Lesson 68: Doctrine and Covenants 63:22–66

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

On August 30, 1831, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 63. This lesson covers Doctrine and Covenants 63:22–66, in which the Lord promises blessings to the Saints who are faithful in the last days, warns of the dangers of pride, and exhorts His servants to remember the sacredness of His name and to speak reverently about all sacred things.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 63:22–54

The Lord promises blessings to the faithful in the last days

Before class, write the following question on the board: Why might some people feel worried about living in the last days?

At the beginning of the lesson, invite students to discuss this question as a class or in pairs.

Explain that in the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 63, the Lord spoke of the destruction that would come upon the wicked in the last days, but He also made powerful promises to the Saints. In addition, He directed the Saints at that time to purchase land in Missouri for the establishment of Zion, which He had promised would be a place of refuge (see D&C 45:66–69).

To help students learn about the prophecies in Doctrine and Covenants 63, create a worksheet containing the following statements. Assign students to work in pairs. Ask them to determine whether each statement is true or false by searching the associated scripture references. You may want to suggest that students mark in their scriptures the truths they learn as they complete this worksheet.

  1. __1.

    During the wars in the last days, wicked people will destroy one another. (See D&C 63:32–33.)

  2. __2.

    The righteous Saints will easily escape all the destruction of the last days. (See D&C 63:34.)

  3. __3.

    When Jesus Christ comes again, He will destroy any wicked people who are still on the earth. (See D&C 63:34.)

  4. __4.

    Those who are faithful will eventually overcome all the challenges of this life. (See D&C 63:47–48.)

  5. __5.

    Righteous people who die before the Second Coming will be resurrected when the Savior comes to the earth. (See D&C 63:49.)

  6. __6.

    Righteous people who are living on the earth at the time of the Second Coming will never die. (See D&C 63:50–51.)

After students have completed the worksheet, ask them to report their responses to the first two statements. (The first statement is true, and the second statement is false.) Discuss their responses, asking them to review the scripture passage listed after each statement. As students discuss their responses to statement 2, invite a student to read aloud the following explanation by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

Brother Joseph

“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;’ … 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” (in History of the Church, 4:11; see also Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, vol. 1 of the Journals series of The Joseph Smith Papers [2008], 352–53).

  • Why do you think it is important to know that righteous people will not be spared from all the trials of the last days?

Ask students for their responses to statements 3–6 on the worksheet. (Statements 3–5 are true, and statement 6 is false.) Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 63:47–48 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for a promise from the Lord. Encourage them to consider how to express the Lord’s promise in this verse as an “if–then” statement.

  • How would you state the Lord’s promise in this verse as an “if–then” statement? (Students should express that if we are faithful and endure, then we will overcome the world. Write this principle on the board.)

  • In what ways can the Lord help us “overcome the world” in our daily lives?

  • In what ways can the Lord help us “overcome the world” after we die?

To emphasize the eternal blessings we can receive that will help us overcome the world, invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 63:49 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for blessings that the Lord promises to the righteous.

You may want to share your testimony of the blessings we will receive, in this life and the next, if we are faithful and endure.

Doctrine and Covenants 63:55–56

The Lord expresses His displeasure with Sidney Rigdon’s pride

Invite a student to read the following examples aloud. After each example is read, pause and ask the class to explain how a person might be tempted to respond with pride or arrogance in that situation.

  1. 1.

    You are invited to bear your testimony in front of many other youth at a large youth conference.

  2. 2.

    Some of the individuals in your quorum or a Young Women class complain about the activities you helped to plan.

  3. 3.

    You are a talented singer, and you have been asked to sing a song in sacrament meeting.

Explain that Sidney Rigdon received an important assignment from the Lord but responded with pride. The Lord commanded him to “write a description of the land of Zion, and a statement of the will of God, as it shall be made known by the Spirit unto him” (D&C 58:50). This written description would help Saints who lived far away from Independence, Missouri, to know what the land was like (photography was not available at that time). It would also help inspire Saints to donate money for the purchase of the land (see D&C 58:51).

Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 63:55–56 aloud. Invite the class to follow along, looking for evidence that Sidney Rigdon was influenced by pride as he fulfilled his assignment to write a description of Zion.

  • What evidence of pride did you notice? (Students should point out that Sidney “exalted himself in his heart, and received not counsel.”)

  • What was the result of Sidney’s pride? (He grieved the Spirit, and the Lord did not accept his writing. You may want to explain that to grieve the Spirit means to live in a way that the Holy Ghost withdraws from us.)

