Episode 19: Director of Church History on connecting to the people in the Doctrine and Covenants

In the year 2021, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints study the Doctrine and Covenants, it is important to remember that the book is a compilation of revelations given to early prophets in answer to prayer as they worked to restore the gospel of Jesus Christ. Understanding the people and historical context of the book is key to unlocking the vital spiritual lessons found in its pages.

Guest Matthew J. Grow, managing director of the Church History Department, discusses how learning Church history and exploring resources like The Joseph Smith Papers, the “Saints” book series and “Come, Follow Me” can help members connect more to the historic and spiritual record — and discover that these early Saints are more like us than we may have thought before.  

Subscribe to the Church News podcast on Apple PodcastsAmazonGoogle PodcastsStitcherSpotifybookshelf PLUS or wherever you get podcasts.

Transcription

Sarah Jane Weaver: I’m Sarah Jane Weaver, editor of the Church News. Welcome to the Church News podcast. We are taking you on a journey of connection as we discuss news and events of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with leaders, members and others on the Church News team. We end each Church News podcast by giving our guests the last word and the opportunity to answer the very important question: “What do you know now?” We hope each of you will also be able to answer the same question and say, “I have just been listening to the Church News podcast, and this is what I know now.”

The introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants calls the book unique among the standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It’s not a translation of an ancient text, as are the Bible, the Book of Mormon or the Pearl of Great Price. Instead, the Doctrine and Covenants is a compilation of revelations given to prophets in answer to prayer as they worked to establish the Church and do the work of the Lord. Today, we welcome Matthew J. Grow, managing director of the Church History Department, to the Church News podcast. Matt has a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a PhD from the University of Notre Dame, and I am excited to talk to him about Church history, and how it is vital and relevant this year as we study the Doctrine and Covenants. Welcome to the Church News podcast, Matt.

Matthew J. Grow: Thank you, Sarah. I’m really excited to be here. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Let’s just start by talking about how Latter-day Saints can better understand the Doctrine and Covenants. 

1:41

Matthew J. Grow: You know, for those of us who work in Church history, it’s such a wonderful tradition we have as a Church to study the Doctrine and Covenants in depth every four years. And we really do have a wealth of new historical resources that help us understand the Doctrine and Covenants better. One of the things to remember about the Doctrine and Covenants, is that it is a book of answers, and so we have to figure out, well, what are the questions? Why did this particular revelation come? Who is it intended for? And once we understand those parts of the revelation, it helps us understand what in the Doctrine and Covenants is particularly intended for a historical person at a particular moment in time, and what is universal? What is intended for all Saints, no matter where or when they live? 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I love that analogy of a book of answers. How do we get at the questions that would have shaped Church history and would have inspired those revelations? 

2:45

Matthew J. Grow: Great question. I really think the best place to start on that is a book that the Church put out a few years ago called Revelations in Context, and you can find this book on the Gospel Library app if you go to the Church History section. Under the Church History section, there’s a section there for Doctrine and Covenants resources. And you can go and click on Revelations in Context. And what that book does is it has a number of articles. The revelations are sort of grouped together in sections that came about the same period of time, then the article takes you to the life of an individual. And it helps you see how those revelations came, what questions prompted the revelations through that particular man or woman who lived in the early Church? And so for me, it’s really great just to read those articles, remember, the context in which they came, what’s going on in the early Church, what’s Joseph thinking about, what are the Saints facing, And then why did the Lord’s instructions come at that moment in time.

Books, podcasts & virtual visits: 12+ resources to help study the Doctrine and Covenants, from the Church History Department

Sarah Jane Weaver: When, you know, as we talk about resources, the first time I met you was in Nauvoo. We were there with Elder Quentin L. Cook, who was doing a worldwide devotional for young adults in 2018. And you and an historian, Kate Holbrook, were there to answer questions about Church history posed by young adults throughout the world. Now, many of those answers are found in Saints, a four-volume narrative history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that is written in a unique tone for a specific younger audience. Can you talk to us a little bit about that unique audience in the Church and this publication that is defining so much about the early Church history?

