Lesson 118: Doctrine and Covenants 110

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Introduction

On Sunday, April 3, 1836, a sacrament meeting was held in the Kirtland Temple. During the meeting, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery went to an area of the temple where a veil separated them from the congregation. There they offered a prayer. After they rose from prayer, Jesus Christ appeared to them and accepted the newly dedicated temple. Moses, Elias, and Elijah then appeared, and priesthood keys were restored. Doctrine and Covenants 110 is an account of this vision.

Suggestions for Teaching

Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–10

The Lord appears and accepts the Kirtland Temple

Ask students what is written on the outside of every temple. (“Holiness to the Lord—the House of the Lord.”)

  • What does the phrase “the House of the Lord” mean to you?

After students have discussed this question, explain that the Lord visited His house in Kirtland, Ohio, soon after it was dedicated. To help students understand the circumstances surrounding this sacred event, invite a student to read the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 110 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who was present and what they did before this vision occurred.

  • Who was present during this vision? What had they been doing before this vision occurred?

Invite another student to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:1–3 aloud. Before the student reads, ask the class to follow along and try to visualize what is described in these verses.

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:4–5 silently to learn what the Savior said to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

  • What in these verses is meaningful to you? Why?

Invite several students to take turns reading Doctrine and Covenants 110:6–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for reasons the Lord said all of the Saints may rejoice.

  • According to verse 7, why did the Saints have great reason to rejoice? (The Lord accepted the temple and promised to manifest Himself to them in it.)

  • How can the Lord manifest Himself to people in the temple? (The word manifest means to show or display. Remind students that they discussed this when studying Doctrine and Covenants 97 and Doctrine and Covenants 109. Most often, the Lord manifests Himself by the power of the Holy Ghost.)

Invite students to identify a principle from the promise in verses 7–8. Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize the following: If we obey the Lord’s commandments and keep His house pure, He will manifest Himself to us in His temples. You may want to write this principle on the board.

    To help students better understand this principle, discuss the following questions:
  • How can we keep the Lord’s house pure and unpolluted?

  • Why do you think the Lord requires us to be obedient and clean before He will manifest Himself to us in His house?

If students have attended the temple, invite them to reflect on an experience they have had when they felt close to the Lord there. Consider sharing how you feel when you worship in the temple.

Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:9–10 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for who would rejoice and why.

  • According to these verses, who will be blessed because of the restoration of temple blessings?

  • How is the world blessed because of temples and the work of salvation for the living and the dead?

  • How is the temple a blessing in your life?

Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16

Moses, Elias, and Elijah appear, and priesthood keys are restored to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery

Invite students to tell about a time when members of their family were temporarily separated from one another. Ask them to share how they felt during this separation. As students study Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16, invite them to look for how this vision ensures that our families can overcome any separation.

Copy the following chart on the board. Do not write the information in parentheses.

Moses

D&C 110:11

Elias

D&C 110:12

Elijah

D&C 110:13–16

Priesthood keys restored

(The keys of the gathering of Israel)

(The dispensation of the gospel of Abraham)

(The keys of this dispensation)

What these keys direct

(Missionary work)

(Celestial marriage and eternal posterity)

(Sealing power, including temple and family history work)

Explain that after the vision of the Savior closed, three other individuals appeared one by one to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Display pictures of Moses and Elijah (see Gospel Art Book [2009], nos. 14, 20; see also LDS.org). Ask students to explain who Moses and Elijah are and to name some significant things they did (if students need help, suggest that they look up these prophets in the Bible Dictionary). Explain that Elias may have been a prophet who lived in Abraham’s day. In addition to a name, Elias is also a title meaning forerunner or restorer (see Bible Dictionary or Guide to the Scriptures, “Elias,” scriptures.lds.org).

The Ten Commandments
Elijah Contends against the Priests of Baal

Divide the class into three groups. Assign each group one of the three names in the chart on the board. Explain that each of the messengers committed priesthood keys to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery. Ask students to study the scripture passage written under their assigned name and discover what the angelic messenger restored. After sufficient time, invite one student from each group to read their assigned scripture passage to the class. Invite a second student from each group to write what the messenger restored in the row labeled “Priesthood keys restored” in the chart on the board.

    To help students understand what the keys of the gathering of Israel are, discuss the following question:
  • In our day, how does the Lord gather His children into His kingdom?

Add to or confirm students’ answers by inviting someone to read the following explanation by Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Russell M. Nelson

“Missionary work is crucial to the gathering of Israel. … In many nations our missionaries have searched for those of scattered Israel” (“The Gathering of Scattered Israel,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2006, 81).

Write missionary work on the board under “Moses” in the row labeled “What these keys unlock.”

  • How has your life been influenced by Moses restoring the keys governing missionary work?

The dispensation of the gospel of Abraham, committed to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery by Elias, restored the promises the Lord made with Abraham. To help students understand the dispensation of the gospel of Abraham restored by Elias, invite a student to read the following explanation by Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles:

Elder Bruce R. McConkie

“Elias brings back ‘the gospel of Abraham,’ the great Abrahamic covenant whereby the faithful receive promises of eternal increase, promises that through celestial marriage their eternal posterity shall be as numerous as the sands upon the seashore or as the stars in heaven for multitude. Elias gives the promise—received of old by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—that in modern men and in their seed all generations shall be blessed. And we are now offering the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to all who will receive them” (“The Keys of the Kingdom,” Ensign, May 1983, 22).

  • According to Elder McConkie, what promises were given to Abraham? (As students respond, write celestial marriage and eternal posterity on the board in the column under “Elias.”)

