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Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 109-110)
|Title||Come Follow Me Insights (Doctrine and Covenants 109-110)|
|Year of Publication||2021|
|Authors||Halverson, Taylor, Tyler J. Griffin, and Ken Alford|
|Publisher||Book of Mormon Central|
|Place Published||Springville, UT|
|Keywords||Discipleship; Elias (Prophet); Elijah (Prophet); Kirtland Temple; Moses (Prophet); Sacrifice; Sealing Power; Smith, Joseph, Jr.; Spirit of Elias; Temple Worship|
Join Taylor and Tyler today with their guest, Ken Alford as they discuss the Kirtland Temple dedication and the Pentecostal experiences surrounding it. Learn about reconnecting with God through Temple worship in this inspiring episode.
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Come Follow Me Class Insights – 40 – Doctrine and Covenants 109-110
I'm Taylor, and I'm Tyler, and I'm Ken Alford. This is Book of Mormon Central's Come Follow Me insights. Today, Doctrine and Covenants sections 109 and 110.
This – this happens to be one of the most significant episodes we – we could cover all year long. There is so much happening in section 109 and 110, and happening right before section 109. Remember, as we go back in preparation for our dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the last revelation we have in the Doctrine and Covenants is section 108 given clear back on December 26th, so now we're three months later. Interesting to note that between December and now the end of March where section 109 and the dedication happens for this Kirtland Temple, right here in January you get this incredible vision called now section 137 that wasn't included originally. It's Joseph Smith's vision of the celestial kingdom and he sees some amazing things there and we'll cover that later on in the year when we get to section 137, but it's important to note that that's where it comes in its context and that is going to help prepare Joseph and the leaders of the Church for this incredible dedication that's about to happen at the end of March.
Latter-day Saints are a temple building people and this is where it starts. You know, we build temples as the Church is able to do so over the initial years, but let's put it in perspective. I was born in 1955 and when I was just a youngster, we used to memorize in Primary all of the temples of the Church, all twelve of them, and that's – that's all there were, there were twelve temples. Now, today as you're watching this, there are over 250 temples either built, in operation, announced or under construction. I mean we've gone from Kirtland with one in 1836 to over 250 today, and so we get to take an opportunity and look at this. I – I'm just always amazed by the Lord's hand in all of this.
There's a really neat experience that happens with the First Presidency. The temple is announced, you know, as Joseph is commanded and the Church to build a temple in section 88 and afterwards, the First Presidency, Sidney Rigdon, Frederick G. Williams and, of course, Joseph as prophet – they're meeting and so let me just share this. This is from Truman Angell who was the architect of the Salt Lake Temple and played a role in – in the early Church history. Here's what he related. He said Frederick G. Williams, one of Joseph Smith's counselors came into the temple and the following dialogue took place in my presence. So he's a first-hand witness of this. Carpenter Rolph said, Doctor, what do you think of the house? And Frederick G. Williams answered, it looks to me like the pattern precisely, then he related the following: Joseph received the word of the Lord for him to take his two counselors Williams and Rigdon and come before the Lord and he would show them a plan or a model.
Now elsewhere in his autobiography, Truman Angell shares the rest of the story. He says that Frederick G. Williams says this: we went upon our knees, called upon the Lord - and I just love this, this is now the 1830s and they're about to get 21st century technology - the building according to Frederick G. Williams appeared within viewing distance. So if you can imagine this, they're finished praying, they - they look up and there they can see the building. It sounds almost like a hologram and he said, I being first to discover it, then all of us viewed it together. After we had taken a good look at the exterior - so this is in the room, they can apparently walk around, look at it, get down on their knees, check it out, then he said - the building seemed to come right over us. And it says, and the makeup of this hall – the portion of the temple they were in when this discussion occurred – seems to coincide with what I there saw – and I love these last three words, tu a minusa, meaning that you got it all right. So I mean the Lord's hand is so in this.
Something that's kind of fun though is that this isn't the only time the Lord has had a direct hand in the creation of his houses. You know there are stories about the Salt Lake Temple, there are stories of other temples, I want to share one – we're recording this by Provo, Utah and the Provo, Utah and Ogden, Utah temples were dedicated in 1972 – I was a high school senior and got to go to that temple dedication and the Church architect at the time was a man by the name of Emil Fetzer and now think about it, up and – all of Church history they had done, you know, about twelve temples by then, and he's asked to do two at once. Oh, my goodness, that's staggering. And by today's standards, that's next week but, but at that time that was pretty amazing and Brother Fetzer was very concerned about this. This story comes from Brother Richard Cowan, professor emeritus in BYU, his research and meetings with Brother Fetzer, and here's – here's what he shares. He says this request was overwhelming to him. He was talking to a fellow member of the Church building committee about this significant assignment while they were flying across the Atlantic, so you can see they were seat-mates and he says as he, Brother Fetzer, discussed the matter, he said he seemed to see the interior of the temple – this is the finished temple. He saw where the recommend desk was, the other facilities on the main floor and then the sealing rooms on the second floor. He was especially impressed with the arrangement of the celestial room and the six surrounding ordinance rooms on the upper floor. So when he got back to his office in Salt Lake, all he had to do was put down on paper what he had seen. And to this day, the Provo Temple remains one of the most unique floor plans I think of all the temples and – and it was – it was given by revelation so it's just fun to see the Lord's hand in this.
President Hinckley also on a napkin down in Ciudad Juarez as he's traveling in a car he pulls out a napkin and sketches this small temple floor plan. That napkin has actually been displayed many times in the Church History Library in Salt Lake, so the Lord's hand continues to stay in this.
Absolutely. Now it's important to note as we get ready to dive into section 109 that this particular event in Church history dedicating the Kirtland Temple, it is going to become a confluence, a connecting point between elements and – and experiences in the Old Testament and traditions in the Old Testament, experiences in the New Testament, we're going to see elements like the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 occurring here in this temple, experiences very similar to the Mount of Transfiguration in D. and C. 110, the dedication of the ancient temple of Solomon in the Old Testament. In fact, we should probably start there because as we're ready to dive into section 109, Joseph Smith as he's preparing the dedicatory prayer – and he's writing it down in advance, he's not – he's not getting up and folding his arms and bowing his head and closing his eyes and getting an impromptu prayer. He's actually reading a pre-written prayer and he's drawing upon section 88 heavily, the wording that God had given for the command to build the temple to include those elements in the prayer, but he's also looking to the past. A seer sees things past, present and future and it's not as if he's saying whoa, this has never been done before. He's saying wait, this has been done before and how was it done?
