinity and make it habitable. 

12.  The “times of the Gentiles” will be fulfilled and the gospel will be taken to the Jews (D&C 45:22-28).

13.  The Jews will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior (D&C 45:51-53). There are Messianic Jews today who do believe in Jesus as their Savior, and that movement is growing, but it is far from a majority. According to one source, only 2.5% of Jews are Messianic.

14.  A New Jerusalem will be built in Independence, Missouri (Moses 7:62-64; D&C 57:1-3; Ether 13:5-6). The wicked will be afraid of the righteous who live there. It will be a place of safety for refugees from every nation. They will be the only people not at war. We haven't seen much happen in Independence yet.

15.  There will be a huge, private meeting at Adam-Ondi-Ahman (Dan. 7:9-14). All the faithful will be there, plus faithful dead (Bruce R. McConkie, MM, 578). Christ will appear there and receive the keys of the kingdom back from the Church leaders.

16.  A great earthquake “such as was not since men were upon the earth” will darken the sun (Rev. 6:12; 16:18). The 1812 New Madrid earthquakes along the Mississippi River in the United States are an example of how an earthquake can darken the sun--by raising sulphurous vapor from below the earth. Whether this event was the fulfillment of this prophecy, I don't know. 

17.  There will be no rainbows in the year that Christ comes (HC 6:254). Joseph Smith: “In any year that the bow should be seen the Lord would not come.”

18.  There will be a grand “sign of the coming of the Son of Man” in the sky. Nobody knows what it is, including the devil, but it will be obvious (Matt: 24:29-31; D&C 88:90-93; etc.) Joseph Smith: This will come after the sun has been darkened, the moon turned to blood, and the seas have heaved beyond their bounds (TPJS, 286-7).** Some people think that the sign has occurred, but since it wasn't obvious to the casual observer, I disagree.

19.  All the world will be at war, with Jerusalem at the center of the conflict.

20.  The Battle of Armageddon will occur. The valley of Megiddo is the name of the location today and is 50 miles north of Jerusalem (Rev. 16:14-16).

21.  Two of the apostles will be killed in Jerusalem after ministering there for 3-1/2 years (Rev. 11:3-13; D&C 77:15. Their bodies will lie in the street for 3-1/2 days, while the people celebrate their deaths. They will then rise from the dead and ascend into heaven after a vocal summoning from God

22.  Those living a godly life will be taken up to meet Christ and will then descend with him to rule the earth (D&C 88:96-98).

23.  In the midst of the siege of Jerusalem, Christ will appear on the Mount of Olives (Zech. 12:1-9; Bruce R. McConkie, DNTC, 1:659-60). The Mount of Olives will split in two and the entire world will feel the associated earthquake (D&C 45:48; Zech. 14:1-5). Everyone will see Jesus Christ appear; there will be no doubt (Rev. 1:7; 6:14-16; etc.).

24.  The wicked will be burned (Mal. 4:1; D&C 5:19; etc.)

25.  Evil will be conquered (D&C 29:21, etc.).

26.  There will be a full end of all nations (D&C 87:6-8).

27.  The righteous will live in peace (Isa. 11:6-9). Jesus Christ will rule the world politically.

Notes on two other signs:

1.   The mark of the beast will be in people’s foreheads [ownership] and right hands [covenants] (Rev. 13:13-17). This could just be symbolizing general worldliness and evil-doing, and could therefore already be fulfilled.

2.   *The sun will be darkened and the moon will become as blood (Joel 2:28-32). In October conference 2001, President Hinckley read this prophecy and said had been fulfilled. His second talk in that conference is also of interest.

Source: David J. Ridges, Using the Signs of the Times to Strengthen Your Testimony, 2014. Note: He lists 97 signs of the times total. This list only contains those not yet fulfilled.

**Nations/Areas Without Significant Church Presence

Bosnia and Herzegovina
British Virgin Islands
Burkina Faso
China (mainland)
East Timor
Equatorial Guinea
Falkland Islands
Faroe Islands
The Gambia
Norfolk Island
North Korea
Pitcairn Islands
San Marino
Saudi Arabia
South Sudan
United Arab Emirates
Vatican City (obviously)
Wallis and Futuna

Although the list is greatly shortened from the 97 events that David Ridges identified in the scriptures, we still have much work to do. We can be a light to our own personal sphere, we can support missionary work throughout the world, we can pray for countries to be opened to the Church, we can support and teach Native Americans, we can research our ancestors and do their temple work (this is the "offering of the Sons of Levi [temple goers]" mentioned by Christ in 3 Nephi 24:3).

