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Letter to the Elders of the Church, December 1835

nation: as your fathers did so do ye.—The prophet foreseeing that they would thus harden their hearts plainly declared it; and herein is the condemnation of the world, that light hath come into the world, and men choose darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil: This is so plainly taught by the Savior, that a wayfaring man need not mistake it.
And again hear ye the parable of the sower: Men are in the habit, when the truth is exhibited by the servants of God, of saying, all is mystery, they are spoken in parables, and, therefore, are not to be understood, it is true they have eyes to see, and see not; but none are so blind as those who will not see: And although the Savior spoke this parable to such characters, yet unto his disciples he expounded it plainly; and we have reason to be truly humble before the God of our fathers, that he hath left these things on record for us, so plain, that, notwithstanding the exertions and combined influence of the priests of Baal, they have not power to blind our eyes and darken our understanding, if we will but open our eyes and read with candor, for a moment. But listen to the explanation of the parable: when any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. Now mark the expression; that which was before sown in his heart; this is he which received seed by the way side; men who have no principle of righteousness in themselves, and whose hearts are full of iniquity, and who have no desire for the principles of truth, do not understand the word of truth, when they hear it.—The devil taketh away the word of truth out of their hearts, because there is no desire for righteousness in them. But he that received the seed into stony places the same is he that heareth the word and, anon, with joy receiveth it, yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for awhile; for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that receiveth the word, and the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful: but he that received seed into the good ground, is he that heareth the word and understandeth it which also beareth fruit and bringeth forth some an hundred fold, some sixty, some thirty. Thus the Savior himself explains unto his disciples the parable, which he put forth and left no mystery or darkness upon the minds of those who firmly believe on his words.
We draw the conclusion then, that the very reason why the multitude, or the world, as they were designated by the Savior, did not receive an explanation upon his parables, was, because of unbelief. To you, he says, (speaking to his disciples) it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: and why? because of the faith and confidence which they had in him. This parable was spoken to demonstrate the effects that are produced by the preaching of the word; and we believe that it has an allusion directly, to the commencement, or the setting up of the kingdom in that age: therefore, we shall continue to trace his sayings concerning this kingdom from that time forth, even unto the end of the world.
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, (which parable has an allusion to the setting up of the kingdom, in that age of the world also) the kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field, but while men slept an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way; but when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also; so the servants of the householder came and said unto him, sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, an enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him wilt thou then that we go and gather them up; but he said nay, lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.—Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the time of the harvest, I will say to the reapers, gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles, to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.
Now we learn by this parable, not only the setting up of the kingdom in the days of the Savior, which is represented by the good seed, which produced fruit, but also the corruptions of the church, which is represented by the tares, which were sown by the enemy, which his disciples would fain [p. 226]
nation: as your fathers did so do ye.— The prophet foreseeing that they would  thus harden their hearts plainly decla red it; and herein is the condemnation  of the world, that light hath come into  the world, and men choose darkness ra ther than light because their deeds are  evil: This is so plainly taught by the  Savior, that a wayfaring man need not  mistake it.
And again hear ye the parable of  the sower: Men are in the habit, when  the truth is exhibited by the servants of  God, of saying, all is mystery, they  are spoken in parables, and, therefore,  are not to be understood, it is true they  have eyes to see, and see not; but none  are so blind as those who will not see:  And although the Savior spoke this  parable to such characters, yet unto  his disciples he expounded it plainly;  and we have reason to be truly humble  before the God of our fathers, that he  hath left these things on record for us,  so plain, that, notwithstanding the ex ertions and combined influence of the  priests of Baal, they have not power to  blind our eyes and darken our under standing, if we will but open our eyes  and read with candor, for a moment.  But listen to the explanation of the  parable: when any one heareth the  word of the kingdom, and understand eth it not, then cometh the wicked one  and catcheth away that which was  sown in his heart. Now mark the ex pression; that which was before sown  in his heart; this is he which received  seed by the way side; men who have  no principle of righteousness in them selves, and whose hearts are full of in iquity, and who have no desire for the  principles of truth, do not understand  the word of truth, when they hear it.— The devil taketh away the word of  truth out of their hearts, because there  is no desire for righteousness in them.  But he that received the seed into stony  places the same is he that heareth the  word and, anon, with joy receiveth it,  yet hath he not root in himself, but du reth for awhile; for when tribulation or  persecution ariseth because of the word,  by and by he is offended. He also that  received seed among the thorns is he  that receiveth the word, and the cares  of this world, and the deceitfulness of  riches choke the word, and he becom eth unfruitful: but he that received  seed into the good ground, is he that  heareth the word and understandeth it  which also beareth fruit and bringeth  forth some an hundred fold, some six ty, some thirty. Thus the Savior him self explains unto his disciples the par able, which he put forth and left no  mystery or darkness upon the minds  of those who firmly believe on his  words.
We draw the conclusion then, that  the very reason why the multitude, or  the world, as they were designated by  the Savior, did not receive an explana tion upon his parables, was, because  of unbelief. To you, he says, (speak ing to his disciples) it is given to know  the mysteries of the kingdom of God:  and why? because of the faith and con fidence which they had in him. This  parable was spoken to demonstrate the  effects that are produced by the preach ing of the word; and we believe that it  has an allusion directly, to the com mencement, or the setting up of the  kingdom in that age: therefore, we  shall continue to trace his sayings con cerning this kingdom from that time  forth, even unto the end of the world.
Another parable put he forth unto  them, saying, (which parable has an  allusion to the setting up of the king dom, in that age of the world also) the  kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a  man which sowed good seed in his field,  but while men slept an enemy came  and sowed tares among the wheat and  went his way; but when the blade was  sprung up, and brought forth fruit,  then appeared the tares also; so the  servants of the householder came and  said unto him, sir, didst not thou sow  good seed in thy field? from whence  then hath it tares? He said unto them,  an enemy hath done this. The ser vants said unto him wilt thou then that  we go and gather them up; but he said  nay, lest while ye gather up the tares,  ye root up also the wheat with them.— Let both grow together until the har vest, and in the time of the harvest, I  will say to the reapers, gather ye to gether first the tares, and bind them in  bundles, to burn them; but gather the  wheat into my barn.
Now we learn by this parable, not  only the setting up of the kingdom in  the days of the Savior, which is repre sented by the good seed, which pro duced fruit, but also the corruptions of  the church, which is represented by  the tares, which were sown by the en emy, which his disciples would fain [p. 226]
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JS, letter, Kirtland

Located ten miles south of Lake Erie. Settled by 1811. Organized by 1818. Population in 1830 about 55 Latter-day Saints and 1,000 others; in 1838 about 2,000 Saints and 1,200 others; in 1839 about 100 Saints and 1,500 others. Mormon missionaries visited township...

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, OH, to the elders of the church, Dec. 1835; Latter Day Saints’ Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1835, pp. 225–230.

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