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Lesson 6: Doctrine and Covenants 7; 13; 18
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“Lesson 6: Doctrine and Covenants 7; 13; 18,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 6,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 6

Doctrine and Covenants 7; 1318

Introduction and Timeline

During the work of translating the Book of Mormon in 1829, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery disagreed about whether the Apostle John had died or still lived on the earth. The Prophet Joseph Smith inquired of the Lord through the Urim and Thummim and received the revelation recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 7. “The revelation is a translated version of the record made on parchment by John” (D&C 7, section heading) and teaches that the Lord granted to John his desire to live and bring souls to Jesus Christ until the Second Coming.

While translating 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon, Joseph and Oliver learned about the authority to baptize. On May 15, 1829, they retired to the woods near Joseph Smith’s farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania, and prayed about this authority. In response to their prayer, John the Baptist appeared as a resurrected personage and conferred upon them the Aaronic Priesthood. The words spoken by John the Baptist are contained in Doctrine and Covenants 13.

In June 1829, as the translation of the Book of Mormon neared completion at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation containing instructions about building up Christ’s Church. This revelation, recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 18, called Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to preach the gospel and appointed them to search out twelve men who would serve as Apostles. The revelation also detailed many duties of those who would be called as Apostles.

April 1829

Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery continued translating the golden plates.

April 1829

Doctrine and Covenants 7 was received.

May 15, 1829

John the Baptist restored the Aaronic Priesthood (see Doctrine and Covenants 13).

May–June 1829

Peter, James, and John restored the Melchizedek Priesthood.

June 1829

The Three Witnesses were shown the golden plates.

June 1829

Doctrine and Covenants 18 was received.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 7

John the Beloved is a translated being working to bring souls to Christ until the Second Coming

Hold up a key, and ask students to describe what it is used for.

  • What would happen if you didn’t have the proper key to something?

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Nelson, Russell M.

“Keys are important and valuable. Most of us carry keys in pockets or purses wherever we go. Other keys are not only important and valuable; they are precious, powerful, and invisible! They have eternal significance” (Russell M. Nelson, “Keys of the Priesthood,” Ensign, Oct. 2005, 40).

  • What kind of keys have eternal significance? (Priesthood keys.)

Invite students as they study Doctrine and Covenants 7 and 13 to look for truths that will help them understand what blessings the keys of the priesthood unlock for us.

Explain that as Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery worked on the translation of the Book of Mormon in April 1829, they had a difference of opinion concerning the Apostle John. Invite students to read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 7 silently, looking for the question Joseph and Oliver had about John.

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 7:1–8. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery learned about the Apostle John.

  • What does verse 3 reveal about John? (John is still on the earth as a translated being, working to bring souls to Christ, and will remain until the Second Coming.)

  • According to verse 7, what did the Savior say he was going to give to Peter, James, and John? (The power and keys of the ministry.)

To help students understand the phrase “keys of this ministry” (D&C 7:7), explain that President Joseph Fielding Smith defined this phrase as “the authority of [the] Presidency of the Church in their dispensation” (Church History and Modern Revelation [1953], 1:49).

Doctrine and Covenants 13

John the Baptist confers the Aaronic Priesthood upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

Remind students that “the gospel of Jesus Christ was lost from the earth through the apostasy that took place following the earthly ministry of Christ’s Apostles. That apostasy made necessary the Restoration of the gospel” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Restoration of the Gospel,” scriptures.lds.org). The keys and authority to perform priesthood ordinances and direct the Church were lost from the earth during this apostasy.

Explain that as Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery translated 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon in May 1829, they learned about the authority to baptize. Desiring to know more, they retired to the woods near Joseph Smith’s farm in Harmony, Pennsylvania, to inquire of God.

Invite a student to read the section heading for Doctrine and Covenants 13 aloud, and ask the class to look for who appeared to Joseph and Oliver in response to their prayers.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 13 aloud, and ask the class to look for what John the Baptist said about the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood as he conferred that priesthood upon Joseph and Oliver.

  • What doctrine can we learn from this section about the Aaronic Priesthood? (Help students identify the following doctrine: the Aaronic priesthood holds the keys of the ministering of angels, the gospel of repentance, and baptism by immersion for the remission of sins.)

To help students better understand what is meant by the key of the ministering of angels, invite a student to read aloud the following explanation by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“As a young holder of the Aaronic Priesthood, I did not think I would see an angel, and I wondered what such appearances had to do with the Aaronic Priesthood.

“But the ministering of angels can also be unseen. Angelic messages can be delivered by a voice or merely by thoughts or feelings communicated to the mind” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 39).

