Section 14, addressed to David Whitmer, is one of several given to individuals called to labor in the Lord’s service. (Section 4 was given to Joseph Smith Sr., section 11 to Hyrum Smith, section 12 to Joseph Knight Sr., section 15 to John Whitmer, and section 16 to Peter Whitmer Jr.) It was not unusual for people who knew the Prophet Joseph Smith to ask him for a revelation concerning the Lord’s will for them personally. This is the first revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants received in Fayette, New York. Joseph Smith received sections 14–16 here shortly after moving to the Whitmer farm. (See the historical background for section 14 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325,
Some Important Gospel Principles to Look For
Church History in the Fulness of Times: Religion 341–43, pp. 56–58.
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 29–30.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants 14 (Scripture Mastery, Doctrine and Covenants 14:7). Eternal life is a gift God gives to all who keep His commandments and endure to the end.
Show students a gift-wrapped box and ask:
What is the best gift you have ever received?
What is it about the gift that made it so desirable?
Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 14:7 and identify the greatest gift we can receive. Share the following statements. Elder Bruce R. McConkie, then a member of the Seventy, wrote:
“Eternal life is … the kind of life that our Eternal Father lives. …
“… Those who gain eternal life receive exaltation; they are sons of God, joint-heirs with Christ, members of the Church of the Firstborn; they overcome all things, have all power, and receive the fulness of the Father. They are gods” (Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. , 237).
Elder Neal A. Maxwell wrote:
“Our rejoicing in these two great and generous gifts [immortality and eternal life] should drown out any sorrow, assuage any grief, conquer any mood, dissolve any despair, and tame any tragedy” (Wherefore, Ye Must Press Forward , 132).
Discuss why eternal life is the greatest gift of all.
Point out that eternal life is a gift from God. The Lord has set requirements that we must meet to receive this gift. Read Doctrine and Covenants 14 to find what commandments the Lord gave David Whitmer, and list them on the board. Discuss the following questions:
Which of the commandments given to David Whitmer apply to us today? How?
How does keeping these commandments help us gain eternal life?
What blessing did the Lord promise those who pray in faith? (see v. 8).
Share with the class the events surrounding the Prophet Joseph Smith’s trip from Harmony to Fayette (see Church History in the Fulness of Times, pp. 56–58). Have students listen for examples of how these people were enduring and on the path to eternal life.