Lesson 117: Doctrine and Covenants 109:47–80

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

On March 27, 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith pronounced the dedicatory prayer for the Kirtland Temple. That prayer, which the Lord had previously revealed to him, is recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 109. This is the second of two lessons about the prayer. It covers the Prophet’s plea for the Lord to bless the Saints who had been oppressed in Jackson County, Missouri, and for the Lord to bless their oppressors. It also covers the Prophet’s petitions that people throughout the world, especially scattered Israel, would be converted to the fulness of the gospel and that Heavenly Father would accept the dedication of the Kirtland Temple and bless the families of the Church.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 109:47–53

Joseph Smith asks Heavenly Father to help the Saints in Missouri

Invite students to imagine that a friend or family member is struggling or suffering in some way. Then ask them to imagine that they cannot do anything personally to help this friend or family member. After they have had time to think, ask the following question:

  • In what ways can you help relieve someone’s suffering, even when there is nothing you can do personally?

After students have shared a few ideas, remind them that the Saints in Missouri suffered greatly because of the violence of the mobs in Jackson County. In April 1836, the Prophet Joseph Smith was in Kirtland, Ohio. Although at the time he was unable to do anything personally to relieve the suffering of the Saints in Missouri, he did something during the dedication of the Kirtland Temple to help strengthen them. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:47–49 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for one thing we can do to help others during times of difficulty.

  • At the dedication of the Kirtland Temple, what did the Prophet do for the Saints in Missouri? (He prayed for them.)

Invite a student to act as a scribe at the board. Ask the class to suggest a truth we can learn from the Prophet’s words of prayer in these verses. As students respond, the scribe might write the following truth: Our prayers can bring help and strength to those who are in need.

  • When have you felt or seen the power of prayer help someone in need? (You may want to point out that such prayers are sometimes answered through inspiration we receive to help others.)

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:50 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for other people the Prophet prayed for.

  • Who else did the Prophet pray for?

  • Why do you think we should pray for our enemies? (To help students answer this question, you may want to suggest that they read Doctrine and Covenants 109:43 and 3 Nephi 12:43–45.)

  • What can we learn from Doctrine and Covenants 109:50 about how our prayers can influence others? (After students respond, ask the scribe to write the following principle on the board: Our prayers can help influence people to repent. Then invite the scribe to be seated.)

    Ask students to ponder the following question:
  • What if the people we pray for choose not to repent?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:51–53 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for phrases that acknowledge the Lord’s will and the agency of others. Invite students to report what they find. (Before the student reads these verses, you may want to explain that when the scriptures include statements about the Lord making bare His arm, they refer to Him showing His power.)

Invite students to reread Doctrine and Covenants 109:53 silently, looking for what Heavenly Father will do for those who repent. (You may need to explain that God’s wrath is often expressed in the punishment or suffering we experience because of our sins, according to His justice. The phrase “when thou lookest upon the face of thine Anointed” refers to Heavenly Father’s willingness to grant mercy because of the atoning sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.)

  • Why will Heavenly Father turn away His wrath from those who repent? (Students may use different words, but help them identify the following principle: Because of Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice, Heavenly Father’s wrath will be turned away from those who repent. Write this principle on the board.)

To help students visualize the description in verse 53, invite them to do the following:

Imagine a former member of an anti-Mormon mob standing before God to be judged. Now imagine that years before this person died, he truly repented and asked to be forgiven and redeemed through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ has suffered for this person’s sins, Heavenly Father will turn away the punishment and offer mercy to the repentant sinner.

Encourage students to develop this attitude toward those who have offended them or have caused them to suffer. Ask students to imagine such people standing repentant in front of Heavenly Father. Invite students to pray, as Joseph Smith did, for people who offend them or sin against them.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:54–67

The Prophet prays that people throughout the world will be converted to the fulness of the gospel

    Ask students to raise their hands if they have done any of the following:
  • Prayed for the full-time missionaries

  • Prayed for people investigating the Church

  • Prayed for people who have not yet heard the gospel

  • In what ways do you think your prayers help these people?

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 109:54–58 aloud. Ask half of the class to look for the people Joseph Smith prayed for. Ask the other half to look for what the Prophet asked the Lord to do for those people. Then ask each group to report what they have found.

