This lesson focuses on what the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon learned about the Savior and the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms through the vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76.
Note: To help students in their efforts to memorize the scripture mastery passage in Doctrine and Covenants 76:40–41, you may want to recite it with them at the beginning or end of this class.
For the devotional hymn, invite the class to sing “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (Hymns, no. 136). The words of this hymn may help students feel the power of the principles they will learn today.
Invite students to consider the following situation: While sitting in a class at school, your teacher begins discussing world religions. When Christianity is mentioned, the teacher asks if there are any Christians in the class who would be willing to share their beliefs about Jesus Christ.
If you were in this situation, what would you say you believe and know about Jesus Christ?
Point out that we can learn many truths about Jesus Christ in Doctrine and Covenants 76. Help students review the context of this revelation by asking the following questions:
What were the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon doing before they received the vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76? (If needed, encourage students to review the section introduction.)
Who did Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon see first in the vision? (If students cannot remember, invite them to scan Doctrine and Covenants 76:20–24 to find the answer.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:20–24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for truths Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon learned about Jesus Christ.
What truths did Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon learn about Jesus Christ through this vision? (Invite a student to list the responses on the board.)
Students may identify a variety of doctrines, including the following: Jesus Christ is a living, glorified Being; Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are distinct personages; Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh; Jesus Christ is the Creator of this world and other worlds; and we are begotten sons and daughters unto God. (To help students better understand the last principle, you may want to invite them to read to Mosiah 5:7.)
Which of the truths listed on the board can you testify of? How do you know it is true?
Consider sharing your own testimony of the Savior.
Remind students that Doctrine and Covenants 76:22–24 is a scripture mastery passage. Ask them to name others to whom Jesus Christ has appeared besides the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon. (In their home-study lesson for Day 3, students were assigned to find cross-references to other accounts in the scriptures where prophets testified of seeing the Savior. For examples, see Exodus 33:11; 1 Kings 11:9; and Isaiah 6:5; see also Matthew 5:8.)
Ask students to name some places they would like to go for a vacation or holiday. (List their responses on the board.) Circle one of the destinations listed on the board. Ask students to describe the path they would need to travel in order to arrive at the selected destination. Select another destination from those listed on the board that is significantly different from the first destination you circled.
If you follow the path you described for the first destination, will it take you to this other destination?
How does the destination you choose influence the path you must take to get there?
Invite students to open their student study guides to the “Doctrine and Covenants 76: Outline of the Vision” diagram in the lesson for Day 3.
How does our discussion about paths and destinations relate to the vision recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76? (From this vision we learn about the paths, or choices, that lead to the eternal destinations that are possible to each of us.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:51–53 aloud, which describes the path to exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Ask another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 76:72–79 aloud, which describes the path to the terrestrial kingdom. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the paths to the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms differ.
What are some of the differences you noticed between those who inherit exaltation in the celestial kingdom and those who inherit the terrestrial kingdom? (One of the significant differences students may have noted is that those who inherit the terrestrial kingdom “are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus” [D&C 76:79].)
Ask students to review Doctrine and Covenants 76:51–53, looking for a principle taught in those verses.
Write the following incomplete principle on the board: If we are valiant in the testimony of Jesus, …
From what you learn in verses 51–53, how would you complete this principle? (They may use other words, but students should identify the following principle: If we are valiant in the testimony of Jesus, we can receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom of God.)
To help students better understand this principle, discuss the following questions:
What do you think is the difference between having a testimony of the Savior and being valiant in that testimony?
What are some actions and attitudes you would see in those who are valiant in their testimony of the Savior?
What has helped you to be valiant in your testimony of Jesus Christ?
Share your testimony that each of them has the potential to receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom. Invite them to ponder if the choices they are making are leading them to the eternal destination that will bring them the greatest happiness. Encourage them to be valiant in their testimony of Jesus Christ.
To prepare students for their study during the coming week, you may want to invite them to consider the following: Why does the Lord expect more from those who have received more light and knowledge? In addition to finishing their study of the vision given to the Prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 76, in the next unit students will learn what the Lord expects of those to whom He has given much. Students will also read the explanation of the “four beasts” referred to in Revelation 4:6–9.