Lesson 70: Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64 on September 11, 1831. Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43 contains the Lord’s teachings about the sacrifices He required of the Saints and about the establishment of Zion in the latter days.

Note: This lesson provides an opportunity for two students to teach. Provide these students with copies of the material in advance so they have sufficient time to prepare. As an alternative, you might decide to teach the entire lesson yourself.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–25

The Lord teaches that He requires our hearts

Ask students to think of times when they have made sacrifices to follow the Lord’s commandments. (To get them thinking, you might share an example such as refraining from participating in a sporting event or a similar activity on the Sabbath.) Invite a few students to describe their experiences and share how they felt they were blessed for making these sacrifices.

Explain that in their study of Doctrine and Covenants 64:20–43, students will learn more about sacrifices the Lord requires of us. Display the following chart. (You may want to copy the chart on the board before class.)

Isaac Morley (D&C 64:20)

Frederick G. Williams (D&C 64:21)

Commandment

  

Response

  

Result

  

Explain that Isaac Morley owned a large farm in Kirtland, Ohio. He generously invited many Church members, including Joseph Smith and his family, to live on the property. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:20 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord instructed Isaac Morley to do with his farm.

  • What did the Lord command Isaac Morley to do with his farm? (After students respond, write Sell his farm on the chart to show the commandment the Lord gave to Isaac Morley.)

Point out that the Lord commanded Isaac Morley to make a great sacrifice. Most of the money from the sale of his farm would be used to buy land for other Church members in Independence, Missouri.

  • What blessing did the Lord promise to give Isaac Morley if he sold his farm? (The Lord promised that if Isaac sold his farm, he would “not be tempted above that which he [was] able to bear.”)

  • What principle does this promise teach us about avoiding temptation? (Students’ answers should reflect the following principle: If we follow the Lord’s will for us, we will not be tempted above that which we can bear.)

Explain that Isaac Morley followed the Lord’s commandment to sell his farm. He was one of the first Saints to settle in Independence, Missouri, where he sought to establish Zion. He served the Lord faithfully throughout his life. In the chart on the board, write He obeyed as Isaac’s response. Write He was blessed as the result of his action.

  • What are some examples of how we can avoid temptation by following the Lord’s commandments and standards? (Consider sharing some examples from the For the Strength of Youth booklet.)

Point out that another man, Frederick G. Williams, also owned a large farm in Kirtland. Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:21 silently, looking for the commandment the Lord gave Frederick G. Williams.

  • What did the Lord command Frederick G. Williams to do with his farm? (After students respond, write Do not sell his farm in the appropriate place on the chart.)

Invite a student to read the following paragraph, explaining what Frederick G. Williams did with his farm:

Although Frederick G. Williams was not asked to sell his farm, he still demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice. He told Joseph Smith that his farm could be used to house and feed Church members in need. Later, Frederick consecrated his entire farm to the Church without receiving any payment in return. Through the sacrifices of Frederick G. Williams and other faithful Saints in Ohio, the Lord retained “a strong hold in the land of Kirtland, for the space of five years” (D&C 64:21). During these years, the Saints built the Kirtland Temple, which was a source of great blessings to the Saints, including Brother Williams.

In the chart on the board, complete the column for Frederick G. Williams by writing He obeyed and He was blessed in the appropriate places.

  • What can we learn about obedience and sacrifice from the examples of Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams? (Summarize students’ responses by writing the following principle on the board: We are blessed as we obey the Lord and offer the sacrifices He asks of us.)

Explain that the sacrifices Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams made regarding their farms illustrate another sacrifice the Lord required of them and that He requires of us today. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:22 aloud. Ask the class to look for the sacrifice the Lord requires of us.

  • According to verse 22, what does the Lord require of us? (Students should identify the following doctrine: The Lord requires our hearts. You may want to suggest that students mark this truth in their scriptures.)

  • What do you think it means that the Lord requires our hearts?

  • How did Isaac Morley and Frederick G. Williams show that they were willing to give their hearts to the Lord? Who are some other examples of people who have given their hearts to the Lord? (You may want to point out that students can share examples from the scriptures or from the lives of people they know.)

  • How can we show the Lord that we are willing to give our hearts to Him?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:23–25 aloud, and ask the class to identify a commandment we can keep to show that we have given our hearts to the Lord.

  • What did the Lord command His people to do? (Pay tithing. You may want to explain that when the Lord gave this revelation, the Saints used the word tithing to refer to all their contributions to the Church. About seven years later, the Lord revealed that tithing was to be “one-tenth of all [our] interest annually” [D&C 119:4].) How can paying tithing show that we have given our hearts to the Lord?

