“Unit 20: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 90–92,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 20: Day 1,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
On March 8, 1833, the Lord gave the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 90, which contains instructions to the Presidency of the High Priesthood. “This revelation is a continuing step in the establishment of the First Presidency” (D&C 90 section introduction). The following day, the Prophet Joseph Smith inquired whether he should translate the Apocrypha as part of his inspired revisions to the Bible. The Lord responded to his inquiry through the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 91 and told Joseph it was not needful for him to translate it. Just a few days later, on March 15, 1833, the Prophet received a revelation (D&C 92) that instructed Frederick G. Williams, one of the counselors to the Prophet, on his duties in the United Firm, which was established to oversee the welfare and business affairs of the Church.
What is the most valuable gift you have ever received? Why is it valuable?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:1–3, looking for the valuable things the Prophet Joseph Smith was given. According to these verses, what did the Prophet hold?
The phrase “keys of the kingdom” refers to the right of presidency, or the authority God gives man to preside over, govern, and direct His kingdom on the earth.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:4–5, and identify the warning the Lord gave the Saints. As used in these verses, the term oracles refers to revelations from God through His prophets.
You may want to write the following principle in the margin of your scriptures next to verse 5: If we treat lightly the revelations God gives through His prophets, we will stumble and fall.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What do you think it means to treat the revelations God gives through His prophets “as a light thing” (D&C 90:5)?
What are some examples of revelations people might be tempted to treat lightly?
Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:6, looking for who else the Lord said would hold the keys of the kingdom. You may want to mark words or phrases in this verse that teach the truth that the First Presidency holds the keys of the kingdom. (Members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles would also be given the keys of the kingdom when that quorum was organized in 1835. Their use of these keys would be under the direction of the President of the Church.)
On March 18, 1833, 10 days after the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 90 was given, Joseph Smith set apart Sidney Rigdon and Frederick G. Williams as counselors in the Presidency of the High Priesthood, which later became known as the First Presidency of the Church.
Doctrine and Covenants 90:7–10 contains instruction to the First Presidency to prepare members of the School of the Prophets to preach the gospel throughout the world. Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:11, and consider how this verse is being fulfilled today.
Doctrine and Covenants 90:12–18 describes some of the responsibilities of the First Presidency, which include setting in order all the affairs of the Church. Because the First Presidency holds the keys of the kingdom, you will be blessed as you follow their teachings.
What do you do when circumstances in your life become very difficult?
When the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 90, he and other Church leaders were in a difficult situation because of the Church’s lack of financial resources. Doctrine and Covenants 90:19–37 contains the Lord’s instruction to early Church leaders on how to handle the difficult circumstances they faced.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 90:24, and identify counsel that could comfort anyone who might be going through a difficult situation.
Complete the following principle based on the Lord’s promise in verse 24: If we will diligently, always, be , and keep our , all things will work together for our good.
Searching diligently includes more than reading the scriptures. President Harold B. Lee said: “Diligence means to be industrious, the opposite of being lazy or careless or indifferent. In other words, they must search to know the doctrines of the Church” (Stand Ye in Holy Places: Selected Sermons and Writings of President Harold B. Lee , 198).
What do you think it means that “all things will work together for your good” (D&C 90:24)?
This does not mean that nothing bad will happen to us. Rather, it means that God will strengthen us during difficult times if we are faithful and that our challenges can bring us needed experiences and blessings.
- In your scripture study journal, write about an experience you have had or witnessed in the life of someone else that illustrates the truthfulness of this principle.
One Church member who demonstrated great faithfulness during difficult times was Vienna Jaques. Study Doctrine and Covenants 90:28–31, and identify the specific instructions the Lord gave her. Study the following information about Sister Jaques, looking for ways she was faithful to the Lord’s instructions. As you study this, you may want to underline some of the difficult circumstances Vienna experienced (try to find at least three).
Vienna Jaques is an example of the faithfulness of many early Latter-day Saints. She was born June 10, 1787. After she met the missionaries in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, she traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1831. She stayed there six weeks and was baptized. Upon returning to Boston, Vienna helped bring several members of her family into the Church. She then “settled up her business and went back to Kirtland to unite her interests forever with the Church” (“Home Affairs,” Woman’s Exponent, July 1, 1878, 21). In 1833, Vienna consecrated all of her possessions, including $1,400, to the Church during a time when the money was desperately needed. She then traveled to Missouri to receive her inheritance in Zion. However, soon after she arrived she suffered persecution with the Saints. After being driven from her home in Missouri, she attended to the sick in Zion’s Camp. Heber C. Kimball wrote, “I received great kindness … from Sister Vienna Jaques, who administered to my wants and also to my brethren—may the Lord reward [her] for [her] kindness” (“Extracts from H. C. Kimball’s Journal,” Times and Seasons, Mar. 15, 1845, 839–40).
While in Missouri, Vienna Jaques married Daniel Shearer. In 1847, at the age of 60, she traveled west to Utah, driving her own wagon across the plains. She settled in Salt Lake City and for the rest of her life worked hard to support herself and diligently study the scriptures. Sister Jaques died on February 7, 1884, at the age of 96. Her obituary stated: “She was true to her covenants and esteemed the restoration of the Gospel as a priceless treasure” (“In Memoriam,” Woman’s Exponent, Mar. 1, 1884, 152; see also Susan Easton Black, “Happiness in Womanhood,” Ensign, Mar. 2002, 12, 14).
- In your scripture study journal, write what you learned about hardship and faithfulness from Vienna Jaques’s example.
How can you know if something you read on the Internet or in a newspaper or magazine is true? The revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 91 instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith how to discern if something he was reading was true. Read the section introduction, looking for what Joseph Smith was doing at the time he received this revelation.
The Apocrypha is a collection of sacred books of the Jewish people. They were not originally included in the Hebrew Bible, but they were included in the Greek translation of the Bible at the time of Christ. Some of the books bridge the time period between the Old Testament and the New Testament. When early Christians compiled the books of the Bible centuries later, they included the books of the Apocrypha, but there were questions about whether they belonged as part of the scriptures. The copy of the Bible Joseph Smith was using while working on his inspired translation contained the Apocrypha. However, because the validity of the Apocrypha was in question, Joseph asked the Lord if his translation of the Bible should include these books.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 91:1–3, looking for what the Prophet Joseph Smith learned about the Apocrypha. Interpolations are additions to a manuscript that sometimes alter the meaning and corrupt the original text.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 91:4–6, and identify how those who study it can know what was true in the Apocrypha.
From these verses we can learn the following truth: The Holy Ghost can help us know if the things we read are true.
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency taught:
“Never in the history of the world have we had easier access to more information—some of it true, some of it false, and much of it partially true.
“Consequently, never in the history of the world has it been more important to learn how to correctly discern between truth and error. …
“The Holy Ghost is a revelator. He is the Comforter, who teaches us ‘the truth of all things.’ …
“The Witness of truth from the Holy Ghost is available to all, everywhere, all around the globe. All who seek to know the truth, who study it out in their minds, and who ‘ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, [will know] the truth … by the power of the Holy Ghost.’ [Moroni 10:4.]” (“What Is Truth?” [Church Educational System devotional address, Jan. 13, 2013], 3, 6; speeches.byu.edu).
- In your scripture study journal, write about an experience when you felt the Holy Ghost confirm that something you read was true.
The revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 92 instructed Church leaders who were part of the United Firm (which was also called the United Order) to accept Frederick G. Williams into the firm. Read Doctrine and Covenants 92:1–2, and identify how the Lord wanted Brother Williams to act as a member of the firm.
- “A lively member” of a group is one who is active and committed. Select two or more of the following situations, and in your scripture study journal, write what “a lively member” of the Church might do in those situations.
A young man has been assigned to be a home teacher.
A youth has been called as president of a Young Women class or priesthood quorum.
A youth is a student in a Sunday School class.
A youth is a neighbor of an elderly couple.
Ponder what you can do to be a lively member of the Church today.
In Doctrine and Covenants 92:2, the Lord also taught Frederick G. Williams what he must do to “be blessed forever.” You may want to mark this instruction in your scriptures.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 90–92 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: