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Lesson 44: Doctrine and Covenants 111–14
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“Lesson 44: Doctrine and Covenants 111–14,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 44,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 44

Doctrine and Covenants 111–14

Introduction and Timeline

In the summer of 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, to search for means to help pay the Church’s debts. On August 6, 1836, while these brethren were in Salem, the Lord gave the Prophet the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 111. In it He assured the Prophet that there was “much treasure in [Salem] … for the benefit of Zion” (D&C 111:2) and addressed concerns about the Church’s debts and Zion’s future.

In 1837, Thomas B. Marsh, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, was concerned about rebellion and dissension among members of that quorum in Kirtland, Ohio. He also had questions about missionary work. He sought counsel from the Prophet Joseph Smith, and on July 23, 1837, the Lord gave the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 112, in which He instructed Thomas B. Marsh regarding the work of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Thomas’s calling as its president.

In March 1838, after relocating to Far West, Missouri, from Kirtland, Ohio, the Prophet Joseph Smith dictated inspired answers to questions about certain passages of Isaiah. These questions and answers are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 113 and clarify Isaiah’s prophecies about the latter-day Restoration and the redemption of Zion.

On April 11, 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 114. In this revelation, the Lord directed David W. Patten to prepare for a future mission and warned rebellious Church leaders that they would lose “their bishopric,” or calling, if they were not faithful (D&C 114:2).

August 5, 1836

The Prophet Joseph Smith and his companions arrived in Salem, Massachusetts.

August 6, 1836

Doctrine and Covenants 111 was received.

Spring and summer 1837

Various Church members and leaders in Kirtland, Ohio, spoke out against the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Summer 1837

Apostles Thomas B. Marsh, David W. Patten, and William Smith traveled from Far West, Missouri, to Kirtland, Ohio, to address rebellion and dissension in the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

July 23, 1837

Doctrine and Covenants 112 was received.

January 12, 1838

The Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon fled Kirtland, Ohio, and began traveling to Far West, Missouri, to escape mob violence.

March 1838

Doctrine and Covenants 113 was received.

April 11, 1838

Doctrine and Covenants 114 was received.

October 25, 1838

Six months after the Lord addressed him in the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 114, Elder David W. Patten was fatally shot during the battle of Crooked River.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 111:1–11

The Lord reassures the Prophet Joseph Smith and other Church leaders regarding their journey to Salem, the Church’s debts, and Zion’s future

Before class, write the following question on the board: What causes you stress or anxiety?

Invite a few students to share their thoughts with the class if they feel comfortable doing so.

Ask a student to read the following historical summary aloud:

In 1836, the Church faced serious financial challenges. The construction of the Kirtland Temple had left the Church deeply in debt, and loss of business interests, land, and homes as a result of persecution in Missouri had prevented the Church from paying its debts. In late July 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith, Oliver Cowdery, Sidney Rigdon, and Hyrum Smith traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, arriving on August 5. Although no firsthand accounts describe the specific purpose of this journey, according to a later account, a Church member named Brother Burgess had previously told Church leaders in Kirtland, Ohio, that he knew of a house in Salem, Massachusetts, in which was hidden a large sum of unclaimed money. According to this same account, Joseph Smith and his companions sought for the money in Salem, but Brother Burgess could not locate the house containing the money. (See The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 5: October 1835–January 1838, ed. Brent M. Rogers and others [2017], 274–75.)

  • How might you have felt after traveling to Salem in hopes of finding the means to help pay the Church’s debt and not finding what you expected?

  • What might you have done after not being able to find the money?

Explain that on August 6, 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 111.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 111:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said to these Church leaders.

  • What did the Lord say to these Church leaders? (You may want to explain that a folly is a mistake or error in judgment.)

  • What did the Lord say that may have comforted these leaders?

  • What principle can we identify from these verses about what can happen if we sincerely strive to accomplish the Lord’s will? (After students respond, write the following principle on the board: Despite our follies, the Lord can bring forth good from our sincere efforts to accomplish His will.)

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 111:3–4 by explaining that the Lord instructed the Prophet Joseph Smith and his companions to become acquainted with the people in Salem as directed by the Spirit (verse 3) and that “in due time” Salem’s “wealth” would be made available “for the benefit of Zion” (verses 2, 4).

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 111:5–11. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s instructions to Joseph Smith and his companions.

  • What did the Lord tell Joseph Smith and his companions in verses 5–6?

  • What did the Lord instruct them to do in verse 7?

  • According to verse 8, how would these brethren know where to “tarry,” or stay, during their visit to Salem?

  • What counsel and promise did the Lord give these men in verse 11?

