Monday, September 27, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 109-110


This painting by the amazing Walter Rane is from

The early Saints were commanded to build a temple in Independence, Missouri, in 1831.

They had no idea what a temple was. Nobody in America had a temple. Nobody in Europe had a temple. No religion on earth was still operating a temple like the one Jesus Christ taught in as a 12-year-old boy. Was it a house of worship? Was it a house of education? 

So it's not too surprising that they didn't start right away, especially in Independence, which was such a rough, raw, frontier town. Bishop Partridge purchased the land in 1831. Joseph Smith dedicated it in July. The 12 Apostles symbolically laid the foundation in August. And then nothing happened. (See Independence Temple.) 

Fear, ignorance, contention, greed, poverty, land speculation--all these things got in the way of even learning what the glory of the temple would be in Independence.

But the plan didn't go away. Two years later Joseph revealed the blueprints for the city of Zion and it contained 24 temples! The vision of the Prophet was still glorious!

And still nothing happened. The Independence Saints were dealing with day-to-day terrors of mob violence, contention among their leaders, an influx of impoverished converts, the purchase and holding of land for investment by some greedy Saints. Nobody had the vision of the temple or of the unity of Zion with Heaven that it encapsulated. And few of the leaders had good feelings for Joseph Smith at the time, some highly critical of him for not moving to Independence. He received some scathing letters. 

Joseph Smith wrote in a reply to the leaders in Missouri, “The Lord approves of us [the Kirtland stake] & has accepted us, & established his name in Kirtland for the salvation of the nations. . . . The Lord commanded us in Kirtland to build a house of God, & establish a school for the Prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, & we must—yea the Lord helping us we will obey” (Craig K. Manscill, “Hyrum Smith's Building of the Kirtland Temple,” in An Eye of Faith: Essays in Honor of Richard O. Cowan, ed. Kenneth L. Alford and Richard E. Bennett (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center; Salt Lake City, 2015), 47–67.)

But the Kirtland Saints also had no idea what a temple was. Was it the same thing as the schoolhouse they were commanded to build? Was it a meetingplace for sacrament service? Was it something else altogether? They had no access to records about what may have taken place in the temple in Jerusalem beyond what little the Bible said. 

There also was not a single Latter-day Saint architect in Kirtland. 

But here is what the Kirtland Saints did that the Independence Saints did not do: they started!

Joseph Smith called a building committee of three: Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Jared Carter. Not one of these men knew a single thing about building anything other than a log cabin. They studied it out while trying to secure funds and land.

On June 1st, 1833, when the revelation that is now Section 95 was received, rebuking them for not doing more, they suddenly understood the importance of the temple.

Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I alove I also chasten that their sins may be bforgiven, for with the cchastisement I prepare a way for their ddeliverance in all things out of etemptation, and I have loved you—

Wherefore, ye must needs be chastened and stand rebuked before my face;

For ye have sinned against me a very grievous sin, in that ye have not considered the great commandment in all things, that I have given unto you concerning the building of mine ahouse;

For the preparation wherewith I design to prepare mine apostles to aprune my vineyard for the last time, that I may bring to pass my bstrange act, that I may cpour out my Spirit upon all flesh—

But behold, verily I say unto you, that there are many who have been ordained among you, whom I have called but few of them are achosen.

They who are not chosen have sinned a very grievous sin, in that they are awalking in bdarkness at noon-day.

And for this cause I gave unto you a commandment that you should call your asolemn assembly, that your bfastings and your cmourning might come up into the ears of the Lord of dSabaoth, which is by interpretation, the ecreator of the first day, the beginning and the end.

Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should abuild a house, in the which house I design to bendow those whom I have cchosen with power from on high;

For this is the apromise of the Father unto you; therefore I command you to tarry, even as mine apostles at Jerusalem.

10 Nevertheless, my servants sinned a very grievous sin; and acontentions arose in the bschool of the prophets; which was very grievous unto me, saith your Lord; therefore I sent them forth to be chastened.

11 Verily I say unto you, it is my will that you should build a house. aIf you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it.

Verse 8 "referred to the revelation given initially in December 1830 (D&C 37) and expanded on January 2, 1831, commanding the Saints to 'go to the Ohio; . . . and there you shall be endowed with power from on high (D&C 38:32). This was a watershed moment for Joseph and the Kirtland Saints. This unexpected realization changed everything. Any ambiguity about the urgency of the work was eliminated" (Manscill, 49).

