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“With sheaves upon your back”-Religion paper, D&C
In D&C 31, the reader finds a few promises made by the Lord to those who faithfully perform his missionary work. These promises can be easily grouped into two categories; namely, these promises include blessings in the missionary’s life and success in preaching.

In verse 3, the Lord says “Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come.” This phrase seems to imply that missionary work brings joy not only to the eager investigator, but also to the messenger. This gives the reader the sense that the first possible blessing for the missionary is this joy from the opportunity to serve. In verse 2, the Lord proclaims a blessing upon the Marsh family, particularly Thomas’ children. This seems to mean that the Lord will look after a missionary’s family while he is in the Lord’s service. The phrase “the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth” implies that the blessing upon the family extends past the time period of actual service and could potentially affect future generations. The final blessing in the missionary’s life is forgiveness. The Lord states in verse 5 that the missionary’s “sins are forgiven” if he “thrust[s] in [his] sickle with all [his] soul.” For many, this opportunity to have a sure forgiveness of sins is the ultimate blessing.

The second category is the success that the missionary will have. In verse 5, the Lord declares that the missionary will “be laden with sheaves upon [his] back.” In the first reading of this, it seems to say that the missionary will have even more burdens laid upon his back. This doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the section, because it seems to be a punishment rather than a blessing. Upon further research, however, the reader can find that the phrase continues the metaphor of thrusting in the sickle. As a farmer harvests his wheat, the tight bundles that he makes are called sheaves. The phrase that a missionary will be laden with many sheaves refers to a successful harvest, not of wheat, but of men. This agrees with verse 7, where the Lord declares “I will open the hearts of the people, and the will receive you.”

The life improving insight that I have gained from this section is that anybody who serves the Lord will be richly blessed. I believe that this extends past a formal mission call, and encompasses any calling that the Lord gives to us. If we are faithful and committed to the work, then we can also receive the blessings described to Thomas Marsh. This includes blessings in our personal life, as well as increased success in our labors.

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