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Chapter 29: Doctrine and Covenants 77–80
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“Chapter 29: Doctrine and Covenants 77–80,” Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual (2017)

“Chapter 29,” Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual

Chapter 29

Doctrine and Covenants 77–80

Introduction and Timeline

In March 1832 the Prophet Joseph Smith continued his inspired translation of the New Testament. As he studied the book of Revelation, the Lord revealed the meaning of some of the symbols and events described by the Apostle John. This revelation is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77.

On March 1, 1832, in the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 78, the Lord directed the Prophet to organize a firm (later known as the United Firm) to manage the Church’s storehouses and publishing efforts. The Lord also described the blessings the Saints would receive. Later in March, the Prophet received the revelations recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 79–80, in which the Lord called Jared Carter, Stephen Burnett, and Eden Smith to proclaim the gospel.

February–March 1832

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon continued the inspired translation of the New Testament.

March 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 77 was received.

March 1, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 78 was received.

March 7, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 80 was received.

March 8, 1832

Joseph Smith appointed Jesse Gause and Sidney Rigdon as his counselors in the Presidency of the High Priesthood.

March 12, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 79 was received.

March 24–25, 1832

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were taken in the night and violently beaten by a mob in Hiram, Ohio.

March 29, 1832

Joseph Murdock Smith, adopted son of Joseph and Emma Smith, died.

Doctrine and Covenants 77: Additional Historical Background

The Prophet Joseph Smith began his inspired translation of the New Testament on March 8, 1831, and completed his initial work on it in July 1832. He then reviewed and continued to revise the translation until February 2, 1833. During his initial work on the translation, the Prophet received an “explanation of the Revelations of Saint John” (in Manuscript History of the Church, vol. A-1, page 192, josephsmithpapers.org), or inspired answers to a series of questions about the book of Revelation. These answers were likely received sometime between March 4 and 20, 1832, and are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77.

The Apostle John, who is also known as John the Beloved and John the Revelator, was exiled to the island of Patmos for testifying of Jesus Christ and His gospel, and while there he received the revelation recorded in the book of Revelation in the New Testament (see Revelation 1:9–10). The Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–1844) explained, “John had the curtains of heaven withdrawn, and by vision looked through the dark vista of future ages, and contemplated events that should transpire throughout every subsequent period of time until the final winding up scene—[and] while he gazed upon the glories of the eternal world, saw an innumerable company of angels and heard the voice of God” (in Manuscript History, vol. C-1, Addenda, page 69, josephsmithpapers.org).

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “The book of Revelations is one of the plainest books God ever caused to be written” (in Manuscript History, vol. D-1, page 1523, josephsmithpapers.org). But the book’s rich imagery and symbolism can be difficult for modern readers to understand. The Prophet cautioned missionaries not to teach about the specific symbols and details in the book and to instead preach the basic principles of the gospel (see Manuscript History, vol. D-1, page 1523, josephsmithpapers.org). The questions and answers recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77 provide an inspired interpretation of some of the symbols and events described by the Apostle John in the first 11 chapters of the book of Revelation.

Doctrine and Covenants 77

The Lord reveals answers to questions about the book of Revelation

Doctrine and Covenants 77. What truths can we learn from Joseph Smith’s study of the book of Revelation?

During his inspired translation of the book of Revelation in the New Testament, the Prophet Joseph Smith read and studied the scripture passages, sought for greater understanding from the Lord, and then received answers in a revelation that helped him better understand the scriptures. These answers are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 77. Joseph Smith’s experience illustrates that individuals can receive personal revelation to better understand the scriptures. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that careful study of the scriptures and teachings of modern prophets can bring us greater knowledge through revelation:

“What makes us different from most other Christians in the way we read and use the Bible and other scriptures is our belief in continuing revelation. For us, the scriptures are not the ultimate source of knowledge, but what precedes the ultimate source. The ultimate knowledge comes by revelation. …

“The word of the Lord in the scriptures is like a lamp to guide our feet (see Ps. 119:105), and revelation is like a mighty force that increases the lamp’s illumination manyfold. We encourage everyone to make careful study of the scriptures and of the prophetic teachings concerning them and to prayerfully seek personal revelation to know their meaning for themselves” (“Scripture Reading and Revelation,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 7).