That very day, the committee sent a letter to the Saints, expressing the urgency which they now understood: “Unless we fulfill this command . . . we may all despair of obtaining the great blessing that God has promised to the faithful of the Church of Christ."

It still took time to raise money. Land had been purchased in early 1833. And still the committee did not know what to build. Hyrum delegated the design back to the First Presidency, Joseph Smith, Frederick G. Williams, and Sidney Rigdon. As the three knelt in prayer, the design came to them in a magnificent 3-D vision. (Is it too irreverent to say it seems similar to the way Tony Stark’s designs appear in the Marvel movies?)

When Joseph Smith shared the design with the building committee, Hyrum ran to the farmhouse and grabbed some tools to begin clearing the land. Within days, the committee went to a rock quarry and hauled some stones they thought would be suitable. They dug the trench for the foundation and laid the rocks. In the meantime, they had been making their own bricks for the temple because they could not afford to buy bricks, but when they went to lay them, they discovered they were no good. 

Hyrum found out from Brigham Young that a new convert in Canada, Artemus Millet, was a professional mason. Brother Millet came down in October for a consultation and recommended they use a different type of construction called rubble and stucco. It’s basically building with junk rocks and then covering them over. They began stockpiling supplies for Brother Millet’s return in he spring. But then they found out the Independence Saints were in crisis and Zion's Army was called out to the rescue. When Brother Millet arrived, only 10 or 15 men remained in Kirtland to help. Nevertheless, they got the walls up.

“Our women were engaged in knitting and spinning, in order to clothe those who were laboring at the building.  And the Lord only knows the scenes of poverty, and tribulation and distress, which we all passed through to accomplish it.  My wife [Vilate Kimball] would toil all summer.  She took 100 pounds of wool to spin on shares which, with the assistance of a girl, she spun, in order to furnish clothing for those engaged in building the temple.  And although she had the privilege of keeping half the quantity of wool for herself, as her recompense for her labor, she did not reserve even so much as would make a pair of stockings.  She spun and wove and got the cloth dressed and cut and made up into garments, and gave them to the laborers.  Almost all the sisters in Kirtland labored in knitting, sewing, spinning, etc, for the same purpose, while we went up to Missouri” (Heber C. Kimball quoted in Kelly, Latter-day History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 163).

As the temple went up, the money disappeared too fast. Hyrum and his committee went on multiple missions to ask the Saints scattered throughout the Eastern United States to donate. They also had to travel to buy supplies back east, and ask banks to secure loans in a very volatile economy. Just as things were looking rough something good would happen and they could limp along a little further. For example, a convert from Hyrum's missionary work several years earlier, Noah Packard, loaned the Church $1,000. Vienna Jacques, a single working woman, gained a testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel on her own in Boston through reading the Book of Mormon. She moved to Ohio to join the Saints and brought $1,400 in savings with her, which she consecrated to the Church (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, Bookcraft, 145-7).

In early 1835, another new convert, John Tanner, saved the day.  He had outlived two wives, and then married a third (having a total of 21 children!) when the missionaries found him in New York.  He was healed of an infected leg and immediately was baptized. He committed to help the church and sustain the prophet.  He was so wealthy that he used six wagons to move his family from New York to Kirtland, and provided ten more for other converts there.

The day after his arrival in Kirtland in early 1835, he met with Joseph Smith and the high council and lent them $2,000 to pay off the mortgage on the temple property, plus another $13,000 for other purposes.  He contributed to the temple building fund, and he signed a $30,000 note for merchandise to help Saints move to Kirtland.  ($30,000 in 1835 would be almost $1,000,000 today!)

He gave it all. When he moved his family from Kirtland to gather with the saints in Missouri three years later, he had to borrow a wagon.  He had very little money left.  He endured all the trials of Missouri and Illinois.  Despite his humble circumstances, a few months before Joseph Smith was killed, “John returned the $2,000 noted signed in Kirtland as a gift to the Prophet and was blessed by Joseph that he and his posterity would never beg for bread” (Garr, Cannon and Cowan, Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, p. 1219-1220).

(See Kirtland Temple.)


Although the Kirtland Saints had to leave their temple behind after only two years of service, they took with them the blessings they had received through sacrificing to build the temple and through their participation in the temple after it was built.  The physical body of the temple decayed (later to be restored) but the spirit of the temple moved on with the Saints and is still with us today. Vienna Jacques was blessed by her covenants despite suffering poverty, persecution, a failed marriage, the exodus across the plains (driving her own wagon), and decades living alone. She died at the age of 96, and her obituary reported she had lived "true to her covenants and esteemed the restoration of the Gospel as a priceless treasure" (Black, 147). 

