“The Lost Manuscript, Lesson 3: Sections 3, 10,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 5–6
“Lesson 3,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 5–6
Those who put their trust in God and keep his commandments receive power to overcome the cunning plans of the adversary.
Satan seeks to destroy the souls of men.
Lucifer rebelled in the premortal life and became totally committed to destroying the work of God.
His evil purposes have continued here on earth, where he has established a kingdom intent on defeating the purposes of the Lord.
The loss of the 116 pages of the Book of Mormon manuscript is an example of Satan’s efforts to destroy the Prophet Joseph Smith and to prevent the kingdom of God from being established.
The Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith that Satan was behind the loss of the manuscript.
Satan sought to discredit the Lord’s Prophet and to eliminate the powerful witness for Christ that the Book of Mormon would provide.
The Lord used this experience to teach the Prophet about the reality and methods of Satan.
Because God knows the end from the beginning, we can have implicit trust in what he requires of us.
God reminded the Prophet Joseph Smith that the works, designs, and purposes of God could not be frustrated.
Joseph Smith made the following his rule: “when the Lord commands, do it” (History of the Church, 2:170).
Sections 3, 10
Use material from Historical Background and Notes and Commentary to teach each revelation in its historical context.
Moses 4:6. What crucial knowledge is Satan lacking that makes him inept at frustrating the work of God?
Alma 26:35. What faith did Ammon have in God’s knowledge?
Alma 43:23–24. How does this incident in Nephite history illustrate the foreknowledge of God?
Teachings, p. 181. What gives mortal man an advantage over Satan? Compare Teachings, p. 187.
Gos. Doc, pp. 215–16. What confidence do we have that when we pray God will hear?
M of F, p. 21. What “sophisticated” ideas do men have about Satan today?
Marion G. Romney, in CR, Apr. 1971, pp. 24–25. To what is Satan “irrevocably committed”?
Joseph Fielding Smith, Ensign, May 1971, pp. 2–3. What is so damaging about the doctrine that God does not know all things? See also Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, Nov. 1980, p. 50.
16-mm film, The Lost Manuscript
It is sometimes meaningful to contrast the plan and purposes of Satan with those of God, our Father. Looking at God’s objectives first can often help us better understand why Satan does what he does. According to the Lord’s own declaration (see D&C 10:22–24), Satan has a “cunning plan” to destroy God’s work. The following chalkboard illustration could be used along with questions similar to those listed.
What are God’s goals for his children?
What are Satan’s goals? See also 2 Nephi 2:27.
What are some of the methods used by Satan to accomplish his goals?
How was the loss of the 116 pages of manuscript an example of Satan’s efforts to destroy the work of God?
Note that in Doctrine and Covenants 10 the Lord uses the word destroy ten times with reference to Satan’s objectives. This lesson provides an excellent opportunity to counteract the world’s false teaching that Satan is a myth (President Kimball refers to this myth in Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 21–22); however, care should be taken not to discuss personal experiences that people have had with Satan. Such experiences tend to increase fear rather than faith. One of the best ways to bear witness of Satan’s reality is for the teacher to simply say, “I know that what the Lord taught about Satan in Doctrine and Covenants, section 10 is true.”
The experience of the loss of the 116 manuscript pages offers an excellent opportunity to teach what the prophet Mormon knew so emphatically: “I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come” (Words of Mormon 1:7).
President Harold B. Lee said that a testimony that God knows all things is a beginning point to faith in God: “ ‛O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.’ (2 Nephi 9:20) Now, if you will just keep that in mind you have a beginning point, you have a relationship with Him. We are His son, His daughter. He knows us. He knows the very things and the times before appointed, and the place where we would live, and the times in which we would live.” (“To Be on Speaking Terms with God,” University of Utah devotional address, 12 Oct. 1973, p. 4.)
An excellent example of God’s foreknowledge is the example involving the loss of the 116 manuscript pages of the Book of Mormon. The following questions could be discussed to assist the students in developing faith in God and his word.
Why would the retranslation of the lost portion of the Book of Mormon manuscript have proven to be a snare to the work of the Lord?
Did the deletion of the initial 116 pages of manuscript constitute a significant loss to the Book of Mormon as it stands today? Explain. (Transparencies 2A and 2B, “Compilation of the Book of Mormon” can assist the students in seeing that the loss of the pages was not as tragic as the loss of the small plates would have been.)
How did the Lord’s foreknowledge of the eventual loss of the manuscript avert a latter-day tragedy? What provisions had the Lord made to frustrate Satan’s plan?
The students could be reminded that the Prophet Joseph Smith was near the age of many of them when this translation experience occurred. (He was twenty-three years old.) What lessons did the Lord want Joseph to learn? Discuss the following:
The reality, purposes, and methods of Satan
The foreknowledge of God
The importance of obedience to God’s commandments (The Prophet Joseph Smith was later to say in 1834, “I made this my rule: When the Lord commands, do it” (History of the Church, 2:170).
The teacher could help students incorporate this lesson into their lives by discussing how the above principles apply to them.