Gospel Discussions • The Blessings of the Fathers

   2019-03-10 19:03

…Joseph Fielding Smith, who was called to a number of positions, including church historian (originally filled by Oliver Cowdery, then John Whitmer), apostle, church president and prophet, was the author of a number of books such as the five volume Answers to Gospel Questions. He also wrote a series of four volumes for use in church classrooms for the Melchizedek Priesthood in 1947. This series has long since been out of print, but can be found online. It is titled Church History and Modern Revelations. Lesson sixty-nine of this series, page 137, he writes the following:

“There were two schools conducted in Kirtland. One was a school of the Elders where they carried out some of the provisions of this revelation (Sec. 88) in seeking knowledge of countries and kingdoms and languages, all such information as may be gained in the regular daily school. It was in this school where many of the Elders, then residing in Kirtland, hired Dr. Seixas, a learned Hebrew scholar, and under his direction studied the Hebrew language. This school was conducted for several months and the Prophet, and others, became rather proficient in this language, due to the guidance of the Lord as much as that of the Hebrew scholar. This school proved to be of great benefit to these brethren in later years.



The other was the School of the Prophets, and a very good description of this school and its purpose is given in this section of the Doctrine and Covenants, verses 117 to the end of the section. In a letter written by the Prophet Joseph to William W. Phelps in Zion, January 14, 1833, the following appears: You will see that the Lord commanded us in Kirtland, to build a house of God, and established a school for the prophets, this is the word of the Lord to us, and we must, yea, the Lord helping us, we will obey: as on conditions of our obedience he has promised us great things; yea, even a visit from the heavens to honor us with his own presence. In an epistle written by commandment by Elders Orson Hyde and Hyrum Smith they have this to say to the Saints: We now close our epistle by saying unto you, the Lord has commanded us to purify ourselves, to wash our hands and our feet, that he may testify to his Father and our Father, to his God and to our God, that we are clean from the blood of this generation; and before we could wash our hands, and our feet, we were constrained to write this letter. Therefore, with the feeling of inexpressible anxiety for your welfare, we say again, Repent, repent, or Zion must suffer, for the scourge and judgment must come upon her. (D.H.C. 1:320.) The Prophet further writes: This winter (1832-3) was spent in translating the Scriptures; in the School of the Prophets; and sitting in conferences. I had many glorious seasons of refreshing. (D.H.C. 1:322.) This School of the Prophets and the schools where the ordinary branches were taught continued in Kirtland until the exodus from that place. It was for this school that the lectures on Faith were prepared and which were delivered to the Elders. The idea has been expressed that Sidney Rigdon wrote these lectures, but they were compiled by a number of the brethren and the Prophet himself had the final revision of them. They contain a great deal of excellent teaching on the principle of faith.

The School of the Prophets is not something new to this dispensation. In ancient Israel, especially in the days of Samuel, Elijah and Elisha, there was such a school. We read in I Samuel, tenth chapter, that after Samuel had, anointed Saul to be king of Israel he met a company of prophets and prophesied with them. In II Kings, chapter two, where we have the account of the translation of Elijah, we are told that a company of the sons of the prophets accompanied Elisha who was determined to follow Elijah. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood in view afar off, and they two (Elijah and Elisha) stood by Jordan, and when Elisha returned to them after the departure of Elijah, these sons of the prophets discovered that the power of Elijah was upon Elisha.

The object for which this school was organized is plainly stated in the revelation. None could join except he was clean from the blood of this generation. The only way he could be clean was to be obedient to the covenants of the Gospel and labor in behalf of his fellows for the salvation of their souls. Thus the preaching of the Gospel was a requirement made of those who desired to join this school. The School of the Prophets continued in Utah for several years under the administration of President Brigham Young, but after that time it was discontinued…”


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