“October 11–17. Doctrine and Covenants 115–120: ‘His Sacrifice Shall Be More Sacred unto Me Than His Increase,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“October 11–17. Doctrine and Covenants 115–120,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
There was reason to be optimistic about the Saints’ newest gathering place, Far West, Missouri, in July 1838. The city was growing rapidly, the land seemed bountiful, and it was revealed that a short distance to the north lay Adam-ondi-Ahman, a place of great spiritual significance (see Doctrine and Covenants 107:53–56; 116). Still, it must have been hard for the Saints not to think about what they had lost. They had been driven from Independence, the appointed center place of Zion, and the chances of returning anytime soon probably seemed slim. In addition, the Saints had to flee Kirtland, Ohio, leaving their beloved temple after only two years. And this time it wasn’t just enemies outside the Church causing trouble—many prominent members had turned against Joseph Smith, including the Three Witnesses of the Book of Mormon and four members of the Twelve. Some may have wondered, Is the kingdom of God really growing stronger, or is it getting weaker?
Yet the faithful didn’t let questions like that stop them. Instead, they started building a new holy place, this time in Far West. They made plans for a new temple. Four new Apostles were called, including two—John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff—who would later become Presidents of the Church (see Doctrine and Covenants 118:6). The Saints learned that doing God’s work doesn’t mean you never fall; it means you “rise again.” And though you’ll have to give up some things, those sacrifices will be sacred to God, even “more sacred … than [your] increase” (Doctrine and Covenants 117:13).
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President Russell M. Nelson said that the Church’s name is “a matter of great importance” (“The Correct Name of the Church,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 87). Think about why this is true as you read Doctrine and Covenants 115:4–6. What does the name of the Church have to do with its work and mission?
See also 3 Nephi 27:1–11.
Despite the hardships the Saints were facing in 1838, the Lord still had high expectations for them. Look for words in Doctrine and Covenants 115:5–6 that emphasize the role the Lord wants His Church and its members to fulfill in the world. For example, what do you feel you should do to “arise and shine forth”? (verse 5). What spiritual storms do you notice around you, and how do we find “refuge” through gathering? (verse 6).
See also 3 Nephi 18:24.
Leaving Kirtland may have been particularly hard for people like Newel K. Whitney, who had established a prosperous life for his family there. What do you find in Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–11 that might have helped them make this sacrifice? How do these verses change your perspective on what is really important?
The sacrifice asked of Oliver Granger was different: the Lord assigned him to stay in Kirtland and settle the Church’s finances. It was a heavy task, and while he represented the Church with integrity, he ultimately didn’t recover much money. Consider how the Lord’s words in verses 12–15 might apply to the things the Lord has asked of you.
The instructions in sections 119 and 120 sound similar to the way the Lord’s work is financed in our time. Today, the Saints contribute “one-tenth of all their interest [now understood as income] annually” (Doctrine and Covenants 119:4), and these funds are managed by a council that consists of the First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve, and Presiding Bishopric. Consider the following questions as you study these sections:
How does observing the law of tithing “sanctify the land of Zion”? How can this law help make the place where you live “a land of Zion unto you”? (Doctrine and Covenants 119:6).
What is significant to you about the phrase “by mine own voice unto them” in Doctrine and Covenants 120?
Doctrine and Covenants 115:4–6.Would it work for your family to read these verses while watching a sunrise? It might help you discuss what it means to “arise and shine forth” (verse 5). Or you could also discuss what it is like to seek shelter during a storm. How could that experience be like finding “refuge” in the Church? (verse 6). You could then talk about ways your family can help others enjoy the refuge the Church provides.
Doctrine and Covenants 117:1–11.Your family could compare a “drop” with something more “weighty” (verse 8), like a jug of water. This could lead to a discussion about less important things in our lives that might prevent us from receiving God’s abundant blessings.
Doctrine and Covenants 119.You could sing a song such as “I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth” (Children’s Songbook, 150). What do the song and section 119 teach about why we pay tithing? Young children could also benefit from an object lesson: you could give them small objects, help them calculate a tenth, and tell them why you pay tithing. (See also True to the Faith, 180–82.)
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “I Want to Give the Lord My Tenth,” Children’s Songbook, 150.