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Shaking the Dust from the Feet

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city." (The Holy Bible, Matthew 10:15)

This page contains comments from the following authors:

Elder James E. Talmage
President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.
L. G. Otten and C. M. Caldwell

by Elder James E. Talmage

Shaking the Dust from the Feet. -- To ceremonially shake the dust from one's feet as a testimony against another was understood by the Jews to symbolize a cessation of fellowship and a renunciation of all responsibility for consequences that might follow. It became an ordinance of accusation and testimony by the Lord's instructions to His apostles as cited in the text. In the current dispensation, the Lord has similarly directed His authorized servants to so testify against those who wilfully and maliciously oppose the truth when authoritatively presented (see D&C 24:15; 60:15; 75:20; 84:92; 99:4). The responsibility of testifying before the Lord by this accusing symbol is so great that the means may be employed only under unusual and extreme conditions, as the Spirit of the Lord may direct" (Jesus the Christ, Ch.21, p.345)

by President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.

Power was also given to [the servants of the Lord to] mark for judgment those who would not receive them, by shaking the dust from their feet, and the judgment was to be less tolerable than that visited upon Sodom and Gomorrha. (On the Way to Immortality and Eternal Life, p.357)

[Jesus] gave [those holding the priesthood] power to determine whether sins should be forgiven, or retained, by their shaking the dust off their feet. (On the Way to Immortality and Eternal Life, p.372)

by L. G. Otten and C. M. Caldwell

The sharing of the gospel must always be accompanied by the bearing of testimony as a witness that the message is true. Those who are recipients of the message may choose to receive it or reject it according to their use of their agency. There may be occasions when someone rejects it in such a way as to be offensive to the Lord. Under such circumstances, the Lord may desire that the testimony of the elders be sealed by the shaking off of the dust of the feet as a testimony against those who so rejected the message. (See D&C 60:15) The bearing of this type of testimony has been discussed and counsel has been given as follows:

Our Lord instructed His first Apostles to shake the dust off their feet, when they departed from a house or a city in which their message had been rejected. Paul and Barnabas did so, when they were forced to leave Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:50-1). Paul, at Corinth, when the Jews opposed him and blasphemed, shook his raiment and said, "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean" (Acts 18:6). The significance of this solemn act is made clear in Nehemiah 5:13. This prophet, after having taken a promise of the priests, shook his lap and said, "God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out and empty." To shake the dust of the feet signified the same thing. The Elders of the Church were to perform this act in secret, as a testimony against scoffers and persecutors on the day of judgment, and only when prompted by the Spirit lest they should make a serious mistake. (DCC p. 360, underlining added)

Sacred Truths of the Doctrine & Covenants, Vol.1, p.295 - p.296

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