1 For verily, thus saith the Lord, it is expedient in me that they should continue preaching the gospel, and in exhortation to the churches in the regions round about, until conference;2 And then, behold, it shall be made known unto them, by the voice of the conference, their several missions.3 Now, verily I say unto you my servants, Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon, saith the Lord, it is expedient to translate again;4 And, inasmuch as it is practicable, to preach in the regions round about until conference; and after that it is expedient to continue the work of translation until it be finished.5 And let this be a pattern unto the elders until further knowledge, even as it is written.6 Now I give no more unto you at this time. Gird up your loins and be sober. Even so. Amen. (D&C 73)
This is kind of an odd section. It was given after Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had preached to diminish the unfavorable feelings that had arisen against the church because of letters published by apostate Ezra Booth.
It tells the elders to continue preaching the gospel, exhorting the churches, and it tells Joseph and Sidney to translate again, then preach, then translate again til the work is finished. All of this is ended with the declaration that this is a pattern to the elders until further knowledge is given.
The question I had about this section is about that statement that there was a pattern for the elders. What is the pattern?
In searching, I decided that perhaps the Lord was referring to the cycle of “preach—translate—preach—translate.”
But if that is the pattern, how are we all to apply this, if we are not given authority and power to translate as Joseph Smith was?
I personally think that for us, the pattern is “preach—scripture study—preach—scripture study.” After all, Joseph Smith had to study things out in his mind to receive revelation for his translation, and personal revelation for ourselves and our stewardships is still promised, no matter our office or calling.
So what this pattern tells us is that we will cycle between learning and sharing, over and over. It’s a process of growth, line upon line, precept upon precept.