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Lesson 8: Doctrine and Covenants 19
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“Lesson 8: Doctrine and Covenants 19,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual (2017)

“Lesson 8,” Doctrine and Covenants Teacher Manual

Lesson 8

Doctrine and Covenants 19

Introduction and Timeline

As the translation of the Book of Mormon neared completion in June 1829, the Prophet Joseph Smith and Martin Harris hired the printer Egbert B. Grandin to print 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon for $3,000. However, Grandin would not start the printing until he was guaranteed payment for the job. Martin Harris made a verbal agreement to pay for the printing by mortgaging some of his farm.

Sometime after the initial agreement, Martin Harris became concerned about mortgaging his farm. In the revelation recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 19, likely given in the summer of 1829, the Lord commanded Martin Harris to “impart a portion of [his] property … [and] pay the debt [he had] contracted with the printer” (D&C 19:34–35). The Lord also revealed important truths about His atoning sacrifice and taught about repentance.

Early June 1829

Joseph Smith and Martin Harris arranged for Egbert Grandin to publish 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon.

July 1, 1829

Joseph Smith completed the translation of the Book of Mormon.

Summer 1829

Doctrine and Covenants 19 was received.

August 25, 1829

Martin Harris mortgaged his farm for $3,000 to pay for the printing of the Book of Mormon.

March 26, 1830

Copies of the Book of Mormon were made available for purchase.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 19:1–20

The Lord explains the consequences of not repenting and describes His suffering for sin

Write the following on the board before class: What has the Lord asked of you that may be difficult for you?

Discuss this question briefly as a class. Explain that Martin Harris faced such a challenge and was taught some powerful truths by the Lord to guide him. Invite students as they study Doctrine and Covenants 19 to look for those truths the Lord taught Martin and use them as they respond to what the Lord requires of them.

Explain that while the translation of the Book of Mormon was nearing completion in June 1829, Joseph Smith and Martin Harris negotiated the possibility of printing 5,000 copies of the Book of Mormon with printer Egbert B. Grandin in Palmyra, New York. Grandin and his typesetter, John H. Gilbert, estimated that it would cost $3,000 to print that many copies. As part of the negotiations, Martin Harris agreed to pay for the printing by mortgaging most of his farm, but it appears that the details of the payment were not arranged at that time. Grandin indicated that he would not purchase the needed materials nor begin work until Martin Harris had guaranteed payment for the printing (see The Joseph Smith Papers, Documents, Volume 1: July 1828–June 1831, ed. Michael Hubbard MacKay and others [2013], 86).

Sometime after the initial negotiations, Martin Harris had second thoughts about mortgaging his farm. In response to Martin’s concerns, Joseph Smith received a revelation during the summer of 1829 that was later recorded as Doctrine and Covenants 19. Invite students as they study Doctrine and Covenants 19 to look for what the Lord taught Martin Harris to help him be willing to make such a significant sacrifice.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:1–3 aloud, and ask the class to identify the doctrine that the Savior taught Martin Harris.

  • What doctrine did the Lord teach about Himself in verse 2? (Jesus Christ accomplished the will of the Father. You may want to suggest that students mark this doctrine.)

  • In what ways did Jesus Christ accomplish the will of Heavenly Father?

  • According to verses 2–3, what power does the Savior have because He accomplished the will of Heavenly Father?

  • In verse 3, the Savior describes His responsibility to judge all humankind at the last day. According to the Savior, what will His final judgment be based on? (We will be judged according to our works and deeds.)

To help students better understand how our works and deeds will affect how we will be judged, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:4–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for additional details the Lord taught about His judgment.

  • According to verses 4–5, what will those who do not repent experience? (You may need to explain that the phrase “but woes shall go forth” in verse 5 refers to the suffering that will come to those who do not repent.)

Write endless punishment and eternal punishment on the board. Explain that these and similar terms are sometimes used in scripture to describe the punishment that will come to all who will not repent. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:6–12 silently, looking for how the Lord described endless or eternal punishment. After sufficient time, invite a few students to explain what they learned from the Lord’s description of these terms. (Help students understand that the terms endless punishment and eternal punishment don’t refer to the length of time people will suffer for their sins. Rather, because the Savior is Endless and Eternal, these phrases refer to the punishment He will administer according to the divine law of justice.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:13–15 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord commanded Martin Harris to do after describing endless and eternal punishment.

  • What reason did the Lord give for commanding Martin Harris to repent?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–17 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord testified will happen to those who choose to repent and what will happen to those who choose not to repent.

  • What principles can we identify from verses 16–17 about those who choose to repent and those who choose not to repent? (After students respond, write the following principles on the board using students’ own words: Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so we can repent and not suffer as He did. If we choose not to repent, we must suffer even as Christ suffered.)

Christ in Gethsemane

Show the picture Jesus Praying in Gethsemane (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 56; see also lds.org/media-library). To help students understand the magnitude of the Savior’s suffering, explain that Doctrine and Covenants 19:18–19 is the only passage of scripture in which the Savior described His suffering in His own words. Other accounts of Jesus Christ’s suffering during His atoning sacrifice were given by others (see Matthew 26:36–39; Luke 22:39–44; Mark 14:32–41; Mosiah 3:7). Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:18–19 silently, looking for the words and phrases the Savior used to describe His suffering. Consider inviting students to mark what they find.

  • Which words or phrases stand out to you? Why?

  • What do these words or phrases teach you about the Savior’s willingness to suffer for our sins?

  • What feelings do you have as you ponder the Savior’s suffering for your sins?

Explain that the phrase “would that I might not drink the bitter cup” (D&C 19:18) refers to the Savior’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane that if possible, He would not have to endure such suffering. Explain that the phrase “nevertheless, … I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men” (D&C 19:19) means that in spite of the incomprehensible cost, Jesus Christ submitted to Heavenly Father’s will by completing the Atonement.

  • How might understanding that the Savior yielded His will to Heavenly Father have influenced Martin Harris as he contemplated mortgaging his farm to pay for the publication of the Book of Mormon?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:20 aloud. Ask students to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Martin Harris after He described His suffering for sin.

  • What did the Lord again command Martin Harris to do? Why?

  • Why do you think the Lord reminded Martin of a time when the Spirit withdrew from him? (For further insight into this question, see the student manual commentary for Doctrine and Covenants 19:20.)

  • How does understanding the Savior’s suffering affect your desire to repent and do whatever He commands, regardless of how difficult it may be?

Encourage students to set a goal to honor the Savior’s sacrifice by repenting regularly.

Doctrine and Covenants 19:21–41

The Lord gives Martin Harris several commandments, including the command to impart his farm for the printing of the Book of Mormon

Explain that after the Lord commanded Martin Harris to repent, the Lord gave him additional commandments and counsel. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:21–24 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Lord commanded Martin Harris to do. Ask a few students to report what they find.

  • Based on the Lord’s words to Martin in verse 23, what will we receive as we learn of Christ, listen to His words, and walk in the meekness of His Spirit? (As we learn of Christ, listen to His words, and walk in the meekness of His Spirit, we will have peace. You may want to write this principle on the board.)

  • What can we do to learn of Christ?

  • What opportunities do we have to listen to His words?

  • What does it mean to be meek? (If necessary, explain that meekness includes being “godfearing, righteous, humble, teachable, and patient under suffering. The meek are willing to follow gospel teachings” [Guide to the Scriptures, “Meek, Meekness,” scriptures.lds.org]).

  • When has walking in the meekness of the Savior’s Spirit brought peace into your life?

  • How do you think following the principles in Doctrine and Covenants 19:23 might have helped Martin Harris make the decision to mortgage his farm?

Invite students to scan Doctrine and Covenants 19:25–35, looking for additional commandments and counsel the Lord gave to Martin Harris. You may want to suggest that students mark the phrases “I command” and “thou shalt.” After sufficient time, invite students to share what they discovered.

  • What commandment did the Lord give Martin Harris regarding his farm?

  • How can a person covet his own property?

  • According to verses 26–27, why was printing the Book of Mormon so important?

  • According to verse 33, what did the Lord say would happen if Martin chose to “slight [disregard] these counsels”?

Divide the class into pairs, and invite them to read Doctrine and Covenants 19:36–41 together, looking for additional principles that might have motivated Martin Harris to be obedient to the Lord’s commandments. Invite students to share what they find.

  • Based on the Lord’s promise to Martin Harris in verse 38, what will we receive if we do the Lord’s will? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify a principle similar to the following: If we do the Lord’s will, we will receive blessings that are of greater value than the treasures of the earth.)

  • What are some blessings you feel are of greater value than the treasures of the earth?

  • In what ways is the Book of Mormon of greater value than Martin Harris’s farm?

Explain that on August 25, 1829, in obedience to the Lord’s command, Martin Harris mortgaged his property as payment for the printing of the Book of Mormon. Egbert Grandin considered himself paid in full, and printing commenced shortly thereafter.

Refer to the question on the board that you discussed at the beginning of the lesson. Encourage students to obey the Lord even if it is difficult, and remind them that they may receive blessings that are of greater value than the treasures of the earth.