"My son, peace be unto they soul; thine adversity and thine affictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes."
These verses from D&C 121 are quite popular, but never fail to bring feelings of peace, comfort, and humility to me.
I also really like the next, less-quoted verses. "Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands. Thou art not yet as Job; they friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job."
Most of us, when eduring hardships, rely heavily on the strength and wisdom of our friends. Can you imagine if they were gone? And not only gone, but acting against you?
Later on in the section, Joseph Smith discuss the rights of the priesthood.
"Behold, many are called, but few are chosen. Any why are they not chosen?
"Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson --
"That the rights of the priesthood are inseperably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
"That they might be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lords is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen (or in other words, Adios!) to the power and authority of that man."
Now obviously, this doesn't just pertain to men. I do think that Joseph Smith is referring to the men of the priesthood specifically here, but there are applications for all members of the church. All those who have been endowed have some rights of the priesthood.
I find it interesting that many are called, but only few are chosen because of their own choices. I think it might be easy for some to say that the Lord didn't "choose" them. But that is not the case. If the Lord calls you, it's up to you to decide whether you are "chosen" or not. (Elder Bednar taught that.)
A few verses later, Joseph gives the "do's" of the priesthood, as compared to his previous list of "don'ts." (Should there be two apostrophes in that?)
"No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
"By kindness, and pure knowlege, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile--
"Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards and increase of love toward him who thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy."
I think this is not just a guide to priesthood government, but a guide for us as mothers and members of the church.
One note I have in my scriptures regarding the last verse is what reproving meant in the 1830's edition of Webster's. "Correcting quickly with clarity and truth." That sheds some light on the verse. I think this is obviously a guide to disciplining children. Correctly quickly (and quietly, if possible) with clarity, then afterward, making sure they know you still love them. You may not approve of all their choices, but you love them regardless.
One other thing that stood out to me when reading these verses today is the "pure knowledge" mentioned in v. 42. I think it was Elder Maxwell that mentioned that sometimes in the church, then men have a tendency to be the scholars, and the women offer the compassionate service. He said that while those things are good, they are not gender-specific roles. The women need to become better scholars, and the men need to work on their compassionate service!!
So that's what I thought of when I read "pure knowledge." My husband has a masterful memory, and has spent much more time studying the scriptures and doctrine of the church than I have. (Mostly because he prepared for and served a mission.) I ask him all kinds of doctrine-related questions frequently, and he always knows the answer. As soon as he explains it, it makes complete sense and reminds me that I've heard it before. But he is definately the Church "scholar" in our household. I need to be more like that.
So........what are your thoughts on D&D 121?