This is a great invitation for us to go back into the Old Testament and you can do a word search for where we have the phrase my name. This shows up in significant places dealing with God's presence and his temple. Let me read to you from Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse 5. It's just one among hundreds of references found throughout the Old Testament. You might remember in Deuteronomy the Israelites have left Egypt and God is preparing them to enter the Promised Land and he's getting their minds prepared for the future, and he says to them, "but ye shall seek the Lord at the place which the Lord your God will choose from all your tribes to establish his name." Again, "to establish his name there for his dwelling and there he shall come." So even out in the wilderness God is getting the Israelites prepared to think about building a dwelling place, a temple where they can gather with God, and notice how he uses the phrase, "to establish his name."
Now I want to point out just briefly something interesting about the Hebrew word name. The Hebrew word for name literally is shem, in fact we actually know there's a man named Shem, the son of Noah, but this is a significant name because it often was used as a replacement for the name of God and people wanted to be protective of God's name and treat it with respect and reverence and so sometimes it would simply say, the name. So as you are studying your scripture, particularly in the Old Testament and Deuteronomy – and I'll share with you a couple of passages from 1st Kings 8 you will look for how is God's name used and how is this phrase used of God wanting us to be connected to his name? So let's now turn to 1st Kings 8. So the Israelites have gotten into the land and after many years, finally they have built a temple under Solomon in the – in the City of Jerusalem and like Joseph Smith, Solomon is now dedicating the temple with a prayer. And here is even just one of the passages in 1st Kings 8, it talks about God says, "Now it was in the heart of my father" - this is Solomon speaking – "David, to build a house for the name of the Lord, the God of Israel." So I want you to think about why is it so significant? Why does God care about his name being somewhere, and what we encourage you to look at now is what happens in D. and C. 109 with the use of God's name. What's the pattern that started in the Old Testament shows up in the New Testament and continues on to the very first temple in the latter days in the restored gospel? Ken, you've done some study on this, what did you discover?
Well, I'll tell you, you know section 109 is such a – just an amazing section and Joseph says in the section heading of section 109, Joseph says this prayer was given to him by revelation and the Lord has a hand in this prayer. Much of this prayer, interestingly, is Joseph quoting from the previous command of the Lord to build the temple, section 88, there's direct wording taken where the Lord basically let's Joseph know, you know, this was good, use it again. And let me share something with you, and this is – let's just share these verses. This is now section 109 and so that I get it right I'll take my cheat sheet here, this is mentioned in verses 1, 2, and it's twice in verse 4, it's also mentioned in verse 5, it's in verse 9 three times, it's in verse 17, it's in verse 18, it's in 19, it's in 22, it's in 26, it's in 31, it's in 56, it's in 58 and it's in 78. My goodness it's a lot of references. There's a commonality with all of these verses and we teach that God is the same yesterday, today and forever, and Taylor's just shared with us the emphasis on the name of God in Old Testament times when temples were dedicated, and let's just look how section 109 begins.
The dedicatory prayer is Joseph, in large measure, you know as we follow today with prayers, we thank – Joseph is thanking both the Father and the Son and then in prayers you know we have an opportunity to ask for those things that we need and that occurs in this dedicatory prayer of the temple and it begins – this prayer begins, "Thanks be," what? "to thy name, O Lord God of Israel." And in verse 2, you've commanded us to build a house, how? "to thy name." Then in verse 4, "we ask thee, Holy Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of thy bosom, in whose name alone salvation can be administered," and so it goes throughout the section. This is done in the name of Jesus Christ. There's a reason why that's the case.
As a fairly new apostle, now President Oaks made this statement in the April 1985 General Conference and talking about this fact, the fact that the name of the Lord is found in the temples. Here's what President Oaks had to say. Quote: the scriptures speak of the Lord's putting his name in a temple because he, Christ, gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house. That, President Oaks said, is the meaning of the prophet's reference to the putting his name upon his people in that holy house. So these references are a reminder that in the temples of our Lord we have the opportunity with his blessing and authority to make covenants and to do ordinances in his name that are binding in the eternities that allow us to return to him. Oh how wonderful!
But President Oaks went on and this part's really exciting. It's so fun. I just think this is – this is just the coolest coming full circle because every week what do we have an opportunity to do, and that is to partake of the sacrament and think of the sacrament prayers and think of it in terms of in the name of Christ. You know, the sacrament prayers ask what? In the name of Christ that we are willing to do some things and that we remember him. Listen to what President Oaks has to say. Quote, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple. Let me say that again, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and by the authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them upon us. Again, that's from that same April 1985 talk by President Oaks.
I just think that's such a wonderful concept because think of every ordinance, every covenant without exception that you will participate in in your entire life in this mortal experience, how are they all done? Every one of them, without exception, is done in the name of Jesus Christ because he has given his authority back on the earth for these to be done and to be done in a binding and an eternal way. I just think that is just the coolest thing and it's right here in section 109 and it's just throughout this section, you can't read this section without finding that concept. I just think that's really wonderful.
He wants us to take his name upon us. He wants us to put his name on us. We are temples, and what do we actually see with the physical temples, the buildings? I'm putting my name there and so the gate into God's kingdom is baptism. When you become a Christian, it's because you have taken Christ's name upon you at baptism. You renew that at sacrament so it's this beautiful theme that shows up consistently throughout the gospel and throughout the scriptures. God's name is to be with you to empower you.
This is – this is beautiful regarding the name and you see it not just in the Old Testament and not just in the Doctrine and Covenants but in the New Testament as well. You'll remember the story of Peter and John healing the lame man at the temple in chapter 3. Well in chapter 4 when they're standing in front of the Sanhedrin, listen to the question in context of name. "When they had set them," that's Peter and John, "in the midst, they asked, by what power or by what name have ye done this?" And then later on after they say it was in the name of Jesus, Jesus Christ of Nazareth that we did this. Then later on they say in verse 17, "let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name." And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, it's much more than just a nice concept. The name is equated with power. When we speak in the name of Jesus Christ, when we make covenants in the name of Jesus Christ, we're – we're receiving power from heaven in those – in those ordinances and in those teachings and in those callings that we're fulfilling. Very powerful.
