Doctrine and Covenants 2021
January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26: “I Saw a Pillar of Light”

“January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26: ‘I Saw a Pillar of Light,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)

“January 4–10. Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2021

the Sacred Grove

Sacred Grove, by Greg K. Olsen

January 4–10

Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26

“I Saw a Pillar of Light”

Remember that your most important preparation will be studying the scriptures and living by what you learn. The Spirit can help you know what to focus on in class.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

What insights did class members gain as they studied Joseph Smith—History 1:1–26 this week? Perhaps you could display a picture of Joseph Smith or the First Vision and invite class members to write on the board some insights from their study, along with the verses where they found them. They could also share how their testimonies of Joseph Smith and his mission grew as they learned about him this week.

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Teach the Doctrine

Joseph Smith—History 1:5–18

If we ask in faith, God will answer us.

  • Members of your class may be able to relate to Joseph’s desire to seek truth in a world where many conflicting ideas are taught. How is the confusion in our day similar to what he faced? To help class members see how we can find answers to our questions, you could invite them to list on the board different ways people seek truth. Then they could review Joseph Smith—History 1:5–18 and add to the list what Joseph Smith did to find answers to his questions.

  • Class members could share how they have followed Joseph Smith’s example in their search for truth and how God has answered them. President Russell M. Nelson’s statement in “Additional Resources” suggests some ways we might seek truth from God.

    young woman praying

    Prayer allows us to communicate with God.

Joseph Smith—History 1:15–20

Joseph Smith saw God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

  • The First Vision revealed several truths about God that contradicted what many in Joseph’s day believed. Class members could read Joseph Smith—History 1:15–20 and identify something they learn about God. Why is it important to know these truths about God?

  • If Joseph Smith were to visit our class, what would we ask him about his experience? The video “Ask of God: Joseph Smith’s First Vision” ( could give class members additional insights about Joseph Smith’s First Vision (see also “Additional Resources”). Maybe they could ponder how they would complete a sentence like this one: “Because the First Vision happened, I know that …” What blessings have come into our lives because of the First Vision?

  • To add to the spirit of your discussion, class members could read or sing “Joseph Smith’s First Prayer” (Hymns, no. 26). What does this hymn help us understand and feel about the First Vision? Perhaps a few class members could share how they have come to know for themselves that Joseph really saw God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Sacred Grove. Or you could invite the full-time missionaries (or a recently returned missionary) to visit the class and talk about how the First Vision has influenced the lives of people they teach.

Joseph Smith—History 1:21–26

We can remain true to what we know, even if others reject us.

  • Class members may be able to identify with some of the things Joseph Smith experienced when he began to tell other people about his vision (see Joseph Smith—History 1:21–26). Perhaps they can share passages that inspire them when others challenge their beliefs.

  • If you know of ward members who have experienced opposition because they are members of the Church, consider asking them to come to class prepared to share how they keep their faith strong. What do we learn from Joseph Smith’s example in Joseph Smith—History 1:21–26?

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Additional Resources

Follow Joseph’s example.

President Russell M. Nelson taught:

“The Prophet Joseph Smith set a pattern for us to follow in resolving our questions. Drawn to the promise of James that if we lack wisdom we may ask of God [see James 1:5], the boy Joseph took his question directly to Heavenly Father. He sought personal revelation, and his seeking opened this last dispensation.

“In like manner, what will your seeking open for you? What wisdom do you lack? What do you feel an urgent need to know or understand? Follow the example of the Prophet Joseph. Find a quiet place where you can regularly go. Humble yourself before God. Pour out your heart to your Heavenly Father. Turn to Him for answers and for comfort” (“Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 95).

Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

To read a description of the First Vision that draws on several of Joseph Smith’s accounts, see Saints, 1:14–16.

Improving Our Teaching

Seek your own inspiration. Don’t view these outlines as instructions that you must follow as you teach. Rather, use them to spark ideas and foster inspiration as you ponder the doctrine in the scriptures and the needs of the people you teach.