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Lesson 12: Doctrine and Covenants 29
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“Lesson 12: Doctrine and Covenants 29,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 12,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 12

Doctrine and Covenants 29

Introduction and Timeline

In September 1830, before the second conference of the Church was held in Fayette, New York, some early Church members anticipated that Book of Mormon prophecies about Zion and the gathering of God’s elect would soon be fulfilled. A group of six elders and three other Church members met together and asked the Lord about these prophecies. In response to their inquiry, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 29. In this revelation, the Lord taught them about the gathering of the Savior’s elect before His Second Coming and about our redemption from the Fall of Adam and Eve through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

June–October 1830

Joseph Smith dictated Moses 1–5 as he worked on the inspired translation of the early chapters of Genesis.

August–September 1830

Church members were confused by Hiram Page’s purported revelations.

September 1830

Doctrine and Covenants 29 was received.

September 1830

Doctrine and Covenants 28 was received (likely after Doctrine and Covenants 29 was received).

September 26–28, 1830

The second conference of the Church was held in Fayette, New York.

October 1830

Oliver Cowdery and his missionary companions departed on a mission to the Lamanites.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 29:1–29

Jesus Christ gathers the elect in preparation for His Second Coming

Before class, write the following words on the board: tribulation and desolation.

When class begins, invite students to explain how these words could be used to describe our day and the days leading up to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Point out that while some people may feel worried about the tribulation and desolation that does and will exist in the world, the Lord has revealed truths that will guide and help us during these difficult times. Invite students to look for truths as they study Doctrine and Covenants 29 that teach what we must do to be protected from and prepared for the days of tribulation and desolation.

Explain that in September 1830, just before a conference of the Church was held in Fayette, New York, six elders and three other Church members gathered to discuss several topics, including Adam and Eve’s transgression and the prophecy concerning the coming forth of Zion (see Isaiah 52:8; 3 Nephi 16:18; 21:22–24.) They united in prayer concerning these topics, and in response, the Lord gave Joseph Smith the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 29.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said He would do for His people.

  • What did the Lord say He would do for His people?

Show students a picture of a hen gathering her chickens.

How Many Times
  • How is the Lord like a hen who gathers her chickens under her wings? (The Lord seeks to gather and protect us because of His love for us.)

  • What principle can we identify in verse 2 concerning what we must do in order to be gathered by the Savior? (Although they may use other words, students should identify that as we hearken to the Savior’s voice, humble ourselves, and call upon God in prayer, the Savior will gather and protect us. Write this principle on the board.)

  • What does it mean to “hearken” to the Savior’s voice?

  • What are some things we need protection from in our day?

Invite two students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 29:3–8, and ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord called the elders to do and why.

  • According to verses 4, 7–8, what did the Lord call the elders to do? (Proclaim the gospel to gather the Lord’s elect.)

Explain that when this revelation was given, Church membership was small and the Saints were commanded to gather in “one place” (D&C 29:8). However, as the Church grew, the Lord commanded the Saints to remain in their own lands and gather in their respective locations. Today, we gather with the Saints in the stakes of Zion where we live.

  • According to verse 7, how does the Lord describe the elect?

Invite students to identify the doctrine taught in verse 8 regarding why the Lord gathers His elect. (Students should identify that the Lord gathers the elect so that they can be prepared in all things for the times of tribulation and desolation that will come upon the wicked. Write this doctrine on the board.)

  • What do you think it means to “be prepared in all things” (verse 8)?

  • Why do you think that gathering with other Saints can help prepare us for times of tribulation?

  • What places do we as Saints gather in today that will help us prepare for tribulation?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 29:9–13 by explaining that in these verses, the Savior declared that He will come again in “power and great glory” (verse 11), that the wicked will be burned at His coming, and that the righteous will dwell with Him for a thousand years on the earth.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:14–21 silently, looking for tribulations that will occur in the last days. Before students read, explain that much of what is described in verses 18–21 will happen to the wicked armies that gather against Israel in the final battle of Armageddon (see D&C 29:21; see also the chapter headings for Ezekiel 36–39 and for Zechariah 12–14). Ask a few students to report what they found.