So there's so many stories connected with the Kirtland Temple, I mean this is such a unique and a wonderful experience for the Church. As early as – (unclear) thinking back earlier in this year, back to section 37 and 38 when the saints are called to gather to Kirtland, why are they called to gather? One of the reasons is so that the Lord can endow them with power; that's his phrase. Where does that power come from? It comes from the Savior. So it's just – just these amazing stories connected with just almost every aspect of the Kirtland Temple, you can just see the Lord's hand every single step of the way, even when they're not sure how they're going to be able to do it.
It's interesting, sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven and I think the Kirtland Temple, the whole construction, is a manifestation of that. These saints, they, boy, they stepped up to the plate and they did sacrifice and they put everything on the line to build this house to the Lord so that his name could be on it.
Let me share one – just one statement on that note about sacrifice. This is – this is from the October 1998 General Conference and President M. Russell Ballard said this. He said if I have a fear, it is that the principle of sacrifice that the saints so willingly evidenced in Kirtland, he said if I have a fear, it is that the principle of sacrifice may be slipping away from us. This principle is a law of God. We are obligated to understand it and practice it. If being a member of this Church becomes too easy, testimonies will become shallow and the roots of testimony will not go down into the soil of faith as they did for our pioneer forefathers. So when we're called upon to make sacrifice, recognize there's a rich heritage of this and blessings always follow.
Ken, that reminds me of one of my favorite lines from the Lectures on Faith that used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants where the line says, a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all earthly things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation. There's a lot to like about that in our – in our world today where we aren't living in frontier America, we're not having to just eke out a living in – to just survive. If our charities, if our sacrifices don't cost us something, the question might be how much of a sacrifice is it really? Maybe – maybe that quote that you just read is more relevant than it was when it was first given.
So you can imagine the excitement of the saints, I mean here they are, for three years this has been front and center, it has been the focal point in Kirtland, and – and they just had so many struggles with it. Hyrum said there were times when we slept with basically a trowel in one hand and a rifle in the other because there was opposition as they were building it. There was some – some desire in the early days – some members of the Church suggested that they build a log – a log cabin temple and Joseph basically said, no, no, the Lord (overtalk) there's something better. This is an aside I would mention that there was discussion among the Quorum of the Twelve in Utah to build the Salt Lake Temple out of adobe and it was Wilford Woodruff who had a dream that it was built out of stone and he stood up in the Quorum of the Twelve and said, no brethren, I've seen it in vision, it's made out of stone; it's not made out of adobe.
But – but then the day is announced for the dedication. It's going to be at the end of March, March 17th of 1836 and oh my goodness, you can just imagine the excitement. A thousand people, a thousand – a thousand people cram, is probably the best word, into that building and there were so many that couldn't get in and Joseph apologized and sent them to an overflow meeting right next door, and there's an overflow meeting but there's no – no sound system so they're not (overtalk) the internet was out. It was just down that day. And – and so this meeting, I think in – maybe if we think back to it we think oh they sang The Spirit of God like a fire is burning, and then Joseph got up and did the dedicatory prayer and they went home, they finish up and then they go home. No, no no, this is hours and hours of meetings.
In fact, when the meeting first starts, you can picture, and by the way, these aren't – these aren't the nice cushions on – on the benches and on the backs, these are – these are carved out of wood; they're hard benches and you're packed in, a thousand people packed in, and the meeting opens with Sidney Rigdon counselor in the First Presidency and he gets up and he is standing – the First Presidency is sitting in the the highest pulpit center on the west side, and Sidney Rigdon gets up and starts a sermon and two hours later, Sidney finished that sermon. If you can picture a two hour talk from one guy with no break, he finishes and then Joseph gets up and - and reads this prayer. Now there had been some help with the prayer, as happened as you go from the Joseph Smith Papers website you'll see that many of the revelations – the committee assignments, they help work with the grammar and the punctuation and things and Joseph mentions that Rocky Oliver, in his sketch book says the people that were involved with the prayer, he said, Joseph, of course, was there, he was there, Sidney Rigdon was there, Oliver's brother Warren was there, Warren Parrish was there and they were able to help with maybe wordsmith a little bit of the words of the prayer.
Grammar wasn't Joseph's strong suit, nor did he ever claim it was. Nor did he – yah, but then at this wonderful meeting Joseph gets up and then begins to read this prayer and, I mean, think about it, there just hasn't been a dedicatory prayer in a house of the Lord for millennia. And yet Joseph sets the stage because every temple has – has a unique dedicatory prayer that is read. You can find those dedicatory prayers online through the Church websites with the areas dedicated to temples. I would just encourage you, look up the dedicatory prayer of the temple that's closest to you, your temple, your temple district. Look up that dedicatory prayer. You'll find some wonderful things there, and each of them are tailored to the specific circumstances and time and place and so if we could give you an assignment that won't be a role call or a (overtalk) later, but I'd just encourage you – look up – look up the dedicatory prayer for your temple and read it because I think it will be well worth your time and you'll see how promises made in those prayers are coming to pass. It's just fun to – fun to see.
So let's dive into section 109 and look at – we don't have time to cover all of these rules, far from it, not even close, but we can give an overview. So Ken already mentioned that the prayer begins with this outpouring of gratitude, the very, very first word in the prayer – thanks. Do you find it interesting that President Nelson in November of 2020 gave a – a announcement to the whole world focused on a solution to many of the struggles that we were facing and the solution was gratitude. Give thanks. And that's where this prayer begins here at this temple, "Thanks be to thy name, O Lord God of Israel." Now did you catch that? Thanks for getting us to sacrifice so much money and so much time and energy and effort – so hard – it's been such a difficult thing. Thanks.
Brothers and sisters if you look at your own life, our suspicion is that as you look back on the sweeping events of your life, the most shaping, the most meaningful, the most memorable, the most testimony-building, the most heaven-connecting experiences were probably not the periods of the greatest ease. For most of us, it's probably those times where we were called to sacrifice the most where we saw the hand of God in our life even more clearly than ever before and where we are – where we are just brought to that point where we say, thanks be to God, thanks be to thy name O Lord God as Joseph opens this prayer. I think it's a beautiful opening to an amazingly beautiful prayer of dedication.
