“Lesson 10: Doctrine and Covenants 23–25,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)
“Lesson 10,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual
Within days after the Church’s organization on April 6, 1830, five individuals approached the Prophet Joseph Smith seeking to know their duties with respect to the restored Church. A personalized answer was given to each of them in a series of five revelations that were later combined into Doctrine and Covenants 23.
In June and July 1830, persecution arose in the Colesville, New York, area against the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church members. During this difficult time, the Lord strengthened the Prophet and Oliver Cowdery by giving them the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 24, in which they were instructed to be patient in afflictions and continue teaching the gospel.
Emma Smith, the Prophet’s wife, was baptized on June 28, 1830. Persecution forced her confirmation to be postponed until nearly two months later, in August. In July 1830, the Lord provided the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 25 to Emma. In this revelation, the Lord told Emma that she was an elect lady and gave her instructions regarding her family and Church responsibilities.
- April 6, 1830
The restored Church was organized.
- Early April 1830
Doctrine and Covenants 23 was received.
- June 9, 1830
The first conference of the Church was held at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr.
- June 28, 1830
Emma Smith was baptized.
- June 28–July 2, 1830
Joseph Smith was arrested and acquitted of being a disorderly person in South Bainbridge, New York, and again in Colesville, New York.
- July 1830
Doctrine and Covenants 24 was received.
- July 1830
Doctrine and Covenants 25 was received.
- August 1830
Emma Smith was confirmed as a member of the Church.
Ask students to think of a time when they received some much-needed words of encouragement or direction in their lives. You may want to ask one or two students to share their experience with the class.
Explain that in April 1830, just after the Church was organized, five individuals approached Joseph Smith seeking direction from the Lord. In response to their inquiry, the Lord gave each individual specific instructions.
Invite students to scan the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 23 and find the names of the five individuals.
Write the following scripture references on the board: D&C 23:1–2; D&C 23:3; D&C 23:4; D&C 23:5; D&C 23:6–7. Assign each student one or more of these references, and invite them to read their assigned verse(s) silently, looking for the counsel the Lord gave each individual. After sufficient time, ask students to report what they found.
In what ways is the Lord’s counsel to each man similar? How is it different?
What principle can we learn from these accounts about what will happen as we earnestly desire to serve the Lord? (Students may identify a principle similar to the following: As we desire to serve the Lord, we can receive personal guidance from Him.)
Invite a student to read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 24 aloud, and ask the class to look for what happened in the months after the Church was organized.
As an example of the persecution the Saints experienced, display the following historical information, and invite a student to read it aloud:
In late June 1830, Joseph Smith and others traveled to Colesville, New York, to baptize Emma Smith and several other believers. The baptisms were planned for Sunday, June 27, but in an attempt to prevent the baptisms, some Colesville residents destroyed the dam that the Saints had made. On Monday morning, the Saints met and quickly rebuilt the dam, and Emma Smith and 12 others were baptized. Before the meeting was over, a mob of nearly 50 people had gathered and threatened to harm the Saints. Later that night, the Saints met to confirm the newly baptized members, but before the confirmations could take place Joseph was arrested on false charges of being a disorderly person. When Joseph was acquitted of these charges, he was immediately arrested on the same charge by a constable from a neighboring county. After he was acquitted a second time, Joseph and Emma traveled to their home in Harmony, Pennsylvania, for safety. A short time later, Joseph and Oliver Cowdery returned to Colesville to confirm the recently baptized converts. Before they could do so, a mob assembled, and Joseph and Oliver were again forced to seek safety in Harmony. Not long after they returned home in July 1830, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 24.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 24:1–2 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord said to the Prophet while he was seeking safety from persecution.
What words or phrases might have comforted the Prophet?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 24:3–6 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord told Joseph Smith to do during this difficult time.
What do you think the phrase “magnify thine office” (verse 3) means?
Why might the Lord’s instruction to go speedily to the Saints in New York have been difficult for Joseph?
What did the Lord promise would happen if Joseph went to the Saints in New York and they received his words?
Divide the class into two groups. Invite one group to read Doctrine and Covenants 24:7–9 silently, looking for what the Lord said would happen if Joseph Smith faithfully performed his calling. Invite the other group to read Doctrine and Covenants 24:10–12 silently, looking for what the Lord said would happen if Oliver Cowdery faithfully performed his calling. After sufficient time, ask the following questions:
What did the Lord promise Joseph Smith if he faithfully attended to his calling?
