Shortly before a Church conference that was held on September 26, 1830, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation in the presence of six elders. Through the revelation, these elders learned about the gathering of the Savior’s elect before His Second Coming.
Before class, write the following on the board: “Lift up your hearts and be glad” (D&C 29:5).
Why is it sometimes difficult to obey this counsel? What are some ways you have found to obey this counsel?
Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 29:1–3 contains words of the Savior that can help us “lift up [our] hearts and be glad.”
Display the picture Christ with the Children (Gospel Art Book , no. 47; see also LDS.org) and, if possible, a picture of a hen gathering her chicks. Ask if anyone can describe how and why a hen gathers her chicks. (If students do not know, explain that when a hen senses danger, she calls to her chicks. As they come to her, she gathers them under her wings to protect them.) Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:2 aloud.
How is the Savior like a hen gathering and protecting her chicks?
What must the chicks do in order to be safely gathered under the protection of their mother’s wings? (If needed, point out that the chicks have to make the effort to go to their mother.)
Write the following on the board: Jesus Christ will gather us as we …
According to Doctrine and Covenants 29:2, what do we need to do to be gathered by the Savior? (Use students’ responses to complete the principle on the board: Jesus Christ will gather us as we hearken to His voice, humble ourselves, and call upon Him in prayer.)
Explain that from the beginning, prophets have prophesied concerning the gathering of Israel. The house of Israel—the Lord’s covenant people—will be gathered in the last days before the coming of Christ (see Articles of Faith 1:10). The Lord gathers His people as they exercise faith in Him and keep His commandments.
To help students understand and feel the truth and importance of this principle, discuss the following questions:
What are some ways we hear the Savior’s voice? (Answers may include that we can hear His voice through the scriptures, the teachings of living prophets and apostles, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.)
How is hearkening to the Savior’s voice different from just hearing His voice?
Why do you think we need to be humble in order to be gathered by the Savior?
Invite students to think about times when they have felt close to the Savior through scripture study, following the words of living prophets, or praying to Heavenly Father. Give a few students the opportunity to share these experiences, reminding them that some experiences are too sacred or personal to share.
Refer to the scripture you wrote on the board before class.
How can the thought of being gathered by the Savior help you lift up your heart and be glad?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:1, 3. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a reason to lift up our hearts and be glad. Then ask students to identify a principle from these verses that explains why we can lift up our hearts and be glad.
After sufficient time, invite a few students to share the principle they identified. (Their answers should reflect the following principle: Because the Savior has atoned for our sins, we can lift up our hearts and be glad.)
How has your testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ brought happiness to your life? (After students have responded to this question, you may also want to share your answer.)
Explain that one way the Savior gathers people is through our efforts to share the gospel. In the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 29, He spoke through Joseph Smith to six elders and commanded them to declare His gospel.
What words and phrases did you find? What do these words and phrases teach about the experience of sharing the gospel?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:7–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s explanation of what these six elders were being called to do and why.
What did the Savior call these elders to do? (“To bring to pass the gathering of [His] elect.”) How did the Savior describe His elect? (Those who “hear [His] voice and harden not their hearts.”)
How do missionaries help bring to pass the gathering of the elect?
Explain that when this revelation was given, Church membership was small. The Saints were able to “be gathered in unto one place” (D&C 29:8). However, as the Church grew, the Lord commanded the Saints to gather in different locations. Today we gather in the stakes of Zion where we live.
In what places do we gather today? (Answers may include homes, meetinghouses, and temples.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 29:9–13 by explaining that in these verses the Savior declared that He will come again to the earth with power and glory. The hosts who will come with the Savior in glory at His Second Coming will be faithful Saints who have lived in all periods of time in the earth’s history. The righteous who have died will be resurrected, and the wicked will be destroyed. Jesus Christ will “dwell in righteousness with men on earth a thousand years” (D&C 29:11).
Explain that the gathering of Israel is part of our preparation for the Savior’s return. The Lord has revealed other signs that will occur before His Second Coming. Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:14–21 silently, looking for signs that will occur before the Second Coming. You may want to suggest that students mark these signs in their scriptures or list them in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.
Before students read these verses, emphasize that we do not know how or when these prophecies will be fulfilled.
After students have had time to study these verses, point out that although these signs will come because of wickedness, they will affect all people on the earth, even the righteous. You may want to read the following statement by the Prophet Joseph Smith:
“Concerning the coming of the Son of Man … it is a false idea that the Saints will escape all the judgments, whilst the wicked suffer; for all flesh is subject to suffer, and ‘the righteous shall hardly escape’ [see D&C 63:34]; still many of the Saints will escape, for the just shall live by faith [see Habakkuk 2:4]; yet many of the righteous shall fall a prey to disease, to pestilence, etc., by reason of the weakness of the flesh, and yet be saved in the Kingdom of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 253).
Why would you want to be gathered as one of the Savior’s elect when these things happen?
Point out that if we have faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him, we can always have peace, even in times like those described in this revelation. To emphasize this truth, you might invite students to read some or all of the following verses: John 14:27; 16:33; Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:17 aloud. Ask the class to look for the consequence of refusing to repent.
What is the consequence of refusing to repent? (Students should express the following principle: If we do not repent, Jesus Christ’s atoning blood will not cleanse us. You may want to suggest that students mark this principle in Doctrine and Covenants 29:17.)
Assure students that the most important preparation we can make for the Second Coming is to come to the Savior, repent, and be cleansed of our sins. Invite students to think about whether they need to repent of anything and what they must do to be cleansed of sin.
Assign each student one of the following passages from Doctrine and Covenants 29: verse 22, verse 26, or verses 27–28. Invite students to read their assigned verse or verses silently and identify one thing that will happen at the end of the Millennium. (For those students who are assigned to study Doctrine and Covenants 29:26, you may want to explain that Michael, the archangel, is Adam. See D&C 107:54.) After students have had time to search their assigned verse or verses, ask them to report what they have discovered, beginning with verse 22.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 29:27 aloud, and ask the class to look for the blessing given to the righteous at the Final Judgment.
What blessing will come to us if we have gathered to the Savior? (Students should identify the following doctrine: Those who have lived righteously and come to Jesus Christ will receive eternal life. You may want to encourage them to mark this truth in Doctrine and Covenants 29:27.)
Conclude by placing the picture of Jesus Christ with children on the board. Then write the word Me on the board. Invite students to think about where they would put the word Me if its placement represents their closeness to the Savior. Ask students to share experiences they have had when they have followed promptings that have brought them nearer to the Savior. Invite them to choose one thing they will do to act on what they have learned today and draw nearer to Him.