How important are temples to the Lord? When Joseph Smith was on his first mission to Missouri in the summer of 1831, only 17 months after the Church was organized, on August 3, 1831, he received a revelation about a temple to be built in Independence in Jackson County. Shortly after, the Lord revealed that a temple was to be built in Kirtland. So, the Saints had been commanded to build two temples. in mortal eyes, it was a task that looked impossible.
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How important are temples to the Lord? When Joseph Smith was on his first mission to Missouri in the summer of 1831, only 17 months after the Church was organized, on August 3, 1831, he received a revelation about a temple to be built in Independence in Jackson County. (D&C 57:3). Then, on December 27, 1832 in Section 88 (v. 119), the Lord revealed that a temple was to be built in Kirtland. So, the Saints had been commanded to build two temples, one in Jackson County and one in Kirtland, but, honestly, in mortal eyes, it was a task that looked impossible.
Welcome to Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. We’re Scot and Maurine Proctor and today we look at Doctrine and Covenants Sections 94-97 “For the Salvation of Zion.” We’re so glad to be with you again this week and dive into the scriptures together. Remember the revelation in Section 88 to build a temple in Kirtland was given in December of 1832, but by June 1, 1833 when Section 95 was received little progress had been made.
Now remember who Joseph Smith is. He is the prophet who would say this the following year, in November 1834.
“No month ever found me more busily engaged than November; but as my life consisted of activity and unyielding exertions, I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it.” Smith, Joseph Jr. and Roberts, B.H. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company, 1904, 2:170.
Why, then, had the temple not been started in Kirtland? The Lord had said, “Organize yourselves, prepare every needful thing: and establish a house, even a house…of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” Why not begin?
The condition of the Latter-day Saints at that time was almost impossible. Kirtland had only about 175 Latter-day Saints, and all of them poor. Karl Ricks Anderson noted, “Nearly all who gathered to Kirtland needed assistance of some kind. Even Brigham Young, who, because of his industry and good business sense, was generally able to provide very well for himself and his family, had virtually nothing when he arrived in Kirtland. He described how he responded with faith to the Prophet’s call to gather:
“When we arrived in Kirtland [in September , if any man that ever did gather with the Saints was any poorer than I was—it was because he had nothing. . . . I had two children to take care of—that was all. I was a widower. “Brother Brigham, had you any shoes?” No; not a shoe to my foot, except a pair of borrowed boots. I had no winter clothing, except a homemade coat that I had had three or four years. “Any pantaloons?” No. “What did you do? Did you go without?” No; I borrowed a pair to wear till I could get another pair. I had travelled and preached and given away every dollar of my property. I was worth a little property when I started to preach. . . . I had traveled and preached until I had nothing left to gather with; but Joseph said: ‘come up;’ and I went up the best I could.” (See Karl Ricks Anderson, Joseph Smith’s Kirtland)
Karl Ricks Anderson also wrote, “For the early members of the Church, [building the Kirtland Temple] was an unthinkable task. Consider the existing obstacles:
“• Most members were poverty stricken.
“• The Church had no financial reserves. (Cost of the temple would be about forty thousand dollars.)
“• Few members had construction experience.
“• Few members were available to contribute time and resources. (Only 175 Church members lived in the Kirtland area in 1833.)
“• The Church did not own the land upon which the temple was to be built.
“• Few members possessed construction tools.
“• Church enemies swore to stop temple construction.”
Anderson continued, “The following Kirtland Saints painted a dismal picture of their circumstances:
“Eliza R. Snow: “The Saints were few in number, and most of them very poor.”
“Benjamin F. Johnson: “There was not a scraper (hoe) and hardly a plow that could be obtained among the Saints.”
“Heber C. Kimball: “The church was in a state of poverty and distress . . . at the same time our enemies were raging and threatening destruction upon us.”
“Joseph Smith: “Our means are already exhausted, and we are deeply in debt, and know of no means whereby we shall be able to extricate ourselves.”
“Joel Hills Johnson: “We had but very few friends . . . while we had thousands of enemies who were holding their secret meetings to devise a plan to thwart and overthrow all our arrangements. We were obliged to keep night watchers to prevent being mobbed and our workers being overthrown.”
“Heber C. Kimball: “We were persecuted . . . there were mobs gathering all around us to destroy us, and prevent us from building the Temple. . . we took our firelocks, to reinstate our brethren, and in the night we layed upon the floor . . . so as to be ready to keep our enemies at bay.”
“Brigham Young: “[we were] a mere handful of men, living on air, and a little hominy (ground com) and milk . . . holding the sword in one hand to protect themselves from the mob, while they placed the stone and moved the trowel with the other.” (Karl Ricks Anderson, Kirtland Temple: How the Lord Helped the Saints Do the Seemingly Impossible https://latterdaysaintmag.com/kirtland-temple-how-the-lord-helped-the-saints-do-the-seemingly-impossible/#_edn20).
These were the staggering realities of the Saints’ situation. And remember, there are only about 175 of them at the time this commandment was given. That’s like asking half the members of your ward to come together and build a temple. Truly, can the Lord really expect this? The answer in Section 95 is a resounding, yes! In fact, he chastens them because they haven’t begun 6 months ago when the command was given.
“Verily, thus saith the Lord unto you whom I love, and whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven, for with the chastisement, I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation, 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 house” (vs. 1-3).
Now the idea of being chastened by the Lord sounds chilling, but note what He says, this chastisement is to prepare a way for your deliverance because He loves you. It seems important then to understand the meaning of chastisement. It is not to punish or to constrict or to lock in chains, but to make you free. This does not mean, of course, that chastisement may not be difficult. The Lord might ask us to do not only what seems impossible, given our weakness or our mortal condition as is shown in the Saints being asked to build the Kirtland Temple. He might ask you to do something that frightens you, stretches you beyond your comfort, demands courage or strength you don’t think you have.
He might ask you to sacrifice your time, your comfort, your ease. He might ask you to do something you just plain don’t want to do, that you have no inclination for, or that, in fact, you disagree with. He might stretch you to the point you think you will break.
This is such an important key that the Lord chastises us for our deliverance. We cannot be with Him and stay where we are at the same time. The Saints could not receive the endowment of power they could only receive in the temple if they did not build the temple.
Did the Lord not see their situation clearly? Of course, He did. No one could have seen it clearer, nor seen with such compassion the state of each soul who had already sacrificed so much to come to Kirtland.
Elder Lynn Robbins said, “Compassion doesn’t nullify the need for discipline. The word discipline comes from the Latin word discere “to learn,” or discipulus, “learner,” making a disciple a student and follower. To discipline in the Lord’s way is to lovingly and patiently teach. In the scriptures the Lord often uses the word chasten when speaking of discipline The word chasten comes from the Latin castus, meaning “chaste or pure,” and chasten means “to purify.”
“In the world, it is an earthly judge who condemns a man and locks him in prison. In contrast, the Book of Mormon teaches us that when we willfully sin, we become our “own judges” Alma 41:7 and consign ourselves to spiritual prison. Ironically, the common judge in this case holds the keys that unlock the prison gates; “for with the chastisement I prepare a way for their deliverance in all things out of temptation” D&C 95:1 emphasis added). The proceedings of a righteous judge are merciful, loving, and redemptive, not condemning.”
Elder Robbins continues: “Young Joseph Smith was disciplined with a four-year probation before obtaining the golden plates, ‘because you have not kept the commandments of the Lord.’ Later, when Joseph lost the 116 manuscript pages, he was disciplined again. Though Joseph was truly remorseful, the Lord still withdrew his privileges for a short season because “whom I love I also chasten that their sins may be forgiven” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:1)
“Joseph said, ‘The angel was rejoiced when he gave me back the Urim and Thummim and said that God was pleased with my faithfulness and humility, and loved me for my penitence and diligence in prayer.” Because the Lord wanted to teach Joseph a heart-changing lesson, He required a heartrending sacrifice of him—sacrifice being an essential part of discipline.” (Lynn G. Robbins, “The Righteous Judge” https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/general-conference/2016/10/the-righteous-judge?lang=eng).
Elder D. Todd Christofferson, “Our Heavenly Father is a God of high expectations. His expectations for us are expressed by His Son, Jesus Christ, in these words: “I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect” (3 Nephi 12:48). He proposes to make us holy so that we may “abide a celestial glory” (D&C 88:22) and “dwell in his presence” (Moses 6:57). He knows what is required, He provides His commandments and covenants, the gift of the Holy Ghost, and most important, the Atonement and Resurrection of His Beloved Son.”
I am so grateful that my transformation isn’t a do-it-yourself project. It is through the atonement that the Lord does everything for me in this journey, which I can’t do—which, I have learned, are most things. We are all so incomplete. But, we give what we have and yield to what He asks even when it is hard. He does demand that willingness on our part. He asks us to submit to His will and His guidance, even when from our tiny perspective, living in one little place, in one little time ,where we don’t see very much or very far, we may not see why.
What makes submitting to the Lord’s will more difficult is the time we live in. Everything about our culture, every idea in the very air we breathe says we should listen to no authority but ourselves, that there is not a God, and if there is He has no right to make any demands on us. How dare God have a different thought than I do, about what I should do or what I should become?
Elder Christofferson continued, “Sadly, much of modern Christianity does not acknowledge that God makes any real demands on those who believe in Him, seeing Him rather as a butler ‘who meets their needs when summoned’ or a therapist whose role is to help people “feel good about themselves.” It is a religious outlook that ‘makes no pretense at changing lives.’ ‘By contrast’ as one author declares, ‘the God portrayed in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures asks, not just for commitment, but for our very lives. The God of the Bible traffics in life and death, not niceness, and calls for sacrificial love, not benign whatever-ism.’”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks explained: “The Final Judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account.” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Challenge to Become”)
Thus, to be who we are going to be, who we have chosen to be since before this world was, we have to be brave and do even the very hard things, things that may seem even impossible. That means we follow the commandments given to all of us, but also, the directions the Spirit gives you personally. That is how we become trustworthy and more able to hear the Spirit. This may demand that we are courageous in the face of some very real weaknesses in our own soul, and courageous before a world that is moving swiftly toward marginalizing those who believe as we do about basic gospel tenets.
With the direction the world is going, with speech circumscribed and an ideology that is embraced by the media, the government, professional associations, entertainment, sports and much more that stands at odds with basic doctrines of our gospel, it may mean that we have to stand alone, even to the point of putting our lives in peril some time in the future.
We all have our personal hurdles to overcome. The Lord has asked me to do a project that I fear doing. I fear not being good enough to do it. I keep hesitating before it, and He keeps insisting. I seem to find every excuse not to do this thing I have been asked, and I see, even as we are talking about this, that I can no longer halt.
The Lord knows why He asks what He asks, and he understands the timing.
Joseph Smith said, “The law of heaven is presented to man, and as such guarantees to all who obey it a reward far beyond any earthly consideration; though it does not promise that the believer in every age should be exempt from the afflictions and troubles arising from different sources in consequence of the acts of wicked men on earth.”
Here’s an aside. It also does not mean that it will be easy to fulfill, as with building the Kirtland Temple. Fulfilling the laws of heaven might even seem impossible.
Joseph continued, “Still in the midst of all this there is a promise predicated upon the fact that it is the law of heaven, which transcends the law of man, as far as eternal life the temporal; and as the blessings which God is able to give, are greater than those which can be given by man. Then, certainly, if the law of man is binding upon man when acknowledged, how much more must the law of heaven be! And as much as the law of heaven is more perfect than the law of man, so much greater must be the reward if obeyed. … The law of God promises that life which is eternal, even an inheritance at God’s own right hand, secure from all the powers of the wicked one.” (See https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-joseph-smith/chapter-13?lang=eng
So the realities of the Saints conditions in Kirtland were staggering when they were asked to build a temple, but the promises of the Lord back to them were even greater.
“Yea, verily I say unto you, I gave unto you a commandment that you should build a house, in the which house I design to endow those whom I have chosen with power from on high” (v. 8).
So they would be given magnificent promises for their sacrifice, and more:
“If you keep my commandments you shall have power to build it” (v.11).
That promise holds true in our own lives. He will give us power to do the impossible things he asks of us. It is like the scripture we know so well, “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the Children of Men save he prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 3:7). We have reminded ourselves of that scripture hundreds of times when we couldn’t see the way forward.
The Saints were chastised and they started on the temple, counting on the Lord.
Millennia had come and gone since the Lord first commanded His people to build a temple. He said, “I commanded Moses that he should build a tabernacle…and to build a house in the land of promise, that those ordinances might be revealed which had been hid from before the world was” (Doctrine and Covenants 124: 38). The Saints had to be endowed with this power, given specific priesthood keys, and it had to be for a particular date, thus no waiting until a more convenient time came.