4:32

Matthew J. Grow: Yeah, I’d be happy to. One of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants is directed at a man who is the Church historian, and the Church historian is told to write the history of the Church, and to do it for the rising generations. And for us, we interpret that to mean for the youth and for young adults and for people who are maturing in their knowledge of the gospel which in some way, of course, is all of us. And what the “Saints” project tries to do is to tell the story of the Church. So whereas Revelations in Context will take you to a particular moment in time, Saints gives you the picture of how the whole story fits together. And what we’ve tried to do in Saints was to make sure that everything was historically accurate. So we like to say, if the book says, it was raining on a particular day, it was raining, we have a journal that (says) it was rainy today. But of course, everything in there we tried to make historically accurate. But we also are trying to tell the story in a way that is captivating. It draws you in. It’s like a novel. So we’re trying to have historical accuracy, and a high level of readability to tell this the really incredible story of the Church. It’s a story of faith, it’s a story of devotion. And if you can read “Saints,” our hope is that you get the big picture. Again, we do it through the lives of individuals, because it’s so important for us to be able to connect to individuals from the past and to say, you know, they had the same challenges that we did, they had struggles, and they had things that were difficult for them, they had moments of crisis, but they also had moments of faith and moments of inspiration and moving forward amidst difficulties. So that’s what we’re trying to do in the Saints project. Volume one covers the time period of the Doctrine and Covenants, it ends in 1846 with the Nauvoo Temple. The second volume, which is published as well, takes us through 1893 with the dedication of the Salt Lake Temple. And those books, you can find them on the Gospel Library app, you can get them very cheaply in paperback, you can listen to audiobooks of them in several languages. So we’re just trying to make it as accessible as possible. And for me, the most exciting thing that we’re doing right now in Church History Department is we’re writing Saints Volume Three. And this book is going to take us from 1893, the dedication to Salt Lake Temple, to 1955, which is the dedication of the temple in Switzerland. And that’s a really important temple because it’s the first temple in an area where there (is) not a large population of local Latter-day Saints. It’s a temple that’s intended to be a gathering point where people are going to travel long distances, and receive their temple blessings. And what happens in the first half of the 20th century is just remarkable. The Church goes from being largely centered in the Mountain West with pockets of Church members in Polynesia and Europe, to a Church in 1955 that has lots of members across Europe, and has members in Latin America, and membership is beginning in Asia, and the Church is truly beginning to go to the world.

Sarah Jane Weaver: One of the things I liked about “Saints” is that it signals what many people see as a new level of transparency regarding Church history. The parts of our history that we’ve always celebrated are included, as well as some parts of our history that require additional understanding. Can you talk a little bit about that?

8:16

Matthew J. Grow: I’d love to. That is really one of the objectives of Saints, is to cover both the best moments of our history, and moments of our history that might be confusing or challenging to understand. Elder Marlin K. Jensen, who was the Church historian about a decade ago, he would teach that it was important for Latter-day Saints to understand difficult issues within the household of faith. So to me, that means that we should help introduce our youth to something that might challenge their faith within our family home evenings, within our seminary classes, within books that are produced by the Church. People shouldn’t shouldn’t learn about something challenging in Church history when they’re 30 years old, and they’re surfing the internet, and they come across challenging information. We just live in the age of information. And challenging information is going to appear in social media feeds of members around the world. And often when it appears in that format, it’s going to be distorted, it’s going to have misinformation. And so we really have that responsibility as parents, as leaders in the Church, as teachers, to both teach the tremendous legacy of faith that we have, and to help people understand any challenging issues in the context of the history and the context of our doctrine and be able to understand those issues. At the same time, sometimes, when I talk with people about Church history, the questions mostly focus on these more challenging or more negative aspects. And I always like to pause and remind people that the vast majority of the history of the Church is incredible history. It’s a history of faith, it’s the history of ordinary people, feeling inspired of God to move forward in their lives to do difficult things, to take the gospel to the world, to invite their neighbor to Church, and so on and so forth. And so that’s always my caution: don’t lose sight of the amazing panorama of Church history because there’s some challenging issues.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And another resource also highlights some of those really, really beautiful moments in Church history, and that’s the Church History Topics.

