The Lord’s Law to the Church, Lesson 17: Sections 42, 44

“The Lord’s Law to the Church, Lesson 17: Sections 42, 44,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 33–34

“Lesson 17,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 33–34

The Lord’s Law to the Church

Lesson 17

Sections 42, 44


The Lord revealed to the Prophet Joseph Smith the fundamental laws for the establishment of Zion.

Theme Analysis

  1. Doctrine and Covenants 42 contains important instructions to those who are called to preach the gospel.

    1. They must be ordained to preach.

    2. They are to teach from the scriptures.

    3. They are to teach as directed by the Spirit.

    4. Conferences were to be held to strengthen and edify the Saints.

  2. Doctrine and Covenants 42 gives instructions concerning principles of gospel conduct.

    1. Some of the Ten Commandments were reemphasized.

    2. Principles governing the consecration of properties were revealed.

    3. Principles for the care of the poor were outlined.

    4. Warnings concerning pride and idleness were given.

    5. Principles pertaining to the administration to the sick were given.

    6. Laws of renumeration were given.

  3. Doctrine and Covenants 42 and 44 reveal principles of ecclesiastical responsibility in dealing with transgressors.

    1. Principles governing Church membership were made known.

    2. The relationship of laws of the Church and laws of the land were reviewed.

    3. The law of witnesses was reiterated.

    4. Instructions concerning reconciliation of personal offenses were given.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Sections 42, 44; Enrichment G, “The Nature and Purpose of Law”; Enrichment I, “Judges in Israel: Watching over the Church”; Enrichment L, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship”

Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.

Standard Works

  • D&C 42, 44. Keeping in mind the theme of this lesson, read and ponder these sections.

  • D&C 38:32. Why were the Saints to be gathered to Ohio?

  • D&C 41:3. Why were the Saints to ask in faith in order to receive the law?

  • D&C 88:34–35. What is the purpose of law?

  • D&C 88:22. What is required to abide celestial glory?

  • D&C 132:5. Upon what basis are all blessings bestowed?

  • D&C 11:15. What is a prerequisite to preach?

  • D&C 36:5. What ordinance authorization is required to preach?

  • D&C 43:15. What approach is important to successful missionary work?

  • D&C 20:61–62. What is an important function of conferences?

  • D&C 59:5–6. Why did the Lord reiterate commandments that he had given in past dispensations?

  • D&C 66:9. Instructions for gospel service in behalf of the sick.

  • For additional references see topical guide, s.v. “Administrations to the Sick”; “Preaching, Preach.”

Basic Library

  • Discourses, pp. 162–63. What is a father’s duty in administering to the sick?

  • DS, 3:172–80. Instructions concerning administering to the sick.

  • Teachings, p. 113. What is the Church’s “greatest and most important duty”?

  • Discourses, p. 31. Preach by the Holy Ghost.

  • DS, 1:307–20. Responsibility of Church for preaching.

  • Teachings, pp. 11–12. What important admonition is given concerning scripture study?

  • Discourses, pp. 124–29. Suggestions for the use of scriptures.

  • DS, 1:322–24. Importance of standard works.

  • Teachings, p. 54. What is the purpose of law?

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

The teacher should note that lesson 30, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Part 1,” and lesson 31, “The Law of Consecration and Stewardship, Part 2,” deal with the principles of consecration in detail.

Historical Background to Doctrine and Covenants 42 (Scripture Analysis)

The following historical summary can help give your students a better understanding of the reasons the Lord revealed Doctrine and Covenants 42:

  1. December 1830. The Lord commanded the Saints to gather in Ohio (see D&C 37).

  2. 2 January 1831. The Lord instructed the Saints that in Ohio they would receive his law and be endowed with power. He further instructed them to look to the needs of the poor and to preach the gospel (see D&C 38).

  3. 5 January 1831. The Saints were again commanded to preach the gospel (see D&C 39).

  4. 4 February 1831. Those who receive and live the Lord’s law (which was yet to be given) will be disciples of the Lord (see D&C 41).

  5. 9 February 1831. Doctrine and Covenants 42 was received.

What problems might have occurred as the Saints went out to preach the gospel? As they gathered together in Ohio? Note that Doctrine and Covenants 42 provides certain basic laws concerning the preaching of the gospel and loving one another.

The Law of the Church (Student Assignment)

Doctrine and Covenants 42 and 44 outline some fundamental laws that deal with the preaching of the gospel and also with how the Saints should live in accordance with gospel principles. Give the students the assignment as shown below and have them fill in principles under each column.

Principles Relative to Preaching (D&C 42)

  1. Vs. 11 (must be ordained)

  2. Vs. 12

  3. Vs. 13

  4. etc.

Laws Governing Conduct and Relationships

  1. Vss. 18–19

  2. Vs. 20

  3. etc.

When the students have completed their scripture study, discuss their answers, applying these laws to the Church today and the future establishment of Zion.

Obedience and Power (Scripture Analysis)

The following chain of reasoning could be used to show the power that comes when man is obedient to God’s laws:

Faith is power. “We understand that the principle of power which existed in the bosom of God, by which the worlds were framed, was faith; and that it is by reason of this principle of power existing in the Deity, that all created things exist; so that all things in heaven, on earth, or under the earth exist by reason of faith as it existed in Him.

“Had it not been for the principle of faith the worlds would never have been framed neither would man have been formed of the dust. It is the principle by which Jehovah works, and through which he exercises power over all temporal as well as eternal things. Take this principle or attribute—for it is an attribute—from the Deity, and he would cease to exist.” (Smith, in Lectures on Faith 1:15–16.)

Those who have faith demonstrate great power. Discuss Moses 7:13; Joshua 10:12–14; Moroni 7:37–38; and others.

To have faith we must know certain things. “Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.

“First, the idea that he actually exists.

“Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.

“Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Smith, in Lectures on Faith 3:2–5.)

An assurance of God’s approbation comes from a willingness to sacrifice. In other words, we must do whatever God requires of us.

“Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God. When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth’s sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life.

“But those who have not made this sacrifice to God do not know that the course which they pursue is well pleasing in his sight; for whatever may be their belief or their opinion, it is a matter of doubt and uncertainty in their mind; and where doubt and uncertainty are there faith is not, nor can it be.” (Smith, in Lectures on Faith 6:7, 12.)

The Doctrine and Covenants clearly teaches that through obedience to our covenants with God (to his laws) we gain power (see D&C 130:20–21; 82:4–10; 54:3–6; 97:8; 103:5–8).