Lucy Mack Smith recorded her son’s view on building the temple:
“Some were in favor of building a frame house, but others were of a mind to put up a log house. Joseph reminded them that they were not building a house for a man, but for God; ‘and shall we, brethren, . . . build a house for our God, of logs? No, I have a better plan than that. I have a plan of the house of the Lord, given by himself; and you will soon see by this, the difference between our calculations and his idea of things.'”
He and his counselors were given a unique revelation of how the temple should look.
“We went upon our knees,” said Frederick G. Williams, “called on the Lord, and the Building appeared within viewing distance. . . . Then all of us viewed it together. After we had taken a good look at the exterior, the building seemed to come right over us, and the makeup of this hall seemed to coincide with what I there saw to a minutia.” Now they had the vision of the temple, but they needed an architect.
“Because there were not many skilled workers among the Saints, Joseph asked his counselors who might be capable of taking charge of the work. ‘Lorenzo Young exclaimed to the Prophet ‘I know the very man who is capable of doing this work.’ ‘Who is he?’ asked the Prophet. Lorenzo replied, [‘it] is Artemus Millet’ up in Canada. . . a successful builder . . . well known for his work. The Prophet turned to Brigham [Young] and said ‘I give you a mission to go to Canada and baptise Brother Artemus Millet, and bring him here. Tell him to bring a thousand dollars with him.'” Brigham obeyed, and so did Artemus!
Karl Ricks Anderson notes, “The work of building began in earnest in the summer of 1833 with great opposition and promises from the mobs that the walls of that temple would never be erected.”
But the miracles continued. Joseph was praying mightily for financial help, and this temple would cost $70,000 to build in that day’s money—a veritable fortune.
Anderson tells this story about John Tanner: “About the middle of December he received an impression by dream or vision of the night, that he was needed and must go immediately to [Kirtland]. . . . His neighbors . . . tried their utmost to dissuade him; but he knew the will of God in the present crisis and nothing could deter him from doing it.
“On Christmas day he commenced his journey with all his earthly effects, and in the dead of Winter traveled the distance of five hundred miles, to Kirtland. . . .
“On his arrival in Kirtland, he learned that at the time he received the impression . . . the Prophet Joseph and some of the brethren had met in prayer-meeting and asked the Lord to send them a brother or some brethren with means to assist them. . . .He loaned the prophet two thousand dollars.” (Karl Ricks Anderson, Kirtland Temple: How the Lord Helped the Saints Do the Seemingly Impossible https://latterdaysaintmag.com/kirtland-temple-how-the-lord-helped-the-saints-do-the-seemingly-impossible/#_edn20).
The temple began to be built, and, of course, we know the famous story. A wheat field was chosen as the location, and Hyrum Smith ran to get a scythe to begin clearing the field. He said, “We are preparing to build a house for the Lord,” he said, “and I am determined to be the first at the work. (in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 271, 273).
Don’t think this is the only time Latter-day Saints took on the impossible to build a temple. It took 40 years of effort to build the temple in Paris. It was Aug. 1, 1976 when President Spencer W. Kimball first alluded to a temple for France and it wasn’t dedicated until 21 May 2017.
Elder Doug Todd, who served with his wife, Pauline, as construction service missionaries said, “In France, building a temple requires some unique situations. You have to show what you are going to build to get approvals, but you can’t show your plans until you own the property, and then you can get turned down. Getting approvals is a long, complicated process. I think the Church considered and did due diligence on over 90 sites. That has to be some kind of record. Some sites had strings attached. Other sites had difficult issues. Sometimes it takes time for the right site to come along.”
Nothing is impossible for the Lord—and just like the Lord gave Moses specific details on the pattern, dimensions and completion of the Tabernacle, and the same to Solomon for the first temple in Jerusalem, so he did with the Kirtland Temple in the last three verses of Section 95. These specifics have greater meaning than we readily see in the Lord’s economy. He also in Section 94 gave specific instructions for the building for the First Presidency—in other words a Church administration building–and a printing office.
Now, on to Section 97, which also requires context. We don’t know the exact date of the reception of Section 97, but we know that Joseph included it in a letter he wrote to Missouri August 6, 1833, so it was some time before then. The date is important because of what had just already happened in Missouri which Joseph probably did not know about.
As we have mentioned before, the Latter-day Saints who moved to Independence to build Zion, were a vastly different people from the rough people who lived at the edge of the United States. There was bound to be suspicion between them.
