In September 1832, missionaries returned to Kirtland, Ohio, after preaching the gospel in the eastern United States. During their joyful reunion, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 84. He received the revelation over the course of two days: September 22 and 23, 1832. In this manual, section 84 is divided among three lessons. This first lesson focuses on the Lord’s instructions about the priesthood and how the priesthood can prepare us to receive all that Heavenly Father has.
If possible, bring a copy of someone’s priesthood line of authority to class (yours or a family member’s). (You may want to copy the line of authority on the board.) Help students understand that a priesthood line of authority shows how priesthood authority has been conferred from one priesthood holder to another, from Jesus Christ to a priesthood holder today.
Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 84 contains a revelation about the priesthood and how it blesses Heavenly Father’s children. The first part of the revelation reveals the priesthood lineage of Moses. Invite students to silently scan Doctrine and Covenants 84:6–19 and look for how Moses could trace his priesthood authority to God.
Why do you think it is important that priesthood authority extends in a direct line back to God? (See Hebrews 5:4.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 84:17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the phrase that describes the eternal nature of the priesthood (“without beginning of days or end of years”). You may want to testify that priesthood is the eternal power and authority of God and share your gratitude that God has conferred this power upon mankind for the benefit of His children.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 84:19–22 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for the blessings we can receive through the Melchizedek Priesthood.
According to verses 19–22, what blessings can we receive through the Melchizedek Priesthood? (Students may share several answers. Ensure that they identify the following doctrine: In the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the power of godliness is manifest. Write this doctrine on the board.)
Which of the saving ordinances must be performed by the authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood? (Confirmation, conferral of the Melchizedek Priesthood, the temple endowment, and the temple sealing. List these ordinances on the board.) How have you seen the power of godliness manifest in these ordinances?
According to verse 22, why is it important that we receive the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood? (The “power of godliness” manifest in these ordinances will allow us to see the face of God and live.)
Write the following truth on the board: To become like God and dwell in His presence, we must receive the ordinances of the Melchizedek Priesthood.
Refer to the list of Melchizedek Priesthood ordinances on the board.
Which of these ordinances can be received only in the temple?
After students respond, read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:
“The temple is the object of every activity, every lesson, every progressive step in the Church. … Ordinances of the temple are absolutely crucial. We cannot return to God’s glory without them” (“Prepare for the Blessings of the Temple,” Ensign, Oct. 2010, 41).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 84:23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and identify what Moses did to prepare his people to see the face of God. Ask students to report what they find. You may want to explain that the word sanctify means to cleanse and make holy. We are sanctified through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 84:24–30 by explaining that because the children of Israel hardened their hearts, they lost the opportunity to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and the associated ordinances in this life. However, the Lord continued to help them progress. He allowed the lesser priesthood, or the Aaronic Priesthood, to continue with them (see D&C 84:26–27).
Ask a student who holds the priesthood to respond to the following questions:
How are you blessed because you hold the priesthood? How are you blessed because other people hold the priesthood?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 84:31–32 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the phrase the Lord used to refer to those who hold the priesthood.
How did the Lord refer to those who hold the priesthood? (Help students understand that the phrase “sons of Moses” refers to those who hold the Melchizedek Priesthood and that the phrase “sons of Aaron” refers to those who hold the Aaronic Priesthood.)
Write the following phrase on the board: Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood.
Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44 is known as the oath and covenant of the priesthood. These verses outline (1) the covenants a person makes when he receives the priesthood and (2) the promises the Lord makes to faithful priesthood holders.
Write the following incomplete statement on the board: If those who receive the priesthood will , then God will .
Invite students to study Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–44 silently or in pairs. Ask them to complete the statement on the board based on these verses.
How did you complete the statement? (Students should recognize the following principle: If those who receive the priesthood will magnify their callings, follow the Lord and His servants, and give heed to the words of eternal life, then God will sanctify them and give them all that He has.)
Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Gordon B. Hinckley:
“We magnify our priesthood and enlarge our calling when we serve with diligence and enthusiasm in those responsibilities to which we are called by proper authority. … We magnify our calling, we enlarge the potential of our priesthood when we reach out to those in distress and give strength to those who falter. … We magnify our calling when we walk with honesty and integrity” (“Magnify Your Calling,” Ensign, May 1989, 48–49).
Explain that when we receive callings in the Church, we have the opportunity to prepare ourselves and others to receive the saving ordinances of the priesthood. Ask a student to read aloud the following statement by President Thomas S. Monson:
“How does one magnify a calling? Simply by performing the service that pertains to it. … I hope with all my heart and soul that every young man who receives the priesthood will honor that priesthood and be true to the trust which is conveyed when it is conferred” (“Priesthood Power,” Ensign, Nov. 1999, 49, 51).
What are some ways Aaronic Priesthood holders magnify their callings in the priesthood?
When have you been blessed because someone has magnified his or her calling?
Help students see that the blessings of the oath and covenant of the priesthood are not just for priesthood holders. God’s greatest blessings come to men and women who are sealed to each other in the temple. Read the following statement by Elder Russell M. Nelson:
“One day Sister Nelson and I will dwell together in the presence of our family and the Lord forevermore. We will have been faithful to covenants made in the temple and to the oath and covenant of the priesthood, which have assured us, in the words of the Lord, that ‘all that my Father hath shall be given unto [you]’ (D&C 84:38).
“Faithful sisters share the blessings of the priesthood. Think of those words ‘all that my Father hath.’ … It means that no earthly reward—no other success—could compensate for the bounties the Lord will bestow upon those who love Him, keep His commandments (see Moroni 4:3), and endure to the end (see D&C 14:7)” (“Identity, Priority, and Blessings,” Ensign, Aug. 2001, 10).
To help students understand the specific promises the Lord makes as part of the oath and covenant of the priesthood, write the following incomplete statement on the board: The Lord promises to …
Invite students to reread Doctrine and Covenants 84:33–34, 38, 42 silently. Ask them to identify the blessings the Lord promises as part of the oath and covenant of the priesthood. You may want to write their answers on the board. They may mention that the Lord will: (1) sanctify us by the Spirit (see verse 33); (2) renew our bodies (see verse 33); (3) count us among the seed of Abraham—in other words, give us the blessings promised to Abraham and his posterity (see verse 34); (4) make us His elect, or chosen (see verse 34); (5) give us all that the Father has (see verse 38); and (6) give His angels charge over us (see verse 42). (As students mention the promise in verse 38, you may want to encourage them to think of God’s attributes and glory, not material possessions. For example, we can receive His truth, His love, His joy, and His peace. We can be blessed by a fulness of His power.)
Invite students to share why the priesthood is meaningful to them. Consider sharing your testimony of the blessings of the priesthood.