“Unit 27: Day 1, Doctrine and Covenants 124:1–83,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2017)
“Unit 27: Day 1,” Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Study Guide
During the winter of 1838–39, the Saints fled Missouri and settled in Illinois on the Mississippi River. There the Saints began to build up a city in the area of a small settlement called Commerce. After the persecutions and hardships they had experienced, the Saints now had a place where they could gather and build up a city in peace. They developed their community and renamed it Nauvoo. When the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 124 on January 19, 1841, the Saints had been in Nauvoo, Illinois, for nearly two years. In this revelation the Lord commanded the Saints to build a temple and explained the blessings that would be available to them if they would be diligent in building it.
What is something you have accomplished that required a significant amount of time, effort, or sacrifice on your part? Why was it worth the time, effort, or sacrifice it required?
The Lord began the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 124 by commanding that a proclamation to the rulers of the earth be written about the restoration of the gospel (see D&C 124:1–14). In fulfillment of this command, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles published a proclamation on April 6, 1845, which began:
“That the kingdom of God has come: as has been predicted by ancient prophets, and prayed for in all ages; even that kingdom which shall fill the whole earth, and shall stand forever” (in James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. [1965–75], 1:253).
One hundred thirty years later, President Ezra Taft Benson, then serving as President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, delivered a general conference address in which he reaffirmed the message of that proclamation (see “A Message to the World,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, 33–34).
In addition to commanding that a proclamation be written, the Lord gave a commandment to the Saints that would require great sacrifice on their part. Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:25–27, looking for what the Lord commanded the Saints in Nauvoo to do.
What did the Lord want the Saints to use to build the temple?
By the time the Saints relocated to Nauvoo, Illinois, many had lost almost all of their property and possessions. Ponder how obeying the commandment to build another temple might have required faith and sacrifice from the Saints.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:28, looking for why the Lord said the Saints needed to build a temple. Mark what you find in your scriptures.
President Joseph Fielding Smith taught the following about “the fulness of the priesthood”: “Every man who is faithful and will receive these ordinances and blessings obtains a fulness of the priesthood, and the Lord has said that ‘he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.’ [D&C 76:95; see also D&C 88:107.] … The Lord has made it possible for every man in this Church, through his obedience, to receive the fulness of the priesthood through the ordinances of the temple of the Lord. This cannot be received anywhere else” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 3:132–33).
All members of the Church—men and women—can receive the fulness of the blessings of the priesthood by receiving all of the ordinances of the temple. Through these ordinances we can gain access to all of the blessings Heavenly Father desires to give His children. The restoration of temple ordinances and covenants began in the Kirtland Temple, but it was not completed there. Building a temple in Nauvoo would allow the restoration of temple ordinances and covenants to continue (see D&C 124:28, 40–41).
- Read the first two paragraphs under the topic “Ordinances” in the Guide to the Scriptures (scriptures.lds.org) or True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference (, 109–10). Then answer the following question in your scripture study journal: What is an ordinance?
Some ordinances are essential to exaltation, and many of these saving ordinances can only be performed in temples. Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:29, looking for one of these essential temple ordinances that the Lord indicated needed to be restored.
On August 15, 1840, the Prophet Joseph Smith first taught that the Saints could perform saving ordinances like baptism on behalf of their deceased friends and family members who had not had the opportunity to receive the gospel (see Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 403; see also 1 Corinthians 15:29). After this announcement, many baptisms for the dead were performed in the Mississippi River or in nearby streams.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:30–34, and look for the Lord’s direction concerning where the ordinance of baptism for the dead needs to be performed in order to be acceptable to Him.
Even though the Lord said that the ordinance of baptism for the dead needed to be performed in the temple, why did He allow the Saints to perform baptisms outside of the temple temporarily?
After Joseph Smith received the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 124, work on the temple in Nauvoo progressed quickly. On October 3, 1841, after the basement of the temple was excavated, Joseph Smith told the Saints, “There shall be no more baptisms for the dead, until the ordinance can be attended to in the Lord’s House. … For thus saith the Lord!” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 469). On November 21, 1841, after a temporary baptismal font had been built and dedicated in the basement of the Nauvoo Temple, baptisms for the dead resumed. (See Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 251–52; see also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 469–70.)
Doctrine and Covenants 124 teaches the following truth: The temple is the only place where we can obtain the fulness of the priesthood ordinances for the redemption of the living and the dead.
- In your scripture study journal, write how you think this truth might have motivated the Saints to make the necessary sacrifices to build a temple in Nauvoo.
Mark the words or phrases that stand out to you in the following teaching of President Thomas S. Monson on the importance of this truth about the temple: “Those who understand the eternal blessings which come from the temple know that no sacrifice is too great, no price too heavy, no struggle too difficult in order to receive those blessings. There are never too many miles to travel, too many obstacles to overcome, or too much discomfort to endure. They understand that the saving ordinances received in the temple that permit us to someday return to our Heavenly Father in an eternal family relationship and to be endowed with blessings and power from on high are worth every sacrifice and every effort” (“The Holy Temple—a Beacon to the World,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2011, 92).
- In your scripture study journal, write a few sentences describing why receiving the ordinances of the temple is important to you.
Ponder what you are doing in your life to prepare to worthily enter the temple and receive the fulness of the priesthood ordinances for yourself. Write in a personal journal or on a piece of paper what you feel you must do now to qualify to receive the ordinances of the temple.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:38–41, looking for why the Lord commanded Moses to build a tabernacle in the wilderness and instructed His people to build a temple in the land of promise.
Notice how long, according to these verses, the saving ordinances of the temple have been in existence.
- Imagine you have a friend who asks you the following questions, and then answer them in your scripture study journal:
Why does the Church build temples?
Why is the temple important to you?
In Doctrine and Covenants 124:22–24, 56–83, the Lord also instructed the Saints to build another structure called the Nauvoo House, where those visiting Nauvoo could stay.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:42–45, looking for what the Lord said would happen if the Saints would build the temple in Nauvoo, Illinois, and hearken to His voice and the voice of His servants.
In Doctrine and Covenants 124:46–54, the Lord explained what would happen if the Saints built the temple but then did not hearken to His voice or the voice of His servants. He also explained that He would accept the Saints’ efforts to accomplish the Lord’s work (including building temples) even if they were prevented from doing so because of the persecution they faced.
Read Doctrine and Covenants 124:55, looking for what the Lord declared the Saints would prove to Him by obeying His commandment to build the Nauvoo Temple.
According to verse 55, what do we prove to the Lord when we obey His commandments?
You may want to write the following principle in your scriptures next to verse 55: By obeying the Lord’s commandments, we prove our faithfulness.
- Ponder times in your life when you have obeyed a commandment out of a desire to be loyal and faithful to Heavenly Father and the Savior. In your scripture study journal, write about one of these experiences and your feelings about showing the Lord your loyalty and faithfulness to Him.
According to Doctrine and Covenants 124:55, what additional blessings did the Lord promise the Saints if they would build a temple in Nauvoo?
- The blessings of honor, immortality, and eternal life promised in verse 55 are eternal in nature. In your scripture study journal, write why you think it is important to understand that some of the blessings we receive for our faithfulness to the Lord may not be immediate.
Challenge yourself to prove your faithfulness to God by faithfully obeying His commandments.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied Doctrine and Covenants 124:1–83 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: