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Lesson 38: Doctrine and Covenants 98–100
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“Lesson 38: Doctrine and Covenants 98–100,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 38,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 38

Doctrine and Covenants 98–100

Introduction and Timeline

In 1833, the growing population of Latter-day Saints in Jackson County, Missouri, became a great concern to the original settlers of the county because of the significant cultural, political, and religious differences between the two groups. On July 20, 1833, a group of Missouri citizens demanded that the Latter-day Saints leave Jackson County. Before the Saints could adequately respond, a mob destroyed the Church’s printing establishment and tarred and feathered Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen. Three days later, a large mob threatened further violence, and Church leaders were forced to sign an agreement that all Mormons would leave Jackson County no later than April 1, 1834. On August 6, 1833, in Kirtland, Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 98, in which the Lord taught the Saints how to respond to persecution. The Lord also counseled the Saints to follow “the constitutional law of the land” (D&C 98:6) and warned them to keep their covenants.

John Murdock joined the Church when the first missionaries from New York arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, in November 1830. He immediately began preaching the gospel. In June 1832 he returned from serving a mission to areas in the midwestern United States. In a revelation given to the Prophet Joseph Smith on August 29, 1832, which is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99, the Lord called John Murdock to continue serving as a missionary.

In October 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon departed for a brief mission to Upper Canada. On October 12, 1833, they stopped in Perrysburg, New York, and the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100. The Lord assured the Prophet and Sidney Rigdon that their families in Ohio were well. He also comforted them concerning the Saints in Missouri, who were suffering persecution.

Note: The revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99 is not in chronological sequence with other sections in the Doctrine and Covenants because an error was made in the dating of the revelation when the 1876 edition of the book was printed. That error was corrected in the 1981 printing, but the placement of the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 99 was preserved so that references to the section number in other publications would remain correct. (See Dennis A. Wright, “Historical context and overview of Doctrine and Covenants 99,” in Dennis L. Largey and Larry E. Dahl, eds., Doctrine and Covenants Reference Companion [2012], 805). This lesson will discuss sections 98–100 in the order they appear in the Doctrine and Covenants.

June 1832

John Murdock returned from a mission to areas in the midwestern United States.

August 29, 1832

Doctrine and Covenants 99 was received.

July 20, 1833

A mob in Jackson County, Missouri, destroyed the Church’s printing establishment in Independence and tarred and feathered Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen.

July 23, 1833

Under threat of mob violence, Church leaders in Missouri signed an agreement that all Mormons would leave Jackson County by April 1, 1834.

August 6, 1833

Doctrine and Covenants 98 was received.

August 9, 1833

Oliver Cowdery arrived in Kirtland, Ohio, with news of the mob violence toward the Saints in Missouri.

October 5, 1833

Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon left Kirtland, Ohio, to preach the gospel in New York and in Mount Pleasant, Upper Canada (now Ontario).

October 12, 1833

Doctrine and Covenants 100 was received.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 98:1–22

The Lord comforts the Saints and counsels them to follow the law of the land and keep their covenants

Invite students to think of a time when they, or someone they know, were unfairly treated and to ponder how they, or this person, reacted.

Invite students to look for doctrine and principles as they study Doctrine and Covenants 98 that will help them understand how God expects us to act when we feel we are mistreated.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from the following paragraphs. Ask students to consider how they might have reacted if they had been one of the early Saints in Jackson County, Missouri.

On July 20, 1833, “four or five hundred disgruntled [Missourians] met at the Independence courthouse. They … selected a committee to draft a document outlining their demands of the Mormons. …

“… The committee drafted the declaration that no Latter-day Saints would be allowed to move to or settle in Jackson County, and those that were already there must pledge to leave as soon as possible. … The brethren, startled by the request … , asked for three months to consider the proposition and to consult with Church leaders in Ohio. This was denied them. They asked for ten days, but the committee allowed them only fifteen minutes.

“The meeting quickly turned into a mob that decided to destroy the [Church’s] printing office and the press. They … broke the press, scattered the type, and destroyed nearly all the printed work, including most of the unbound sheets of the Book of Commandments. They soon leveled the two-story printing office. …”

The mob then tarred and feathered Bishop Edward Partridge and Charles Allen in front of the courthouse. Three days later, an armed mob “set fire to haystacks and grain fields and destroyed several homes, barns, and businesses. The mob eventually confronted six leaders of the Church who, seeing the property and lives of the Saints in jeopardy, offered their lives as a ransom. …

“Rejecting this offer, the mob leaders threatened that every man, woman, and child would be whipped unless they consented to leave the county. Under duress the brethren signed an agreement to leave the county” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2nd ed., 2003], 132–34).

  • If you had been one of the Saints in Missouri, how would you have responded to the mob?

Ask students to silently read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 98, looking for evidence that the Lord was aware of the Saints’ suffering in Missouri.

  • What evidence do you see that the Lord was mindful of the Saints’ suffering in Missouri?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 98:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s counsel to the Saints.

