Doctrine and Covenants 2021
October 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 121–123: “O God, Where Art Thou?”

“October 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 121–123: ‘O God, Where Art Thou?’” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)

“October 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 121–123,” Come, Follow Me—For Primary: 2021

Liberty Jail

Liberty Jail Spring, by Al Rounds

October 18–24

Doctrine and Covenants 121–123

“O God, Where Art Thou?”

As you study Doctrine and Covenants 121–23, consider what the children in your class know already. Pray to know how to build on what they know.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

If you encouraged the children to share something that they learned in class last week with their families, give them time to share their experiences.

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Teach the Doctrine: Younger Children

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8; 122:7

Hard times can be for our good.

The Lord’s words to Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail provide an opportunity to help the children recognize that sometimes life is hard, but Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ can help us.

Possible Activities

  • Invite the children to listen for the word “peace” as you share with them “Chapter 46: Joseph Smith in Liberty Jail” (Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 172–74) or Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8. Help the children think of ways we can trust the Lord as Joseph did so that we can feel peace. Explain that even though Joseph experienced hard things, the Lord was with him.

  • To help the children recognize that our trials “shall be for [our] good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7), talk to them about how our muscles grow when we carry something heavy. Let them pretend to lift a heavy object or do hard work. Explain that going through hard times can help our spirits grow—if we turn to the Lord for help. Share some examples that the children you teach would relate to. Invite them to repeat with you the phrase “All these things shall … be for [our] good.”

Doctrine and Covenants 122:8

Jesus Christ knows how I feel.

In Liberty Jail, Jesus Christ told Joseph Smith that He had descended below all things (see Doctrine and Covenants 122:8). This means that He knows what we are going through and we can turn to Him.

Possible Activities

  • To help the children learn to turn to Christ when they experience hard things, ask them to show you what their faces look like when they are sad or hurt or scared. Who can help us when we feel this way? Read Doctrine and Covenants 122:8, and explain that this means that Jesus Christ knows how we feel, and He can help us.

  • Sing together “Jesus Once Was a Little Child” (Children’s Songbook, 55), and testify that Jesus Christ can help us because He knows how we feel.

    Jesus on the ground in Gethsemane

    Jesus understands our suffering. Not My Will, But Thine, by Walter Rane.

Doctrine and Covenants 123:17

God wants me to cheerfully do what I can.

Even though Joseph Smith was in jail and the Saints had been driven from their homes, he encouraged the Saints to “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power.”

Possible Activities

  • Read to the children Doctrine and Covenants 123:17, and invite them to stand and cheer when they hear the word “cheerfully.” Invite them to pretend to do different acts of service in a cheerful way.

  • Sing together a song about cheerful service such as “When We’re Helping” (Children’s Songbook, 198). Help the children think of ways they can cheerfully serve their family and friends.

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Teach the Doctrine: Older Children

Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–9; 122:7–9

My trials can be for my good.

One way the Savior comforted Joseph Smith while he suffered in Liberty Jail was by teaching him that “all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good” (Doctrine and Covenants 122:7). This truth can bless the children when they face their own trials.

Possible Activities

  • Invite the children to share what they know about Joseph Smith’s experience in prison and the Saints being forced from Missouri (see chapters 45–47 of Doctrine and Covenants Stories, 167–75). Ask the children how they would feel if they were Joseph Smith or one of the Saints at this time. Read with the children Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–9; 122:7–9, and invite them to find something the Lord said that would have brought them peace. How can our hard experiences “be for [our] good”?

  • Ask two children to hold the ends of a string that is long enough to stretch across the room. Ask another child to pinch a point on the string. Read Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–8, and explain that the string represents the years of eternity and that the small point being pinched is like our years on earth. What does it mean that our trials on earth are for “a small moment”?

  • Help the children imagine what it would be like to spend four months in a place like Liberty Jail. What would we miss most? How would we spend our time? What did Joseph Smith learn in Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–9; 122:7–9 that helped him endure this experience? Encourage the children to write a letter to someone who is having a difficult time, and suggest they use something from Doctrine and Covenants 121:7–9; 122:7–9 in their letter.

Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46

We must be righteous to have the “powers of heaven.”

Help the children you teach recognize that we can have God’s power in our lives only if we are righteous.

Possible Activities

  • Draw a line with the words high power at one end and low power at the other. Draw an arrow pointing at the middle of the line. Choose several words or phrases from Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–46 that teach how we decrease or increase heavenly power in our lives (such as “cover our sins,” “pride,” “gentleness,” and “love”). Invite the children to take turns picking a word, deciding if the word leads to a decrease or increase in power, and moving the arrow accordingly. Talk with the children about people they know who have been a good influence on others because they follow the Lord’s counsel in these verses.

  • Read Doctrine and Covenants 121:41–42, 45, and ask the children to list qualities in these verses that the Lord wants us to have. Help them define any words they don’t understand. Assign each child one quality, and help them think of a way that they can show it. Once they have all shared, ask them to read verses 45–46 and list the blessings they will receive if they develop those qualities.

  • Read together the first line of Doctrine and Covenants 121:46. How can the Holy Ghost be our “constant companion”? Sing together “The Holy Ghost” (Children’s Songbook, 105) or another song about the gift of the Holy Ghost. What does the song teach us about why we want the Holy Ghost to be our constant companion?

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Encourage Learning at Home

Invite the children to think of someone who is going through a hard time. Help them identify something Joseph Smith learned in Liberty Jail that they can share with that person.

Improving Our Teaching

Support learning at home. “Parents are the most important gospel teachers for their children—they have both the main responsibility and the greatest power to influence their children (see Deuteronomy 6:6–7). As you teach children at church, prayerfully seek ways to support their parents in their essential role” (Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 25).