“April 19–25. Doctrine and Covenants 41–44: ‘My Law to Govern My Church,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“April 19–25. Doctrine and Covenants 41–44,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
The rapid growth of the Church in 1830 and 1831—especially the rush of new converts coming to Kirtland, Ohio—was exciting and encouraging to the Saints. But it also presented some challenges. How do you unify a quickly expanding body of believers, especially when they are bringing with them doctrine and practices from their previous faiths? For example, when Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland in early February 1831, he found new members sharing common property in a genuine attempt to imitate the New Testament Christians (see Acts 4:32–37). The Lord made some important corrections and clarifications on this and other topics, largely through a revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 42, that He called “my law to govern my church” (verse 59). In this revelation, we learn truths that are fundamental in establishing the Lord’s Church in the latter days, including a significant promise making clear that there is always more to learn: “If thou shalt ask, thou shalt receive revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge” (Doctrine and Covenants 42:61).
See also Saints, 1:114–19.
By early 1831, the Saints were starting to gather in Ohio, eager to receive the law that God had promised to reveal there (see Doctrine and Covenants 38:32). But first, the Lord taught how His disciples should prepare to receive His law. What principles do you find in verses 1–5 that would have helped the Saints receive God’s law? How might these principles help you receive instruction from Him?
The Saints considered the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–72 to be one of the most important the Prophet had received. It was among the first to be published, appearing in two Ohio newspapers, and it was known simply as “the law.” Many of the principles in this section had been revealed by the Lord before. While the section does not include every commandment the Lord wanted His Saints to obey, it is worth pondering why these principles were important to repeat to the newly restored Church.
It might help you to read section 42 in smaller portions like the following and identify the principles taught in each. As you do, consider how this law to guide the Church could also help guide your personal life.
See also 3 Nephi 15:9.
An important part of the law revealed in section 42 is what came to be known as the law of consecration and stewardship. This law taught the Saints how they could, like the followers of Christ anciently, have “all things common” (Acts 2:44; 4 Nephi 1:3), with “no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). Saints consecrated their property by giving it to the Lord, through the bishop (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–31). The bishop returned to them what they needed (see verse 32)—usually what they had consecrated and more. Members donated their surplus to help the poor (see verses 33–34). This law was a great blessing to the Saints, especially to those who had left everything to come to Ohio. Many Saints were generous in their donations.
Though we do it differently today, Latter-day Saints still live the law of consecration. As you read Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–42, ponder how you can consecrate what God has given you to build His kingdom and bless those in need.
Imagine that you are having a conversation with a new member of the Church who is excited to know that the Church is guided by revelation. How could you use Doctrine and Covenants 43:1–16 to explain to him or her the Lord’s pattern for guiding His Church through His prophet? How could you use Doctrine and Covenants 42:61, 65–68 to teach about receiving personal revelation?
See also “All Things Must Be Done in Order,” Revelations in Context, 50–53, history.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Doctrine and Covenants 41:1–5.
What are some examples of civil laws, and how do those laws benefit us? How do Heavenly Father’s laws or commandments bless us? Family members could draw pictures of themselves obeying God’s laws.
Doctrine and Covenants 42:45, 88.
What would help your family “live together in love”? (see also Mosiah 4:14–15). Consider writing or saying positive things about one another or singing a hymn about love within the family, such as “Love at Home” (Hymns, no. 294).
Doctrine and Covenants 42:61.
Maybe you could read this verse while putting a puzzle together. Use the puzzle to teach how God reveals His mysteries—“revelation upon revelation, knowledge upon knowledge.” Family members could share how God has revealed truth to them a little at a time.
Doctrine and Covenants 43:25.
Perhaps there is something your family could use to create the sounds of a thunderstorm as a way to introduce a discussion about verse 25. How is the Lord’s voice a “voice of thunderings”? Search the verse together for ways the Lord may call on us to repent. How can we be more responsive to the Lord’s voice?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.