“November 8–14. Doctrine and Covenants 129–132: ‘When We Obtain Any Blessing from God, It Is by Obedience,’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“November 8–14. Doctrine and Covenants 129–132,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
Brigham Young once said of Joseph Smith, “He could reduce heavenly things to the understanding of the finite” (in Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 499–500). This seems especially true of the Prophet’s teachings in Nauvoo in the 1840s, some of which are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 129–32. What is the Savior like? “He is a man like ourselves.” What is heaven like? “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:1–2), and our most cherished family relationships in this world, if sealed by the proper authority, “shall be of full force” in the next world (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19). Truths like these can make heaven feel less distant—glorious, yet reachable.
But then, sometimes God may ask us to do things that are so uncomfortable that they do seem unreachable. For many early Saints, plural marriage was one such commandment. The commandment to marry additional wives was a severe trial of faith for Joseph Smith, his wife Emma, and almost everyone who received it. To make it through this trial, they needed more than just favorable feelings about the restored gospel; they needed faith in God that went far deeper than any personal desires or biases. The commandment no longer stands today, but the faithful example of those who lived it still does. And that example inspires us when we are asked to make our own “sacrifices in obedience” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:50).
You might notice that sections 130–31 read a little differently than other sections in the Doctrine and Covenants. This is because sections 130–31 are based on notes that William Clayton, one of Joseph Smith’s secretaries, kept of things he heard the Prophet teach. As a result, these sections are more like collections of truths rather than cohesive, dictated revelations. Even so, there are some common themes among many of these truths. For example, you might read sections 130–131 with questions like these in mind: What do I learn about God? What do I learn about the life after mortality? How does this knowledge affect my life?
See also “Our Hearts Rejoiced to Hear Him Speak,” Revelations in Context, 277–80.
One of the most comforting truths restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith is that marriage and family relationships can last forever. Through Joseph Smith, the Lord restored the ordinances and authority needed to make these relationships eternal (see Doctrine and Covenants 132:7, 18–19). Think about the family relationships you have or hope to have in the future as you read Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4; 132:7, 13–25. How do these verses affect the way you think about these relationships?
Sometimes, however, the principle of eternal families is not so comforting—it may bring anxiety, even sadness, when our current family situation does not fit the celestial ideal. When President Henry B. Eyring worried about such a situation in his own family, he received this wise counsel from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles: “You just live worthy of the celestial kingdom, and the family arrangements will be more wonderful than you can imagine” (in “A Home Where the Spirit of the Lord Dwells,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2019, 25). How might following this counsel bless you in your current family situation?
See also Kristen M. Oaks, “To the Singles of the Church” (Church Educational System devotional for young adults, Sept. 11, 2011), broadcasts.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Anyone who has read the Old Testament has probably wondered about Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and others marrying multiple wives. Were these good men committing adultery? Or did God approve of their actions? Look for answers in Doctrine and Covenants 132:1–2, 29–40.
Marriage between one man and one woman is God’s standard of marriage (see the section heading to Official Declaration 1; see also Jacob 2:27, 30). However, there have been periods in history when God has commanded His children to practice plural marriage.
The early years of the restored Church were one of those periods of exception. After receiving this commandment, Joseph Smith and other Latter-day Saints practiced plural marriage. If you want to learn more about plural marriage among the early Latter-day Saints, see “Mercy Thompson and the Revelation on Marriage” (Revelations in Context, 281–93); Saints, 1:290–92, 432–35, 482–92, 502–4; “Plural Marriage in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Gospel Topics, topics.ChurchofJesusChrist.org); “Why Was It Necessary for Joseph Smith and Others to Practice Polygamy?” (video, ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
- Doctrine and Covenants 130:2, 18–19; 132:13, 19.
How might you use these verses to help your family prioritize things that last eternally? Maybe you could pack a suitcase or backpack together with items representing things that, according to Doctrine and Covenants 130:2, 18–19; 132:19, we can take with us into the next life, such as family pictures or scriptures. What does Doctrine and Covenants 132:13 teach us about things of the world? This could lead to a discussion about focusing on things that have eternal significance.
- Doctrine and Covenants 130:20–21.
You could sing a song about gratitude, such as “Count Your Blessings” (Hymns, no. 241), and make a list of the blessings your family has received for obeying God’s laws. What blessings do we hope to receive? How can we receive those blessings?
- Doctrine and Covenants 131:1–4; 132:15–19.
The video “Marriage Is Sacred” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org) might help your family discuss the truths in these verses. How does the Lord feel about marriage? How do we—whether we are married or single—prepare to have an eternal marriage?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Families Can Be Together Forever,” Children’s Songbook, 188.