Doctrine and Covenants 77:1. “The earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state”

The “sea of glass” described by John in Revelation 4:6 represents “the earth, in its sanctified, immortal, and eternal state” as a celestial kingdom (D&C 77:1; see also D&C 88:25–26). Those who have lived worthy of celestial glory will receive an eternal inheritance on the celestial earth (see D&C 88:17–20). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “This earth, in its sanctified and immortal state, will be made like unto crystal and will be a Urim and Thummim to the inhabitants who dwell thereon, whereby all things pertaining to an inferior kingdom, or all kingdoms of a lower order, will be manifest to those who dwell on it; and this earth will be Christ’s” (D&C 130:9; see also commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 130:9 in this manual).

Doctrine and Covenants 77:2–4. “The four beasts”

The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that the four beasts, or living creatures, that the Apostle John saw represented different classes of beings who would enjoy eternal happiness in God’s presence (see Revelation 4:6–8; D&C 77:2–3). In describing these classes of heavenly beings, the Lord stated that their temporal bodies were created after the image of their spiritual bodies (see D&C 77:2). Regarding the spirit bodies of men and women, the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles stated: “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny” (“The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 129).

Some of the differences between God’s children and the other forms of animal life were explained many years earlier, in November 1909, by the First Presidency: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme. By His almighty power He organized the earth and all that it contains, from spirit and element, which exist coeternally with Himself. He formed every plant that grows and every animal that breathes, each after its own kind, spiritually and temporally—‘that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which is temporal, and that which is temporal in the likeness of that which is spiritual.’ He made the tadpole and the ape, the lion and the elephant, but He did not make them in His own image, nor endow them with godlike reason and intelligence. Nevertheless, the whole animal creation will be perfected and perpetuated in the Hereafter, each class in its ‘distinct order or sphere,’ and will enjoy ‘eternal felicity.’ That fact has been made plain in this dispensation (see D&C 77:3)” (“The Origin of Man,” Ensign, Feb. 2002, 30; see also Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, 81).

The four beasts “represent the glory of the classes of beings in their destined order or sphere of creation” (D&C 77:3). They are also actual living beings, as taught by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “John saw curious looking beasts in heaven—he saw every creature that was in heaven,—all the beasts, fowls, and fish in heaven,—actually there giving glory to God. … I suppose John saw beings there of a thousand forms that had been saved from ten thousand times ten thousand earths like this;—strange beasts of which we have no conception—all might be seen in heaven. The grand secret was to show John what there was in heaven: John learned that God glorified himself by saving all that his hands had made, whether beasts, fowl, fishes, or men, and he will gratify himself with them. … The four beasts were four of the most noble animals that had filled the measure of their creation, and had been saved from other worlds, because they were perfect; they were like angels in their sphere; we are not told where they came from” (in Manuscript History of the Church, vol. D-1, page 1523, josephsmithpapers.org).

Doctrine and Covenants 77:5. “The four and twenty elders”

Along with the four beasts, the Apostle John saw 24 elders in the presence of God, worshipping and praising Him. The Lord explained that these elders had belonged to the seven churches—meaning the seven branches of the Church of Jesus Christ in Asia Minor to whom John wrote (see D&C 77:5). Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “Thus John is seeing what is to be in the future; he is seeing certain elders in celestial splendor who at that time were in their disembodied state in paradise awaiting the day of their resurrection and the receipt of eternal life. In principle it is the same as when Joseph Smith, on January 21, 1836, saw his father and mother—who were then still living in mortality—in the celestial kingdom of heaven” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary [1973], 3:465; see also D&C 137:1–5). The exaltation of these 24 elders is representative of the reward that all faithful followers of Jesus Christ will receive.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:6–7. A book sealed with seven seals

Anciently, important documents written on scrolls were sealed with clay or wax seals. These seals identified the owner and protected the document from those not authorized to read it. The book, or scroll, with seven seals that the Apostle John saw in vision contained “the revealed will, mysteries, and the works of God” (D&C 77:6). Each seal represents 1,000 years of the earth’s temporal existence (see D&C 77:6–7). In John’s vision, only the Lamb of God—Jesus Christ—was worthy to open the seals on the book (see Revelation 5:1–7; 6:1–12). The Lord opened each seal, and John saw the Lord’s revealed works during each of the seven 1,000-year periods of the earth’s temporal existence. Everything that John saw in the sealed book will eventually be made known. In a later revelation, the Lord taught that during the Millennium “the secret acts of men” and “the mighty works of God” in every age of the world will be revealed (see D&C 88:108–10).

