Lesson 4 Teacher Material: The Doctrine of Revelation

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“Lesson 4 Teacher Material: The Doctrine of Revelation,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material (2019)

“Lesson 4 Teacher Material,” Foundations of the Restoration Teacher Material

Lesson 4 Teacher Material

The Doctrine of Revelation

The Lord revealed important truths about the doctrine of revelation to Joseph Smith and others in the early days of the Restoration. This lesson is designed to help students increase their ability to receive revelation and better recognize when the Holy Ghost is speaking to them.

Suggestions for Teaching

The Lord reveals principles of revelation to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.


Cultivate a learning environment of love, respect, and purpose. When students know they are valued and respected by their teacher and other students, they are more likely to come to class ready to learn. The acceptance students feel from each other can soften hearts, reduce fear, and invite the sharing of experiences and feelings with the class.

Display the following question: What is a current situation, decision, or question that you would like guidance and revelation on from your Heavenly Father?

Invite students to think about the question and write down their thoughts. After sufficient time, you might ask a few students to share what they wrote with the class if it is not too personal.

To help students understand the relevance of this lesson to their lives, explain the desired outcomes described in the introduction of this lesson.

Display the following image, and ask:

The Gift and Power of God
  • What circumstances led Oliver Cowdery to assist Joseph Smith in translating the Book of Mormon? (Invite students to draw on what they learned from section 1 of their preparation material as needed.)

  • How did revelation influence Oliver’s decision to help Joseph?

Remind students that in response to Oliver’s desire to help translate the Book of Mormon, the Lord taught him about receiving revelation. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 8:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths Oliver needed to understand in order to receive revelation to translate.


Identify principles and doctrine. Clearly identified principles and doctrine help students see truth in a way that is simple and relevant. When possible, encourage students to discover and share principles and doctrine from what they are studying. Writing or displaying principles, or having students note truths in their scriptures, will help students ponder them more deeply and receive revelation on how they might apply them.

  • What truths can we learn from these verses about seeking and receiving revelation? (Students may identify a few truths, including the following: The Lord speaks to our minds and our hearts through the power of the Holy Ghost.)

  • Based on your personal study and experience, what are some ways the Lord speaks to our minds? to our hearts? (List students’ responses on the board. If needed, invite students to review the scripture passages and commentary they studied in section 1 of the preparation material.)

  • Why do you think the Lord chooses to communicate to us through both our minds and our hearts? (Encourage students to draw on what they learned and pondered during their personal study and preparation.)

Explain that when Oliver attempted to translate, he struggled to receive the revelation he needed to continue. Joseph and Oliver asked the Lord why Oliver had struggled. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 9:7–9 silently, looking for a pattern the Lord taught Oliver about how to receive revelation.

  • What pattern did the Lord reveal to Oliver that can help us to receive and recognize revelation? (Revelation often comes after studying questions and matters out in our minds, reaching a conclusion, and then asking God if our conclusion is right.)

Explain that President Dallin H. Oaks of the First Presidency said a “burning in the bosom” can signify “a feeling of comfort and serenity” (“Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Ensign, Mar. 1997, 13).

Invite students to share their thoughts about the following questions and invitation from their preparation material:

  • Why do you think the Lord expects us to study matters out in our minds as part of seeking revelation?

  • What did a friend or family member teach you about inviting and receiving revelation? What have you learned from your own experiences about inviting and receiving revelation?

Note: The following activity is intended to provide students with enough time to consider what they are learning and put it into practice. Adjust the lesson as needed to provide students with plenty of time to ponder, write, read, or pray.

Invite students to ponder and write for a few minutes about what they have learned about revelation and how it relates to the thoughts they wrote down at the beginning of class. Or they could pray silently for guidance on what they wrote down. You might also display the following statement by President Russell M. Nelson and invite students to read it silently, looking for additional ways they can invite revelation.

Russell M. Nelson

Pray in the name of Jesus Christ about your concerns, your fears, your weaknesses—yes, the very longings of your heart. And then listen! Write the thoughts that come to your mind. Record your feelings and follow through with actions that you are prompted to take. As you repeat this process day after day, month after month, year after year, you will “grow into the principle of revelation” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 132). …

I urge you to stretch beyond your current spiritual ability to receive personal revelation. …

Nothing opens the heavens quite like the combination of increased purity, exact obedience, earnest seeking, daily feasting on the words of Christ in the Book of Mormon, and regular time committed to temple and family history work. (Russell M. Nelson, “Revelation for the Church, Revelation for Our Lives,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2018, 95)

The Restoration of the gospel provides a pattern for receiving revelation.

Point out that the principles of revelation Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery learned were revealed to them over time according to the circumstances that arose and the questions they asked. This illustrates an important truth the Lord taught in several of the revelations.

Invite three students to take turns reading aloud Doctrine and Covenants 42:61; 50:24; 98:12. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what these passages teach about how the Lord reveals His truth and will to us.

  • How would you summarize a truth these verses teach about receiving revelation from the Lord? (Using students’ words, display or write a truth on the board that is similar to the following: The Lord reveals truth to us “line upon line, precept upon precept.”)

Remind students that in section 3 of the preparation material, they learned about patterns of receiving revelation from Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to share what stood out to them from his teachings. You might also ask them how his analogies relating to revelation can help us better understand the truth displayed or written on the board.

  • How could understanding this truth help someone who feels like he or she is not receiving answers or guidance from the Lord?

  • What experience have you had with answers or guidance coming gradually over time?

Conclude by testifying or inviting any students who would like to to testify of the truths about revelation taught in the lesson.

For Next Time

Ask students what they think the greatest miracles of the Restoration might be. Invite them to study the preparation material for the next lesson about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and to consider the miracles associated with the preservation, translation, and publication of the Book of Mormon.