“October 25–31. Doctrine and Covenants 124: ‘A House unto My Name,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“October 25–31. Doctrine and Covenants 124,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
As difficult as the last six years had been for the Saints, things started to look up in the spring of 1839: The refugee Saints had found compassion among the citizens of Quincy, Illinois. Guards had allowed the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders to escape captivity in Missouri. And the Church had just purchased land in Illinois where the Saints could gather again. Yes, it was swampy, mosquito-infested land, but compared to the challenges the Saints had already faced, this probably seemed manageable. So they drained the swamp and drafted a charter for a new city, which they named Nauvoo. It means “beautiful” in Hebrew, though it was more an expression of faith than an accurate description, at least at first. Meanwhile, the Lord was impressing His Prophet with a sense of urgency. He had more truths and ordinances to restore, and He needed a holy temple where the Saints could receive them. In many ways, these same feelings of faith and urgency are important in the Lord’s work today.
While Nauvoo did become a beautiful city with a beautiful temple, both were eventually abandoned. But the Lord’s truly beautiful work, all along, has been to “crown you with honor, immortality, and eternal life” (Doctrine and Covenants 124:55), and that work never ends.
Although several prominent leaders left the Church in the late 1830s, the vast majority of members remained faithful. These faithful Saints included those who had endured the trials of Missouri as well as those who had recently joined the Church. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:12–21, the Lord spoke highly of a few of them. What insights about discipleship do you find in His words? Is there something about these faithful Saints that inspires you to be like them? You might also ponder how the Lord has expressed His love for you.
Considering what the Saints had just suffered in Missouri, they might have been tempted to isolate themselves and discourage visitors in Nauvoo. Keep that in mind as you read Doctrine and Covenants 124:22–24, 60–61. What impresses you about the Lord’s instructions to build a “house for boarding”? (verse 23). What do His words teach you about the mission of His Church? Ponder how these instructions may apply to you and your home.
See also the “A Friend to All,” video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
It surely came as no surprise to the Latter-day Saints that once they had settled in Nauvoo, the Lord gave them instructions about building a temple—just as He had in Ohio and Missouri. What do you find in Doctrine and Covenants 124:25–45, 55 that helps you understand why the Lord said, “My people are always commanded to build [temples] unto my holy name”? (verse 39).
Since the Nauvoo Temple was built, over 200 temples have been built or announced. President Russell M. Nelson taught: “We know that our time in the temple is crucial to our salvation and exaltation and to that of our families. … The assaults of the adversary are increasing exponentially, in intensity and in variety. Our need to be in the temple on a regular basis has never been greater” (“Becoming Exemplary Latter-day Saints,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 114). How has the temple helped you withstand the “assaults of the adversary”? What do you feel impressed to do to follow President Nelson’s counsel?
See also Church History Topics, “Nauvoo Temple,” ChurchofJesusChrist.org/study/church-history.
For 360-degree views of historic sites associated with the Doctrine and Covenants sections in this outline, click here.
Joseph Smith at the Nauvoo Temple, by Gary E. Smith
Verses 84–118 are filled with counsel for specific individuals, and some of it may not seem relevant to your life. But you may also find something you need to hear. Consider asking the Lord what message He has for you in these verses, and seek the Spirit’s guidance to find it. Then decide what you will do to act on it. For example, how might being more humble help you to receive the Spirit? (see verse 97).
You might also ponder other counsel the Lord has given you. How are you acting on that?
Doctrine and Covenants 124:2–11.If the Lord told your family “to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel” to “the kings of the world” (verses 2–3), what would your proclamation say? Consider creating one together, and invite family members to suggest gospel truths they want to include.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:28–29, 40–41, 55.What do we learn from these verses about why the Lord commands us to build temples? Your family might like to draw a picture of a temple or build one out of blocks or other materials. As you do, you could discuss why you are thankful we have temples today and why we need to worship in them regularly.
Doctrine and Covenants 124:91–92.Would your family benefit from a discussion about patriarchal blessings? Family members who have received their patriarchal blessing could share what it was like to receive one and how it has blessed them. You could also review “Patriarchal Blessings” (Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
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.
Painting of the Relief Society organization by Paul Mann
In 1842, after the Relief Society was organized in Nauvoo, Illinois, the Prophet Joseph Smith said, “The Church was never perfectly organized until the women were thus organized.”1 Similarly, a study of the Restoration of the Lord’s Church and His priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 107) is not complete until it includes a study of the Relief Society, which itself is “a restoration of an ancient pattern” of female disciples of Jesus Christ.2
Eliza R. Snow played an important role in that restoration. She was present when the Relief Society was first organized and, as the society’s secretary, took notes during its meetings. She witnessed firsthand that the Relief Society was organized “after the pattern of the priesthood.”3 Below are her words, written while she was serving as General President of the Relief Society, to help her sisters understand the divine work entrusted to the covenant daughters of God.
“Although the name [Relief Society] may be of modern date, the institution is of ancient origin. We were told by [Joseph Smith], that the same organization existed in the church anciently, allusions to which are made in some of the epistles recorded in the New Testament, making use of the title, ‘elect lady’ [see 2 John 1:1; Doctrine and Covenants 25:3].
“This is an organization that cannot exist without the Priesthood, from the fact that it derives all its authority and influence from that source. When the Priesthood was taken from the earth, this institution as well as every other appendage of the true order of the church of Jesus Christ on the earth, became extinct. …
“Having been present at the organization of the ‘Female Relief Society of Nauvoo,’ … and also having had considerable experience in that association, perhaps I may communicate a few hints that will assist the daughters of Zion in stepping forth in this very important position, which is replete with new and multiplied responsibilities. If any of the daughters and mothers in Israel are feeling in the least circumscribed in their present spheres, they will now find ample scope for every power and capability for doing good with which they are most liberally endowed. …
The Relief Society was organized in the upstairs room of the Red Brick Store.
“Should the question arise in the mind, of any, What is the object of the Female Relief Society? I would reply—to do good—to bring into requisition every capacity we possess for doing good, not only in relieving the poor but in saving souls. United effort will accomplish incalculably more than can be accomplished by the most effective individual energies. …
“In administering to the poor, the Female Relief Society has other duties to perform than merely relieving bodily wants. Poverty of mind and sickness of heart, also demand attention; and many times a kind expression—a few words of counsel, or even a warm and affectionate shake of the hand will do more good and be better appreciated than a purse of gold. …
“When the Saints gather from abroad, strangers to everybody, and subject to be led astray by those who lie in wait to deceive, the [Relief] Society should be prompt in looking after [them], and introduce them into the society that will refine and elevate, and above all strengthen them in the faith of the Gospel, and in so doing, may be instrumental in saving many.
“It would require volumes in which to define the duties, privileges and responsibilities that come within the purview of the Society. … Go at it (under the direction of your bishop) coolly, deliberately, energetically, unitedly and prayerfully, and God will crown your efforts with success.”4
The Nauvoo Temple, by George D. Durrant