Take the time to prayerfully read for yourself the glorious blessings promised to those who make temple covenants in D&C 109 and 110.

Now the question to ask is, "What do I have to sacrifice to become a covenant person?" 

If you have not yet made your temple covenants, or if you have not returned for a long time, you only need to do one thing, the same thing Hyrum Smith, Reynolds Cahoon, and Jared Carter did: Start! 

Wherever you are right now, just start. Whatever kind of family you have, whatever kind of history you have, wherever you live, whatever you own, however long you've been a member, however far away you live from a temple, just start. Whether or not the way seems impossible is entirely irrelevant. The Lord will give you the vision, the knowledge, and the means if you will just start. Don't be bogged down by the day-to-day challenges, the contentions around you, the faith crises of family members, the limitations of your budget, the judgments of others, or the wounds of your sins. Just start. The way will not be easy, but it will be opened for you. And the blessings will be as glorious for you as they were for the Saints in Kirtland.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Doctrine and Covenants 106-108

Rather than focus specifically on the verses and history of Sections 106-108, which are about priesthood and its order, I am going to focus this post on how to use priesthood in our everyday lives as women and men of God. (Also because I spent all my time this week preparing this for a sacrament meeting talk in the married student ward in which I serve and received a great deal of enlightenment personally as I did so.)


The oath and covenant of the priesthood can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-44. Here is the first part of it.

“For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken [Melchizedek and Aaronic], and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies.

“They become the sons [and daughters—the present temple ceremony shows us this term is neutral] of Moses and of Aaron and the seed of Abraham, and the church and kingdom, and the elect of God.

“And also all they who receive this priesthood receive me, saith the Lord;

“For he that receiveth my servants receiveth me;

“And he that receiveth me receiveth my Father;

“And he that receiveth my Father receiveth my Father’s kingdom; therefore all that my Father hath shall be given unto him.

“And this is according to the oath and covenant which belongeth to the priesthood.

“Therefore, all those who receive the priesthood, receive this oath and covenant of my Father, which he cannot break, neither can it be moved” (D&C 84:33-41).

Elder M. Russell Ballard has told us, “The blessings and promises of the oath and covenant of the priesthood pertain to both men and women” (M. Russell Ballard, Visiting Teaching Message, Ensign, April 2014).


The oath comes from God our Father, an immutable promise that the ordinances that issue from the Melchizedek Priesthood will save and exalt us. (See Heb. 7:21.)


The covenant is the promise we make with God to use priesthood power to gather, unite, and sanctify our family and His entire family through the saving ordinances offered through His Restored Church. This is the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel, the highest order of which is the New and Everlasting Covenant of Marriage.

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “Adam and his posterity were commanded by God to be baptized, to receive the Holy Ghost, and to enter into the order of the Son of God… This order is…an order of family government where a man and woman enter into a covenant with God—just as did Adam and Eve—to be sealed for eternity, to have posterity, and to do the will and work of God throughout their mortality” (ETB, August 1985 Ensign).

President Oaks tell us, “The Church exists to provide the doctrine, the authority, and the ordinances necessary to perpetuate family relationships into the eternities” (DHO, April 2020 General Conference).

My husband created this visual of the scaffolding currently around the Salt Lake Temple which illustrates this idea perfectly. The scaffolding is like the Church priesthood organization that supports and strengthens the family priesthood organization.

Please feel free to copy or print this.


When we enter into the Fulness of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the temple, we enter into a Family Priesthood and we covenant, with our temple sealing, to bring spirit sons and daughters to earth and nurture them to return to our Heavenly Parents.

Elder Oaks said, “The greatest power God has given to His sons cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of His daughters, because only to His daughters has God given the power ‘to be a creator of bodies’” (General Conference April 2014). But His daughters also cannot do it without His sons.

In the conception of a child, a mother and a father are the conductors of priesthood power, connecting heaven and earth and physically facilitating the entry of a spirit child into an earthly body. In pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy, ideally, a mother’s body creates an environment of safety and nourishes the baby as it grows through the power of God.

My husband and I have had the marvelous privilege of being parents through biology, through adoption, and through guardianships. In every instance, we can testify that priesthood power accompanied the entrance of that child into our family.


Just as priesthood power in the family brings spirit children to earth and ideally into family life, priesthood power in the Church brings humans back to God. As there is only one way to enter earth life—in a family—there is only one way to enter the Celestial Kingdom: being reborn into the Family of God, the House of Israel. We do this by entering into the New and Everlasting Covenant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and accepting all the ordinances carried out by those authorized and ordained with priesthood authority. After this life (which includes earth life and spirit world life), Christ’s ultimate priesthood power allows the spirit to re-enter a now glorified resurrected physical body.


Priesthood authority is an order of stewardships that helps you know who you can trust as authorized leaders to receive revelation for the Church or for you. It also makes sure that everyone has a link to priesthood blessings.

Priesthood keys are the authority to give authority. “Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties” (DHO 2014).

For example, our ward chorister can receive revelation by virtue of priesthood authority about which hymn to sing when it is particularly important. Last week in our ward, the speaker had hoped and prayed that “Have I Done Any Good in the World Today?” might be sung in the meeting to emphasize the message of her talk, but asking for a hymn change at the last minute is insensitive to the practice efforts of the organist. The chorister, however, had previously been inspired to choose that very hymn. This is priesthood authority exercised in a Church calling.

As spouses and parents, we also have familial priesthood authority. We can receive revelation for our family members and the spirit can ratify it to them. Can you think of times in your life that those in stewardship over you have guided you through revelation?


To the woman at the well in Samaria, Jesus Christ offered living water. Water was the greatest force known to ancient Israel. They didn’t know about electricity or jet propulsion. But they knew about water and its mighty power—to heal, to give and sustain life, and to change the shape of the land.

The Priesthood is a living power, a flow from God through humans to other humans, linking them back to God. A person ordained to the priesthood is not really a priesthood “holder” but a priesthood bearer, a conductor through which God’s power can flow to others. Knowing this is essential to understanding how to call upon this power. You have never heard anyone—not even a prophet of the Lord—say, “I was terribly sick, but fortunately I hold the Priesthood so I gave myself a blessing.”

The key to using priesthood power is the desire to bless others. It’s an inverted pyramid scheme, with Christ at the point on the bottom serving everyone who ever lived. In our ward, the Bishop and the Relief Society president are at the bottom. In the home, it’s the parents, forgoing their wants for their children’s needs. You are more like Christ when you are at the bottom, washing feet and faces, stopping issues of blood, looking for those on the fringes, watching for prodigals to return, giving even your body for others. This is where the real joy is: in helping others to progress. This is God’s work and His glory.

The rules for using priesthood power are clearly laid out in D&C 121:

The short version is to:

“Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly;

“THEN shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distil upon thy soul as the dews from heaven. The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall FLOW unto thee forever and ever” (D&C 121:45-46).


Satan will try to influence you into abandoning your covenants, your priesthood power. I guarantee it. He will do this through priestcraft. Priestcraft is not a flow of power to others but a hoarding of power to oneself. This is contrary to the nature of God. Study the Book of Mormon carefully to recognize priestcraft. Never give up your covenants, no matter what!

Signs that you are being influenced by priestcraft include desires that are focused on yourself.

  • The desire to have more authority.
  • The desire to refute, negate, or counter those authorized by Christ
  • The desire to keep autonomy rather than basing your life’s purpose on the growth of your family.
  • The desire to be negative: cynical, critical, sarcastic, pessimistic.
  • The desire to be seen in a positive “light” by those of the world, rather than by the light of Christ.
  • The desire to think in terms of “us” and “them.”
  • The desire to rush revelation rather than study, prepare, and wait for it to come in the Lord’s time.
  • The desire to avoid forgiving offense and hold onto pain instead of handing it to Christ. 

Rather than being shocked by new information that challenges your viewpoint of the Church or the gospel, get excited! Revelation comes in response to questions. This is your chance to “level up!” If you are interested enough to ask and motivated enough to study and trusting enough to wait for answers, God knows you have the capacity to receive and be responsible for the answers.

In a similar vein, do not think there is something wrong when you have problems. You will have lots of big problems! Our purpose on earth is to solve problems as we covenant with God, receive priesthood power, use it to bless others, and draw heaven and earth together in one eternal family. This brings great joy (eventually if not immediately).


General Relief Society President Linda K. Burton issued this call to every female member of the Church through the Visiting Teaching Message in April 2014: “I invite you to memorize the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which can be found in Doctrine and Covenants 84:33-44. By doing so, I promise you that the Holy Ghost will expand your understanding of the priesthood and inspire and uplift you in wonderful ways” (Visiting Teaching Message, Ensign, April 2014).

President Linda K. Burton

To ensure that this call reached every woman in the Church, President Burton’s invitation and promise was quoted in General Conference that month by Elder Oaks (April 2014).

