“November 22–28. Doctrine and Covenants 135–136: ‘He “Has Sealed His Mission and His Works with His Own Blood,”’” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“November 22–28. Doctrine and Covenants 135–136,” Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families: 2021
Record Your Impressions
The afternoon of June 27, 1844, found Joseph and Hyrum Smith in jail once again, accompanied by John Taylor and Willard Richards. They believed they were innocent of any crime, but they submitted to arrest, hoping to prevent violence against the Saints in Nauvoo. This wasn’t the first time that enemies of the Church had put the Prophet Joseph in prison, but this time he seemed to know that he would not return alive. He and his friends tried to comfort each other by reading from the Book of Mormon and singing hymns. Then gunshots were heard, and within a few minutes the mortal lives of Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum had come to an end.
And yet it was not the end of the divine cause they had embraced. And it was not the end of the Restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There was more work to do and more revelation that would guide the Church forward. Killing the Prophet could not kill the work of God.
See Saints, 1:521–52.
Imagine how you might have felt if you had been living in Nauvoo when Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed (see Saints, 1:554–55). How would you have tried to make sense of this tragic event? Doctrine and Covenants 135, originally published less than three months after the martyrdom, may have helped. You might mark words and phrases that would have brought you understanding and reassurance. What would you say to someone who asks, “Why would God allow His Prophet to be killed?”
See also Doctrine and Covenants 5:21–22; 6:29–30; “Remembering the Martyrdom,” Revelations in Context, 299–306; Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 522–23, 529–40; M. Russell Ballard, “Shall We Not Go On in So Great a Cause?” Ensign or Liahona, May 2020, 8–11.
Think about the blessings that have come to you as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. How many of them are a result of the mission accomplished by the Prophet Joseph Smith? Doctrine and Covenants 135:3 names some of the great things Joseph Smith accomplished in the 24 years following the First Vision. How have these things affected you and your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ? Consider recording your testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Who might need to hear your testimony?
After being driven from Nauvoo, the Saints faced a long journey to the Salt Lake Valley, and the first few hundred miles were slow and miserable. Brigham Young, who now led the Church as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, worried about how the Saints would survive the rest of the trek. He set up a temporary settlement called Winter Quarters and pled for guidance. In response, the Lord gave him a revelation, now section 136. Among other things, this revelation reminded the Saints “that their conduct on the journey was as important as their destination” and “helped transform the westward migration from an unfortunate necessity into an important shared spiritual experience” (“This Shall Be Our Covenant,” Revelations in Context, 308).
Keep this context in mind as you study section 136. What counsel do you find that could help turn a difficult trial in your life “into an important … spiritual experience”? You might also ponder how the counsel can help you accomplish the Lord’s will in your own life, as it helped the early Saints make the difficult trek to the West.
- Doctrine and Covenants 135:1, 3.
To help family members understand what it means that Joseph Smith “sealed his mission and his works with his own blood,” your family could watch the video “Testimony of the Book of Mormon” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org; see also Jeffrey R. Holland, “Safety for the Soul,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 88–90). What impresses us about these verses? How can we be more faithful to our testimonies, even if we aren’t asked to give our lives for them?
- Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.
To discuss what is meant by the statement that Joseph Smith did “more, save Jesus only, for the salvation of men in this world, than any other man,” consider reviewing what your family has learned about Joseph Smith this year. You could use pictures from this resource to help them remember what they have learned and invite them to share favorite stories or teachings. Why are we grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith and for what the Lord accomplished through him? You could also watch the video “Joseph Smith: The Prophet of the Restoration” (ChurchofJesusChrist.org).
- Doctrine and Covenants 136.
When the Lord revealed section 136, the Saints had a long, difficult journey ahead of them, under the direction of Brigham Young (see chapters 58, 60, and 62 in Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 206–8, 211–16, 222–24). As you read section 136 together, think about difficult things your family may have to face. What counsel do we find in this revelation that could help us access the Lord’s help and power?
- Doctrine and Covenants 136:4.
What does it mean to “walk in all the ordinances of the Lord”? How do the ordinances we have received affect our daily lives?
For more ideas for teaching children, see this week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Primary.
Suggested song: “Praise to the Man,” Hymns, no. 27.