To help students understand the relationship between the ministering of angels and the Aaronic Priesthood, display the following statement by Elder Oaks, and invite a student to read it aloud:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“In general, the blessings of spiritual companionship and communication are only available to those who are clean. … Through the Aaronic Priesthood ordinances of baptism and the sacrament, we are cleansed of our sins and promised that if we keep our covenants we will always have His Spirit to be with us. I believe that promise not only refers to the Holy Ghost but also to the ministering of angels, for ‘angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ’ (2 Ne. 32:3). So it is that those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood open the door for all Church members who worthily partake of the sacrament to enjoy the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord and the ministering of angels” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” 39).

  • According to Elder Oaks, how can the ordinances of the Aaronic Priesthood help us receive the ministering of angels?

Point out that because the Aaronic Priesthood holds the key of the ministering of angels, every member of the Church can enjoy this blessing.

To help students understand the relationship between “the gospel of repentance” (D&C 13:1) and the Aaronic Priesthood, display the following statement by Elder Oaks, and invite a student to read it aloud:

Oaks, Dallin H.

“We are commanded to repent of our sins and to come to the Lord with a broken heart and a contrite spirit and partake of the sacrament in compliance with its covenants. When we renew our baptismal covenants in this way, the Lord renews the cleansing effect of our baptism. …

“We cannot overstate the importance of the Aaronic Priesthood in this. All of these vital steps pertaining to the remission of sins are performed through the saving ordinance of baptism and the renewing ordinance of the sacrament. Both of these ordinances are officiated by holders of the Aaronic Priesthood under the direction of the bishopric, who exercise the keys of the gospel of repentance and of baptism and the remission of sins” (Dallin H. Oaks, “The Aaronic Priesthood and the Sacrament,” 38).

  • How do the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood help us receive the blessings of the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Explain that not many days after John the Baptist appeared, Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery and conferred upon them the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God (see D&C 27:12–13; see also Larry C. Porter, “The Restoration of the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods,” Ensign, Dec. 1996, 33). The Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys that were bestowed contained the power and authority to organize and direct the Church of Jesus Christ and to perform additional saving ordinances.

Doctrine and Covenants 18:1–25

The Lord gives instructions for building up His Church and calls Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to preach repentance

Display several items that your students would consider valuable.

  • What makes something valuable?

  • How much would you pay for each item?

Show a picture of several people, and ask students to describe the value of a person. Invite them to look for truths in Doctrine and Covenants 18 that describe how valuable they personally are to the Lord.

Explain that in June 1829, the translation of the Book of Mormon neared completion at the home of Peter Whitmer Sr. in Fayette, New York, and the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 18. In verses 1–5, the Lord reassured Oliver Cowdery that the words he transcribed during the translation were true. The Lord also called Oliver to build up His Church upon the gospel found in the Book of Mormon. In Doctrine and Covenants 18:9, the Lord called Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer to preach repentance.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:10 aloud, and ask the class to identify the doctrine the Lord taught Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer. (Suggest that students mark the following doctrine in their scriptures: The worth of souls is great in the sight of God.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:11–12 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Savior did because of the worth of each of our souls.

  • What did the Savior do because of the worth of each of our souls? (The worth of our souls is so great that Jesus Christ suffered our pains, so that we might repent and come unto Him. Write this doctrine on the board.)

  • How does knowing the worth the Savior places on you affect your willingness to repent and come unto Him?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 18:13–16 silently, looking for what the Lord taught about helping others repent and come unto Him. Explain that the phrase “cry repentance” (D&C 18:14) can mean to help people return to God.

  • According to verse 13, how does the Savior feel when we repent of our sins?

  • What principle can we learn from these verses about what will happen to us if we help others repent and come unto Christ? (If we help others repent and come unto Christ, we will feel joy with them in the kingdom of Heavenly Father.)

Invite a few students to share experiences they have had helping others come to Christ and the joy they have felt from doing so.

Encourage students to make a plan to help someone progress in their efforts to repent and come unto Christ.

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 18:17–25 by explaining that the Lord counseled Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer concerning missionary work and explained that those who repent, are baptized, and endure to the end will be saved.

Doctrine and Covenants 18:26–47

The Lord reveals the calling and mission of the Twelve Apostles

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 18:26–40 by explaining that the Lord informed Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer that Twelve Apostles would be called to preach the gospel to all the world. The Lord also charged the future Apostles to be clean and to declare the gospel according to the power of the Holy Ghost. Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were called to find the men God had called to be the Twelve Apostles. At a later date, Martin Harris was also called to help search out the Twelve.

Conclude by inviting a few students to share their testimonies of one of the truths taught in today’s lesson.