Doctrine and Covenants 2021
January 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 3–5: “My Work Shall Go Forth”

“January 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 3–5: ‘My Work Shall Go Forth,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)

“January 18–24. Doctrine and Covenants 3–5,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2021

men working in field

Harvest Time in France, by James Taylor Harwood

January 18–24

Doctrine and Covenants 3–5

“My Work Shall Go Forth”

Studying Doctrine and Covenants 3–5 before you review the ideas in this outline will help you receive guidance from the Holy Ghost. This week’s outline in Come, Follow Me—For Individuals and Families can help you understand the history that led to the revelations recorded in these sections.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

Give class members a few minutes to review the scriptures they read at home and find a passage that they found meaningful. Then invite them to share what they learned with another person in the class.

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Teach the Doctrine

Doctrine and Covenants 3:1–15

We should trust God rather than fearing man.

  • Like Joseph Smith, we all have experiences when we feel pressured by other people to do something we know is wrong. What truths do we learn from Doctrine and Covenants 3:1–15 that can help us remain faithful to God in such situations?

  • Joseph Smith needed to be chastened for fearing man more than God, but he also needed to be encouraged. Invite class members to look in section 3 for how the Lord both chastened and encouraged Joseph. For example, they could list on the board phrases from verses 1–15 containing the Lord’s rebukes and other phrases containing His encouragement to repent and remain faithful. What does Joseph’s experience teach us about how the Savior helps us overcome our mistakes?

Doctrine and Covenants 4

The Lord asks us to serve Him with all our heart.

  • The qualities describing the Lord’s servants that are listed in Doctrine and Covenants 4:5–6 are also the qualities of Jesus Christ. To help class members learn more, you could invite them to choose one of the qualities and find definitions or additional scriptures that help them better understand the quality (see, for example, the statement by Sister Elaine S. Dalton in “Additional Resources”). You could invite a few people to share what they found. They could also share why the quality they chose is a requirement for service in God’s kingdom. How can we further develop these qualities? (see verse 7).

  • Doctrine and Covenants 4 was addressed to Joseph Smith Sr., who wanted to know how he could help with the Lord’s work. This section can also help any of us who desire to serve the Lord. Here’s one way to study this section: class members could work in small groups to write a job description for servants of God, using section 4 as a guide. How are these qualifications different from other job descriptions? Why are these qualities essential in doing God’s work? The statement by Elder David A. Bednar in “Additional Resources” can help class members understand the importance of developing these qualities.

Doctrine and Covenants 5

A witness of the truth comes to those who are humble and believing.

  • If the gold plates were displayed for the world to see, would that convince everyone that the Book of Mormon is true? Why or why not? (see Doctrine and Covenants 5:7). Perhaps class members could search section 5 for insights that could help them respond to someone who asks for evidence that the Book of Mormon is true. What did the Lord teach Joseph Smith and Martin Harris that can help us gain our own witness of gospel truths?

    Martin Harris

    Martin Harris, by Lewis A. Ramsey

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Additional Resources

Virtue means strength.

Sister Elaine S. Dalton gave this explanation of virtue: “Virtue is a word we don’t hear often in today’s society, but the Latin root word virtus means strength. Virtuous women and men possess a quiet dignity and inner strength. They are confident because they are worthy to receive and be guided by the Holy Ghost” (“A Return to Virtue,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 79).

Becoming a missionary.

Elder David A. Bednar said: “The process of becoming a missionary does not require a young man to wear a white shirt and tie [or a young woman to wear a dress] to school every day or to follow the missionary guidelines for going to bed and getting up. … But you can increase in your desire to serve God [see Doctrine and Covenants 4:3], and you can begin to think as missionaries think, to read what missionaries read, to pray as missionaries pray, and to feel what missionaries feel. You can avoid the worldly influences that cause the Holy Ghost to withdraw, and you can grow in confidence in recognizing and responding to spiritual promptings” (“Becoming a Missionary,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 45–46).

Improving Our Teaching

Ask questions that encourage meaningful discussion. Questions that have more than one right answer invite learners to respond based on their personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences. For example, you could ask, “How do you know when God is speaking to you?” (See Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 33.)