“Lesson 18: Doctrine and Covenants 11–12,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013)
“Lesson 18,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual
Shortly after the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood in May 1829, two men visited the Prophet Joseph Smith in Harmony, Pennsylvania: Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum and Joseph Knight Sr. Both men expressed their desire to serve God and assist in the Restoration of the gospel. Doctrine and Covenants 11 records the Lord’s revelation to Hyrum Smith regarding how he could establish the cause of Zion. Doctrine and Covenants 12 records the Lord’s revelation to Joseph Knight Sr. and how he, too, could help establish the cause of Zion.
Ask students to think of a time when they wanted to join with or participate in a worthwhile activity or cause, such as planning a Church activity, performing service for someone in need, or participating in a school club or organization.
What did you need to do in order to participate in the activity or cause? (Students may suggest things such as signing up, filling out forms, talking to someone in charge, or other actions that demonstrated their desire to participate.)
Invite students to read the section headings for Doctrine and Covenants 11 and 12, looking for the names of two individuals who desired to participate in the Lord’s work. Then invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 11:27 and 12:7 silently and identify who else the Lord has invited to assist in His work.
Who else has the Lord invited to assist in His work? (All those who desire to assist Him.)
To help students understand the context of Doctrine and Covenants 11, explain that the revelation in this section was directed to Hyrum Smith, who came from Palmyra, New York, to Harmony, Pennsylvania, to see his brother Joseph. Hyrum was likely aware of recent events, such as the progress on the translation of the Book of Mormon. He wanted to know how he could help Joseph in the Lord’s work. Joseph inquired of the Lord and received this revelation. (To help students recognize the importance that desire plays in the Lord’s work, you may want to suggest that they mark the words desire, desires, and desireth in Doctrine and Covenants 11:3, 8, 10, 14, 17, 21, 27.)
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 11:5–9 silently. Ask half of the class to identify the blessings the Lord promised to Hyrum. Invite the other half of the class to identify what Hyrum would have to do in order to claim those blessings. (As students respond, you may need to clarify that “the mysteries of God” [D&C 11:7] are spiritual truths known only by revelation.)
What truths can we learn from Doctrine and Covenants 11:8 about desiring to do the Lord’s work? (As students respond, emphasize the following truths: (1) We can receive blessings from God according to our righteous desires. (2) If we desire to do God’s work, we will be the means of doing much good.)
Write the following question on the board: What can I do to “be the means of doing much good” in my generation?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 11:10–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the counsel the Lord gave Hyrum that would help him accomplish much good. When the students have finished reading, invite a few students to write what they have found under the question on the board. You might also want to suggest that students copy this list in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. (They will add to the list as the lesson continues.)
What do you think it means to put your trust in the Spirit?
According to Doctrine and Covenants 11:12–13, how can you recognize the influence of the Spirit? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truths: (1) The Spirit of the Lord leads us to do good, to be humble, and to judge righteously. (2) The Spirit enlightens our minds and fills our souls with joy.)
As you discuss these truths, you might want to invite students to review the scripture mastery passage Doctrine and Covenants 8:2–3. You might also want to suggest that students write this scripture mastery reference in the margin next to Doctrine and Covenants 11:12–14.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 11:12–13, what are some ways the Spirit can influence our minds and our hearts?
When have you experienced the influence of the Spirit in one of these ways? In what ways did this experience lead you to “do good”?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 11:15–16 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord wanted Hyrum Smith to prepare to do. Help students understand that Hyrum Smith was commanded not to preach until he was called to do so.
According to these verses, why was Hyrum Smith to “wait a little longer” before he would be called to preach the gospel? (You may need to explain that the phrase “until you shall have my word, my rock, my church, and my gospel” refers to the fact that the Church had not yet been organized and the Book of Mormon had not yet been published.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 11:17–20 aloud as the class follows along, looking for what the Lord said Hyrum needed to do to become an effective preacher of the gospel. You may want to add students’ answers to the list on the board. You may also want to invite students to write down their answers.
What do you think it means to cleave unto the Lord with all your heart? (You may need to explain that in this context the word cleave means to adhere to something firmly or unwaveringly.)
Write the following principle on the board: Keeping the commandments prepares us spiritually to do the work of the Lord.
How will keeping the commandments today prepare you for missionary service, marriage, and Church service in years to come?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 11:21–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for something else Hyrum needed to do to help him become an effective preacher of the gospel.
What did the Lord tell Hyrum he would need to do to be able to declare His word to the people? (You may want to add study the scriptures to the list on the board.)
What is the difference between studying the scriptures to know the word of God and merely reading the scriptures?
What did the Lord promise Hyrum and others who follow the pattern taught in Doctrine and Covenants 11:21–22? (Students should identify the following principle: Those who study the Lord’s word will receive His Spirit and the power to convince others of the truth of the gospel.)
Present students with the names of a few famous individuals. Ask if they have ever heard of the individuals you mention and to briefly explain why they are so well known. Then ask if they have ever heard of a man named Joseph Knight Sr.
Think of individuals in your ward or branch who serve faithfully and quietly. How are they helping to build up the kingdom of God?
To help students learn about Joseph Knight Sr. and his contribution to the Restoration of the gospel, invite a student to read aloud the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 12. Explain that Joseph Knight Sr. is not well known today, but he sustained the Prophet Joseph Smith with food and other supplies during the critical work of translating the Book of Mormon. Doctrine and Covenants 12 records a revelation that the Lord gave to Joseph Smith for Joseph Knight Sr. in May 1829. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 12:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, identifying the righteous characteristics that those who want to assist in the Lord’s work should possess.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 12:8, what characteristics does the Lord require of those who want to assist in His work?
How are you developing these characteristics in your life?
Tell students that Joseph Knight Sr. consistently tried to develop and practice these righteous characteristics. He gave temporal and spiritual assistance to Joseph Smith throughout the Prophet’s ministry. Many years after Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 12, he recorded the following regarding Joseph Knight’s faithfulness:
“Joseph Knight, Sen., … has been faithful and true, and even-handed and exemplary, and virtuous and kind, never deviating to the right hand or to the left. … He is a righteous man” (History of the Church, 5:124).
To encourage students to reflect on and apply what they have learned today, invite a few students to share how they would finish the following phrase: “In order to assist the Lord in His work, I will …”
You may want to conclude by expressing how you would finish this phrase.