This is the last of three lessons discussing Doctrine and Covenants 124. It also discusses Doctrine and Covenants 125 and 126. In Doctrine and Covenants 124:84–145, the Lord gave counsel to individual Church members and named those who were to serve in different priesthood leadership positions. In March 1841, the Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 125, in which the Lord revealed His will concerning the gathering of the Saints in the Iowa Territory. On July 9, 1841, he received the revelation contained in Doctrine and Covenants 126, in which the Lord told Brigham Young that he would no longer be required to leave his family to serve missions.
Before class, write the following principle on a piece of paper: If we hearken to the counsel of the prophets, it will be well with us. Place the paper in an envelope, and on the outside of the envelope write How we can be blessed now and always.
Begin the lesson by showing students the envelope. Tell them that it contains instructions for how they can be happy now, avoid unnecessary challenges in their lives, and receive other blessings. Explain that the instructions apply to each of them, despite their unique circumstances. Invite students to ponder the following questions:
How important might it be for you to obtain the instructions in the envelope?
If you could have the instructions, how closely would you follow them once you had them?
Copy the accompanying chart on the board before class begins. Refer to the chart, and explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 124:84–118 the Lord gave individual instructions to certain members of the Church that, if followed, promised great blessings. Invite each student to read two or more of the references on the board silently. Ask them to look for a similarity between the instructions given to each individual they read about.
William Law (D&C 89–90)
Hyrum Smith (D&C 94–96)
Amos Davies (D&C 111–114)
Robert Foster (D&C 115–118)
After students have had sufficient time to read, ask the following question:
What similarity did you notice in the instruction given to these men? (Each passage contains instruction to follow the counsel of the Prophet Joseph Smith.)
Invite students to review the verses they read and look for the blessings the Lord promised if these men followed the counsel He gave them. Ask students to report what they find. Write their responses on the board.
How would you summarize the promises the Lord made to these men if they hearkened to the Prophet?
Invite a student to open the envelope and read aloud the principle written on the paper.
How do each of the promised blessings listed on the board relate to the phrase “it will be well with us”?
Ask students to list specific counsel the President of the Church has given in recent years, and invite a student to write their responses on the board.
When have you been blessed by hearkening to the counsel of the prophets? (You might also consider sharing an experience.)
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 124:84 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord said a Church member named Almon Babbitt had been doing instead of following the counsel of the First Presidency.
According to verse 84, what did Almon Babbitt do instead of following the counsel of the First Presidency? (He aspired to establish his own counsel. You may want to explain that he apparently attempted to persuade some people “to stop short” of emigrating to Nauvoo and to instead settle in Kirtland [see History of the Church, 4:476].)
What are some examples of how people might establish their own counsel in our day?
Invite students to consider their responses to the questions they pondered earlier in the lesson about their desire to obtain and follow the instructions in the envelope. Ask them to write a specific goal for improving their efforts to hearken to the counsel of the living prophets so they can receive the promised blessings.
Summarize Doctrine and Covenants 124:119–122 by explaining that the Lord gave additional instructions to the Church regarding the construction of the Nauvoo House, which was to be a Church-owned hotel.
Ask students to list on the board some of the priesthood leadership positions in the Church.
Explain that in Doctrine and Covenants 124:123–145, the Lord named specific individuals to serve in various priesthood leadership positions. Ask half of the class to look through verses 123–132 and the other half to look through verses 133–142, looking for the priesthood leadership positions the Lord mentioned. Ask students to report what they find, and list any priesthood leadership positions on the board that were not listed previously.
Ask a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 124:143 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the reason why the Lord calls priesthood leaders and gives priesthood keys.
Why does the Lord call priesthood leaders and give priesthood keys? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: The Lord calls priesthood leaders to govern the work of the ministry and help perfect the Saints.)
Invite students to consider ways their priesthood leaders have helped them in their efforts to better follow Jesus Christ and become more like Him. You may want to invite a few students to share their experiences.
Explain that after the Saints were expelled from Missouri in the winter of 1838–39, they made their way into Illinois and Iowa, where they settled on both sides of the Mississippi River. Summarize the revelation recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 125 by explaining that it was received in March 1841 and revealed the will of the Lord concerning the Saints who lived in the Iowa Territory and those who planned to go there. In this revelation the Lord directed the Saints to gather and build up the places the Lord would appoint through the Prophet Joseph Smith, including a city in Iowa to be named Zarahemla. The Church had purchased more land in Iowa than in Illinois, suggesting that Church leaders did not intend that all the Saints would settle in Nauvoo.
Invite students to imagine what it would be like to leave their families to serve missions for the Lord during the next five summers and then be called to serve a mission in a foreign country for nearly two years.
How would you feel about leaving your family so many times?
How would you feel about it if you were responsible for providing for your family’s needs?
Inform students that after Brigham Young joined the Church in April 1832, he served several missions over the next nine years. His first mission was during the winter after he was baptized. Five others, including his participation in Zion’s Camp, occurred every summer from 1833 to 1837. These missions were from three to five months long. On July 8, 1838, Brigham Young, with the other Apostles, was called to serve a mission to Great Britain. They followed the Lord’s instructions to depart for this mission from Far West, Missouri, on April 26, 1839 (see D&C 118). Brigham Young and the other Apostles spent the next few months in Iowa and Illinois, making further preparations to travel to Great Britain. An epidemic of malaria struck the area in the summer of 1839, and they, too, were stricken.
Read the following statement by Brigham Young aloud. Ask the class to listen for his attitude toward serving the Lord despite being so ill that he could not even get into the wagon without help when he departed.
“I was determined to go to England or to die trying. My firm resolve was that I would do what I was required to do in the Gospel of life and salvation, or I would die trying to do it” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young , 5).
Explain that Brigham Young’s missionary service required sacrifice on the part of his family as well. Invite a student to read the following summary of the circumstances of Brigham Young’s family when he left for his mission to Great Britain:
Brigham Young left Montrose, Iowa, for Great Britain on September 14, 1839, just 10 days after his wife, Mary Ann, gave birth to their fourth child. Mary Ann was also suffering from malaria. This was the fifth time since they had been married that she had sent Brigham off on a mission. Having been driven from their home and having lost most of their possessions in Missouri the previous year, they were in the depths of poverty. Brigham was able to leave Mary Ann with only $2.72 for their family. Brigham and Mary Ann trusted that the Lord would provide for them and relied on a promise from the Prophet Joseph Smith that the families of the Apostles would have their needs taken care of while the Apostles were away on their mission. (See Leonard J. Arrington, Brigham Young: American Moses , 74–75, 413, 420.)
Explain that after leading the missionary work of the Church in Great Britain, Brigham Young arrived in Nauvoo, Illinois, on July 1, 1841. The Prophet Joseph Smith received the revelation found in Doctrine and Covenants 126 eight days later.
Invite a student to read Doctrine and Covenants 126:1–3 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord told Brigham about his service. Ask students to report what they found. (You may need to explain that the word toil refers to diligent work done over a long period of time.)
Explain that even though the Lord no longer required him to leave his family, Brigham Young later filled some short-term missions. Invite students to identify a principle from verses 1–2 that teaches what will occur if we labor diligently for the Lord. (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following principle: If we labor diligently for the Lord, then He will accept our righteous offering. You may want to suggest that students write this principle in the margin of their scriptures.)
When have you felt that the Lord was pleased with your service?
Invite students to think about opportunities they have to serve the Lord. Encourage them to follow the example of leaders such as Brigham Young to labor diligently in these opportunities. Share your testimony that the Lord will accept the righteous offerings of their diligent efforts in His work.