“Today, the Lord’s work in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is moving forward at an accelerated pace. The Church will have an unprecedented, unparalleled future. ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, … the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9; see also Doctrine and Covenants 76:10).

"Remember that the fulness of Christ’s ministry lies in the future. The prophecies of His Second Coming have yet to be fulfilled. We are just building up to the climax of this last dispensation—when the Savior’s Second Coming becomes a reality” (President Russell M. Nelson, April 2020 General Conference).

As individuals, we can and must constantly increase our personal righteousness.

“How do you prepare for the Second Coming? Well, you just do not worry about it. You just live the kind of life that if the second coming were to be tomorrow, you would be ready. Nobody knows when it is going to happen….Our responsibility is to prepare ourselves, to live worthy of the association of the Savior, to deport ourselves in such a way that we would not be embarrassed if He were to come among us. That is a challenge in this day and age.” (President Gordon B. Hinckly, Church News, 2 January 1999, p. 2)

from Media Library

D&C 88:68 – “Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will.”  
The definition of sanctification immediately follows: “that your minds become single to God.” If our motive in everything is love, if our direction is always upwards, and if our hearts and desires are aligned with God's through the direction of the Spirit, our minds are eyes are single to the glory of God. This is the personal path to safety in the last days.
EXTRA ACTIVITY: If you have active class members (a.k.a. youth), you may want to let them make Hebrew lamps during or after the discussion to remind themselves to be filled with the Holy Spirit that they may be a light to the world. Here is a link to directions: Homemade Hebrew Lamps

Doctrine and Covenants 41-44


President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, "The basic principle of all the revelations on the United Order is that everything we have belongs to the Lord; therefore, the Lord may call upon us for any and all of the property which we have, because it belongs to Him. This, I repeat, is the basic principle" (October 3, 1942 Conference Address).  (See D&C 104:14-17, 54-57.)

Section 42 of the D&C outlines the Law of the Church, as laid forth by the Lord, including the elements of the Law of Consecration. It is contained in between two statements of the Lord’s straight from the New Testament.

Verse 29:   If thou lovest me thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments
Verse 38:   For inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me.

So it is based upon the loftiest of Christian values, serving Christ through service to others, and the idea that everything we have is a stewardship to begin with. The key elements:

Verse 30:   A covenant, which cannot be broken
Verse 31-32:   Giving of your substance to the poor, by way of the bishop
Verse 32:  Carrying out your own stewardship to a common treasury for the future care of the poor, and for the building of churches, etc.
Verse 37:   Not being able to “take back” what you consecrated
Verse 39:  This was all in fulfillment of a prophecy.

You could say that there were four phases of the law of consecration during Joseph Smith’s lifetime.

1831-1833. Jackson County, Missouri. The vehicle used (Bruce R. McConkie’s word) was called “The United Order.” A very brief attempt was made in Kirtland, then another in Jackson County. A member would deed all to the church, having a stewardship deeded back to him, which belonged to him as long as he remained with the church. The excess went to build the kingdom and support the poor. It was a great deal of work for the bishop, who managed it all, with the help of others. Some of the deeds have survived. The least affluent of those belonged to James Lee, who consecrated to the bishop “a number of saddlers tools, one candlestick & one washbowl valued seven dollars twenty five cents,--also saddler’s stock, trunks and harness work valued twenty four dollars—also extra clothing valued three dollars” – possessions totally $34.25 in value. Among the wealthiest was George W. Pitkin, who gave “sundry articles of furniture valued forty seven dollars thirty seven cents,--also three beds, bedding and extra clothing valued sixty eight dollars,--also sundry farming tools valued eleven dollars and fifty cents,--also two horses, one harness, one wagon, two cows and one calf valued one hundred and eighty one dollars”—the total worth $307.87. (Leonard  Arrington, Building the City of God, p. 24)

1833. Jackson County, Missouri. As a result of the lawsuit of an ex-member, stewardships were now private property of the individuals, and the bishop’s authority over them was “softened.” 

1837-1838. Caldwell & Daviess Counties. Members gave voluntary contributions: initially 2% of their net worth, and more to follow. Later, all of a member’s surplus was donated, plus annual tithing of 10%. At this time in the history of the Church, most of them had, however, little or no surplus. 

1838-1844.  Nauvoo, Illinois. The quantity of the consecration was now the decision of the donor. Rather than setting specific percentages, the Prophet emphasized true generosity in giving, and freedom from all taint of self-interest. The Saints fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and comforted the afflicted, regardless of religious affiliation. In 1842, the sacred ritual of the endowment was introduced, which encompassed the Law of Consecration. Saints are promised joint inheritances with Christ, powers, knowledge, and glory, by consecrating their energy and resources to the Church and by sacrificing all things for the advancement of God’s work on the earth (Lyndon W. Cook, author of Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration, quoted in Encyclopedia of Latter-Day Saint History, p. 241-243).

EDWARD PARTRIDGE : An Example of Consecration

The Bishop who had the responsibility of managing this complicated United Order was Edward Partridge, also the first bishop of this dispensation. Joseph Smith wrote that Edward Partridge was “a pattern of piety and one of the Lord’s great men.” (History of the Church, 1:128)

Edward Partridge was a hatter before he joined the church. Hats, of course, were vital to the genteel of the day (probably partly because they washed their hair so infrequently), and millinery was a lucrative career. Edward Partridge had a partnership in a store near Albany, and a branch store in Ohio, when he bought out his partner. Then he met those first four missionaries of the church. That was the end of his material prosperity, but it was the beginning of a great spiritual treasure.

His wife Lydia joined the church first, but he wanted to meet Joseph Smith before he made up his mind. So he journeyed to New York in 1830, listened to a discourse by the prophet, and asked to be baptized the next day. He was baptized by Joseph Smith himself. He returned to Ohio and three days after his arrival, having been a member of the church less than two months, he was called to be the first bishop.

"And again, I have called my servant Edward Partridge; and I give a commandment, that he should be appointed by the voice of the church, and ordained a bishop unto the church, to leave his merchandise and to spend all his time in the labors of the church;

"To see to all things as it shall be appointed unto him in my laws in the day that I shall give them.

"And this because his heart is pure before me, for he is like unto Nathanael of old, in whom there is no guile" (D&C 41:9-11).

This call as a Bishop involved a move to the wild frontier of Missouri to help in the establishment of Zion. His family stayed behind in Ohio for a time. Despite all the confidence of Joseph Smith, and the opinions of others around him, Bishop Partridge was humble and felt inadequate to his calling, as he expressed in a letter to his wife:

"You know I stand in an important station, and as I am occasionally chastened I sometimes feel my station is above what I can perform to the acceptance of my Heavenly Father" (Edward Partridge Jr., “Biography and Family Genealogy, Unpublished Journal,” p. 6-7, quoted in Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, p. 214).

As Bishop, and particularly as the bishop carrying out the United Order, Edward Partridge had great responsibility for the functioning of the entire community. Can you imagine managing this huge system, trying to keep everyone happy with their assignments? There were many more poor and destitute saints who came to Independence hoping for an “inheritance” under the United Order than there were wealthy saints consecrating of their abundance. Church leadership had to start telling people they couldn’t move there without advance permissions, there were so many poor saints showing up on Brother Partridge’s doorstep. Those who had reasonable worldly possessions and gave them to the United Order could expect, therefore, to have their economic status lowered. And some of them backed out after agreeing to consecrate. But, generally, the economical level of the church members began to rise enough because of this cooperation that they because a threat to the Missourians. Their piousness was also an annoyance to the boisterous frontiersmen who decided to threaten the leadership and insist that they take their congregation and go. Edward Partridge was number one on their hit list.

On July 20, 1833, he was dragged by an angry crowd, along with Charles Allen, to the town square. There they were told to renounce their faith in the Book of Mormon or leave the county. They consented to neither, upon which the mob attacked them. (They were going to strip them naked, but Bishop Partridge convinced them to leave his shirt and pantaloons on.) Then they dabbed them with tar and acid from the tops of their heads to their feet and threw feathers over them.

Brother Partridge said of the incident:

"I bore my abuse with so much resignation and meekness that it appeared to astound the multitude, who permitted me to return in silence, many looking very solemn, their sympathies having been touched...; and as to myself, I was so filled with the Spirit and love of God, that I had no hatred towards my persecutors or anyone else" (HC 1:391, quoted in WW, p. 215).

"The leaders of the mob were the county judge, the constables, the court clerk, and the justices of the peace. The lieutenant-governor, Lilburn W. Boggs, was watching and aiding the mob. Bishop Partridge felt it right to sue the perpetrators of the violence for $50,000, but even his lawyers conspired against him. They took his pay of $600, made a compromise with the defendants against his consent and had the case thrown out of court. He never got his money back" (Paul C. Richards, BYU Studies, Vol. 13 #4, p. 532-4).

This was only one of the trials of Bishop Partridge. The list of what his family endured is too depressing to itemize. In addition to suffering mob violence and numerous forced moves along with the rest of the saints, he was also imprisoned for the gospel’s sake.

The stirring accounts contained in Sections 121, 122, and 123 which Joseph Smith wrote from Liberty Jail on March 25, 1839, he sent to the Saints, and “to Bishop Partridge in Particular” (Susan E.  Black, Who’s Who, p. 215). He must have felt that Bishop Partridge could use the encouragement as well. These include the beautiful words, “My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment; and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all of thy foes;” (121:7-8), and “Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (122:7).

The United Order did not succeed for long in Jackson County. Too many of the saints were not faithful to consecrate either their money on the part of many of the rich, or their industry on the part of many of the poor. Any of you who have more than one child and have ever tried to make “all things equal” between them will understand what a formidable, thankless, and possibly quite unpleasant job Bishop Partridge’s  must have been. The constant persecution of the mobs made it impossible to ever get any surplus. The courts were against the Mormons and communal-type establishments of any type. The Lord would have overcome these difficulties, however, had the saints been faithful. In June of the same year, Edward Partridge, the man in charge of the whole United Order, wrote in his journal,

"I have not at this time two dollars in the world, one dollar and forty-four cents is all. I owe for my rent, and for making clothes for some of the poor, and some other things…What is best for me to do, I hardly know" (Journal History, 13 June 1839).

He moved to Nauvoo, where he once again served as bishop. While building a home outside of town and attempting to move the furniture, he collapsed from exhaustion, and died within two weeks at age 46, less than a decade after he joined the church (WW, p. 216).

In her old age, his daughter Emily reflected upon his death: "I look and remember the great responsibility resting upon my father as bishop—his poverty and privations and hardships he had to endure, the accusations of false brethren, the grumblings of the poor, and the persecution of our enemies, I do not wonder at his early death; and when I remember his conversations with my mother, and can now comprehend in my mature years, his extreme weariness of soul, it brings to my mind a clause of his blessing, which says, 'Thou shalt stand in the office until thou shalt desire to resign it that thou mayest rest for a little season'” (Emily Partridge Smith Young, Incidents, p. 79-81),

His only son to live to maturity, Edward Partridge, Jr., was called to be bishop of Fillmore, Utah in 1869. In his diary, he wrote, “This is something that I have always had an instinctive dread of since I have had understanding sufficient to know what the office of a bishop was” (Diary, 9 Mar 1869),

“Like the merchant who sold all he had for the pearl of great price, Edward Partridge…never thought the price was too high” (Dean Jessee, "Steadfastness and Patient Endurance: The Legacy of Edward Partridge," Ensign, June 1979).

The rewards to Bishop Partridge for his service were eternal. All of his children as well as his wife remained faithful to the church. His daughters were among the very first women called upon to live the law of polygamy, wives of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and Amasa Lyman. His grandson and great-grandson were the architects for the old and new church office buildings in Salt Lake City. Among his progeny is an unbroken line of bishops and church leaders, including President James E. Faust.


Does the Law of Consecration apply to us today, or is it something we are just supposed to prepare to live at some future time?

"The implementation of specific economic programs from 1831 to 1844 changed significantly in practice though not in principle. The possessions, skills, and time of the Saints were essential components in building the kingdom of God on the earth…By 1844, Joseph Smith taught that spiritual commitment and love were higher expressions of consecration than legal stewardship agreements. During this time (1838), tithing had also become established as a minimum standard of economic consecration for the faithful" (Lyndon W. Cook, author of Joseph Smith and the Law of Consecration, in Encyclopedia of LDS History, p. 241-243).

The Law of Consecration still functions in this way today. It is no longer implemented through a detailed program, such as the “United Order,” with binding legal documents and specific assignments from the bishop, but all the principles are still valid, and ever Latter-day Saint can live the Law of Consecration on his or her own initiative. The lesser law, the minimum standard, of consecration is the law of tithing. Bruce R. McConkie says that you cannot live the perfect law of consecration unless you first obey perfectly the law of tithing (Mormon Doctrine, p. 158). All church members are expected to pay tithing, and it is actually required of those who want to attend the temple. Why? Because in the temple, church members make an eternal covenant--much more binding than a legal document--to live the higher law.