President Nelson restated the call to women to study the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood in the October 2019 General Conference. You men, of course, have also been encouraged to memorize the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood. If we have the oath and covenant memorized, we can take it to the temple with us and learn more from the blessings there.

Recently President Nelson has said, “The heavens are just as open to women who are endowed with God’s power flowing from their priesthood covenants as they are to men who bear the priesthood. I pray that truth will register upon each of your hearts because I believe it will change your life” (RMN, “Spiritual Treasures,” October 2019 General Conference).


After his resurrection, Jesus Christ appeared to his followers and invited them to accept “the promise [the oath] of the Father” if they would tarry in Jerusalem until they were “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).

“[The 11 remaining disciples then] went up into an upper room [and] continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren” (Acts 1:13-15). The congregation numbered about 120. They kept their sacramental covenant to meet together to worship and remember Christ.

At the day of Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover during which Jesus was crucified, this same group “were all with one accord in one place.” (Acts 2:1). The sound of the power of God came as a rushing wind and filled the house where they were sitting and “cloven tongues like as of fire…sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4). Word of this spread and many came to see.

Peter announced to them, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: and on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit…” (Acts 2:16-18).

“Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added about 3,000 souls” (Acts 2:41). Notice the genderless term “souls” instead of “men.”


I add my testimony to President Nelson’s, President Oaks’, and President Burton’s that an ongoing effort to better understand and experience priesthood power in our families and in our callings will change our lives and the lives of those we influence. It will insulate us against the power of the Adversary and fortify us to meet the challenges life will hold for us with faith and confidence in the Lord. If we cling to our covenants, we will experience the incredible joy of union with our Heavenly Parents and family.

Additional source: Barbara Gardner, The Priesthood Power of Women: In the Temple, Church, and Family, Deseret Book, 2019

Doctrine and Covenants 102-105


Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight took an arduous journey from Jackson to Kirtland to report the persecutions to Joseph Smith, arriving on February 22, 1834.  The Prophet said he would go to redeem Zion and the High Council ratified this decision.  30-40 of the men present volunteered.  "That same day Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning the recruitment and size of this army...They were to recruit a company of 500 men if possible--but no fewer than 100...(see D&C 103:11,15,22,29-40)"  Pairs of missionaries headed off to the branches in the eastern states to recruit.  The result was not favorable.  Joseph was displeased.  Better success was found in Kirtland.  On the appointed day, May 1, only 20 people were ready to go on the 1,000-mile march.  They started off.  May 5, over 80 joined them with Joseph Smith as commander.  They mustered a few more recruits on the way, and by the time the various camps joined on June 8th, there was a total of 207 men, 11 women, 11 children and 25 baggage wagons.

The march was as challenging as most army marches:  The men walked beside the wagons carrying packs and guns.  They often marched 35 miles a day in the oppressive heat and humidity.  They suffered hunger, thirst and blisters.  They woke at 4:00 a.m. to the bugle call.  Feeding and watering the group was very challenging.  Sometimes the best they had was rancid butter, maggot-infested bacon, rotten ham, cornmeal mush...Sometimes they had to drive swamp water full of mosquito larvae, which they strained with their teeth.  (Ewww!)  Although they drank milk while marching through an area that was infected with "milk sickness" and "puking fever," the Prophet promised they would not get the sicknesses and they didn't.

Often they were frightened by the threats of enemies around them.  They tried to keep their identity and purpose a secret.  When marching through Indianapolis under great threat, the Prophet promised they would be safe.  They divided into small groups and all got through the city undetected.

"Potential enemies notwithstanding, quarreling and contention within the camp became its most vexing problem..."  (Church History in the Fulness of Times, p. 141-145)

The following are some notes on the bickering and fighting that occurred within the camp:

"Sylvester [Smith] is remembered for his quarrelsome spirit on the march with Zion’s Camp. His criticism of camp leaders for the way in which they prepared for the journey, and his complaints about the strain on the men and teams pulling the heavy wagons, sparked dissension."  (Susan Easton Black, Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, Sylvester Smith entry.)

