Doctrine and Covenants 125 to 128 – “A Voice of Gladness for the Living and the Dead”

In Nauvoo in 1841 to 1842, Joseph Smith directed the building up of Nauvoo and rejoiced over the continuing restoration of the gospel, including baptism for the dead. 

 

“‘You Had Better Let Mrs Young Have Any Thing She Wants’: What a Joseph Smith Pay Order Teaches about the Plight of Missionary Wives in the Early Church,” Matthew C. Godfrey, BYU Studies Quarterly 58, no. 2

In section 126, the Lord releases Brigham Young from having to leave his family for missions. On June 15, 1840, while Brigham Young was in England, Joseph Smith dictated a pay order for Mary Ann Angell Young to obtain “any thing she wants” from Newel K. Whitney’s store in Nauvoo. This small note illuminates the responsibility Church leaders had to care for the families of missionaries, the suffering that these families experienced, and the economic climate in Nauvoo that exacerbated their difficulties. This article tells the history of Church care for missionaries’ families and the mission of the Twelve. 

“‘For Their Salvation Is Necessary and Essential to Our Salvation’: Joseph Smith and the Practice of Baptism and Confirmation for the Dead,” Alexander L. Baugh, An Eye of Faith: Essays in Honor of Richard O. Cowan 

Joseph Smith knew that work for the dead must be done by the living as early as 1838. This article tells about unfolding revelation (sections 127 and 128), the first documented baptisms in 1840, thousands of baptisms at Nauvoo, the switch from baptisms in the Mississippi River to the Nauvoo temple font, and the many exceptions to the standard practice of baptism for the dead.

“Historical Context and Background of D&C Sections,” Steven C. Harper and Casey Paul Griffiths, Doctrine and Covenants Central

Here are short histories of sections that give context for these revelations and letters.  

Section 125

Section 126

Section 127

Section 128 

“‘Line upon Line’: Joseph Smith’s Growing Understanding of the Eternal Family,” R. Devan Jensen, Michael A. Goodman, and Barbara Morgan Gardner, Religious Educator 20, no. 1, 2019 

This article tells how the doctrine of baptism for the dead developed over time as part of unfolding revelation, including section 128.

“Joseph Smith, John C. Bennett, and the Extradition Attempt, 1842,” Andrew H. Hedges and Alex D. Smith, Joseph Smith, the Prophet and Seer

Joseph Smith’s journal shows that Joseph was busy in 1842 with Church matters, Bennett’s estrangement from the Church, and the need to avoid being arrested. He received important revelations and conveyed them to the Saints even while trials beset him.