And so what we've got here is, the Lord notes in verse 6 and also he makes the same – a similar statement in verse 10 where he says call your solemn assemblies, and that phrase solemn assembly, it was mentioned just in the 108 section – in 108 because Lyman Sherman is counseled about solemn assembly. So I have a statement here from Elder David B. Haight. This is from the November – the October 1994 General Conference that appears in the November 1994 Ensign and he defines what a solemn assembly is. And he says a solemn assembly as the name implies, denotes a sacred, sober and reverent occasion when the saints assemble under the direction of the First Presidency. Who's responsible here at the Kirtland Temple? It's the First Presidency – Joseph is directly in charge. And then Elder Haight went on and said, and taught the Church, solemn assemblies are used for three purposes and the first is the dedication of temples, which is what this is in Kirtland, special instruction to priesthood leaders and special instruction under priesthood leaders, I would paraphrase a little bit such as when we had the bicentennial of the First Vision, that was declared a solemn assembly, and sustaining a new President of the Church. Those are solemn assemblies, because Joseph had taught the saints – this is recorded in his history – he said, this is before the dedication of the temple – he says we must have all things prepared and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us. All who are prepared and are sufficiently pure to abide the presence of the Savior will see him in the solemn assembly, and oh, my goodness, is that promise fulfilled (overtalk) hundreds of times - hundreds of times.
So after introducing the solemn assembly in verse 6, you'll notice we jump down in verse 7 and 8 which is a direct quote from section 88 and especially in verse 8 where he's referring specifically to the house, "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing, and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God." I love the fact that we're talking about the Kirtland temple here, but that just becomes the pattern, the template, the symbol for what we should hopefully be doing with our own homes and with our own lives, and ultimately with our own soul. My body, my life should become all of those things. There's nothing in that list there that doesn't apply directly to you as an individual member of the Church of Jesus Christ.
And isn't it interesting that it's said twice because we got verses 7 and 8 and then 14 to 16 kind of echo those verses again. Two quick things to note, one is I love this pattern that's in there twice. It's how we are to seek learning in our words, one of the things we get to do in this life is learn and the Lord tells us very clearly which I remind my students of right before their midterm and final every year, seek learning, what's the order the Lord puts? Even by study – study's first – and also by faith. Your faith confirms your study. It's hard to have faith in something you don't know, so the Lord's saying study it first and then I'll help you build your faith. The other thing is, as Tyler mentioned, that this talking about the temple and the kind of house it is, you know, for a while in 2020 and into 2021 our homes were as close as we could get to the temple as the temples were closed and that's, as you mentioned, that's the pattern.
And it's fascinating to see that God is not afraid of the process that we work through in our discipleship. Look at – look at some of the beautiful phrases in verse 15 for instance. "And that they may grow up in thee, and receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost." This denotes this lifelong discipleship process, not – not an event of a dedicatory experience on one day and then we've arrived. No, it's – we've begun a process, now we're going to grow up in thee. Beautiful phrasing, and then he repeats verse 8 over in verse 16 again, so starting in verse 20 he, he gives some directions. In the prayer, it's interesting that he's repeating these directions that the Lord has already given them from the past, that no unclean thing will be permitted to enter and come into it. And then he also throws in there a promise. Look at verse 25 : "No weapon formed against them shall prosper" and he who diggeth a pit for them shall fall into the same himself."
Now that we have a temple built, you'll notice the contrast compared – comparing Kirtland with Independence, Missouri where they didn't even start shoveling out a foundation for the temple. Or Far West – or Far West later on, coming up that weapons formed against them did temporarily prosper but in Kirtland where we have this temple, he's saying it's this foundation, this root structure has now been put into the earth and God is going to endow his people with power and if you look at this experience, section 109 and 110, this is really the diving board or the springboard into explosion of – of heaven's power being poured down on the heads of the saints and carrying the gospel to – to Europe and across the world. It all starts here. No weapon formed against thee shall prosper. The work is established and it will prevail. I love that.
So that we don't take your entire day today, which we could on section 109 and 110 to be quite honest, but I would just point you to some verses and to look at who Joseph prays for in this dedicatory prayer because after thanking the Lord and – and acknowledging what's happened here, Joseph turns to an opportunity to ask the Lord for some things and I would send you a fun thing to do is before you read these verses, go back to the Book of Enos in the Book of Mormon and look at the pattern that Enos goes through as he kneels before the Lord and wrestles with the Lord. He prays first for himself, then he prays for his people, then he prays for the Lamanites, then he basically prays for the children of the world and if you look at the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple, I would just send you, starting in verse 34 through 72 you'll see that Joseph prays for this people, the saints, he prays for those that have been driven out of Jackson County, he even asks the Lord to have mercy on the mobs that drove them out. I find that just amazing. He prays for the nations of the earth, for the rulers of the land, for kings and nobles and great ones and churches and the poor and the needy. He prays that there will be additional stakes of Zion, boy has that request been fulfilled. He prays for the Children of Israel, he prays for the Children of Judah, he prays for the scattered elements of Israel. He prays for himself, he prays for his sweet wife, he prays for their children. He prays for all of their immediate connections, their friends and associates. He then prays for presidents of the Church and I would note that that's not thinking of Brigham Young and Heber J. Grant and Spencer W. Kimball, but at the time, various authorities were present so there were presidents of the elder's quorum and presidents of the higher priesthood and President of the Church in Missouri which David Whitmer, and so on. But then in verse 72 he prays for all thy Church and basically, he's praying for the Lord and it's followed by a wonderful verse in verse 78 in which something kind of – kind of cool happens.
Yah, he gives you a repeat, "O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord!" fascinating in antiquity. There are a lot of ways you can draw attention and add emphasis. One of the ways you do that is you repeat something three times, it's a way to create a feeling of superlative nature of that element, so you'll see these three-peats throughout the scriptures. For instance, in Isaiah's grand vision of God in the temple, he hears one of the angels shouting holy, holy, holy, is our God. That's not a typical way for us to talk today but it's very typical back then. You take the root word and if you want to make it superlative or the most of that, then you repeat it three times, holy, holy, holy, or woe, woe, woe or in this case, O hear, O hear, O hear, O Lord. This is the superlative plea for God on high to listen to people on the earth. Please hear us is a nice phrase but when he repeats it three times it's the superlative, it's the most of that and if you consider temple work today, and consider the things that get repeated three times in - in the symbolic way, those are all superlative. That's the most that it can be. And stop and think about the hosanna shout itself at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb. And then what do you do? You repeat that phrase a second time and then you repeat that whole phrase a third time so you have the superlative hosanna and the word hosanna, the simple definition for this would be dear God, save us now, or save now. It's a plea for God to save us. Huh, a superlative plea that the ultimate request for salvation, hosanna repeated three times and then you take that whole phrase and then repeat it three times and then you finish it with amen, amen, and amen. Thus it is verily truly three times, it is a matrix of superlatives, this hosanna shout and it's done when we build and dedicate this temple to our God. Why did we build it? Because we want to be saved. We're pleading with God to pour down more than power, more than light, more than knowledge on us, we're pleading for him to pour down his mercy and his salvation and his goodness and all of those things combined, the totality of Jesus' mission, his atonement, his everything, we're pleading for that to be poured down upon us.