Levi Hancock, Wilford WoodruffThe Prophet confronted him about it…[and] Sylvester defiantly replied that “even if Joseph Smith was a prophet he was not afraid and would contradict him in the face of all present.” (Autobiography of Levi Hancock, and journal of Wilford Woodruff, quoted in Black, Who’s Who in the Doctrine and Covenants, p. 298)

George A. SmithOn Wednesday, 14th of May, we had been unable to obtain sufficient baking and cooking utensils, and as our commissary had been disappointed in getting a supply of bread…we began to be straitened for the staff of life. Men were sent on to Bellefontaine to have a supply baked by the time we should arrive, and although every measure practicable had been taken, Sylvester Smith  murmured against the Prophet because the Camp was not supplied with bread…

May 16th: During the day being very much fatigued with carrying my musket I put it into the baggage wagon, which was customary, and when I arrived at camp in the evening my gun could not be found. This circumstance was exceedingly mortifying to me and many of the brethren accused me of carelessness, and ridiculed me about loading my gun. Jenkins Salisbury took the most pleasure in ridiculing me for my carelessness. I afterwards learned…that the gun was pawned for whiskey by one of our company, and have always believed that Jenkins Salisbury, who was very fond of the good creature, disposed of it in that way. (George A. Smith, “My Journal,” The Instructor, 81, [1946] 78, 95)

Wilford WoodruffWe were followed by spies hundreds of miles to find out the object of our mission. We had some boys in the camp. George A. Smith was among the youngest. When they could get him alone they would question him, thinking that he looked green enough for them to get what they wanted out of him. (Smith, History of the Church, 2:67)

Joseph Smith: The 17th of May we crossed the state line of Ohio, and encamped for the Sabbath just within the limits of Indiana, having traveled about forty miles that day…We had our sentinels posted every night, on account of spies who were continually striving to harass us, steal our horses, etc.

This evening there was a difficulty between some of the brethren and Sylvester Smith…Finding a rebellious spirit in Sylvester Smith, and to some extent in others, I told them they would meet with misfortunes, difficulties and hindrances and said, “and you will know it before you leave this place,” exhorting them to humble themselves before the Lord and become united, that they might not be scourged… On Sunday morning [the following], when we arose, we found almost every horse in the camp so badly foundered that we could scarcely lead them a few rods to the water. The brethren then deeply realized the effects of discord. When I learned the fact, I exclaimed to the brethren, that for a witness that God overruled and had His eye upon them, all those who would humble themselves before the Lord should know that the hand of God was in this misfortune, and their horses would be restored to health immediately; and by twelve o’clock the same day the horses were as nimble as ever, with the exception of one of Sylvester Smith’s, which soon afterwards died. (HC 2:68-69)

George A. SmithThe Prophet Joseph took a full share of the fatigues of the entire journey…While most of the men in the camp complained to him of sore toes, blistered feet, long drives, scanty supply and provisions, poor quality of bread, bad corndodger, frozen butter, strong honey, maggoty bacon and cheese, etc., even a dog could not bark at some men without their murmuring at Joseph. If they had to camp with bad water, it would nearly cause a rebellion, yet we were in the Camp of Zion, and many of us were prayerless, thoughtless, careless, heedless, foolish or devilish, and yet we did not know it. Joseph had to bear with us, and tutor us, his children. (Memoirs of George A. Smith, p. 25)

Heber C. Kimball: June 3rd: While we were refreshing ourselves and teams, about the middle of the day, Brother Joseph got up in a wagon and said that he would deliver a prophecy…the Lord had told him that there would be a scourge come upon the camp in consequence of the fractious and unruly spirits that appeared among them, and they would die like sheep with the rot; still if they would repent and humble themselves before the Lord, the scourge in a great measure might be turned away, “but, as the Lord lives, this camp will suffer for giving way to their unruly temper. (Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, p. 47-48)

Joseph SmithAt the commencement [of the cholera attack], I attempted to lay on hands for their recovery, but I quickly learned by painful experience, that when the great Jehovah decrees destruction on any people, and makes known His determination, man must not attempt to stay His hand. The moment I attempted to rebuke the disease I was attacked, and had I not desisted in my attempt to save the life of a brother, I would have sacrificed my own. (HC 2:114)


Although Zion was not redeemed, because the Saints clearly were not ready, and Zion's Camp returned home apparently unsuccessful, the future leadership of the Church was refined and purified through the march.  Nine of the Twelve Apostles and all of the Seventy were chosen from Zion's Camp.

As Joseph Smith said, "Brethren, some of you are angry with me, because you did not fight in Missouri; but let me tell you, God did not want you to fight.  He could not organize His kingdom with twelve men to open the Gospel door to the nations of the earth, and with seventy men under the direction to follow in their tracks, unless He took them from a body of men who had offered their lives, and who had made as great a sacrifice as did Abraham"  (HC 2:182)