“Unit 14: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 60–62,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 14: Day 1,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
On August 8, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith and 10 elders prepared to leave Independence, Missouri, and return to Ohio. The Lord instructed the elders to preach the gospel as they traveled—instruction that is now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 60. On the third day of their journey, the company experienced danger on the Missouri River. The next two days, August 12 and 13, the Prophet Joseph Smith received two revelations from the Lord. Those revelations are now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 61 and 62. They include words of instruction, warning, comfort, and encouragement.
Think about a time when you hesitated to tell others about your beliefs or were reluctant to share your testimony of the gospel.
The Lord rebuked some of the elders who had traveled to Independence, Missouri. Read Doctrine and Covenants 60:1–2 to learn why the Lord was displeased with some of these elders. You may want to mark what you learn.
The elders described in verses 1–2 had traveled from Ohio to Independence, Missouri, to participate in the dedication of the land and the temple site. The Lord had commanded them to preach the gospel to others as they traveled to Missouri (see D&C 52:9–10). However, some of the elders had not obeyed this commandment. The Lord said, “They will not open their mouths, but they hide the talent which I have given unto them” (D&C 60:2). In other words, they had not shared their testimonies of the gospel.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 60:2, why had some of the elders not shared their testimonies with others?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 60:3 to find out what can happen if we do not share our testimonies.
You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures: We can lose our testimonies if we do not share them. Sharing testimonies does not refer only to formal testimonies spoken in Church meetings. Some Church members who never or rarely speak in Church meetings share their testimonies through the type of lives they live. Some testify of the gospel through enduring health trials or other hardships. Others bear testimony informally to family members or friends through expressions of hope and faith.
President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about the importance of sharing our testimonies:
“The Spirit and testimony of Christ will come to you for the most part when, and remain with you only if, you share it. In that process is the very essence of the gospel.
“Is not this a perfect demonstration of Christianity? You cannot find it, nor keep it, nor enlarge it unless and until you are willing to share it. It is by giving it away freely that it becomes yours” (“The Candle of the Lord,” Ensign, Jan. 1983, 55).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you felt your testimony grow because you shared it?
When might you have an opportunity in the next week or so to share your testimony?
In the rest of Doctrine and Covenants 60, you will read that the Lord commanded these elders to proclaim the gospel as they traveled back to Ohio. As you study, you might underline words and phrases that relate to bearing testimony, such as “declare my word” or “preach.”
The Prophet Joseph Smith and 10 elders found that they were in danger as they traveled by canoe on the powerful currents of the Missouri River. As you read the following account, think about how you might have felt if you had been there.
Joseph Smith recalled that on the third day of the journey, “many of the dangers so common upon the western waters, manifested themselves; and after we had encamped upon the bank of the river, … Brother [William W.] Phelps, in open vision by daylight, saw the destroyer in his most horrible power, ride upon the face of the waters; others heard the noise, but saw not the vision” (in History of the Church, 1:203). Prior to this vision, “some disagreements and ill feeling had developed among the brethren” (B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church, 1:262–63). That evening, the brethren discussed their difficulties, and most of them were able to forgive one another. The following morning, Joseph prayed and received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 61.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 61:2, 20, 36–37, and mark phrases that might have brought comfort to these elders.
In addition to forgiving these elders of their sins, the Lord taught that “many destructions” would occur on the waters in the last days (see D&C 61:5, 14–19). The Lord also spoke of His power. Read Doctrine and Covenants 61:1, 6, 10, looking for what the Lord taught about His power.
Because of William W. Phelps’s vision of the destroyer upon the waters, some have assumed that Satan has power over the waters. However, Doctrine and Covenants 61:1 affirms that the Lord has all power. This would include power over the waters. Verses 6 and 10 affirm the Lord’s ability to preserve us. You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures: The Lord has all power, and He is able to preserve us.
The rest of Doctrine and Covenants 61 contains further instructions from the Lord to these elders to guide their return to Ohio.
In the following chart, place an “X” next to the questions that you think might matter most to the Lord.
Should I go to Church on Sunday?
Should I wear a black skirt or a green skirt to Church? Should I wear a red tie or a blue tie?
Should I serve a mission? If so, when?
If my mom offers to fix my favorite meal, what should I choose?
Depending on the circumstances, many of the decisions we make may be important to the Lord, while others may not be. In the revelations recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 60–62, the Lord helped the elders of His Church understand that some of the decisions they needed to make mattered more to Him than others. As you continue to study these revelations, you can gain insights to guide you in making decisions.
To understand the setting of Doctrine and Covenants 62, read the section introduction.
The elders mentioned in the section introduction had traveled more slowly to Independence, Missouri, than some of the others because of their diligent efforts to preach the gospel. As a result, they had missed the conference in which the land and the temple site were dedicated.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 62:1–3, looking for some of the blessings that come to those who preach the gospel and share their testimonies.
Study the scripture references listed in the left column of the following chart. In the appropriate columns, write down things that mattered to the Lord and things that did not matter to Him.
What mattered to the Lord?
What did not matter to Him?
- In your scripture study journal, answer the following question about the scriptures you studied in the chart: What differences do you notice between the things that mattered to the Lord and the things that did not matter?
In the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, underline words or phrases that help you understand what the Lord was teaching the elders when He said that some things mattered to Him while other things did not matter:
“Clearly, the Savior was not saying to these missionaries that He did not care about what they were doing. Rather, He was emphasizing the importance of putting first things first and focusing upon the right things. … The essential thing was the work they had been called to perform; how they got there was important but was not essential” (“A Reservoir of Living Water,” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Feb. 4, 2007], 4; LDS.org).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How can the pattern of what matters to the Lord and what doesn’t matter to Him guide you as you make decisions?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 62:8, and identify two things we can rely on when making decisions. Then complete the following principle by filling in the blanks: When we make decisions, we are to rely on and .
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
Why do you think it is important to rely on our judgment as well as the directions of the Spirit?
When have you made a decision based on your own judgment as well as direction from the Spirit? How were you blessed for doing so?
Consider how you can act on one or more of the principles you have learned in your study of Doctrine and Covenants 60–62.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 60–62 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: