Lesson 49: Doctrine and Covenants 42:43–93

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


The latter part of Doctrine and Covenants 42 is a continuation of what is known as the law of the Church. It includes the Lord’s teachings regarding death and healing. It also contains the Lord’s counsel to the Saints concerning how to deal with serious sins and crimes and how to appropriately handle situations in which we have been offended or have given offense.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 42:43–55

The Lord gives counsel concerning death and healing

In one hand, hold up a vial or a small container of consecrated olive oil for administering to the sick; in your other hand, hold up a bottle of medicine.

  • What are these items used for? Which of these should we rely on in times of illness?

After students briefly share their thoughts, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:43–44 aloud. Ask the class to look for the Lord’s instruction concerning what we should rely on in times of illness. To help students understand these verses, it may be helpful to explain that the herbs and mild food mentioned in verse 43 refer to medical treatments that were commonly administered during the time period in which this revelation was given.

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Ask the class to listen for how healing can come through both faith and medical treatment.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Latter-day Saints believe in applying the best available scientific knowledge and techniques. We use nutrition, exercise, and other practices to preserve health, and we enlist the help of healing practitioners, such as physicians and surgeons, to restore health.

“The use of medical science is not at odds with our prayers of faith and our reliance on priesthood blessings. …

“Of course we don’t wait until all other methods are exhausted before we pray in faith or give priesthood blessings for healing. In emergencies, prayers and blessings come first. Most often we pursue all efforts simultaneously” (“Healing the Sick,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 47).

  • Why do you think it is important for us to use prayer and priesthood blessings as well as medical treatment for healing in times of illness?

  • According to verse 44, will every sick person who receives a priesthood blessing be healed?

Tell students that the Lord explained why some who receive priesthood blessings might not recover. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:48 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for principles that govern whether someone will be healed as a result of a priesthood blessing.

  • According to verse 48, what is the major factor that determines the outcome of a priesthood blessing? (As students respond, you might explain that “not appointed unto death” refers to the fact that death or healing will take place according to the Lord’s timing, wisdom, and will.)

  • Why won’t everyone who has faith in Jesus Christ be healed?

  • Why is it important to have faith in God’s will and timing for each of us?

Invite students to identify a principle we can learn from Doctrine and Covenants 42:48 about being healed from our infirmities. Students’ answers should reflect the following principle: If we have faith in Jesus Christ, we can be healed according to His will. You may want to suggest that students mark words or phrases in verse 48 that teach this principle.

To help students understand that our faith must be centered on Jesus Christ rather than on certain outcomes that we desire, ask a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite the class to listen for a reason why it is important that our faith be centered in Jesus Christ.

“As children of God, knowing of His great love and His ultimate knowledge of what is best for our eternal welfare, we trust in Him. The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and faith means trust. I felt that trust in a talk my cousin gave at the funeral of a teenage girl who had died of a serious illness. He spoke these words, which first astonished me and then edified me: ‘I know it was the will of the Lord that she die. She had good medical care. She was given priesthood blessings. Her name was on the prayer roll in the temple. She was the subject of hundreds of prayers for her restoration to health. And I know that there is enough faith in this family that she would have been healed unless it was the will of the Lord to take her home at this time.’ I felt that same trust in the words of the father of another choice girl whose life was taken by cancer in her teen years. He declared, ‘Our family’s faith is in Jesus Christ and is not dependent on outcomes.’ Those teachings ring true to me. We do all that we can for the healing of a loved one, and then we trust in the Lord for the outcome” (“Healing the Sick,” 50).

  • How did the individuals Elder Oaks spoke of exercise faith in Jesus Christ?

  • Sometimes it requires greater faith to see a loved one die or endure a long illness than it does to see them live or be healed. Why do you think this might be?

  • Why do you think it is important to exercise faith in Jesus Christ even though we may not receive the outcome we desire?

Ask students if they know anyone who passed away despite following proper medical advice and seeking for healing through prayer and priesthood blessings. (Be especially sensitive to the feelings of those who may have experienced this situation.) Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:45–47 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words or phrases that might bring comfort to someone who has experienced the death of a loved one.

  • Verse 45 tells us that we will naturally mourn the loss of those we love. What doctrine taught in verse 46 might bring comfort to those who mourn the loss of a loved one? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following doctrine: Death is sweet unto those who die in the Lord.)

  • What do you think it means to die in the Lord?

  • What do you think it means that death will be “sweet” to those who die in the Lord? (You may need to explain that although a faithful person who dies may suffer physical pain, this promise refers to the peace and rest he or she will experience in the spirit world.)

Invite students to ponder whether they are living their lives in a way that would make death “sweet” to them were it to happen today. (You may want to invite students to record their thoughts in their class notebooks or scripture study journals.)

Doctrine and Covenants 42:56–73

The Lord promises to reveal additional scripture and knowledge to those who ask

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:56–58 by explaining that these verses refer to the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible. The Lord told the Saints that the Joseph Smith Translation should be taught to all people. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:59–69 by explaining that these verses contain instructions from the Lord to Joseph Smith and other Church leaders concerning when and to whom they should preach the gospel. The Lord admonished them to live by the laws that they had been given, and He explained that they would receive further direction that would help them establish the Church and prepare the Saints to live in the future New Jerusalem. In addition, the Lord taught them principles concerning how they could continue to receive divine revelation. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 42:70–73 by explaining that under the law of consecration, those who gave full-time or part-time service to the Church were given financial assistance.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:61, 68 silently, looking for principles about receiving revelation. Students’ responses might include the following:

If we ask, the Lord will give us knowledge that will bring us peace, joy, and eternal life.

If we ask for wisdom, the Lord will give to us liberally.

  • What are the blessings of diligently asking the Lord for revelation?

Share your testimony that our Church leaders lead and guide us by the principle of continuing revelation.

Doctrine and Covenants 42:74–87

Priesthood leaders receive instruction on dealing with members who commit serious sin

Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 42:74–87, the Lord described some laws governing Church discipline. He specifically gave direction to priesthood leaders concerning how to minister to those who have committed serious sin, including sexual sins, stealing, lying, or “any manner of iniquity” (D&C 42:87).

Doctrine and Covenants 42:88–93

The Lord instructs the Saints on how to resolve personal offenses

  • When have you seen someone take offense at the words or actions of another person? Have you ever felt hurt or offended by someone else’s words or actions?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:88–89 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s instructions for what to do if someone offends us.

  • What are we to do with someone who has offended us? (Reconcile with him or her privately. You may want to explain that the word reconcile means to resolve differences and restore harmony.)

  • Why do you think this approach might be helpful?

Write the following incomplete statements on one side of the board:

Offenses given in private should be …

Offenses given in public should be …

On the other side of the board, write the ending of each of the previous statements:

… resolved in public.

… resolved in private.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 42:90–93 silently, and direct them to match each incomplete statement with its appropriate ending. (Offenses given in private should be resolved in private. Offenses given in public should be resolved in public.)

  • Why might it be inappropriate for private offenses to be resolved publicly?

  • Why might it at times be wise to resolve public offenses publicly?

Ask students to think of situations that illustrate both the correct and incorrect applications of these truths. Invite a few students to share their ideas. (As students share, emphasize that resolving offenses in the Lord’s way involves repentance and forgiveness.)

  • How do you think resolving offenses appropriately might bless a family? A ward or branch? A group of classmates?

You may want to point out that it takes courage for us to approach someone who has offended us. Invite students to pray for help from Heavenly Father as they seek to appropriately resolve differences with others.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 42:46–47. Death is sweet to those who die in the Lord

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained what it means that death is sweet to those who die in the Lord:

“To some members of the Church the saying that those who die in the Lord shall not taste of death has been a hard saying. They have seen good faithful men and women suffer days and at times for months before they were taken. But here the Lord does not say they shall not suffer pain of body, but that they shall be free from the anguish and torment of soul which will be partaken of by the wicked, and although they may suffer in body, yet death to them will be sweet in that they will realize that they are worthy before the Lord” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:186). (See also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 85.)

Doctrine and Covenants 42:48. “Not appointed unto death”

President Joseph Fielding Smith said, “No righteous man is ever taken before his time” (in “Funeral Services for Elder Richard L. Evans,” Ensign, Dec. 1971, 10).

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that just as we need faith to be healed, we need faith to accept the Lord’s will that we not be healed:

“[There is] a principle that applies to every devoted disciple: strong faith in the Savior is submissively accepting of His will and timing in our lives—even if the outcome is not what we hoped for or wanted. …

“Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in moving mountains—if moving mountains accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Righteousness and faith certainly are instrumental in healing the sick, deaf, or lame—if such healing accomplishes God’s purposes and is in accordance with His will. Thus, even with strong faith, many mountains will not be moved. And not all of the sick and infirm will be healed. If all opposition were curtailed, if all maladies were removed, then the primary purposes of the Father’s plan would be frustrated.

“Many of the lessons we are to learn in mortality can only be received through the things we experience and sometimes suffer. And God expects and trusts us to face temporary mortal adversity with His help so we can learn what we need to learn and ultimately become what we are to become in eternity” (“That We Might ‘Not … Shrink’ [D&C 19:18]” [CES devotional for young adults, Mar. 3, 2013], LDS.org). (See also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 85–6.)

Doctrine and Covenants 42:70–73. Receiving “a just remuneration for all his services”

In these verses, reference is made to the bishop and his counselors receiving “a just remuneration for” their services. In our day, this refers specifically to General Authorities, mission presidents, and temple presidents who are required to give up their livelihoods to serve full time in the Church. These individuals receive a modest living allowance sufficient to support them and their immediate families during their time of service.