“Lesson 47: Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–29,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013)
“Lesson 47,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual
In December 1830, the Lord commanded the Saints to gather to Ohio (see D&C 37:3). In January 1831, He promised that they would receive His law (see D&C 38:32). On February 9, 1831, shortly after arriving in Kirtland, 12 elders of the Church gathered together and united in prayer, as the Lord had commanded them (see D&C 41:2–3). On this occasion, Joseph Smith received a revelation that now comprises Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–73. He received further instruction on February 23 (see D&C 42:74–93). Taken together, these revelations are known as “the law of the Church” (D&C 42 section heading). Doctrine and Covenants 42 will be divided among three lessons. This lesson covers verses 1–29, which provided instruction on teaching the gospel and set forth general laws of conduct for members of the Church.
At the top of the board, write Laws and Commandments.
Underneath write the following words:
Begin by asking students to consider which of the words on the board they might choose to describe laws and commandments. Invite a few students to share the word or words they chose and explain why. After students have shared their thoughts, ask the following questions:
Why can it sometimes be difficult to keep the commandments?
Why might some people feel that laws and commandments are a gift or a blessing?
Remind students that after the Lord commanded the Saints in New York to go to Ohio, He promised that once they were there, He would give them His law (see D&C 38:32). Most of the Saints in New York obeyed the command to gather to Ohio. After some of them had arrived in Kirtland, 12 elders met with the Prophet Joseph Smith and called upon the Lord. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–3 aloud. Encourage the class to follow along, looking for the reason why the elders had assembled.
Why had the elders assembled at this time? (The Lord had commanded them to gather together to receive His law.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:4–10 by explaining that the Lord instructed the elders to go forth two by two as missionaries to spread the gospel and build up the Church in every region to which they were called until all the people were called to gather as one.
Ask students to imagine that they are sitting in the chapel waiting for sacrament meeting to begin. The members of the bishopric or branch presidency have been delayed and have not yet arrived. Someone from the congregation gets up and explains that he would like to extend a few callings and teach some new doctrine that has been revealed to him.
How would you react in this situation? Why?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:11 aloud, and ask the class to look for who the Lord says is authorized to teach and to build up His Church.
Who did the Lord say is authorized to teach and to build up His Church? (Students should identify the following doctrine: Those who teach and build up the Church must be called of God and ordained or set apart by the authorized leaders of the Church.)
According to verse 11, those who are called to teach the gospel are to have their callings made known to the Church. How do Church members today learn that a person has received a ward or stake calling and will be set apart or ordained by Church leaders? (The names of those who are called are presented to the membership of the Church for a sustaining vote. This is known as the principle of common consent. See D&C 26:2.)
How can the procedure of sustaining Church leaders and teachers protect the Church and its members? (Sustaining Church leaders helps us know who has been called to lead and teach in the Church. It can also help prevent individuals from assuming responsibilities that have not been assigned to them and for which they have no authority.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for responsibilities given to people who teach and lead in the Church, including full-time missionaries.
According to these verses, what responsibilities does the Lord give to those He calls to teach or lead in the Church?
Why do you think it is important for teachers and leaders to teach the principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures?
How have you been blessed when your teachers or leaders have lived by the doctrines and principles they have taught?
Ask students to review Doctrine and Covenants 42:13 silently, looking for what should direct us as we teach the gospel to others. After students report what they have found, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what those who teach the gospel should do to obtain the influence of the Spirit.
How can we obtain the influence of the Spirit to help us teach others the gospel? (If we pray in faith, we can receive the Spirit to help us teach others. You may want to suggest that students mark the words in verse 14 that teach this principle. Point out that in addition to praying in faith, we need to be worthy to receive the Spirit.)
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The scriptures say, ‘The Spirit shall be given unto you by the prayer of faith; and if ye receive not the Spirit ye shall not teach’ (D&C 42:14). This teaches not just that you won’t teach or that you can’t teach or that it will be pretty shoddy teaching. No, it is stronger than that. It is the imperative form of the verb. ‘Ye shall not teach.’ Put a thou in there for ye and you have Mount Sinai language. This is a commandment” (“Teaching, Preaching, Healing,” Ensign, Jan. 2003, 41).
According to Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 and Elder Holland’s statement, who is to be the real teacher in any Church classroom? (The Spirit.)
What are some ways that students can help teach by the Spirit?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:16–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the role of the Holy Ghost. Before the student reads, it may be helpful to remind students that the term Comforter used in these verses is another name for the Holy Ghost.
According to verse 17, what does the Holy Ghost know and do? (You may want to suggest that students mark the following doctrine in their scriptures: The Holy Ghost knows all things and bears record of the Father and the Son.)
Based on this doctrine, why is it important for us to have the Holy Ghost with us when teaching the gospel?
How can having the Holy Ghost with you help those you teach?
Invite students to reflect on the following questions (you may want to write these questions on the board before class or prepare them as a handout):
After sufficient time, invite a few students to choose one of the questions and share their experiences with the class. You may wish to add your testimony of the vital role the Spirit plays in teaching and learning the gospel.
Write the following scripture references on the board (do not include the words in parentheses):
Explain that in this revelation, the Lord revealed laws and commandments pertaining to all members of the Church. Divide students into groups of three or six. Assign each student one or two of the scripture references listed on the board, and explain that each passage contains the Lord’s instructions concerning a specific commandment. Ask students to study their assigned passages and then use the outline below to prepare to teach their group what they have discovered. (You may want to display the outline on the board or prepare it as a handout. You may want to encourage students to use the For the Strength of Youth booklet or the Guide to the Scriptures for additional help. If your class is small enough, you might want to invite students to teach the whole class rather than their groups.)
Invite a member of your group to read the assigned scripture passage aloud. You may want to suggest that the members of your group mark the commandment or law in the passage.
Identify a doctrine or principle we can learn from the verses.
Explain why you feel this commandment is important and how our obedience to it can affect our spiritual welfare.
Share an idea of something we could all do to more fully keep this commandment (or guard against breaking it). You may also want to invite the rest of your group to share their ideas.
Be sure to allow enough time for students to prepare and then teach their groups. As students teach each other, walk around and give help and encouragement when needed.
After students have finished teaching their groups, write the following incomplete statement on the board: By serving God and keeping His commandments, we show …
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that complete this principle. Invite a student to fill in the blank on the board so the statement is similar to the following principle: By serving God and keeping His commandments, we show our love to God. (You may want to suggest that students mark this principle in their scriptures.)
How does keeping God’s laws and commandments show our love for Him?
How has keeping the commandments brought you closer to the Lord?
Ask students to reflect on their attitudes toward the Lord’s laws and commandments. Invite them to select one commandment that they will strive to keep more fully as a way to show their love to Heavenly Father and the Savior. Conclude by sharing how keeping the commandments has strengthened your relationship with the Lord.