Unit 20: Day 4, Doctrine and Covenants 97

    “Unit 20: Day 4, Doctrine and Covenants 97,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)

    “Unit 20: Day 4,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide

    Unit 20: Day 4

    Doctrine and Covenants 97


    The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 97 on August 2, 1833. In this revelation, the Lord provided instruction and encouragement for Parley P. Pratt, who presided over a school for priesthood brethren in Missouri, and for the brethren who attended that school. The Lord also emphasized His will that the Saints in Missouri build a temple. He promised that if they did so, and if their hearts were pure, His glory and presence would dwell there.

    Doctrine and Covenants 97:1–9

    The Lord teaches members of the school of elders in Missouri what they must do to be accepted of Him

    If you were to teach a friend how to be a good student, what attributes and behaviors would you encourage your friend to develop?

    historical marker

    A school for the elders

    In the winter of 1832–33, the Lord directed Church leaders to establish the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio. Under the direction of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Parley P. Pratt conducted a similar school in Independence, Missouri. This school was called a school for the elders. Members of the school for the elders wrote letters to Joseph Smith, who was in Ohio. In response, he sent them a letter containing the revelation that is now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 97. Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:1, and identify how the Lord described many of the brethren in Missouri.

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:2, and identify what the Lord promised these men if they continued to be faithful.

    youth in class

    From Doctrine and Covenants 97:1–2, we learn that if we humble ourselves and seek diligently to learn, we will obtain wisdom and truth. You may want to write this principle in your scriptures.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. Why is it important to you to obtain wisdom and truth?

      2. How do you think being humble and diligent will help you obtain wisdom and truth?

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:3–5 to learn how the Lord felt about Parley P. Pratt’s service and what the Lord promised Brother Pratt.

    Like Parley P. Pratt, you can know that the Lord is pleased with you as you continue to follow Him.

    1. journal icon
      Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:7, 9. In your scripture study journal, draw the trees described in these verses. (If you prefer not to draw, you could write two paragraphs describing the trees.)

    The two types of trees represent Church members, and the fruits represent the members’ works or actions. Remember that many of the Saints in Missouri were humble and faithful. However, others had become prideful and disobedient. Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:6–7, and ponder the messages you find in these verses.

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:8–9, and ponder the messages you find in these verses.

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      What did the Lord promise these brethren if they continued to follow Him? In your scripture study journal, write two or three sentences explaining how the description of the tree and its surroundings in verse 9 could encourage you to be more faithful.

    According to Doctrine and Covenants 97:8, what are some characteristics of a person who is accepted of the Lord? To answer this question, write words that complete this principle: To be accepted of the Lord we must .

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      Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What are some sacrifices you have made in order to “observe [your] covenants” (D&C 97:8)?

    Ponder your standing before the Lord. Think about how you can apply the principle in Doctrine and Covenants 97:8.

    Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–21

    The Lord emphasizes His will that the Saints in Zion build a temple

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:10–12, looking for the sacrifice the Lord required of the Saints in Zion (Missouri). In these verses the word tithing refers to offerings generally, not to 10 percent of a person’s annual increase, as understood in the law of tithing, which was revealed later (see D&C 119). More than one-tenth of the Saints’ resources would have been needed to build the temple, including their offerings of time and labor.

    Guayaquil Ecuador Temple

    Remember that the Lord had designated the lot for the temple in Zion two years before He gave this revelation (see D&C 57:1–3). In June 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith wrote to Church leaders in Missouri and instructed them to begin construction of the temple immediately (see History of the Church, 1:363). However, when the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 97 was given, on August 2, 1833, the Saints in Missouri had not begun the construction.

    Search Doctrine and Covenants 97:12–14, and identify reasons the Lord wanted the Saints in Missouri to build a temple.

    How has the temple been “a place of thanksgiving” (D&C 97:13) for you? How has it been “a place of instruction” (D&C 97:13)?

    As you study Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–20, look for promises the Lord gave the Saints if they would build a temple.

    Elder David B. Haight

    Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that the promise of seeing God in the temple (see verses 15–16) may include more than seeing Him with our natural eyes: “It is true that some have actually seen the Savior, but when one consults the dictionary, he learns that there are many other meanings of the word see, such as coming to know Him, discerning Him, recognizing Him and His work, perceiving His importance, or coming to understand Him” (“Temples and Work Therein,” Ensign, Nov. 1990, 61).

    According to Doctrine and Covenants 97:15–17, how can you qualify to experience the Lord’s glory and presence in the temple? Mark words or phrases in these verses that teach the principle that in the temple, God will manifest Himself to those who are pure in heart.

    1. journal icon
      Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:

      1. What do you think it means to be pure in heart?

      2. What can we do to purify our hearts so we can receive the blessings of the temple?

      3. How have you felt blessed as you have prepared yourself to go to the temple?

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:21, and identify how the Lord defined the word Zion. You may want to write or mark the phrase that teaches the following truth in your scriptures: Zion is the pure in heart.

    Doctrine and Covenants 97:22–28

    The Lord explains what we must do to escape His indignation and receive His blessings

    To understand the Lord’s message in Doctrine and Covenants 97:22–24, consider the following information: Whirlwinds occur all over the world. Strong whirlwinds can turn into violent tornadoes that damage everything in their path. Have you ever witnessed a whirlwind or tornado in person or seen video footage of one?

    Read Doctrine and Covenants 97:22–24, and identify what the Lord compared to a whirlwind.

    In verse 22, the word vengeance refers to the consequences of disobeying the Lord. In the space provided, write about how the Lord’s vengeance might be like a whirlwind:

    Search Doctrine and Covenants 97:25–28 to discover what we need to do to escape the Lord’s vengeance and receive His blessings. You may want to mark the word if wherever it occurs in these verses.

    Consider how the Lord’s message in verses 25–28 relates to the images of the two types of trees you studied earlier. What do verses 27–28 teach about repentance and forgiveness?

    From these verses we learn the principle that if we are obedient, we will escape the vengeance of the Lord and receive a multiplicity of His blessings.

    Consider what you have felt prompted to do as you have studied Doctrine and Covenants 97. Act on those promptings so you can receive the Lord’s blessings.

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      Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:

      I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 97 and completed this lesson on (date).

      Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: