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Lesson 43: Doctrine and Covenants 109–110
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“Lesson 43: Doctrine and Covenants 109–110,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 43,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 43

Doctrine and Covenants 109–10

Introduction and Timeline

The cornerstones of the Kirtland Temple were laid on July 23, 1833. During the next three years, Church members in Kirtland, Ohio, made great sacrifices to build the temple in obedience to the Lord’s commandment (see D&C 88:119; 95:8–9). While preparing for the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith, assisted by Oliver Cowdery, wrote a prayer, “given to him by revelation” (D&C 109, section heading), which he offered at the dedicatory service held on Sunday, March 27, 1836. This prayer is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109 and contains pleas to the Lord to “accept the dedication of [the temple] unto [Him]” (D&C 109:78), to bless “all people who shall enter [it]” (D&C 109:13), and to “remember all [His] church, … that the kingdom, which [He has] set up without hands, may become a great mountain and fill the whole earth” (D&C 109:72).

On April 3, 1836, Jesus Christ appeared to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple. The prophets Moses, Elias, and Elijah also appeared and committed important priesthood keys. An account of these appearances is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 110.

Early June 1833

Church members began constructing the Kirtland Temple in Kirtland, Ohio.

March 27, 1836

The Prophet Joseph Smith read the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple, later recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109.

March 30, 1836

The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to some of those gathered in a solemn assembly meeting in the Kirtland Temple.

April 3, 1836

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery saw and heard Jesus Christ and received priesthood keys from Moses, Elias, and Elijah in the Kirtland Temple, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 110.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 109:1–28

The Prophet Joseph Smith asks the Lord to accept the Kirtland Temple and to bless those who worship there

Display several pictures of temples.

  • Why do we build temples?

Invite students to look for doctrine and principles that answer this question as they study Doctrine and Covenants 10910 in today’s lesson.

Kirtland Temple

Display a picture of the Kirtland Temple (see Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 117; see also lds.org/media-library). Invite a student to read the following paragraph aloud:

Building the Kirtland Temple was a tremendous challenge for the Kirtland Saints, as they were few in number and most of them were poor. On Sunday, March 27, 1836, about 1,000 people gathered in the temple, leaving hundreds of people still outside, many of whom had sacrificed to help build the temple. At the Prophet’s suggestion, “some of those unable to enter [the temple] held a meeting in the adjacent schoolhouse while others returned home to await a second dedicatory event.” The dedication began with an opening prayer and hymn, after which Sidney Rigdon spoke for two and a half hours. He “then presented [Joseph Smith’s] name to the congregation” for sustaining as “Prophet and Seer” (The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838, ed. Brent M. Rogers and others [2017], 189). After a 20-minute intermission, the Prophet Joseph Smith spoke briefly to the congregation and called for a sustaining vote of Church leaders. The Prophet then read aloud the dedicatory prayer. The meeting concluded with the congregation giving the Hosanna Shout, which they did by loudly proclaiming three times, “Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to God and the Lamb! Amen, amen, and amen.” (See Joseph Smith Papers, Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, ed. Dean C. Jessee and others [2008], 203–11.)

Explain that the dedicatory prayer of the Kirtland Temple is found in Doctrine and Covenants 109. It has become a pattern for all subsequent temple dedicatory prayers.

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 109:1–5. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the reasons the Saints built the Kirtland Temple.

  • According to verses 2 and 5, why did the Saints build the Kirtland Temple?

  • According to verse 4, what did the Prophet Joseph Smith pray the Lord would do?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 109:6–11 by explaining that in one part of the dedicatory prayer, the Prophet recounted the Lord’s command to the Saints to build a temple (see D&C 88:117–20), and he pled for the blessings the Lord had promised to give them when the temple was completed.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 109:12–15. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the blessings the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed for. Ask students to report what they find.

  • What principle can we identify from these verses about the blessings we can receive as we worship God in the temple? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Those who worship God in the temple can feel His power, learn of Him, receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost, and be prepared to obtain every needful thing.)

Explain that to “receive a fulness of the Holy Ghost” (D&C 109:15) means to receive “the promise … of eternal life, even the glory of the celestial kingdom” (D&C 88:4; see also D. Todd Christofferson, “The Power of Covenants,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2009, 23, note 5).

Refer to the principle on the board, and ask:

  • In what ways have you been blessed as you have worshipped God in the temple?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 109:16–20 by explaining that the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that the Lord would accept the Kirtland Temple as His house and that “no unclean thing [would] be permitted to come into [it]” (verse 20).

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed for.

  • What did the Prophet pray would occur when God’s people transgress?

Point out that if we are not worthy to enter the temple because of transgression, we can repent, be forgiven, and receive all that the Lord has promised to those who worthily worship Him in the temple.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 109:22–28. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Prophet asked the Lord to do for His servants.

  • According to verses 22–24, what did the Prophet ask the Lord to do for His servants who serve as missionaries?

