“Lesson 28: Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–119,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)
“Lesson 28,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual
On February 16, 1832, while the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were working on the inspired translation of the Bible and pondering the meaning of John 5:29, they were shown a vision, which is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76. In the portion of the vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–119, Joseph and Sidney were shown the inhabitants of the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial kingdoms and the importance of receiving and being valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ.
- 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.
Read the following scenarios aloud, and ask students to consider how they would respond. Make sure you allow enough time after each for them to formulate their thoughts.
A young man believes that because God loves all of His children, He will bless us no matter what we do. He also believes that though we may be punished for our sins, eventually we will all be saved in God’s kingdom.
A young woman believes that if she follows every commandment perfectly, she will be saved in God’s kingdom.
A man claims that because he has been born again, he will be saved in the kingdom of God no matter what else he does in this life.
How might these differing views affect a person’s actions in mortality?
Explain that religions differ in their teachings about life after death, today as well as in 1832, when the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76 was given. For example, most Christian religions taught that all people went to either heaven or hell after death. Other religions, such as the Universalists, taught that Jesus Christ would temporarily punish sinners but would eventually redeem all people.
As students study Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–119 today, invite them to look for doctrine and principles that can help them understand life after death and what is required for salvation and eternal life.
Review Doctrine and Covenants 76:1–49 by inviting a few students to summarize the portion of the vision studied in the previous lesson.
Divide the board into three columns, and label them as follows: Celestial Glory: D&C 76:50–70, 92–96; Terrestrial Glory: D&C 76:71–80, 87, 91, 97; and Telestial Glory: D&C 76:81–86, 88–90, 98–112. Explain that in the remainder of Doctrine and Covenants 76, the Lord revealed some of what is required to inherit each of these kingdoms of glory.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:50–53 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what qualifies a person to receive celestial glory. After sufficient time, invite several students to come to the board to write these qualifications under “Celestial Glory.”
What do you think it means to receive the testimony of Jesus Christ and believe on His name (verse 51)? (Answers might include obtaining a testimony by personal revelation that Jesus Christ is the Savior and acting in accordance with that testimony.)
How does someone “overcome by faith” (verse 53)? (To overcome by faith includes overcoming temptations and sins by exercising faith in Jesus Christ and faithfully enduring trials.)
What do you think it means to be “sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise” (verse 53)? (Help students understand that the Holy Spirit of Promise is the Holy Ghost. We are sealed by the Holy Spirit of Promise when the Holy Ghost ratifies the ordinances we have received, or witnesses to Heavenly Father that they have been performed properly and that we have been faithful to our covenants.)
Refer to the list on the board, and ask students how they would summarize what we must do to receive celestial glory. After students respond, write the following principle on the board: To receive celestial glory, we must receive a testimony of Jesus Christ, receive the ordinances of the gospel, and overcome sin and temptation through faith in Jesus Christ.
Invite students to scan Doctrine and Covenants 76:54–68 silently, looking for blessings that God will give those who receive celestial glory. After sufficient time, invite students to report what they learned. You may need to explain that the phrase “church of the Firstborn” in verse 54 refers to members of the Church who qualify to obtain eternal life, or exaltation (see Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie , 2:41–42).
Which of these blessings are especially meaningful to you and why?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:69–70 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how those who receive celestial glory were described.
Explain that the phrase “just men” in verse 69 refers to men and women who are striving to live righteously but who are not perfect during their mortal lives.
What do these verses teach about how we become worthy to receive celestial glory? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: We can only be made perfect through Jesus Christ.)
Testify that while our best efforts to keep the commandments do not make us perfect, our efforts help us receive the Savior’s grace and be cleansed by His “perfect atonement” (D&C 76:69).
How can understanding this doctrine encourage us as we strive for exaltation in the celestial kingdom?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:71 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were shown next.
How does the glory of those in the terrestrial kingdom compare to the glory of those in the celestial kingdom?
Explain that just as the sun is brighter than the moon, those who obtain celestial bodies will be resurrected with greater glory and blessings than will those who obtain terrestrial bodies.
Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:72–80 with a partner and to discuss how those who receive terrestrial glory will differ from those who receive celestial glory. After sufficient time, invite students to describe the differences they found. Write their responses on the board under “Terrestrial Glory.”
Point out the phrases “they who died without law” in verse 72 and “who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it” in verse 74, and explain that these could refer to those who did not accept the gospel on the earth but lived moral lives, as well as to those who never heard the gospel. To help students better understand the meaning of these passages, invite them to turn to Doctrine and Covenants 137:7–8, and invite a student to read these verses aloud.
What did the Lord clarify in these verses about those who have died without a knowledge of the gospel? (Those “who would have received it with all their hearts” [D&C 137:8] if they had had the opportunity will inherit the celestial kingdom.)
What do you think the phrase “blinded by the craftiness of men” in Doctrine and Covenants 76:75 means? In what ways can people become blinded by the craftiness of men?
What does the phrase “these are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” in verse 79 mean?
If a person who is not valiant in his or her testimony of Jesus Christ will receive terrestrial glory, what truth does this imply concerning those who are valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ? (Students should identify a principle similar to the following: If we are valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ, we will receive celestial glory.)
To help students understand what it means to be valiant in the testimony of Jesus Christ, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie (1915–1985) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to believe in Christ and his gospel with unshakable conviction. …
“But this is not all. It is more than believing and knowing. We must be doers of the word and not hearers only. It is more than lip service; it is not simply confessing with the mouth the divine Sonship of the Savior. It is obedience and conformity and personal righteousness. …
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to … ‘endure to the end.’ (2 Ne. 31:20.) It is to live our religion, to practice what we preach, to keep the commandments.” …
“To be valiant in the testimony of Jesus is to take the Lord’s side on every issue. … It is to think what he thinks, to believe what he believes, to say what he would say and do what he would do in the same situation. It is to have the mind of Christ and be one with him as he is one with his Father” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Be Valiant in the Fight of Faith,” Ensign, Nov. 1974, 35).
Think of someone whom you consider to be valiant in his or her testimony of Jesus Christ. What characteristics and actions demonstrate this person’s valiance?
Invite students to think about how valiant they have been in their testimony of Jesus Christ. Invite students to choose one thing they will do to be more valiant in their testimony of Jesus Christ.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:81–83, 101, 103 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw concerning who will receive telestial glory.
Who will receive telestial glory? (Write students’ responses on the board under “Telestial Glory.”)
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:84–85, 104–106 silently, looking for what will happen to the wicked before they can receive telestial glory.
What will happen to the wicked before they can receive telestial glory?
Explain that because they would not repent in mortality, those who receive telestial glory will have to suffer for their sins in “hell” (D&C 76:84, 106; see also D&C 19:4–12). In these verses, hell refers to spirit prison and does not refer to the final state of the wicked. At the end of the Millennium, these individuals will come forth in the Resurrection of the unjust and inherit the telestial kingdom.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:109–111 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what will happen when those who are to receive telestial glory come before God to be judged. Invite students to report what they find.
Invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 137:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else we can learn about how we will be judged.
What doctrine can we learn from these verses about what will determine the kingdom of glory we inherit? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: The kingdom of glory we inherit will be determined by our works and the desires of our hearts.)
How can understanding this truth help us as we strive to become celestial people?
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 76:113–19 by explaining that after describing this vision, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon stated that the Lord had commanded them not to write all they had been shown. They also explained that through the power of the Holy Ghost, others may receive the knowledge they received.
Share your testimony of the truths taught in today’s lesson. Conclude by writing the words Start, Stop, and Continue on the board, and ask students to determine what they will start, stop, or continue doing because of what they learned in today’s lesson.