B.H. Roberts describes it this way: “The Saints could not join the Missourians in their way of life—in Sabbath-breaking, profanity, horse-racing, idleness, drunkenness, and debauchery. They had been commanded to keep the Sabbath day holy, to keep themselves unspotted from the sins of the world. The fact of people having so little in common with each other was of itself calculated to beget a coldness and suspicion, which would soon ripen into dislike. The saints, too, had come, for the most part, from the Northern and New England States, and the hatred that existed at that time between the people of the slave-holding and free states, was manifested toward the saints by their ‘southern’ neighbors. Moreover, the old settlers were dear lovers of office, and the honors and emoluments growing out of it; and they greatly feared that the rapidly increasing saints would soon outnumber them, and that the offices would be wrested from them. Political jealousy is always cruel and unscrupulous; and is not slow to find excuses for destroying the object of its hatred.” (B.H. Roberts, Missouri Persecutions)/
A whirlwind was stirring in the hearts of old-time Jackson County residents, who began to be increasingly suspicious as the new settlers swelled in number. Many feared that they would be outnumbered by the religiously motivated settlers from the East. It was easy to predict that with a few hundred more Saints, they could change the political scene and wrest control of the county.
Entrepreneurial Saints took over some of the Santa Fe Trail trade business from local residents with considerable success. They established a printing business, and The Evening and Morning Star, the first periodical in the area, was published. Because this was an exclusive newspaper, catering to the needs of the Saints, local and national issues were represented from that point of view. Some of the Saints, too, boasted that a great many more members of the Church would be arriving soon to claim their inheritance in Zion. This caused great alarm among the locals.
The Missouri frontiersmen hated the Indians, while the Saints claimed the Indians to be one of the tribes of Israel and a chosen people. The Missourians were slave owners while the Saints were against slavery. This last issue became especially hot when an article was published in the Star cautioning missionaries about proselyting among former slaves, known as “free people of color.” The Missourians misinterpreted the article as encouragement for slaves to join the Saints in western Missouri, and they felt pushed about as far as they could go.
When you consider how volatile the issue of slavery was and that Missouri had come into the nation specifically as a slave-holding state to balance Maine in 1821, it is clear that violence was brewing.
During the summer of 1833, hundreds of Missourians circulated a “secret constitution” denouncing the Mormons. In July, about five hundred Missourians gathered at the Independence courthouse to draft a document outlining their demands and to issue a bitter ultimatum that no Latter-day Saints would be allowed to move to or settle in Jackson County and that those who were already there must pledge to leave in a reasonable time. The document also called for the immediate cessation of the Church newspaper. The leaders of the Church, upon receiving the demands, asked for three months to consider the proposition and consult with Church leaders in Ohio. This request was denied, and they pleaded for ten days. This was also denied, and the Saints were given fifteen minutes to look over and agree to the resolution.
This meeting quickly erupted from discussions into an angry mob as the Missourians, smoldering with resentment, decided to immediately implement a resolution to destroy the printing press. They went en masse to the printing office and the residence of the publisher, W. W. Phelps. They threw furniture into the street and garden, destroyed and hauled away the press, scattered type everywhere, and threw the printing job in process out of the building into piles to be burned. This was the sacred Book of Commandments, a publication of the revelations given to Joseph Smith to this point. Bishop Edward Partridge was seized and tarred and feathered.
In another podcast, we’ll go into more details of the Missouri persecutions because they are key to understanding Church history, but now back to Section 97. Here the Lord praises the “truly humble” who are “seeking diligently to learn wisdom and to find truth.” He is “well pleased” with Parley P. Pratt, for his work in the school in Zion, which was patterned after the School of the Prophets. The Lord says in verse 8 that those “hearts are broken, and their spirit contrite, and are willing to observe their covenants by sacrifice—yea every sacrifice which I, the Lord, shall command—they are accepted of me” (v. 8).
Then we see a meaningful juxtaposition of verses.
“The ax is laid at the root of the trees; and every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit shall be hewn down and cast into the fire. I, the Lord, have spoken it (v. 7). Then two verses later “it is my will that a house should be built in the land of Zion, like unto the pattern which I have given you” (vs. 7,10).
