After the sacred gathering of nearly four dozen Saints in the Whitmer Home in Fayette, New York on Tuesday, April 6, 1830, this little, no, tiny band was given the commission to take the restored gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world. What an overwhelming task! How could so few bless so many?
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In the early period after the Church was organized, the Saints were admonished to strengthen those who had already joined the Church, even as opposition and persecution increased. Even so, the Lord continued to provide encouragement and counsel to those who desired to help build the kingdom and establish the cause of Zion. These words are not just intended for those early Church members—they are for everyone engaged in God’s work—including you and me today.
When that group of 40 or more gathered in the 20 by 30-foot Whitmer cabin that April 6, 1830 to organize the “only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth”, they could not have entirely foreseen what lay ahead for this church, but they did know they were about a great work inspired by God Himself. Let’s take you to that scene today.
This lesson is about “the rise of the Church of Christ.” What is meant by “the rise of the Church,” and why is a church even necessary?
The Doctrine and Covenants is a book full of affirmations that individuals count—that each of us is important in the sight of God. Message after message is to individuals, some we have heard of like Oliver Cowdery or Hyrum Smith, and some to less familiar people.
As Elder Renlund explained recently in General Conference, the decision to take part in this kind of repentance is a joyful one. And if we want to experience more joy in our lives (something I think all of us could definitely use right now), he says, all we need to do is begin to repent and that joy can also begin.
How do we know about the reality of things we cannot see? How do we know about God whose face we can’t remember? How do we develop faith in spiritual things that are real, but invisible to our eye? We begin to learn these things because of the witness of others.