What did the Lord promise Oliver Cowdery if he faithfully attended to his calling?
Based on what the Lord promised Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, what will the Lord do for us if we faithfully do what He asks of us? (Help students identify the following principle: If we faithfully do what the Lord asks of us, then He will be with us and strengthen us.)
In what ways might this principle have helped Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery during this difficult time?
To help students feel the truth and importance of this principle, invite them to think of a time when the Lord strengthened them because they faithfully did what He asked. Invite a few students to share their experience with the class.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 24:13–19 by explaining that the Lord instructed Joseph and Oliver regarding the miracles they could perform during their ministry and what they should do when people opposed them. The Lord also directed that the Church should provide temporal support to the Prophet so that he could devote all of his time and energy to the work of the Lord.
Explain that in July 1830, while seeking safety in Harmony, Pennsylvania, the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 25. This revelation was directed to Joseph’s wife, Emma Smith. You may want to remind students that Emma had been baptized in June 1830, but because of mob threats and the arrest of her husband she had not yet been confirmed.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 25:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to look for words and phrases that may have been comforting to Emma Smith during this difficult time.
What words did the Lord use to describe Emma?
What do you think it means to be elect? (“The elect are those who love God with all their hearts and live lives that are pleasing to Him” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Elect,” scriptures.lds.org].)
How might knowing that she was an elect lady have helped Emma Smith during these hardships?
What counsel did the Lord give to Emma?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 25:5–10, and ask the class to look for what the Lord called Emma Smith to do.
What did the Lord call Emma Smith to do?
Explain that the word ordain (see verse 7) was often used in the early Church to refer to both ordination and setting apart. Thus both men and women were commonly said to be “ordained” to callings, whereas today we would use the term “set apart” (see Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation , 1:126). Inform students that when the Relief Society was organized in 1842, Emma Smith was called to be the organization’s first president. On that occasion, the Prophet Joseph Smith read the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 25 and said that the revelation was “fulfilled by Sister Emma’s Election to the Presidency of the Society, she having previously been ordained to expound the Scriptures” and to exhort the Church (“Journal, December 1841–December 1842,” 91, josephsmithpapers.org).
Based on what the Lord told Emma to do in verse 10, what does the Lord expect us to do? (The Lord expects us to lay aside the things of the world and seek that which is eternal.)
What worldly things do you think Emma might have been worried about during this time in her life?
To help students understand this truth, write the following headings on the board: Things of the World to Lay Aside and Eternal Things to Seek. Ask students to suggest several items that could be listed under each heading. Write students’ responses on the board under the appropriate heading.
Why do you think laying aside the things of this world can help us seek that which is eternal?
Invite students to think of a time when they set aside worldly things and sought for eternal things. Invite a few students to share their experience with the class. (Remind students not to share experiences that are too personal.)
Invite students to ponder ways they can lay aside the things of the world and seek things of eternal value. Invite them to set a goal to act on any promptings they have received.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 25:11–12 aloud, and ask the class to look for what else the Lord asked Emma to do.
What did the Lord ask Emma to do?
What principle can we learn about worshipping the Lord through music from these verses? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: As we worship the Lord through righteous music, He will bless us.)
In what ways can a “song of the heart” (verse 12) be likened to prayer?
How might a song of the heart differ from just singing a hymn?
What blessings have come into your life from worshipping the Lord through righteous music?
Invite a student to read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles aloud:
“Sacred music has a unique capacity to communicate our feelings of love for the Lord. This kind of communication is a wonderful aid to our worship. Many have difficulty expressing worshipful feelings in words, but all can join in communicating such feelings through the inspired words of our hymns” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Worship through Music,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 10).
Invite students to select one or two hymns from the hymnbook that they feel help them communicate their feelings of love and worship for the Lord. If time permits, you may want to sing one or two of these hymns as a class. Encourage students to participate in singing the hymns at Church and other places as a way to worship the Lord.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 25:13–16 by explaining that the Lord told Emma Smith to cleave to her covenants and continue in meekness. He also promised that if she kept the commandments she would receive a crown of righteousness.
Conclude class by sharing your testimony of how the truths identified in this lesson can provide us with direction and encouragement.