Papyrus sealed with seven seals

The Apostle John saw a book that was sealed with seven seals, containing “the works of God” throughout seven periods of a thousand years each (see D&C 77:6–7).

Doctrine and Covenants 77:8. “Four angels sent forth from God”

The Apostle John saw “four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth” (Revelation 7:1). The angels standing on the four corners, or quarters, of the earth suggests that they have power over the whole globe (see D&C 38:12), and the four winds represent forces of destruction (see D&C 38:12). President Joseph Fielding Smith (1876–1972) taught:

“These angels fit the description of the angels spoken of in the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matt. 13:24–43 and D. & C. 86:1[–]7), who plead with the Lord that they might go forth to reap down the field. They were told to let the wheat and the tares grow together to the time of the end of the harvest, which is the end of the world (Matt. 13:38–39). …

“These angels have been given power over the four parts of the earth and they have the power of committing the everlasting Gospel to the peoples of the earth. The fulness of the Gospel was not restored by any one messenger sent from the presence of the Lord. All the ancient prophets who held keys and came and restored them, had a hand in this great work of restoration. There are, we learn from this revelation, four angels unto whom the power has been given, to shut up the heavens, to open them and with power unto life and also unto death and destruction. These are now at work in the earth on their sacred mission” (Church History and Modern Revelation [1953], 1:300–301).

For more information about the mission of these angels, see commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 86:5–7 in this manual.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:9. Elias

The Prophet Joseph Smith learned that “the angel ascending from the east” was Elias, who would “come to gather together the tribes of Israel and restore all things” (D&C 77:9). The name or title Elias is used in various ways in the scriptures. In the New Testament, Elias is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Elijah and is used in referring to the ancient Israelite prophet (see Matthew 17:1–4; Luke 4:25–26; James 5:17). The word Elias also is used as a title for those who have specific missions to act as forerunners or restorers. For example, Doctrine and Covenants 77:14 indicates that the title Elias applies to John the Revelator, whose mission includes the responsibilities of helping “to gather the tribes of Israel” and to “restore all things.” John the Baptist served as an Elias in preparing the way for Jesus Christ (see Matthew 17:11–13). Jesus Christ acted as an Elias in restoring the gospel and the Melchizedek Priesthood (see Joseph Smith Translation, John 1:20–28 [in the Bible appendix]). A man called Elias restored the gospel of Abraham to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple (see D&C 110:12). This title has applied to many who have been given missions as forerunners, gatherers, or restorers (see D&C 27:6–7; 77:14). (See Bible Dictionary or Guide to the Scriptures, “Elias,” scriptures.lds.org.)

The Elias referred to by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation may represent those who restored gospel knowledge and priesthood keys to the earth in this final dispensation. Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Since it is apparent that no one messenger has carried the whole burden of the restoration, but rather that each has come with a specific endowment from on high, it becomes clear that Elias is a composite personage. The expression must be understood to be a name and a title for those whose mission it was to commit keys and powers to men in this final dispensation” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 221).

John described Elias as “having the seal of the living God” (Revelation 7:2; see also D&C 77:9), and he learned that Elias’s mission was to seal “the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Revelation 7:3; see also D&C 77:9). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that this “signifies sealing the blessing upon their heads, meaning the everlasting covenant, thereby making their calling and election sure” (in Manuscript History of the Church, vol. E-1, page 1690, josephsmithpapers.org; punctuation standardized). Those who receive the ordinances of salvation by proper priesthood authority and who are faithful to the covenants they have made will have the blessing of exaltation sealed upon them. This sealing protects the faithful from divine judgments that will come forth upon the wicked (see Revelation 9:416).

