At a conference of the Church held on January 25, 1832, the Prophet Joseph Smith received two revelations, which are both found in Doctrine and Covenants 75. The first revelation, recorded in verses 1–22, was given to a group of elders who had submitted their names for missionary service. The Lord instructed these elders concerning their missionary duties and assigned them mission companions. The second revelation, recorded in verses 23–36, was given to a second group of elders who wanted to know the Lord’s will concerning them. The Lord instructed these elders to ensure their families would be provided for and to accept a call to preach the gospel.
A few days before you teach this lesson, invite a student who has received a mission call, a student who may soon submit an application to serve a mission, or a recently returned missionary to help teach about sharing the gospel. Give the person a copy of the following teaching outline, and ask him or her to study Doctrine and Covenants 75:1–4 and prepare to teach that part of the lesson.
Following the class devotional, turn the time over to the student or returned missionary to teach what he or she prepared.
After the student or returned missionary has finished teaching, write the following incomplete statement on the board: If we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, the Lord will …
Ask students to read Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 silently and identify the promises the Lord gave to those missionaries.
What did the Lord promise to those who faithfully proclaim His gospel?
You may need to explain that the word sheaves refers to cutting stalks of grain and then tying them into bundles, or sheaves. Having “many sheaves” means having an abundant harvest.
What could be some of the “sheaves” that missionaries who are faithful in sharing the gospel receive? (The sheaves could refer to the people who accept their message [converts] as well as the eternal blessings listed in verse 5.)
Ask students to summarize the promises contained in Doctrine and Covenants 75:5 by completing the principle statement on the board. The following is one way students might phrase this principle: If we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, the Lord will bless us with honor, glory, and eternal life.
Why do you think those who faithfully proclaim the gospel will receive such great eternal blessings?
Explain that after the Lord gave instructions and promises to the elders who were going to serve missions, He grouped them into companionships and gave each companionship specific instructions.
Divide students into pairs. Ask one student in each pair to silently read Doctrine and Covenants 75:6–12 and the other student to read verses 13–14. Ask them to look for answers to the following questions as they read:
To whom was the Lord speaking?
What blessing did the Lord promise them if they were faithful in proclaiming the gospel?
After students have read their assigned verses, invite them to share with their partner the answers to the questions above.
What additional counsel did the Lord give to William E. McLellin and Luke Johnson in verses 8–11 that can help us effectively proclaim the gospel? (Pray to receive the Comforter—the Holy Ghost—to teach us and for strength to remain faithful.)
Ask students to express a principle they learn from these verses. Although students may use other words, they should be able to identify the following principle: If we are faithful in proclaiming the gospel, the Lord will be with us.
What experiences have you or someone you know had that have assured you that the Lord will be with those who faithfully share His gospel with others?
Invite students to consider what they would say to a friend or family member who was struggling while serving a full-time mission. Ask them to use the principles they have learned in the lesson today and write a short letter of encouragement to that missionary in their class notebooks or scripture study journals. Invite the students to share in the letter what missionaries can do to more faithfully proclaim the gospel and what some of the blessings are that come to those who do so.
After students have had enough time to write their letters, ask a few of them to share what they wrote.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 75:15–22 by explaining that the Lord instructed the missionaries to bless the households of those who received them. He also taught them what to do when they were rejected by those with whom they shared the gospel. (You may want to explain that shaking off the dust of the feet as a testimony against those who reject the missionaries and their message is performed only in rare circumstances when the Lord expressly commands it.)
Explain that the second revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 75 was given to a different group of elders. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 75:23 aloud, and ask the class to look for what these elders desired to know.
Explain that in the early years of the Church many men who were called to serve missions had wives and children who depended on them for support. Accepting the call to serve was a great sacrifice for the whole family. A natural concern for many elders would have been what would happen to their families if they accepted a call to preach the gospel far from home.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 75:24–28 aloud. Invite the class to look for the Lord’s instructions to the elders who were needed to preach the gospel but had families to care for.
According to verse 24, when a husband and father served a full-time mission, who should help support his family?
In verse 26, what did the Lord direct the elders to do if they were able to find a place where their families would be supported?
In verse 28, what did the Lord say to those whose circumstances would not allow them to leave their families to proclaim the gospel?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 75:29 aloud. Ask the class to look for the counsel the Lord gave to all of these men. It may be helpful to explain that an idler is an individual who is unwilling to work.
What phrase in verse 29 could you use to summarize the Lord’s counsel to the elders who were able to serve missions and those who needed to stay home to care for their families? (“Let every man be diligent in all things.” Make sure students understand that this phrase applies to all of us and that the Lord commands us to be diligent in all things.)
What does it mean to “be diligent in all things”? (To be consistent, persistent, attentive, and hardworking.)
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 75:30–36 by explaining that at the end of this revelation, the Lord assigned more missionary companionships.
Conclude the lesson by inviting students to write what they can do today to be more diligent in their service to the Lord. Invite one or two students to share their thoughts and testimonies of the principles discussed in class today.