“Lesson 33: Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–69,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)
“Lesson 33,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual
On December 27, 1832, during a conference of priesthood leaders in the upper room of the Newel K. Whitney store, those present prayed to know the Lord’s will concerning the establishment of Zion. The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–126 on December 27 and 28, 1832. (The revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 88:127–37 was received later on January 3, 1833.) The Prophet referred to the revelation as an “‘olive leaf’ … plucked from the Tree of Paradise” (D&C 88, section heading), perhaps because it was a message of peace with the potential to mend the harsh feelings some Saints in Missouri were having toward Church leaders in Kirtland, Ohio (see D&C 84:76). Four additional verses (D&C 88:138–41) were added during the publication of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.
Doctrine and Covenants 88 will be taught in two lessons. This lesson addresses Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–69, in which Jesus Christ declared that He is “the light … which giveth life to all things” (D&C 88:13) and then invited us “to draw near to [Him]” (D&C 88:63).
- June to December 1832
Disagreements arose between Church leaders in Missouri and Church leaders in Ohio.
- December 27–28, 1832
Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–126 was received.
- January 3, 1833
- January 5, 1833
Frederick G. Williams was called by revelation to replace Jesse Gause as a counselor in the Presidency of the High Priesthood.
- January 11, 1833
Joseph Smith sent Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–126, and perhaps Doctrine and Covenants 88:127–37, to William W. Phelps in Missouri, describing it as an “olive leaf” and a “message of peace” (D&C 88, section heading).
- January 23, 1833
The School of the Prophets began in Kirtland, Ohio.
Draw the following continuum and labels on the board:
Moving away from the Lord
Drawing closer to the Lord
Ask students to silently consider where they are on the continuum. As students study Doctrine and Covenants 88 today, invite them to look for doctrine and principles that help them understand why it is important to come closer to God and how to draw nearer to Him.
Invite a student to read the following historical information aloud:
On December 27–28, 1832, Joseph Smith and several high priests met together at a conference in the upper room of the Newel K. Whitney store in Kirtland, Ohio. According to the minutes of the conference, on the first day, Joseph Smith told the assembled high priests that “to receive revelation and the blessings of heaven, it was necessary to have our minds on God and exercise faith and become of one heart and of one mind. Therefore [the Prophet] recommended [that] all present … pray separately and vocally to the Lord to … reveal His will concerning the upbuilding of Zion, and for the benefit of the Saints, and for the duty … of the elders. Accordingly we all bowed down before the Lord, after which each one arose and spoke in his turn his feelings and determination to keep the commandments of God” (in “Minute Book 1,” 3–4, josephsmithpapers.org; spelling, punctuation, and capitalization standardized). In response to their inquiry, the Lord gave the revelation now recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 88. Joseph Smith later designated this revelation as the “‘olive leaf’ … plucked from the Tree of Paradise, the Lord’s message of peace to us” (D&C 88, section heading).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–5 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said to the high priests who had sought His will.
What did the Lord promise these high priests in verses 3–5?
Explain that the phrases “another Comforter” and “Holy Spirit of promise” in verse 3 and the phrase “this Comforter is the promise which I give unto you of eternal life” in verse 4 describe some of the roles of the Holy Ghost.
To help students understand these verses, display the following statements, and invite a student to read them aloud:
“It is … the Holy Ghost, in His character as the Holy Spirit of Promise, that confirms the validity and efficacy of your covenants and seals God’s promises upon you” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,”Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 22).
“The ‘fulness of the Holy Ghost’ (D&C 109:14–15) includes what Jesus described as ‘the promise which I give unto you of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom’… (D&C 88:4–5)” (D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” 23, note 5).
“Full enjoyment of the gift of the Holy Ghost includes receiving revelation and comfort … and being sanctified from sin and made fit for exaltation in the celestial kingdom” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference , 83).
Explain that the promise of being made fit for exaltation and receiving the glory of the Father is made possible through Jesus Christ (see verse 5). Verses 6–13 reveal more about Jesus Christ’s power and influence. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:6–7 aloud, and ask the class to follow along, looking for some of these additional teachings.
According to verses 6–7, what is the “light of Christ”? (As students respond, it might be helpful to explain that the Light of Christ is “divine energy, power, or influence that proceeds from God through Christ” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Light, Light of Christ,” scriptures.lds.org].)
According to verse 6, what did the Savior do so that He could be in and through all things?
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 88:7–13. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional truths we can learn about Jesus Christ and His Light.
Invite students to write on a piece of paper a doctrine about the Light of Christ based on what they learned from verses 7–13. After sufficient time, invite several students to read what they wrote. (Students may suggest several doctrinal truths, but help them identify that through the Light of Christ, God gives light, life, and law to all His creations. Write this truth on the board.)