  • What counsel do you think would have been comforting to the Saints in Missouri? Why?

  • What counsel do you think would have been difficult to follow?

  • Based on what the Lord promised the Saints in verses 1–2, what principle can we identify about the results of giving thanks in all things and waiting patiently on the Lord? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we give thanks in all things and wait patiently on the Lord, our afflictions will work together for our good.)

  • What do you think it means to wait patiently on the Lord?

  • In what ways can our afflictions work together for our good as we give thanks in all things and wait patiently upon the Lord?

Ask students to think about someone they know who has given thanks in all things and waited patiently on the Lord during trials and challenges. Invite a few students to share these examples with the class. (Remind students not to share anything too personal or private.)

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 98:4−10 by explaining that the Lord counseled the Saints to keep all His commandments and to “befriend,” or follow, “the constitutional law of the land” (verse 6). He also told the Saints to seek and support “honest,” “good,” and “wise” government leaders (verse 10).

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 98:11–15 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else the Lord commanded the Saints to do.

  • What did the Lord command the Saints to do?

Point out the phrase “I will try you and prove you herewith” in verse 12.

  • What do you think “try you and prove you herewith” means? (The Lord will test the Saints’ faithfulness.)

  • Why might it have been important for the Saints in Missouri to understand that the trials they experienced were intended “to prove [them] in all things, whether [they would] abide in [the Lord’s] covenant” (verse 14)?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 98:16–22 by explaining that the Lord told the Saints to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (verse 16). He chastised the Saints in Kirtland, Ohio, and commanded them to repent and keep their covenants.

Doctrine and Covenants 98:23–48

The Lord teaches the Saints how to respond to persecution and explains when war is justified

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 98:23–27 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord counseled the Saints to do when others mistreated them.

  • What did the Lord counsel the Saints to do when reviled or persecuted?

  • What principle can we identify from the Lord’s promises to those who bear their afflictions patiently without seeking revenge? (Help students identify the following principle: If we bear our persecutions patiently without seeking revenge, the Lord will reward us.)

Display the following statement by President James E. Faust (1920–2007) of the First Presidency, and invite a student to read it aloud.

Faust, James E.

“We should not respond by seeking personal revenge but rather let justice take its course and then let go. It is not easy to let go and empty our hearts of festering resentment. The Savior has offered to all of us a precious peace through His Atonement, but this can come only as we are willing to cast out negative feelings of anger, spite, or revenge” (James E. Faust, “The Healing Power of Forgiveness,”Ensign or Liahona, May 2007, 69).

  • What can we do to bear our persecutions patiently and not seek revenge?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 98:28–48 by explaining that the Lord outlined the circumstances when war is justified. He also commanded the Saints to forgive their enemies.

Doctrine and Covenants 99:1–8

The Lord calls John Murdock to proclaim the gospel

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 99 by explaining that John Murdock was called to serve a mission to the eastern United States. Despite facing trials and difficulties, John Murdock accepted his mission call and followed the Lord’s counsel to provide for his children before his departure.

Doctrine and Covenants 100:1–17

The Lord comforts and instructs Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon

  • What concerns do you think missionaries would have when beginning their missionary service?

Invite a student to read aloud the following historical background for Doctrine and Covenants 100:

A convert named Freeman Nickerson traveled to Kirtland, Ohio, in September 1833 and asked the Prophet to come with him to New York and Canada to preach the gospel to his family. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon agreed to the proposal, and they left Kirtland on October 5, 1833. They preached the gospel as they traveled to New York, and after they arrived at Brother Nickerson’s home in Perrysburg, New York, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100 (see Eric Smith, “A Mission to Canada” in Revelations in Context, ed. Matthew McBride and James Goldberg [2016], 202–4, or history.lds.org).

Invite students to silently read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 100, looking for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were concerned about.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.

  • What did the Lord promise Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon regarding their families?

  • According to verses 3–4, why did the Lord send the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon on this mission to New York and Canada?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:5–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to do as missionaries.

  • What did the Lord command them to do?

  • What principle can we identify from the promise the Lord gave Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in verses 5–6? (Help students identify the following principle: As we seek to share the gospel with others, the Lord will help us know what to say.)

  • What principle can we identify from the Lord’s promise in verses 7–8? (Help students identify the following principle: As we share the gospel in solemnity of heart and in the spirit of meekness, the Holy Ghost will testify of what we say.)

  • When have you have experienced one or both of these promises as you have shared the gospel with others?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 100:9–17 by explaining that the Lord appointed Joseph Smith to be a “revelator” and Sidney Rigdon to be the Prophet’s “spokesman” (verses 9–11). The Lord promised the Prophet “power to be mighty in testimony … [and] in expounding all scriptures” (verses 10–11). He also promised that “Zion [would] be redeemed” (verse 13) and declared that He would “raise up … a pure people, that [would] serve [Him] in righteousness” (verse 16).

Conclude by testifying of the truths taught in this lesson, and invite students to apply what they have learned.