“June 7–13. Doctrine and Covenants 63: ‘That Which Cometh from Above Is Sacred,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“June 7–13. Doctrine and Covenants 63,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
The site for the city of Zion had been chosen. Church leaders had visited the area and dedicated it as a gathering place for the Saints. According to Joseph Smith’s history, “the land of Zion was now the most important temporal object in view” (Doctrine and Covenants 63, section heading). But views on Zion were mixed. Many Saints were eager to start gathering in Missouri. On the other hand, people like Ezra Booth were disappointed with the land of Zion and made their views known. In fact, when Joseph returned to Kirtland from Missouri, he found that dissension and apostasy had crept into the Church while he was away. It was in this setting that the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 63 was received. Here the Lord addressed purchasing land and moving the Saints to Missouri. But among such practical matters was a timely reminder: “I, the Lord, utter my voice, and it shall be obeyed” (verse 5). His voice, His will, His command—all of which “[come] from above”—should not be treated cynically or casually. It “is sacred, and must be spoken with care” (verse 64).
When this revelation was received, Joseph Smith was facing harsh criticism from several members of the Church who had turned against him (see “Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley,” Revelations in Context, 130–36). What warnings did the Lord give in Doctrine and Covenants 63:1–6, 32–37 regarding “the wicked and rebellious”? How are such warnings evidence of God’s love?
Signs or miracles alone do not produce lasting faith. Early in 1831 Ezra Booth, a Methodist minister in Kirtland, decided to be baptized after he saw Joseph Smith miraculously heal the arm of Booth’s friend Elsa Johnson.
And yet, within just a few months, Booth lost his faith and became critical of the Prophet. How could this be, considering the miracle he’d witnessed? Ponder this as you read Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–12. You might also consider why some people receive signs “for the good of men unto [God’s] glory” (verse 12) and others receive them “unto … condemnation” (verse 11). Based on what you’ve read, how do you think the Lord wants you to think and feel about signs?
Most people would acknowledge that adultery is wrong. But in Doctrine and Covenants 63:13–19, the Savior made it clear that lustful thoughts also have grave spiritual consequences. “Why is lust such a deadly sin?” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland asked. “Well, in addition to the completely Spirit-destroying impact it has upon our souls, I think it is a sin because it defiles the highest and holiest relationship God gives us in mortality—the love that a man and a woman have for each other and the desire that couple has to bring children into a family intended to be forever” (“Place No More for the Enemy of My Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 44).
What consequences does the Lord mention in Doctrine and Covenants 63:13–19 that will come to those who do not repent of unchaste thoughts and actions? Note the blessings the Savior promises in verses 20 and 23 to those who are faithful. What blessings have come into your life from obeying the law of chastity? How does the Savior help you remain or become pure?
We are blessed as we keep our thoughts and actions pure.
After the Lord had identified where Zion would be built, the Saints in Ohio still needed direction about when to begin moving and where to get the money to buy the land. As you read Doctrine and Covenants 63:24–46, look for the spiritual and temporal direction the Lord gave concerning Zion. What spiritual and temporal direction is the Lord giving you?
Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–12.The story of Ezra Booth leaving the Church despite witnessing Elsa Johnson’s healing (see the brief details in “Ideas for Personal Scripture Study” and the artwork that accompanies this outline) might prompt a discussion about miracles. Maybe your family members could talk about miracles that have strengthened their faith, including experiences from your family or your family history. How did they exercise the faith needed to receive these miracles? What does Doctrine and Covenants 63:7–12 teach about the relationship between faith and miracles?
Doctrine and Covenants 63:13–19.How can we protect ourselves from unworthy influences, including pornography? (You can find many helpful resources for families at AddressingPornography.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.) What are the blessings of living the law of chastity?
Doctrine and Covenants 63:23.How can you help your family understand how the “mysteries of [the] kingdom,” or truths of the gospel, are like a “well of living water”? For instance, you might travel to a nearby spring or river (or show a video or picture of one). How are gospel truths like water?
Doctrine and Covenants 63:58–64.Show your family a precious family treasure. How do we treat this item differently than other things that aren’t as valuable? What does Doctrine and Covenants 63:58–64 teach us about what we can do to reverence sacred things?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Reverence Is Love,” Children’s Songbook, 31.
Live what you are learning. “As you feel the joy that comes from understanding the gospel, you will want to apply what you learn. Strive to live in harmony with your understanding. Doing so will strengthen your faith, knowledge, and testimony” (Preach My Gospel, 19).
Healing of Elsa Johnson’s Shoulder, by Sam Lawlor