Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why D&C 122 holds more encouragement for us than we think

In D&C 122, the Lord talks to Joseph Smith, who is imprisoned in Liberty Jail. The Lord lists a whole bunch of hypothetical tribulations that Joseph Smith might have to go through and says that these tribulations would give him experience and be for his good. Just for a review, I’m going to list them.
  1. Called to pass through tribulations
  2. Perils among false brethren
  3. Perils among robbers
  4. Perils by land or by sea
  5. Accused with all manner of false accusations
  6. Enemies fall upon thee
  7. Torn from company of parents
  8. Torn from the company of distraught wife and children
  9. Surrounded by enemies thirsting for blood
  10. Cast into the pit
  11. Cast into murderers hands and sentenced to death
  12. Weather and elements combine to hedge up the way
  13. Hell gaping to swallow thee
As I researched the history leading up to Joseph Smith’s incarceration in Liberty Jail, I found that by the time he was jailed there, HE HAD ALREADY PASSED THROUGH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE “HYPOTHETICAL” TRIBULATIONS. (Read this Historical Background page. About halfway down, you'll find those perils listed with specific instances and dates when Joseph Smith went through them.)

But this presented me with a difficult question. If Joseph Smith had already experienced every one of those listed tribulations by the time that revelation came, then why did the Lord speak of those tribulations in a hypothetical way as if they hadn’t happened and he might be called to pass through them? Was the Lord just reminding him of what he went through?

I stewed over this for a while. It finally came to me that in that section, the Lord is actually talking more to us, the Latter-day Saints, than to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith had already gone through that experience. But we haven’t so much. So the Lord is actually speaking to us to tell us that if we are called to pass through the same tribulations that Joseph Smith had to go through, it will give us experience and be for our good. And because the Lord is actually speaking to us, that means that the blessings in verses 1-4, 9 that we insist on ascribing only to Joseph Smith, are actually to be enjoyed by us as well! Read them now, since they are addressed to you and me!
1 The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision, and hell shall rage against thee;
2 While the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous, shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under thy hand.
3 And thy people shall never be turned against thee by the testimony of traitors.
4 And although their influence shall cast thee into trouble, and into bars and walls, thou shalt be had in honor; and but for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion, because of thy righteousness; and thy God shall stand by thee forever and ever.…
9 Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever. (D&C 122:1-4, 9)
This is how the Lord wants to encourage us all with D&C 122. This encouragement is far greater than we have previously thought, and it is particularly precious in this world that is becoming more and more wicked.

2 comments:

Corine said...

AWESOME! I love the scriptures. I love learning and growing. I love LIFE! :D

Thanks for sharing. You did good. :)

Kimberly said...

Excellent-thanks for sharing!