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Lesson 16: Doctrine and Covenants 42
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“Lesson 16: Doctrine and Covenants 42,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 16,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 16

Doctrine and Covenants 42

Introduction and Timeline

The Lord commanded the Saints living in New York to move to Ohio and promised that they would receive His law there (see D&C 37:3; 38:32). On February 9, 1831, shortly after Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, 12 elders of the Church met and prayed together, as the Lord had commanded them to do (see D&C 41:2–3). As these Church leaders sought the Lord’s direction concerning the growing Church, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–72. (The additional details recorded in verse 73 were added later by the Prophet at the time the Doctrine and Covenants was published.) Two weeks later, on February 23, 1831, the Prophet sought further instruction from the Lord; the additional direction he received is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 42:74–93. Together, these revelations are known as “the law of the Church” (see D&C 42, section heading). In these revelations, the Lord introduced spiritual and temporal laws directing Church members to help the poor, finance various Church undertakings, and assist other Saints who would be coming to Ohio. These laws also gave direction to the young Church and helped prepare them to establish Zion.

January 2, 1831

The Saints in New York were promised that they would receive God’s law when they gathered to Ohio (see D&C 38).

Early February 1831

Joseph and Emma Smith arrived in Kirtland, Ohio.

February 4, 1831

Edward Partridge became the first bishop of the restored Church (see D&C 41).

February 9 and 23, 1831

Doctrine and Covenants 42 was received.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–29

The Lord calls the elders to preach the gospel, instructs them on teaching the gospel, and reveals laws and commandments for the Saints

Write the words Laws and Commandments on the board.

Briefly discuss as a class if young adults today view these words positively or negatively, and why.

  • How would most people respond to the opportunity to receive additional laws and commandments?

Remind students that in December 1830, the Lord commanded the Saints to gather to Ohio (see D&C 37:3) and that in January 1831, He promised that they would receive His law there (see D&C 38:32). The Saints responded and were eager to receive the Lord’s promised law and commandments. As students study Doctrine and Covenants 42 today, encourage them to ponder how the laws and commandments given in this section have been a blessing to them rather than a restriction or burden.

Explain that on February 4, 1831, a few days after Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland, the Lord revealed that the elders of the Church should assemble in Kirtland and pray in faith to receive His law (see D&C 41:2–3). Invite a student to read aloud the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 42, and invite another student to read aloud Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–3. Ask the class to follow along, looking for when and why this revelation was received.

  • When was this revelation received?

  • According to verse 3, why was this revelation received?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:4–10 by explaining that the Lord commanded the elders of the Church to teach the gospel and build up His Church. In verse 11, the Lord explained that those who teach and lead in the Church must be called of God and ordained or set apart by authorized Church leaders.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:12–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for responsibilities the Lord gave to those who lead and teach in the Church, including full-time missionaries.

  • According to these verses, what responsibilities did the Lord give to those called to lead and teach in the Church?

Remind students that when Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland in February 1831, he found that the Saints “were striving to do the will of God, so far as they knew it, though some strange notions and false spirits had crept in among them” (Manuscript History of the Church, vol. A-1, p. 93, josephsmithpapers.org).

  • Why do you think the Saints in Kirtland needed to understand that teachers and leaders should teach the principles of the gospel as found in the scriptures and directed by the Spirit? Why is it important in our day?

  • What principle is taught in verse 14 about what we must do to effectively teach others the gospel? (Help students identify a principle similar to the following: If we pray in faith, we can receive the Spirit to help us teach others.)

  • Why do you think it is important to have the Spirit’s influence as we teach?

Explain that after the Lord outlined principles of teaching the gospel, He revealed laws and commandments for all Church members. Invite students to scan Doctrine and Covenants 42:18–27, looking for what the Lord commanded the Saints to do. Consider asking students to find and mark the phrase “thou shalt” each time it appears in these verses.

  • What did the Lord say would be the consequences of breaking these commandments?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:28–29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for reasons the Lord gave the Saints for keeping these commandments.

  • What did the Lord say would happen if the Saints broke His commandments and refused to repent?

  • According to verse 29, what does the Lord say should be our motivation for keeping the commandments? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: We show our love to the Lord by serving Him and keeping His commandments.)

  • How does keeping God’s laws and commandments show our love for Him?

  • How has keeping the commandments brought you closer to the Lord?

