Doctrine and Covenants 2021
November 29–December 5. Doctrine and Covenants 137–138: “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead”

“November 29–December 5. Doctrine and Covenants 137–138: ‘The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead,’” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: Doctrine and Covenants 2021 (2020)

“November 29–December 5. Doctrine and Covenants 137–138,” Come, Follow Me—For Sunday School: 2021

people in the spirit world

Joseph sees his father, mother, and brother in the celestial kingdom (Joseph Smith’s Vision of the Celestial Kingdom, by Robert T. Barrett).

November 29–December 5

Doctrine and Covenants 137–138

“The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead”

President Dallin H. Oaks taught: “We can all wonder privately about circumstances in the spirit world. … But let us not teach or use as official doctrine what does not meet the standards of official doctrine” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2019, 28). Ensure that your discussion is founded on the scriptures and words of the prophets.

Record Your Impressions

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Invite Sharing

There are many inspiring doctrinal truths found in Doctrine and Covenants 137–38. Invite class members to list some of them. Then you could spend a few minutes reviewing their lists as a class and talking about why these truths are important to them. Did anyone learn something from these sections that they had not previously understood?

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Teach the Doctrine

Doctrine and Covenants 137; 138:32–37

Every soul will have the opportunity to choose celestial glory.

  • Many of us know people who did not have the chance to accept the gospel in this life—including those who die as children. Invite class members to share a truth they find in section 137 that helps them understand God’s plan for these individuals. What truths do we find in Doctrine and Covenants 138:32–37 that add to our understanding of God’s plan? Class members could share how these truths make them feel about Heavenly Father, His plan of salvation, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ. The statement in “Additional Resources” may be helpful to your discussion.

Doctrine and Covenants 138:1–11, 25–30

Reading and pondering the scriptures prepares us to receive revelation.

  • The experience Joseph F. Smith described in Doctrine and Covenants 138:1–11, 25–30 helps us understand how we can prepare ourselves to receive revelation. Perhaps class members could work together to identify what they learn about revelation from these verses. You might ask class members to share how reading and pondering the scriptures has prepared them to receive revelation (see also Joseph Smith—History 1:11–12).

  • President M. Russell Ballard’s message “The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead” (Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2018, 71–74) describes Joseph F. Smith’s “lifetime of preparation to receive this remarkable revelation [Doctrine and Covenants 138].” If members of your class read President Ballard’s message this week, encourage them to share something that impressed them. Or you could read portions of the message as a class. What impresses us about President Smith’s life and his character? What can we learn from his example?

    painting of Joseph F. Smith

    Joseph F. Smith, by Albert E. Salzbrenner

Doctrine and Covenants 138:12–60

The work of salvation continues after death.

  • To help class members discover truths in Doctrine and Covenants 138:12–60, you could provide them with several questions about the spirit world that are answered in these verses. For example: What did the Savior do while He was in the spirit world? Who are the Lord’s messengers, and what is their message? Class members could select one or more of these questions and work in small groups to search for answers. Then they could share with each other the truths they found. What difference do these truths make in our lives?

  • What would we say to somebody who asks, “What happens when we die?” What would we share from Doctrine and Covenants 138:12–60 that could help answer this question? (see also Alma 40:11–15).

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Additional Resources

God’s plan provides a way for all of His children to accept the gospel.

President Henry B. Eyring taught:

“Only a very small minority of God’s children obtain during this life a complete understanding of God’s plan, along with access to the priesthood ordinances and covenants that make the Savior’s atoning power fully operative in our lives. …

“Some may consider this unfair. They may even take it as evidence that there is no plan, no specific requirements for salvation—feeling that a just, loving God would not create a plan that is available to such a small proportion of His children. Others might conclude that God must have determined in advance which of His children He would save and made the gospel available to them, while those who never heard the gospel simply were not ‘chosen.’

“But you and I know, because of the truths restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith, that God’s plan is much more loving and just than that. Our Heavenly Father is anxious to gather and bless all of His family. While He knows that not all of them will choose to be gathered, His plan gives each of His children the opportunity to accept or reject His invitation” (“Gathering the Family of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2017, 20–21).

Improving Our Teaching

Use the words of prophets. “The scriptures and words of latter-day prophets and apostles are the source of the truths we teach. At every opportunity, inspire those you teach to turn to the word of God for guidance” (Teaching in the Savior’s Way, 21).