After arriving in Far West, Missouri, in March 1838, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 113. In the revelation, the Lord answered questions about passages from the book of Isaiah. On April 11, 1838, Joseph Smith received the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 114, in which the Lord directed David W. Patten, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, to prepare to serve a mission.
Begin class by asking students the following question:
Do you ever struggle to understand what you read in the scriptures?
Point out that some prophecies in the scriptures include symbols that are difficult to understand. Explain that in Far West, Missouri, some brethren asked Joseph Smith to clarify passages in chapters 11 and 52 in the book of Isaiah. The Lord’s answers to those questions are recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 113. You may want to explain that when Moroni first visited Joseph Smith, he quoted the prophecy in Isaiah 11. Moroni told Joseph that the prophecy was about to be fulfilled (see Joseph Smith—History 1:40).
Invite a student to read Isaiah 11:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for four objects mentioned in this verse.
What objects did you find? (Students should mention a rod, a stem, a branch, and roots. Point out that Doctrine and Covenants 113 contains explanations of the rod, the stem, and the roots.)
Explain that the word stem in Isaiah 11:1 is translated from a Hebrew word that refers to the trunk or stump of a tree—either a tree that has been cut down or a tree that has been planted. Ask a student to draw a stump on the board and write Stem near the picture. Then ask the student to add roots and label them Roots.
According to Isaiah 11:1, what comes out of the stem? (A rod—in other words, new growth.)
Ask the student to draw new growth coming from the stem and to label it Rod.
Explain that these objects are symbols. Invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 113:1–6 silently, looking for the meanings of the symbols.
According to verses 1–2, who does the stem of Jesse represent?
Invite a student to write Jesus Christ on the board next to the word Stem.
Explain that Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles shared one interpretation of the roots and the rod—that they both represent Joseph Smith. Invite a student to read the following statement aloud:
“Are we amiss in saying that the prophet here mentioned is Joseph Smith, to whom the priesthood came, who received the keys of the kingdom, and who raised the ensign for the gathering of the Lord’s people in our dispensation? And is he not also the ‘servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power’? (D&C 113:4–6.) Those whose ears are attuned to the whisperings of the Infinite will know the meaning of these things” (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man , 339–40).
Invite a student to write Joseph Smith on the board next to the words Roots and Rod.
What are some things Joseph Smith has done as “a servant in the hands of Christ”? (D&C 113:4).
In Doctrine and Covenants 113:6, what purpose is given for the keys of the kingdom that were given to Joseph Smith? (As students discuss this question, write the following truth on the board: Joseph Smith received the keys of the kingdom for the gathering of Israel in the last days. You may also want to invite students to read Doctrine and Covenants 110:11.)
Explain that after the Lord revealed answers to the questions about Isaiah 11, Elias Higbee asked questions concerning Isaiah 52. Invite half of the class to read Doctrine and Covenants 113:7–8 silently. Invite the other half to read Doctrine and Covenants 113:9–10 silently. Ask both groups to look for the Lord’s desires for the people of Zion.
According to verses 7–8, what should we “put on”? According to verse 8, what is the strength of Zion? (Students should express the following truth: The authority of the priesthood is the strength of Zion.)
Explain that verse 9 includes a question about Zion “loosing herself from the bands of her neck.” In this verse, the word bands refers to material used to keep someone in bondage.
According to verse 10, what is the meaning of the phrase “the bands of her neck”?
What are some ways the authority of the priesthood helps us all “put on [our] strength”?
What are some things we can do to loose ourselves from “bands”? How can we help others do these things?
Explain that one person the Lord chose to help Zion “put on her strength” was a man named David W. Patten. Invite a student to read the following description aloud:
David W. Patten joined the Church on June 15, 1832. He was ordained an Apostle in 1835. He was fearless in his defense of the faith and of the Prophet Joseph Smith. In defending the Saints against the mobs in Missouri, David W. Patten was known as “Captain Fear Not.” (See Lycurgus A. Wilson, Life of David W. Patten: The First Apostolic Martyr , 5, 32, 52, 62.)
Explain that Elder Patten asked Joseph Smith to seek a revelation on his behalf. Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 114:1 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord wanted Elder Patten to do.
What did the Lord want Elder Patten to do?
According to verse 1, how many were called by the Lord to perform this mission? (Twelve. This verse refers to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and their upcoming mission to England.)
When was Elder David Patten to leave on his mission? Look in the section introduction and notice the date this revelation was given. How long did David have before he was to depart? (Approximately one year.)
Tell students that a tragedy occurred six months after the revelation to David Patten was given. Invite a student to read aloud the following account of the battle at Crooked River:
In the fall of 1838, hostilities and persecutions again increased against the Saints in Missouri. On October 24, a mob kidnapped three of the Saints, apparently planning to kill them that night. On hearing this, a local judge named Elias Higbee, a member of the Church, ordered Lieutenant Colonel George M. Hinkle of the state militia, also a member of the Church, to organize a group of men to disperse the mob and rescue the prisoners. Seventy-five men gathered at midnight, with David W. Patten as their captain. Elder Patten hoped to surprise the mob and rescue the prisoners without the loss of blood, but as the men approached the Crooked River, a hidden member of the mob fired a single shot. Patrick O’Banion, a member of the Saints’ militia, fell. Captain Patten, who had led 15 men away from the rest of the group, heard the shot and led a charge toward the area. A quick fight ensued, and several men were wounded. Gideon Carter died instantly, and Patrick O’Banion died that night. Elder Patten was also among the wounded.
Elder Patten died several hours after the battle. His faith in the restored gospel was such that he had once expressed to the Prophet Joseph Smith a desire to die the death of a martyr. “The Prophet, greatly moved, expressed extreme sorrow, ‘for,’ said he to David, ‘when a man of your faith asks the Lord for anything, he generally gets it’” (Church History in the Fulness of Times Student Manual, 2nd ed. [Church Educational System manual, 2003], 200; quoting Joseph Smith, in Life of David W. Patten, 53). Just before Elder Patten’s funeral in Far West, Joseph Smith pointed to Elder Patten’s body and said, “There lies a man that has done just as he said he would—he has laid down his life for his friends” (in History of the Church, 3:175).
Point out that at the time Elder Patten died, he was preparing himself, through his faithfulness, to serve a mission. Ask students to divide into pairs and discuss the following questions:
How do you think the Lord’s command to prepare for a mission influenced Elder Patten? How might this command have been a blessing for Elder Patten, even though he never fulfilled the mission he expected to fulfill?
What principles can we learn from this? (Students may share several different insights and truths, including the following principle: If we heed the Lord’s direction, we will be prepared for whatever He has planned for us.)
When have you followed the Lord’s counsel and found that it had prepared you for something you had not expected?
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 114:2 aloud. Ask the class to look for what the Lord said will happen when people do not fulfill their callings. (You may want to explain that in this verse, the term bishopric refers to a person’s responsibility, not to a bishop and his counselors. See Psalm 109:8; Acts 1:20.)
What can we learn from verse 2 about what will happen if we are not faithful in our callings? (Someone else will be called to fulfill our responsibilities.)
Explain that when Elder David W. Patten was on his deathbed, he spoke of some of his fellow Saints, including members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who had not been faithful. He exclaimed, “O that they were in my situation! For I feel that I have kept the faith, I have finished my course, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me.” To his wife, he said, “Whatever you do else, O do not deny the faith” (quoted by Heber C. Kimball, in Life of David W. Patten, 69).
To help students feel the importance of choosing now to be faithful, invite them to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals about what they will do to follow the Lord’s counsel and fulfill the expectations He has for them.