Institute
Lesson 24: Doctrine and Covenants 64–65
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“Lesson 24: Doctrine and Covenants 64–65,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 24,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 24

Doctrine and Covenants 64–65

Introduction and Timeline

On August 27, 1831, the Prophet Joseph Smith and a number of elders returned to Ohio from their journey to Zion, or Independence, Missouri. During the journey to and from Missouri, some of the elders had disagreements with each other, but most reconciled their contentious feelings. On September 11 the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64. In this revelation, the Lord commanded Church members to forgive one another and taught them about the sacrifices He requires of the Saints in the latter days.

In September 1831, Joseph Smith and his family moved from Kirtland to Hiram, Ohio, about 30 miles southeast of Kirtland. On October 30, 1831, he received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 65. In this revelation the Lord taught that the gospel will go to every nation in preparation for the Second Coming of the Savior and that the Saints are to pray for the growth of the kingdom of God.

September 1, 1831

Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley returned to Ohio from their mission to Missouri.

September–December, 1831

Ezra Booth wrote a series of letters that were critical of Joseph Smith and the Church and published them in the Ohio Star newspaper.

September 11, 1831

Doctrine and Covenants 64 was received.

September 12, 1831

Joseph and Emma Smith moved to Hiram, Ohio.

October 30, 1831

Doctrine and Covenants 65 was received.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 64:1–19

The Lord assures us of His willingness to forgive us and commands us to forgive one another

Invite students to think of a time when they were in a stressful or demanding situation and did things they regretted, like finding fault with others or being contentious.

  • What thoughts did you have after you considered what you had said or done?

Invite students to think of a time when someone found fault or was contentious with them.

  • Why can it be difficult to forgive someone who treats you in that way?

Invite students to look for truths as they study Doctrine and Covenants 64 that can help them understand how to be forgiven and why it is important to forgive those who have hurt them.

Remind students that the Prophet Joseph Smith and a group of elders returned to Kirtland, Ohio, on August 27, 1831, from their mission to Missouri. During this mission, some of the elders had disagreements with each other and contentious feelings. For example, Ezra Booth was upset that he and his mission companion, Isaac Morley, had to walk to Missouri while others traveled by wagon or boat; Edward Partridge argued with the Prophet about the quality of land they planned on purchasing in Missouri; and some of the elders bickered as they experienced exhaustion, hot temperatures, and treacherous conditions on the Missouri River. About two weeks after the elders returned to Ohio, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said to the elders.

  • What doctrine do these verses teach us about the Lord? (The Lord is compassionate, forgiving, and merciful. Consider writing this doctrine on the board.)

  • If you had been one of the elders who had complained or been contentious, how would you have felt knowing that the Lord had compassion on you and had forgiven you?

To provide students with an opportunity to explain and testify of this doctrine, display the following questions, and ask students to choose one and share their response with a partner:

How would you teach this doctrine to someone who wanted to repent but was afraid the Lord would not forgive him or her?

How do you know that this doctrine is true?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:5–7 silently, looking for what the Lord said about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Before students read, explain that the phrase “sought occasion against him without cause” in verse 6 means that some of the elders found fault with the Prophet without good reason.

  • What did the Lord say about Joseph Smith?

Explain that like all people, Joseph Smith had weaknesses and needed to seek the Lord’s forgiveness for his sins.

  • What can we learn from verse 7 about what we must do to obtain forgiveness?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:8–11 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught the elders about forgiving.

  • According to verse 8, what did the Savior’s disciples do that the elders also did to each other and to the Prophet during their mission?

  • What principles about forgiveness can we identify from these verses? (Students may identify several principles, including the following: When we refuse to forgive others, we bring affliction upon ourselves. If we do not forgive others, we stand condemned before the Lord. The Lord commands us to forgive all people. We can trust the Lord to judge the actions of others and reward them justly.)

  • How might the principles the Lord teaches in verses 8–11 have helped the elders who were offended by the actions or words of others?

Point out that it may be difficult for some individuals—particularly those who have been seriously hurt by someone and may need time to forgive—to understand why we stand condemned before the Lord if we do not forgive others. Explain that to stand condemned before the Lord is to “be judged guilty by God”—meaning that we have not obtained His forgiveness (Guide to the Scriptures, “Condemn, Condemnation,” scriptures.lds.org).

To help students understand the relationship between forgiving others and receiving the Lord’s forgiveness, invite a student to read the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) aloud. Encourage students to listen for insights concerning why we stand condemned if we do not forgive others.

Kimball, Spencer W.

“Since forgiveness is an absolute requirement in attaining eternal life, man naturally ponders: How can I best secure that forgiveness? One of many basic factors stands out as indispensable immediately: One must forgive to be forgiven. …

“He who will not forgive others breaks down the bridge over which he himself must travel. This is a truth taught by the Lord in the parable of the unmerciful servant who demanded to be forgiven but was merciless to one who asked forgiveness of him. (Matt. 18:23–35.)” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 261–69).