  • What can we learn from verse 55? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following truth: The Spirit is grieved if we are prideful in doing the Lord’s work. Write this truth on the board.)

Invite a few students to read aloud each of the above examples again. After each example is read, pause and ask the class to explain how a person could approach that situation with humility instead of pride. After the discussion, point out that the Lord gave Sidney Rigdon an opportunity to write another description of Zion (see D&C 63:56). Sidney repented and wrote another description of the land of Zion that was acceptable to the Lord.

Doctrine and Covenants 63:57–66

Jesus Christ instructs His servants to remember the sacredness of His name and to speak reverently of all sacred things

Read or summarize the following account from the life of President Spencer W. Kimball. Ask students to listen for anything that impresses them.

President Spencer W. Kimball

“At St. Mark’s Hospital in Salt Lake City [President Spencer W. Kimball] was put under total anaesthesia and operated on, then wheeled on a table back toward his room. Still drugged, Spencer sensed his table stop by an elevator and heard the orderly, angry at something, profaning the Lord’s name. Half-conscious, he pleaded with labored sounds: ‘Please don’t say that. I love Him more than anything in this world. Please.’ An absolute silence. Then the orderly answered softly: ‘I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry’” (Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr., Spencer W. Kimball: Twelfth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [1977], 264).

  • What about this account impresses you?

  • How was President Kimball’s reverence for the Lord’s name different from the way many people in the world today use the Lord’s name?

Invite a few students to take turns reading aloud from Doctrine and Covenants 63:59–64. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words and phrases that help them understand how the Lord wants us to use His name and how He wants us to speak of all sacred things.

  • What did you find about how we are to use the Lord’s name? (As students identify words and phrases from verse 64, invite them to summarize the first portion of the verse. They should express the following principle: The name of Jesus Christ is sacred and must be spoken with care. Write this principle on the board.)

Invite a student to be a scribe at the board. Ask the class to name some situations in which we might appropriately use the name of Jesus Christ, and have the scribe list these on the board. Students might mention that we use the Savior’s name in prayers, talks, testimonies, gospel lessons, and priesthood ordinances. We may also talk about the Savior in everyday conversations, but we should do so reverently.

  • Why do you think we are to use the Savior’s name with reverence?

  • How does Doctrine and Covenants 63:62 increase your understanding of what it means to take the name of the Lord in vain? How does this verse apply to priesthood ordinances?

  • When we use the Savior’s name, what can we do to remember that it is sacred and must be spoken with care?

Help students understand that the truths you have discussed do not apply only to the name of the Savior.

  • What are some other words or subjects that “come from above” and are sacred? How can we make sure we speak about them “with care”?

Ask a student to read the following statement by Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“There are no more sacred or significant words in all of our language than the names of God the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ” (“Reverent and Clean,” Ensign, May 1986, 50).

  • Why are the names of God the Father and Jesus Christ sacred to you?

Bear your testimony of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and explain why their names are sacred to you. Invite students to consider ways they might use the names of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ more reverently, and encourage them to do so.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 63:25–27. “I, the Lord, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s”

In Luke 20:19–26, we read about how the chief priests and the scribes tried to set a trap for Jesus by asking Him if it was legal for the Jews to pay tribute to the Roman emperor, Caesar. They knew that if He said yes, the Jews would reject Him because they hated the Romans, who had conquered them. If Jesus said no, they could report Him to the Romans, who would arrest Him for treason against Roman rule. Jesus showed them a coin with Caesar’s image stamped on it and said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (verse 25).

In the Prophet Joseph Smith’s day, the Lord’s reference to that story helped teach the Saints that even though the whole earth belongs to the Lord, the Saints still had to buy the lands on which the Lord had commanded them to build the city of Zion. This purchase was necessary for the Saints to have legal ownership of the land and to prevent contention about it in the future.

Doctrine and Covenants 63:50–51. What is “the age of man,” and what does it mean that people “shall be changed in the twinkling of an eye”?

The prophet Isaiah proclaimed that during the Millennium, “there shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old” (Isaiah 65:20).

President Joseph Fielding Smith also taught: “Men on the earth will still be mortal, but a change shall come over them so that they will have power over sickness, disease and death. Death shall all but be banished from the earth, for men shall live until they are the age of a tree or one hundred years old (See [D&C] 63:50–51), and then shall die at the age of man, but this death shall come in the twinkling of an eye and mortality shall give way to immortality suddenly. There shall be no graves, and the righteous shall be caught up to a glorious resurrection” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 1:461).