“Unit 17: Day 2, Doctrine and Covenants 78–80,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 17: Day 2,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
On March 1, 1832, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the revelation now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 78. In this revelation the Lord directed the Prophet to organize a firm (later known as the United Firm) to manage the storehouses and publishing efforts of the Church. The Lord also described the blessings the Saints would receive if they obeyed the commandment to organize this firm. In an effort to protect this Church-operated business from enemies of the Church, some of the language of this revelation was changed when it was first published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. For example, the word firm was changed to order (see D&C 78:4).
Around the same time that the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to organize the United Firm, the Lord gave the revelations recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 79–80. In these revelations the Lord called Jared Carter, Stephen Burnett, and Eden Smith to serve as missionaries.
Money is an important part of the world in which we live, and it can be used for righteous or evil purposes. In the space below, list several ways money can be used for righteous purposes and several ways it can be used for evil purposes.
In May 1831, the Lord commanded that a storehouse be established to gather excess goods and money for the benefit of the poor (see D&C 51). The Church also needed funds to buy land and to finance the publication of the revelations the Prophet Joseph Smith had received. Three separate organizations existed to generate these funds: (1) the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio, (2) a store run by Sidney Gilbert in Missouri, and (3) the Literary Firm, which had been established to oversee the printing of Church publications. The Lord’s instructions in Doctrine and Covenants 78:3 led to combining these three organizations into one. The new organization would be called the United Firm and would consist of Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Edward Partridge, Sidney Gilbert, Oliver Cowdery, John Whitmer, William W. Phelps, and Martin Harris.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: According Doctrine and Covenants 78:4, what is the cause that the Lord wanted to advance through the United Firm?
As mentioned in these verses, heavenly things include blessings of an eternal nature, such as knowledge, testimony, and opportunities to receive the saving ordinances.
It may be helpful to know that being equal in earthly things does not imply that everyone will have exactly the same possessions, but rather that every family will have sufficient resources for their needs and wants, according to their individual circumstances.
- In your scripture study journal, write a few sentences explaining how you think being equal in earthly things allows us to be equal in obtaining heavenly things.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 78:7. As you read, look for an additional reason why the Lord commanded the Saints to form the United Firm and care for the poor. Then complete the following principle: Doing the things the Lord has commanded prepares us for .
How do you think obeying the commandment to organize the United Firm would help prepare the Saints to inherit a place in the celestial kingdom?
- In your scripture study journal, list as many of the Lord’s commandments as you can in one minute. Then choose one of the commandments you listed and write a few sentences that explain how obeying that commandment can help prepare you for a place in the celestial kingdom.
As you read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, consider why it is important to understand the Lord’s purpose for giving us commandments: “The final judgment is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts—what we have done. It is an acknowledgment of the final effect of our acts and thoughts—what we have become. It is not enough for anyone just to go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become” (“The Challenge to Become,” Ensign, Nov. 2000, 32).
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How will your understanding of the Lord’s purpose for giving us commandments help you obey Him with greater faithfulness?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 78:8–9, looking for the names of those whom the Lord appointed to organize the United Firm.
Notice in verse 9 that the Lord commanded these men to sit in council with the Saints in Zion, meaning the Church members in Independence, Missouri. In order to obey this commandment, Joseph Smith, Newel K. Whitney, and Sidney Rigdon would have to travel almost 1,000 miles (each way) between Hiram, Ohio, and Independence, Missouri. In April 1832, less than one month after this revelation was received, the three men obeyed the commandment and traveled to Missouri.
What does their response teach you about faith in and obedience to the Lord’s commandments?
Shortly after their arrival in Missouri, the three held a council in which they organized the United Firm in accordance with the direction in the revelation. Profits from the United Firm’s business operations were placed into the storehouse to care for the poor and to fund other financial needs of the Church.
In Doctrine and Covenants 78:10–16, the Lord emphasized the importance of the United Firm. He explained that if the Saints followed His instructions, they would have His assistance in accomplishing His commandments and the Church would be able to stand independent from all other earthly entities.
Think of some gifts or blessings you received when you were younger that you appreciate even more now that you are older. Why do you appreciate these gifts or blessings more now? Think about how this can relate to the blessings that our Heavenly Father has prepared for us.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 78:17–18, and identify how the Saints were like little children. You might want to consider substituting your name in place of the pronouns ye, you, and yours to help personalize these verses to you.)
Ponder how knowing that the Lord “will lead [us] along” (D&C 78:18) can help us be of good cheer, even when we are not able to understand or bear all things.
Complete the following principle based on what you learned from verse 19: If we , the Lord will multiply our blessings.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How can you more fully receive all things with thankfulness?
How can choosing to receive all things with thankfulness help you to be of good cheer?
- In your scripture study journal, write a two-minute talk based on Doctrine and Covenants 78:19. In your talk, be sure to include the following: (1) background information that relates to this passage, (2) the principle it teaches, and (3) a personal experience that illustrates the truth that this passage teaches. Once your talk is completed, share it with a family member or friend. Your home-study teacher may also invite you to share your talk with your class.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 78:20–22, looking for the counsel the Lord gave.
In the revelations recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 79 and 80, the Lord called three men to serve as missionaries. Read each section, looking for principles that apply to missionary work. Ponder how you can apply the principles you found to more effectively share the gospel with someone you know.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 78–80 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: