Lesson 12: Doctrine and Covenants 10

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

Following the loss of the 116 manuscript pages, the Prophet lost the power to translate. Following a period of humble prayer and repentance, the plates and the Urim and Thummim were returned to Joseph. The Lord commanded Joseph not to retranslate the portion of the plates corresponding to the lost 116 pages, and He revealed Satan’s plot to destroy the work of God. The Lord then commanded Joseph Smith to translate the small plates of Nephi. He also explained the purpose of the Book of Mormon and its role in establishing His Church.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 10:1–4

The Lord restores Joseph’s gift to translate

Ask students to briefly review what they learned from the previous lesson about the loss of the 116 manuscript pages (see D&C 3). Remind students that because of the Prophet’s repeated requests to allow Martin Harris to take the manuscript pages and the subsequent loss of those pages, Moroni took the gold plates and the Urim and Thummim from Joseph Smith.

Moroni later returned the plates and the Urim and Thummim. Sometime after their return, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 10. In this revelation, the Lord instructed Joseph regarding what to do with the portion of the plates from which the lost manuscript came. (See Lucy Mack Smith, History of Joseph Smith by His Mother, ed. Preston Nibley [1958], 133–36.)

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 10:1–2 by explaining that the Lord reminded Joseph why the power to translate had been taken from him and what happened as a result of his mistake. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:3–4. Ask the class to follow along, looking for counsel the Lord gave as Joseph Smith began to translate again. Ask students to report what they find.

  • Why do you think Joseph Smith needed to be counseled not to labor or to translate more than he had strength?

  • How can the counsel in Doctrine and Covenants 10:4 guide us as we serve the Lord?

Doctrine and Covenants 10:5–37

The Lord warns of Satan’s plans to destroy Joseph Smith and the work of God

Display a snare or trap (or draw a picture of one on the board).

mousetrap line drawing
  • How could a device like this represent Satan’s intentions toward us?

Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:5 aloud. Invite the class to look for what the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to do in order to escape Satan.

  • What can we learn from this verse? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that as we pray always, we will have power to overcome Satan and those who serve him. Consider writing this principle on the board.)

  • How can prayer help us to “conquer Satan, and … escape [those who] uphold his work”?

Invite a few students to share examples of how prayer has helped them resist Satan’s temptations. (Remind students that they should not share experiences that are too personal or private.)

Explain that the Lord warned Joseph of a trap Satan had set to try to destroy the Prophet and the work of God. Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 10:8–19. Ask the class to follow along and identify the plan of the wicked individuals who were then in possession of the manuscript.

  • What was the plan of the wicked individuals who had the manuscript? (To discredit the Prophet and the work of the Lord by altering the words of the manuscript. If Joseph had translated the same material again, they would have said that he was unable to do it the same way twice and therefore had no gift.)

Hold up the trap or snare you displayed previously (or refer to the drawing on the board). Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 10:20–29 the Lord speaks about Satan’s influence on the wicked people who obtained the 116 pages of manuscript and how Satan accomplishes his wicked purposes. Divide the class into pairs. Ask one student in each pair to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:20–29 silently, looking for what these verses teach about Satan’s aims. Ask the other student to read the same verses, looking for the strategies Satan uses to accomplish his aims. After sufficient time, invite students to share what they have discovered with their partners.

  • What do we learn from these verses about Satan’s purposes? (Students may discover a variety of principles, but be sure they identify the following truth: Satan desires to destroy the work of the Lord and our souls. You may want to write this truth on the board. You might also suggest that students mark the words and phrases that teach this truth in verses 22–23 and 27.)

  • From what you read in these verses, how does Satan seek to destroy the work of the Lord and our souls?

To help students understand and feel the importance of this truth, ask the following questions. Invite the pairs to discuss their answers.

  • What evidence have you seen that Satan uses deception, anger, flattery, and lying to destroy the work of the Lord and our souls?

  • How can being aware of Satan’s intentions and methods help us avoid and escape his traps?

Invite students to spend a few minutes writing in their class notebooks or scripture study journals about methods of the adversary listed in Doctrine and Covenants 10:20–29 that they have felt or seen. Also ask them to write about what they can do to avoid or escape Satan’s traps.

After students have had sufficient time to write, summarize Doctrine and Covenants 10:30–37 by explaining that because of wicked people’s plans to destroy the work of God and Joseph Smith’s reputation, the Lord commanded Joseph not to retranslate the portion of the plates from which the lost 116 pages had been translated.

Doctrine and Covenants 10:38–45

The Lord commands Joseph Smith to translate the small plates of Nephi

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 10:38–42. Ask the class to look for what the Lord commanded Joseph to translate instead of having him retranslate the portion of the plates from which the lost 116 pages had been translated.

  • What did the Lord command Joseph to translate? Why?

Help students understand how the Lord had prepared for the loss of the 116 manuscript pages. Explain that the lost document contained the translation of the book of Lehi, which was in Mormon’s abridgment of the large plates of Nephi. Mormon had been inspired to attach the small plates of Nephi to his record for “a wise purpose,” which at the time he did not understand (see Words of Mormon 1:3–7). The small plates of Nephi covered approximately the same time period as the book of Lehi. After the loss of the 116 pages, the Lord commanded the Prophet Joseph Smith to translate the material from the small plates of Nephi.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:43 silently and look for an important truth the Lord wanted Joseph Smith to understand. (As students share their ideas, write the following truth on the board: The wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. You may need to explain that cunning refers to the use of tricks to deceive people.)

  • How does the Lord’s plan to replace the lost manuscript illustrate this truth?

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:44–45 silently, looking for evidence of the truth in verse 43.

  • According to Doctrine and Covenants 10:44–45, why are the small plates of Nephi of greater worth than what was lost with the 116 manuscript pages?

  • How does knowing that God prepared a way to compensate for the 116 lost manuscript pages help you more fully trust Him?

Doctrine and Covenants 10:46–70

The Lord explains the purpose of the Book of Mormon and its role in establishing His Church

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 10:46–61 by explaining that in these verses the Lord testified that He answered the prayers of His Nephite disciples by preserving and bringing forth the Book of Mormon in our day.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:62–63 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said that the Book of Mormon would bring to light.

  • What will the Book of Mormon bring to light? (The true points of Jesus Christ’s doctrine.)

  • According to verse 63, how will the Lord use the true points of His doctrine to overcome the work of Satan?

Invite a student to read aloud the Lord’s concluding promise in Doctrine and Covenants 10:67, 69–70. Ask students to follow along and note phrases that are meaningful to them in light of what they have learned today. Invite students to share which phrases are meaningful to them and why. Conclude with your testimony.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery—Doctrine and Covenants 10:5

Divide the class into multiple teams (two or more students per team). This activity will work best if each team is sitting in a row. Ensure that each student has a piece of paper and something to write with and that students’ scriptures are open to Doctrine and Covenants 10:5. Instruct the students that when you say “go,” they are to begin copying the scripture mastery passage on their papers. When you say “pass,” they are to finish the word they are writing and then pass their paper to the team member next to them (the last person in the row will need to walk his or her paper to the first person in the row). When they receive the papers from their teammates, they should continue writing the passage where their teammates left off. Each time you say “pass,” students once again pass their papers to their teammates. The first team to have the complete passage written on every teammate’s paper wins. (You may want to emphasize that the passage must be legible.)

Repeat this activity a few times. Each time students complete the activity, they will become more familiar with this scripture mastery passage. At the end of the activity, you might ask for volunteers to recite the passage from memory.

Note: Because of the length of this lesson, you may want to use this activity on another day, when you have more time.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 10:45. “Greater views upon my gospel”

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that the Lord’s “wise purpose” (see 1 Nephi 9:5; Words of Mormon 1:7) for commanding the writing and preserving of the small plates of Nephi went beyond compensating for the loss of the 116 pages of manuscript:

“It strikes me that there is a wiser purpose than that [compensating for the loss of the 116 pages], or, more accurately, a wiser purpose in that. The key to such a suggestion of a wiser purpose is in verse 45 of Doctrine and Covenants section 10. As the Lord instructs Joseph on the procedure for translating and inserting the material from the small plates into what had been begun as the translation of the abridged large plates, he says, ‘Behold, there are many things engraven upon the [small] plates of Nephi which do throw greater views upon my gospel’ (emphasis added).

“So, clearly, this was not a quid pro quo in the development of the final Book of Mormon product. It was not tit for tat, this for that—you give me 116 pages of manuscript and I’ll give you 142 pages of printed text. Not so. We got back more than we lost. And it was known from the beginning that it would be so. It was for a wiser purpose. We do not know exactly what we missed in the 116 pages, but we do know that what we received on the small plates was the personal declarations of three great witnesses, three of the great doctrinal voices of the Book of Mormon, testifying that Jesus is the Christ. …

“My, how we wish we had all of those plain and precious testimonies which have been stripped from the Biblical record. But at least as readers of the Book of Mormon, we have Nephi, Jacob, and Isaiah to speak to us immediately as personal eye-witnesses of the premortal Savior. They are recipients of marvelous revelations regarding his life and ministry and of God’s covenant relationship with the House of Israel, ancient and modern. …

“I think it would be exciting if the 116 pages of manuscript turned up some day, but if they were delivered to my office tomorrow I would never trade them for the material in the small plates of Nephi, for the ‘greater views’ given through the great prophetic sentinels who stand at the gate of the book. So tell your students to stop complaining and get reading—including Isaiah” (“A Standard unto My People” [address to CES religious educators, Aug. 9, 1994], 7–9, LDS.org).

Doctrine and Covenants 10:38–45. The book of Lehi

In the preface to the first edition of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith described the source from which the lost 116 manuscript pages were translated: “I [Joseph Smith] translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 63).

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Doctrine and Covenants 10:43. Video presentation—“The Work of God”

The video presentation “The Work of God” tells the story of Martin Harris and the 116 lost manuscript pages. It is available on the Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Visual Resource DVDs and on LDS.org. Consider showing the video after students have learned from Doctrine and Covenants 10:43 that the wisdom of God is greater than the cunning of the devil. It can serve as a summary of what students have learned in Doctrine and Covenants 3 and 10, helping students understand how Mormon’s inclusion of the small plates of Nephi demonstrates the wisdom of God.

Doctrine and Covenants 10:46–68. Purposes of the Book of Mormon

In addition to summarizing Doctrine and Covenants 10:46–68 in the lesson, invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 10:57–68 silently. Ask them to look for purposes of the Book of Mormon. For instance, we learn that the Book of Mormon brings to light the true doctrines of the Savior (see D&C 10:62) and that the Book of Mormon establishes His gospel “that there may not be so much contention” (D&C 10:63). Invite students to tell about times when they have seen some of these purposes of the Book of Mormon realized in their lives or in the lives of people they know.