At the time Section 101 was given, the saints in Missouri were suffering great persecution. In the revelation of Dec. 16, 1833, the Lord explained why the saints were so afflicted:
"I, the Lord, have suffered the affliction to come upon them, wherewith they have been afflicted, in consequence of their transgressions; . . ."Behold, I say unto you, there were jarrings, and contentions, and envyings, and strifes, and lustful and covetous desires among them; therefore by these things they polluted their inheritances.
"They were slow to hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God; therefore, the Lord their God is slow to hearken unto their prayers, to answer them in the day of their trouble.
"In the day of their peace they esteemed lightly my counsel; but, in the day of their trouble, of necessity they feel after me." (D&C 101:2, 6-8.)
In his April 1977 general conference address, President Marion G. Romney said: "The Lord said that the conduct of the inhabitants of the earth, unless reformed, would bring disaster. He diagnosed its cause, predicted its coming, and prescribed the means by which it can be avoided.
"The inhabitants of the earth, He said - explaining the cause of the impending disaster - `have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant';
" `They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his God. . . .
" `Wherefore,' [the LordT continued, `I the Lord, knowing the calamity which should come upon the inhabitants of the earth, called upon my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., and spake unto him from heaven, and gave him commandments;
" `And also gave commandments to others, that they should proclaim these things unto the world.' (D&C 1:15-18.)
"He knew from widespread experience how we should have to conduct ourselves in order to avoid the calamities which have repeatedly vexed and devastated the inhabitants of the earth.
"So knowing, He instructed the first generation of men, beginning with Adam, and He has instructed every succeeding generation on how to live in order to persist and prosper. He has told them that if they would follow His directions, they would be blessed and flourish upon the earth. At the same time He has warned that if they persisted in disregarding His directions, they would bring upon themselves calamities and disaster. . . ."
President Romney further said: "And let it not be supposed, now, that the Lord takes pleasure in these calamities. He does not. He graphically foretells the inevitable consequences of men's sins for their purpose of inducing them to repent and thereby avoid the calamities."