  • What do the blessings of celestial marriage and eternal posterity mean to you? Why are they important to you?

To help students understand the keys restored by Elijah, invite two students to read the following statements:

President Joseph Fielding Smith

President Joseph Fielding Smith taught: “This sealing power bestowed upon Elijah, is the power which binds husbands and wives, and children to parents for time and eternity. It is the binding power existing in every Gospel ordinance. … It is by this power that all the ordinances pertaining to salvation are bound, or sealed, and it was the mission of Elijah to come, and restore it” (Elijah the Prophet and His Mission [1957], 5).

Elder David A. Bednar

Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained: “As members of Christ’s restored Church, we have the covenant responsibility to search out our ancestors and provide for them the saving ordinances of the gospel. … For these reasons we do family history research, build temples, and perform vicarious ordinances. For these reasons Elijah was sent to restore the sealing authority that binds on earth and in heaven” (“The Hearts of the Children Shall Turn,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2011, 25–26).

  • According to these explanations, what power or authority did Elijah restore? (As students respond, write sealing power, including temple and family history work on the board in the column under “Elijah.” You may want to remind students that without these priesthood keys, “the whole earth would be utterly wasted at [the Lord’s] coming” [D&C 2:3].)

  • How have you been blessed by the restoration of the sealing power?

Explain that President Joseph Fielding Smith noted that the Kirtland Temple “was built primarily for the restoration of keys of authority. In the receiving of these keys the fulness of gospel ordinances [was] revealed” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 2:242). The President of the Church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles continue to exercise these priesthood keys today.

Write the following incomplete statement on the board: The keys of missionary work, eternal families, and temple work help us to …

Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:11–16 silently, looking for how they might complete this principle.

  • According to these verses, why are missionary work, eternal families, and temple work necessary? (As students respond, complete the statement on the board. Their answers should reflect the following principle: The keys of missionary work, eternal families, and temple work help us to prepare for the Lord’s Second Coming.)

To help students understand this doctrine, assign each group one of the following questions to ponder: (1) How does missionary work prepare people for the Lord’s Second Coming? (2) How does the promise of eternal marriage and families prepare people for the Lord’s Second Coming? (3) How does temple work prepare people for the Lord’s Second Coming? After sufficient time, ask a student from each group how he or she would answer the questions.

Write the following questions on the board, and invite students to answer them in their class notebooks or scripture study journals:

How have you been blessed because of the priesthood keys that have been restored?

What can you do to help someone else be blessed through one of these restored keys?

After sufficient time, invite students to discuss their thoughts with a partner. Consider sharing how your life has been blessed because these priesthood keys have been restored.

Commentary and Background Information

Doctrine and Covenants 110:10. “The fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands”

President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained:

“[In 1836] the Lord prophesied that the ‘fame of this house shall spread to foreign lands.’ (D&C 110:10.) That, under the circumstances then existing, was at best improbable. The Church members were but a handful of Saints living and scattered in the rural areas of a new land. But despite the persecution and struggles and trials of those early days, there are congregations now spread literally across the world, and tens of thousands of missionaries bear witness at every door where they are welcome” (The Holy Temple [1980], 135).

Doctrine and Covenants 110:11. The gathering of Israel

President Joseph Fielding Smith explained: “Moses held the keys of the gathering of Israel. He led Israel out of Egypt into the land of Canaan. It was his appointment in this dispensation to come and restore those keys for the modern gathering” (Church History and Modern Revelation, 2 vols. [1953], 2:48). Soon after this vision in the Kirtland Temple, the Prophet Joseph Smith exercised these keys to begin gathering Israel from all parts of the world. For example, in 1837 Elder Heber C. Kimball, Elder Orson Hyde, and other missionaries were sent to England, where they helped gather nearly 2,000 souls to the restored Church of Jesus Christ through their preaching.

Doctrine and Covenants 110:13. The return of Elijah

“This great day of visions and revelation occurred on Easter Sunday, 3 April 1836 [see the section introduction to Doctrine and Covenants 110]. What better day in the dispensation of the fulness of times to reconfirm the reality of the Resurrection? That weekend was also the Jewish Passover. For centuries Jewish families have left an empty chair at their Passover feasts, anticipating Elijah’s return. Elijah has returned—not to a Passover feast, but to the Lord’s temple in Kirtland” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 167).

Doctrine and Covenants 110:13–16. The sealing keys turn the hearts of fathers and children

President James E. Faust of the First Presidency taught:

“In my opinion, members of the Church have the most effective cure for our decaying family life. It is for men, women, and children to honor and respect the divine roles of both fathers and mothers in the home. In so doing, mutual respect and appreciation among the members of the Church will be fostered by the righteousness found there. In this way, the great sealing keys restored by Elijah, spoken of by Malachi, might operate ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse.’ (D&C 110:15; Mal. 4:6.) …

“Perhaps we regard the power bestowed by Elijah as something associated only with formal ordinances performed in sacred places. But these ordinances become dynamic and productive of good only as they reveal themselves in our daily lives. Malachi said that the power of Elijah would turn the hearts of the fathers and the children to each other. The heart is the seat of the emotions and a conduit for revelation. (See Mal. 4:5–6.) This sealing power thus reveals itself in family relationships, in attributes and virtues developed in a nurturing environment, and in loving service. These are the cords that bind families together” (“Father, Come Home,” Ensign, May 1993, 37).

Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught:

“This restoration [of priesthood keys] was accompanied by what is sometimes called the Spirit of Elijah—a manifestation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the divine nature of the family” (“A New Harvest Time,” Ensign, May 1998, 34).