Lesson 93: Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–117

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

This is the third of four lessons on Doctrine and Covenants 88. The portion of the revelation the lesson will focus on was given at a conference of high priests on December 27–28, 1832. In it the Lord instructed the elders of the Church to teach each other and prepare to serve as missionaries. The Lord also taught concerning the signs of the Second Coming, the general order in which all people will be resurrected, and some of the events surrounding the final battle with Satan.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 88:70–117

The Lord commands the elders of the Church to prepare for their ministry and reveals events surrounding His Second Coming

Invite a student to come to the front of the class and teach another student how to do a simple task, such as tying a necktie (or a different task that the second student does not know how to do). Ask students to raise their hands if they have helped teach a lesson or skill to someone else recently. Ask a few to describe what they taught. Then discuss the following questions:

  • What did you learn by preparing to teach and by teaching someone else?

  • Why do you think we often learn more from preparing to teach than from being taught by others?

Remind students that the Lord gave the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 88 to a group of priesthood holders who had prayed to know the Lord’s will concerning the establishment of Zion. In this revelation, the Lord referred to this group of priesthood holders as “the first laborers in this last kingdom” (see D&C 88:70, 74) and commanded them to organize and attend a school to prepare themselves to preach the gospel among the nations of the earth (see D&C 88:74, 84, 127).

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:73–76 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord commanded these priesthood holders to do to prepare to teach others.

  • What were these “first laborers” commanded to do to prepare to teach others as missionaries? (You may want to ask a student to act as scribe and write students’ answers on the board.)

  • What could we do to “organize,” “prepare,” and “sanctify” ourselves to become more effective at sharing the gospel?

  • How does being cleansed from sin influence our ability to share the gospel?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:77–80 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord commanded these priesthood holders to do as they met together. Ask students to report what they found.

  • What did the Lord promise those who teach diligently? (That His grace would attend them and that they would be taught more perfectly in all they needed to understand pertaining to the kingdom of God.)

  • What does it mean that the Lord’s “grace shall attend you” (D&C 88:78)? (The Lord will help us as we seek diligently to teach and learn the gospel.)

  • From what you learned in verses 77–78, how would you state a principle about teaching? (Students may identify a number of principles, including the following: As we teach one another diligently, the Lord will help us understand His truths more perfectly. By teaching one another, we can prepare to share the gospel with others. You may want to write these principles on the board using students’ words.)

  • In what ways has teaching the gospel to others helped you to better understand it?

  • According to verse 79, what other topics are important for us to understand? How can gaining such broad knowledge help us teach the gospel to others?

To help students feel the importance of and apply the principles they identified above, assign groups of four students to prepare and teach the following mini-lessons to the members of their group. Ask two students in each group to work together to prepare to teach Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–86 and the other two students to work together to prepare to teach Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–98. Make copies of the following instructions for each group. Ask them to read through the instructions and scripture verses and then decide how they will teach each mini-lesson. (Encourage both students in each pair to participate in the teaching.) Explain that each pair will have about five minutes to prepare and about seven minutes to teach. After students have had sufficient time to prepare, invite the pairs assigned to Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–86 to teach the other students in their groups. Then ask students to switch roles and invite the companionship assigned to Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–98 to teach. (Note: If you prefer, you could choose to teach the mini-lessons yourself instead of asking students to teach each other.)

Mini-lesson 1: Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–86

    Begin your lesson with the following question:
  • When have you been thankful because someone warned you about something? (You might also want to share an experience.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–83 aloud. Ask the others to look for what the Lord taught about warnings. Invite them to report what they found. Then ask the following questions:

  • What does it mean that we have been warned? (We have been taught the truths of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.)

  • What truth can we learn from these verses? (Those you teach may use different words, but they should identify a principle similar to the following: Because we have been warned through the message of the gospel, the Lord expects us to warn our neighbors. You may want to suggest that students mark this principle in verse 81.)

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:84–85 by explaining that the Lord instructed the priesthood holders who were present when Joseph Smith received this revelation to labor diligently to prepare themselves and the Saints to escape the future judgments that await the wicked.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:86 aloud. Ask your group to look for how we should live as we prepare to share the gospel. Ask them to report what they found.

  • What does it mean to “entangle not yourselves in sin”? How can this instruction apply in your life as you prepare to receive temple ordinances, serve a full-time mission, or get married and have a family?

To help students think about how entanglement with sin could affect their ability to testify of truth, read the following statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Jeffrey R. Holland

“No missionary can be unrepentant of sexual transgression or profane language or pornographic indulgence and then expect to challenge others to repent of those very things! You can’t do that. The Spirit will not be with you, and the words will choke in your throat as you speak them. You cannot travel down what Lehi called ‘forbidden paths’ [1 Nephi 8:28] and expect to guide others to the ‘strait and narrow’ [2 Nephi 31:18] one—it can’t be done” (“We Are All Enlisted,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 45).

You may want to share your testimony of the importance of staying clean in order to be effective in sharing the gospel. Encourage those you are teaching to seek to be clean from the entanglement of sin.

Mini-lesson 2: Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–98

Ask those you are teaching if they have ever heard someone share a powerful testimony. Invite them to describe the testimony and how they felt as they heard it.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:87–91 aloud. Ask the students you are teaching to look for examples of powerful testimonies. After they read, ask the following question:

  • Before the Lord’s Second Coming, what kind of testimonies will follow the testimonies of missionaries?

Invite the students you are teaching to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:92 silently and look for what the angels of heaven will say during this time before the Second Coming. Ask them to report what they found. Tell them that the term Bridegroom refers to Jesus Christ.

  • Why is it critical that we be prepared for the Lord’s Second Coming?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 88:95–98 aloud. Ask the students you are teaching to look for two different groups of people who will be lifted up to meet the Savior when He comes. Then ask the following question:

  • Who will be lifted up to meet Jesus Christ when He comes? (His Saints who are alive and His Saints who have died. You may want to suggest to the students you are teaching that they mark the words or phrases in these verses that teach the following truth: The righteous will rise to meet Christ when He comes.)

Ask those you are teaching to review Doctrine and Covenants 88:98 and look for words or phrases that describe the groups of Saints who get to participate in the Lord’s coming. Then ask the following question:

  • What words or phrases did you find? (You may want to explain that the phrase “first fruits” refers to the righteous Saints who will come forth in the First Resurrection.)

Share how you imagine it will feel to be part of the Second Coming as described in these verses.

    After the groups of students have taught each other, ask the following question to the entire class:
  • What teachings stood out to you in your discussion of Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–98?

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 88:97–107 by explaining that the Lord revealed that the dead will be resurrected in order of their righteousness. Those who are resurrected first will inherit the celestial kingdom (see D&C 88:97–98). Those who are resurrected second will inherit the terrestrial kingdom (see D&C 88:99). Those who will inherit the telestial kingdom will be resurrected after the Millennium (see D&C 88:100–101). Finally, those who “remain filthy”—those who have lived on the earth and have become sons of perdition—will be resurrected and cast into outer darkness (see D&C 88:102). At the end of the thousand years of peace known as the Millennium, Satan and his followers will come to battle against the people of God led by Michael (or Adam). Satan and his followers will be defeated and cast into outer darkness.

Point to the following principle on the board: “As we teach one another diligently, the Lord will help us understand His truths more perfectly.” Then ask the following question:

Encourage students to find opportunities to teach others the gospel. Testify of the blessings they will receive for doing so.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 88:73–76. “I will hasten my work”

In October 2012, shortly after President Thomas S. Monson announced that the missionary age for young men and young women would be lowered, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained that this announcement was an example of God hastening His work:

“God is hastening His work. And He needs more and more willing and worthy missionaries to spread the light and the truth and the hope and the salvation of the gospel of Jesus Christ to an often dark and fearful world. …

“… This announcement … isn’t about you. It is about the sweet and pure message you are being asked to bear” (in “Church Lowers Age Requirement for Missionary Service,” Church News, Oct. 6, 2012, ldschurchnews.com).

Doctrine and Covenants 88:81–82. Warning our neighbors

President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency explained our duty as members of the Church to share the gospel with others:

“The duty to warn our neighbor falls on all of us who have accepted the covenant of baptism. We are to talk with nonmember friends and relatives about the gospel. Our purpose is to invite them to be taught by the full-time missionaries who are called and set apart to teach. …

“… We must … invite with testimony. Love and example will open the way. But we still have to open our mouths and bear testimony. …

“Perhaps some of us may find it hard to believe that we love enough, or that our lives are good enough, or that our power to testify is sufficient for our invitations to our neighbors to be accepted. But the Lord knew we might feel that way. Listen to His encouraging words, which He directed to be placed at the first of the Doctrine and Covenants, when He gave us our charge: ‘And the voice of warning shall be unto all people, by the mouths of my disciples, whom I have chosen in these last days’ (D&C 1:4).

“And then, listen to His description of the qualifications of those disciples—of us: ‘The weak things of the world shall come forth and break down the mighty and strong ones’ (D&C 1:19).

“And then later, ‘That the fulness of my gospel might be proclaimed by the weak and the simple unto the ends of the world’ (D&C 1:23).

“And then again, ‘And inasmuch as they were humble they might be made strong, and blessed from on high’ (D&C 1:28).

“That assurance was given to the first missionaries in the Church and to missionaries today. But it is given to all of us as well. We must have the faith that we can love enough and that the gospel has touched our lives enough that our invitation to choose can be heard as coming from the Master whose invitation it is” (“A Voice of Warning,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 33–35).

Doctrine and Covenants 88:117. Solemn assemblies

Between January and May 1836, a number of meetings were held in Kirtland. Some of these meetings were solemn assemblies. Solemn assemblies are special meetings distinguished from other Church meetings. During the week of March 27, 1836, solemn assemblies were held as part of the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, and another solemn assembly was held three days later on March 30, 1836. Another solemn assembly was held about a year later on April 6, 1837.

Elder David B. Haight of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“A solemn assembly, as the name implies, denotes a sacred, sober, and reverent occasion when the Saints assemble under the direction of the First Presidency. Solemn assemblies are used for three purposes: the dedication of temples, special instruction to priesthood leaders, and sustaining a new President of the Church” (“Solemn Assemblies,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 14).

Robert J. Norman, former director of the Tucson Institute of Religion, explained:

“Solemn assemblies are held to enhance the Saints’ spirituality and to give added emphasis to the importance of the assembly’s purpose. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, ‘We must have all things prepared, and call our solemn assembly as the Lord has commanded us, that we may be able to accomplish His great work, and it must be done in God’s own way. The house of the Lord must be prepared, and the solemn assembly called and organized in it, according to the order of the house of God.’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 91.)

“Heber C. Kimball recorded the Prophet’s instructions to the elders before that solemn assembly: ‘We had been commanded to prepare ourselves for a solemn assembly. At length the time arrived for this assembly to meet; previous to which the Prophet Joseph exhorted the elders to solemnize their minds, by casting away every evil from them, in thought, word and deed, and to let their hearts become sanctified, because they need not expect a blessing from God without being duly prepared for it, for the Holy Ghost would not dwell in unholy temples.’ (Orson F. Whitney, Life of Heber C. Kimball, 3d ed., Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1967, p. 91.)

“This long-awaited solemn assembly was held in the Kirtland Temple on 30 March 1836, three days after its dedication. In the assembly, three hundred brethren met and received some of the ordinances of the gospel, and the Prophet Joseph Smith set in order the Church’s different quorums. (See History of the Church, 2:430–33; D&C 88:139–141; 109:35.) A year later, on 6 April 1837, another solemn assembly was called to celebrate the anniversary of the Church and to further organize the priesthood quorums” (Robert J. Norman, “I Have a Question,” Ensign, Dec. 1988, 53).