“December 28–January 3. Doctrine and Covenants 1: ‘Hearken, O Ye People,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“December 28–January 3. Doctrine and Covenants 1,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
In November 1831, the restored Church of Jesus Christ was just a year and a half old. Though growing, it was still an obscure group of believers living in a sparsely settled frontier, led by a prophet in his mid-twenties. But God considered these believers to be His servants and His messengers, and He wanted the revelations He had given them to be published to the world.
Doctrine and Covenants section 1 is the Lord’s preface to the compilation of these revelations, and it clearly shows that even though the membership of the Church was small, there was nothing small about the message God wanted His Saints to share. It is a “voice of warning” for all “the inhabitants of the earth,” teaching them to repent and establish God’s “everlasting covenant” (verses 4, 8, 22). The servants carrying this message are “the weak and the simple,” but humble servants are just what God needs—then and now—to bring His Church “out of obscurity and out of darkness” (verses 23, 30).
A preface introduces a book. It identifies the book’s themes and purposes and helps readers prepare to read. As you read section 1—the Lord’s “preface” to the Doctrine and Covenants (verse 6)—look for the themes and purposes the Lord gave for His revelations. What do you learn from section 1 that will help you get the most benefit from your study of the Doctrine and Covenants? For example, you might ponder what it means to “hear the voice of the Lord” in these revelations (verse 14) or to “search these commandments” (verse 37).
See also the introduction to the Doctrine and Covenants.
Section 1 begins and ends with God’s declaration that He speaks through His chosen servants (see verses 4–6, 23–24, 38). Write down what you learn from this revelation about the Lord and His voice. What do you learn about the Lord’s servants? When have you heard the Lord’s voice in the voice of His servants? (see verse 38).
Notice that in verse 3 and verses 24–28, the Lord said that people’s sins and errors would be made known. In one case this is a painful, sorrowful experience, and in the other case it is instructive. Why are these situations so different? Consider how you react when you become aware of your sins and weaknesses. What qualities do you find in verses 24–28 that can help you respond in the right way? What do these verses, along with verses 31–33, teach you about how the Lord views your weaknesses and sins?
Although section 1 warns of distressing days to come, it also contains a reassuring message: “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” (verse 17).
Note the calamities that the Lord warned about (see, for example, verses 13–16, 35). What other calamities do you notice in today’s world—or in your own life? Verses 17–30 describe what the Lord has done for you in anticipation of these calamities. Consider making a list of what you find.
- Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–6, 37–39.
To start a discussion about warnings from the Lord, you could talk about warnings we receive from others about dangers we cannot see—such as a slippery floor, a violent storm, or an approaching car. What do these examples teach us about the Lord’s warnings? According to Doctrine and Covenants 1:1–6, 37–39, how does the Lord warn us? What has He warned us about recently? Perhaps you could watch or read parts of recent general conference messages and look for examples of God’s “voice of warning.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 1:16.
What does it mean to “establish [the Lord’s] righteousness”? How can we make sure we are doing that, rather than walking “in [our] own way”?
- Doctrine and Covenants 1:30.
What does it mean to say that the Church is “true and living”? To get your family thinking about this question, perhaps you could show them pictures of living things and nonliving things. You could also discuss what you can do as a family to help “bring [the Church] forth out of obscurity and out of darkness.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 1:37.
Consider planning as a family how you will “search these commandments” in the Doctrine and Covenants this year. How will you make your scripture study a regular part of family life? What study ideas can help you learn from the scriptures? (See “Ideas to Improve Your Family Scripture Study” at the beginning of this resource.)
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Follow the Prophet,” Children’s Songbook, 110–11, especially the last verse.