“Unit 24: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 109,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 24: Day 1,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
The Saints worked for nearly three years to complete the Kirtland Temple. When they were finished, the Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the prayer that was to be offered at the temple’s dedication. The Prophet read the prayer as part of the dedicatory services on March 27, 1836. He asked the Lord to accept the temple and to fulfill the promises He had made concerning it, including protection and blessings for those who would worship there. He prayed for the Saints who had been oppressed in Jackson County, Missouri, and he prayed for their oppressors as well. He also prayed that people throughout the world, especially scattered Israel, would be converted to the fulness of the gospel.
Do you know where each of these temples is located? Match the picture of each temple with its location. (Answers are found at the end of this lesson.)
- Write the following question in your scripture study journal: Why do Latter-day Saints build temples? Write a few answers to this question. Leave room to add answers later in the lesson.
You can find answers to the question by studying Doctrine and Covenants 109, which contains the prayer that the Prophet Joseph Smith offered at the dedication of the temple in Kirtland, Ohio.
After almost three years of labor and sacrifice to build the Kirtland Temple, the Saints saw the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise that if they would keep His commandments, they would “have power to build it” (D&C 95:11). On March 27, 1836, Church members attended the dedicatory service for the temple, and the Prophet Joseph Smith offered the dedicatory prayer. Almost 1,000 people attended the dedicatory service. Many more wanted to attend, but they could not fit in the building. The Prophet arranged for them to participate in a meeting in another building, and the dedicatory service was repeated for them a few days later.
Have you ever participated in a temple dedicatory service? Imagine participating in the dedicatory service for the Kirtland Temple: This is the first temple to be built since ancient times. You have been looking forward to this day for a long time. There is an opening song by a choir. Next, Sidney Rigdon, a counselor in the First Presidency, delivers a sermon. After a brief break you have the opportunity to sustain Church leaders. Then the Prophet Joseph Smith stands and reads the dedicatory prayer.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 109:1–4, looking for the first reason the Saints built the temple. Note that today, as in the early days of the Church, the Lord commands us to build temples.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 109:5, looking for phrases that describe the Saints’ sacrifices to build the temple. You may want to mark what you find.
Between June 1833 and March 1836, Church members sacrificed time, money, and possessions to help build a house for the Lord. The men volunteered their labor on the construction. The women made clothing, provided lodging, and when many of the men were away with Zion’s Camp to help with the troubles in Missouri, some women continued the work on the temple. Some Latter-day Saints, like John Tanner and Vienna Jacques, gave much of their wealth for the building of the temple.
As the construction progressed, the Saints realized they would need an alternative to brick for the exterior of the temple. It was suggested that a stonemason named Artemus Millet had the necessary skills to complete the exterior using a rubble-stone construction process. But Artemus lived in Canada and was not a member of the Church. Joseph Smith called Brigham Young to go to Canada to teach and baptize Artemus and bring him to Kirtland to help build the temple. Then the Prophet said, “And tell him to bring a thousand dollars with him” (quoted in M. Russell Ballard, “What Came from Kirtland” [Brigham Young University devotional, Nov. 6, 1994], 8–9; speeches.byu.edu). Brigham was obedient. Artemus chose to be baptized, and at great sacrifice he left his home in Canada to help build the temple.
The total cost of the temple was approximately $60,000—an incredible sum for that time, especially considering the poverty of the Saints.
- What impresses you about the sacrifices the Saints made to build the temple? Read Doctrine and Covenants 109:5 again, looking for a truth about the temple that explains why the Saints were willing to sacrifice so much to build it. Write that truth in your scripture study journal.
Think about what it means that the Lord will “manifest himself to his people” (D&C 109:5). The word manifest means to reveal or make known. To some people, this has included a physical appearance. To all who attend the temple worthily, He reveals Himself through the influence of the Holy Ghost and the doctrines that are taught there that help us know Him. The Lord can manifest Himself to His people outside of the temple also, but temples are places where those who are worthy can always feel His influence.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 109:12–13, looking for phrases that help you understand how the Lord can manifest Himself to you in the temple. Consider marking the phrases that are most meaningful to you.
- Write in your scripture study journal about times when you have felt close to the Lord in the temple. If you have not visited a temple, write about what you hope to feel when you have an opportunity to visit a temple.
Ponder how feeling close to the Lord in the temple can influence your life when you are outside the temple. Then study Doctrine and Covenants 109:14–23, looking for additional blessings promised to those who worship in the temple. You may want to mark what you find.
One truth we can learn from Doctrine and Covenants 109:22–23 is that receiving temple blessings arms us with power and with the Lord’s help as we serve Him. In your scripture study journal, you may want to add this to your list of reasons why we build temples.
What do you think it means to be “armed with [God’s] power” (D&C 109:22)? Consider the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and identify the kind of power that can come to you as you worship in the temple: “In the house of the Lord, faithful Church members can be endowed ‘with power from on high,’ [D&C 95:8] power that will enable us to resist temptation, honor covenants, obey the Lord’s commandments, and bear fervent, fearless testimony of the gospel to family, friends, and neighbors” (“Cultivating Divine Attributes,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 27).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
How would this kind of power be a blessing to you and your family?
How would it be a blessing for missionaries?
Look at the accompanying pictures of a trowel and a sword. A trowel is a tool used to apply mortar between bricks or stones. How might each of these tools be used in building a temple?
During the construction of the Kirtland Temple, mobs threatened to destroy the temple walls. President Brigham Young told of “laborers on the walls, holding the sword in one hand to protect themselves from the mob, while they placed the stone and moved the trowel with the other” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe , 415). At times, the men who worked on the temple during the day also had to guard it at night.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 109:24–28, looking for the kind of protection the Prophet Joseph Smith requested of the Lord.
In verse 24, notice the phrase “honorably hold a name and standing.” This refers to the need to be worthy to worship the Lord in the temple and to be true to the covenants we make there.
From what you read in Doctrine and Covenants 109:24–28, complete the following principle: If we are worthy and worship the Lord in the temple, then . (You will probably find many ways to complete this statement. For example, you might see that one blessing of worshipping in the temple is that “no weapon formed against [us] shall prosper” [D&C 109:25]. You may want to add this principle and others to your list of reasons why we build temples.)
In Doctrine and Covenants 109:29–34, we read how the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that those who spread lies about the Saints would be confounded and that Church members would be able to rise up and do the Lord’s work.
The Saints were looking forward to the endowment of power and glory that was promised to them as a result of building the Kirtland Temple. In Doctrine and Covenants 109:35–46, the Prophet Joseph Smith pled with the Lord to fill the temple with His glory and to provide His servants with the testimony and power they would need to proclaim the gospel.
On the evening of March 27, 1836, after the temple dedication, priesthood quorums met in the temple. Joseph Smith said that he “gave them instructions in relation to the spirit of prophecy, and called upon the congregation to speak. …
“Brother George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place” (in History of the Church, 2:428). The New Testament tells of a similar event among faithful Saints who gathered shortly after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. That event, which is often called the day of Pentecost, is recorded in Acts 2. You may want to cross-reference Doctrine and Covenants 109:36–37 with Acts 2:2–3.
In Doctrine and Covenants 109:47–67, we read that Joseph Smith prayed for the Saints who had been driven from their homes in Missouri and that he prayed for those who had oppressed them. He also prayed for the Lord to soften the hearts of the people of the earth so they would receive the servants who would go forth from the temple to preach the gospel.
Search Doctrine and Covenants 109:68–69, 71–73, 78–80, looking for additional requests the Prophet made in the dedicatory prayer.
- In your scripture study journal, list some of the requests the Prophet made in these verses. Then write what benefits you think could come from including such requests in your prayers.
If you have a Church hymnbook, turn to “The Spirit of God” (Hymns, no. 2). This hymn was sung at the Kirtland Temple dedication, immediately after the dedicatory prayer (see the note below the hymn). This hymn continues to be sung at temple dedications today. Listen to, read, or sing the hymn.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 109 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: