“Lesson 123: Doctrine and Covenants 115–116,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual (2013)
“Lesson 123,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual
On April 26, 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 115. In it the Lord revealed the name of the Church, commanded the Saints to “arise and shine forth” (D&C 115:5), and revealed His will concerning the temple in Far West. On May 19, 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 116, which identified Spring Hill, Missouri, as Adam-ondi-Ahman.
Before class, write the following questions on the board:
Display the names or logos of several appropriate companies or organizations with which your students are likely familiar. Pause after you show each one, and ask students to answer the questions written on the board.
Show the name and logo of the Church. Invite students to look for answers to the questions on the board regarding the name of the Church as they study Doctrine and Covenants 115.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 115:1–3 by explaining that this revelation was given through the Prophet Joseph Smith to the men named in verses 1–2 and to all members of the Church. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:4 silently, looking for the name the Lord designated for His Church. As students report what they find, write the name of the Church on the board as follows:
To help students understand the significance of the name of the Church, invite students to discuss with a partner what they think each word or phrase listed on the board signifies. After sufficient time, ask a few students to share their insights concerning the meaning of each word or phrase. If students need help, you may want to read the following statement by Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The word The indicates the unique position of the restored Church among the religions of the world.
“The words Church of Jesus Christ declare that it is His Church. …
“Of Latter-day explains that it is the same Church as the Church that Jesus Christ established during His mortal ministry but restored in these latter days. …
“Saints … simply refers to those who seek to make their lives holy by covenanting to follow Christ” (“The Importance of a Name,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 80).
What are some important truths communicated by the name of the Church?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord expects of those who belong to His Church.
What does the Lord expect of us as members of His Church?
What do you think it means to “arise and shine forth” as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
According to verse 5, what blessing will come as members of the Church follow the Lord’s counsel to arise and shine forth? (Students should identify the following principle: If we arise and shine forth, our light will be a standard for the nations. You may want to suggest that students mark this principle in verse 5.)
To help students better understand this principle, ask the following questions:
What do you think it means that our light, or example, can be a “standard for the nations”? (A standard is a flag or banner that serves as a rallying point or inspirational symbol. Our example as Church members can inspire others and draw them to the Lord.)
How can following the Savior’s commandment to arise and shine forth attract others to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
To help students understand how our light can help others, invite a student to read the following account shared by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency:
“Some years ago, Constance, a student nurse, was assigned to try and help a woman who had injured her leg in an accident. The woman refused medical help because she had had a negative experience with someone at the hospital. She was afraid and had become something of a recluse. The first time Constance dropped by, the injured woman ordered her out. On the second try, she did let Constance in. By now the woman’s leg was covered with large ulcers, and some of the flesh was rotting. But still she didn’t want to be treated.
“Constance made it a matter of prayer, and in a day or two the answer came. She took some foaming hydrogen peroxide with her for the next visit. As this was painless, the old woman let her use it on her leg. Then they talked about more serious treatment at the hospital. Constance assured her the hospital would make her stay as pleasant as possible. In a day or two the woman did get the courage to enter the hospital. When Constance visited her, the woman smiled as she said, ‘You convinced me.’ Then, quite unexpectedly, she asked Constance, ‘What church do you belong to?’ Constance told her she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The woman said: ‘I knew it. I knew you were sent to me from the first day that I saw you. There was a light in your face that I had noticed in others of your faith. I had to put my trust in you.’
“In three months’ time that festering leg was completely healed. Members of the ward where the old woman lived remodeled her house and fixed up her yard. The missionaries met with her, and she was baptized soon after [see Constance Polve, “A Battle Won,” New Era, Apr. 1980, 44–45]. All of this because she noticed the light in that young student nurse’s face” (“The Light in Their Eyes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2005, 22).
What did Constance do to “arise and shine forth”?
How was the light in Constance’s face a standard for the injured woman?
To help students feel the truth and importance of this principle, invite them to think of a person they know who is a good example of arising and shining forth. Invite a few students to share who they thought of and how that person’s example has been a blessing to them. As you listen to their answers, ask follow-up questions that will prompt students to share more of what they are thinking and feeling.
Invite students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals what they will do to be more of a standard to those around them.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:6 aloud. Ask the class to look for blessings that are promised to those who gather with the Church in the stakes of Zion.
What blessings are promised to those who gather to the stakes of Zion? (After students have responded, write the following truth on the board: We gather to the stakes of Zion for defense and for refuge.)
What do we need to defend ourselves against? What do we need refuge from? In what ways have you seen that gathering together as Saints helps us defend ourselves and find refuge?
Invite students to consider someone they know who would benefit from gathering with the Saints. Encourage students to let their light shine so others can be led to the peace, safety, and refuge that is provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Explain that one of the ways we can obtain the Lord’s protection and safety is by worshipping Him in the temple. After the Saints began moving to Far West, Missouri, in 1836, Church leaders made plans to build a temple similar to the one in Kirtland, Ohio. Even though some preliminary excavation was done, further construction was suspended until Joseph Smith could receive additional instruction from the Lord. The Lord revealed His will concerning the temple as part of the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 115.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 115:7–16 by explaining that the Lord revealed that a temple should be built in Far West according to the pattern He would give to the First Presidency. The Lord also counseled the leaders of the Church not to go into debt to build the temple.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 115:17–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord wanted the Saints to do under Joseph Smith’s direction in Far West and in the neighboring regions.
What did the Lord want the Saints to do in Far West? What were they to do under Joseph Smith’s direction in the regions surrounding Far West?
According to verse 19, what qualifies the President of the Church today to direct the Lord’s work on the earth? (Students should identify the following doctrine: The President of the Church holds the keys to direct the Lord’s work upon the earth. You may want to suggest that students mark the words that teach this doctrine in verse 19.)
Refer students to the questions on the board, and ask them to explain how they would answer them based on what they have learned in Doctrine and Covenants 115.
Explain that Joseph Smith followed the Lord’s counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 115:18 and explored the areas surrounding Far West. Invite a student to read the section introduction for Doctrine and Covenants 116 aloud, and ask students to look for the name of the location Joseph explored.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 116:1 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord revealed about Spring Hill, Missouri. You may want to instruct students to turn to the map and picture of Adam-ondi-Ahman in the back of their scriptures (see Church History Maps, Map 5, “The Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa Area of the USA” and Church History Photographs, Photo 10, “Adam-ondi-Ahman”).
Explain that this revelation identifies the location of the future fulfillment of a prophecy made anciently by the prophet Daniel (see Daniel 7:9–10, 13–14). That prophecy describes a latter-day event in which the Savior and Adam will visit the earth and preside over a meeting prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to all the world (see D&C 27:5–14). Consider concluding the lesson by inviting students to sing the hymn “Adam-ondi-Ahman” (Hymns, no. 49).