  • According to verse 23, what promise does the Lord extend to those who pay tithing?

Explain that while the blessing specified in verse 23 applies to the future, the Lord also blesses us now for paying tithing. You may want to ask students to share experiences they have had when they or their families have been blessed as a result of paying tithing.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–43

The Lord gives instructions for the establishment of Zion

To give an overview of Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–43, explain that in these verses we read the Lord’s instructions for the establishment of Zion. The rest of this lesson is designed to be taught by students. Invite the first student teacher to come to the front of the class to teach.

Student Teacher 1—Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–33

    Begin by asking the following question:
  • When have you been told to complete a task that was difficult or overwhelming? (After students respond, you may also want to share an example.)

Explain that in August 1831, the Lord gave the Saints the enormous task of obtaining the money to purchase all of the land required to build the city of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri. The Saints knew that once they had purchased the land, they would have to work hard to build the city and the temple there. Doctrine and Covenants 64:26–30 contains the Lord’s command to two of His servants, Newel K. Whitney and Sidney Gilbert. He commanded them to use their store in Kirtland, Ohio, to help provide for the needs of the Saints. This is one example of a way some of the Saints were asked to sacrifice and contribute to the building of Zion.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:31–33 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for phrases that might have encouraged the Saints who were seeking to accomplish the enormous task of building Zion.

  • What phrases might have encouraged these Saints? (As students share phrases, ask how they might relate those phrases to themselves.)

After students have finished discussing these verses, write the following principle on the board: If we are diligent in doing good, we can accomplish great things. Share your testimony of this principle. You may also want to share an experience that has helped you learn the truth of this principle.

Student Teacher 2—Doctrine and Covenants 64:34–43

Ask students to think of a time when they obeyed a parent, Church leader, teacher, or coach, but did so with a poor attitude. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for words that describe the attitude we should have as we obey the Lord.

  • What words teach about the right attitude toward obedience?

After students respond, write the following principle on the board: We are to obey the Lord with our hearts and willing minds.

  • What do you think it means to obey the Lord with “the heart and a willing mind”?

Invite students to think about times they obeyed the Lord with their hearts and willing minds.

  • How was this different from times when you have not obeyed so willingly? (You may also want to share an experience.)

Point out that according to verse 34, those who obey the Lord with their hearts and minds will enjoy the blessings of Zion in the last days. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:41–43 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for information about the establishment of Zion in our day. To help students understand these verses, explain that in the last days, Zion will be established in all nations where people obey the Lord with their hearts and willing minds.

Share your testimony of the importance of obeying the Lord with your heart and mind. Invite students to think of ways they can obey the Lord with more heartfelt and willing obedience. Encourage them to notice the difference that this type of obedience makes in their lives.

Note: After these students have taught their portions of the lesson, thank them for their work. Testify that the promised blessings are worth the obedience and sacrifices the Lord asks of us. Ask a student to summarize what the class has learned today and to explain how he or she will act on those principles.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20. Isaac Morley is commanded to sell his farm

At the time the Lord gave the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 64, Isaac Morley was in Missouri, but he had given power of attorney to his brother-in-law Titus Billings. This is why Titus Billings also received instruction to sell the farm (see D&C 63:39). Titus Billings sold approximately 80 acres of Isaac Morley’s farm to Richie and Hercules Carrell in October 1831. (To see the location of the Isaac Morley farm, see Church History Maps, Map 4, “Kirtland, Ohio, 1830–38.”)

Supplemental Teaching Ideas

Doctrine and Covenants 64:20. The Isaac Morley farm

Before asking students to read Doctrine and Covenants 64:20, you may want to show them some images of the Isaac Morley farm in Kirtland, Ohio. This can help students appreciate Isaac Morley’s sacrifice in selling his farm. These images are available on LDS.org.

Doctrine and Covenants 64:31–33. Video presentation—“Flecks of Gold”

To help students understand the principle that if we are diligent in doing good, we can accomplish great things, consider showing the Mormon Messages video “Flecks of Gold” (available on LDS.org). In this video, Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles tells a story that illustrates the importance of being patient and faithful in doing the Lord’s work. In this story, a young gold prospector learns that wealth is more likely to be accumulated by acquiring many tiny flecks of gold rather than by looking for large nuggets of gold. You may want to show this video right after student teacher 1 has finished teaching.