Doctrine and Covenants 77:11. “Sealing the one hundred and forty-four thousand”

Some have supposed that the sealing of the 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7:3–8 refers to the total number of people who will be exalted in the celestial kingdom. However, the Lord clarified that this is the number of high priests who are “ordained out of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people” to “administer the everlasting gospel” and help bring people “to the church of the Firstborn” (D&C 77:11). The Prophet Joseph Smith learned that the Church of the Firstborn refers to the Savior’s heavenly Church, which comprises all those who are exalted in the celestial kingdom of God (see D&C 76:54; 88:4–5). Thus, the 144,000 are those who minister in the latter days to bring people to Jesus Christ and help them obtain exaltation.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:14. John’s mission to help gather the tribes of Israel

The “little book” (Revelation 10:2) given to the Apostle John by the angel was not the book sealed with seven seals spoken of in Revelation 5. The little book represents John’s mission to help gather Israel as part of the Restoration. He was to “eat it up” (Revelation 10:9), meaning that he was to partake of God’s word and accept the commission that had been given to him. According to John Whitmer’s account of a conference of the Church in June 1831, “the Spirit of the Lord fell upon Joseph [Smith] in an unusual manner. And [he] prophesied that John the Revelator was then among the ten tribes of Israel who had been led away by Shalmaneser, king of [Assyria], to prepare them for their return from their long dispersion, to again possess the land of their fathers” (in The Joseph Smith Papers, Histories, Volume 2: Assigned Histories, 1831–1847 ed. Karen Lynn Davidson and others [2012], 39; spelling, punctuation, and capitalization standardized). The Lord referred to the Apostle John as Elias, who would “come and restore all things” (D&C 77:14). In his role as Elias, John appeared with Peter and James to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery to restore the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Doctrine and Covenants 77:15. Who are the two witnesses in Jerusalem?

In his vision, the Apostle John saw two witnesses who possessed great power testifying of the truth and eventually being slain in Jerusalem (see Revelation 11:3–8). The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith that these two witnesses would be prophets “raised up to the Jewish nation in the last days” (D&C 77:15). Elder Bruce R. McConkie taught: “Who will these witnesses be? We do not know, except that they will be followers of Joseph Smith; they will hold the holy Melchizedek Priesthood; they will be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is reasonable to suppose, knowing how the Lord has always dealt with his people in all ages, that they will be two members of the Council of the Twelve or of the First Presidency of the Church” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [1982], 390).

Doctrine and Covenants 78: Additional Historical Background

In a revelation given in February 1831, the Lord commanded the Saints to establish a storehouse to gather surplus goods and money for the benefit of the poor (see D&C 42:34–35; see also D&C 51:13). Newel K. Whitney’s mercantile store in Kirtland, Ohio, operated as one storehouse, and Sidney Gilbert established another in Independence, Missouri (see D&C 57:8–10; 72:8–10). These storehouses not only supplied the Saints with needed goods but also generated revenue to purchase land and finance the publication of the Lord’s revelations to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Additionally, in November 1831 the Lord appointed Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, Sidney Rigdon, Martin Harris, and William W. Phelps as “stewards over the revelations and commandments” (D&C 70:3). This group had the responsibility to oversee the publication of the revelations. For their labors, they were to receive compensation from the profits generated from the sale of the published revelations. The Lord instructed them to place any profits over and above their needs in His storehouse for the benefit of the Saints in Zion (see D&C 70:7–8).

On March 1, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith met with a group of high priests in Kirtland, Ohio, possibly to discuss the Church’s mercantile and publication efforts. During the meeting, the Prophet dictated the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 78. Subsequently, the United Firm was created to better manage the Church’s property and financial endeavors, such as the storehouses. The part of the United Firm that managed the Church’s publishing efforts was called the Literary Firm.

In an effort to protect this Church-operated entity from enemies of the Church, some of the language of this and other revelations was changed when they were first published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 82; 92; 96104). In this early edition, pseudonyms, or substitute names, were used to refer to individuals, places, and activities. This may have been done to prevent Church enemies from obtaining information that could potentially undermine the Church’s objective to build Zion. In later editions of the Doctrine and Covenants, those substitute names were replaced with the actual names.