10:35

Matthew J. Grow: Yeah, these are little known resources. They’re not used as much as they should be, I think. But along with “Saints,” we have published a couple 100 short essays on various topics. And again, you can find them on the Gospel Library app under the Church History section. And so I was just looking for this week’s “Come, Follow Me” study. And we’re talking here in mid-February, and Church history topics this week include the gold plates, the lost manuscript of the Book of Mormon, the printing and publishing of the Book of Mormon. So if you want to understand any of those topics better, this would be a great place to start, and it puts those topics in their context and includes links to other resources. And then we also have lots of information online on biographies of individuals or the places of Church history. Again, there’s a resource I haven’t mentioned yet, and that’s on the Gospel Library app. In this Church History section, there’s a little tab there about Doctrine and Covenants resources, or “Come, Follow Me” resources. And under that tab, we’ve put everything together in one place in an online publication called Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources. So if you go there, and you’re interested in this week’s “Come, Follow Me” lesson, it’ll have links to the chapters in Saints that you’ll want to read, it will have links to the Revelations in Context of the Church history topics, to the places, and biographies and so on.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, and another resource that just opened up this wealth and depth of Church history is the Joseph Smith Papers project, and now we also have a Joseph Smith Papers podcast.

12:14

Matthew J. Grow: The Joseph Smith Papers is just such a huge undertaking. And we’re getting close to the end of it, we now have over 20 of the big volumes published, and behind the scenes, we’re already working on the last few volumes, the last volume will appear in 2023. So that’s only two years from now that we will have the complete set of Joseph Smith Papers. And the Joseph Smith Papers is really foundational for everything else we’re doing on the Church’s beginnings, on Joseph Smith’s lifetime, is this effort to bring together in one place on the web at JosephSmithPapers.org and in the print volumes, every letter that Joseph wrote, or was written to him, every business record, every legal record, all of his journals, all of its histories, so that we have the most access to them possible. And for people who want to really deep dive into the Doctrine and Covenants this year, the Joseph Smith Papers is a great place to go, on the Joseph Smith Papers website. And you can find links to this through that Doctrine and Covenants Historical Resources I just mentioned. You can find links to the revelations that Joseph Smith received that are now in the Doctrine and Covenants. So you can look at how they initially looked on the page when someone wrote them down. You can look at all this historical context. I always think that Revelations in Context is probably what most Church members will want to engage with. But for those who want an even deeper dive, go to the Joseph Smith Papers, and it’s amazing the information that we have on these early revelations. Now you mentioned the Joseph Smith Papers podcast. This is a really exciting development. We know of course, that the Joseph Smith Papers are intended for scholars. Everything about this big book say these are intended to be on library shelves, and they’re intended to be used by scholars, no one can write on Joseph Smith again without wrestling with his own words. And so there’s so many footnotes in them and at times, there’s quite technical language. So we just know that most members of the Church aren’t going to read those 20 volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers. But we want to bring those insights in a more accessible format to Church members and others. And so we started this podcast series. Last year, we released a podcast on the First Vision in time for the bicentennial of the First Vision. And it’s six or seven episodes long. It takes us through what we know about the First Vision, what we don’t know. And we had no idea at the Joseph Smith Papers what to expect. Were people going to listen to the podcast? Is this something that would find an audience? And we were just shocked at how many downloads, how many people were listening. And so we said, there must be something about this, people are hungry for this. So this year, we’ve already released another podcast series on the priesthood restoration, which of course happens near the beginning of the Doctrine and Covenants. And toward the end of the year, we will release a podcast series on the Nauvoo Temple. And it takes you through all the information of what we know, all the perspectives about the priesthood restoration, or the Nauvoo Temple, takes us even up to the present in terms of what’s the ongoing restoration of the priesthood. What does that mean for Church history? And what about the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple? Tell us about that.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, you know, I like to tell people who ask me about my job at the Church News, that I have this unique view through what we call the Church News window, that gives me almost a front row seat to the events and the current things that are happening right now in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Because of your position, you also have a unique view, except for you’re looking through this window to Church history. Can you just talk about some highlights in Church history that have very specific relevance to us this year as we study the Doctrine and Covenants?

16:19

Matthew J. Grow: You know, one of the fun things about my position too, is that, of course, we’re not just interested about the Church’s past, we’re really interested in the Church’s present, because it’s our responsibility to make sure that we’re recording today what future Church historians are going to need to write the volumes five and six and seven of Saints in the next century. So thinking about the Doctrine and Covenants, and what does the context bring us? One of the sections I really love in the Doctrine and Covenants is section 49, and I think this is a great example of how context brings us more information. So this is the revelation where Parley P. Pratt, Sidney Rigdon and Leman Copley are called to take a revelation to the nearby community of Shakers, and call the people there to repentance. Now, traditionally, there was debate about when this revelation happened, there were some discrepancies in the dating of the revelation. And so for a long time, we thought this occurred in March 1831. And as we dug into the Joseph Smith Papers, some new information came to light, and we were able to better date that revelation as occurring on May 7. And the question might be, why does that matter? And it turns out that it tells a much different story about the revelation. First of all, we have to remember that the Lord is asking these three men to do something hard. These three men all had knowledge of and ties to the Shakers. Leman Copley had been a Shaker, Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt knew the shakers quite well. So they’re being called to take a message of repentance to people that they knew. We know from records of the Shakers that Sidney Rigdon and Leman Copley get to their village on May 7, that Parley P. Pratt gets there the following morning. So the revelation occurs in March 1830, this means that Leman and Sidney and Parley sit around for two months thinking about this really hard assignment that they have. But if we know that the revelation comes to Joseph on May 7, probably in the morning, and then these three men traveled to the Shaker village, which is some distance from Kirtland, and they get there that night. That’s just a very different story. There’s three men who get a difficult assignment and say, we’re going to do that right now. We’re going to immediately act upon this revelation. And I think sometimes as Church members, hopefully we can identify with that feeling inspired of the Lord and saying, “We’re going to do that right now.” But then there’s another section, just a couple of sections earlier, section 47, that I love for a different reason. And this is revelation calling John Whitmer to keep a history of the Church. And John Whitmer himself records his response. He says, I would rather not do it. As I think, yeah, maybe some of us have received a calling that we think, hmm.

Sarah Jane Weaver: I’d rather not do it.

19:26

Matthew J. Grow: But then he tells Joseph, “The will of the Lord be done. And if He desires it, I desire that He would manifest it through Joseph the seer.” So, you know, this is just such a great response because sometimes I think we feel like Leman Copley and Sidney Rigdon and Parley P. Pratt were going to go and do it right now. And other times, I think we feel like John Whitmer, I’d maybe rather not do that. But if it is the word of the Lord coming, I’ll do it. So I think those to me are just these little examples that if we dive into the Doctrine and Covenants, I think we’ll identify with the people, with the questions, with the messages in powerful ways that will resonate.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And I love this concept that these are people who are more like us than we probably understand, and that are asked to do something, or many things that are pretty hard.

Matthew J. Grow: Yeah. Yeah, for sure.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Are there other highlights of Church history that sort of jump out to you as you contemplate the history?

20:34

Matthew J. Grow: You know, one thing that I’d love to mention is that traditionally, in the 19th century, in our church and other churches, and well into the 20th century, the history of women just wasn’t paid much attention to. Women didn’t keep as many written records, and women’s records were less likely to be preserved. And so sometimes when I talk to a group about Church history, I’d say, “Pull out a piece of paper, I’m going to give you a minute, I want you to write down the names of all the men in Church history that you know.” And people can go for a long time. And then I say, “Okay, turn the paper over. Now you’ve got a minute, and I want you to name to write on your paper, the names of all the women in Church history that you know.” People get Emma, Eliza, and maybe Mary Fielding Smith, and maybe a few others. But there’s a stark contrast there. And there’s a stark contrast in our understanding of a knowledge of women in Church history and their stories. And their stories are powerful. And so one of the things that we’re trying to do in the Saints project is to tell those stories of women, to really show their vital contributions throughout the Church’s history. And hopefully, people can see that in the two volumes already done and volumes that are coming. There’s some other resources there as well. We’ve published a few volumes from the Church History Department. One’s called “The First 50 Years of Relief Society,” which is a documentary history of Relief Society. Another is called “At the Pulpit,” and it is sermons that women have given in every decade of the Church’s existence. Right now we have two series of primary sources on the Church Historian’s Press website. One is the discourses of Eliza R. Snow, which are just amazing. We’re releasing them in batches. So you can go and find a bunch now. And if you go back in six months, there’ll be a bunch more. And then the journal of Emmeline B. Wells. She was such an important leader and thinker among Latter-day Saint women as well.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, you know, I love Relief Society. I’m a ward Relief Society president right now. I have three daughters. They all have names that were important figures in early Church history. Can you give us some examples of the strength or the commitment of early women in Church history?

23:06

Matthew J. Grow: I’d love to, we often go to the better known figures, like Eliza R. Snow, like Emma Smith, and they have great stories and we should celebrate those stories. One story that we’re working on in Saints Volume Three, is the first woman from China who served a mission. So her story that we’re going to tell is in the late 1940s, and 1950s. Her name is Nora Coot, and she’s baptized as a young woman. I think she’s 12 or 13 at the time, and she’s in Hong Kong. After she’s baptized, American missionaries are called out of the country because of the Korean War and that atmosphere, and there’s only a very small group of Saints there. And she and others remain faithful. And then after American missionaries are allowed to go back at the end of the Korean War, she’s called to serve a mission. And she just has a great story. One of the things I love about the story is that she and a companion, an American missionary, are called to open up a new area in Hong Kong. And they go to this area. They tract and they work for a week, and then they set up a meeting for a Sunday service that they’re going to hold, and a  companionship of elders who are helping them set up and the elder says, “You know, how many chairs do you need? How many hymnbooks do you need? How many should we bring?” And she says, “50. I need 50 chairs, and I need 50 hymnbooks.” And the elders like, really? Really you’re going to make me bring 50 chairs and you’re going to have like five people there. I’m just assuming what he’s thinking. And she insists, “No, we need 50 chairs and 50 hymnbooks, and they set up the place. That first Sunday, every chair is taken. And I just love these stories about the Saints in every land just showing forth this commitment, this faith, this vision. And so that’s one story that you can look forward to in Saints Volume Three. 

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, I love that classification, that our history is like a history of faith and of commitment and of vision. I was so happy earlier that you talked about context, and understanding the context of historically significant events. How does knowing the historical context help us understand the Doctrine and Covenants better, and our own history better?

25:46

Matthew J. Grow: If we don’t understand the context for the Doctrine and Covenants, I really think that we don’t understand the revelations very well, because the revelations come in response to very particular questions to a very particular context. And the challenge of all scriptures is how do we liken this to ourselves? Right? I mean, we can understand scripture intellectually, and we can say, you know, what’s intellectually interesting about this passage, but scripture only comes alive when we’re able to say, “What does this mean to me?” Right? “How can I take this into my life? How can I make a change? How can I understand this gospel topic better?” And with the Doctrine and Covenants, understanding the context helps us understand what was maybe meant for Parley P. Pratt at that particular moment in time, or what is meant for everyone. And even the things that are just meant for Parley P. Pratt, how can I identify with that? It matters if I know that he’s aware of the Shakers, that he knows them, that this might be a difficult assignment. Because we too, are called to talk to our friends and others about the gospel. It matters (that) we know the backstories that helps us identify with these people so much more powerfully, I think.

Sarah Jane Weaver: Well, you know, I’ve heard you use an analogy, because so many of us view history through the context of our own lives. So we take the principles that apply to 2021, and then we try and make those relevant in a time when those things were not relevant. And I’ve heard you say that when we visit history we do so as a tourist, can you elaborate on that for me?

27:26

Matthew J. Grow: Sure, I’d love to. There’s a British novelist who said in the mid 20th century, “The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.” And so my analogy is that we don’t want to be an ugly tourist to the past, when we visit you know, there’s sort of this perception of the ugly American tourists, the tourist who goes and they’re in a foreign country, and they want to know where the nearest McDonald’s is, and they want everyone to speak English, and and that sort of thing. That’s not the kind of tourist that we want to be to the past. We want to go, immerse ourselves in the culture, we want to listen more than we talk, we want to hear what they’re saying. And some things are going to be very different, and some of their cultural assumptions are going to be very different than our own. And sometimes those cultural assumptions are going to trouble us. But they were just part of the air that these people breathe. And that doesn’t mean that we can’t ever say about the past, “I wish they would have done that differently,” or, “I don’t agree with that cultural assumption.” Of course we’re going to have those feelings. But it does mean that we’re going to be patient. And we’re going to be humble in our approach, that we’re gonna listen that we’re going to try to understand these people on their own terms without just charging into the past, and condemning them for this and condemning them for that.

Sarah Jane Weaver: And you know, this time, because it’s defined by the pandemic, so many people who may have actually taken an opportunity while they’re studying the Doctrine and Covenants to visit actual Church history sites, to understand a little bit more about Church history by walking on that soil and looking at how things happened, they’re unable to do that. And we do have a Church resource where we can virtually go on Church history site tours.

29:14

Matthew J. Grow: This is an amazing story, that we’ve talked for years about, “Shouldn’t we do something to help people who can’t come to the sites understand them better?” And so we put up some web pages and we put up some videos and things like that. But when the pandemic hits, and in March, we were faced with closing all of our historic sites, from the Joseph Smith birthplace in Vermont to the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center in San Diego, and then of course Kirtland and Nauvoo and Palmyra. These sites that are so sacred and important to us, it was really hard to shut them down. We were in the bicentennial year last year, and we were expecting large crowds of tourists at each of these sites that summer. We know lots of families had trips planned so that in that bicentennial year, they could visit the Sacred Grove, and they could walk where Joseph walked, so we had to tell our missionaries that the sites are closed. Take care of the sites, protect them. That’s your responsibility right now. We can’t accommodate visitors. And pretty quickly, our amazing senior missionaries and our amazing young sister missionaries at these sites said, “You know, there are things we can do.” They began to have virtual tours on their cell phones, and just reached out to people that they knew. And pretty soon just by word of mouth, they were getting busier and busier, taking people to the Sacred Grove, showing them Nauvoo, taking them around Kirtland. And it just really opened our eyes as staff members to what we could do with these virtual tours. So you can go online right now and schedule a virtual tour for your family, your youth group. And the exciting thing about these virtual tours for me is that most members of the Church will never have the opportunity to go to the Sacred Grove. And we should, of course, have that opportunity for people who can, it’s a powerful experience. But now with technology, we can take them there. We’ve had stakes from Brazil visit the Sacred Grove, and we’ve had youth groups from Africa visit the Sacred Grove, over 60 countries have visited the Church historic sites through these virtual tours. And they’re really, really busy right now. And we’re thrilled that the pandemic accelerated our vision of how we could share these sites with Saints all around the world.

Sarah Jane Weaver: So, as we wrap up this podcast, I’d love to know what you know now, after studying the history of the Church, and committing your professional life to that study. And I’d love it if you’d be willing to share your testimony of the Doctrine and Covenants and what you know now, after reading and studying and pondering that book.

32:04

Matthew J. Grow: Thank you for that opportunity. I came to Church Employment about 10 years ago. At the time, I was teaching at a university in Indiana. And my training is in American Religious History, and so that was the lens by which I had encountered Church history. And I think, what one of the things that I would say I know now that I didn’t 10 years ago, is the amazing globalization of the Church. It’s so powerful to me to read the stories of Saints all over the world, to read the stories of how the Church begins in Brazil and how it begins in Venezuela, and how it begins in England, and so on and so forth. One of the things I know now is how powerfully the Lord has been in taking the gospel to the world, and finding the right people and inspiring the right individuals to have the courage to do that. One of the things about the Doctrine and Covenants, which of course is really at the root of how the gospel goes to the world. I mean, how many of the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants are telling people, “Take the gospel to the world, and it’s going to begin here, but it’s going to fill the earth.” One of the things that I’ve learned from the study of the Doctrine and Covenants is how the Lord works with who He has. And those people in the Doctrine and Covenants, they’re not very much different than you and I. They’re just ordinary people, from Joseph on down. One of the things I love about Joseph Smith is how he doesn’t just include the sections in the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord tells him that he’s a chosen seer, where the Lord praises him. He puts in those sections where the Lord rebukes him, where the Lord says, “Joseph, you’ve fallen short.” And of course, the Lord does the same with each of us in our lives. Sometimes, we’re doing exactly what we need to be doing. And other times, we need a nudge or real rebuke to move in a certain direction. And for me, that’s just so powerful to always remember, not only that these people are real, with real problems and real questions, but they’re much more like us than I think we sometimes pause to think about. And for me, in studying the history of the Church, has solidified my faith in really profound ways. I love this history. I love the Church. I love to see how the Church is moving forward today. Now, I’ll leave those thoughts as testimony in the name of Jesus Christ.

34:04

Sarah Jane Weaver: You have been listening to the Church News podcast. I’m your host, Church News editor, Sarah Jane Weaver. I hope you’ve learned something today about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by peering with me through the Church News window. Please remember to subscribe to this podcast, and if you enjoyed the messages we shared today, please make sure you share the podcast with others.Thanks to our guests, to my producer KellieAnn Halvorsen and others who make this podcast possible. Join us every week for a new episode. Find us on your favorite podcasting channel or with other news and updates about the Church on TheChurchNews.com.