J. Reuben Clark, Jr. said in 1942:

"I should like to suggest to you that perhaps, after all, when the Welfare Plan gets thoroughly into operation—it is not so yet—we shall not be so very far from carrying out the great fundamentals of the United Order....

"If the Welfare Plan is fully operative, we shall be able to care for every destitute Latter-Day Saint wherever he may be" (October 1942 Conference Address).

Haven’t we reached that point in the church? We have the opportunity for consecration with the Perpetual Education Fund. Now, with our Humanitarian Aid contributions, we can extend our “surplus” to assist the poor all over the world of any religious denomination. In addition, many church members spend their “surplus” time crocheting leper bandages, making school kits, doing medical service, etc. for people all over the world. How wonderful will be the day when we can take care of "every destitute soul" inside or outside the church, wherever he may be! That is our aim!


The bishop is no longer in charge of our consecration; we are. He may issue a calling, and if we are living the law of consecration, we will accept it and give it all we can. If our official church calling doesn’t take all our time and effort, we can give the rest of it to build up the kingdom in little ways, serving in any way that presents itself. After we pay our tithing, we can give much more, even to the point of giving all of our excess beyond our basic needs and comforts. Serving as a full-time missionary is a call to live the law of consecration; a time of your life that you can truly give all of your time and attention to the building of the kingdom.

Although the Welfare Plan may not be exactly the same as the United Order, Albert E. Bowen, who researched and wrote the book, The Church Welfare Plan, said,

"Safe it is to say that a complete living of the law governing this Plan [that is, the Welfare Plan], and the practice of the principles involved [which are the PRINCIPLES OF THE LAW OF CONSECRATION], would make transition to the organization of the United Order not too difficult" (p. 145, quoted in Mormon Doctrine, p. 814).

So, as a Church, we are heading closer and closer to actually living the Law of Consecration. But as individuals, there is nothing to prevent us from living it right now. What can we do, specifically? Well, instructions on how to live the Law of Consecration are found in Section 42, just after the principles of the law are recorded. You may want to just highlight the key words, and study this section, asking yourself how you are doing.

Verse 40:  Don’t be PROUD
Verse 41:  Stay CLEAN
Verse 42:   Don’t be IDLE
Verse 43:  CARE for the sick
Verse 45:  Live in LOVE
Verse 46:  Call upon the Priesthood to HEAL the sick
Verse 53:  Carry out your individual STEWARDSHIP in the Kingdom
Verse 54:  PAY for what you get
Verse 55:  GIVE YOUR EXCESS to the Church
Verse 56:  Seek for the WORD OF GOD


"The law pertaining to material aid is so formulated that the carrying of it out necessitates practices calculated to root out human traits not in harmony with requirements for living in the celestial kingdom and replacing those inharmonious traits with the virtues and character essential to life in that abode" (Albert E. Bowen, The Church Welfare Plan, p. 13).

A promise to those who live the Law of Consecration is found in D&C 42:60-61:

"And he that doeth according to these things shall be saved, and he that doeth them not shall be damned if he so continue.

"If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge, that thou mayest know the mysteries and peaceable things—that which bringeth joy, that which bringeth life eternal."

The second part of that promise was fulfilled in Bishop Partridge’s life. He wrote:

"I have torn my affections from this world’s goods, from the vanities and toys of time and sense, and been willing to love and serve God, with all my heart and be led by his holy Spirit. [As a consequence] my mind has been as it were continually expanding—receiving the things of God, until glories indescribable present themselves before me" (quoted in Dean Jessee Ensign article, June 1979).

We also know that the first part of the promise was fulfilled at Brother Partridge’s death because the Lord said in D&C 124:19 that he had received Edward Partridge unto himself, along with David Patten and Joseph Smith, Sr.

As Edward Partridge lived the Law of Consecration totally throughout the 10 years of his church membership, he was refined and perfected spiritually far beyond those who struggled, refused, or grudgingly lived the law. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we each followed his example, so that when our lives are over, it can be said of us as I have found it universally said of Edward Partridge: “He gave everything he had for the building up of the Kingdom of God”  (Craig L. Foster, ELDSH, p. 897).