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Lesson 34: Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–141
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“Lesson 34: Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–141,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 34,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 34

Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–141

Introduction and Timeline

The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–126 on December 27 and 28, 1832. About a week later, on January 3, 1833, the Prophet dictated the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 88:127–37 after high priests at a conference prayed to know the Lord’s will concerning the establishment of Zion. 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 before the publication of the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

This is the second of two lessons that address Doctrine and Covenants 88. In the portion of the revelation discussed in this lesson, the Lord instructed the elders of the Church to teach each other and to prepare to serve as missionaries. He also revealed signs of His Second Coming, the general order in which all people will be resurrected, and some events surrounding the final battle with Satan at the end of the Millennium. Additionally, the Lord commanded the Saints to build a house of God in Kirtland and commanded the elders to organize “the school of the prophets” (D&C 88:127) under Joseph Smith’s direction. Those participating in the school were to learn together by study and faith and to show each other love and friendship.

June 1832–January 1833

Disagreements continued 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

Doctrine and Covenants 88:127–37 was received.

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.

September 1835

Doctrine and Covenants 88:138–41 was published in the 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–86

The Lord commands the elders of the Church to tarry and prepare for their ministry

Ask students to think of something they have done recently that required preparation. Invite a few students to describe what they did and how they prepared.

  • How did your preparation or lack of preparation influence your success?

Explain that the Lord wants us to be prepared for eternally important events. Invite students to look for doctrine and principles as they study the remainder of Doctrine and Covenants 88 that will help them understand what the Lord wants them to prepare for and why they need to be prepared.

Remind students that during a conference of high priests in Kirtland, Ohio, on December 27–28, 1832, the Lord gave the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 88:1–126. Those in attendance had sought to know the Lord’s will concerning them and the building of Zion.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:70 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord commanded the elders to do.

  • What did the Lord command the elders to do?

Explain that this commandment is similar to the command the Lord gave to His ancient Apostles. The Lord commanded His Apostles to preach the gospel to all nations, but they were to remain in Jerusalem until they were endowed with power from on high (see Luke 24:47–49). Explain that although the commandment to tarry in Kirtland would limit missionary work for a time, the Lord assured the elders that the work would go forth.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:72–73. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told the elders.

  • What phrases in these verses stand out to you? Why?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:74–76 silently, looking for what the Lord commanded the elders to do while they tarried in Kirtland.

  • What did the Lord command the elders to do while they tarried in Kirtland?

  • According to verse 75, why did the Lord command them to do these things? (So that He could fulfill the “great and last promise” He had made to them.)

To help students understand the meaning of this “great and last promise,” invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:67–68 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the promise the Lord gave the Saints.

  • What promise would the Lord fulfill if the Saints kept the commandment to tarry in Kirtland and prepare, sanctify, purify, and cleanse themselves? (The promise that they would see the Lord in His own time and way. This promise was connected to the commandment to build the Kirtland Temple, the call to hold a solemn assembly [see verse 70], and the Lord’s earlier promise to endow the Saints with power from on high [see D&C 38:32; 95:8–9].)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–79 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else the Lord commanded these elders to do to prepare themselves to be endowed with power.

  • What did the Lord command the elders to do in verse 77?

  • According to verse 78, what did the Lord promise would happen if they diligently taught each other the doctrine of the kingdom? (Explain that the phrase “my grace shall attend you” refers to receiving divine help or strength.)

  • Based on the Lord’s promise in verse 78, what will happen as we diligently teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we diligently teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom, the Lord will help us understand His doctrine more perfectly.)

  • In what ways has teaching the gospel to others helped you better understand it?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:80 silently, looking for why the Lord commanded the elders to teach and learn these things. Ask a few students to report what they find.

  • In what ways does diligently teaching each other the doctrine of the kingdom prepare us to serve God?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–82 by explaining that the Lord told the elders that He had sent them “to testify and warn the people” and that everyone who had been warned was expected to warn others.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:83–86 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for additional counsel the Lord gave the elders to help prepare them to preach the gospel and why this counsel is so important.

  • What counsel did the Lord give the elders? Why is it important?

  • According to verses 84–85, what will the testimony of the Saints help the world prepare for?

Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–116

The Lord reveals events surrounding His Second Coming

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–91. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said would follow the testimonies of the Saints.

  • What kinds of testimonies will follow the testimonies of the Saints before the Lord’s Second Coming?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:92 silently, looking for what the angels will say. Ask them to report what they found.

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:93–116 by explaining that at the time of the Second Coming, the great and abominable church that persecuted the Saints will be bound. The Saints who are living on the earth or have already died will be caught up to meet the Savior and descend with Him. The dead will be resurrected in order, according to their righteousness. After their resurrection, the righteous will receive the glory of the Lord and their inheritance. Satan will be bound during the Millennium but then released for a season. Michael (Adam) and his armies will defeat Satan and his armies, and Satan will no longer have power over the Saints.

Doctrine and Covenants 88:117–41

The Lord commands priesthood holders to build the faith of others, seek learning by faith, establish a house of God, and organize a school

Explain that after the Lord described some of the events surrounding the His Second Coming, He told the Saints what they needed to do to prepare themselves and others for those events.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:117–18 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord told His servants to do to prepare for these events.

  • What did the Lord tell His servants to do in verse 117?

Point out the phrase “and as all have not faith” in verse 118.

  • What did the Lord tell His servants to do to increase their faith and the faith of others in verse 118?

  • What principles can we learn from verse 118 about how to build our faith? (After students respond, write the following principles on the board: As we diligently teach one another, we can increase our own faith and help strengthen the faith of others. The Lord commands us to seek learning by study and by faith.)

  • What do you think it means to learn “by study and also by faith” (verse 118)?

To help students understand what it means to learn by faith, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Bednar, David A.

“Learning by faith requires spiritual, mental, and physical exertion and not just passive reception. …

“… Learning by faith cannot be transferred from an instructor to a student through a lecture, a demonstration, or an experiential exercise; rather, a student must exercise faith and act in order to obtain the knowledge for himself or herself” (David A. Bednar, “Seek Learning by Faith,”Ensign, Sept. 2007, 64).

  • According to Elder Bednar, how do we learn by faith?

  • What are some examples from the scriptures of people who have exercised their faith and acted to obtain knowledge?

  • When has your faith increased as a result of acting to obtain knowledge?

Invite students to ponder what they could do to better act on what they have learned. Encourage them to follow any promptings they receive from the Holy Ghost.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:119–20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told the Saints to do to prepare for the Second Coming and increase their faith.

  • What did the Lord tell the Saints to do? (After students respond, explain that the Prophet Joseph Smith understood verse 119 to be a command to build a house of God where the Saints could hold their solemn assembly and be taught from on high. In response to this verse, the Saints eventually built the Kirtland Temple.)

  • According to verse 120, what reasons did the Lord give for the Saints to build the house of God?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:121–26 with a partner and look for counsel the Lord gave His servants to prepare them to be instructed in the temple.

  • How would following this counsel prepare members to be instructed in the temple?

  • How might following this counsel prepare you to be instructed in our Church meetings and in the temple?

Explain that on January 3, 1833, a week after the conference of high priests, the Lord provided additional instruction about how the house of God would serve as a house of learning. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:127–41 by explaining that the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to establish the School of the Prophets for those called to the ministry. This school was designed to prepare them for missionary work and future Church service. Those in the school were instructed to teach and learn the doctrine of the kingdom and seek out wisdom from the best sources available. The Lord set forth the order of the School of the Prophets, including the manner of salutation and the ordinance of washing of feet. The original School of the Prophets met in Newel K. Whitney’s store.

Invite students to share a doctrine or principle from today’s lesson that was important to them and explain why. Encourage students to act on promptings they received.