“August 30–September 5. Doctrine and Covenants 94–97: ‘For the Salvation of Zion,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“August 30–September 5. Doctrine and Covenants 94–97,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
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When the Lord commanded Moses to build a tabernacle, He told Moses to “make all things according to the pattern shewed to [him] in the mount” (Hebrews 8:5; see also Exodus 25:8–9). The tabernacle was to be the center of Israel’s wilderness camp (see Numbers 2:1–2). Later, God commanded Solomon and his people to build a temple according to a pattern He revealed (see 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19).
As the Lord restored the fulness of the gospel, He commanded Joseph Smith to build temples according to a revealed pattern. “Let the house be built, not after the manner of the world,” the Lord declared. “Let it be built after the manner which I shall show” (Doctrine and Covenants 95:13–14; see also 97:10). Like the tabernacle in the wilderness, the temple was meant to be a central feature in Kirtland (see Doctrine and Covenants 94:1).
Today houses of the Lord are found around the world. Even if they are not at the center of our cities, they can be central in our lives. Though each temple differs in appearance, within them we learn the same divine pattern—a heavenly plan to bring us back into the presence of God. Sacred, eternal ordinances help us build our lives and strengthen our families “not after the manner of the world” but after the pattern God shows us.
The instructions in Doctrine and Covenants 94 and 97 were given on the same day—August 2, 1833. Section 97 deals in part with a temple planned for Jackson County, Missouri, while section 94 deals with administrative buildings in Kirtland, Ohio. You might notice some similarities in what the Lord says about these different kinds of buildings (see Doctrine and Covenants 94:2–12; 97:10–17). As you ponder these instructions, consider what you can do to experience the Lord’s glory and presence more often, both inside Church buildings and in your everyday life.
About five months had passed since January 1833, when the Lord had commanded the Saints in Kirtland to build a house of God and hold a solemn assembly (see Doctrine and Covenants 88:117–19). When the revelation recorded in section 95 was received in June 1833, they had not yet acted on that commandment. What do you learn from the way the Lord chastened the Saints in this revelation? Are there commandments or words of counsel that you have not acted on yet? What do you feel inspired to do?
See also D. Todd Christofferson, “As Many as I Love, I Rebuke and Chasten,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 97–100.
After being chastised for not building a house of the Lord in Kirtland, Church leaders chose a site in a wheat field where they would build. Hyrum Smith, the Prophet’s brother, immediately ran to get a scythe and begin clearing the field. “We are preparing to build a house for the Lord,” he said, “and I am determined to be the first at the work” (in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 271, 273). Ponder Hyrum’s eagerness as you read Doctrine and Covenants 95:8, 11–17; 97:10–17. What do you find that inspires a similar determination in you to receive the blessings of the temple?
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “We ought to have the building up of Zion as our greatest object” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 186). To the Saints in the 1830s, Zion was a place, the literal “city of our God” (Doctrine and Covenants 97:19). But in the revelation recorded in section 97, the Lord expanded that view. Zion also describes a people—“the pure in heart” (verse 21). As you read verses 18–28, think about this definition when you read the word “Zion.” What does it mean to you to be pure in heart? How does the temple help accomplish “the salvation of Zion”? (verse 12).
Doctrine and Covenants 95:8.
How have making and keeping temple covenants brought “power from on high” into our lives? Perhaps family members could share how they feel about the temple or share experiences when they have felt blessed with “power from on high” through worship in the temple.
To help those preparing to enter the temple, you could review the videos, photos, and instruction found at temples.ChurchofJesusChrist.org. To help children learn about the temple, you could use “Your Path to the Temple” (in Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [special issue of the Ensign or Liahona, Oct. 2010], 72–75).
Doctrine and Covenants 95:1–11.
What do we learn about chastening from these verses? What do we learn about the Lord? How do these insights affect the way we receive chastening or chasten others?
Doctrine and Covenants 97:8.
According to this verse, how can we be “accepted of” the Lord? How is that different from being accepted by the world? What does it mean to “observe [our] covenants by sacrifice”? How have we done this?
Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–21.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught, “Anyplace where the Saints gather is Zion, which every righteous man [or woman] will build up for a place of safety for his [or her] children” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 186). How can we build Zion in our home? What principles do we find in Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–21? As a family, choose a principle to focus on this week.
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “I Love to See the Temple,” Children’s Songbook, 95.