Invite students to consider how well they are currently keeping the commandments. Encourage them to select one commandment and commit to showing their love for the Lord by striving to better keep that commandment.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–55

The Lord reveals principles of the law of consecration and counsels the Saints concerning death and healing

Explain that when the Prophet Joseph Smith arrived in Kirtland just a few days before the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 42:1–72 was given, he found that many of the Saints there were attempting to follow the early Christian practice of having “all things in common” (Acts 4:32) so that there might be “no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). These Saints, who were living on Isaac Morley’s farm, formed a communal group that they called “the Family.” They taught, among other things, that all personal possessions belonged to everyone in the group. While these members had good intentions, several of their practices were contrary to the principles of personal agency, accountability, and private ownership of property upon which the Lord’s law of consecration is based.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:30 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s instructions regarding the poor.

  • Based on what the Lord commanded the Saints, what does the Lord command each of us to do? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: The Lord commands us to care for the poor and needy.)

  • According to this verse, how were the Saints instructed to care for the poor and needy?

Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 42 contains principles of a law called the law of consecration. To help students understand what consecration means, display the following explanation from Guide to the Scriptures and the following statement from Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite a student to read them aloud.

Christofferson, D. Todd

“[Consecration means] to dedicate, to make holy, or to become righteous. The law of consecration is a divine principle whereby men and women voluntarily dedicate their time, talents, and material wealth to the establishment and building up of God’s kingdom” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Consecrate, Law of Consecration,” scriptures.lds.org).

“To consecrate is to set apart or dedicate something as sacred, devoted to holy purposes” (D. Todd Christofferson, “Reflections on a Consecrated Life,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2010, 16).

  • Using these two explanations, how would you explain the meaning of consecration in your own words?

To help students understand how the Lord wanted the Saints to initially practice the law of consecration, write the following words on the board: steward, property, consecrate, bishop, and storehouse. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:30–34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for these words and how they relate to living the law of consecration. After sufficient time, ask a few students to explain how the Lord commanded the early Saints to initially live the law of consecration in the early days of the Church.

If necessary, explain that when the law of consecration was first practiced, the Saints consecrated their lands and goods to the Lord by giving them to the bishop. The bishop then gave these lands and goods to the members of the Church, according to their circumstances, wants, and needs. Church members acted as stewards for the Lord in caring for the property and providing for themselves and their families. The Lord commanded that any surplus obtained from a member’s stewardship be consecrated to the bishop and placed in the storehouse to “administer to the poor and the needy” (D&C 42:34).

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:35–36 silently, looking for what the surplus would be used for in addition to administering to the poor and the needy. Invite students to report what they find.

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 42:37–42, the Lord also taught the Saints that they should not be proud, that their garments should be plain, that “all things [should] be done in cleanliness” (verse 41), and that they should “not be idle” (verse 42).

Inform students that the principle of consecration is the same for all of God’s covenant children in all dispensations, though the specific ways God instructs His people to practice the law of consecration may be different at different times. Although the Lord does not require us to consecrate all of our material goods today, He does require us to live the principle of consecration.

  • What are some ways we live the principle of consecration today?

To help students answer this question, display the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985), and invite a student to read it aloud:

Kimball, Spencer W.

“Consecration is the giving of one’s time, talents, and means to care for those in need—whether spiritually or temporally—and in building the Lord’s kingdom” (Spencer W. Kimball, “Welfare Services: The Gospel in Action,” Ensign, Nov. 1977, 78).

  • How have you seen others live the principle of consecration in our day?

  • How has their consecration blessed those in spiritual or temporal need?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:43–52 by explaining that these verses contain the Lord’s counsel concerning death and healing.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:56–93

The Lord gives the Saints additional laws and teaches them how to implement His law

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 42:56–69 the Lord promised to reveal additional scripture and knowledge to those who ask.

Invite two students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 42:59–61, 66–68. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught about revelation and the scriptures.

  • According to verses 59–60, 66, what did the Lord command the Saints to do with the scriptures they had already received?

  • What principles concerning revelation did the Lord teach in verses 61 and 68? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principles: If we ask, the Lord will give us additional revelation and knowledge that will bring us peace, joy, and eternal life. If we ask for wisdom, the Lord will give it to us. Write these principles on the board.)

  • Why do you think the Lord instructs us to ask for His guidance?

  • What experiences have led you to know that these principles are true? (Ask a few willing students to share their experiences with the class).

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:70–93 by explaining that the Lord gave instruction concerning Church leaders’ temporal support and also taught Church leaders how to deal with members who commit serious sins and taught the Saints how to resolve personal offenses.

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the doctrine and principles taught in this section.