My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 37-40
For Joseph and many of the saints, the restoration initially meant just building up a small little set of congregations. Never did any of them consider the vast work that was ahead. In D&C 37, the saints, most living in New York prior to the missionary work to the Lamanites by Oliver Cowdery, were called to the Gathering.
The concept of Gathering partially came from Joseph reworking the book of Genesis, as part of the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. While we call it a “translation,” it really isn’t. Joseph didn’t use ancient Hebrew and Greek documents in his rework of the Bible. Instead, he used an English Bible purchased at the Grandin book store. Joseph was less concerned with the language and grammar, and more focused on finding the “plain and precious” things that had been lost out of the Bible. Rather than a translation, it would be a series of refining revelations.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 29
Excerpt:The 2nd Coming and Unity
In this revelation, the Lord shows important concepts regarding the 2nd Coming. More would follow in other revelations (including D&C 45, 87, 133).
“And, as it is written—Whatsoever ye shall ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive..
“And ye are called to bring to pass the gathering of mine elect; for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts;
“Wherefore the decree hath gone forth from the Father that they shall be gathered in unto one place upon the face of this land, to prepare their hearts and be prepared in all things against the day when tribulation and desolation are sent forth upon the wicked.” (D&C 29:6-8)
Again, we are to be united. United in prayer, united in desire, united in effort, united in Christ. If we are not united, then Satan’s doctrine of contention can overtake the Saints and destroy them.
Here, though the Church isn’t quite 6 months old, it is given a very huge responsibility: to find the elect in the world and bring them to build Zion. This is the same work Enoch was called to do in his day, though he had more time to accomplish it. He was to gather the elect out from among the wicked and perfect them prior to the end of the world (in Enoch’s case, the Flood of Noah).
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 27-28
Excerpt:Joseph went to find wine for a Sacrament service. Along the way, he was stopped and told that wine was not necessary, but water could be used instead. The little church had a growing list of enemies, to obtain wine for the service from a trustworthy source was becoming more and more difficult.. Here we see that the Lord is a pragmatic God. If something isn’t available, the Lord will often make allowances.
In the early days of Nauvoo, the saints were allowed to do baptisms for the dead in the Mississippi River. The Word of Wisdom was initially given as guidance, and not a commandment. When Joseph lost the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, the Lord had him translate Nephi’s record instead.
What we find in all of these instances is that God will work with us, according to our need and diligence.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 23-26
In this revelation, Joseph is called to visit the congregations of the Church that were beginning to grow. He is told that he would never have abilities concerning temporal things, but only in spiritual things. We will see many of his temporal adventures will fail – such as the Kirtland Safety Society (a bank). At his death, Joseph held all the debt of the Church, which included loans for building the Nauvoo temple. Even as a prophet in Missouri, he would be forced to make ends meet by chopping wood for others in winter, so his own family could eat.
Imagine being the chosen one of God as a prophet, and being told this. If Joseph Smith were a fraud, one would imagine he would instead seek to be financially secure by receiving the tithes and offerings of his followers. Instead, he worked harder than most temporally, just to make ends meet, and then tack upon that his spiritual role that had him traveling, and often in hiding from his persecutors.
My blog post on Come Follow Me: D&C 20-22
Ever since Elders B.H. Roberts and James Talmage gave their opinion on this verse about a century ago, many members have understood it to mean that Jesus was born on April 6, AD 1. However, early Church members, including Joseph Smith and Brigham Young never seemed to read this revelation in this manner.
First, a problem arises when one considers archaeology and history. According to the Bible, King Herod the Great sought to kill the infant Jesus, and slaughtered all children from 2 years and under in Bethlehem. Archaeology shows that Herod died in 4 BC, so either the Bible is wrong on this story of Herod, or Jesus was more likely born around 6 BC.
Next, with the new Joseph Smith Papers Project, we now see that D&C 20: was not intended to be part of the revelation initially, but was an introduction header to the section provided by John Whitmer, the scribe. Somewhere along the line of publishing, it was included as part of the revelation. The question then becomes, does an introduction approved by the Church membership as doctrine equate to a revelation establishing the date of Jesus’ birth? Thanks to the JSPP and the Church’s recent 2013 online scripture updates, we will be able to understand the revelations we have even better, and perhaps reduce the amount of speculation on just what the scriptures say.
So, when was Jesus born? Around 6 BC, and we do not know exactly which day, although April 6 may be as good a day as any.