As the Church grew and matured, it faced the perpetual challenge of growth: finding and training good leaders. After the march of the Camp of Israel, the Lord called members of that group to serve in two new leadership bodies, the Quorum of the Twelve and the Seventy. The revelations in sections 106 through 108 of the Doctrine and Covenants provide revelation about specific individuals and quorums, as well as general principles that apply to all Church members today.
Doctrine and Covenants 106
The revelation that is now section 106 of the Doctrine and Covenants calls Warren A. Cowdery, one of Oliver Cowdery’s older brothers, to be “a presiding high priest over my church, in the land of Freedom [New York] and the regions round about” (verse 1). Today, we would call him a branch president.
For more on the history of this section, click here.
Echoing His words in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord told Warren to seek “diligently the kingdom of heaven and its righteousness, and all things necessary shall be added thereunto” (verse 3; cf. Matthew 6:33).
He was told that “there was joy in heaven when my servant Warren bowed to my scepter, and separated himself from the crafts of men” (verse 6). The Lord also promised, “I will have mercy on him; and, notwithstanding the vanity of his heart, I will lift him up inasmuch as he will humble himself before me. And I will give him grace and assurance wherewith he may stand; and if he continue to be a faithful witness and a light unto the church I have prepared a crown for him in the mansions of my Father.” (Verses 7‒8).
Doctrine and Covenants 107
Section 107 of the Doctrine and Covenants is one of the most important in this book of scripture and was delivered by Joseph Smith in 1835 to the newly called members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. These instructions on priesthood incorporate an earlier revelation given in 1831. For more on the history of this vital section, click here and here.
Even though this section was directed originally to the Twelve, it contains principles that apply to every priesthood holder and everyone blessed by the priesthood.
Verses 1–6 distinguish between the Melchizedek and Aaronic Priesthoods and give a bit of their histories.
Verses 7–12 define which Melchizedek Priesthood office has what officiating authority, and verses 13–17 similar define Aaronic priesthood leadership, especially the bishopric.
Verses 18–20 describe these priesthoods in spiritual terms. “The power and authority of the higher, or Melchizedek Priesthood, is to hold the keys of all the spiritual blessings of the church, to have the privilege of receiving the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, to have the heavens opened unto them, to commune with the general assembly and church of the Firstborn, and to enjoy the communion and presence of God the Father, and Jesus the mediator of the new covenant” (verses 18–19). “The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments” (verse 20).
Verses 21–38 describe the three presiding quorums of the First Presidency, the Twelve, and the Seventy, their authority and responsibilities, and how they interrelate.
Verses 39–52 define patriarchs and their role and give the patriarchal lineage from Adam to Noah. Verses 53–57 describe a great meeting held at Adam-ondi-Ahman in which the Lord appeared and Adam offered a final blessing on his posterity.
Verses 58–67 go into further detail on the responsibilities of the Twelve. Verses 68–76 further define bishops and their role. Verses 77–84 describe the final decision-making authority of the First Presidency and Twelve.
Verses 85–98 go through the duties of quorum presidents from the deacons quorum president to the President of the Church.
Finally, verses 99–100 admonish, “Wherefore, now let every man learn his duty, and to act in the office in which he is appointed, in all diligence. He that is slothful shall not be counted worthy to stand, and he that learns not his duty and shows himself not approved shall not be counted worthy to stand.”
Doctrine and Covenants 108
Section 108 is a revelation for Lyman Sherman, one of Presidents of the Seventy, who approached the Prophet Joseph for more information on his duties. The revelation, given December 26, 1835, in Kirtland, Ohio, gives him specific direction and offers general principles that apply to leaders today.
For more on the history of this section, click here.
Verse 1 tells Lyman his sins are forgiven because he was obedient. This is an important principle. In order for us to retain a remission of our sins, we must keep the commandments. Verse 2 offers peace to the souls of all those who have truly repented and are keeping the commandments: “Therefore, let your soul be at rest concerning your spiritual standing, and resist no more my voice.”
Among the instructions Lyman received was one to “strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings” (verse 7). This instruction was particularly important to him at the time as a member of the Presidency of the Seventy but applies as well to all those with leadership responsibilities today.
Finally, the Lord promised him, “And behold, and lo, I am with you to bless you and deliver you forever” (verse 8). Lyman endured to the end in righteousness and was even called to the Quorum of the Twelve in 1839 but passed away before being ordained.
Credit for the image at top of the page: Stock image from depositphotos.com.