“Unit 5: Day 4, Doctrine and Covenants 19:23–41,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 5: Day 4,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
In the introduction to the last lesson, you learned that in order to guarantee E. B. Grandin’s payment for printing the Book of Mormon, Martin Harris signed a mortgage agreement on his farm. In the second part of this revelation for Martin Harris, Doctrine and Covenants 19:23–41, the Lord exhorted Martin to impart of his property freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon. Martin eventually sold 151 acres of his farm to cover the printing costs.
When have you had to do something difficult that you knew was right but you were unsure or nervous about how it would turn out? (For example, you may have felt the need to stay away from some friends because they were a bad influence on you.) What helped you have the faith to do what you knew was right even though it was hard?
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some difficult things you have been asked to do or may sometime be asked to do because you are a member of the Church? Why were they hard or why would they be hard for you to do?
Would your feelings and response change depending on who asked you to do the difficult thing? Why or why not?
Read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 19, and mark who gave the commandment in this revelation to Martin Harris. If you were in Martin’s position, how might knowing that this commandment came from God help you?
Martin Harris was concerned about mortgaging part of his farm to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon. The Lord responded to Martin’s concern by revealing some things he needed to do and some things he needed to know. Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:23, and mark the Savior’s promise to Martin Harris. (Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 is a scripture mastery passage.) You may want to write the following principle in your scripture study journal: If we learn of Christ, listen to His words, and walk in the meekness of His Spirit, then we will have peace.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: When have you felt the peace promised in this principle as you have done such things as studying the scriptures, listening to talks in general conference and other Church meetings, and pondering the blessings of the gospel?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:24, looking for what Martin Harris learned about Jesus Christ. Ponder how learning this could help you feel peace when you are asked to do something difficult for the Lord.
- To help you memorize this scripture mastery passage, write the letters A–D in your scripture study journal. Then read Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 as many times as you can in 2 minutes. When the time is up, close your scriptures and, next to letters A–C, list the three things we must do. Then, next to the letter D, write what the Lord promised we will obtain if we do those three things.
After promising Martin Harris peace conditional upon learning of the Savior and listening to His words, the Lord gave him additional commandments and counsel. Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:26, looking for what the Lord commanded Martin Harris to do. (Martin did mortgage 151 acres of his farm, which made the printing of the Book of Mormon possible.)
Search Doctrine and Covenants 19:25–35, looking for the commandments and counsel the Lord gave Martin Harris. As you read, look for and consider marking the phrases “I command” and “thou shalt.”
The Lord cared for Martin Harris and gave him specific commandments for his individual circumstances. We do not have sufficient information to understand why Martin Harris was given certain commandments. However, the Lord did make clear what would happen if Martin were to disregard those commandments. Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:33, looking for what the Lord said would happen if Martin were to “slight these counsels.” In this context, the word slight means to disregard something because it is seen as insignificant or of little value. You might want to write this definition in your scriptures near the word slight.
- Think of some of the commandments and counsel you have received from the Lord through the words of apostles and prophets, priesthood blessings (including your patriarchal blessing if you have received one), and priesthood leaders. In your scripture study journal, write about why it is important to follow this guidance.
Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave the following counsel: “Keep all the commandments of God, knowing that they are given to bless His children and bring them joy. [You] will encounter people who pick which commandments they will keep and ignore others that they choose to break. I call this the cafeteria approach to obedience. This practice of picking and choosing will not work. It will lead to misery. To prepare to meet God, one keeps all of His commandments. It takes faith to obey them, and keeping His commandments will strengthen that faith” (“Face the Future with Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 34).
Consider whether you have a tendency to slight, or disregard, any of the commandments the Lord has given you and whether there is a particular commandment you could obey with greater dedication.
Just like Martin Harris, we all have to decide whether or not we will submit our will to the will of the Father, even when what He asks is difficult. President Thomas S. Monson shared the following account of a young man who had to decide whether he would submit his will to the will of the Father. Read the first part of this story and compare this young man’s experience with that of Martin Harris.
“Jose Garcia from Old Mexico [was] born in poverty but nurtured in faith, Jose prepared for a mission call. I was present the day his recommendation was received. There appeared the statement: ‘Brother Garcia will serve at great sacrifice to his family, for he is the means of much of the family support. He has but one possession—a treasured stamp collection—which he is willing to sell, if necessary, to help finance his mission.’
“President Kimball listened attentively as this statement was read to him, and then he responded: ‘Have him sell his stamp collection. Such sacrifice will be to him a blessing’” (“Profiles of Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1978, 56).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How would difficult decisions, like that Jose needed to make, be easier if we have already experienced the peace that results from obedience to the Lord’s commandments?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 19:36–41, looking for words or phrases that teach the following principle: If we do the will of the Lord, He will give us blessings that are of greater value than the treasures of the earth.
What blessings of greater value than earthly treasures do you think Jose would receive by serving a mission? Read the conclusion of the story, and look for an additional blessing that Jose would receive for applying this principle:
“Then, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, this loving prophet [President Spencer W. Kimball] said, ‘Each month at Church headquarters we receive thousands of letters from all parts of the world. See that we save these stamps and provide them to Jose at the conclusion of his mission. He will have, without cost, the finest stamp collection of any young man in Mexico’” (“Profiles of Faith,” 56).
Ponder how the doctrines you have learned from this lesson could help strengthen your willingness to submit your will to God.
Martin Harris obeyed the command to impart his property to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon. Because of Martin’s choice, millions of lives have been and will continue to be blessed. Ponder what you can do to better submit your will to the will of Heavenly Father.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 19:23–41 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: