In many ways the world in 1831 looked very similar to the world in 2021. A cholera epidemic that had been spreading in other countries finally hit the United States. The country was recovering from an intense season of political strife and social unrest. An economic depression brought many individuals and families to their knees in the late 1830s. Many people had begun and would continue to advocate for significant social changes that would spawn a civil war and foreshadow multiple world wars. Certainly much of this and more was what the Lord meant when He stated that He knew of the "calamities" that would be coming.
After our very own year of calamity, also certainly foreknown by the Lord, we may find ourselves feeling very much like our early Church sisters and brothers--filled with questions, reeling from problems, and wrestling to find faith and truth in trying times. Into all of this the Lord spoke from heaven, gave instructions, and began an ongoing period of restoration that brought light and life to the world.
As we begin our study of the Doctrine & Covenants this year we desperately desire the Lord continue that great work of restoration in our own lives. He commands all who read this book to "hearken" to His voice. The question for each of us, then, is this: what do I want to hear from the Lord as I study this year?