To help students further understand this doctrine, display the following statement by Elder Richard G. Scott (1928–2015) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and ask a student to read it aloud:
“The Light of Christ is that divine power or influence that emanates from God through Jesus Christ. It gives light and life to all things. It prompts all rational individuals throughout the earth to distinguish truth from error, right from wrong. It activates your conscience [see Moroni 7:16]. Its influence can be weakened through transgression and addiction and restored through proper repentance. The Light of Christ is not a person. It is a power and influence that comes from God and when followed can lead a person to qualify for the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Ghost [see John 1:9; D&C 84:46–47]” (Richard G. Scott, “Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind,”Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2004, 15).
What do you think would happen if we did not have the Light of Christ?
Share your testimony of the power and influence of Jesus Christ and the light, life, and law He brings to all things.
Explain that in addition to providing light, life, and law to all things, the Lord also makes redemption possible. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:14–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord taught about redemption.
According to verse 16, what is the redemption of the soul?
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:18–20 by explaining that in these verses the Lord revealed that the earth will become the celestial kingdom and that those who are resurrected with celestial bodies will inherit it forever and ever.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:21–24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what determines the kingdom of glory we inherit after the Resurrection.
Based on these verses, what determines which kingdom of glory we obtain after the Resurrection? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: The law we choose to live in this life determines the kingdom of glory we inherit after the Resurrection.)
Why do you think we cannot abide a celestial glory if we are not willing to abide by God’s celestial law, which includes the ordinances, covenants, and commandments of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:25–31 by explaining that these verses teach that after we die, we will rise again with the same body we had in mortality, only in a perfected, immortal state. The Lord also revealed that the glory of our resurrected body will match the type of spirit we have become based on the law we have chosen to obey—whether celestial, terrestrial, or telestial.
Remind students that everyone ever born on the earth will be resurrected, but not everyone will receive the same degree of glory.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:32–35 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said about those who would be resurrected but not inherit one of the degrees of glory.
Point out the phrase “because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received” in verse 32.
How might this phrase relate to our own lives?
What can we learn from verse 34 about what will happen to those of us who are willing to be governed by God’s law? (If necessary, explain that as we choose to be governed by God’s law, Jesus Christ will preserve, perfect, and sanctify us.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:36–39 by explaining that all kingdoms have a law given and that there are many kingdoms. Only those persons who abide by God’s law are justified, or “pardoned from punishment” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Justification, Justify,” scriptures.lds.org).
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:39–40 silently, looking for why those who choose not to live God’s law are not justified. Invite students to report what they find.
Invite students to evaluate how well they are abiding God’s law. Encourage them to continue to live God’s law and to make any necessary corrections that will enable them to inherit the celestial kingdom.
Display a picture of stars, such as The Lord Created All Things (Gospel Art Book , no. 2; see also lds.org/media-library), and ask students if they have ever looked at the stars and thought about God’s creations.
What thoughts or questions have you pondered as you have gazed at the stars?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:41–47 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said about Himself and His creations.
How does God govern His creations?
According to verses 46–47, what are we seeing when we view even the least of God’s creations?
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:51–61 by explaining that the Savior told a parable of men laboring in a field, each of whom was visited in turn by their master. From this parable, we learn that the Lord will visit each of His worlds and their inhabitants. Point out that the Lord has come to His kingdom on this earth and that He will come again and reign here during the Millennium.
Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 88:62–69, the Lord taught what we can do now to draw near to Him.
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:62–63 silently, looking for what we can do to invite the Savior to draw near to us.
What principle do these verses teach about drawing near to the Lord? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we draw near to the Lord, He will draw near to us. Invite students to consider marking this principle in verse 63.)
What words in verse 63 teach about how we can draw near to the Savior?
What are some actions that have helped you seek, ask, and knock in order to draw nearer to the Lord?
Ask students to ponder what they have experienced in their lives that has confirmed to them that this principle is true. Invite one or two students to share their experience and testimony of this principle.
Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 88:66–69. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional ways we can draw near to the Father and the Son.
According to verse 67, what blessing comes to those whose eye is single to God’s glory? (Help students identify the following principle: If our eye is single to God’s glory, then we will be filled with light.)
What do you think it means for your eye to “be single to [God’s] glory”?
According to verse 68, what do we need to do for our minds to be single to God? (Explain that the phrase “sanctify yourselves” refers to being purified and cleansed from sin through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the influence of the Holy Ghost as we repent and keep our covenants.)
Conclude by testifying of the truths taught in this lesson. Refer to the continuum on the board, and invite students to think about what they could do to draw closer to the Lord and why they should do so. Invite them to act on any promptings they receive.