  • Why would you want to be gathered as one of the Savior’s elect when these tribulations occur?

Explain that even though the elect will be gathered and prepared for the tribulation of the last days, this does not mean that they will escape all hardships. Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith (1805–1844), who explained why some of the righteous will be affected by the events of the last days:

Brother Joseph

“It is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape’[see D&C 63:34]; still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith [see Habakkuk 2:4]; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 253).

Testify that if we choose to be gathered unto the Lord, we will be prepared for the tribulation and desolation that will occur in the last days.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:17 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen to those who refuse to repent and hear the Lord’s voice.

  • According to verse 17, what will happen to those who refuse to repent and hear the Lord’s voice? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we refuse to repent and hear the Lord’s voice, His atoning blood will not cleanse us.)

  • What are some examples of how we can hear the Lord’s voice? (Possible answers might include following the living prophet, studying the scriptures, and following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.)

  • What are some of the consequences of not being cleansed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

To help students answer this question, summarize Doctrine and Covenants 29:22–29 by explaining that the Lord revealed what will happen at the end of the Millennium, including the Resurrection of the dead and the Final Judgment of the righteous and the wicked. Invite a student to read aloud the Lord’s description of the Final Judgment in verse 27.

  • What will happen to those who have been cleansed of their sins? What will happen to those who are not cleansed and remain in their sins?

Testify that the most important preparation a person can make for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Final Judgment is to hearken to the Savior, repent, and be cleansed from sin.

Invite students to reread Doctrine and Covenants 29:4, 7 silently. Draw students’ attention to the three principles listed on the board, and ask:

  • Why is the Lord’s call to declare the gospel and help gather His elect so significant in light of these truths?

Invite students to ponder what they can do to gather to the Savior and to also help others gather to the Savior and His Church. Encourage them to act on any promptings they receive.

Doctrine and Covenants 29:30–50

The Savior declares that He has redeemed us from the Fall and that He offers us salvation from our sins

Remind students that Doctrine and Covenants 29 came in response to a small group of elders and other Church members who had gathered to discuss several doctrinal points, including the Fall of Adam and Eve. Some in the group had differing views about Adam and Eve’s transgression in the Garden of Eden.

Write the word Creation on the board. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:30–33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught about the Creation.

To help students understand the teachings in these verses, inform them that after the Creation was completed, Adam and Eve, the earth, and all things on the earth were in a spiritual state. This means that although Adam and Eve had physical bodies, they were not mortal (subject to death) and could have dwelt in God’s presence forever. However, as part of Heavenly Father’s plan, all of His creations became temporal, or mortal, because of the Fall. Following the Resurrection, they will return to a spiritual state—physical but also immortal.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:34–35 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught about His commandments, including the commandment He gave Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

  • What do we learn from these verses about all of God’s commandments, including His commandment to Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit?

Write The Fall on the board, and invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 29:36–41. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught about the Fall of Adam and Eve.

  • What were some of the consequences of the Fall? (Among other things, because of the Fall we are subject to spiritual and physical death.)

Explain that in verse 41 the Lord taught that because of the transgression of Adam and Eve, they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and the Lord’s presence. Separation from God’s presence is called spiritual death. Because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, all will be resurrected and brought back into God’s presence to be judged. Those who have knowingly rebelled against the truth will be cast out of God’s presence and experience a second spiritual death.

Write the word Atonement on the board. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:42–45 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said He would do for Adam and His seed. Ask a few students to report what they find.

  • According to verses 42–43 what does the Savior offer to those who have faith in Him and repent of their sins? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Through His Atonement, Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and eternal life to all those who have faith in Him and repent of their sins.)

  • According to verses 44–45, what will happen to those who do not repent of their sins?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 29:46–50 by explaining that the Savior declared that because little children and those without understanding are not accountable, they are also redeemed through His Atonement.

Testify that because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, each of us will overcome temporal death through the Resurrection. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can also overcome spiritual death if we repent of our sins and hearken to the Savior’s voice.

Invite students to apply what they have learned today by choosing to hearken to the Savior’s voice, repent of their sins, and be gathered to Him.