“Unit 12: Day 3, Doctrine and Covenants 51–52,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 12: Day 3,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
As some of the Saints migrating from the eastern states began to arrive in Ohio in May 1831, the Lord revealed His will to Bishop Edward Partridge through the Prophet Joseph Smith. In that revelation, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 51, the Saints arriving from Colesville, New York, were directed to go to Thompson, Ohio, where they would live the law of consecration. Consecration and stewardship are the principles and law upon which a Zion society is based. The United Firm (later called the United Order) was the organization used to administer that law then. At the close of the fourth conference of the Church, held June 3–6, 1831, in Kirtland, Ohio, the Lord commanded Joseph Smith and other elders to travel in pairs to Missouri, preaching along the way. In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 52, the Lord called each companionship and gave a pattern to help them avoid deception.
What is the most unified group you have been a part of? How do you know if a group of people is unified? What types of practices or events help a group become unified?
As the Saints arrived in Ohio, the Lord revealed to them the law of consecration (see Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–42). Under this law, men and women voluntarily dedicate their time, talents, and earthly wealth to the establishment and building up of God’s kingdom. Read the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 51, looking for what Bishop Edward Partridge was responsible to do in connection with this law.
Doctrine and Covenants 51:1–8 contains instruction from the Lord to Bishop Partridge concerning the incoming Saints. The Lord told Bishop Partridge to “appoint unto this people their portions” of land and substance “according to [their] circumstances and [their] wants and needs” (D&C 50:3). (Note that one definition of the word want is to lack something. The Lord’s command to act “according to the wants of the people” was a command to help people obtain the necessities they did not have.) Bishop Partridge was to give full ownership of the properties to the families and ensure that everyone had enough food and clothing.
The Lord explained how the Saints should act while living the law of consecration. Read Doctrine and Covenants 51:9, looking for the Lord’s instructions to the Saints.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
As you read Doctrine and Covenants 51:10–20, you will see that the Lord instructed Bishop Partridge to establish a storehouse where the Saints could keep surplus goods. The Lord declared that living the law of consecration was a privilege. He explained that although the Saints would be living on their land for only a short period of time, they should plan to be faithful, wise, and just stewards of what they had been given.
In Doctrine and Covenants 52:1–13, 22–34 the Lord instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith and other elders to travel two by two to Missouri and to preach along the way. The Lord had previously revealed that the Saints would establish a united community called Zion (see D&C 28:9), but He had not revealed its location. In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 52, He promised them that if Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were faithful to His instructions, He would reveal to them the location of “the land of [the Saints’] inheritance” (D&C 52:5).
In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 50, the Lord warned some elders of the Church about false spirits and gave instructions that would help the Saints edify one another as they taught and learned gospel truths.
As you study Doctrine and Covenants 52:14–21, look for further instructions from the Lord to help strengthen Church members, particularly those whom He had called to preach the gospel as they traveled to Missouri. Read Doctrine and Covenants 52:14, and identify the phrase the Lord used to describe what He was about to give these missionaries.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What do you think is the purpose of a pattern?
What reason did the Lord give for providing the pattern recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 52:14–21?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 52:15–19, looking for actions and attributes that the Lord said would help His people avoid being deceived by Satan. As you seek to understand the Lord’s instruction in these verses, consider the following explanations:
A person “whose spirit is contrite” (D&C 52:15) has a repentant attitude.
The command to “obey mine ordinances” (D&C 52:15) refers to the need to receive priesthood ordinances, such as baptism, and to keep the associated covenants.
A person “whose language is meek and edifieth” (D&C 52:16) is someone whose speech is humble and lifts or builds others.
A person who “trembleth under [the Lord’s] power” (D&C 52:17) is a person who feels reverence for the power of God.
To “bring forth fruits” (D&C 52:17) is to produce something good (such as “praise and wisdom”) by following the revelations God has given.
The following principle summarizes insights learned from this revelation: In order to avoid being deceived by Satan, a person must obey the Lord’s ordinances and live according to the revelations He has given.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 52:36, looking for additional instruction the Lord gave. What did the Lord instruct the elders of the Church to declare?
- In your scripture study journal, write about a leader or teacher you know who lives according to the pattern the Lord outlined in Doctrine and Covenants 52:14–19, 36. In what ways have you benefited from this person’s teachings and example?
Think about members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and consider how they demonstrate the Lord’s pattern for not being deceived by Satan.
While the Lord called many of the early priesthood holders to preach on their way to Missouri or elsewhere, He commanded other elders to stay in Ohio. Read Doctrine and Covenants 52:39–40, looking for the instructions the Lord gave to the elders who would remain in Ohio. (As you read, it might be helpful to know that the word residue refers to those who remained.) Consider marking what you find.
Think about the following questions: What do you think it means to “remember in all things the poor and the needy” (D&C 52:40)? Why is just thinking about someone in need not enough to fulfill this commandment from the Lord?
In Doctrine and Covenants 52:40, what did the Lord say about people who refuse to help those in need?
Based on this verse, complete the following principle: Disciples of Jesus Christ watch over and care for .
- Think about those you know whom you would consider to be disciples of Jesus Christ. In your scripture study journal, write about how these people watch over and care for those in need.
Think about times when you have had opportunities to care for the poor, needy, sick, and afflicted. Consider setting a specific goal to meet someone’s needs and be a better disciple of Jesus Christ.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 51–52 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: