Newel Knight was appointed to lead the Colesville Saints to Ohio in a previous revelation(see D&C 38:34-36).
Newel Knight was appointed by the Colesville Branch to ask Joseph Smith to inquire of the Lord what they should do. B. H. Roberts recorded the following about these events: “It is difficult to determine with exactness in what the transgressions of the Saints at Thompson consisted; but it is evident that selfishness and rebellion were at the bottom of their trouble, and that Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre were immediately concerned in it. The Saints comprising the Colesville branch, when they arrived at the gathering place, in Ohio, were advised to remain together and were settled at Thompson, a place in the vicinity of Kirtland. . . . It is evident that some of the brethren already living at Thompson, had agreed to enter into the law of consecration and stewardship with the Saints from Colesville; and that afterwards they broke this covenant. Among these were Leman Copley and Ezra Thayre. ‘A man by the name of Copley,’ says Newel Knight in his journal, ‘had a considerable tract of land there [in Thompson] which he offered to let the Saints occupy. Consequently a contract was agreed upon, and we commenced work in good faith. But in a short time Copley broke the engagement, and I went to Kirtland to see Brother Joseph,’ etc. (Scraps of Biography, in which is published Newel Knight’s journal, ch. vi.) Of this matter, John Whitmer, then the Church Historian, writes: ‘At this time [the early part of June] the Church at Thompson, Ohio, was involved in difficulty because of the rebellion of Leman Copley, who would not do as he had previously agreed, which thing confused the whole Church, and finally the Lord spake through Joseph the Prophet, saying:’ He then quotes the revelation to Newel Knight. . . . —(John Whitmer’s History of the Church, chap. viii.)” (In History of the Church, 1:180n.)
The main principle that applies to the youth in sections 54 and 56 is that people matter more than things. This is the failure of Leman Copley: he values his land more than the Lord or the Colesville Saints. Leman covenanted to live the Law of Consecration, and he then reneged on this agreement. How are we like Leman?
How many times do we hear of friends losing their friendship over disagreements involving money? How about siblings fighting over things like who gets to use the family car, the top bunk, sharing toys, choosing what to see on TV, etc?
In class we went through various stages in our lives where we either fail or pass this test. Starting with the toddler age, we discussed how young children will fight over toys. We illustrated this in the ages of gradeschool, high school, adulthood and middle age. Many students shared how grownups fighting over inheritances can cause major relationship issues. One of the reasons we came to earth is to learn this lesson: relationships matter more than material goods.
When given the option of the person or the place, Adam chose the person – Adam knew that Eve ate the forbidden fruit, and knew that he had to choose between paradise and Eve. He chose Eve.
Elder Holland said, “… family is forever. I know, in my life, that it won’t be heaven without my wife, and it will not be heaven without my children, because that’s true, and if that’s some eternal principle, and if there’s something eternally splendid about that, then God in his goodness must have some way to let everybody share in as much of that as possible.”
Can you think of a time when this idea has been tested in your life? When you either failed or passed the temptation to put things in front of people? What about your parents? Illustrate this and make it crystal clear in the minds of your students.
W.W. Phelps is instructed to go to Missouri. At first glance this may not look like it has much application to the youth, but when we examine how the Lord instructs him, we gain insight into how we are to proceed when making important decisions in our lives.
In verse 6 the Lord says, “And again, let my servant Joseph Coe also take his journey with them. The residue shall be made known hereafter, even as I will. Amen.”
The principle: Do what I ask, and I will give you more information. The Lord wants us to follow what He gives us, then we will get more information in packets along the way. I labeled this “the breadcrumb principle”.
The Lord does not spell everything out for us. He does not lay out the end from the beginning. Rather, he gives us just enough to walk to the edge of the light, and not much more.
Other places where this idea is taught: D&C – 52:2-4, 53:6, 57:16, 58:56
I had a young lady share in class today how this happened in the life of her family. Her father lost his job and then later was underemployed. Through the course of their financial struggles, her older sister felt strong promptings that she was to serve a mission. The family was not in a position where they could afford to fund the mission, but after prayer and counseling with the Lord, they decided that she should serve. They did not let the lack of funds prohibit her service.
On the day her sister entered the MTC, her father received an offer for the job he had been applying for in his field of expertise. It paid enough to meet their needs and pay for her sisters’ mission. As this young lady shared this experience, this principle came alive in the minds and hearts of the students in class. It was a marvelous experience. This is an example of a young person grasping how the principles taught in the scriptures apply in our lives.