In fact, if you look at page 226 and 227 in the English Doctrine and Covenants and you just highlight every time you see the word mercy on this page, they – Joseph in this prayer is pleading with God to have mercy on us because that's where we can access that sweet forgiveness and be able to grow up in him, in his name, taking his name upon us, becoming more like him. When I was born, I became a Griffin. I took my dad's name upon me. And over time, I've grown up to the point where many people who knew my dad say you look a lot like your dad, you sound like your dad, Dennis. That's what discipleship, that's what the temple, that's what the sacrament, that's what the gospel of Jesus Christ are all about. It's us being willing to take upon us his name and his attributes and his power and plead for his mercy and grow up in him – in his family and this is his home and he's inviting us to come to his home.
Well what's great about this word that Tyler has focused on is that the root word that makes hosanna is the same word that produces the name Joshua which produces the name Jesus, and as we've been talking about, it's his name that saves us' it's his name that is put at the temple. It's his name to take upon us. It's his mercy that we are seeking so when we're asking for hoshana or hosanna we're literally saying Jesus save me, or salvation, which is the meaning of his name, be with me now. And he's saying I want to be with you. His mind is upon you. As a reminder, every single week you take his name upon you, you take salvation upon you as you partake of the sacrament.
You know there are so many things in these sections, we would just invite you to dive in more, we apologize for the length on this but Sidney Rigdon took two hours, we're not going to take that long. No we won't take that long, but the Spirit of God like a Fire is Burning written by William Wine Phelps, W. W. Phelps who – it premiered, if you like, at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. This is a – this is a hymnbook from the early days of the Church – 1840. The first edition of this hymnbook was published in 1840, this is a little bit later Edition but it's still very 19th century and an original copy. In here though, there's no – there's no music that accompanies it, they had to remember the tunes, it just has the tune name, but for hymn 244 which we know today as the Spirit of God, there were two extra verses. I'm going to share one of them because this was written as a temple hymn and it's sung at most temple dedications today, even in this day and age. But the fourth verse no longer appears in our current hymnbook and I just want to share that verse with you because it was very appropriate on that day when they sang, and just a small note, the way the Kirtland Temple is designed, in the meeting room there are choir boxes in all four corners, then we have the pulpits on both ends, Melchizedek and Aaronic, but there's quadraphonic sound, if you like, in the Kirtland Temple so I can only imagine what this sounded like and I want to just share a statement before I do from a lady by the name of Zina Huntington. She and her sister Prescindia attended some of these dedicatory meetings and she made this statement: while the congregation was praying, we both heard from one corner of the room above our heads, a choir of angels singing most beautifully. So accompanying the prayer, they were invisible to us but myriads of angels - angelic voices seemed to be united in singing some song of Zion and their sweet harmony filled the temple of God. Now with that image in mind and thinking that there are choirs in all four corners of this room, this is the fourth verse that was sung: We'll wash and be washed and with oil be anointed. With all not omitting, the washing of feet. For he that receiveth his penny appointed, Must be clean at the harvest of wheat. I just think that's a great temple dedicatory verse.
The word anointed in Greek is the word Christ. In Hebrew it's Messiah and so we want to become like him and one of those ways we do that is by being anointed in the temple to receive more of his power and glory, the endowment he offers.
Wonderful, we would be remiss I think if we didn't mention verses 36 and 37 of the dedicatory prayer. Joseph prayed this. He said, quote, "let it be fulfilled upon them, as upon those on the day of Pentecost; let the gift of tongues be poured out upon thy people, even cloven tongues as of fire, and the interpretation thereof. And let thy house be filled, as with a rushing mighty wind, with thy glory." And so that – those verses are embedded in the middle of the prayer. That request of Joseph was fulfilled many times over. This was truly a period for several weeks, unlike any in Church history. It was truly Pentecostal.
There are just a number of events recorded. Let me just share a few of the comments. This is from Joseph Smith's journal. He said I then bore testimony of the administering of angels. President Williams, that's Frederick G. Williams also arose and testified that while President Rigdon was making his first prayer, an angel entered the window and took his – and took his seat between Father Smith and himself. So he's sitting there and all of a sudden an angel comes through the window and sits down beside him. I think you're going to be really awake for the rest of the meeting, I have – even if it's a two hour talk from Sidney Rigdon. President David Whitmer, he said also saw angels in the house. From Joseph Smith's history this statement is made: Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy when a voice was heard like the sound of a rushing, mighty wind, which filled the temple, in direct fulfillment to Joseph's request, and all the congregation simultaneously arose. Can you picture that? This hundreds and hundreds of people in this room and in just without a word being spoken, feel they are on holy ground and they just stand to acknowledge the occasion.
It's a bit like when the prophet enters a room and you'll be talking, and you feel a (overtalk) everyone stands up and there's an invisible power it says, and they were moved upon by an invisible power and many began to speak in tongues as Joseph had requested, and prophesy. Others saw glorious visions and I beheld the temple was filled with angels which fact I declared to the congregation, so can you imagine the prophet coming to the pulpit and saying Brothers and Sisters, I see this room filled with angels. The people in the neighborhood, so those that couldn't get into the meeting, came running together hearing an unusual sound within and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the temple and they were astonished at what was transpiring. This continued until this particular meeting closed at 11:00 p.m. that night.
Joseph says in another place in his journal, quote: I left the meeting in charge of the Twelve and retired about 9:00. The brethren continued exhorting, prophesying, speaking in tongues until 5:00 a.m. in the morning, can you imagine? And then he says, for those there hanging on until 5:00 a.m. the Savior made his appearance to some while angels ministered to others. It was a Pentecost, an endowment indeed. And then in probably the – one of the biggest understatements in his journal he said, long to be remembered.
