“December 28–January 3. Doctrine and Covenants 1: ‘Hearken, O Ye People,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)
“December 28–January 3. Doctrine and Covenants 1,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2021
Record Your Impressions
You might begin your class study of the Doctrine and Covenants by asking class members how they feel about studying this book of scripture this year. What passages from section 1 help them feel excited to read the Doctrine and Covenants? Perhaps you could ask them to search section 1 for a verse they would share if they were trying to persuade someone to read this sacred book.
As you discuss the Lord’s “preface” to the Doctrine and Covenants (verse 6), it might be helpful for someone in the class to explain what a preface is and the purpose it serves in a book. Then the class could discuss how section 1 serves that purpose for the Doctrine and Covenants. For example, what themes for the book does section 1 introduce? What purposes does the book have? What do we find in this section that could influence the way we read the Doctrine and Covenants this year?
This week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families invites us to consider how we will act on the Lord’s command to “search these commandments” (verse 37). Perhaps class members could share what they plan to do this year to make their study of the Doctrine and Covenants meaningful. What will they search for? How is searching different from just reading? What study methods have they found most helpful?
Many of us have family members, friends, and acquaintances who do not share our beliefs about living prophets. Perhaps class members could share truths they find in section 1 that they could use to respond to someone who questions their beliefs about prophets. You might suggest that they look particularly in verses 1–6 and 37–39. What do these verses teach about the Lord and His prophets?
Class members might be interested to learn that when a council called by Joseph Smith discussed publishing the Prophet’s revelations, some council members opposed the idea. They were embarrassed by Joseph’s weakness in writing, and they worried that publishing the revelations might cause more problems for the Saints (see Saints, 1:140–43). How does section 1 address these concerns? (see, for example, verses 6, 24, 38).
The lyrics of the hymn “Come, Listen to a Prophet’s Voice” (Hymns, no. 21) teach some of the same principles taught in section 1. Perhaps you could sing or read the hymn together and then invite class members to find lines in the hymn and verses in section 1 that teach the same principles.
What thoughts did class members have as they read the description of the last days in verses 13–16? What is happening in the world today that fulfills these prophesied descriptions? Encourage class members to share anything they found in section 1 that helped them feel peace and confidence despite the challenges of our day.
To help class members ponder the blessings we have because the gospel has been restored, you could write on the board What do verses 17–23 teach about why the Lord restored His gospel? Class members could search these verses and share their thoughts with each other. For example, how have the truths restored through Joseph Smith helped us increase our faith? (see verse 21).
One important theme of Doctrine and Covenants 1 is the role of “the weak and the simple” in the Lord’s great latter-day work (verse 23). Invite class members to search verses 19–28 to learn how the words “weak” and “simple” apply to us as the Lord’s servants. As they share what they find, you could discuss questions like these: What characteristics does the Lord want His servants to have? What will the Lord accomplish through His servants in the latter days? How are the prophecies in these verses being fulfilled throughout the world and in our own lives?