During the Great Apostasy, the pure doctrines and ordinances of Christ’s Church became corrupted. In section 22 the Lord refers to these corrupted ordinances as “dead works” (v. 2). The Lord revealed through the Prophet Joseph Smith that ordinances are valid only when performed by those with authority from God (see D&C 20:72–74) and when sealed by the Holy Ghost (see D&C 132:7). When the Lord organized the Church, He did away with “all old covenants” and gave “a new and an everlasting covenant, even that which was from the beginning” (D&C 22:1). The doctrines and ordinances revealed through Joseph Smith were the same as in previous dispensations reaching back to Adam and before the foundation of the world.
For added insight, see the historical background for section 22 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. 67–69.
Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325, pp. 46–47.
Suggestions for Teaching
Doctrine and Covenants 22. To be acceptable to God, baptism must be performed by one having proper priesthood authority.
Invite three students to take part in a role play. Have one take the role of an investigator who believes the Church is true. This investigator has been baptized by immersion in another church and does not understand why another baptism is necessary. Have the other two students take the part of missionaries trying to answer the investigator’s question. After some discussion, review the historical background for Doctrine and Covenants 22 in Doctrine and Covenants Student Manual: Religion 324–325 (p. 46) and discuss the similarities with the role play. Have students read section 22 to see how the Lord answered this question. Discuss the following questions:
What do you think the Lord was referring to as “dead works”? (v. 2).
What did the Lord do because of these dead works? (see v. 3).
What is necessary for an ordinance to be valid?
Have students read Doctrine and Covenants 20:72–74; 132:7 and look for at least two things that are needed to make the ordinance of baptism valid. Discuss why baptism needs to be performed by priesthood authority from God and sealed by the Holy Ghost. Invite students to share ways the sacrament, ordinations, and blessings of comfort and healing can have power in their lives when accompanied by the priesthood and the Spirit.