Verse 117-141 is much talking about organizing themselves as the school of the prophets. The Lord has commanded them to teach one another. Joseph Smith taught them doctrine and things to prepare them to go out into the world to gather up the elect. But, like the D&C manual says, a lot of the verses have universal application.
Seek Ye Out of the Best Books
Can you imagine what it would be like to go to school and have Joseph Smith as your teacher? That would be pretty cool! I think school of the prophets was the place Joseph Smith was teaching all the elders Hebrew. I really like verse 118. It says that not everyone has faith, but to seek diligently [for it] and teach one another words of wisdom, seek ye out of the best books and learn, by faith and by study. I like this verse because it points out that not everyone has faith. And the way to get that faith is to learn. Knowledge is power. God is who he is because he is the one who knows the most. But when you seek out of the best books, those that build your faith and help you better understand the world around you, that’s when you learn. The more you know, the easier it is to see God’s had in everything. I can personally testify that seeking out of the best books, gives you faith. My books are the scriptures and LDS books I’ve read. My faith has increased, my knowledge become more solid. Before, I could answer all the questions in Sunday school or young mens and I usually read my scriptures and prayed. But ever since going out on a mission, my knowledge has skyrocketed. I have learned things I never thought possible. I thought I would come home with a lot of scriptures memorized. Nope. It has been much more. My notebooks try to convey it all but it isn’t all.
Teach One Another
I like how this verse also talks about teaching one another. One thing that impressed me in a book I read was that all who have knowledge and wisdom should seek to spread it to as many people as possible. I would add not forcefully, but when solicited or interest is shown. I know for me, I am overjoyed when someone wants to discuss the scriptures with me. Also I like it when people want to talk about the things I’ve written about in my notebooks (although I try not to get prideful about it.) Discussion makes me happy. Because I know the person I’m talking to has had different experiences, thoughts, lessons than I have. And if the two of us come together with an open mind, willing to exchange ideas without getting offended at one another, how exciting is that!
Learn by Study and Faith
The last part of the verse says to seek learning by study and faith. I always thought these two went hand in hand but we’ll talk about that in a second. Let’s dive into how we can learn by study and by faith. Well, I think learning by study is the obvious one. That’s what we do for school. We study our textbooks so that we can learn. How we learn by faith is a little bit more tricky to answer though. I thought they were inseparable. But I have a suggested answer. I think learning by faith does not include studying. Therefore, you would be learning by faith by listening. Listening to a lecture, lesson, presentation, or listening to the spirit even. That is what is meant I think by learning by faith.
But I think the best way to go about learning is to study and couple that with your faith. Not only are you listening but you are also trying to study. This is the premise for David A. Bednar’s book, “Increase in Learning.” We should study with the spirit with us. Because while we are studying, if we are listening to the spirit, we are going to learn a lot quicker and retain a lot more than if we were to just do each of those things individually. I try to do this as I write these notebooks. I say a prayer before I start that I’ll have the spirit with me and that I’ll be able to make connections and learn cool mysteries of God. And I have. 100% have. If you do it, miracles can happen. From experience I also know this applies with secular learning. Since my freshman year in high school I have read my scriptures and prayed before doing my homework. The grades at the end of the semester/year sometimes have genuinely surprised me. Because I knew those were not my grades. No I didn’t cheat or have anyone switch my grades. I knew what I knew and I didn’t think my performance merited those grades. I guess God blessed me on every assignment. Did that all of high school. Did that for me during my first year of college and I know he’ll do it for me when I get back from my mission (update: He has continued to help me out since I’ve returned). God doesn’t forget you when you put him first.
Admittance to the School
The D&C manual ceases to give commentary on the last part of this section pertaining to the school of the prophets. Other than it was set up and that doctrine was taught. Verse 130-135 talk about how the school of the prophets would commence. Never noticed this before. The first person to enter was to get on his knees and pray in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant.
The second person to enter would be met by the teacher, who would arise and with uplifted hands to leaven, directly salute his brethren with these words,”Art thou a brother or brethren? I salute you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, in token or remembrance of the everlasting covenant in which I covenant to receive you to fellowship in a determination that is fixed, immovable, and unchangeable, to be your friend and brother through the grace of God in the bonds of love, to walk in all the commandments of God blameless, in thanksgiving forever and ever amen.”
If the person is found unworthy of this salutation, he shall not have place among them. Because the Lord does not want his house polluted. But, should he be found faithful, and is a brother or they brethren, they shall salute the president or teacher with uplifted hands to heaven with the same prayer and covenant or by saying amen in token of the same.
If seems a little weird to do all this for a school. The D&C manual offers a little insight by saying that the school of the prophets was called a house of God and the attitude and behavior of those in attendance was expected to reflect as much. The picture shows that the school was in the temple. If that is the case, than of course you would want to be on your best behavior. Cross reference Leviticus 9:22. In verse 132 (of D&C) it talks about raising your hands up to heaven. This was apparently something they did back in Old Testament times when offering sacrifices.
Washing of the Feet
The next part talks about that none shall be admitted save the ordinance of washing the feet be administered unto him. The purpose of this is to cleanse the person from the blood of this generation. It is to be administered by the President of the church or the presiding elder of the church. It is to be commenced with prayer and to be done after partaking of the sacrament. Just like Jesus did at the last supper!
The person is supposed to be girded after the pattern given in the 13th chapter of John’s testimony concerning him. The footnote says John 13:4-17 or verse 5. Let’s go there. Verse 5 says Jesus was girded with a towel. If you read verses 4-17 it explains a lot better. I don’t think it means that Jesus was without clothes when it said he laid aside his garments. I think it maybe was referring to like the robe or extra clothing he had on. I mean in the videos they have a robe and like four shirts, and a tallit. Maybe he just took that all off and used a towel. But ultimately, I don’t know. One thing is sure though. There is more meaning and importance than the D&C and the gospel of John let on. It is not merely having your feet washed. Like Christ says to Peter, “What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter.” The only way to fully understand what is meant is to have it done unto you. And to have that, you have to be an apostle I imagine.
One other thing the manual said that while they were having the school of the prophets meetings, lots of cool stuff happened. Manifestations of the spirit such as speaking in tongues. Last comment before I wrap this project up and move on to the next one. Cross reference Joseph Smith Translation of John 13:8-10. It clarifies some of the stuff that Jesus and Peter said to each other and tells that Jesus washed their feet because it was a jewish custom and that he came to fulfill the law. So, that means, if I want to learn more about washing of feed, I need to research on jewish customs.
That’s if for D&C 88. Hope you liked it, hope your views were expanded a little. Maybe you even learned something.