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Lesson 41: Doctrine and Covenants 103, 105
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“Lesson 41: Doctrine and Covenants 103, 105,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 41,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 41

Doctrine and Covenants 103, 105

Introduction and Timeline

On February 24, 1834, Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight met with the Prophet Joseph Smith and the Kirtland high council to explain the plight of the Saints in Missouri and to seek counsel and help. On the same day, the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 103, in which the Lord promised that the Saints would be “[restored] to the land of Zion” if they did not “pollute their inheritances” (D&C 103:13–14) and directed Church leaders to gather resources and recruits to help the Saints in Missouri.

In obedience to the Lord’s command, the Prophet Joseph Smith and just over 200 volunteers formed the Camp of Israel (later known as Zion’s Camp) in order to go to the aid of the Saints who had been forced out of their homes in Jackson County, Missouri. On June 22, 1834, while camped four miles north of the Fishing River in Missouri and about 24 miles from Independence, Joseph Smith dictated the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 105, in which the Lord explained that the Saints must “wait for a little season for the redemption of Zion” (D&C 105:9). The Lord also gave instructions concerning what would need to occur in order for Zion to be redeemed, or reclaimed by the Saints, at a future time.

November–December 1833

The Saints were forced to leave Jackson County, Missouri.

February 24, 1834

Doctrine and Covenants 103 was received.

March–May 1834

Church leaders recruited men and gathered money in preparation for the march to Missouri.

May 1834

Members of Zion’s Camp began their march from Ohio to Missouri.

June 15, 1834

The Prophet Joseph Smith learned that Governor Daniel Dunklin would not provide a militia to help the Saints return to their homes in Jackson County, Missouri.

June 22, 1834

Doctrine and Covenants 105 was received.

Late June 1834

Members of Zion’s Camp and other Church members were afflicted with cholera.

Early July 1834

Members of Zion’s Camp were discharged.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 103:1–20

The Lord promises that Zion will be redeemed

Write the phrase Overcome by the world on the board.

  • How would you explain what it means to be overcome by the world? (Possible answers might include being overwhelmed and harmed by unrighteous influences, temptation, and sin.)

  • What are some ways young adults are being overcome by the world today?

Invite students to look for principles as they study Doctrine and Covenants 103 that will help them know how to receive power to prevail against the world’s unrighteous influences.

Explain that when the Saints were forced out of Jackson County, Missouri, they struggled to find adequate shelter and food and wondered if they should settle elsewhere rather than try to return to their homes in Jackson County. As Church leaders appealed to local and state officials for help, the Saints were led to believe that if they formed their own security force, the governor of Missouri, Daniel Dunklin, would call out the state militia to escort the Saints back to their lands in Jackson County. Unsure of what to do next, the Saints in Missouri sent Parley P. Pratt and Lyman Wight to Ohio to seek direction from the Prophet Joseph Smith. Parley and Lyman arrived in Kirtland in late February 1834 and met with the Prophet and the newly formed high council on February 24 to discuss the needs of the Missouri Saints. That same day, the Prophet received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 103.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 103:1–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the reasons the Lord allowed the Saints to be persecuted and driven from Jackson County.

  • What reasons did the Lord give for allowing the Saints in Missouri to be persecuted and driven from their homes?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 103:5–7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s counsel and promise to the Saints.

  • What counsel and promise did the Lord give the Saints?

  • What principle can we identify from the Lord’s counsel and promise in these verses? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we hearken to the Lord’s counsel, we will have power to prevail against the world.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 103:8–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s warning to those who would not hearken to His words.

  • According to verse 8, what will happen if we do not keep the commandments? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: If we do not keep the commandments, the world will prevail against us.)

Divide the class into groups of two or three, and invite students to discuss in their groups their responses to the following questions. (You may want to write these questions on the board or provide them to students on a handout.)

  • What are some examples of how hearkening to the Lord’s counsel gives us power to prevail against the world?

  • When have you felt the Lord help you prevail against the world as you have hearkened to His counsel?

Testify that if we diligently strive to hearken to the Lord’s counsel and sincerely repent when we fall short, He will help us prevail against the evil influences of this world. Invite students to ponder and write down what they will do to more fully hearken to the Lord’s counsel.

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 103:11–20 the Lord revealed that “after much tribulation,” He would restore His people to the land of Zion “in time” (verses 12, 20).

Doctrine and Covenants 103:21–40

The Lord reveals how the land of Zion is to be redeemed

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 103:21–25. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord asked the Prophet Joseph Smith to do to help redeem Zion. Ask students to report what they find.

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 103:26–40, the Lord called upon eight Church leaders to recruit men and gather money and supplies to help redeem, or reclaim, the land of Zion. The Lord told them to recruit five hundred men if possible but no fewer than one hundred. This expedition would come to be known as Zion’s Camp.

