Thursday, January 28, 2010

Our Heavenly Father Is In Charge

Isn’t it marvelous that our Heavenly Father is in charge?

There are times when we do not understand things as they unfold around us, but just knowing He does gives me peace and comfort in times of turmoil and distress.

There are so many evidences in the scriptures that show that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us, and that His plan unfolds line upon line, right before our eyes. In the process of the restoration of His Church upon this earth, He laid out many things so beautifully years before Joseph Smith even knew what He had in mind.

Perhaps I might give just two examples of what I mean:

Prior to the organization of the Church on April 6, 1830 Joseph Smith received a revelation that is known today as Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants. In this revelation the Lord outlined the organization and government of the Church itself. I like to refer to Section 20 as the “Blueprint” for Section 19.

In Section 20 the Lord gave instruction regarding a group of men known as the “high council”:

Section 20: 65 No person is to be ordained to any office in this church, where there is a regularly organized branch of the same, without the vote of that church;

66 But the presiding elders, traveling bishops, high councilors, high priests, and elders, may have the privilege of ordaining, where there is no branch of the church that a vote may be called.

67 Every president of the high priesthood (or presiding elder), bishop, high councilor, and high priest, is to be ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.

It is interesting to me that the instruction on the organization of the High Council is not received until February, 1834, in Section 102 of the Doctrine and Covenants, nearly four years after the mention of them in Section 20.

Another example of this can be seen in the calling and organization of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

Even before the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored, a revelation was received by Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery giving specific instruction about the Twelve Apostles and the manner that they should be called. This instruction is given in Section 18 in June of 1829:

Section 18:26 And now, behold, there are others who are called to declare my gospel, both unto Gentile and unto Jew;

27 Yea, even twelve; and the Twelve shall be my disciples, and they shall take upon them my name; and the Twelve are they who shall desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart.

28 And if they desire to take upon them my name with full purpose of heart, they are called to go into all the world to preach my gospel unto every creature.

Section 18:37 And now, behold, I give unto you, Oliver Cowdery, and also unto David Whitmer, that you shall search out the Twelve, who shall have the desires of which I have spoken;

38 And by their desires and their works you shall know them.

39 And when you have found them you shall show these things unto them.

40 And you shall fall down and worship the Father in my name.

It was not until February 14, 1835 that the fullness of this instruction was realized. On that day a meeting was called by Joseph Smith for all the brethren who were part of Zion’s Camp, and other brethren and sisters who were asked to attend. According to the account in History of the Church, the prophet had seen in vision, and by the Holy Spirit, the order of the Church organization. It states, “It was doubtless in this vision also that the Prophet saw the manner in which the Twelve should be chosen.”

The account given of choosing of the Twelve apostles is as follows:

“President Joseph Smith, Jun., after making many remarks on the subject of choosing the Twelve, wanted an expression from the brethren if they would be satisfied to have the Spirit of the Lord dictate in the choice of the Elders to be Apostles; whereupon all the Elders present expressed their anxious desire to have it so.”

A hymn was sung, President Hyrum Smith prayed, and the meeting was dismissed for one hour.

When they returned the meeting continued:

“President Joseph Smith, Jun., said that the first business of the meeting was, for the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon to pray each one, and then proceed to choose twelve men from the Church, as Apostles, to go to all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.

The Three Witnesses, viz., Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and Martin Harris, united in prayer.

These Three Witnesses were then blessed by the laying on of the hands of the Presidency.

The Witnesses then, according to a former commandment, proceeded to make choice of the Twelve”

(In Section 18 only two of the three witnesses were mentioned by name for this sacred job. It is mentioned that at the time of the revelation Martin Harris was wavering in his commitment to the Lord by hesitating to dispose of his land to meet the obligations that were entered into with the printer who was contracted to print the Book of Mormon. Thankfully Harris repented and was found worthy of continued fellowship in the Church, and given this sacred privilege.)

On March 28, 1835, these Twelve Apostles which were spoken of as early as 1829 received instruction which is known as Section 107. It is the same instruction the Twelve Apostles follow today.

The Lord had a plan for His Church and the organization of it. He outlined it, and followed through with that plan. The Church leaders were given instruction for the Church which was pertinent to it years before the instruction was actually to be implemented.

The Lord has a plan for His children too. I believe we too are given information, sometimes years before we may need it, to help us to prepare, to help us follow that plan.

Thank goodness our Heavenly Father is in charge!


Michaela Stephens said...

Very interesting! I hadn't realized that the 3 witnesses were instrumental in picking out those first 12 apostles.

I wonder why the Lord wanted it that way?

In The Doghouse said...

Hi Michaela,
According to the notes in History of the Church which was written by BH Roberts it answers you question as follows:
"A word, by the way ,in relation to the appropriateness of the Three Witnesses choosing the Twelve. In the revelation defining the special calling of the Twelve Apostles, it is written: 'The Twelve traveling counselors are called to be the Twelve Apostles, or special witnesses of the name of Christ in all the world; thus differing from other officers in the Church in the duties of their calling.' From this it appears that the special calling of the Twelve is to be Witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ in all the world; hence it was preeminently proper that these Twelve Witnesses should be chosen by the Three very special Witnesses- witneses of Book of Mormon in particular, and of God's marvelous work in general."