  • Why do you think it is important for missionaries to be “armed with … power” in the temple before they “go forth” to share the gospel (verse 22)?

  • According to verses 25–28, what did the Prophet ask the Lord to do for the Saints?

  • What principle can we identify from these verses about the blessings of worshipping God in the temple? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: As we worship God in the temple, we will be armed with His power and protection.)

  • What do you think it means to be armed with God’s power?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917–2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for blessings we can receive as we are armed with God’s power.

“In the house of the Lord, faithful Church members can be endowed ‘with power from on high’ [D&C 95:8], power that will enable us to resist temptation, honor covenants, obey the Lord’s commandments, and bear fervent, fearless testimony of the gospel to family, friends, and neighbors” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Cultivating Divine Attributes,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 27).

  • How can “power from on high” (D&C 95:8) be a blessing to you?

Share your testimony that as we worship God in the temple, we will be armed with His power and protection.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:29–80

The Prophet Joseph Smith asks the Lord to have mercy on the Saints and others and to accept the temple

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 109:29–80 by explaining that the Prophet Joseph Smith prayed that those who “spread lying reports” about the Saints would be “confound[ed]” (verse 29) and that Church members would be able to “rise up … [to] do [the Lord’s] work” (verse 33). He also prayed that the Lord would fill the temple “with [His] glory” (verse 37) and provide His servants with the testimony and power they would need to proclaim the gospel (verses 38–41). In addition, the Prophet asked that “the inhabitants of the earth” would be prepared to receive the gospel (verses 38–39).

Invite a student to read aloud the following description of what happened after the Prophet Joseph Smith dedicated the temple.

In the evening following the dedication, over three hundred priesthood holders met in the temple. A sound like a rushing of wind filled the building, and all of them stood. Many prophesied, spoke in tongues, and saw visions and angels. Some people nearby saw a pillar of fire and angels above the temple and heard heavenly singing (see Manuscript History of the Church, vol. B-1, addenda, note J, p. 3–4, josephsmithpapers.org). For the next six weeks, the Saints in Kirtland experienced many spiritual manifestations. The most important spiritual manifestation occurred one week after the temple dedication, on April 3, 1836.

Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–10

The Savior appears in glory and accepts the Kirtland Temple as His house

Explain that on April 3, 1836, a group of Church members met in the temple for a sacrament meeting. After the sacrament was administered, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery entered the elevated pulpits on the west end of the temple and lowered the curtains that surrounded the pulpits. The Prophet and Oliver Cowdery knelt inside this secluded area and prayed.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–3 silently, looking for what happened in response to this prayer. Ask students to report what they find.

Display the following image:

The Lord Appears in the Kirtland Temple
  • How did the Prophet describe the Savior?

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 110:4–8. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

  • According to verse 5, why were Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery told to “rejoice”?

  • According to verses 6–8, why did the Saints have reason to “rejoice”?

  • What principle can we identify from verses 7–8 regarding what will happen if we obey the Lord’s commandments and “do not pollute [His] holy house” (verse 8)? (Help students identify the following principle: If we obey the Lord’s commandments and keep His house pure, He will manifest Himself to us in His temples.)

Explain that generally the Lord manifests Himself to His people through the power of the Holy Ghost (see 3 Nephi 15:23). However, He may also manifest Himself by “appear[ing] unto [His] servants” (D&C 110:8).

  • How can we keep the Lord’s house pure and unpolluted?

  • Why do you think we must be obedient and purify ourselves in order for the Lord to manifest Himself to us in the temple?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who will be blessed because of the restoration of temple blessings. Ask students to report what they find.

Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16

Moses, Elias, and Elijah commit priesthood keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

Explain that after their vision of the Savior in the Kirtland Temple concluded, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were visited by other heavenly messengers. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who else appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

  • Who else appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple?

  • What did each heavenly messenger commit to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery?

Help students understand that Moses “committed … the keys of the gathering of Israel” (D&C 110:11), which are used to direct missionary work. Elias “committed the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham” (D&C 110:12), or the promise that through Abraham’s “seed … all the families of the earth [would] be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal” (Abraham 2:11). Elijah committed the keys of the sealing power (see D&C 110:13–16), which allow worthy couples and families to be sealed together eternally.

  • Why was it important that these priesthood keys be restored in the latter days? (After students respond, write the following doctrine on the board: Through priesthood keys, the Lord’s authorized servants direct and accomplish the work of salvation.)

Explain that the priesthood keys committed to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery are held and used today by each member of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles under the direction of the President of the Church.

  • How have you been blessed by the priesthood keys and powers that Moses, Elias, and Elijah committed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Kirtland Temple?

Review the doctrine and principles identified in today’s lesson, and share your testimony of these truths. If time permits, you may want to show the video “The Holy Temple” (5:09), in which Church members testify of the blessings of the temple. This video is available on LDS.org.

Encourage students to set a goal to attend the temple as often as their circumstances allow so they can receive God’s power and protection.