Church History Maps: The New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Area of the United States

Doctrine and Covenants 78

The Lord instructs Joseph Smith to establish the United Firm and promises blessings to those who keep His commandments

Doctrine and Covenants 78:3–4, 8–9. The United Firm, or United Order

In the 2013 edition of the scriptures, the section heading to Doctrine and Covenants 78 says that “sometime after [the United Firm’s] dissolution, under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, the phrase ‘the affairs of the storehouse for the poor’ replaced ‘mercantile and publishing establishments’ in the revelation, and the word ‘order’ replaced the word ‘firm’ [see D&C 78:3–4, 8].”

The terms firm and United Firm were later changed to order and United Order in the Doctrine and Covenants (see D&C 78:4, 8; 82:20; 92:1; 104:1, 5, 10, 47–48, 53). The term United Order as used in the Doctrine and Covenants refers to the United Firm and should not be confused with the various systems of communal or cooperative sharing established years later when the Saints settled in the western United States. The United Firm was a business partnership based on the law of consecration between the Prophet Joseph Smith and a limited number of other Church leaders in Kirtland, Ohio, and Independence, Missouri (see D&C 82:11–12; 92:1–2; 96:8). From April 1832 until April 1834, when the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to dissolve the partnership, the United Firm played a vital role in Church administration. It serves as one example of how the law of consecration was implemented in the Church’s business affairs.

For additional explanation of the United Firm, its organization, purpose, and reasons for being dissolved, see commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 82:8–12, 15–24 and Doctrine and Covenants 104 in this manual.

Kirtland Ohio.

The United Firm was organized according to revelation to manage the Church’s mercantile and publishing endeavors (see D&C 78:3).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:4. “A permanent and everlasting establishment”

Although the United Firm was disbanded after two years, the principles of the law of consecration and caring for the poor and needy are permanent features of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When the Saints strive to be “of one heart and one mind,” they can dwell in righteousness and have “no poor among them” (Moses 7:18).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:5–7. Preparing ourselves for a place in the celestial kingdom

In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 78, the Lord instructed the Saints to be “equal in earthly things” (D&C 78:6) by living the principles of the law of consecration. To be made “equal in earthly things” does not mean that everyone will have the same material possessions but that they will have equal claim on resources according to their varied circumstances and needs (see D&C 51:3; 82:17). The Lord promised the Saints who lived by this principle that He would share all that He has with them and that they would “be equal in the bonds of heavenly things” (D&C 78:5).

When we care for the poor and needy and consecrate all that we have to the Lord, we prepare ourselves to receive a place in the celestial world. If Latter-day Saints “do not impart of their substance, as becometh saints, to the poor and the afflicted,” they will not be “united according to the union required by the law of the celestial kingdom” (D&C 105:3–4). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “God has in reserve a time, or period appointed in His own bosom, when He will bring all His subjects, who have obeyed His voice and kept His commandments, into His celestial rest. This rest is of such perfection and glory, that man has need of a preparation before he can, according to the laws of that kingdom, enter it and enjoy its blessings. This being the fact, God has given certain laws to the human family, which, if observed, are sufficient to prepare them to inherit this rest. This, then, we conclude, was the purpose of God in giving His laws to us” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 163–64). The Lord has promised that those exalted in the celestial kingdom of God, having received of His fulness and grace, will be made equal with Him in power, might, and dominion (see D&C 76:95; 88:107).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:10. Satan seeks to turn our hearts away from the truth and blind us

The restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ has made it possible for every individual to learn and acquire spiritual truth, which makes it possible to forsake evil and sin and avoid error and deception (see D&C 6:11; 50:25; 66:1; 93:36–37, 42). The Lord warned the Saints that Satan sought “to turn their hearts away from the truth” (D&C 78:10). When God’s children obey the commandments, they gain truth (see D&C 93:28), but when they are disobedient, they forfeit truth (see D&C 93:39; 138:29). Those who are disobedient “become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them” (D&C 78:10).

Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught: “One of Satan’s clever tactics is to tempt us to concentrate on the present and ignore the future. The Lord warned Joseph Smith that ‘Satan seeketh to turn their hearts away from the truth, that they become blinded and understand not the things which are prepared for them.’ (D&C 78:10.) The ‘things which are prepared for them’ are the promised rewards of eternal life, which come as a result of obedience. The devil attempts to blind us to these rewards. President Heber J. Grant said that ‘if we are faithful in keeping the commandments of God His promises will be fulfilled to the very letter. … The trouble is, the adversary of men’s souls blinds their minds. He throws dust, so to speak, in their eyes, and they are blinded with the things of this world.’ (Gospel Standards, Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1942, pp. 44–45.) He tempts us with the transitory pleasures of the world so that we will not focus our minds and efforts on the things that bring eternal joy. The devil is a dirty fighter, and we must be aware of his tactics” (“Purity Precedes Power,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 36).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:11–12. “Organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant”

The Prophet Joseph Smith, Newel K. Whitney, Sidney Rigdon, and others traveled to Missouri in April 1832 to meet with other Church leaders and formally organize the United Firm, with storehouses in Independence, Missouri, and Kirtland, Ohio. William W. Phelps and Sidney Gilbert were assigned to prepare “a bond [written agreement] or everlasting covenant” for the firm (D&C 78:11). By entering into this covenant, these Church leaders agreed to consecrate their property to the United Firm and that together they would be responsible for the firm’s debts. The Lord warned that if any of these men broke this covenant they would lose their calling in the Church and would be left vulnerable to Satan’s influence (see D&C 78:12).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:13–14. “That the church may stand independent”

The members of the United Firm were promised that living the Lord’s law of consecration would create a foundation of temporal resources that would make it possible for the Church to be financially independent and accomplish its divine objectives. The Lord’s directive that His Church have the means to be independent does not mean that Latter-day Saints should be isolated from others in working to bring about good in the world. Today, the Church often works with other churches and organizations in humanitarian relief efforts to assist people in need around the world. President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“The Lord gave instruction to leaders of His restored church to establish and maintain institutional integrity—‘that the church may stand independent’ [D&C 78:14].

“Meanwhile, its members are encouraged to join with like-minded citizens in doing good. We are grateful for the many examples of heroic service rendered in times of earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or other disasters. Such cooperative efforts to help neighbors in distress transcend any barriers posed by religion, race, or culture. Those good deeds are latter-day love in action!

“Humanitarian relief rendered by members of this church is extensive, multinational, and generally unpublicized” (“Teach Us Tolerance and Love,” Ensign, May 1994, 70).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:15–16. Adam-ondi-Ahman

The Prophet Joseph Smith identified northern Missouri as the location of Adam-ondi-Ahman, the place where Adam and Eve dwelt after they were cast out of the Garden of Eden (see D&C 116; see also commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 116 in this manual). According to the Prophet, the word Ahman is the name of God in the pure language of Adam, and “Son Ahman” is the name of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (see The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 2: July 1831–January 1833, ed. Matthew C. Godfrey and others [2013], 213–15; see also D&C 95:17). Adam-ondi-Ahman was the scene of a sacred council held by Adam with his righteous posterity (see D&C 107:53–57; see also commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 107 in this manual). This site will also be the location of the great future meeting between the Lord, Adam, and Adam’s righteous posterity before the Savior’s Second Coming (see Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14; D&C 27:5–14116).

The original revelation given in March 1832 did not include the information regarding Adam-ondi-Ahman and Michael. These inspired additions were made in the summer of 1835 as the Doctrine and Covenants was being prepared for publication. The changes to the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 78 included the addition of the phrase “who hath established the foundations of Adam-ondi-Ahman” in verse 15, all of verse 16, and the title “Son Ahman” in verse 20. (See Alexander L.Baugh, “The History and Doctrine of the Adam-ondi-Ahman Revelation (D&C 116),” in Foundations of the Restoration: Fulfillment of the Covenant Purposes, ed. Craig J. Ostler, Michael Hubbard MacKay, and Barbara E. Morgan [2016], 165–66).

These additions clarify that Michael (Adam) will hold “the keys of salvation under the counsel and direction of the Holy One [Jesus Christ]” (D&C 78:16). The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “The Priesthood was first given to Adam; he obtained the First Presidency, and held the keys of it from generation to generation. He obtained it in the Creation, before the world was formed. … He had dominion given him over every living creature. He is Michael the Archangel, spoken of in the Scriptures” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 104). The Prophet further explained that whenever the gospel of Jesus Christ is restored, priesthood keys “have to be brought from heaven,” and “when they are revealed from heaven, it is by Adam’s authority” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 104).