One of my favorite, personal stories comes from again, Zina Huntington who heard, with her sister, the angelic choir. She says this, she says quote: On one occasion I saw angels clothed in white, walking upon the Kirtland Temple. It was one of our monthly fast meetings when the saints were in the temple worshipping. A little girl came to my door and in wonder called out to me exclaiming, the meeting is on the top of the meeting house! So I went to the door and there I saw the temple angels clothed in white covering the roof. This isn't one or two angels on the roof – covering the roof from end to end. And there are many more of these kinds of accounts. It was – it was a period unlike anything since Pentecost. It was just truly an amazing time.
I hope you're understanding that we haven't even scratched the surface of what we could cover with not just the prayer, but the outpouring, these Pentecostal experiences that the saints are experiencing on this day and days leading up to it as well as between section 109 and 110.
Let's finish section 109 by looking at the closure here, starting in verse 77. Notice how he finishes the prayer. "O Lord God almighty, hear us in these our petitions, and answer us from heaven, thy holy habitation, where thou sittest enthroned with," now we're going to get this long list. Rather than zone out and think, oh yeah, this is another one of those long scripture lists of good attributes, great, let's move on, let's skip it. Rather than do that, look closely at this list because if you think about this, you're not just seeing God's attributes because the whole purpose of the temple, everything we've talked about this whole year has been helping us to become more like him. So don't see this just as God's attributes, which – that's what it is – but see this as your future potential attributes, your characteristics, your traits if you persist in growing up in Chirst and taking his name upon you. Notice you will be crowned, "with glory, honor, power, majesty, might, dominion, truth, justice, judgment, mercy and an infinity of fulness, from everlasting to everlasting." This is what God has in store for those who will follow him, and then that beautiful verse 78 we've already covered, O hear, O hear, O hear us, O Lord! Answer these petitions.
Now jump over to verse 79. "And also this church, to put upon it thy name. And help us by the power of thy Spirit, that we may mingle our voices with those bright, shining seraphs around thy throne with acclamations of praise, singing Hosanna to God and the Lamb. Here's your hosanna and this phrase that comes out in – in the Spirit of God hymn. And then verse 80, "And let these, thine anointed ones," Taylor talked about the significance of the word anointed, "be clothed with salvation and thy saints shout aloud for joy. Amen, and Amen."
This is – this is a beautiful prayer – a beautiful closure to an amazingly beautiful prayer and I would just recommend that when Ken was talking about the angels being able to sing and combine their voices with the earthly choirs at that dedication, I've often wondered, were you and I part of that heavenly choir back then? Were we there that day? Were we maybe some of those angels who were celebrating and has our voice in the choir gotten stronger since then, or diminished, and what could we do to sing more in harmony and more beautifully with the many other voices around us singing praises to God and the Lamb?
So as we look at verse 78, there's one thing in here where Joseph makes a request of the Lord. Joseph – after he says O hear, O hear, O hear us, his request right after that is, and answer these petitions. I've prayed for several things, Lord please answer this. But then he says, and accept the dedication of this house unto thee. He specifically asks the Lord, let us know you've accepted this house. And so one week later on April 3rd, 1836, an extremely important day in Church history, extremely important day in world's perspective, from religions across the world. Why? This is Sunday, April 3rd 1836, that particular year it happens to be Easter and it also - this happens occasionally, not very often – but it also happens to be Passover. Now really, really quickly, Passover every year for Jewish families and Jewish individuals across the earth, they celebrate a beautiful Passover meal on the first full moon after the spring equinox. Well Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox, so occasionally, those two will line up but usually they don't. They did on April 3rd.
Now for those of you who have ever participated in a Passover Seder Service, a Passover meal, then there's a certain point at during that Seder service where somebody is sent to the door to open the door and who are they looking for Ken? Elijah. Yeah, they're looking for Elijah because it is prophesied, in fact, in the Old Testament that we have, it's the last two verses of the Old Testament. It's the final two verses of the entire Old Testament where the prophecy comes from Malachi in chapter 4 that before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord will I send Elijah, the prophet, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
So rabbinical tradition among the Jewish people holds that that Malachi 4 prophecy is going to be fulfilled on Passover. Now some of you might be wondering what exactly is Passover? Keep in mind the original Passover happens in Egypt when Moses is talking to Pharaoh and trying to get him to release the Israelites from slavery and bondage, and finally the tenth plague comes along which is I will destroy the firstborn in every household unless that household has the blood of a lamb on the doorposts and the lintel. And if that's the case then the destroying angel will pass over that house and not destroy that firstborn. Ironic when you pull all of these symbols together- the blood of the lamb being, it had to be a firstborn male without blemish, all of these descriptors of the Lamb of God, Christ, who was not passed over from the destroying angel, so to speak, and so you get these two prophets coming into this incredible story of Passover for Jewish families the world over. Well April 3rd 1836 you have Jewish people having their Seder service and they're going to the door to see if Elijah came 'cause it's Passover in 1836 that day and he wasn't at the door. But Elijah did come that day. And he did bring keys and he is going to start turning the hearts of the children to the fathers and the fathers to the children to – to create those welding, sealing links, it's beautiful.
Now to open this, it's Sunday, we've come into the Kirtland Temple; it's a week after the dedication and who's there?
Well what happens is, the Kirtland Temple is built with almost a sail system; they've got these canvas dividers and there's kind of pulleys in the ceiling and you could lower them and raise them almost like a sail on a ship, if you like, and the benches had spaces between them, still do today, where these curtains, these canvas curtains could be lowered down. It was kind of like dividing off the Young Women's room today in various classes, and so Oliver Cowdery and Joseph are there. There are pulpits on both ends and we'll put down in the description a link where you can find out what the letters on the pulpits mean, in case you're curious about that. But Joseph and Oliver are there by the Melchizedek Priesthood end, the curtains had been lowered, that canvas curtain, and there opens up a series of four visions that are just – well really amazing and they say in verse 1, the veil was taken from our minds and the eyes of our understanding were opened and in verse 2, we saw the Lord standing upon the breastwork of the pulpit before us, so these Melchizedek Priesthood pulpits that are there on the west end – on the west end of the temple, and then they try to describe the Savior. You know out of all the verses that Joseph ever writes, I've got to believe these are probably some of the most difficult verses, how do you describe the Savior?
Verse 3 is the description they give. "His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah." That's a pretty – pretty amazing description where we're trying to take earthly words and – and - and symbols like fire and rushing waters to try to describe the almost indescribable.
And look what then the Savior does. The Savior begins speaking. "I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate." That concept appears so many times in scriptures, especially in the Doctrine and Covenants. And "I am your advocate with the Father." And then he does just the most wonderful thing that's happened to Joseph before, but he says, "Behold, your sins are forgiven you; you are clean before me; therefore, lift up your heads and rejoice. Let the hearts of your brethren rejoice, and let the hearts of all my people rejoice, who have, with their might, built this house," how have they built this house? Look at this, (unclear) to my name. That is just so significant.
So if we pause there for a minute, again, remembering what we've talked about this from section 109 referring to the name of the Lord, notice what he did with Joseph in verse 4. I am is repeated one, two, three, four times in that very short verse. I am, and then he gives some qualifier or an adjective for who he is to describe him. We understand that in the Old Testament experience of Moses speaking with the Lord in the burning bush, remember the way it comes to us in our – in our Old Testament today, he says I'm not going to just waltz into Egypt and get these people to follow me. Why would they follow me? Who should I tell them sent me? And what was the Lord's answer? Tell them that I am, and you'll notice that they usually capitalize it in the Old Testament account, tell them that I am has sent you, and then he gives his name. Who are you? He says I am that I am, this self-existent one. Keep in mind, this is the English version, but Moses isn't speaking English and the Israelites aren't speaking English in Egypt, that's how it comes to us today.
The name of God, Yhwh, which is kind of that unspeakable name Taylor talked about it earlier, they would often refer to him either by Adoni, the Lord, or Shem, the name, or wink, wink, everybody would know who you were talking about without using his name or saying his name. So for God to give his name to Moses and say you can – you can use this name, this is what you're going to tell them. That's going to be an attention getter. His name carries with it power back then as well as today. Now isn't it beautiful that we don't perform our ordinances in the name of Yaweh or the name of Jehovah, it's the name of Jesus, the Anointed, Jesus Christ that all of our ordinances and all of our covenants are made in his name.
I can't imagine how Joseph felt. I'm sure Oliver felt good too but imagine Joseph's emotions as he hears the Lord say this in verse 7, "For behold, I have accepted this house, and my name shall be here." In other words, you now have permission to use priesthood authority to do things in my name, "and I will manifest myself to my people in mercy," here's that idea of mercy again, "in this house. Yea, I will appear unto my servants, and speak unto them with mine own voice, if my people will keep my commandments, and do not pollute this (holy) house."
So Ken, does that mean you don't have to be perfect to go to the temple to access this mercy? You don't have to be perfect, you have to – what does it say in the sacrament prayers? You have to be willing, we have to be willing, and so then follow in what kind of rapid succession? We don't know. We don't know how long all of this experience takes. But then we see three visions opening and closing and we have Moses and then Elias and then Elijah appearing, each restoring because there is now a dedicated and accepted house of the Lord, the Lord has held back these priesthood keys, these are three really important priesthood keys and he's held them back until this house can be dedicated and it's time. And so how fun, on that Passover day, that both Moses and Elias get to make a – you know, a joint appearance, and so I guess let's begin with Moses. What priesthood key does he restore?
So Moses in verse 11 comes and he "committed unto us the keys of the gathering of Israel." Now isn't that fascinating, you could circle the word gathering. Look back over at verse 9, "Yea the hearts of thousands and tens of thousands," I guess today we would say millions, "shall greatly rejoice in consequence of the blessings which shall be poured out, and the endowment with which my servants have been endowed in this house," and then in verse 10 he talks about taking this to foreign lands.
We've had a few missionaries go up into Canada, but that doesn't exactly qualify as foreign lands – plural. It's these keys that Moses restored for the gathering of all of the tribes of Israel, what did Moses do with Egypt? He went in and gathered all of the tribes of Israel and took them out into the wilderness where they could meet God. That was the intent. Now keep in mind if you look at the overview of – there's Jerusalem, Egypt is clear down here in the Mediterranean Sea. Keep in mind Abraham's family began in the Promised Land, then they went down into Egypt, now they have to be brought back out of Egypt and they wanted to get in but they couldn't so they have to wander for 40 years and then eventually 40 years later they come back in. Hmm, looks a little bit like the Plan of Salvation. Looks a little bit what you and I did. We leave the Promised Land, AKA heaven, we come down to Egypt, also known as the earth, and mortality and a prophet of God through the direction of Christ leading the people through his presence in the tabernacle, guides us first through a baptism experience, the – the Red Sea – through the water – or the Red Sea, so you come down and then you have a Mount Sinai experience, a temple experience where - where you get endowed with power. And then you have this wandering experience of mortality in the wilderness where you have – you have heartache and sickness and struggles and – and trials of your faith until the day comes when you can part that veil, so to speak, and re-enter the Promised Land or re-enter heaven.
So this temple power that is given to them and these keys that are given to them to go and gather Israel, to make it so that this story isn't isolated to one teeny, tiny group back in 1500 or 1400 BC, but rather that we can turn this into everybody's story across the earth. That key given by Moses is amazingly astronomical in its size.
Then, if I can have you erase that side, I'll scribble on this side, we then have the appearance of someone identified as Elias. And this is just a kind of a challenging name. To be real honest, we don't know who the individual is that actually appears, if you'll go to your Bible dictionary very briefly I'll just summarize it, there are four main definitions of this word Elias, and the first is and Elias is anyone who is a forerunner of Christ. Okay? So Sidney Rigdon, for example, is told he is an Elias in section 35, John the Baptist is an Elias, there are people that are designated to be a forerunner. A second meaning of that is someone who receives a special calling from the Lord, they can be called an Elias. There also was apparently a person by the name of Elias in the time of Abraham, and then just to make it challenging for biblical scholars, Elias is the Greek version of Elijah, and so what happens is, in this instance in section 110 we have both an Elias and we have the actual Elijah coming so that uncomplicates it a little bit, but recognize that the Lord has not yet told us entirely who this – who this person was. What we do know is that this Elias who, under one of these definitions, he came, had the ability to restore the keys for what? Well, as it says in verse 12, "the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all generations after us should be blessed." That wonderful covenant that was given to Abraham and renewed with Isaac and renewed with Jacob and renewed through the years is now ours. We can claim to it as either blood Israel or adopted Israel and the bottom line is it doesn't matter whether you're born into Israel as a blood member or an adopted member, the blessings are exactly the same.
