Home-Study Lesson: Church Organizations and Programs, Official Declaration 2, Hastening the Work of Salvation, the Family Proclamation, and the Living Prophet (Unit 32)

Doctrine and Covenants and Church History Seminary Teacher Manual, 2013


Preparation Material for the Home-Study Teacher

Summary of Daily Home-Study Student Lessons

The following is a summary of the doctrines and principles students learned as they studied unit 32. This summary is not intended to be taught as part of your lesson. The lesson you teach for unit 32 concentrates on only a few of these doctrines and principles. Follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit as you consider the needs of your students.

Day 1 (Church Organizations and Programs)

In this lesson, students learned that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints assists Heavenly Father in bringing to pass the eternal life of His children. They also learned that all Church organizations and programs operate under the direction of priesthood leaders, who hold the keys to preside. Students discovered that as we participate in Church organizations and programs, we receive the blessings that are available through them. They then set goals to improve their participation in the Church auxiliaries and programs.

Day 2 (Official Declaration 2)

As students learned about the 1978 revelation that extended priesthood and temple blessings to every worthy Church member, they learned that prophets seek the Lord’s guidance in directing the Church and that the Lord directs His Church through revelation to His prophets in His own due time.

Day 3 (Hastening the Work of Salvation)

From this lesson, students learned that the Lord is hastening His work of salvation. They also learned that they can participate in the hastening of the Lord’s work by sharing the gospel, studying the scriptures, and doing temple and family history work.

Day 4 (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

In this lesson students identified doctrines and principles related to the family such as the following: marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God; the creation of mortal life is a sacred and important part of Heavenly Father’s plan; and fathers and mothers are obligated to help each other as equal partners in their family responsibilities. Students also learned that the Lord will hold us accountable if we do not fulfill our responsibilities in our families.

Introduction

This lesson can help students understand the blessing of being led by a living prophet, seer, and revelator. Students will study recent counsel from the President of the Church, the Lord’s chosen prophet.

Suggestions for Teaching

Continuing revelation through a living prophet

Write the following question on the board: Who is the most important prophet for you?

Invite the class to ponder this question and listen for the answer as you read the following statement by President Ezra Taft Benson:

“The most important prophet, so far as we are concerned, is the one who is living in our day and age” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” New Era, May 1975, 17).

  • Why do you think the living prophet is the most important prophet for us?

After students respond, continue reading President Benson’s statement:

“This is the prophet who has today’s instructions from God to us. … Every generation has need of the ancient scripture, plus the current scripture from the living prophet. Therefore, the most crucial reading and pondering that you should do is of the latest inspired words from the Lord’s mouthpiece. That is why it is essential that you have access to and carefully read his words in Church periodicals” (“Jesus Christ—Gifts and Expectations,” 17).

Explain that we sustain all the members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators. However, the President of the Church is the only person who is authorized to exercise all the priesthood keys on the earth and the only person who is authorized to receive and declare revelations for the entire Church.

  • According to what you have learned in recent lessons, when has the President of the Church declared revelations for the entire Church or announced significant changes in the way the Church operates? (Answers might include when President Wilford Woodruff issued the Manifesto regarding plural marriage [see Official Declaration 1], when President Joseph F. Smith declared previously unknown truths about the postmortal spirit world [see D&C 138], and when President Spencer W. Kimball declared that the blessings of the priesthood were to be made available to all worthy members of the Church [see Official Declaration 2].)

Invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. Invite the class to listen for a truth concerning revelation in our day.

“One of the glorious messages of the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ is that God continues to speak to His children! He is not hidden in the heavens but speaks today as He did in ancient days. …

“God’s priceless instructions to humankind are found in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. In addition, the Lord speaks to us through His servants, as He will again at … general conference” (“Why Do We Need Prophets?” Ensign, March 2012, 4).

  • What doctrine concerning revelation did President Uchtdorf teach? (Students may use different words, but they should identify the following doctrine: The Lord continues to speak to us today through His living prophet. You may want to write this doctrine on the board.)

  • Where can we find the words of the living prophet? (Answers might include general conference, Church magazines, LDS.org, and mormonchannel.org.)

To help students understand the significance of the Lord continuing to speak through His living prophet, invite a student to read aloud the following statement by President John Taylor. Ask the class to listen for why continuing revelation through prophets is important.

“We require a living tree—a living fountain—living intelligence, proceeding from the living priesthood in heaven, through the living priesthood on earth. … And from the time that Adam first received a communication from God, … it always required new revelations, adapted to the peculiar circumstances in which the churches or individuals were placed. Adam’s revelation did not instruct Noah to build his ark; nor did Noah’s revelation tell Lot to forsake Sodom; nor did either of these speak of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt” (in The Gospel Kingdom, sel. G. Homer Durham [1987], 34; see also D&C 1:30).

  • According to President Taylor, why do we need a living prophet? (Through the living prophet, God gives direction specific to the needs and circumstances of the time.)

  • How can understanding the need for continuing revelation affect the way you listen to or read the words of the living prophet?

Following the counsel of the living prophet

To help students discuss the counsel of the living prophet, select one or more general conference addresses given by the President of the Church in the past year. Provide a copy of a talk for each student in the class. Give students time to look for doctrines and principles the living prophet is currently teaching.

After students have had sufficient time to read, ask them to list doctrines and principles the President of the Church is teaching. Consider asking a student to write their responses on the board.

    To help students understand and feel the importance of the doctrines and principles they have identified, ask some or all of the following questions:
  • Which of these principles or doctrines do you feel are especially relevant to you? Why?

  • In what ways are you and your family trying to follow the counsel of the prophet?

  • Why do you think it is important that we study and apply what the current President of the Church is teaching?

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

From the words of the living prophet that you have just studied, what messages do you feel the Lord wants you to receive?

What will you do because of the prophet’s recent counsel?

Invite students to act on what they have written. Testify that as they do so, they can have confidence that Heavenly Father will bless them. Encourage students to consistently study and apply the teachings of living prophets.

Invite students to share their testimonies of living prophets.

As a conclusion to this seminary year, encourage students to continue studying the scriptures every day. If they will be taking the next seminary course, you might suggest that they begin studying the Old Testament. You may want to invite a student to testify of the blessings he or she has received by continuing to read the scriptures daily even when seminary has not been in session.