"While that man, who was called of God and appointed, that putteth forth his hand to steady the ark of God, shall fall by the shaft of death, like as a tree that is smitten by the vivid shaft of lightning." (D&C 85:8.)
According to the Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, "this phrase refers to an event that happened during the reign of King David in ancient Israel. (2 Sam. 6:1-11.) While the ark of the covenant was being transported . . . over a rough spot, the ark started to topple off. A man named Uzzah sought to steady it and was struck dead . . . ."However well meaning his intentions, Uzzah approached casually what could only be approached under the strictest conditions. He had no faith in God's power. He assumed that the ark was in danger, forgetting that it was the symbol of the God who has all power. What man can presume to save God and His kingdom through his own efforts?"
President David O. McKay wrote: "Let us look around us and see how quickly men who attempt unauthoritatively to steady the ark die spiritually.
"Their souls become embittered, their minds distorted, their judgments faulty, and their spirits depressed. Such is the pitiable condition of men who, neglecting their own responsibilities, spend their time in finding fault with others."
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the gospel doctrine courseof study.
Sources: Church History and Modern Revelation, vol. 2, by Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual; Journal of Discourses, vol. 4; and "Teaching by the Spirit," an address by Elder Dallin H. Oaks.