Lesson 105: Doctrine and Covenants 101:17–42

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

On December 16 and 17, 1833, the Prophet Joseph Smith received a revelation concerning the Saints in Missouri who had left their homes to escape severe persecution. Many of those Saints had been forced to leave all their possessions behind. The revelation that the Prophet received, recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 101, is discussed in three lessons in this manual. This second lesson includes the Lord’s description of some of the conditions of the Millennium. It also includes words of comfort and counsel to the Saints.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 101:17–34

The Lord describes some of the conditions of the Millennium

Ask students to name some future events they are preparing for. List these events on the board. Ask students what they are doing to prepare for the events.

  • Why do you put forth the effort to be prepared?

Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 101 contains instructions on preparing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Millennium. Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 101:17–21 by explaining that the Lord’s promise to gather the Saints in the city of Zion in Jackson County, Missouri, “is held in abeyance, while the people are being sanctified for the great gift and for the responsibilities associated with it. In the meantime the honest in heart are gathering to the valleys of the Rocky Mountains [and to stakes all around the world]. … Temples have been erected. … But Zion shall yet be established on the chosen site” (James E. Talmage, The Articles of Faith, 12th ed. [1924], 353; see also Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2001], 240).

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 101:22–23 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for something the Lord told the Saints to do to prepare for His Second Coming.

  • According to verses 22 and 23, what can we do to prepare for the Second Coming? (Students should express that we can prepare for the Savior’s Second Coming by calling on His name, living according to gospel principles, gathering together, and standing in holy places. Write this truth on the board.)

  • What does it mean to you to “stand in holy places”? When have you felt that you were in a holy place?

  • How does gathering in holy places with other Latter-day Saints help you prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming?

To prepare students to understand the Lord’s words in Doctrine and Covenants 101:24–34, explain that these verses refer to the destruction of the wicked at the time of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming and to the conditions that will exist on the earth during the Millennium. Divide students into pairs. Invite the pairs to study Doctrine and Covenants 101:24–34, looking for conditions that will exist during the Millennium. After sufficient time, ask them to report their findings. Ask a student to list the responses on the board.

  • Which of the conditions on the board would you be particularly excited to experience? Why?

Doctrine and Covenants 101:35–38

The Lord assures the Saints in Missouri that if they endure in faith, they will ultimately partake of His glory

Remind students that when the Lord gave the revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 101, the Saints in Missouri had experienced tremendous difficulties. You may want to invite students to summarize some of the difficulties they learned about in the previous lesson.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 101:35–38 aloud. Ask the class follow along, looking for truths the Lord taught and counsel He gave to comfort and strengthen the Saints in their trials.

  • What truths and counsel in verses 35–38 might have brought comfort to the Saints who were suffering in Missouri? (As students respond, ask them how each specific truth or counsel they mention might have brought comfort to the Saints.)

  • How would you express the Lord’s promise in verse 35 in your own words? (Students should respond by stating a principle similar to the following: Those who suffer persecution for the name of the Savior and endure in faith will partake of God’s glory. You may want to write this truth on the board.)

Explain that true disciples of Jesus Christ always follow Him, even when they are persecuted for their faith. Invite a student to read aloud the following account, told by President James E. Faust of the First Presidency. Before he or she reads, explain that the account is about Rafael Monroy and Vicente Morales, two Latter-day Saints who lived in Mexico in the early 1900s. In 1915 they were captured by a violent band of soldiers. Ask students to listen for how Brother Monroy and Brother Morales were faithful as they endured persecution.

President James E. Faust

“Rafael Monroy was the president of the small San Marcos Mexico Branch, and Vicente Morales was his first counselor. … They were told they would be spared if they would give up their weapons and renounce their strange religion. Brother Monroy told his captors that he did not have any weapons and simply drew from his pocket his Bible and Book of Mormon. He said, ‘Gentlemen, these are the only arms I ever carry; they are the arms of truth against error.’

“When no arms were found, the brethren were cruelly tortured to make them divulge where arms were hidden. But there were no arms. They were then taken under guard to the outskirts of the little town, where their captors stood them up by a large ash tree in front of a firing squad. The officer in charge offered them freedom if they would forsake their religion and join the [soldiers], but Brother Monroy replied, ‘My religion is dearer to me than my life, and I cannot forsake it.’

“They were then told that they were to be shot and asked if they had any request to make. Brother Rafael requested that he be permitted to pray before he was executed. There, in the presence of his executioners, he kneeled down and, in a voice that all could hear, prayed that God would bless and protect his loved ones and care for the little struggling branch that would be left without a leader. As he finished his prayer, he used the words of the Savior when He hung upon the cross and prayed for His executioners: ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’ [Luke 23:34.] With that the firing squad shot both Brother Monroy and Brother Morales” (“Discipleship,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 21–22; based on Rey L. Pratt, “A Latter-day Martyr,” Improvement Era, June 1918, 720–26).

Invite students to think of times when they have been persecuted (teased or bullied) because of their faith in Jesus Christ and His Church. You may want to invite a few students to share their experiences.

  • When you are persecuted for your belief in Jesus Christ and His Church, what can you do to respond with faith?

Doctrine and Covenants 101:39–42

The Lord declares that His covenant people are the salt of the earth

To prepare students to understand the Lord’s teachings in Doctrine and Covenants 101:39–42, display two samples of salt: one sample of pure salt and one sample of salt that is mixed with other substances, such as dirt.

Direct students’ attention to the first sample of salt.

  • What are some uses of salt? (Answers may include that salt can be used to flavor and preserve food and to heal wounds as a disinfectant.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 101:39 aloud, and ask the class to identify the people the Lord compared to salt.

  • Who did the Lord say is “as the salt of the earth”?

Explain that the word savor refers to distinctive flavor or quality.

  • What do you think it means to be the savor of men?

To help students better understand what it means to be the savor of men, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy:

“When the Lord used the expression ‘savor of men,’ he was speaking of those who represent him. He was referring to those who have repented, who have been washed clean in the waters of baptism, and who have covenanted to take upon them his name and his cause. Moreover, he was speaking of those who would share by covenant his priesthood power. He was speaking of you and me” (“Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men,” Ensign, May 1980, 42).

  • What can the phrases “salt of the earth” and “savor of men” teach us about our responsibilities to others?

Help students understand that as God’s covenant people, we have a responsibility to help all the people of the earth receive His blessings (see Abraham 2:8–11). Write the following incomplete statement on the board: To help the people of the earth receive God’s blessings, we must …

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 101:40–42 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the Lord’s warnings and promises.

Point out that verse 40 includes the phrase “if that salt of the earth lose its savor.” To help students understand the meaning of this phrase, direct their attention to the second sample of salt. Explain that salt does not lose its savor when it ages. It loses its savor when it is mixed with other substances and contaminated by them.

  • According to verse 41, what causes us to lose our savor as the salt of the earth? (Sins.) Why do you think our sins make it difficult for us to help others receive God’s blessings?

  • How would you restate verse 42 in your own words? (If students need help answering this question, explain that someone who exalts himself or herself is prideful, while someone who abases himself or herself is humble before the Lord.)

  • Based on the Lord’s warnings and promises in Doctrine and Covenants 101:40–42, how would you complete the principle on the board? (Complete the principle on the board using students’ responses. Although students may use different words, they should identify the following principle: To help the people of the earth receive God’s blessings, we must repent of our sins and be humble.)

  • What can we do every day that will help us avoid being contaminated by sin?

Invite students to silently consider whether sins are contaminating their lives. Encourage them to repent of those sins so they can become pure before the Lord and so they can be more effective in helping others receive His blessings.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 101:17–21. Building the city of Zion

Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told about the time when the Lord will command the Latter-day Saints to build the city of Zion:

“There is no occasion for uncertainty or anxiety about the building up of Zion—meaning the New Jerusalem—in the last days. The Lord once offered his people the chance to build that Zion from which the law shall go forth to all the world. They failed. Why? Because they were unprepared and unworthy, as is yet the case with those of us who now comprise the kingdom. When we as a people are prepared and worthy, the Lord will again command us and the work will go forward—on schedule, before the Second Coming, and at the direction of the President of the Church. Until then, none of us need take any personal steps toward gathering to Missouri or preparing for a landed-inheritance there. Let us, rather, learn the great concepts involved and make ourselves worthy for any work the Lord may lay upon us in our day and time. Some things must yet precede the building up of Jackson County” (A New Witness for the Articles of Faith [1985], 586).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:23–25. Worldwide signs and events associated with the Second Coming

In Doctrine and Covenants 101:23–25, we read of three worldwide signs and events that are associated with the Savior’s Second Coming. In the following quotations, latter-day Apostles provide prophetic insights about those signs and events:

1. “All flesh shall see [Him] together” (D&C 101:23). Elder Orson Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said: “The second advent of the Son of God is to be something altogether of a different nature from anything that has hitherto transpired on the face of the earth, accompanied with great power and glory, something that will not be done in a small portion of the earth … and seen only by a few; but it will be an event that will be seen by all, all flesh shall see the glory of the Lord; when he reveals himself the second time every eye, not only those living at that time in the flesh, in mortality on the earth, but also the very dead themselves … will also see him at that time” (in Deseret News: Semi-Weekly, Apr. 25, 1876, 1).

2. “Every corruptible thing … shall be consumed” (D&C 101:24). Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “Incident to the commencement of the millennial era, the earth (the Lord’s vineyard) will be burned. Every corruptible thing will be consumed (D. & C. 101:24); all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be burned as stubble (Mal. 4:1; D. & C. 29:9; 64:23–25; 133:63–64); the sinners will be destroyed (Isa. 13:9–14); and there will be an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked. (D. & C. 63:54.) Those only shall be able to abide that day who are worthy to live on a paradisiacal or terrestrial sphere” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 494).

3. “All things shall become new” (D&C 101:25). Of this newness Elder Parley P. Pratt of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles wrote: “A new heaven and a new earth are promised by the sacred writers. Or, in other words, the planetary systems are to be changed, purified, refined, exalted and glorified, in the similitude of the resurrection, by which means all physical evil or imperfection will be done away” (Key to the Science of Theology, 10th ed. [1965], 61.)

Doctrine and Covenants 101:29–31. Death in the Millennium

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught that during the Millennium “there will be no death until men are old. Children will not die but will live to the age of a tree. Isaiah says this is 100 years [see Isaiah 65:20–22]” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie [1954–66], 1:86–87).

President Smith also explained that death during the Millennium will be a peaceful transition:

“When Christ comes the saints who are on the earth will be quickened and caught up to meet him. This does not mean that those who are living in mortality at that time will be changed and pass through the resurrection, for mortals must remain on the earth until after the thousand years are ended. A change, nevertheless, will come over all who remain on the earth; they will be quickened so that they will not be subject unto death until they are old. Men shall die when they are one hundred years of age, and the change shall be made suddenly to the immortal state. Graves will not be made during this thousand years” (The Way to Perfection [1931], 298–99).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:35–38. Enduring persecution for Christ’s name

The Prophet Joseph Smith encouraged the Saints to exercise faith as they endured their trials:

“We contemplate a people who have embraced a system of religion, unpopular, and the adherence to which has brought upon them repeated persecutions. A people who, for their love to God, and attachment to His cause, have suffered hunger, nakedness, perils, and almost every privation. A people who, for the sake of their religion, have had to mourn the premature death of parents, husbands, wives, and children. A people, who have preferred death to slavery and hypocrisy, and have honorably maintained their characters, and stood firm and immovable, in times that have tried men’s souls. Stand fast, ye Saints of God, hold on a little while longer, and the storm of life will be past, and you will be rewarded by that God whose servants you are, and who will duly appreciate all your toils and afflictions for Christ’s sake and the Gospel’s. Your names will be handed down to posterity as Saints of God and virtuous men” (in History of the Church, 4:337).

Doctrine and Covenants 101:40. “They are called to be the savor of men”

Elder Carlos E. Asay of the Seventy taught:

“A world-renowned chemist told me that salt will not lose its savor with age. Savor is lost through mixture and contamination. …

“Flavor and quality flee a man when he contaminates his mind with unclean thoughts, desecrates his mouth by speaking less than the truth, and misapplies his strength in performing evil acts” (“Salt of the Earth: Savor of Men and Saviors of Men,” Ensign, May 1980, 42).