In response to the strife and contention among the saints in Jackson County, Mo., in the early 1830s, the Prophet Joseph called for repentance and sent to members there a copy of section 88
of the Doctrine and Covenants. (See June 19 Church News for article on what became known as the "Olive Leaf" section.)This revelation, which had been received in Kirtland, Ohio, on Dec. 27, 1832, was sent from there by the prophet to the Missouri saints to give them a higher vision of the majesty of God and their responsibilities in building the kingdom.
Prophets today echo these same messages and continue to encourage members of their responsibility to rise to a higher plane of spirituality and performance.
In a BYU address in 1977, President Spencer W. Kimball testified: "God, our Heavenly Father - Elohim - lives. That is an absolute truth. All four billion of the children of men on the earth might be ignorant of him and his attributes and his powers, but he still lives. All the people on the earth might deny him and disbelieve, but he lives in spite of them. They may have their own opinions, but he still lives, and his form, powers and attributes do not change according to men's opinions. In short, opinion alone has no power in the matter of an absolute truth. He still lives.
"And Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Almighty, the Creator, the Master of the only true way of life - the gospel of Jesus Christ. The intellectual may rationalize him out of existence and the unbeliever may scoff, but Christ still lives and guides the destinies of His people. . . ." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 1.)
President Kimball explained in 1963 during an Arizona high school baccalaureate, "If we then accept the truth of the existence of God and his parentage then there immediately devolves upon us a responsibility to him and his children, our fellowmen." (Teachings, p. 25.)
The prophet expounded on this responsibility in a 1974 address to regional representatives: "So much depends upon our willingness to make up our minds, collectively and individually, that present levels of performance are not acceptable, either to ourselves or to the Lord."
During the Stockholm, Sweden, area conference in 1974, President Kimball explained: "When I think of the concept of
lengthening our stride,' I, of course, apply it to myself as well as urging it upon the Church. Thelengthening of our stride' suggests urgency instead of hesitancy, `now,' instead of tomorrow, it suggests not only an acceleration, but efficiency. It suggests, too, that the whole body of the Church move forward in unison with a quickened pace and pulse, doing our duty with all our heart, instead of halfheartedly. It means, therefore, mobilizing and stretching all our muscles and drawing on all our resources. It suggests also that we stride with pride and with a sense of anticipation as we meet the challenges facing the kingdom. Out of all this will come a momentum that will be sobering and exhilarating at the same time." (Teachings, p. 174-75.)
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by John L. Hart, Julie A. Dockstader and R. Scott Lloyd.
Sources: Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2; A Companion to Your Study of the Doctrine and Covenants, Daniel H. Ludlow, Vol. 2; "Missouri's Impact on the Church," Max H. Parkin, Ensign, April 1979; Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, edited by Edward L. Kimball; Mormon Doctrine, Bruce R. McConkie.