Section 25 of the Doctrine and Covenants is most commonly thought of as the section where Emma Smith is given the commandment to organize the hymns of the Church into a book for "the songs of the righteous are a prayer unto" the Lord, but this section contains much more by way of counsel to the saints in all areas of life. Although the revelation may be thought to be specifically geared to Emma Smith the Lord adds a broader application when he states in verse 16, “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all.”
An overview of the Section can be divided into four areas of counsel to gain greater insights and instruction, as pointed out by Carol Cornwall Madsen in a Sperry Symposium Classic. They may be studied as follows:
Actions and Desires
Vs.2- Be faithful and walk in virtue.
Vs.4- Murmur not.
Vs.10- Lay aside things of this world and seek for things of a better.
Vs.13- Lift up your heart and rejoice. Cleave unto the covenants you have made.
Vs.14- Continue in meekness. Beware of pride.
Vs.5- Comfort with consoling words in meekness.
Vs.6- Go with your husband.
Vs.9- Support your husband. Support your wives.
Vs.14- Delight in the glory which will come upon him, or Celestial glory.
Duties to the Church
Vs.7- Ordained to expound scriptures and exhort the Church.
Vs.8- Writing and learning.
Vs.11- Make a selection of Hymns.
Relationship with the Lord
Vs.1- Daughter or son.
Vs.3- Elect lady
Vs. 15- Crown of righteousness for obedience.
Some interesting insights that I learned from studying this counsel are as follows:
The word “receive” can be defined as “to admit a person to a place.” As the Lord explained the requirement for becoming His sons and daughters he specifies “all those who receive my gospel”. This act of receiving can be as simple as receiving Him into your heart, or a change of heart that is referred to in the scriptures.
Another word that stuck out to me was that of “meekness”. I loved the explanation that was given as meekness is “power under control.” Twice the Lord uses the word meekness, once in reference to the marital relationship and then again in our actions and desires. This is part of the process of “putting off the natural man.”
Lastly the term “elect” was used to describe Emma’s position in the kingdom. A simplistic definition of the term elect is given in Section 29 verse 7, “for mine elect hear my voice and harden not their hearts.” Joseph Smith in his journal entry dated March 17, 1842 writes, “Elect meant to be Elected to a certain work.” We were elected to come to this earth, hear the gospel, be proven faithful, and do our job of gathering
Section 25 is so much more than just a commandment to organize the hymns of the Church.