Doctrine and Covenants 78:17–22. “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness”

The Lord compared the Saints to little children in their understanding of the great blessings Heavenly Father has in store for them. He referred to these blessings as “the riches of eternity” (D&C 78:18). Such riches include a glorified, resurrected body; a celestial inheritance in the kingdom of God; eternal families; and exaltation. It is difficult for the mortal mind to comprehend such glorious blessings. For this reason, the Apostle Paul taught the Corinthian Saints that “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

The Lord offers “all things” to those who are faithful and live the principles of the law of consecration (D&C 78:22), and He promises glory to those who receive “all things with thankfulness” (D&C 78:19). One way we can receive all things with thankfulness is by developing a thankful disposition. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency taught:

“Could I suggest that we see gratitude as a disposition, a way of life that stands independent of our current situation? In other words, I’m suggesting that instead of being thankful for things, we focus on being thankful in our circumstances—whatever they may be. …

“This type of gratitude transcends whatever is happening around us. It surpasses disappointment, discouragement, and despair. It blooms just as beautifully in the icy landscape of winter as it does in the pleasant warmth of summer” (“Grateful in Any Circumstances,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 75).

Doctrine and Covenants 79–80: Additional Historical Background

In the revelations recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 79 and 80, three individuals were called to preach the gospel: Jared Carter, Stephen Burnett, and Eden Smith. Jared Carter was baptized in Colesville, New York, and moved to Ohio with the Colesville Saints. In the fall of 1831, he left on a mission to the East, preaching the gospel in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Vermont. After five months of proclaiming the gospel, he returned to his home in Ohio. A few weeks later he visited the Prophet Joseph Smith to inquire about his next mission. On March 12, 1832, Joseph Smith dictated the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 79.

Stephen Burnett became a member of the Church in November 1830 at the age of 16 in Warrensville, Ohio. The following year he was ordained a high priest by Oliver Cowdery. In a January 1832 revelation, he was called to serve a mission with Ruggles Eames (see D&C 75:35). It is not known if he fulfilled this call. Two months later, on March 7, 1832, the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 80, calling Stephen Burnett to preach the gospel with Eden Smith. However, when Eden Smith became ill, Stephen Burnett fulfilled his mission with John Smith, Eden’s father. (This is not the same John Smith who was the uncle of the Prophet Joseph Smith.)

Doctrine and Covenants 79–80

The Lord calls Jared Carter, Stephen Burnett, and Eden Smith to serve missions

Doctrine and Covenants 79:1–3. “The power of the ordination wherewith he has been ordained”

The Lord admonished Jared Carter to serve in his missionary calling “in the power of the ordination wherewith he [was] ordained” (D&C 79:1). Those called to preach the gospel are set apart and given authority to teach the gospel and help others to come unto Jesus Christ. Sister Julie B. Beck, former Relief Society General President, taught, “Every elder and sister who receives a mission call is set apart to do the Lord’s work, and each is given authority to preach the gospel of Christ” (“An Outpouring of Blessings,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2006, 12).

Blessings (Priesthood)

Priesthood ordination brings the power of God to bless others through worthy service (see D&C 79:1).

With this authority Jared Carter departed for a mission on April 25, 1832. His mission lasted six months and two days, and he recorded the following about it: “The Lord has permitted me to administer the gospel to 79 souls and many others by my instrumentality have been convinced of this most glorious work” (Journal of Jared Carter, typescript, 20, Church History Library, Salt Lake City). Among those he helped convert to the restored gospel were John and Elizabeth Tanner. John Tanner was a wealthy businessman whose leg had been afflicted with sores. Jared Carter gave the following account of the healing of John Tanner: “The Lord had mercy upon a lame man by the name of Tanner, who was so lame that he could not bear his weight … on one of his feet. He had been lame for months but we found he was a believer in the Book of Mormon. I asked him to endeavor to walk in the name of Christ [and] he agreed to undertake. I then took him by the hand and commanded him in the name of Christ to walk and by the power of Christ he was enabled to walk” (Journal of Jared Carter, 19). After his conversion, John Tanner moved to Ohio and donated thousands of dollars to pay the debt on the Kirtland Temple site and to finance its construction. This was an answer to the prayers of the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders.