The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99 on August 29, 1832. In this revelation, the Lord called John Murdock to continue serving as a missionary. Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100 on October 12, 1833, while he and Sidney Rigdon were in New York laboring as missionaries. In this revelation, the Lord assured them that their families in Ohio were well. The Lord also comforted them concerning the Saints in Missouri who were suffering persecution.
Invite students to imagine that a friend who is not a member of the Church asks them why someone would be willing to give up 2 years or 18 months of his or her life to serve a mission.
How would you answer this question?
Ask a student to read aloud the following information about a man named John Murdock. Invite students to listen for the sacrifices Brother Murdock made to serve the Lord.
John Murdock investigated many churches and concluded that all religions had lost their way. However, in late 1830, he read the Book of Mormon and felt the Holy Ghost bear witness of its truth. He was baptized on November 5, 1830. Shortly thereafter, he served a mission, baptizing about 70 people in four months in Orange, Ohio, and Warrensville, Ohio.
On April 30, 1831, shortly after Brother Murdock returned from his mission, his wife, Julia, died after giving birth to twins. In June 1831, the Lord called him to go to Missouri and preach the gospel along the way (see D&C 52:8–9). Before he could go, he needed to make sure his five children, all under the age of seven, were provided for. He arranged for several individuals to care for his older children, and Joseph and Emma Smith adopted the infant twins. For the rest of 1831 and the first half of 1832, John Murdock preached in Michigan Territory, Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio. When he returned to Hiram, Ohio, in June 1832, he was suffering from the effects of a long illness. He learned that one of his twins had been sick and had died because of exposure to the cold during an attack on Joseph Smith.
What stands out to you from this account of John Murdock?
Explain that Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 99 on August 29, 1832, approximately two months after Brother Murdock had arrived home from his second mission.
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 99:1 silently, and look for what the Lord called John Murdock to do.
What did the Lord call John Murdock to do?
How might this mission call have tested Brother Murdock’s faith and obedience?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 99:2–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord promised John Murdock.
What doctrines and principles can we learn from verses 2–3? (Students’ responses might include the following: We represent the Lord when we serve missions. When we receive and follow the Lord’s servants, we are receiving and following Him.)
How have you been blessed as you have followed the Lord’s servants?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 99:4–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said would happen to those who would reject the message John Murdock would teach them.
According to verse 4, what is a consequence of rejecting the gospel message preached by the Lord’s servants?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 99:6–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for evidence that the Lord was aware of John Murdock’s needs and the sacrifices he was making.
What do the Lord’s words to John Murdock show us?
Explain that Brother Murdock followed the Lord’s counsel. He made arrangements for his three oldest children to live with different families in Missouri, and he left in September 1832 to preach the gospel. He served several more missions, and then he joined his older children in Missouri. He served the Lord faithfully for the rest of his life.
Write the following question on the board: What are some concerns that missionaries might have as they begin their missions? Invite a student to act as scribe and write students’ responses on the board. (Students’ responses might include questions such as the following: How will I find people to teach? How will I know what to say? Will I get along with my companions? Will my family be okay while I am gone?)
Explain that in April 1833 a man named Freeman Nickerson joined the Church in New York and came to Kirtland, Ohio. When Freeman met Joseph Smith, he asked the Prophet to visit the Nickerson family in New York and Canada. Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon agreed to his proposal, and they left Kirtland with him on October 5, 1833. Along the way, they preached the gospel. After they arrived at the Nickerson home in Perrysburg, New York, Joseph received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 100.
Invite students to read the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 100 silently, looking for what Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon were concerned about when they arrived in New York. After students report what they find, explain that Joseph Smith wrote of his concerns in his journal: “I feel very well in my mind the Lord is with us but have much anxiety about my family” (Journals, Volume 1: 1832–1839, vol. 1 of the Journals series of The Joseph Smith Papers , 14).
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Savior’s response to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s concern.
What phrases in these verses might have eased Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon’s concern? How might these verses help missionaries today?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:3–4 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord promised Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
What do you think it means to have “an effectual door” opened for the sharing of the gospel?
What are some ways the Lord “opens doors” for us to do missionary work?
Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:5–8 silently, looking for additional promises from the Lord. After students report what they have found, write on the board If , then .
What can we learn from verses 5–6? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: If we will lift up our voices to share the gospel, then the Lord will help us know what to say.)
According to verse 7, how does the Lord want missionaries to preach the gospel?
According to verse 8, what does the Lord promise if we preach the gospel with “solemnity of heart” and “in the spirit of meekness”? (Students should express the following principle: If we share the gospel with others in solemnity of heart and in the spirit of meekness, then the Holy Ghost will bear witness of our message.)
Invite students to think about a time when the Lord has helped them know what to say as they have shared the gospel. Also invite them to think about a time when they have felt the Spirit bear witness of something they have said. Invite a few students to share their experiences.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:9–12 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for instructions the Lord gave Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.
According to verse 12, why could Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon “let [their] hearts rejoice”?
What might the promise in verse 12 mean to you if you were serving a mission?
Explain that the missionary efforts of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon had a lasting influence on the Church. For example, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon preached to a large group at the Nickerson home and to additional groups in Canada. The missionaries baptized nearly 20 individuals, including Moses Nickerson, and organized a branch of the Church. In 1836, Parley P. Pratt visited that branch as he served a mission in Canada. Moses Nickerson introduced Elder Pratt to John Taylor. Elder Pratt baptized John Taylor, who became a successful missionary and later became President of the Church.
Explain that about two months before Joseph Smith departed on this mission, Oliver Cowdery had brought word from Missouri that enemies of the Church had turned violent against Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith sent Orson Hyde and John Gould to deliver counsel from him to the Saints in Missouri. This journey would be hazardous because they would travel through areas near anti-Mormon mobs. The Prophet worried about Brother Hyde and Brother Gould and all the Saints who were being persecuted in Missouri.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 100:13–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for what the Lord told Joseph Smith. Ask students to summarize what they find.
What promise do you see in verses 15–17? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: All things will work together for our good if we walk uprightly before the Lord.)
What do you think it means to “walk uprightly” before the Lord?
How might the promise in verses 15–17 help you during difficult times?
Invite a few students to give examples of how they have seen this promise fulfilled. You might also share your testimony of this truth. Invite students to think of specific things they can do to “walk uprightly” before the Lord.