Explain that we do not know all the ways the Lord has fulfilled or will yet fulfill His promises concerning the “treasures” of Salem. However, approximately five years after this revelation was received, the First Presidency sent Elder Erastus Snow on a mission to Salem, where he established a branch of 110 converts. Many faithful members of the Salem Branch eventually traveled west with the Saints, and they became a great benefit to the Church.

Doctrine and Covenants 112:1–34

The Lord instructs Thomas B. Marsh concerning the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and his role as its president

Explain that in 1837, some Church members in Kirtland became prideful and rebellious, including several members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. In July 1837, Thomas B. Marsh, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and fellow Apostles David W. Patten and William Smith traveled from Far West, Missouri, to Kirtland, Ohio, to address disunity in the Quorum. President Marsh had called for a council meeting to be held with the entire Quorum of the Twelve Apostles on July 24, 1837, but when he arrived in Kirtland, he found that two members of the Quorum had already left for a mission to England. President Marsh was upset that he had not been consulted regarding these missions. On July 23, 1837, President Marsh sought counsel from the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Prophet consequently received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 112.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 112:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said to Thomas B. Marsh.

  • What good things did the Lord say Thomas B. Marsh had done?

  • According to verse 2, what concerns does the Lord express regarding Thomas B. Marsh?

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 112:4–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s counsel to President Marsh and the blessings He promised him if he followed that counsel.

  • What counsel did the Lord give Thomas B. Marsh?

  • What blessings did the Lord promise if he followed that counsel?

  • What principle can we identify from verse 10? (Help students identify the following principle: If we are humble, the Lord will lead us and give us answers to our prayers.)

  • What can we do to help ourselves be humble?

  • Why would humility help us receive the Lord’s guidance?

  • When have you felt the Lord lead you and answer your prayers as you have humbled yourself?

Encourage students to strive to be humble so they can receive the Lord’s guidance and answers to their prayers.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 112:11–13 silently, looking for what the Lord told Thomas B. Marsh to do for the members of his quorum who were struggling. Ask students to report what they find.

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 112:14–34 by explaining that the Lord told the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles not to rebel against the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Lord also told them to “humble themselves” (verse 22) and to “purify [their] hearts before [Him]” (verse 28).

Explain that because of this revelation and President Marsh’s efforts, some members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles repented and served faithfully in the Church. However, some Apostles, as well as other prominent Church leaders, chose not to repent and eventually left the Church.

Doctrine and Covenants 113:1–10

The Lord answers questions about certain passages in Isaiah

Explain that in 1837 the discord in Kirtland, Ohio, intensified to the point that some apostates even plotted to kill the Prophet Joseph Smith. On January 12, 1838, the Lord told Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon to leave Kirtland with their families. They did so and arrived with their families in Far West, Missouri, on March 14, 1838. After arriving in Far West, the Prophet recorded the Lord’s answers to several questions about passages in Isaiah. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 113 by explaining that this section contains questions and answers regarding certain verses in Isaiah 11 and 52.

Doctrine and Covenants 114

The Lord directs David W. Patten to prepare for a mission and warns Church members who deny Him

Explain that on April 11, 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning Apostle David W. Patten.

Invite a student to read the following paragraph aloud:

David W. Patten was called as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in 1835. He was fearless in his defense of the Church and of the Prophet Joseph Smith. While defending the Saints against the mobs in Missouri, David W. Patten was known as “Captain Fear Not.” (See Lycurgus A. Wilson, Life of David W. Patten: The First Apostolic Martyr [1900], 5, 14–15, 32, 41, 52, 62.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 114:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s instructions to David W. Patten.

  • What did the Lord direct Elder Patten to do?

  • How long did Elder Patten have to prepare for his mission?

Inform students that after Elder Patten learned of the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 114, he began preparing himself to fulfill his mission. However, approximately six months later Elder Patten was killed in the battle of Crooked River while attempting to save the lives of three Latter-day Saints who were being held hostage by a local militia.

  • How might the command to prepare for a mission have been a blessing for Elder Patten, even though he did not serve the mission he expected to serve?

  • What principles can we identify from Elder Patten’s example? (Help students identify the following principle: If we follow the Lord’s counsel, we will be prepared to perform the work He calls us to do.)

  • When have you followed the Lord’s counsel and found that it had prepared you for something you had not expected?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 114:2 by explaining that the Lord warned those who were apostatizing that their callings would be taken away and given to others.

Explain that shortly before Elder David W. Patten died, he spoke about some of his fellow Saints, including members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who had not been faithful. He exclaimed, “O that they were in my situation! For I feel that I have kept the faith, I have finished my course, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me.” To his wife, he said, “Whatever you do else, O do not deny the faith” (quoted by Heber C. Kimball, in Wilson, Life of David W. Patten, 69).

Share your testimony of the truths identified in this lesson, and invite students to apply these truths.