  • What did the Prophet pray would happen to all who hear the testimony of the Lord’s servants?

  • What principles do you see in these verses? (Students may identify several truths, including the following: Temple worship prepares us to bear testimony to others. If we pray for others, their hearts can be softened to receive the Lord’s servants. As students identify principles, you may want to list them on the board.)

Give students an opportunity to testify of the principles they have identified. You may also want to share your testimony and an experience that relates to the lesson.

Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 109:59–67 by explaining that Joseph Smith prayed that the Lord would establish more stakes of Zion so people throughout the world could gather to them. He specifically prayed for the descendants of the prophet Jacob (Israel) to come to know the truth and be converted to the fulness of the gospel. This is an important way that Israel is gathered in the latter days.

Doctrine and Covenants 109:68–80

The Prophet prays for the Church and asks the Lord to accept the dedication of the temple

Invite students to search Doctrine and Covenants 109:68–69, 71–73, 78–80 silently. You may want to write the numbers of these verses on the board so students can refer to them. Ask students to look for additional requests the Prophet made in the dedicatory prayer. Consider suggesting that they mark what they find.

  • Who and what did Joseph pray for?

  • What benefits could come by including such requests in our prayers?

Invite students to sing “The Spirit of God” together (Hymns, no. 2). Direct students’ attention to the explanation below the hymn text, which says that the hymn was sung at the dedication of the Kirtland Temple. (A choir sang it immediately after the dedicatory prayer.) It continues to be sung at temple dedications today.

Invite a student to read the following summary of what happened in the temple on the evening of March 27, 1836, after the temple dedication:

That evening, priesthood quorums met in the temple. Joseph Smith said that he “gave them instructions in relation to the spirit of prophecy, and called upon the congregation to speak. … George A. Smith arose and began to prophesy, when a noise was heard like the sound of a rushing mighty wind, which filled the Temple, and all the congregation simultaneously arose, being moved upon by an invisible power; many began to speak in tongues and prophesy; others saw glorious visions; and I beheld the Temple was filled with angels, which fact I declared to the congregation. The people of the neighborhood came running together (hearing an unusual sound within, and seeing a bright light like a pillar of fire resting upon the Temple), and were astonished at what was taking place” (in History of the Church, 2:428). Some people saw angels above the temple and heard singing (see Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 167).

Conclude by testifying of the blessings we can receive as we worthily attend the temple.

scripture mastery iconScripture Mastery Review

After this lesson, you may have time for a scripture mastery review. Consider using the “story chase” scripture mastery activity, which is described in the appendix at the end of this manual. As a variation of this activity, you could invite students to choose scripture mastery passages and write clues of their own. Collect their clues and use them for the activity.

Supplemental Teaching Idea

Doctrine and Covenants 109:54–58. Our responsibility to help “gather out the righteous”

To help students feel their responsibility to share the gospel, point out that we should do more than simply pray for the missionaries and the people they teach. Read the following statement by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Invite students to listen for what it means to “ask in faith.”

“We properly pray for the safety and success of the full-time missionaries throughout the world. And a common element in many of our prayers is a request that the missionaries will be led to individuals and families who are prepared to receive the message of the Restoration. But ultimately it is my responsibility and your responsibility to find people for the missionaries to teach. Missionaries are full-time teachers; you and I are full-time finders. And you and I as lifelong missionaries should not be praying for the full-time missionaries to do our work!

“If you and I would truly pray and ask in faith, as did Joseph Smith—if we would pray with the expectation to act and not just to express—then the work of proclaiming the gospel would move forward in a remarkable way. Such a prayer of faith might include some of the following elements:

“• Thanking Heavenly Father for the doctrines and ordinances of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, which bring hope and happiness into our lives.

“• Asking for courage and boldness to open our mouths and share the gospel with our family and friends.

“• Entreating Heavenly Father to help us identify individuals and families who will be receptive to our invitation to be taught by the missionaries in our homes.

“• Pledging to do our part this day and this week and petitioning for help to overcome anxiety, fear, and hesitation.

“• Seeking for the gift of discernment—for eyes to see and ears to hear missionary opportunities as they occur.

“• Praying fervently for the strength to act as we know we should” (“Ask in Faith,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 95–96).

  • Based on Elder Bednar’s counsel, what can you do help “gather out the righteous”? (D&C 109:58).