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Lesson 27: Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–49
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“Lesson 27: Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–49,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 27,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 27

Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–49

Introduction and Timeline

On February 16, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were working on inspired revisions to the Bible (known as the Joseph Smith Translation). As Joseph Smith was translating John 5:29, he and Sidney pondered the meaning of the verse and were shown a vision, which is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76. In this vision the Savior affirmed His reality and divinity, taught about the fall of Satan and the sons of perdition, and revealed the nature of the three kingdoms of glory and those who will inherit them.

Doctrine and Covenants 76 will be taught in two lessons. This lesson covers Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–49, which includes the Lord’s promised blessings to the faithful, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s witness of the Father and the Son, and an account of the fall of Lucifer and the sons of perdition.

January 25, 1832

Joseph Smith was ordained as President of the High Priesthood during a Church conference in Amherst, Ohio.

Late January 1832

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon returned to Hiram, Ohio, to work on the inspired translation of the New Testament.

February 16, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 76 was received.

March 24–25, 1832

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were taken by a mob at night, violently beaten, and tarred and feathered in Hiram, Ohio.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–10

The Lord promises blessings to those who serve Him

Invite students to think of a time when they read or were told something that they thought was correct but later learned was not. Ask one or two students to describe their experience.

  • What can we do to learn and know truth?

Explain that the Prophet Joseph Smith had a similar experience with his understanding of what happens to us after this life. The Prophet lived at a time when most Christian churches believed in an afterlife consisting of only heaven or hell: the righteous went to heaven and the wicked went to hell. As Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon resumed translating the Bible in Hiram, Ohio, they pondered this belief of only heaven or hell.

Invite a student to read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 76 aloud. Ask the class to look for what led the Prophet to question this concept of the afterlife, and invite students to report what they find.

Explain that as the Prophet pondered, the Lord showed him and Sidney Rigdon a vision revealing details about the plan of salvation (see D&C 76:11–112). As the Lord introduced this glorious vision, He promised great blessings to Church members who are true and faithful (see D&C 76:1–10).

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–5 by explaining that these verses describe characteristics of the Lord, including His wisdom, power, eternal nature, mercy, and grace.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:5–6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who will receive the Lord’s mercy and grace and who the Lord delights to honor.

  • What must we do to invite the Lord’s mercy and grace? (Explain that in this context, to fear the Lord means to reverence, respect, and love Him.)

  • Who does the Lord say He delights to honor?

Write the following phrase on the board: If we reverence the Lord and serve Him in righteousness and in truth, He will …

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:7–9 silently, looking for blessings that the Lord gives to those who reverence and serve Him. Consider inviting students to mark what they find in their scriptures.

  • According to these verses, what blessings come to those who reverence and serve the Lord? (You may need to explain that the word mysteries in verse 7 refers to spiritual truths that can only be known through revelation.)

  • Based on these verses, how could we complete the principle on the board? (After students respond, complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following principle: If we reverence the Lord and serve Him in righteousness and in truth, He will reveal truth to us.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord reveals truth to those who reverence and serve Him.

  • How does the Lord reveal truth to those who reverence and serve Him?

Point out the significance of the Lord prefacing this grand vision of the eternities by teaching the central role of the Spirit in receiving revelation. Invite students to think of occasions when they have been taught and enlightened by the Spirit. Ask a few students to share their experience with the class. You may want to remind students not to share anything too personal or sacred.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:11–24

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:11–14 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a fulfillment of the promises given in verses 5–10.

  • In what ways was Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s experience a fulfillment of the promises in verses 5–10?

  • According to verse 12, what effect did the power of the Spirit have on them?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:15–19 aloud. Ask the class to look for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon did to prepare themselves to receive revelation.

  • What were Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon doing that prepared them to receive revelation? (They meditated on the inspired translation of John 5:29.)

  • What does it mean to meditate on the scriptures? (Answers might include pondering or thinking about what you are reading, asking questions about what you are reading, and considering how the truths you discover can relate to your life.)

  • What principle can we learn from Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s example about what we can do to receive revelation through the Holy Ghost? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: As we study and ponder the scriptures, we prepare ourselves to receive revelation from the Lord through the Holy Ghost.)

Explain that the vision that the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon saw is one of the most significant revelations of the Restoration. Display the following statement by President Wilford Woodruff (1807–1898), and invite a student to read it aloud:

Wilford Woodruff

“I will refer to the ‘Vision’ [in section 76] alone, as a revelation which gives more light, more truth and more principle than any revelation contained in any other book we ever read” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2004], 120).

Ask a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 76:19–24. Invite the class to follow along and look for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw and heard.

  • What did the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon see in vision? What did they hear?

Invite students to discuss with a partner what doctrinal truths regarding the Savior Jesus Christ they can identify from these verses. After sufficient time, invite a few students to share with the class a truth they identified from these verses. Ask one student to write the doctrinal truths on the board as students identify them. Among the doctrinal truths students should identify are the following: Jesus Christ is a living, glorified being. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate, distinct beings. Jesus Christ is the Creator of this world and other worlds. Through Jesus Christ, we are begotten sons and daughters unto God.

Write the following on the board under the list of doctrinal truths:

Which of these truths are you especially grateful for? Why?

What do you know to be true concerning the Savior Jesus Christ?

Invite students to choose one of these questions and to share their answer with their partner. After students have had time to share their thoughts and testimony, you may consider inviting the class to sing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136) to further invite the Spirit to testify of the truths you have discussed.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–29

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see Lucifer’s rebellion in the premortal life

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:25–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what event Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw next in vision.

  • What did Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon learn about what Lucifer did in the premortal existence?

Explain that the name Lucifer “means the ‘Shining One’ or ‘Lightbearer’” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Lucifer,” scriptures.lds.org).

  • What happened to Lucifer because he rebelled against Heavenly Father’s Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ? (You may need to explain that the title Perdition means loss or destruction.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:28–29 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord commanded Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to do after they saw the vision of Lucifer’s premortal rebellion.

  • What did the Lord command Joseph and Sidney to do?

  • According to verse 29, what is Satan doing on earth that is similar to what he did in premortal life? (Explain that the word encompass means to surround completely.)

  • In what ways is Satan waging a war with the Saints of God today?

Doctrine and Covenants 76:30–49

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see a vision of the suffering of the sons of perdition

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 76:30 by explaining that Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw what will happen to those who are overcome by Satan.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 76:31–38. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said about those who are overcome by Satan.

  • In verse 32, what title did the Lord give those who are overcome by Satan?

  • According to verses 31 and 35, what choices lead to becoming sons of perdition?

Point out that the Prophet Joseph Smith explained that to become a son of perdition, one “must receive the Holy Ghost, have the heavens opened unto him, and know God, and then sin against him” (Manuscript History of the Church, vol. E-1, p. 1976, josephsmithpapers.org).

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985):

Kimball, Spencer W.

“The sin against the Holy Ghost requires such knowledge that it is manifestly impossible for the rank and file to commit such a sin” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness [1969], 123).

  • In verses 32–38, what stands out to you about the suffering that the sons of perdition will experience in eternity? (Point out that the phrase “the only ones who shall not be redeemed in the due time of the Lord” [verse 38] means that the sons of perdition are the only individuals who have lived on earth who will not receive a portion of God’s glory after they are resurrected [see 1 Corinthians 15:22; D&C 88:27–32].)

Tell students that in Doctrine and Covenants 76:45–49, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon learned that no one can fully understand the sufferings of the sons of perdition except for those who experience it themselves.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:39–43 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen to the rest of God’s children.

  • What will happen to the rest of God’s children?

  • What makes the salvation of humankind possible?

  • What doctrine can we learn from these verses about who will be saved through the Atonement of Jesus Christ? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all of God’s children will be saved except the sons of perdition.)

Explain that in this context, the word saved means being worthy and able to inherit a place in a kingdom of glory through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

  • Why do you think this doctrine is called “glad tidings” (verse 40)?

Conclude by sharing your testimony of the truths identified in this lesson.