It was November 1831, and Joseph Smith and others have convened a conference where the major task was to publish the revelations that had come to Joseph Smith in a new book of scripture. Joseph Smith, of course, had published the Book of Mormon, but publishing his own revelations as scripture? This is new territory.
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For the early Saints, the invitation to come up to Zion was the culmination of all their hopes. Here they would meet the Savior and enter His kingdom. Here they would find rest in the paradise of God. But there would be a pre-requisite to paradise: “Much tribulation.”
Can you imagine living in a world where people did not hurt each other or become angry or divided? Can you imagine families with total harmony and marriages with no contention? Can you imagine a place so pure that God could be there? It may sound too good to imagine, but that is the Zion that the Lord envisions for us and that’s what we hope to build.
In these sections we’ve read this week, it’s clear that the Lord entrusts individuals with specific stewardships and it’s not always just land. It can be a mission to perform, books to write, places to go, people to teach, an assignment to fulfill—but these are all sacred stewardships, given by the Lord with the expectation that we will fulfill them faithfully and wholeheartedly.
What I have learned most about humility is this: when we are humble we open our view and ourselves to more learning. When we are prideful, we close ourselves to such possibilities. This concept is taught powerfully in D&C 50 in answer to Joseph Smith’s prayer on how to discern spirits and spiritual things. But the message to us is so much more than discernment.
When you read Doctrine and Covenants Sections 49 and 50, it helps to have the rest of the story. Why should you care about Leman Copley or the Shakers and what’s this talk about false spirits? We will have some fun and give you the context today.
“We must remember that to every man [or woman] is given a gift by the Spirit of God. It is our right and responsibility to accept our gifts and to share them. God’s gifts and powers are available to all of us.” Each of us has at least one spiritual gift. Some people have many, but the Prophet Joseph Smith had them all. We will learn about them today.