Find helpful commentary on the verses below to better understand the message of this revelation.
Casey Paul Griffiths (LDS Scholar)
The “commandment previously given” (D&C 92:1) is found in Doctrine and Covenants 78:11 and asks the members of the united order to “organize yourselves by a bond or everlasting covenant that cannot be broken” (D&C 87:13). In a part of this revelation, Frederick G. Williams was asked to be a “lively” member of the order. One of the synonyms for lively in the language of the time was active. The word active is often used in the Church today to distinguish someone who participates in the Church from someone who is simply on the membership role but has little or no functioning role in the Church. There are a number of reasons why people fall into inactivity or struggle to participate. Such individuals need our love and encouragement, not our judgement.
To be lively members of the Church, we should view our Church membership as an outlet in which we each offer up our best rather than demanding something in return for our participation. Daniel Becerra, a professor of Ancient Scripture at BYU, has likened these two attitudes to a restaurant and a potluck dinner. Some people treat the Church like a restaurant, going in with expectations of being served. These people commonly complain, “I get nothing out of it.” Participation in the Church is a more enriching experience if we treat it like a potluck dinner. We need to go in asking “what am I bringing to bless and serve others?”1 When the Lord asked Frederick G. Williams to be a lively member of the united order, it was a simple way of asking him to contribute and be proactive in his service. The Lord expects the same of each of us: be a lively member of the Church.
1. Daniel Becerra, “Surprised by Christ,” Y Religion Podcast, February 2021, https://rsc.byu.edu/media/y-religion.
(Doctrine and Covenants Minute)