  • What insights do you gain from President Kimball’s statement concerning why we must forgive others?

Explain that forgiving others does not mean that we allow them to continue hurting us or that we do not hold them accountable for their actions. Rather, forgiving others means letting go of anger and resentment and trusting the Lord’s justice, allowing the Lord’s healing power into our lives.

Invite students to consider whether there is anyone whom they need to forgive. Invite a student to read the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley (1910–2008) aloud. Ask the class to listen for what they can do if they are struggling to forgive someone.

Hinckley, Gordon B.

“I plead with you to ask the Lord for strength to forgive. … It may not be easy, and it may not come quickly. But if you will seek it with sincerity and cultivate it, it will come” (Gordon B. Hinckley, “Of You It Is Required to Forgive,” Ensign, June 1991, 5).

Testify that although it can be extremely difficult and may take time to forgive those who have hurt or wronged us, with the Lord’s help, we can do it. Encourage students to pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged them.

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 64:12–14, the Lord revealed who should receive Church discipline. The Lord explained that administering Church discipline does not mean that we shouldn’t personally forgive others. The purpose of Church discipline is to help those who have sinned to repent, ensure that God’s laws are upheld, and protect the Church.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:15–17 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said about three people who contributed to the contention during the mission to Missouri and the return to Ohio.

  • Based on verses 15–16, what can you conclude about Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley?

Explain that Ezra Booth and Isaac Morley responded to this correction in different ways. Ezra did not repent and continued to grow bitter against the Church and the Prophet until he apostatized. Isaac repented of his actions and was forgiven. He stayed faithful the rest of his life and later served as a bishop and patriarch.

  • What promise did the Lord give Edward Partridge in verse 17 that also applies to us?

Inform students that Edward Partridge chose to repent and served faithfully as bishop until his death in 1840.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43

The Lord gives the requirements for the establishment of Zion

Invite students to think about a time when they made a sacrifice to obey the Lord. Ask a few students to share their experiences with the class.

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43, the Lord described the sacrifice He requires of each of us. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–21 aloud. Ask the class to look for the sacrifice the Lord asked Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams to make. Invite a student to report what he or she finds.

Explain that Isaac Morley owned a large farm of about 80 acres outside of Kirtland, Ohio. After this revelation, Isaac willingly sold his farm and settled in Independence, Missouri. Even though Frederick G. Williams was not asked to sell his farm, he still demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice. He used his farm to house and feed the Saints and later consecrated his entire farm to the Church without receiving any pay.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:22 silently, looking for what the Lord requires of us.

  • According to verse 22, what does the Lord require of us? (The Lord requires our hearts. Write this truth on the board.)

To help students better understand this truth, invite them to explain what they think it means in their own words.

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 64:23–32 by explaining that the Lord commanded His people to sacrifice by paying tithing. At this time the word tithing referred to all of the Saints’ contributions to the Church, not a percentage of earnings. The Lord also told Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert to not sell but keep their store in Ohio so that they could help provide for the Saints “that they may obtain an inheritance in … Zion” (D&C 64:30). These men also learned that when they were on the Lord’s errand they were doing the Lord’s business.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:33–34 aloud. Ask the class to look for what else the Lord taught the elders.

  • What does the Lord’s message in verse 33 mean for you?

  • In addition to requiring our hearts, what does the Lord require of us? (Add the following words so that the truth on the board reads as follows: The Lord requires our hearts and our willing minds.)

  • What does it mean to you that the Lord requires your willing mind?

Point out that in verses 34–36 the Lord taught that if we do not obey Him with our hearts and our minds, we will not enjoy the blessings of Zion. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 64:37–43 by explaining that the Lord testified of the glorious future of Zion.

Invite students to consider the degree to which their own hearts are devoted to the Lord. Encourage them to prayerfully ponder how they can give their hearts and minds more fully to the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 65

The Lord declares that the gospel will fill the whole earth

Write the following incomplete statement on the board, and ask students to think about how they would complete it: One of the important responsibilities I have as a member of the Church is to …

Invite students to look for a truth as they study Doctrine and Covenants 65 that will help them complete this statement.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 65:1–6. Ask the class to look for a repeated word or phrase that helps us understand what important responsibility we have. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What do you think the phrases “prepare ye the way of the Lord” and “prepare ye the supper of the Lamb” in verse 3 mean? (Both of these phrases refer to preparing for the Lord’s Second Coming.)

  • According to verse 5, what did the Lord tell us to do to prepare for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

  • Based on these verses, what is one way to complete the statement on the board? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: We have the responsibility to prepare ourselves and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.)

  • In what ways can we help prepare ourselves and others for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

To close the lesson, testify of the importance of preparing ourselves and others for the Lord’s Second Coming. Testify that the keys of the kingdom are on earth with living prophets (see D&C 65:2) and that the restored gospel of Jesus Christ will roll forth to the ends of the earth to prepare the world for the Second Coming. Invite students to seek to prepare themselves and others for the Lord’s Second Coming.