Home-Study Lesson: Doctrine and Covenants 20–23 (Unit 6)

“Home-Study Lesson: Doctrine and Covenants 20–23 (Unit 6)” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013)

“Home-Study Lesson: Unit 6,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual

Home-Study Lesson

Doctrine and Covenants 20–23 (Unit 6)

Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher

Summary of Daily Home-Study Lessons

The following summary of the events, doctrines, and principles students learned about as they studied Doctrine and Covenants 20–23 (unit 6) is not intended to be taught as part of your lesson. The lesson you teach concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you consider the needs of your students.

Day 1 (Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–36)

This lesson emphasized Joseph Smith’s calling from God to organize the Church of Jesus Christ. It helped students understand that the coming forth of the Book of Mormon is evidence of the truthfulness of the Restoration. Students also identified fundamental truths about the character and nature of the Godhead.

Day 2 (Doctrine and Covenants 20:38–67)

Students studied the duties of priesthood offices and learned that as Heavenly Father’s sons receive higher offices of the priesthood, they receive more responsibilities and opportunities to serve others. Students also studied the responsibility priesthood holders have to administer ordinances of the gospel and to watch over and minister to members of the Church.

Day 3 (Doctrine and Covenants 20:37, 68–84)

Students learned about the ordinances of baptism and the sacrament. For baptism to be recognized by God, it must be performed by one holding proper authority and done in the proper manner. Students also considered the promise that if they are faithful to their baptismal covenants and partake of the sacrament worthily, they can always have the Spirit to be with them.

Day 4 (Doctrine and Covenants 21–23)

As students learned about events surrounding the formal organization of the Church, they studied the following truths: God inspired Joseph Smith to restore the Church of Jesus Christ. If individuals heed the words of the prophet, they will be protected against the adversary and receive the blessings of heaven. Baptism must be performed by one having authority from God. As we desire to serve the Lord, we can receive specific guidance from Him, and the Lord will bless us as we follow the guidance He gives us.


The Church was organized based on revelations from the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith. This lesson highlights the importance of the Lord’s revelations to His prophets.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 20–21

The Lord organizes His Church

random lines
outlines of squares

Prepare the accompanying pictures on two separate pieces of paper. Don’t allow students to see the pictures until you follow the instructions below.

Tell students you will show them two pictures and that they should try to draw what they see. Explain that they will see each picture for one second only, so they should pay close attention. Show them the first picture, give them time to draw, and then show them the second picture and give them time to draw.

  • Which picture was easiest to draw?

Show both of the pictures at the same time. Point out that both pictures have the same number of lines.

  • Why was the second picture easier to draw? (Twelve lines in a recognizable order are easier to draw.)

  • What lesson can we learn from drawing these two pictures?

Explain that when Jesus Christ restored His Church, He gave several revelations on how it should be organized and who should lead the Church.

  • How does having a prophet and 12 apostles give order to the Church?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 20:1–2 aloud; then invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 21:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for one of the first steps Jesus Christ took to establish order in His Church.

  • According to these verses, what did the Savior do to establish order in and help organize His Church? (He called Joseph Smith as a prophet, gave him commandments, and gave him direction on how to organize the Church.)

Summarize students’ answers by writing God directed Joseph Smith to restore His Church on the board.

  • Why do you think having a prophet is essential to the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ?

Invite students to share how their studies during the week helped them gain greater appreciation for Joseph Smith and his role in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ. Share your testimony that Joseph Smith received revelation and direction to establish the Lord’s Church and that through Joseph Smith the Lord brought order to His kingdom on earth.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 21:5–6 silently, looking for the three blessings promised to those who receive the Prophet Joseph Smith’s words in patience and faith. After they read, explain that these promises also apply to following the living prophet.

  • How would you summarize the blessings promised to those who heed the words of the prophet? (The following is one way to state the principle: If we heed the words of the prophet, we will be protected against the adversary and receive the blessings of heaven.)

  • Why is heeding (accepting and living) and not just hearing the words of the prophet important to being able to receive these blessings?

  • When have you or someone you know been protected against the adversary by following the words of the living prophet?

Ask students to think of a teaching of the living prophet that they may need to do better at heeding or living. Encourage them to do something to act on that teaching today.

Write the phrase “We know that …” on the board.

Remind students that Doctrine and Covenants 20 was read out loud at some of the early Church conferences, which served to remind the members of the new church of many important truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Divide students into four groups. Assign each group to read one of the following references, looking for doctrines that could be included under the heading “We know that …”

After students have had time to study their verses, invite them to report the doctrines they identified. Ask a student to act as scribe and write these truths on the board as the class members identify them.

Doctrines students identify might include the following:

God lives and is infinite, eternal, and unchanging (verse 17).

We are created in the image and likeness of God (verse 18).

God gave His Only Begotten Son to be crucified and rise again (verses 21–23).

All people need to repent, believe in Jesus Christ, be baptized, and endure in faith to be saved (verses 25, 29).

Once students have finished listing the truths they discovered in these verses, ask them to choose one that is meaningful to them and that they personally know to be true. Invite several students to share their testimony of the truth they chose and to explain why that truth is important to them.

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths discussed today and your gratitude for belonging to the Lord’s restored Church.

Next Unit (Doctrine and Covenants 24–29)

What if you met someone who wasn’t the prophet but claimed to receive revelation for the entire Church? In the next unit students will learn how the Prophet Joseph Smith handled this problem. They will also learn about some of the signs of the Second Coming.