“Unit 10: Day 2, Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–29,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 10: Day 2,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
On February 9, 1831, shortly after arriving in Kirtland, Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation that now comprises Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–72. He received further instruction on February 23 (see D&C 42:73–93). Taken together, these revelations are known as “the law of the Church” (see D&C 42 section introduction). Doctrine and Covenants 42 is divided into two lessons. This lesson covers verses 1–29, which provide instruction on teaching the gospel and set forth general laws of conduct for members of the Church.
Circle the words below that you think apply to God’s laws and commandments:
Why do we sometimes view God’s laws and commandments in a negative way? Why is it important to understand that each of His laws and commandments is a gift or a blessing? How does obedience to God’s laws and commandments free us from the consequences of sin?
As you study today’s lesson, look for how the early Saints felt about receiving God’s laws and ponder your own attitude toward the commandments.
The Lord commanded the Saints in New York to go to Ohio and promised that He would give them His law after they arrived there (see D&C 38:32). Through great sacrifice, they left their homes and possessions and obeyed the command to gather to Ohio. 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. Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–3, looking for why the elders of the Church had assembled.
These elders had assembled, as they had been commanded, so that the Lord could give them His law. The Lord’s first instruction to them was to go forth as missionaries, two by two, to spread the gospel and build up the Church in every region to which they were called until all the people are gathered as one (see D&C 42:4–10).
Imagine that you are sitting in the chapel waiting for sacrament meeting to begin. None of the members of the bishopric or branch presidency are present. 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. What would be your reaction in this situation? Why?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:11, and identify what is needed before someone can preach the gospel or build up the Church as an official representative of the Church. This instruction regarding ordination applies not only to missionaries but also to any who are set apart to teach and lead in the Church. You may want to mark the words or phrases in this verse that teach the following principle: 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.
Think about how the practice of publically announcing and sustaining Church leaders and members in their callings fulfills the Lord’s directive that their authority “is known to the church” (D&C 42:11; see D&C 28:13). How does this provide order to the Church and keep us safe from deception?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–13, and mark the responsibilities given to people who teach and lead in the Church.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
- Notice the phrase “observe the covenants and church articles to do them” in Doctrine and Covenants 42:13. In your scripture study journal, write about why it is important for teachers and leaders to live what they teach. How has your life or the life of someone you know been blessed when a teacher or leader has lived by the doctrines and principles he or she has taught?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:14, and identify what those who teach should do to obtain the Spirit’s direction. Then complete the following principle: If we , we can receive the Spirit to help us teach others. (You may want to mark the words in that verse that teach the principle or write the principle in the margin of your scriptures.)
Another principle taught in Doctrine and Covenants 42:14 is if we do not have the Spirit, we will not teach.
To help you understand why it is important to have the Spirit as you learn and teach the gospel, read Doctrine and Covenants 42:16–17, and identify what the Holy Ghost knows and does. The term Comforter used in these verses is one of the names of the Holy Ghost. In the spaces provided, complete the following doctrinal teaching from verse 17: The Holy Ghost knows and bears record of .
Based on this truth, how can the Holy Ghost help you as you teach?
Because the Holy Ghost knows all things, He knows what all of us have experienced and need in our lives. Those who teach, testify of, or explain the truths of the gospel through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost can be guided to help others receive what the Lord knows they need.
- In your scripture study journal, describe a time when you felt the Holy Ghost’s influence as you were teaching, sharing, explaining, or testifying of the gospel. Also write about an experience when you felt the Holy Ghost bear testimony to you of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. If you are not sure if you have had these types of experiences, ask a family member or friend about experiences when he or she has felt the influence of the Holy Ghost and write about what you learn from that person’s account.
After the Lord gave instructions about teaching in the Church, He revealed laws and commandments that apply to all members of the Church. Read Doctrine and Covenants 42:18–29, and identify the commandments taught in those verses. You may want to mark what you find.
In Doctrine and Covenants 42:20–28, to be “cast out” means to be excommunicated, or to lose one’s membership in the Church. While these verses teach that excommunication is for those who will not repent, the consequences of excommunication for certain serious sins may be part of the repentance process for some humble, repentant people who are seeking forgiveness of their sins. Disciplinary action in the Church is to protect the Church and to help those who sin repent and receive the blessings of the Savior’s Atonement.
- To deepen your understanding of some of the principles taught in Doctrine and Covenants 42:18–29, answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think people today are tempted to steal? What do you think might help a person who often is tempted to steal?
One form of lying is cheating. Why do you think lying and cheating are serious sins?
Thinking of experiences you have had, why is speaking evil of others wrong and harmful?
Review Doctrine and Covenants 42:22–23, and mark the words that teach this principle: If we lust after another person, then we deny the faith and lose the Spirit.
Lust is not love. Those who lust after others are selfishly concerned with their own gratification. They view others as objects and lack self-control. Lust distorts and changes the way you see others. It causes you to lose the guidance of the Spirit and can damage your ability to have a normal relationship with others, especially your future spouse. It limits your ability to feel true love. Lusting shows a lack of faith in God and goes against the way He expects us to view others.
One tool of lust prevalent in our day is pornography. Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles warned:
“Pornography impairs one’s ability to enjoy a normal emotional, romantic, and spiritual relationship with a person of the opposite sex. …
“Pornography is also addictive. It impairs decision-making capacities and it ‘hooks’ its users, drawing them back obsessively for more and more. …
“Do all that you can to avoid pornography. If you ever find yourself in its presence—which can happen to anyone in the world in which we live—follow the example of Joseph of Egypt. When temptation caught him in her grip, he left temptation and ‘got him out’ (Genesis 39:12).
“Don’t accommodate any degree of temptation. Prevent sin and avoid having to deal with its inevitable destruction. So turn it off! Look away! Avoid it at all costs. Direct your thoughts in wholesome paths. …
“… Do not patronize pornography. Do not use your purchasing power to support moral degradation. And young women, please understand that if you dress immodestly, you are magnifying this problem by becoming pornography to some of the men who see you” (“Pornography,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2005, 89–90).
- In your scripture study journal, write a paragraph describing what you can do to strengthen yourself against the temptation to lust. Include in your paragraph reasons why you think this commandment is important. (You may want to study the topic “Chastity” in True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference  for additional ideas.)
To conclude this lesson, read Doctrine and Covenants 42:29 and identify the principle taught in this verse.
- In your scripture study journal, write how you think keeping God’s laws and commandments shows your love for Him. How has keeping the commandments brought you closer to God?
During the next week, demonstrate more love for God by striving to be more obedient to one of His laws or commandments.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–29 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: