The Spirit of Revelation, Lesson 5: Sections 6, 8–9

“The Spirit of Revelation, Lesson 5: Sections 6, 8–9,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide: Religion 324–325 (1981), 9–10

“Lesson 5,” Doctrine and Covenants Instructor’s Guide, 9–10

The Spirit of Revelation

Lesson 5

Sections 6, 8–9


The instructions the Lord gave to Oliver Cowdery pertaining to receiving revelation can also be of great benefit to us.

Theme Analysis

  1. Oliver Cowdery is an example of one who sought revelation so that he might assist in the Lord’s work

  2. Oliver Cowdery was given the gift of receiving revelation which, if properly applied, is of great value to anyone who receives it.

    1. He was promised knowledge by the Spirit if he asked in faith.

    2. Revelation comes as communication to the mind and heart.

    3. Revelation speaks peace to the soul.

    4. Through revelation Oliver could be delivered from his enemies.

    5. The Lord will communicate truth through feelings to the bosom if the recipient prepares himself by righteousness, study, and prayer.

  3. Oliver Cowdery attempted to translate but was unsuccessful in his efforts.

    1. The Lord indicated to Oliver that he had not yet learned to understand the spirit of revelation.

    2. The Lord instructed him to magnify the callings he had been given.

  4. From the Lord’s counsel to Oliver Cowdery we can learn important principles that will assist us in understanding and receiving personal revelation.

    1. We can receive revelation to help us serve in the kingdom if we prepare ourselves and righteously seek it.

    2. The principles by which revelation is given and received are consistent for all.

    3. We can grow and develop in our ability to understand and benefit from personal revelation.

Study Sources

Student Manual

Seections 6, 8–9; Enrichment C, “Receiving Personal Revelation”

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

Standard Works

Basic Library

  • Teachings, pp. 298–99. How might we unlock the mysteries of heaven?

  • Teachings, pp. 155–56. How are we to treat personal revelation? Compare Discourses, pp. 40–41.

  • Teachings, p. 111. When may we receive personal revelation? Compare Discourses, pp. 136–37.

  • Discourses, p. 41. Upon what principle is revelation received?

  • Boyd K. Packer, in CR, Oct. 1979, pp. 27–31. How might we more fully attune ourselves to receive answers to prayer?

Additional Sources

  • Spencer W. Kimball, “Prayer,” New Era, Mar. 1978, pp. 14–19. Counsel concerning the importance of prayer, the way we should pray, and sensitivity to answers from the Lord.

  • Harold B. Lee, “When Your Heart Tells You Things Your Mind Does Not Know,” New Era, Feb. 1971, p. 3. Understanding and benefiting from the workings of the Spirit of the Lord.

  • Marion G. Romney, “Seek the Spirit,” Improvement Era, Dec. 1961, pp. 946–49. Instructions concerning how to benefit from the guidance of the Spirit when making decisions.

  • Bruce R. McConkie, How to Get Personal Revelation, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (Provo, 11 Oct. 1966); or New Era, June 1980, pp. 46–50. Specific counsel concerning the steps we must follow in order to receive personal revelation.

Some Suggestions for Presentation

(Ideas Other Teachers Have Used)

Receiving Answers to Prayer (Discussion)

There are many voices which come into our lives seeking our attention. There is the voice of pleasure, the voice of fashion, and the voice of lust. There is also the voice of counsel and the voice of the Spirit. Learning to listen to the correct voice is truly a challenge of mortality. Elder Boyd K. Packer has stated that we have succeeded in a large measure to teach the members of the Church to pray. He said that there is one part of prayer we have perhaps neglected-the answer (see Transparency 3, “Listening for Answers,” for his quote). Share this quote with the class as a lead-in to a discussion of the revelatory experiences of Oliver Cowdery.

Direct the discussion using the following questions:

  1. How does this statement from Elder Packer relate to Oliver Cowdery’s experience in translating?

  2. How many in the class have had similar challenges?

  3. Why does the Lord seldom respond to us until we ponder, struggle, and pray, using our capabilities and faculties?

  4. What conditions must we fulfill to receive the confirming voice of the Spirit on a question or a problem?

  5. How does one listen? With his ears or his heart?

The Example of the Brother of Jared (Scripture Analysis)

Some teachers have compared the story of Oliver Cowdery with that of the Brother of Jared.

Oliver Cowdery (D&C 9)

Brother of Jared (Ether 2)

Problem or challenge


Obtain light for barges

Approach to problem

Ask the Lord (see vs. 7)

Ask the Lord (see vs. 22)

Lord’s response

Study it out (see vs. 8 and then ask)

Study it out (see vss. 23–25) and then ask

Receiving Answers to Prayer in Solving Problems (Discussion)

President Marion G. Romney has stated: “When confronted with a problem I prayerfully weigh in my mind alternative solutions and come to a conclusion as to which of them is best. Then in prayer I submit to the Lord my problem, tell him I desire to make the right choice, what is, in my judgment, the right course. Then I ask him if I have made the right decision to give me the burning in my bosom that He promised Oliver Cowdery. When enlightenment and peace come into my mind, I know the Lord is saying yes. If I have a ‛stupor of thought,’ I know he is saying no, and I try again, following the same procedure.

“In conclusion, I repeat: I know when and how the Lord answers my prayers by the way I feel.

“When we learn to distinguish between the inspiration that comes from the Spirit of the Lord and that which comes from our own uninspired hopes and desires, we need make no mistakes. To this I testify.” (New Era, Oct. 1975, pp. 34–35.)

Using President Romney’s experience as a guide, discuss the process by which we can follow the guidance of the Spirit in making decisions and solving problems in our lives.

Some Principles (Discussion)

The following principles taken from the basic library might be discussed.

  1. We have the opportunity to receive revelation for our personal stewardships, but not for others (see Smith, Teachings, p. 111).

  2. We may grow in understanding the Spirit of God by noticing impressions that come to us (see Smith, Teachings, p. 151).

  3. We must treat the inspiration we receive as very sacred (see Smith, Teachings, pp. 155–56; Young, Discourses, pp. 40–41).

  4. The more we purify our lives the clearer the impressions from the Spirit will be (see Young, Discourses, p. 36).

How to Obtain Personal Revelation (Enrichment Section)

The Doctrine and Covenants teaches us a great deal about the process of receiving personal revelation. Though these insights are scattered throughout the book, this lesson provides the best place to teach the doctrine of personal revelation. Enrichment C, “Receiving Personal Revelation,” in the appendix of the student manual discusses this doctrine in some detail and could be used as the basis for a lesson.