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Saturday, March 13, 2021

Why Is Emma Smith Called an Elect Lady?

             The Come, Follow Me lesson for this week covers Doctrine and Covenant 25. This section was given to Emma Smith through the Prophet Joseph Smith at Harmony, Pennsylvania, in July 1830. The section begins:

1 Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, Emma Smith, my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who receive my gospel are sons and daughters in my kingdom.

2 A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and walk in the paths of virtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an inheritance in Zion.

3 Behold, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art an elect lady, whom I have called.

            Emma was among thirteen people who were baptized in Colesville, New York, on June 28, 1830. However, she was not immediately confirmed a member as a consequence of mob action. Section 25 was revealed between the day of Emma’s baptism and the day of her confirmation. Of all the revelations received by Joseph Smith for individuals through July 1830, this was the first one given to a woman. It indicates her prominent role in the fulfillment of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She later became the first president of the Relief Society in March 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois.

            The Lord called Emma “an elect lady” (Doctrine and Covenants 25:3). This means that she was chosen because of her faithfulness. Joseph Smith explained this title when he organized the Relief Society on March 17, 1842. He wrote the following in his history of the Church of Jesus Christ.

I assisted in commencing the organization of “The Female Relief Society of Nauvoo” in the Lodge Room. Sister Emma Smith, President, and Sister Elizabeth Ann Whitney and Sarah M. Cleveland, Counselors. I gave much instruction, read in the New Testament, and Book of Doctrine and Covenants, concerning the Elect Lady, and showed that the elect meant to be elected to a certain work … and that the revelation was then fulfilled by Sister Emma’s election to the Presidency of the Society, she have previously been ordained to expound the Scriptures (in History of the Church, 4:552-53).

            Section 25 continues by telling Emma not to murmur because she had not seen the plates from which the Book of Mormon – Another Testament of Jesus Christ was transcribed. She was told to be a “comfort” and a scribe to her husband when there was no one else available to write for him. She was also told to go with him, to expound scriptures, and to “exhort” the Church.

            Emma was given an important task to perform. She was told to “make a selection of sacred hymns” for use in the Church (verse 11). She was also told the reason for the hymns: “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (verse 12).

            Emma was warned to beware of pride but to continue in the spirit of meekness, to delight in her husband and the glory that comes to him. She was told to keep the commandments continually and she would receive a crown of righteousness. The revelation closed, “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.”

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