But I've always found it interesting that you know we're just kind of - the Lord reveals many things but he doesn't reveal everything. So various things, this is the second appearance, so the third appearance then, and how wonderful that it occurs on the day as Tyler mentioned where around the world doors are being opened inviting Elijah in and I just love that they preserved this prophecy correctly, they got it right. Elijah would return on a Passover day. And so Elijah comes and gives which keys? The sealing keys. And oh how wonderful that the power to bind on earth and have it be bound in heaven whether it's family relationships or other things that the Lord needs done in that kind of a nature.
The question has been raised sometimes why Moses, why this Elias that we aren't sure who it was, and why Elijah? Well Joseph Fielding Smith made a statement in the Doctrines of Salvation that I've just have always found useful, he said, quote: it's been a mystery to many members of the Church why this important mission, speaking specifically of Elijah, was reserved for Elijah and why these authorities could not have been bestowed by some other prophet of prophets, presumably Peter, James and John? And then he answers his own question. He says without question Peter, James and John could have bestowed this authority; they had it, they were so commissioned by the Savior himself. He said so could Adam, so could any number of people, if they had been commissioned to do so. And so you know, in the Lord's wisdom it's Moses, it's this Elias and it's Elijah and those – those keys are restored upon the earth and I've just mentioned that this is similar to the Mount of Transfiguration in the New Testament and Mark and Luke 9 I think, and so at the Mount of Transfiguration who was there? Well, so this is New Testament times, who is there? Christ and Moses and Elijah and then there are some interesting verses in the King James Version that people have argued over for a long time. But in the Joseph Smith Translation Mark chapter 9 verse 3 and there's a footnote in your Latter-day Saint Bible, if you go there and look in Joseph Smith Translation Mark 9:3, he explains that there was an Elias there and that day that Elias was John the Baptist, one of the few people in history whose middle name was the. And so in the New Testament then it's Christ, Moses, Elijah and Elias, now let's look at Kirtland. Who appears in section 110? Christ, Moses, Elijah and Elias. It's the same. And – and again just another witness from the Lord that this has my absolute stamp of approval. I just think that's kind of a fun – fun connection that Joseph helped open up that key through the Joseph Smith translation, and the keys here given to Peter, James and John now we get them given to Joseph.
So we should probably mention that this section, section 110 is called a theophany. It's an appearance of God. It's - you know in history it's a pretty rare and special event. So you know as we look at these sections, section 109 and 110, it focuses us on the temple and I think of the brief period of time that Howard W. Hunter was President of the Church. President Hunter just was prophet for one General Conference and a very short period as President of the Church, but an important presidency. He spent basically that entire presidency focusing the Church on the temple and prophets continue to do that. President Nelson continually focuses us on the temple. But I wanted to share a couple of statements from President Howard W. Hunter as we prepare to close here, he said, quote: I invite all the Latter-day Saints to look to the temple of the Lord as the great symbol of your membership, the things that we must do and not do to be worthy of a temple recommend are the very things that will insure we will be happy as individuals and families. And then he said in that same conference, let us be a temple attending people and a temple loving people. Attend the temple as frequently as personal circumstances allow. Let us go not only for our kindred dead, but let us also go for the personal blessings of temple worship, for the sanctity and safety that is provided within those hallowed and consecrated walls. The temple is a place of beauty, it is a place of revelation, it is a place of peace. It is the House of the Lord. It is holy unto the Lord; it should be holy unto us.
So to finish, we want to – we want to conclude with the final verse of that dedicatory prayer once again. "Let these, thine anointed ones, be clothed with salvation, and thy saints shout aloud for joy, Amen, and Amen." Brothers and sisters, the emphasis on the temple isn't about a beautiful building or a beautiful structure. That's just a symbol. That's a place where we can go as a connecting point with heaven, where we can find peace, where we can find greater joy and answers and sometimes in the Church we get this idea that if you go to the temple, it should be this mountain peak of revelation every single time and you're going to just be bathed in heaven's light and hear heavenly choirs singing and see angels when most of us don't ever experience those kinds of manifestations, but when we go in the right spirit, somehow someway, the Lord takes the struggles that we're facing in our life and he helps us make more sense of them. He strengthens us; we're filled with his power. We feel like there's hope; our faith is renewed and we come out endowed with power to move forward in greater hope and in greater faith to become who we need to become whether or not you ever see angels is not the – the measure, it's you're trying to become more like Jesus and we do this here a little, there a little, line upon line, precept upon precept.
Well I appreciate the opportunity that Tyler and Taylor have given me today to discuss – you know all the scriptures are wonderful, but some are just even more wonderful and I really love these two sections. One of the real thrills of my teaching life happened in the summer of 2019 and I had the opportunity go with the BYU Church History travel study group and the directors of that – that group graciously let me have one of the teaching opportunities that arises. We were in the Kirtland Temple and I was standing in front of the west pulpit just a few feet from where the Savior had actually appeared and I got to bear testimony and shared the story with those great students of section 109 and section 110 and got to do it just literally a couple of feet from where it had occurred. Moses – Moses had appeared and Elias had appeared and Elijah had appeared just feet from where I was standing and the Savior had appeared and you could – the Spirit just bore testimony that these events happened, and they happened here, and they matter and those keys are on the earth.
Yay for the gospel of Jesus Christ! I'll just mention briefly my cufflinks today. It's because of the sealing power, I'm wearing – I was a missionary in Great Britain and when - I was there in the 70s and when I was there they were changing the currency system from the old pounds and pence into their decimal system - but there was a lot of old currency floating around, shillings and thruppence and tuppence and my favorite was sixpennys. These are two sixpenny pieces. They're silver sixpenny pieces and so I collected every sixpenny pieces that came to me in change and when I got home, a few years ago for our anniversary present my wife had these mounted into cufflinks. This is a 1959 sixpenny piece, my wife's birth year and this is a 1955 sixpenny piece, my birth year, and so it just reminds me that just as they're welded onto these cufflinks, we're kind of welded together too.
Joseph Smith talked about that sealing link being like a weld and a weld, if you know, if you do a weld it becomes the strongest part of the metal. The rest of the metal may fall apart but that weld, if it's done right, may not break and that's the way it works for sealing keys. If we keep our part of the covenant this welding-sealing link that we have with our spouse and our children and our forefathers and our descendants, root and branch as the scriptures call it, will last into the eternities. Yay for the gospel of Jesus Christ! I just want to leave my testimony with you that Joseph was a prophet, he still is. President Nelson holds his keys and those sealing keys are very active in the temples of our God today and just, you know, may we live worthy to be able to claim those blessings. I just leave that with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. Know that you're loved.
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