“July 19–25. Doctrine and Covenants 81–83: Where ‘Much Is Given Much Is Required,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“July 19–25. Doctrine and Covenants 81–83,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
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In March 1832, the Lord called Jesse Gause to be a counselor to Joseph Smith in the Presidency of the High Priesthood (now called the First Presidency). Doctrine and Covenants 81 is a revelation to Brother Gause, instructing him in his new calling and promising him blessings for serving faithfully. But Jesse Gause did not serve faithfully. So Frederick G. Williams was called to replace him, and Brother Gause’s name was replaced with Brother Williams’s name in the revelation.
That may seem like a minor detail, but it implies a significant truth: Most of the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants are addressed to specific people, but we can always seek ways to apply them to ourselves (see 1 Nephi 19:23). The Lord’s counsel to Frederick G. Williams to “strengthen the feeble knees” can turn our minds to the people we might strengthen (Doctrine and Covenants 81:5). The Lord’s counsel for members of the United Firm to “bind yourselves by this covenant” in order to meet the Church’s temporal needs can turn our minds to our own covenants. And the Lord’s promise that He would be “bound when ye do what I say” can remind us of His promises to us when we obey (Doctrine and Covenants 82:10, 15). That’s as it should be, for the Lord also declared, “What I say unto one I say unto all” (verse 5).
Do you sometimes wonder how you can fulfill the important responsibilities in your life? As a counselor to the Prophet Joseph Smith, Frederick G. Williams surely had many important responsibilities. In section 81, the Lord gave him counsel about how to fulfill them. What do you find in this section that can help you fulfill the responsibilities given to you by the Lord?
Here are some questions to help you ponder verse 5:
What are some ways a person can be “weak”? What does it mean to “succor” those who are weak?
What might cause a person’s hands to figuratively “hang down”? How can we “lift up” those hands?
What might the phrase “feeble knees” mean? How can we “strengthen” those with feeble knees?
Perhaps studying this verse has brought to mind someone you could “succor,” “lift up,” or “strengthen.” What will you do to minister to that person?
As you read Doctrine and Covenants 82:1–7, consider making two lists of things you learn: warnings about sin and truths about forgiveness. How can these truths help you resist the temptations of the adversary?
If you—or someone you know—has ever wondered why the Lord gives so many commandments, Doctrine and Covenants 82:8–10 could help. What insights in these verses could help you explain to someone why you choose to follow the Lord’s commandments? You might also consider how His commandments have changed your life. What do you learn about the Lord as you read verse 10?
In April 1832, as instructed by the Lord, Joseph Smith traveled nearly 800 miles to visit the Saints who had gathered in Missouri (see Doctrine and Covenants 78:9). One community he visited included widows who were raising their children alone. Among them were Phebe Peck and Anna Rogers, whom the Prophet knew personally. In Missouri in the 1830s, state laws gave widows limited rights to their deceased husbands’ property. What do you learn from section 83 about how the Lord feels about widows and orphans? Do you know anyone in this situation who would benefit from your love or care?
- Doctrine and Covenants 81:3.
You could give paper hearts to family members and invite them to draw or write something they would like to pray about. Talk about what it means to pray “always, vocally and in thy heart.”
- Doctrine and Covenants 81:5.
To learn about the principles in this verse, perhaps family members could share examples of when they felt “weak” or “feeble” and someone succored or strengthened them. You could also watch videos about serving others, such as “Works of God” or “The Miracle of the Roof” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org). Discuss how your family can regularly serve each other in simple ways.
- Doctrine and Covenants 82:8–10.
Perhaps a simple game would help your family feel thankful for God’s commandments. One family member could give instructions to help a blindfolded family member make a sandwich or go through an obstacle course. Think of something fun and creative! Then discuss how God’s commandments are like the instructions in this game.
- Doctrine and Covenants 82:18–19.
What can each family member do to “improve upon his [or her] talent” and “gain other talents”? It might be fun to have a family talent show. Think of ways to include talents that aren’t easily displayed (such as spiritual gifts; see Doctrine and Covenants 46:11–26). How can we use our talents and share the things we have to bless our family and neighbors? What does it mean to use our talents “with an eye single to the glory of God”?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.