Invite a student to read the following paragraph aloud:

At the end of the high council meeting in which Church leaders discussed the situation of the Missouri Saints, Joseph Smith said that he would travel to Zion and help redeem it. Approximately 30 or 40 of the men present also volunteered. Over the next few months, the eight Church leaders who had been called worked diligently to prepare for the expedition. Eventually over 200 recruits joined Zion’s Camp for the march to Missouri.

Doctrine and Covenants 105:1–19

The redemption of Zion is deferred “for a little season”

Display a map showing Kirtland, Ohio, and Jackson County, Missouri (such as map no. 9, “Zion’s Camp Route, 1834,” in this manual).

Church History Maps: Zion's Camp Route, 1834

Explain that many members of Zion’s Camp were eager to take part in the expedition and viewed the experience positively. However, they encountered many hardships as well. The group traveled over 900 miles over rough terrain. Most traveled on foot and walked between 20 and 40 miles a day. They suffered from heat, humidity, rain, mud, broken equipment, food and water shortages, sickness, and sore and bloody feet. On occasion, some were driven by their thirst to drink swamp water or the water from horse tracks after a rainstorm. Some members of the camp complained about the conditions of the march.

  • If you had been part of Zion’s Camp, how might these experiences have tested your faith?

Inform students that after Zion’s Camp arrived in Missouri, they learned that Governor Daniel Dunklin would not call out the state militia to help the Saints return to their lands. Despite this discouraging news, Zion’s Camp continued on toward Clay County. On June 22, 1834, while they were camped between the east and west forks of Fishing River, just north of Jackson County, Missouri, the Lord gave the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 105.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 105:1–6. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what prevented the Saints from redeeming Zion.

  • What prevented the Saints from redeeming Zion?

  • According to verse 5, what is the only way Zion can be built?

Explain that the Lord’s counsel in these verses was not directed only to the Saints in Missouri. In Doctrine and Covenants 105:8–9, the Lord chastised other Church members because they refused to join Zion’s Camp or send money to support the suffering Saints in Missouri.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 105:9, 16–17. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the consequences of the Saints’ transgressions.

  • What were some of the consequences of the Saints’ transgressions?

  • If you had been a member of Zion’s Camp, what thoughts or feelings do you think you might have had after marching over 900 miles and then learning that the Lord did not want you to fight to reclaim the land of Zion?

Explain that some members of Zion’s Camp apostatized because they felt that Zion’s Camp had failed when the Saints in Missouri were not restored to their homes and property. However, many remained faithful.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 105:10–14. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s purposes in deferring the redemption of Zion.

  • What were the Lord’s purposes in deferring the redemption of Zion? (Remind students that endowment in verse 12 refers to an endowment of power that the Lord promised would be given in the Kirtland Temple [see D&C 95:8].)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 105:18–19 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s promise to those who “hearkened unto [His] words” (verse 18).

  • What did the Lord promise to those who hearkened unto His words?

  • What principle can we identify from these verses? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: God will greatly bless those who continue to hearken to His words when their faith is tried.)

Point out that those who were faithful during and after the march of Zion’s Camp were personally tutored by the Prophet Joseph Smith and were prepared for future leadership in the Church.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Wilford Woodruff (1807–1898):

“I was in Zion’s Camp with the Prophet of God. I saw the dealings of God with him. I saw the power of God with him. I saw that he was a Prophet. …

“When the members of Zion’s Camp were called, many of us had never beheld each other’s faces; we were strangers to each other and many had never seen the prophet. … We accomplished a great deal, though apostates and unbelievers many times asked the question, ‘What have you done?’ We gained an experience that we never could have gained in any other way. We had the privilege of beholding the face of the prophet, and we had the privilege of traveling a thousand miles with him, and seeing the workings of the Spirit of God with him, and the revelations of Jesus Christ unto him and the fulfilment of those revelations.

“The experience [we] obtained in travelling in Zion’s Camp was of more worth than gold” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Wilford Woodruff [2011], 135138.)

Refer to the principle written on the board: “God will greatly bless those who continue to hearken to His words when their faith is tried.”

  • How might you relate this principle to young adults and the trials of faith they experience today?

  • When have you or someone you know continued to hearken to the Lord’s words even during a trial of faith?

Encourage students to decide now to continue to hearken to the Lord’s words even when their faith is tried.

Doctrine and Covenants 105:20–41

The Lord teaches the Saints what they must do before Zion is redeemed

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 105:20–41, the Lord promised the Saints that if they followed His counsel they would have “power after many days” to redeem Zion (verse 37).

Conclude by bearing testimony of the truths identified in this lesson, and invite students to act on these truths.