D&C Section 67

Historical Background

During one of several special conferences that were held by the Saints late in 1831, this revelation was received. It was given through the prophet, Joseph Smith, after the decision to publish the Book of Commandments had been made. The Book of Commandments was to be a book of the revelations to the early saints. (Before they were able to be finished, a mob destroyed the printing press and eventually the finished publication would be known as the Doctrine and Covenants.) Along with many testimonies of the saints about the truth in these revelations, there was a question from some of the elders that the wording that was used. This revelation was given in response.

What Blessing Was Not Received?

“Behold and hearken, O ye elders of my church, who have assembled yourselves together, whose prayers I have heard, and whose hearts I know, and whose desires have come up before me (v. 1). Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give (v. 2). Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive (v. 3). . . . Let not your minds turn back; and when ye are worthy, in mine own due time, ye shall see and know that which was conferred upon you by the hands of my servant Joseph Smith, Jun. Amen (v. 14).”

We do not know what blessing had been specifically promised that the Lord was referring to here, but whatever it was, they did not receive it as they had been expecting. The reason they did not receive it, was because they had fear and not faith. I believe that the fear they had was that these revelations were not true, because they thought they were plainly written by the prophet, Joseph Smith. I have learned through scripture study and lesson at church that fear and faith cannot coexist. You either have one or the other. The saints of God try to be a faithful people, but when we allow fear to creep into our hearts, we begin to doubt the Lord in some way. When we have faith, we receive promised blessings through our worthiness.

Challenge from the Lord

“And now I, the Lord, give unto you a testimony of the truth of these commandments which are lying before you (v. 4). Your eyes have been upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and his language you have known, and his imperfections you have known; and you have sought in your hearts knowledge that you might express beyond his language; this you also know (v. 5). Now, seek ye out of the Book of Commandments, even the least that is among them, and appoint him that is the most wise among you (v. 6); Or, if there be any among you that shall make one like unto it, then ye are justified in saying that ye do not know that they are true (v. 7); But if ye cannot make one like unto it, ye are under condemnation if ye do not bear record that they are true (v. 8 ).”

The Lord extended a challenge that one of these elders attempt to write one of these revelations or commandments better than what was already there. The challenge was accepted and one of the elders, William E. McLellin, who had doubted the writings, made an attempt to rewrite the commandment or revelation. The manual I am studying says that the attempt was a failure, even though he was a very learned man. His failure came because he did not have the spirit’s inspiration in his writing. I find it very interesting that the Lord allowed these men to test their doubt in this way. He tells them that if they failed, they had to know that these revelations were truly inspired by God and bear witness to that, or they would be under condemnation.

What Is the Significance of the Term Father of Lights?

“For ye know that there is no unrighteousness in them, and that which is righteous cometh down from above, from the Father of lights (v. 9).” In James 1:17 we read, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” Our Father in Heaven is the source of all that is good and light. There is nothing of darkness that can be found in God. Because he is the source of all that is good, he is known as the Father of all that is good and therefore the Father of lights.

“You Shall See Me and Know That I Am”

“And again, verily I say unto you that it is your privilege, and a promise I give unto you that have been ordained unto this ministry, that inasmuch as you strip yourselves from jealousies and fears, and humble yourselves before me, for ye are not sufficiently humble, the veil shall be rent and you shall see me and know that I am—not with the carnal neither natural mind, but with the spiritual (v. 10). For no man has seen God at any time in the flesh, except quickened by the Spirit of God (v. 11). Neither can any natural man abide the presence of God, neither after the carnal mind (v. 12). Ye are not able to abide the presence of God now, neither the ministering of angels; wherefore, continue in patience until ye are perfected (v. 13).”

We are capable and promised that if we work to become more righteous and humble ourselves in all things, we can be a witness of God in our spirits. As we humbly exercise our faith in the Lord, we will be blessed to know many things. This is a wonderful promise and it is not strictly for those who are called to lead the church, it is for all the saints who have been obedient in making covenants and are worthy of the spirit continually.

What Is the Natural, or Carnal, Mind?

The natural or carnal mind is the mind that is natural to us in this world we live in. The natural mind is part of the natural man, who is susceptible to all the temptations and errors of men. It is contrary to the spiritual mind, which is in harmony with God. Mosiah 3:19 reads, “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” We all have the ability to put off the natural man and become more spiritual, through repentance and striving to become more like the Savior.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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