The ax being laid to the tree, uses similar language, according to H. Dean Garrett and Stephen E. Robinson to other scriptures. “In the Book of Mormon, this warning is given to the people of Alma who were about to experience the great Lamanite wars. In the New Testament, it was delivered to the Jews who would soon be devastated by their failed First Revolt against Rome. The same warning is now addressed here specifically to the faltering Saints in Missouri, for whom persecutions had already begun but for whom deliverance was still possible if they would only repent.
“Trees can’t move; they can’t run away or hide from the woodsman’s ax. Their only defense against being cut down for firewood lies in producing valuable fruit.”
Now the ax reference is in verse 7. In verse 8 the Lord says that those who are accepted of him, will be those who make every sacrifice that the Lord commands. Then finally in verse 10, the Lord reminds them that a temple should be built in the land of Zion.
Garrett and Robinson note, “The chief sacrifice that the Lord required of the Missouri Saints was that they should build a temple in Independence, just as the Kirtland Saints were being required to build one in Ohio. This commandment cannot have been a complete surprise for the Missouri Saints, for a temple site had been selected and consecrated two years earlier, yet no further action had been taken. They had received an explicit commandment to proceed, together with rough plans for their temple, of which the Kirtland Temple was a duplicate, in a letter dated 25 June 1833, well before Doctrine and Covenants 97 was sent to them. However, they took no action to begin construction. Doctrine and Covenants 97 makes it clear that the commandment to build this temple was as binding upon the Missouri Saints as building the Kirtland Temple was on the Ohio Saints (see D&C 95:3), and still they took no action.
“According to verses 18 and 25–26, had the Missouri Saints kept the commandment to build a temple, Zion would have been established, never to be removed. Had the Missouri Saints collectively been as committed to building a temple as the Ohio Saints were, the Lord would have opened up the way for them to succeed. However, as Elder Parley P. Pratt, who taught the elders in Missouri, observed: “This revelation was not complied with by the leaders and Church in Missouri, as a whole; notwithstanding many were humble and faithful. Therefore, the threatened judgment was poured out to the uttermost, as the history of the five following years will show.” The obligation of this commandment was formally removed from the Saints as a practical impossibility in 1841 (see D&C 124:49–51), though it would have been possible in 1833 had they collectively proved more faithful.
This is not to say that the Saints in Missouri were not faithful and good people. The Lord obviously says that many were and pleased him. Yet Zion is of one heart and one mind, and some among them could not make the difficult, extremely difficult choice to build a temple.
Parley P. Pratt describes the Missouri Saints, “”They lived in peace and quiet; no lawsuits with each other or with the world; few or no debts were contracted; few promises broken; there were no thieves, robbers, or murderers; few or no idlers; all seemed to worship God with a ready heart.”
The implication from Section 97 is that a temple might have protected them.
Again, quoting from Garrett and Robinson, “As President Ezra Taft Benson observed at the dedication of the Jordan River Temple: ‘The saints have been commanded to stand in holy places, such as this temple, in order to avoid the tribulations which are to come in the latter days. . . .
‘The saints in this temple district will be better able to meet any temporal tribulation because of this temple. Faith will increase as a result of the divine power associated with the ordinances of heaven and the assurance of eternal associations.
‘I repeat what I said at the groundbreaking of this temple two years ago: This valley will be preserved, our families will be protected, and our children will be safeguarded as we live the gospel, visit the temple, and live close to the Lord.’” (Dean H. Garrett, Stephen E. Robinson, Commentary on the Doctrine and Covenants, Vol. 3, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book.)
The Lord says in Section 97, “Therefore, verily, thus saith the Lord, let Zion rejoice, for this is Zion—the pure in heart;
“The Lord’s scourge shall pass over by night and by day” (v. 23) Garrett and Robinson note, “The “overflowing scourge” (D&C 45:31) of the last days will reduce the world, with the exception of Zion, to a state of anarchy and chaos that will continue until the second coming of Christ (see D&C 87:6–8). As the end approaches, all the peoples of the earth will have to choose one kingdom or the other: the risks and plagues of Babylon, or the joys and the safety of Zion.”
The promise of the Lord, however, is that “Zion shall escape if she observe to do all things whatsoever I have commanded her” (v. 25).
Scot So much to say. So little time. That’s all for today. This has been Scot and Maurine Proctor with Meridian Magazine’s Come Follow Me podcast. Next week we will study Sections 98-101 called “Be Still and Know that I am God.” Thanks to Paul Cardall for the music that begins and ends this podcast and to our producer, our daughter Michaela Proctor Hutchins. See you next week.